Gaining Tranquility by engaging the heart and unblocking it
Indeed in the remembrance of Allah, hearts find tranquility. (13:28)
Engage the heart
Tranquility descends on the heart when it’s pure, and to purify it we need to engage it in dhikr (remembrance) of Allah. Not from lip service dhikr. If you are reciting dhikr quickly, you won’t feel anything. Of course you won’t. It will be robotic dhikr. Not the dhikr which brings tranquility.
The key to finding tranquility in dhikr is taking the time to focus on it. Until the heart is engaged with dhikr you won’t feel its tranquility.
Dhikr which brings tranquility to the heart, comes from the heart. Until you feel ‘La illaha illalah’ in your heart then this dhikr is not the dhikr of tranquility.
It would take a full course to explain dhikr and the practices and the techniques of it. Recently I delivered a mindfulness session in the city attended by Muslims, non-Muslims, Christians, Jews and so on. We spent around 10 – 15 minute in dhikr. I was not expecting the response. Some Jewish people came and said it was very soothing, and very tranquil. They said they have something similar. Another lady, a committed Christian said felt spiritually uplifted and wanted to go to her church.
Signs of love
Being engaged in recitation of the Quran is one of the signs of loving Allah Almighty. You love Allah Almighty, you love His Book, you love His Words. So reading the Quran increases your love towards Allah the Almighty.
Test your love
If you want to test how much you love Allah Almighty, ask yourself how much Quran you read, how much Quran you understand, and how much Quran you apply in your life. This is a sign of how much you love Allah Almighty. As simple as that.
My recommendation to myself and everyone is to read at least one or two pages of Quran a day. At least. Reflect on one or two verses. I do not want to over burden you. As a daily practice, read one or two pages, and then reflect on one or two verses to apply practically in your life.
For instance, if you recited ‘Alhamdullilahi Rabil Alamin’, the ayah is referring to praise and gratitude. How can you show Allah Almighty your gratitude? This is your task for that day.
If you recite an ayah about mercy, how can you show mercy? If you recited an ayah oppression. How can you stop oppression?
This is a simple technique, but it is practical. It brings the Quran into your life, 365 days.
Call on Allah 1-2-1
One of the signs of loving Allah Almighty is to have an intimate discourse with Him. Away from people, away from everyone. It’s between you and Allah Almighty. Your direct link. Call upon Him directly. Usually this can be after any salah or anytime but the most special time is the tahajjud time which is the last third of the night, say an hour before fajr. This is the most blessed time.
If you want to have a discourse with Allah Almighty, special time with Him, then this is the time. Tahajjud time. And this is a sign of loving Allah All Mighty.
No matter how strong you are, if you cannot defeat your pillow, you are weak. You need to defeat your pillow, and your duvet and your mattress and get up and pray tahajjud.
Before reaching the tahajjud prayer, we have to be regular in our prayers especially the fajr prayer. Many of us miss fajr. But no matter how many times you go to the gym and build muscles, unless you can defeat your mattress and your pillow, unless you can pray fajr on time, you are a weak person.
Fajr and all our salah have to be prayed on time. Then you can develop this pattern of intimate discourse with Allah Almighty.
Develop the habit of asking
Ask Allah anything you want to ask. Ask Him because He said:
When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am near (2:186)
Near, very close – ini qareeb – ‘I am close’. He said:
I respond to the caller when he calls upon Me (2:186)
If you are not calling upon Him, then how come you expect He will respond to you? Call upon Him first and He will respond. He promised ‘I will respond to the calls.’
How to call upon Allah
I came across some people and was surprised when they told me, ‘We cannot call upon Allah Almighty. We cannot make supplication’. I said, ‘What do you mean?’ They said, ‘We cannot raise our hands and ask.’
If this is the case, there’s something missing. Those who cannot call upon Allah Almighty have a bad relationship with Allah Almighty. They have a blockage. They need to unblock this connection. How do you do this?
Two ways to unblock your connection with Allah
We sin every day. The accumulation of small sins over time can form a significant blockage. In the hadith Qudsi, Allah Almighty says:
Oh my servants you sin every day and every night. And I am the one who forgives all sins. Seek forgiveness from me. I will forgive you.(Muslim).
Come and ask for forgiveness. No matter how big the sin, come to Allah with humility and ask Allah, He will forgive you.
In another hadith, Allah Almighty says:
If your sins were to reach to the sky and you came to me, you do not associate anyone with me. You ask for my forgiveness. I will forgive you. (Tirmidhi)
The quickest way to delete all these sins and unblock the connection is do focused Istighfar.
The second way to unblock the connection is by big charity. This is the speedy way and Allah Almighty will open the block. I can tell you from experience, one of the most effective ways to clear a block is to alleviate the suffering of someone in need. Serve him, help him and within your ability try to relieve him. You will not believe what Allah Almighty will open for you.
And you need Tawbah nasouhah (sincere repentance), through the following 6 steps:
Firstly through sincere repentance, because sins can block your connection with Allah Almighty to reach tawbah nasuha.
2. Stop the sin you are engaged in
This is real sincerity, otherwise there’s no point. If you are drinking alcohol and saying ‘astagfirullah’ it doesn’t work. You need to stop what you are doing, and ask for forgiveness.
3. You need to regret what you have done.
4. Intend not to repeat the sin again.
5. Return people’s rights.
If your wronged someone, it’s not enough for you to say, ‘Ya Allah forgive me’, and weep and cry about it. Allah Almighty will not forgive you, unless you go and ask the person you wronged to forgive you. If he forgives you, then Allah Almighty forgives you.
There are rights that belong to Allah Almighty, and rights that belong to people. Allah Almighty forgives the rights that belong to Him. Allah Almighty does not forgive you for people’s rights, unless you sought their forgiveness. If you took their money, Allah will not forgive you, until they forgive you. Go and return the money. If you insulted somebody, go and apologise and then Allah Almighty will forgive you. If they do not forgive you, seek their forgiveness sincerely three times, and then Allah will forgive you.
6. Break the pattern.
If you have committed some mistakes or a sin and you keep repeating it, you need to change the pattern. The pattern of your action has to be change because if you are doing the same thing you will always commit the same mistakes.
You need to change your route, or your routine, or your situation, otherwise you will keep making the same mistake. Sincerity dictates that you alter the pattern which keeps causing you to sin. Otherwise it is not sincerity.
Try your best to figure it out and not to come back to it and change what led to that sin.
So continuous istighfar and sincere repentance is how we show our gratitude to Allah Almighty.
How to show our gratitude to Allah
We show our gratitude by utilising what Allah the Almighty has given to us in what pleases Allah Almighty. This is the best form of shukr (gratitude) and hamd (praise) to Allah Almighty.
Utilise whatever you have been given – knowledge, money, time, experience… in what pleases Allah Almighty. Then this is how we show gratitude to Allah Almighty.
So we ask Allah Almighty to enable us to be always grateful to Him and we ask Allah Almighty to accept our repentance and forgive our sins. Ameen.
Talk delivered to City Circle on 11th October 2019 in London. Transcribed by Rose Swinburn.
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