In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Verily, all praise is for Allah. We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Him from the evils of ourselves. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide. Whoever He misguides, none can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
Dear brothers and sisters, know that every child is born innocent, sinless, and angelically pure. If you look at the innocence of a child, this is how close we should be to Allah the Almighty.
A child brought up knowing love and tenderness retains a healthy sense of self-esteem and worth. However, it remains that every child develops an ego, and each encounters life experiences that adversely affect their trust and innocence.
When we are pure and clean at heart, our hearts become innocent and clean like children. But to remain this way is a daily challenge.
Optimistically, most children learn the meaning of integrity and how to live a moral life.
When children learn integrity and morals, they grow up having self-worth, making it is easier to relate to Allah Almighty. They have common sense, and their life is made easier.
Less fortunate children may, as adults, go through life aimlessly – without knowing how to navigate their journey – making up the rules as they go along. They lack a sense of self-worth or purpose that should have been instilled in them by parental figures.
Sometimes, they feel jealous and exhibit competitiveness toward others. These individuals tend to search for love wherever they can find it, ultimately facing betrayal and disappointment, leading to heartache and lack of trust.
When a person feels hurt, disappointed, or alone, despair and depression begin to take root, then he becomes criminal in society.
Many people lead lives of desperation and emptiness, devoid of morals – conditions that make life complicated.
In such a state, it becomes easy to miss seeing the beauty of Almighty Allah around us; or to see Him as the One who loves us unconditionally. In taking these things for granted, it becomes commonplace to lose trust in Allah.
Even when trying to live moral lives, a lack of self-control leads to speaking badly toward or judging others.
In not striving to live exemplary lives, showing empathy toward one another, giving in charity and brotherhood, upholding the common good, and supporting justice – life becomes mundane.
For example, many Muslims who strayed from the straight path, have lived immorally – against the tenants of Islam. Sometimes this is found in some cultures, where self-focus vs. service to others is predominant.
In either case, Allah the Almighty is All-Forgiving, Most-Merciful, and whatever our mistakes, repentance, asking His forgiveness, seeking forgiveness of others, and forgiving ourselves, purifies our hearts.
The love of Allah the Almighty invokes self-worth. Our mere existence is proof that we are a creation of His beauty!
He loves us with the tenderness of a mother holding her newborn child. Almighty Allah is always with us. We are never alone.
Forgiveness brings us peace of mind and purity of heart if we submit our whole hearts to Allah the Almighty.
The acts of prayer and Zikr (remembrance of Allah the Almighty), bring us inner peace. Remembering Him throughout the day, being aware of the beauty and awe of His creation rekindles that child-like quality of innocence we had at birth.
Being merciful and kind, having a good heart, refraining from being judgmental, cruel, jealous, or self-righteous will restore peace of mind and purify our hearts.
Physical purity and cleanliness will also contribute to the purity of our hearts. We should physically take care of and beautify ourselves.
Eating healthy halal food and drinking enough water will make us feel better about ourselves.
Purifying ourselves before prayer with proper ablution washes away our sins.
When we uphold our responsibility to family and keep our word, we are worshiping Allah.
Guarding our words, not using profanity with the same mouths that recite the Qur’an or Allah the Almighty, keeps our minds clean.
Being fair, not hurting others unjustly, and using good judgment prevents drama, crisis and conflict in our lives.
Taking time to reflect in solitude, and pausing several times a day (not just for the daily prayers), to feel the closeness and companionship of Allah the Almighty, and seeking refuge in Him through times of despair, is essential in maintaining purity of heart, because life is far from perfect.
We should also pause throughout the day to make Du’a (supplications) for others affected by misfortune.
Gratitude also nurtures peace of mind and purity of heart; teaching us to value whatever we have in our lives.
Having the ability to forgive and apologise for doing something wrong, or hurt someone, is an invaluable virtue.
Holding onto a wall of anger between our brothers or sisters brings complexity and impurity into a believer’s life.
Through purity of heart, we become more empathetic. If Allah the Almighty is Forgiving and Merciful, we should strive to emulate the examples set out in the Qur’an and Sunnah, beginning with extending mercy toward one another.
Following the middle path, the life of simplicity, Allah the Almighty makes practicing Islam easy for us.
Islam is not intended to complicate our lives but encourages that we live in simplicity and to avoid seeking excess in the material aspects of this life.
Material things complicate our lives and diminish both physical and spiritual purity.
Simplicity brings purity of heart. Living a life of simplicity and purity will bring us back to the innocence of a child, resulting in greater happiness and peace of mind. It will make our lives easier.
Our lives become enriched by viewing the world as a creation of Allah’s beauty, and we should take care to not destroy the earth or be wasteful.
We should look to ourselves as creation of Allah that we, ourselves, are beautiful, and that we should make ourselves beautiful, our relationships beautiful, and that we will be rewarded in the hereafter, for Allah loves a pure, sound, clean and beautiful heart. This is what is most desired to Allah in the hereafter.
In looking to ourselves as the inherently beautiful creation of Allah the Almighty, it becomes easier to understand that, by striving to maintain purity in our hearts, the inner beauty we were born with radiates through our appearance, and our relationships improve as well.
What aspect of our character does Allah the Almighty value the most concerning the hereafter? He is looking for whether or not we have a pure, clean, sound and beautiful heart.
Respected servants of Allah, abstaining from insulting, hurting and harming others leads to a sound, beautiful, clean and pure heart and is the guide to success in this life and the hereafter.
A person with a purified heart will definitely have good intentions, deeds, tongue and other senses alike.
Islam has placed great emphasis on purifying the hearts. As a Hadith by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) concerning the day of judgment says:
“Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds.”
Those with sound, pure, beautiful and clean hearts, are also the best people in this world. When the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was once asked:
“Which of the people is best?” he replied: “Everyone who is pure of heart and sincere in speech.”
When they asked him what is meant by a “pure heart”:
“It is [the heart] that is pious and pure, with no sin, injustice, rancour or envy in it.”
And as one of the Prophet’s companions once said:
“There are two deeds of mine that I have the most reliance on. The first is that I never speak what is not necessary, and the second is that my heart is always clear towards all people.”
Dear brothers and sisters, other actions one can take to acquire a sound heart include reciting and understanding the Qur’an thoroughly, as it contains enlightening healing lessons.
Hearts are also tranquillised and secured by the remembrance of Allah (Zikr).
Additionally, a sincere and submissive heart supplicating to Allah is one of the reasons for accepting prayers.
Another Hadith by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) says:
“Call upon Allah while being certain of being answered, and know that Allah does not respond to a supplication from the heart of one heedless and occupied by play.”
Respected brothers and sisters, in Islam we understand that we have not been created aimlessly, we are not here for no reason; we do have a purpose and it must be fulfilled in order to be successful.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.