How to Receive the Light of Allah in Your Heart
Open the Curtains and Let Light of Allah in Your Heart
The Light of Allah, when we receive it, has a profound effect on our hearts and on our life. What are the means with which we can seek it and what blocks it?
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things. (24:35)
I have been thinking about his topic continuously. In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty mentions nur or light many times. He also mentions it opposite, dhulma or darkness / layl or night and other similar words.
Opening the Curtains
Our heart longs for Divine Light. Our heart is the receiver. The Light is from Allah Almighty. If you want the Light to come to your heart, you have to open the curtains.
Allah Almighty is always radiating Light. However, if the curtains are drawn, we simply cannot receive His Light. Just as solar panels which are covered up cannot get energy from the sun no matter how bright it is. Sometimes our curtains are half open or half closed, depending on what we are engaged in. The reception of the Light and its reflection in us depends on us.
Allah Almighty mentions qalb /qulub or heart 132 times in different wordings. As well as the word breast or sadr / sudur 44 times, which is another reference to the heart. So the heart has been mentioned 176 times reflecting the extent of its importance. Again, in the sunnah we see plenty of narrations talking about the heart.
Allah Almighty mentioned in the Qur’an that guidance descends on the heart. In addition, diseases like envy and hatred also take root in the heart. Love is experienced in the heart. And taqwa (consciousness of Allah Almighty and obedience to Him) are in the heart, as is mentioned in the hadith, where the Prophet (peace be on him) pointed to his chest three times, (as narrated by Bukhari), to indicate that the chest was place where taqwa resides.
I want to connect the two: the light and the heart.
Uncovering the Heart
The thickest curtains which block the Light are sins. Especially over the years, accumulated sins without repentance solidify the heart, til it is hard like a rock. Allah Almighty says:
Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. (2:74)
You might have met people who have no mercy in their hearts, and especially tyrants and oppressors are like this.
The easy way to polish the heart is to practice istighfar daily. The Prophet (peace be on him) would say astighfirullah 100 times in the morning. You can also say astaghfirullahal azeem. Or the sayid al istighfar.
O Allah! You are my Rab. There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favours that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon
Regret your sins without being excessive and going beyond the limits. If we seek istighfar, Allah Almighty will forgive us.
You need to follow the steps properly, with sincerity and with focus and attention. Slowly, slowly when you repeat this every day you will start to see the Light reflect from your heart.
Benefits of Receiving Light
When you start to receive Light in your hearts you will notice the change in yourself. Your life will be different. Your approach, communication, relationships, business, studies, understanding, memory and energy will all improve. I can assure you. Try it and feel the difference.
Temptations are presented to the heart continuously during our lives. Hudhayfa ibn al-Yamani, (may Allah be pleased with him), said the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
Temptations are presented to the heart, one by one. Any heart that accepts them will be left with a black stain, but any heart that rejects them will be left with a mark of purity, so that hearts are of two types: a dark heart that has turned away and become like an overturned vessel, and a pure heart that will never be harmed by temptation for as long as the earth and the heavens exist. The dark heart only recognises good and denounces evil when this suits its desires and whims (Muslim)
There is no break in their being introduced to the heart one after the other, however whoever rejects these tribulations/temptations of the dunya, their whims and desires, the calls of shaytan, will find that their heart becomes stronger. Anyone who succumbs to temptations will find their hearts stained with sin.
If you don’t polish the heart, another stain is deposited until the heart is fully dark. Sins make the heart shut down just like an overturned vessel. As it is overturned, it cannot hold any water even when it is raining. We need to turn the vessel the right way up.
Seek Allah’s Help
Reject the calls of shaytan. Resist them. Escape to Allah Almighty. Seek His support and help. This will polish our heart. And though we might slip from time to time, we always have the way back to Him through repentance.
When you make istighfar say, ‘O Allah I don’t want to return to this sin again. Protect me from the whispers of shaytan. Help me as I can’t do it without you.’
Show Allah Almighty your weakness. Not to anyone else. When you admit to Allah Almighty that you are weak, that your temptations and whims are strong, this makes your heart soft. Otherwise your heart will be heavy like the rock.
