How to Clean Your Heart: Part 2

Do you ever have those mornings where you wake up late and just lay in bed staring at the ceiling? Your thoughts are racing back and forth but then you have this weird moment where everything just feels fake. Nothing seems real. The sun suddenly decides to shine so bright, and gives a slight peek through your window trying to get you to get up, but you just ignore it. The clock makes slight ticks and your head is throbbing but it slowly becomes background noise. Without realizing it, your attention averts to your phone and you find yourself aimlessly scrolling through your social media timelines trying to catch up. You promised yourself just 5 more minutes and I’ll get out of bed and now its been an hour…two..now four.  You’re over this slump so with all your strength you push your covers feet first and pull yourself up. Now you’re propped on the edge of your bed looking around your room annoyed that half of your day is over. Your heart sinks. You don’t feel so good anymore. Something just doesn’t feel right.

We’ve all had days like these where we feel like we’re completely off. Or maybe it’s just me? My explanation was probably a little too specific, but I can assure you that we’ve all felt something similar in one way or another. We feel like our days go by fast, but our minds run slow. It’s almost like an out-of-body experience. Some of us know this feeling more than others. What catches my attention the most during these off days is the condition of my heart. It’s the state of my heart that reflects the way my days will go. Regardless, I’ve come to recognize that the feeling of my heart sinking, the feeling of my days feeling odd, the feeling of everything around me looking fake, all of it is because my heart was not filled. So filled with that exactly? What was I missing?

Conceptualizing the way the heart spiritually works, to me at least, will take many years of experiences and trials to fully understand. I may not even fully reach that point, God knows best, but to even try to grasp parts of what I felt like I was missing took a long time. What I know for sure is that where I am today is far from where I’d like to be tomorrow. The condition of my heart could change at anytime and though I’m far from perfect, that need for something to be filled was my heart yelling in desperation to connect myself back with Allah Azwajjal. It was almost like my heart was soil that desperately yearned for water in order to bring it back to life again. I needed the remembrance of Allah  to pour its way in so that I could allow myself to fully immerse and grow fond of Him. My heart needed fixing.  It was simple as that.

Though I now know now what I was missing, it was sometimes hard to figure out the ways that I could bring myself back to Him. I knew what I needed to do but that slumped feeling kept getting in the way. It was hard to feel like I’d be able to bring myself back to Him through my actions because I’d always feel drawn back by my laziness. I wanted to do something, but I couldn’t find myself to do it. This had to change and through small habits I had to match my actions to what my heart needed. Essentially, the first step for me was to allow my heart to fall in love with prayers. More importantly, to have more kushu’ (sincereity), so that my prayers could bring me closer to Him.

You see, prayer brought back that connection that I sincerely thought I’d lost. For many years, I’d gone back and forth to different Quran classes and learned how to pray but I didn’t learn why I needed to pray. The teachers would say it was my duty and so prayer became more abrupt movements than anything else. I knew that I was supposed to do it, after all Allah says, “Say: Verily, my salah (prayer), my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (all that exists).”. The problem was that I lacked the ability to allow my heart to fall with me in submission every time my head touched the ground. I couldn’t fully immerse myself to the words that I’d repeated whenever I’d praise His name. So what did I need to do?

Well, first, I kept praying. Even though I knew that my heart wasn’t always there, I still did it. But, once I took the time to learn the tafseer of the Quran and the meaning of what I was saying while I was praying, everything changed for me. The entire time my heart was disconnected because  I prayed without knowing what I was praying for. I prayed empty prayers that when I now think about it were just robotic movements. Once I’d known the power of His words, subhanAllah my prayers became the key to bringing me back closer to Him. There was this newfound beauty towards salah. Although I now know that prayer moulds every aspect of my life, I’d wrongly assumed that it only dealt with religious and social affairs. I wasn’t aware that this was my one-on-one conversation with Allah Azwajjal. This was the way I needed to fill my heart.

And so, I guess what I’m trying to say in today’s blog post is that there are a lot of steps to cleaning our hearts but one of the key ways is through our direct relationship with Allah by utilizing our prayers. Once we build that bond, our hearts will be filled with His love. The cleansing of our hearts won’t happen overnight, but it’s a process and that’s okay. Change is gradual and its up to us to take that extra step to be better.

With that, let’s reflect on what it is that we’re saying when we stand before Him. Let’s allow ourselves to fall when we’re broken and open up our hearts. It’s all in our ability to take that opportunity to learn His words. The laziness that we feel every now and then is a normal part of the cycle in our faith and it’s okay to feel that slump every now and then. But, there’s a point where we need to draw the line and pick ourselves back up. There’s so much more I could say because truly, this topic is much deeper than what I can personally comprehend, but I’ll stop here for now. May Allah make our love for Him grow endlessly and may He strengthen our prayers. And Allah knows best.

 

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