Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|The Soul, the heart and their role|
|08/15/01 at 00:01:57|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
The Soul, the heart and their role
May I refer to Verses 7-10 of Surah 91 which speak of the soul and the need to purify it, and to the Hadith which mentions the heart as the central point in our constitution which, if reformed, will reform our whole life. Could you please explain how to purify the soul and reform the heart.
The four verses to which you have referred may be translated as follows: "By the soul and its molding and inspiration with knowledge of wickedness and piety. Successful is the one who keeps it pure, and ruined is the one who corrupts it." As the late scholar, Sayyid Qutb, says, these four verses and similar ones in other surahs constitute the basis of the Psychological Theory of Islam. He goes on to explain this in his priceless book, In the Shade of the Qur'an:
"God has created man with a duality of nature and ability. What we mean by duality is that the two ingredients in his make-up, i.e. earth's clay and God's spirit, form within him two equal tendencies to good and evil, to follow divine guidance and to go astray.
Man is just as capable of recognizing the good as he is capable of directing himself one way or the other. This dual ability is deeply ingrained within him. All external factors like divine messages only serve to awaken his potential and help it take its chosen way. In other words, these factors do not create this potential, which is innate; they only help it develop.
In addition to his innate ability man is equipped with a conscious faculty which determines his line of action and is, therefore, responsible for his actions and decisions. He who uses this faculty to strengthen his inclinations to what is good and to purify himself and to weaken the evil drive within him will be prosperous and successful; while he who uses this faculty to suppress the good tendency in him will ruin himself. "Successful is the one who keeps it pure, and ruined is the one who corrupts it."
There must be, then, an element of responsibility attached to man's conscious faculty and freedom of choice. For if he is free to choose between his tendencies, his freedom must be coupled with responsibility. He is assigned a definite task related to the power given to him. But God, the Compassionate, does not leave man with no guidance other than his natural impulses or his conscious, decision-making faculty. God helps him by sending him messages which lay down accurate and permanent criteria, and point out to him the signs which should help him choose the right path and which exist within him and in the world around him, and clear his way of any obstructions so that he may see the truth. Thus, he recognizes his way easily and clearly and his conscious decision-making faculty functions with full knowledge of the nature of the direction it chooses, and the implications of that choice.
This is what God has willed for man and whatever takes place within this framework is a direct fulfillment of His will."
This is part of what Sayyid Qutb says in comment on these verses. To keep the soul pure requires constant action which steers a person away from disobedience to God, and helps him to do everything that God orders. The more a person does of what God commands, the easier he finds further obedience. The more he does of what the Prophet recommends, the further he advances in making his life pure. [color=Red]That purity will generate serenity and inner peace in his life.[/color]
It is the same with one's heart. Let us remember that the Prophet is not referring here to the heart muscle itself, but to the inner entity of a human being. In most languages, this reference to the whole inner entity by speaking of the heart is acceptable. Again, one's heart is reformed the more we are conscious of the need to follow God's guidance and the more we act on that consciousness.
When one faces temptation to do what God has forbidden, resistance of that temptation contributes to keeping his soul pure and his heart in the right mold. The greater the temptation, the more power he needs to resist it, and the effort will result in increased purity and genuine peace at heart. All that comes as a result of following the teachings of the Qur'an and the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him).
[i]Arab News - 14 July 1997[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Haniff (with 2 f's)
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