Ahmed, New Age Islam
are the characteristics of a disbeliever? The Quran uses the metaphor of a rock
to describe the heart of one who rejects belief in Allah.
Thenceforth were your hearts hardened: They became like a rock and even worse
in hardness. For among rocks there are some from which rivers gush forth;
others there are which when split asunder send forth water; and others which
sink for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unmindful of what ye do.
.....They are in parable like a hard, barren rock, on which is a little soil:
on it falls heavy rain, which leaves it (Just) a bare stone. They will be able
to do nothing with aught they have earned. And Allah guideth not those among
heart of a believer in contrast, is like soft fertile soil which comes alive
with copious vegetation when a little rain falls on it and is covered with
green. It is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of
beautiful growth. On it can grow
well-planted orchards full of beauty and delight.
rain is the mercy from Allah in the form of His revelations in the Book with
which you can grow well-planted orchards of beauty and of delight by following
Allah’s religion. In other words, with a heart that is open to Allah’s
religion, you can, with the mercy of Allah, mould your lives to become like the
ample yielding fruit trees for the benefit of all.
rain can work only on fertile soil and not on hard rock. Hard rocks will remain
barren no matter how much rain falls on them.
can a person do to?
• Keep his heart soft and prevent it from
• Softening a hardened heart?
heart of every human is soft to begin with and hardens only when he becomes a
zalim or wilful wrong doer.
.....there came to them their messengers with Clear (Signs). (Which they
rejected, to their own destruction): It was not Allah Who wronged them, but
they wronged themselves. (30:10) In the long run evil in the extreme will be
the End of those who do evil; for that they rejected the Signs of Allah, and
held them up to ridicule.
(45:23) Then seest thou such a one as takes as
his god his own vain desire? Allah has, knowing (him as such), left him astray,
and sealed his hearing and his heart (and understanding), and put a cover on
his sight. Who, then, will guide him after Allah (has withdrawn Guidance)? Will
ye not then receive admonition? (24) And they say: "What is there but our
life in this world? We shall die and we live, and nothing but time can destroy
us." But of that they have no knowledge: they merely conjecture:
keep the heart soft, the way is:
1. Seek Allah’s Forgiveness
Allah loves those who repent, and He loves those who cleanse themselves.”
“But surely the righteous will be in the midst
of gardens and springs, receiving what the Lord will give them; for they used
to do good before that. They used to sleep but a little of the night; and at
the dawn of the day they sought forgiveness…” (Quran, 51:16-19)
“Ask forgiveness (from) your Lord. Indeed, He
is Oft-Forgiving. He will send down (rain from) the sky upon you (in) abundance,
And provide you with wealth and children, and make for you gardens and make for
you rivers.”(Quran, 71:10-12).
Allah’s forgiveness excessively by saying “I seek forgiveness from Allah” or
the short Arabic “Astaghfirullah” is the surest way to keep the heart soft.
Seeking forgiveness of Allah requires humbling oneself. The one whose heart is
hardened may ask “for what should I seek forgiveness when I do no wrong?” When we recite “Astaghfirullah”, we should
consciously think of the things for which we need Allah’s forgiveness. The list
of such things is very long. For example:
• For not being grateful enough for
Allah’s bounties. Think of the violence that we practice on our environment for
making our life comfortable. How wasteful we are. How many species we have
wiped out and continue to do so by our extravagance.
• For not doing all that is commanded by
• For the misery in this world while we
are prosperous because we do not do enough for others or because we are party
to the exploitation of others through wars that our nation wages to keep itself
sorry whenever you wrong another even if you are the boss of the other. Spend a
few minutes before going to sleep and reflect on the wrongs of the day and make
2. Practice Charity Excessively
an act of kindness that brings a smile, wipes a tear, gives strength and
courage to the depressed, anything that
makes a difference to another person’s life, every day. The heart of one who
practices excessive charity can never harden.
3. Be Grateful To Allah and To
Everyone Who Is Good To You
ye count the favours of Allah, never will ye be able to number them (14:34). Therefore, thank
Allah for his bounties excessively.
is swift in rewarding those who serve Him with gratitude (3:144)
And remember! your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): "If ye are
grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you; But if ye show ingratitude, truly
My punishment is terrible indeed."
If ye reject (Allah), Truly Allah hath no need of you; but He liketh not
ingratitude from His servants: if ye are grateful, He is pleased with you.
you count your spouse as among the gifts/blessings of Allah? Thank Allah for it
and let your spouse know how you are grateful to Allah for granting you such a
great blessing. A happy married life is among the greatest blessings and this
is only for those who are grateful.
Gratitude to Allah is expressed by:
Performing regular prayers
Excessive remembrance and
praise of Allah
Counting each of the blessings
and thanking Allah
Obeying the commands of Allah
How to Soften A Heart That Is
Say: "Think ye, if Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and sealed
up your hearts, who - a god other than Allah - could restore them to you?"
See how We explain the signs by various (symbols); yet they turn aside.
most important step is to recognize that there is a problem and decide to do
something about it. Say to Allah what your problem is and seek Allah’s help in
resolving it. There are rocks through which “rivers gush forth; others there are which when split asunder send forth
water; and others which sink for fear of Allah”, so there is always hope.
on the wrongs that you have done, repent, and seek Allah’s forgiveness. If
doing so brings tears to your eyes, then your heart is that rock when split
asunder, sends forth water. If you truly feel ashamed, then you are still that
rock which sinks with shame at the thought of Allah. There is hope for you.
all the things described above and constantly seek Allah’s help.
