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The Faith Revival: Shaky Foundations

The Faith Revival: Shaky Foundations
The tongue to the heart is like a spoon and food. So if it tastes bad, then you know that the entire plate is spoiled.

We’re talking about how to be able to receive that Iman and how to be able to build it. There is a very interesting concept that we find in the Quran and in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Allah mentions:

He is the one who sent down tranquility to the hearts of the believers so that their faith can be increased upon increase, (meaning the existing faith can continue to increase). (48:4)

Now, if you notice in this verse, the scholars point out that it’s iman (faith) that settles the heart. So when the heart is going allover the place and it’s inconsistent and it’s constantly moving in different places, Allah sends down that faith to settle it and nothing can settle it and bring it that tranquility except for faith and to really put it at ease.

So faith is not supposed to make you erratic, faith is not to make you unstable. Faith is supposed to settle you on the inside.

There is a hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that connects that settling, that foundation that’s required of the heart to be able to receive faith in a very interesting way. He said:

A person’s faith will not settle until their heart settles.

So in order for faith to settle, the heart has to settle. But then he says:

And his heart will not be able to settle unless his tongue settles. (Musnad Ahmad and Muslim)

So the Prophet is saying “if you want your heart to settle and to be able to receive faith, then you need to make sure that your tongue will settle as well.”

And that’s very interesting because typically we don’t connect the actions of the tongue with faith in the heart.

But Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said that:

The tongue to the heart is like a spoon and food. So if it tastes bad, then you know that the entire plate is spoiled.

Your tongue is an entrance into your heart. The way that your tongue speaks shows the condition of your heart.

That’s why the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he was told about the woman that was abusive to her neighbors, despite the fact that she prayed and fasted extra and used to do all of these extra acts of worship, he said:

She has no goodness inside of her. (Al-Albani)

The fact that her tongue is abusive is a sign that her heart is abused, her heart is void of faith. Therefore her tongue doesn’t speak in a faithful matter. And so the Prophet is saying “If you want to work, you’ve got to work backwards.”

 Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day (whoever has Iman) speak well or be quiet. (Muslim)

Don’t say anything if you have nothing positive to say.

Imam Hassan Al-Basri said:

“Because a person who sins frequently with the tongue is reckless with the tongue. They’re not conscious of Allah when they speak, they’re not thinking when they speak.

So a person can not have a heart that is pure if they’re constantly corrupting their heart with the sins of the tongue, and the tongue is the medium by which most of us constantly commit sin.

So if you want to protect your heart, you need to protect your tongue. You can not have faith settle in your heart if you can not have your tongue settle with faith.

This is interesting because I remember when I was reading an article on dental hygiene and how sometimes, if a person has a bad dental hygiene, it can lead to some heart disease or some of build up in the mouth can actually lead to the corruption of the heart.

And you think about that in the spiritual way and what the Prophet is saying to us that we could be building plaque around the heart and hurting our heart and Allah will not put Iman in a heart that’s like that.

So you want a very practical way to build your iman start with your tongue. When you speak everything that you say, ask yourself “how is this going to affect my iman (faith)? How is this going to affect my heart?

Allah says:

Is it not with the remembrance of Allah that the hearts find tranquility?

The heart becomes then a worthy vessel to be able to receive that iman. Watch your tongue, take account of it and that’s where Inshallah you’ll find that faith can settle.

May Allah purify our tongues and then purify our hearts and allow iman to settle in our hearts.

Ameen.

Visit Yaqeen Institute.


About Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman is the President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. He’s also the resident scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith alliance for peace and justice.

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