The Keys to the Life of the Heart


Ibn ul-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said:

“The keys to the life of the heart lie in reflecting upon the Qur’aan, being humble before Allaah in secret and leaving sins.”

Allaah, the Most High, said (interpretation of the meaning in English):

“A Book which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may take heed.” [Surah Sad (38):29]

So Allaah informed us that He sent down this Great Qur’aan, blessed in its wording, meaning, commands, prohibitions and regulations. Amongst its blessing is that the one who recites even one word of it then he has a reward, and this reward is increased tenfold, as mentioned in the hadith reported by at-Tirmidhi, and at-Tirmidhi said that it was hasan sahih. Also amongst its blessing is that the one who reads it and acts upon it shall not be misguided in this world, nor fall into distress and misery in the Hereafter as stated by Ibn ‘Abbaas (radiyAllaahu ‘anhu) in the commentary to the verse, (interpretation of the meaning in English)

“…whoever follows My guidance shall neither go astray nor fall into distress and misery.” [Surah Ta Ha (20): 123]

Amongst its blessings is that the one who learns it and teaches it is from the best of people as occurs in the Hadith reported by al-Bukhari,

“The best of you is the one who learns the Qur’aan and then teaches it”

Amongst its blessings is that it will be an intercessor on the Day of Judgement for its companions who used to act by it in this world as occurs in the two ahadith reported by Muslim in his Sahih.

He, the Exalted informed us that He revealed the Qur’aan so that its meanings, commands and prohibitions may be reflected over, such that if one were to come across a verse commanding something then he should follow it. If one were to come across a verse forbidding something then he should leave it.

If one were to come across a verse concerning the Mercy of Allaah then he would hope for this Mercy and ask for it. If one were to come across a verse threatening with punishment then he would fear this and seek refuge with Allaah from it. If one were to come across a verse concerning the glorification of Allaah then he would glorify Allaah, and through this faith, knowledge, guidance and taqwa will increase. Allaah said while describing the believers, (interpretation of the meaning in English):

“And when His verses are recited unto them, they increase their faith.” [Surah Anfal (8): 2]

Due to their containing promises and threats that motivate hope and fear; and Allaah the Most High, said, (interpretation of the meaning in English):

“Do they not ponder over the Qur’aan or are there locks upon their hearts?” [Surah Muhammad (47): 24]

Amongst the ways of giving life to the heart is to be humble to Allaah in secret. Meaning to desire and long for Allaah through supplication, seeking forgiveness, turning to Him, asking for victory, Paradise and shelter from Hellfire at the time when Allaah descends to the lowest Heaven in the last third of the night, as occurs in the authentic hadith ,

“Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven when a third of the night remains, saying: Who is supplicating to Me that I may answer him? Who is asking of Me that I may give him? Who is seeking forgiveness of Me that I may forgive him?”

This hadith contains encouragement to stand in the last part of the night, praying, supplicating, and asking for forgiveness, Paradise and safety from the Fire, and supplicating for good in this life and the Hereafter. Indeed Allaah has commanded us with supplication and promised to reply, and He who is far removed from imperfection, does not break His promises. Amongst the times that this reply will be attained is the last part of the night, and this is a blessing that Allaah bestows upon whomsoever He wishes, and Allaah is the Possessor of great blessings and bounty. And from the ways of giving life to the heart is to leave the sins that kill it, as in the hadith,

“When the servant performs a sin a black spot appears on his heart, and if he seeks forgiveness this black spot is removed, and if he returns to sin the black spot grows until his heart becomes black, and this is the ‘ran’ about which Allaah spoke, (interpretation of the meaning in English):

“Nay! But on their hearts is the covering of sins (ran) which they used to earn.” [Surah ul-Mutaffiffin (83):14]
The poet said,

‘I saw the sins killing the hearts;
Breeding ignominy due to their addiction;
And in the leaving of sins lies its life;
And it is the best for your soul that you preserve it’

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