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Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter

Heartstrings in backpack; a journey to minimal living and spiritual healing


Minimal living is not only about less possession, but also less clutter inside your mind, body, heart, and soul.


In this episode of "heartstrings in backpack", we will discover diseases of the heart that are paramount in spiritual decluttering to live a more meaningful life.

Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter
Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter

فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى ٱلْأَبْصَـٰرُ وَلَـٰكِن تَعْمَى ٱلْقُلُوبُ ٱلَّتِى فِى ٱلصُّدُورِ
Indeed, it is not the eyes that are blind, but it is the hearts in the chests that grow blind. [22:46]

Fixing involves taking a step back, looking at the basics, the source, and diving beneath the layers.


Most of us are disconnected not only from ourselves - but our true selves.


The selves, and the sense that makes us humans in the first place, wandering here and there, taking anything that comes our way, without evaluating, expecting it to fix everything - we distance our existence from its source - and that is where we lose path and peace - and that is where we can find everything we are looking for.


What scares me the most are the things I have done, saying, “but my heart wants it”. - and those are the same things that drag me to my Lord, in repentance, and sometimes, in hope.


There are many questions when it comes to the heart, but the first and the last, amongst many, for the heart remains, what does my heart want?


Surely a heart wants many things, but what does it need to stay sound?


Have we ever tried to look at this question, coming out of our nafs(soul/self), leaving the “I” behind, and truly pondering on “what does a heart want”?


What does a Heart need; Islamic Spirituality

In Islamic spirituality, our heart (qalb) is the center of our emotions, intentions, and spiritual awareness.


The literal meaning of qalb is, “to turn”, which means that the state or its condition keeps changing.


Driving our consciousness, the heart influences our thoughts and actions - shaping and affecting our relationship with our creator, ourselves, and others.


The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “There is a lump of flesh in the body: when it is sound, the whole body is sound and when it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. Truly, it is the heart” (Bukhārī).

When our heart is in a state of harmony and balance, we find ourselves more naturally inclined towards a life filled with purpose, compassion, and deep connections.


When our hearts become tainted with pessimistic thoughts, harmful emotions, and detrimental habits, it casts a shadow over our entire existence, causing us to suffer.


And the mercy of our Lord, Ar-Rahman, the most merciful is that He accepts the changing conditions of our hearts, and gives us the leverage to change the conditions of our hearts for His sake.


The mercy of Allah is for our good. This acknowledgment is significant in giving us hope in the mercy of Allah and drives us to change conditions or our hearts.

Just as the constantly changing nature of our hearts, we need constant work and dua(supplication/prayer) for our hearts.


أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِٱلْمُهْتَدِينَ ٥٦
but it is Allah Who guides whoever He wills, and He knows best who are ˹fit to be˺ guided. [28:56]

This Ayah tells us that guidance is from Allah.


It also tells us that Allah guides whom He sees fit.


Who is fit for guidance, we may question?


It means that one must work for guidance, correct oneself, and purify one's heart.

If we have a desire, even the size of a grain, to change our hearts, or if we have a sense of guilt over our sins, or if we have this realization somewhere inside us that we are not connected to our purpose, we are not connected to Allah, this is the sign that our heart has not turned completely black yet, and we have a chance.


Our human existence can never be enough grateful for the mercy of Allah.


Even if someone is not working actively, it is the heart that Allah sees. Having the right amount of remorse, and sincere desire is a condition for guidance.


Seeing both physically and spiritually, without a heart, and a sound heart, the body cannot survive.


If our physical heart skips a beat, the whole body suffers, and when our spiritual heart skips a beat, our soul(ruh) suffers.


Before learning how to achieve a sound spiritual heart, we need to understand the diseases of the heart. The things that corrupt our hearts.


The main function of our hearts is to know about our creator and our purpose.


To identify or understand if our hearts are sick, we need to see how much desire we have to know about Allah, to attain His love, to get closer to Him, and to live by the purpose we are created for.


The hearts get sick over time - and there are different types of Hearts mentioned in the Quran, one of them is a dead heart.


Before we reach that stage, we need to take it seriously.


Diseases of the Heart

What’s more scary about the heart becoming sick or dead is that it is not only about the disease, but how it alters our whole existence.


It affects not only us, but our rizq, our deeds, the people around us, our mental health, and emotional, and physical health.


1. Arrogance and conceit (al-kibr wa al-ghurur)


1. Arrogance and conceit (al-kibr wa al-ghurur) Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter
1. Arrogance and Conceit

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Whoever has a mustard seed’s weight of arrogance in his heart, shall not be admitted into Paradise” [Tirmidhi].

Arrogance comes from one’s ego and overestimation of one’s capabilities over others - and it does not have to be something huge or openly declaring someone inferior to one’s self.


Be it one’s physical appearance, skills, talents, color, race, or even eman(faith) and ibadah(worshipping).


How many people, and how many times have we seen others lower than us? Even if we may not intend any harm or ill towards them, thinking that we are better than someone is our arrogance, which comes not only from ego but also from ignorance.