The Pitfalls That Lead To
Hardening Of The Heart
criticise one’s religion, the Quran and their Prophet is looked upon by many
Muslims as a proof of their being “open-minded”, of their being “moderate” and
“non-literalist”. To overlook parts of one’s scriptures is necessary for the
followers of other religions whose scriptures have been partially abrogated and
are no longer tenable but not for the followers of the “perfected and complete
religion”. If a person does not think
that Islam is “perfect and complete” then he should have the integrity to leave
it. The followers of other religions do not have to contend with a claim from
their scriptures that these contain the “perfect and complete’” religion, and
therefore, it is not a question of integrity for them to follow a part and
ignore a part. They remain persons of integrity while exercising choice. For a
Muslim, whose religion claims both perfection and completeness, what choice
does he have but to accept and follow the entire religion or leave it entirely?
The choice is truly binary for a person of integrity while choosing to follow
or choosing to reject a religion which claims both perfection and completeness.
A Muslim cannot be like others accepting what he likes and rejecting what he
does not like.
among the Muslims who try to straddle the fence are hypocrites who will lose
faith completely and become apostates. The followers of other religions are not
wrong in overlooking parts of their scriptures and doing so is virtuous because
a part of their scriptures was only meant for a period.
all moral precepts have come from religion, political philosophies have taken
some of these and idealized and romanticized certain concepts beyond what is
good for the individual and the society but packaged these as the ideal to
strive for. These “synthetic ideals or values” are thrust down on people by
aggressive politics. Religion being revelations from Allah is based on the
“principle of things” and what contributes to our happiness as an individual
and as a society best. It is not based on what sounds great or what is
considered politically correct and makes for good copy or optics in a campaign
for political office. If your starting
point is therefore a set of unshakable positions or articles of faith outside
of Islam, then you do not need Islam. Leave it alone and follow your “synthetic
values”. The people of other religions, for example, have confined their
religion to the personal sphere and removed it from defining their criminal,
judicial and the administrative systems and defining the rules for waging war
and even personal laws on inheritance, marriage, divorce etc. This makes
eminent sense for them because their scriptures are silent on inheritance,
divorce and many other matters. The
guidance on war in their scriptures is abrogated and no longer tenable. Islam
is different. It is the “perfected and complete religion”. If you don’t believe
in it, leave it. There is no compulsion in religion.
way to approach Islam for any person is to do so with an open mind and
initially accept its claims at face value or with faith. When you do so, and
come across Ayats or verses that you find disagreeable vis-à-vis the synthetic
values from some political philosophy, then the best course is to:
• Make sure that you have got the meaning
• Every moral precept was counter
intuitive to start with and has become received wisdom only after believing in
it and practicing it. Some of the things that the Quran says may likewise be
still counter intuitive for you. Examine the meaning as a lawyer would to see
if the correct meaning is justifiable and if so, under what circumstances. This
will help you understand better and see both justification and wisdom in it.
Seek Allah’s guidance through prayer. You will find the right answers. Allah
never lets down a genuine seeker of the truth who approaches with faith and
humility. However, if you have the attitude that you know better and the Quran
is after all only a seventh century book, then Allah allows such conceited
fools to go astray.
you do find what the Quran says is irreconcilable with your “values”, then do
yourself a favour and exercise the option of leaving Islam. Do not become a
hypocrite saddling the fence neither believing nor disbelieving. You may still
be rewarded for your good deeds and your integrity as long as you do not
blaspheme the religion as an apostate.
is a defining moment in many ways. It has also given birth to a new category of
Muslims who like to call themselves “moderate”. President Bush is on record
imploring people to reject conspiracy theories: “Let us never tolerate
outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th”
which he said were “malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from
the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.” What Bush desired has become
an article of faith for the post 911 moderates to distinguish themselves from
the rest. They declare “we are with you” to the other threat by Bush “either
you are with us or with them”. Truth simply does not matter to such Muslims.
These Muslims will question the Qur’an, the Prophet and Allah but not the
official story of the US government on 911. They will steadfastly deny the
truth. If belief in the official story
has become an article of faith for such Muslims, then it is polytheism and
rejection of the truth or Kufr.
other defining characteristics of the “moderates” are to be seen to be
questioning the religion, Quran, Allah and the Prophet. They make a virtue of
it. They define “literalism” as belief in the entire Quran and make a virtue of
arguing for the excising of many verses from the Quran. The western society is paranoid of Shariat and
Jehad. These “moderates” therefore reject the verses of the Quran on these
subjects to become acceptable. Such
people will surely sink deeper and deeper into denial until they reach a point
of no return. There is neither hope nor cure for them and the word of Allah
will come true.
This because they love the life of this world better than the Hereafter: and
Allah will not guide the Kafir.(108) Those are they whose hearts, ears, and
eyes Allah has sealed up, and they take no heed.(109) Without doubt, in the
Hereafter they will perish.
So verily thou canst not make the dead to hear, nor canst thou make the deaf to
hear the call, when they show their backs and turn away.(53) Nor canst thou
lead back the blind from their straying: only those wilt thou make to hear, who
believe in Our signs and submit (their wills in Islam).
verily We have propounded for men, in this Qur´an every kind of Parable: But if
thou bring to them any Sign, the kafaru are sure to say, "Ye do nothing
but talk vanities."(59) Thus does Allah seal up the hearts of those who
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an
independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private
sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent
contributor to NewAgeIslam.com
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