Instrument for Understanding Qur'an
Dr. Rafiq Ahmad
Locks Upon the Qalb
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’ân:
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“ Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur’ân, or is that there are locks upon their hearts ?” (47:24)
Allah Ta’ala has sent an immense treasure to man in the form of the Qur’ân. Allah Ta’ala wants man to earnestly seek to understand this Divine revelation and to do justice to his own capabilities which Allah Ta’ala has bestowed upon him. It is in this context that Allah Ta’ala pities those who do not seek to understand the Qur’ân. The failure to understand the Qur’ân has been attributed to the locks upon their hearts in this verse of the Qur’ân.
It is the duty of everybody to know the essence and reality of these locks? And secondly to try his level best to scrutinize the condition of his Qalb and see if it is not locked.
Qalb is capable of seeking the secrets of heavens
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: " If the Satan would not have been roaming around the hearts of men, they would have been able to see the angels (and the secrets) of heavens.” (Baihaqi Sharief)
It is this haziness caused by the Satan on the plain mirror of the Qalb that obscures it from viewing the Realities. Otherwise this mirror of Qalb, if kept clean or got cleaned, has the capability to view those things which remain hidden. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) further says: “When a person is born, an angel and a Satan are posted on his Qalb, the angel invites him towards righteousness while Satan towards evil deeds.” (Tirmidhi Sharief)
If a person follows the directions of the angel, his Satan becomes weak. On the other hand if a person follows the direction of the Satan, it becomes very strong and causes thick clouds on his Qalb. By following the Satan one commits sins. We have already quoted a hadith in which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says that sins cause dark stains on heart. Correlating the two we can infer that these are the sins which cause darkness or haziness on the Qalb. This darkness blocks the receptors of the Qalb which were to perceive the Reality. When these receptors fail to do so i.e., to perceive the Reality, we can say that these receptors of Qalb have got locked.
After knowing a little bit about these locks, now we can understand the meaning and significance of this DUA (prayer) in which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
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“O Allah Ta’ala! open the locks of our hearts by (the grace of) your remembrance”.
Allah Ta’ala is Nur (Divine Light), His Attributes posses Nur and His name is full of Nur. When a Mumin (True Believer) remembers Him by His name, its Nur enters his Qalb and illuminates and enlightens it. The receptors of Qalb which had been in darkness of sins and in the grip of Satan receive the Divine Light which overcomes this darkness and also forces the Satan to vacate from this enlightened Qalb. The receptors of this Qalb start functioning and thereby it gets revived. Now we can understand this Qur’ânic verse well:
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"Those who believe and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala do the hearts find the satisfaction.” (13:28)
How to get real peace of mind
These days almost the entire mankind is desperately in search of satisfaction and mental peace, which it is not getting from anywhere. Modern man tried his best to achieve this satisfaction from all corners but has failed miserably. He thought that he would get mental satisfaction and peace of mind if he has various luxuries available. He invented many things to make his life comfortable and easy, but these luxuries and modern comforts could not get him peace of mind. Man has always been of the opinion that more and more wealth will make him satisfied and happy but needless to say that it has been proved time and again beyond doubt, that more wealth begets more worries.
Some people drink, dine and dance to satisfaction but they only ruin their lives and achieve nothing. Many people, out of frustration have fallen easy prey to drug addiction. They think that this is the only way of getting away from the worries of the life. Everybody knows the disastrous effects of drug addiction.
Some people think that renunciation, leading a secluded life in the far-off woods or mountain tops, running away from the active social life and shunning away all the social responsibilities is the only way to be happy. They think this world is full of troubles and worries, so it is better to run away and meditate in the seclusion. This method is inhuman and against the very purpose of mankind. Man is a social animal. He has to lead the world. The whole world has been created for him and he (the man) is the heart of this universe. If he runs away from this world then what is he for, and what is this world for ?
The reason for failure of achieving real happiness
Firstly, one must know what is the seat of happiness? Secondly, how it can be achieved. Without knowing these things, man has from times immemorial wandered in search of peace of mind. As already stated, man has tried many things in this connection but all in vain. The reason is simple i.e., only the manufacturer, the inventor or the creator of a particular thing knows the best way of keeping that thing in perfectly correct state. Any other method, other than that advised by the manufacturer or inventor of that thing will cause more harm than good to that particular thing. For instance, If your watch goes out of order and you will try yourself to set it right, there is every possibility that you will cause more damage to that watch. Even if you take this watch to a highly trained and qualified medical doctor, he will not be able to set it right. It is only by that method, which has been advised by the manufacturer, that this watch can be set right, so it is mandatory to take this watch to either the manufacturer or one who has been trained by him.
In the same way, you must understand that the seat of the human happiness is the heart or Qalb. If you want to keep it happy you will have to ask its Creator the way to keep this happy. If you don’t do that you will never succeed in achieving the real happiness or the peace of mind.