Another significant factor that contributes to arrogance and ego is the denial of the supreme authority of Allah. Denying the fact that everything we are given, be it beauty, money, or faith, is from Allah - and He gives whomever, whatever He wills.


And just as Allah gives something to someone, He can take it back.


Wasn’t this what happened to Iblis(satan)?


Did he not say that he was created better, with fire, than Adam, who is created from clay - however, both were the creation of Allah - however, Allah made Adam superior in creation despite being made from clay.


It was Allah who chose to make Iblis with fire, and Adam with clay - yet, Adam(as), a mare human, made from clay, was superior to Iblis.

Humble yourself in front of Allah, and in front of people for the sake of Allah.


Remember, everything we have is from Allah.


2. Ostentation (al-riya’); Showing off

The biggest enemy of our nafs and the destructor of our good deeds is showing off.


2. Ostentation (al-riya’); Showing off - Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter
2. Ostentation (al-riya’); Showing off

Riya(showing-off) is to worship ourselves in hidden(ash-shirk al-khafiyy).


The heart becomes sick when one worships oneself enough, meaning one’s desire to be praised by people, and to get the praise, he shows off his good deeds - or when one does good deeds only to get the praise or show off.


Anything that is not for the sake of Allah is not beneficial for us. It’s empty of all the goodness, and ajar(reward).


Such ostentatious deeds take away sincerity from the heart, and a person gets busy trying and finding out ways to get praise from people - which distracts him from one’s true goal, the pleasure of Allah.


Hence, it becomes hypocrisy.


However, what is it that Allah sees?


A heart!


And a heart is directly connected to the intentions. Before starting anything, make a clear intention that whatever you are doing, is solely for the sake of Allah.


3. Jealousy or envy, hate, and deceit (al-hasad, al-hiqd, al-ghish)


3. Jealousy or envy, hate, and deceit (al-hasad, al-hiqd, al-ghish) - Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter
3. Jealousy or envy, hate, and deceit (al-hasad, al-hiqd, al-ghish)

Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) said, "There has come to you the disease of the nations before you, jealousy and hatred. This is the 'shaver' (destroyer); I do not say that it shaves hair, but that it shaves (destroys) faith”. [Jamih at-Tirmidhi, 2434]

SubhanAllah, tell me what is better?


Something that someone else has, or something that you are given by Allah, even if it may not seem good, let alone best.


Jealousy, envy, and hate sprout when we are not satisfied with the decree of Allah - which means that we are questioning the decree of Allah.


It is when we do not feel good about others having more than us, or when someone has something that we want.


SubhanAllah and it is a huge problem for our hearts. It literally kills a heart like nothing else.


Jealousy or envy is something we should seek constant refuge from, in Allah.


Because eventually, envy leads to hatred and violence.


That is where the evil eye comes from. SubhanAllah.


That is why people restore to using magic. Allahu Akbar.


That is why people even kill people - just over something Allah has blessed someone with.


قُلِ ٱللَّهُمَّ مَـٰلِكَ ٱلْمُلْكِ تُؤْتِى ٱلْمُلْكَ مَن تَشَآءُ وَتَنزِعُ ٱلْمُلْكَ مِمَّن تَشَآءُ وَتُعِزُّ مَن تَشَآءُ وَتُذِلُّ مَن تَشَآءُ ۖ بِيَدِكَ ٱلْخَيْرُ ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌۭ
Say, "O Allāh, Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is [all] good. Indeed, You are overall things competent. [Quran 3:26]

Be it beauty, wealth, or faith, Alla has plenty of it, and He loves when His servants ask from Him.


Ask Allah! There is nothing in the world that Allah cannot give.


There is nothing in the world that is impossible for Allah.


In fact, you can make this feeling of jealousy into an act of worship.


When you desire something that someone else has, make a prayer for them, and for yourself.


The prayer that we make for others, is made for us by Angels.


What we ask for others, Allah increases that for us.


Comparison is a thief of joy! It takes away the essence of blessing that you already have, and many others don’t.


Submit to the will of Allah for what He has provided you - know that it is the best that you need in this phase of your life.


4. Suspicion (su’ al-zann)

Suspicion comes from a lack of trust in Allah and confidence in others.


4. Suspicion (su’ al-zann) - Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter
4. Suspicion (su’ al-zann)


Allah says in the Qur’an, “Some suspicion is sin” (Al-Hujurat: 12).


Suspicion leads to cynicism and it takes away hope and optimism from one’s heart.


What is suspicion?


It is when one sees some actions or hears some words that have the equal possibility of being positive or negative, they take the negative and evil, and they obsess over the wrong in everything.


Suspicion sometimes also leads to violence. It is good to be cautious, but we must keep our attitude positive. If we want to be trusted we must trust others as well.


5. Anger (al-ghadab)


5. Anger (al-ghadab) - Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter
5. Anger (al-ghadab)

Uncontrolled anger is a major disease of the heart.

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Anger comes from the Shaytan (devil).” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Anger can lead to rash decisions, hurtful words, and even violence.


When we become angry, we lose control of our emotions which leads to irrational responses and decisions, which means we are more likely to say or do something we will regret later.


