May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you, dear sister,
I’m happy you contacted us to share your thoughts and questions.
I ask Allah, The Opener, to open your heart and mind and expand your chest to understand the answer and transform your life to the best afterward.
Firstly, let’s think about this.
If you want to earn a prestigious PhD. degree which would bring you the best work opportunities, prestige and wealth, what would you do?
Obviously, you will enroll in a university, take courses, do experiments, work on projects, stay up all night sometimes, get tested until you prove yourself and succeed.
All of this hard work is required to get that fancy degree. A great reward must come with a great effort.
Now, don’t you think that earning the highest reward of an eternal Paradise wherein you get whatever you want forever without working ever again in addition to being near the Most Merciful Himself, thus showered with His endless mercy, love, and generosity… isn’t this an unequivocally supreme reward that needs serious efforts?
The problem is: we take our religion for granted… until this ultimate honor of knowing the King Himself and being on His path slips out of our hands.
Sadly, we do that in exchange for temporary worldly gains/desires that never bring complete or durable happiness anyway and are bound to end because everything and everyone on this earth will perish sooner or later.
You’re born Muslim, but maybe you haven’t delved into the ocean of knowledge that is in Islam; you haven’t thoroughly learned about Allah, His unrivaled Power, Might, Beauty….
You haven’t thoroughly learned about Muhammad, the best man that ever lived…
You haven’t explored the brilliance of the Quran and its meanings.
I am almost certain that if I asked, for example, what does “As-Samad” mean in Surat Al Ikhlas (chapter 112) which you probably recite in prayers, you wouldn’t know, or if I asked what does “Al-Asr” in Surat Al Asr (chapter 103) mean, you also wouldn’t know.
When we don’t know what we have, we underestimate its value and its worth.
We get easily tempted and attracted by other lowly matters.
Satan’s Classic Tricks
Allah told us in the Quran that He created us to worship Him.
Worship in Islam is much deeper than empty ritualistic movements.
It is to deeply know Allah Almighty, connect with Him, experience His Names, ponder His Words and His Wisdom, follow His path humbly as He deserves as The Supreme Creator, and then receiving His endless blessings that are not matched by any tangible thing in this world.
Allah chose us for this honor of knowing Him and getting closer to Him, more so than any other creation He created.
But who really doesn’t like that?
And his purpose is to make sure we don’t accomplish our purpose.
“[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].” (7: 16-17)
Imagine you are trying to walk on a straight path. If someone stood in front of you while you’re trying to move forward, what does this mean?
It means he is blocking your way. So you don’t see your destination or forget about your destination.
So, when Satan succeeds, he makes people forget about the destination, forget about meeting Allah and the Day of Judgment and the eternal paradise, and instead they just focus on worldly temporary life.
He also comes from behind, so you find people being pulled back and unable to move forward on the path or take steps forward.
Then from their right, so they won’t feel or appreciate doing good deeds anymore, then from their left so they fall into sin and then completely give up on the path of Allah and His Mercy and get defensive and feel like leaving the path altogether.
Allah gave us the ability to learn about Him, and He gave us the ability to make choices.
When we choose Him, despite these temptations, this is the true proof of our faith, sincerity, patience, and perseverance that Allah Almighty wants to see from us.
Why is My Heart Not Feeling Anything Anymore?
The condition of the heart you described is perfectly explained by the beautiful Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him).
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases. That is the Ran that Allah mentions in His Book: “Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.” [Quran 83:14]” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
If we wear the same shirt a few times, it will definitely get dirty and we will need to wash it.
Same with our heart, if we’re not in a constant state of purification and sincere repentance, the heart will die and will no longer do its job in alarming us when we are doing something wrong.
It will be overly consumed with worldly desires and doubts about Allah and His path.
See, we feel guilty when we do something wrong. When we amend our affairs, the heart feels satisfied again.
But if we immerse in many different sins, without doing any of the work that purifies us, eventually one will feel tired of feeling guilty, and then he/she will start getting defensive.
Tired of feeling guilty and mistaken, the person will start questioning why so-and-so is wrong anyway; think it doesn’t make sense, and that maybe Islam isn’t for him/her…
All of this reasoning is not based on a thorough study, but a means to detach from the feelings of guilt, unrest, and burden one feels.
The thing is: the heart will NEVER find real happiness apart from Allah and His path.
(Please check Part 2 of the answer here)
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