As Allah Ta’ala is the Creator of the Qalb, so only He knows how to keep it happy and in a healthy state. As He is the Most Gracious and Most Merciful. He has been kind enough to inform the mankind through the Holy Qur’ân and His Messenger Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) the secret of achieving the happiness, as already quoted from the Qur’ân. Allah Ta’ala says:
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“Those who believe and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala; for without doubt in remembrance of Allah Ta’ala do hearts find satisfaction.”. (13:28)
The first and the foremost pre-requisite for happiness is Imân
Firm faith in Allah Ta’ala, His book—the holy Qur’ân, His Messenger—Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the first and the foremost pre-requisite as is evident in above quoted Qur’ânic verse. In this verse, Allah Ta’ala first mentions Imân—the belief in Allah Ta’ala. If you will try to collect the statistical data of the whole world showing the number of conversions of the people from Islam to other religions and vice versa, you will definitely see that a very high figure of conversions take place in the world from one religion to another religion but the number of Muslims getting converted to other religions will be the least, almost negligible despite the fact that missionaries are working in the world, spending billions of dollars to force the Muslims to change their religion. This becomes even more important because of the fact that the condition of Muslims and the Muslim countries in the last few centuries has not been good and pleasing. Despite the apparent bad conditions of Muslims and the Muslim countries, the number of Muslims has always been constantly on the ascending curve of the graph. These days particularly when the western civilization is offering man the most unimaginable luxuries, it is imperative for every body to think what is there in Islam that is forcing these people of sophisticated western society, who have all the luxuries of life available, to accept Islam, which apparently these days is in pitiable condition.
Let me quote an example. A boy was born to a Christian family in England whose father was a priest in a church. He wanted his son to become a scholar and preacher of the Christianity. For this purpose he sent his son to Christian missionary to receive education . The boy says that when he started reading the books written on Christianity, he was surprised to note that almost all the Christian authors devote major portions of their books to denounce Islam. Most of the books are full of venom against Islam. Other religions are mentioned briefly. It is only Islam which they try to prove wrong using all the weapons in their armoury. After reading this he got interested to know Islam as to what sort of dangerous religion it really is that every Christian writer seems to be afraid of. The writing of these Christian authors became the basis for his desire to know Islam. He became eager to know about Islam and started studying Islamic literature. Since he had no prejudice, he found the truth which he accepted without any hesitation and embraced Islam. This is one aspect but what I want to convey is something more than this, what is the reason for real happiness and satisfaction which a true Muslim gets, is unimaginable to others.
It is because of this satisfaction for the human hearts, which Islam is carrying in its natural and uncorrupted form, that the Islam is thriving against all the odds. Islam is based on human nature. Allah Ta’ala says that He has created man as per His nature and Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says that every child is born on the nature of Islam, it is his parents who make him Jew, Christian or Zoroastrians (Worshiper of fire).
A great Sufi Saint Hadhrat Baba Faridu-Din Ganj Shakar (RA) said that he asked four questions to six hundred great men (Awliya-Ullah), all of them replied the same answers to these quesitons. One of the four questions was, “ What is Aql (Wisdom)? The answer they gave was ‘Aql is that which recognises its Aaqa (Creator)’. It is so simple to understand that if the Aql fails to do its basic duty, that is to recognise its Creator—Allah Ta’ala the Almighty, it does not deserve to be called Aql (Wisdom). A person failing to understand this cannot be regarded as wise.
A child feels at rest and safe when he is in his mother’s lap. A person feels safe and gets mental peace when he is at home in the company of his parents and others to whom he is quite familiar. A person feels uneasy in the company of strangers and in strange surroundings. He always has a desire to go home in his subconscious mind. He always feels that he is missing something and that he has to reach somewhere. He may apparently be busy in various jobs but in his subconscious mind he always has that feeling of being a stranger and lacking something.
Similarly, man is a stranger in this world and this world is not his permanent home. The Rooh (Soul) of the man was created thousands of years before coming to this world. It was busy in Mushahida Haq enjoying the nearness of Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala says in the holy Qur’ân that this Rooh (soul) of man is from His ‘Amr. Rooh (Soul) has been familiar with Allah Ta’ala for thousands of years, in other words, was at home before coming to this world. Now one can understand as to why a man is a stranger in this world. The desire of going to his original home in that most pleasant company of Allah Ta’ala always remains in his mind. Some people are conscious of it and in most of the people this desire remains in subconscious state, so they do not feel it. They refute this claim and deny such things simply because they are not able to read their subconscious state. Nevertheless this desire is in everybody’s mind whether it is in their conscious or subconscious minds. This is the basic reason of unrest, unhappiness, uneasiness or dissatisfaction.
Now one can understand the meaning of the Qur’ânic verse quoted earlier very well, in which Allah Ta’ala says, " For without doubt in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala do hearts find satisfaction." When a person having a firm faith in his Creator—Allah Ta’ala—The Most Exalted, remembers Him by heart, his Rooh (soul) recalls the olden days of Aalami-Arwâh. It starts getting solace and feels a homely atmosphere. Its unrest and uneasiness starts diminishing and its feeling of being stranger starts fading. Dark clouds of Firaq (feeling of separation from Allah Ta’ala start thinning out. The dispersion of the Divine Light (Nur) starts watering the dry, barren land of heart causing its revivification (Ihya). This functionally dead heart now starts getting new life. It gets connection with its real source of energy. It becomes like a small container of water which has been connected to an ocean by means of an underground conduit, always getting inexhaustible fresh water supply.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says in a Hadith that:
"A heart is alive when it is in remembrance of Allah Ta’ala and is as good as dead when it is not in remembrance of Allah Ta’ala.” (Bukhâri Sharief)
If one gives a lot of gold, silver or diamonds to a hungry person, these are irrelevant to his stomach, intestines and satiety centre. Only a little food can satisfy him. In the same way one may give anything to his heart, it will not get satisfied unless it gets its real food and it finds itself in its favourite atmosphere.
DARUL ULOOM ILAHIYAH
INSTITUTE OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH
ILAHI BAGH, BUCHPORA, SRINAGAR, 190011, KASHMIR, INDIA