The Prophet (peace be on him) was keen on fixing hearts. In the very famous hadith which has been narrated in Bukhari, he said:
There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily this piece is the heart. (Bukhari)
Once the heart is corrupted it becomes unable to discern between right and wrong:
Thus there will be two kinds of hearts: one is pure like a white gemstone and it will not be harmed by any tribulation as long as the heavens and earth endure, and the other is black and dusty like a worn-out vessel, neither recognising good nor rejecting evil, but rather immersed in its desires. (Muslim)
Unlike the darkened heart, the image of the pure heart shinning like marble is beautiful. Marble is strong, reflective and smooth. If any dirt falls on it is easy to wipe away. If dust falls on it, you need only to blow it and it disappears. Unlike a frying pan, which even when you scrub it remains greasy.
A strong, healthy heart is not affected by fitan (temptations) because there is a shield protecting it. The shield is istighfar, salah, recitation of Qur’an, dhikr, and supplication. Even if, from time to time, one slips a bit, one can come back and polish the heart again.
This heart which keeps rejecting fitan and dunya is not residing in his heart.
In ibn Ata illah al Askandari’s Kitab al Hikam (Book of Wisdoms), he mentioned that the heart will not be illuminated if it is full of dunya. The Light of Allah Almighty will not shine in that heart, as it has no space. Like any hard disc, unless you delete the files, you will not have space in it. You will not to allow Light in if you are chained by your whims and desires.
How Do We Receive this Light?
We have stations where we receive Light. Just as a tube journey stops at stations along the journey and it is at these points where we admit Light into our hearts. We have different means to receive this Light.
The Stations of Light
- Our Salah
This is the best method to receive it. There is no comparable means to receive Light than salah. No other ibadah is equivalent to salah – it is the top form of worship, when we perform it properly. When we have focus in our salah, we feel serenity. The more focus the more serenity.
- Recitation of the Qur’an.
Reciting the Qur’an has to be a daily wird (act of worship performed with consistency). Even if it is one page, don’t underestimate its power. If you want to benefit you need to focus. Read that page with the fullness of your heart, rather than as a tick box exercise. If you can understand one ayah properly from that page it will even better.
- Dhikr of Allah, e.g. la ilaha illallah, subhanallah, alhamdulilah, astaghfirullah, allahu akbar
Continuous dhikr from the sunnah softens the heart.
Especially the supplication of Light du’a an’nur brings nur into our hearts. The Prophet (peace be on him) used to supplicate:
O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and to my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light, and make me light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and in my skin light.
O Allah, make for me a light in my grave… and a light in my bones. Increase me in light, increase me in light, increase me in light. Grant me light upon light.
(Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad)
- Be in the company of good people and in circles of Light.
Be in the right company as they are the carriers of the Light, so you will benefit from their company. And seek the Stations of Light by attending gatherings as you will find it there.
Sinning without repentance locks the heart. The one who is not purifying himself is in delusion. He is living in ghafla. In this state, he will not experience either the permanent or the occasional Stations of Light.
The Permanent Stations of Light:
- Salah: the best station
- Qur’an: recitation 1 page at least and understand one Ayah to act upon it
- Istighfar: 1) sayid al istighfar, 2) 100 times daily istighfar
- Dhikr: Tasbeeh, tahleel, takbeer, salawat
- Du’a: the supplication for nur
- Circles of knowledge
- Good companions
The Occasional Stations of Light:
- Sacred months
- Day of Arafah, Day of Ashura
- 6 days of Shawwal
O you who have believed, fear Allah and believe in His Messenger; He will [then] give you a double portion of His mercy and make for you a light by which you will walk and forgive you; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (57:28)
- Being good neighbours
- Mirroring the Prophet (peace be upon him)
- Knowing Allah through His Beautiful Names – Al Jameel, Al Jaleel, Al Kareem
- Knowing Allah through His Beautiful Names – Al Hafidh
- The Years of Earthquakes – signs of the Day of Judgement and martydom for those who die
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