Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Remedies For Several Spiritual Maladies - Part III

This post intends to provide some basic prescriptions for the following diseases of the heart, InshaAllah:

Despising Others


Harbouring Ill Thoughts

Ostentation & Vanity



Hating Cristicism and Liking Praise

Protecting the Eyes

The main thing when tackling such diseases is to abide by the prescriptions provided. A patient does not become to engrossed in evaluating what more criticising the antidotes provided by the doctor. These prescriptions are provided by our spiritual doctors - the Ulama of this Ummah. Our duty is to patiently observe their advices so that we become better slaves of Allah SWT. The mission of our lives.

Despising Others

Such conditions occur even in religiously oriented people. For example, whenever they notice anybody doing something against shari'ah, such as swearing, etc., they immediately begin to despise the perpetrator.

Sometimes their nafs whisper to themselves:

"I are much better than him; and others besides me are all despicable."

This is a silent but chronic disease, that greatly displeases Allah SWT.

Infact, to despise a person upon observing him committing a sin is itself a serious crime. In truth, only the sin should be despised. We should never despise the person. At such a time, one should consider one's own sins. We should address ourselves thus:

"There are numerous vices in me, which I am fully aware of. How absolutely despicable I have become due to these sins. On the Day of Qiyamah, I will be questioned about my own sins, not about the vices of others."

The Qur'an has given us advice:

"You (O people) are not responsible for what I (Rasulullah SAW) do and I am not responsible for what you do."

To despise anyone is a sin on its own – and a very serious one too. It is not a trivial matter. Allah Ta'ala may ask on the Day of Judgement:

"If my servants committed any wrong, what right do you have to despise them?"

So what will then be our answer?

Remedy for Pride

The remedy of pride is to ponder constantly over one's various conditions. Ponder over the following:

"What was I, what have I become and what will I end up as? Initially I was a drop of helpless semen. Thereafter in the womb of the mother, the fluid and flesh that would have become the blood of the menses gradually took the shape of limbs. When life was infused into this body, the very blood of the menses now became the nourishment for this body. Thereafter, upon the expiry of nine months, I was born with much difficulty. For a lengthy period after birth, I remained helpless and could not do anything for myself. Neither could I discern the good from the bad. What ever that came into my hand, whatever pure or impure, I put into my mouth. In short, I have passed trough so many different stages in my life. Eventually I will end up in the grave. There my body will become food for worms."

It is reported in a Hadith that Allah Ta'ala says:

"Pride is my garment."

Thus - any person who adopts pride for himself is in reality snatching the garment of Allah Ta'ala. The result of this is obvious - it will lead to the Fire of Jahannam.

The one should constantly ponder over these aspects and reflect that, if this is one's condition and reality, what right does one have to be proud?

Harbouring Ill Thoughts

To harbour ill thoughts about people, is an evil and detestable act. Whenever an ill thought creeps into our mind regarding any person, be he a learned person or just a common sinner, we should reflect on our own shortcomings and think:

"How many faults and sins I have committed. I am not sinless. However, I do hope that Allah Ta'ala will forgive me. Likewise, others could also be forgiven. If I am taken to task due to harbouring ill thoughts, what answers will I have? It is possible that this person could be forgiven due to some splendid action, which is unknown to me. Hence, all his sins would then be replaced with rewards. How about me? I do not know the condition of my own fate."

Allah Ta'ala says:

"They are the one's whom Allah Ta'ala will grant them rewards in place of their sins (i.e. the sins will be forgiven and they will be replaced by rewards.)"

Riya & Ujub (Ostentation & Vanity)

Riya or ostentation means to perform any act of worship to show it to others. Allah Ta'ala detests Riya since it is tantamount to shirk (ascribing partners with Allah Ta'ala).

On the Day of Qiyamah, Allah Ta'ala will announce:

"I detest shirk. Therefore, the one who has ascribed any partner with me in any ibadat, he should seek the reward for the same from the partner that he ascribed to me."