The Prophet (ﷺ) advised us to perform wudu (ablution) if we become angry.


This can help to calm us down physically and mentally.


Forgive and forget!


Holding onto anger will only hurt us in the long run. Try to forgive the person who angered you and move on for the sake of Allah.


6. Stinginess (al-bukhl)


6. Stinginess (al-bukhl) - Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter
6. Stinginess (al-bukhl)

Stinginess is the opposite of generosity.


Just as generosity keeps our hearts soft, stinginess makes our hearts hard.


A stingy person is unwilling to share their wealth or possessions with others, even those in need, because of obsession with their wealth, and even kindness.


Obsession of wealth comes from not having complete trust in Allah.


Not having faith that Allah is the provider and this in itself is a major disease of the heart.


The Quran tells us to spend our wealth in charity:

“And they ask you about what they should spend. Say, ‘Spend out of the surplus [of your wealth] after you have provided for [the needs of] your dependents.’” (Quran 2:215)

In fact, everything that is more than our needs is meant to be given to charity or spent in the way of Allah.


There are many ways to be generous, both with our wealth and our time.


When we give to others, we not only help them, but we also purify our own hearts, we actually help ourselves, in building better akhira(hereafter).


Help others for the sake of Allah, if you cannot with money, do it with your time.


And surely, Allah increases wealth when it is spent in charity.


Even spending with a good intention on your family is charity.


Allah has given us so many easy ways to do charity.


When you have less money, even a penny given for the sake of Allah is considered huge.


Our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Sahabas used to give even the last and only piece of their food to the needy.


This says so much about giving and helping others.


We cannot imagine the reward itself, but we can imagine how rewarding it would be if the best man in the world chose to give the last piece of His (pbuh) food to others rather than eating Himself.


7. Love of Jah (power, money, position, and fame)

Unlawful desires!


7. Love of Jah (power, money, position, and fame) - Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter
7. Love of Jah (power, money, position, and fame)


Following your desires blindly, overlooking the boundaries set by Allah, or indulging yourself so much in worldly things that you forget your purpose, you forget your creator, is exactly what is called, Ash-Shirk al-Akbar(major shirk).


Anything that comes between a man and Allah, then he has worshipped that thing.

أَرَءَيْتَ مَنِ ٱتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُۥ هَوَىٰهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا ٤٣
Have You seen him who has taken as his Ilaah (God) his own desire? [Quran 25:43]

When people leave prayer for wealth.


When people neglect prayer because going out is more important.


Excessive eating, indulging in haram, and the like.


People uncovering themselves for fame.


People kill people for power, and over inheritance.


What is it?


Definitely, not a purpose of life.


Definitely, not the right way.


Definitely, unlawful desires.


A meeting can be delayed or ideally scheduled around prayer timing is better than leaving you prayer. The money for which we leave Allah is from Allah - yet He provides, and He puts food on our plates.


Allah has commanded us to earn and make our lives better, but not at the expense of leaving our obligations.


No wealth, no friends, no family, nothing comes before Allah.


If any of these things become above our obligations to Allah, it is like worshipping them.


It is willingly rejecting Allah’s command, and submitting to our desires.


The modern world narrative, “Do whatever your heart feels like” is not healthy, but the exact opposite of it.


What if your heart is corrupted, and it tells you to do wrong?


If we blindly start following our desires, what is the difference between a man and an animal?


It is a disease, blindly following one’s desires without thought or limitations.


The Qur’an tells us to control, tame, and rationalize our desires in the light of Islam, in obedience to Allah and His Messenger(pbuh), and not to worship them.

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِۦ وَنَهَى ٱلنَّفْسَ عَنِ ٱلْهَوَىٰ٤٠ فَإِنَّ ٱلْجَنَّةَ هِىَ ٱلْمَأْوَىٰ ٤١
Allah says in the Qur’an, “But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] desires, then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge” [Quran 79:40-41].

A sound heart is a blessing.


The moment we feel secure is the moment we need more guidance.

Where guidance from Allah is comfort from Allah, a huge blessing, it is the start of our responsibility, our effort to humble ourselves, and keep that guidance.


It is something we need to pray for all the time.


Dua for Heart - Diseases of the heart; Spiritual Declutter
Dua for Heart


Like the condition of a heart that is ever-changing, we need to keep making dua to stay on guidance, for a soft heart that beats for Allah alone.


رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلْوَهَّابُ
“Our Lord! Do not let our hearts deviate after you have guided us. Grant us Your mercy. You are indeed the Giver ˹of all bounties˺. [3:8]

May Allah keep us guided.


May Allah make us pious, and give us all the good that others see in us.


May Allah keep us humbled in front of Him, for His sake, and pleasure, mercy, and love.


Ameen Ya Rabbul Alameen!


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Sanniya Arif

A cozy corner, warm lights, clouds, pen, a journal, Quran, and coffee is what I am made of.
By profession, I am copywriter, editor, and designer - By soul, I want to be a rain drop, or a leaf that falls on the cold, wet ground.
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