Inner Dimensions Series | Part 4 | Heedlessness of the Heart

Can ˹the misguided be like˺ those whose hearts Allah has opened to Islam, so they are enlightened by their Lord? So woe to those whose hearts are hardened at the remembrance of Allah! It is they who are clearly astray.

[Surat Az-Zumar: 22]

Last week we glimpsed into the heedlessness of the heart (ghaflah). Let us now try and get a better understanding of this deficiency in particular.

Understanding Heedlessness

I was reflecting on the word heedless and what it meant to me. I understand heedlessness as carelessness that comes when something or someone is not of value or importance. What type of thinking do you carry around something that you do not value? When I encounter a thing I do not care enough about, I am usually neglectful about it, or if it is an action, something to do, I take a lazy approach towards doing it.

One of the examples that come to mind is, what kind of importance do we place on meeting someone special, like a friend, or another example of younger children, they may not particularly enjoy a regular school day, but when the school organizes an outing, that gets them excited, now they are fully immersed in that experience of fun and frolic. Because they care about fun, they care about meeting their friends and having a good time.

When it comes to doing something they care less about, they become heedless. Can you sense the similarity from the examples in our behaviors concerning Salah? Subhan Allah!

The questions to ask ourselves in all honesty are:

What is the importance of Salah in our lives?

Are our actions aligned with the response we just gave?

If yes, Alhamdulillah.

If not, why not?

Have you ever wondered about what causes forest fires? One of the reasons is the hot and dry climate. The heat of the Sun sets off the fire, which then quickly spreads, consuming the dried-out vegetation. The effect lusts and desires have on our hearts is that the fire of our heedlessness spreads fast, burning away any goodness, leading to destruction, traversing toward unresponsive behaviors, and disobedience of the limbs. 

Remedy for Heedlessness

What then is the remedy for this heedlessness that can be a gateway for us to enter hellfire?

Ibn al Qayyim رحمه اللهsays the remedy for heedlessness is constant indulgence in the remembrance of Allah, turning and returning to His obedience.

I want my readers to pause for a moment and focus their attention on the word indulgence here. I saw something in that word that made me pause and reflect. 

What does it mean to indulge? I suppose it is when we give in to something, like a want or a desire. The most simple example I could think of was food, if I were to get specific, perhaps a piece of chocolate cake, and if I were to walk you through the process of what an indulgence feels like, it would be something like this:

You walk towards the cake on the table, you pick up the spoon, and you savor the taste of this delicious chocolate cake, maybe close your eyes too, while relishing every single bite. Does it appear as if the world stopped while you were indulging in this treat?

Now to compare this experience-does the world stop for us while we are in the remembrance of Allah? are we having an indulgent and immersive experience of connecting with Allah through His Remembrance?

The remembrance of Allah out of love for Him, affirming His Oneness and living with Ihsan. Knowing Him through His Names and Attributes, turning to Him with our wants and needs in terms of supplications. It is the way of welcoming the rains of mercy on our hearts and souls. 

Imagine turning away from something beneficial for you, like walking away from an oasis towards the desert, one step at a time, choosing heedlessness over remembrance, the path towards damage and destruction of the soul.

The Destroyers of the Heart

We know that Eeman and Ihsan are the two trees that grow through the rains of mercy that showers upon the heart. But what is this rain? It is Tawheed, without which the trees of Eeman and Ihsan would wither and die. 

So what causes the Eeman in hearts to die?

The two destroyers are Hawa-an-Nafs and Shahwat-an-Nafs.

Hawa-an-Nafs are the whims and impulses. These are impulses, which are random and fleeting. For example, say you are at a mall, and you hear this music playing in the background, and you impulsively start humming cause you used to listen to this music before you put Islam to practice in your life. 

Shahwat-An-Nafs are desires based on excessiveness with things we need for day-to-day survival, such as food, money, lusts, etc. 

I understand the Hawa and Shahwa of the nafs as an infiltration of the heart. It is an opportunity we give our enemy by accepting the whispers and allowing him to corrupt it from the inside. 

Take the example of a tree, say we are that tree, the branches are our limbs, and roots are our heart. Now, if the soil is contaminated, and the contamination reaches the roots infecting the tree and its branches, is there any use left of such a tree? Ibn al Qayyim رحمه الله says that its only function is that of fueling the hellfire. May Allah protect us from the hellfire and guide our hearts to the truth, Ameen. 

When the heart is attached to the remembrance of Allah, the limbs are quick to respond to the first call of obedience. The fruit that the tree bears are true servitude of Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ.

Reminder | Reflect On This

What is the importance of Salah in our lives?

Are our actions aligned with the response we just gave?

If yes, Alhamdulillah

If not, why not?

Did you learn something new today?

Share in the comments below In Shaa Allah. 

If you are benefiting from this series, share it with your friends and family. 

You can read part 3 here: 

Inner Dimensions Series Part 3 | Salah and the Heart

Subscribe to the L10M YouTube Channel to stay updated on the Inner Dimensions Videos Series and the recordings of the Thursday Instagram-live QnA.

Until next time. 

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