Purification of the Soul: the Types of Hearts|
Compiled from the works of
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah and Abu Hamid al-Ghazaali (Chapter 3)
Just as the heart may be described in terms of being alive or dead, it may also be regarded as belonging to one of three types; these are the healthy heart, the dead heart, and the sick heart.
On the Day of Resurrection, only
those who come to Allah with a healthy heart will be saved. Allah says:
The Dead Heart
This is the opposite of the healthy heart. It does not know its Lord and does not worship Him as He commands, in the way which He likes, and with which He is pleased. It clings instead to its lust and desires, even if these are likely to incur Allahs displeasure and wrath. It worships things other than Allah, and its love and its hatreds, and its giving and its withholding, arise from its whims, which are of paramount importance to it and preferred above the pleasure of Allah. Its whims are its imam. Its lust is its guide. Its ignorance is its leader. Its crude impulses are its impetus. It is immersed in its concern with worldly objectives. It is drunk with its own fancies and its love for hasty, fleeting pleasures. It is called to Allah and the akhira from a distance but it does not respond to advice, and instead it follows any scheming, cunning shayton. Life angers and pleases it, and passion makes it deaf and blind (1) to anything except what is evil. To associate and keep company with the owner of such a heart is to temp illness: living with him is like taking poison, and befriending him means utter destruction.
The Sick Heart
This is a heart with life in it as well as illness. The former sustains it at one moment, the latter at another, and it follows whichever one of the two manages to dominate it. It has love for Allah, faith in Him, sincerity towards Him, and reliance upon Him, and these are what give it life. It also has a craving for lust and pleasure, and prefers them and strives to experience them. It is full of self-admiration, which can lead to its own destruction. It listens to two callers: one calling it to Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) and the akhira; and the other calling it to the fleeting pleasures of this world. It responds to whichever one of the two happens to have most influence over it at the time. The first heart is alive, submitted to Allah, humble, sensitive, and aware; the second is brittle and dead; the third wavers between either its safety or its ruin.
1. It has been related on the authority of Abud-Darda that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Your love for something that makes you blind and deaf." Abu Dawud, Al-Adab, 14/38: Ahmad, Al-Musnad, 5/194. Classified as hasan.
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"And say: truth has arrived, and falsehood has perished: for falsehood is ever bound to perish." [TMQ Al-Isra:81]