Therefore, one should reflect that, for instance, one performs Solat to obtain the grace of Allah Ta'ala. He adopts full humanity and devotion so that Allah Ta'ala may be pleased. However, if Riya creeps into this action and he begins to perform it for somebody else, all his efforts are in vain. Besides, on the Day of Qiyamah it will be announced regarding him that he was involved in Riya. Then he will face humiliation and disgrace and he will find his book of good deeds to be empty.

Ujub or vanity refers to the condition where a person thinks good of his actions or his opinions; thus he regards himself to be a very worthy and capable person in thought and deeds.

When such thoughts come to mind, one should reflect upon one's sins and think:

"I have committed so many sins hence how can I be elated about myself. If my sins had to be exposed, how despised and disgraced I will be among the people."

So it is good that we sit in solitude and ponder over this. Insha Allah one will be freed from the lowly and filthy qualities of riya and ujub.


Jealousy in reality is to be angry with Allah Ta'ala. It is as if we are questioning Allah Ta'ala as to why some bounty was given to another person whereas we were more deserving and worthy of it! ? Na'udzubillah.

The remedy of this disease is to counter respond thus, by bestowing gifts to the one over whom we are jealous of; making salam to him and shake his hands, invite him for meals and constantly make du'a for him. InshaAllah our heart will be cleansed of the jealousy.

At this juncture, it is important to remind ourselves that only males should make salam, shake hands etc. with males and only women should do the similar with women. If a man is jealous of a woman (which is rare), it is only good to remain silent, and ponder of the fact that everything has been ordained by Allah; and who are we as lowly slaves to complain.


A person generally indulges in backbiting others and thinks ill of them because he/she regards them as an opposition. Unfortunately in the process, he/she transfers all his good deeds to the one who he/she thought ill of or who he/she had backbited. Consider what utter foolishness this is? The one whom one is angry with, one transfers one's good deed to the very person by backbiting him. Does one give such a person (whom one is annoyed with) one's wealth and material belongings? Never. Then how is one suddenly prepared to give away one's good deeds to him on the Day of Qiyamah and become destitute? Ponder over this deeply and repeatedly until it firmly settles into the recesses of the heart.

Criticism and Praise

Generally, there are numerous spiritual ailments that affect the heart. If an effort is not made to treat and rectify them, they could become much worse. If the praise of people causes our ego to be boosted, immediately we must reflect upon our shortcomings and think thus:

"This person is not aware of my sins, hence he is praising me. If he becomes aware of my sins, instead of showering praises he will begin to hate and despise me. How greatly has Allah Ta'ala favoured me that he has concealed my faults? If Allah Ta'ala totally forgives my sins and saves me in future from all transgression, this will indeed be my tremendous good fortune (and something to be elated and trilled about)."

On the contrary, should someone criticize us or speak ill of us, we should ponder that one whose inception is from a drop of insignificant fluid is indeed low. Why then should such an impure person become enraged upon being criticised?

Obviously there may be situations whereby somebody has spoken ill about us, whereas in reality Allah Ta'ala has saved us from that act that was spoken about. So thus the person who has spoken ill of us has truly erred. However this is infact much better that people speak ill of us in error, rather than being praised for something which one is not worthy of.

Protecting the Eyes

Allah Ta'ala has created natural means for the eyes from all sin. With every eye Allah Ta'ala has created two shutters-one at the top and another at the bottom. When one's sight falls in the wrong place, immediately close both these shutters.

There is also another means of uprooting this disease of gazing at ghair mahrams i.e. women with whom marriage is permissible.

We may sit in solitude, close our eyes and recite the following verse of the Qur'an:

"Does he not know that verily Allah is watching?" (Surah 96: Ayat 14)

While reciting this verse, we should ponder over the following:

"If I am in the presence of my father, teacher, or spiritual mentor and a strange woman (ghair muhrims) passes, would I look at her? Most definitely not! How can I then look at any women in the presence of Allah who is watching me at all times."

As a prescriptive spiritual exercise, we may practice this for ten minutes each day. Over and above that, whenever the opportunity arises, we should ponder over this until it becomes embedded in the heart.

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