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An Essential Tip to Maintain the Purification of the Heart

You buy a clean and fancy shirt. You’re happy with it. You start wearing it. As you’re wearing it, it gets dirty. What do you do then?

Do you throw it away because it got dirty?

Do you sit next to it crying, thinking that it’s hopeless and you’re hopeless and there is no way out of this situation?

Or do you continue to wear it while neglecting the dirt that is covering it up?

Of course not…

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You simply wash it well and move on.

Now think about the state of your own heart.

How the Heart Gets Stained

Allah, An-Nur Al Qudoos (The Light, The Absolutely Pure), gave us pure hearts to start with. Our hearts yearn for connecting with its Creator, the Source of Light and Purity.

When our hearts are in connection with Him and in obedience to Him, it is in a state of rest and purity. As He Almighty The Most Knowing says:

Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured. (Quran 13:28)

But, as we go about our daily lives facing all the tests, challenges and temptations, we might fall into sin or we might forget about our purpose and need to purify our hearts.

There is a beautiful hadith that explains this situation.

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said:

Verily, when the slave (of Allah) commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. When he refrains from it, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart is polished clean. But if he returns, it increases until it covers his entire heart. And that is the ‘Ran’ which Allah mentioned: {No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning.} (Quran 83:14)” (Ibn Majah)

How to Repent from a Sin to Purify Your Heart

Scholars list three conditions for the repentance of a sin:

1- Stopping the sin.

2-Regretting the sin.

3- Sincere intention not to go back to it.

The regret and sincerity are matters of the heart. But an excellent way to manifest this state of repentance and desire to purify the self is to perform Salatul Tawba (the repentance prayer).

Narrated Abu Bakr as-Siddiq:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) say:

When a servant of Allah commits a sin and he performs ablution well, and then stands and prays two rak’ahs (units of prayer) and asks pardon of Allah, Allah pardons him. He then recited this verse: {And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – And [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.} (Quran 3:135). (Sunan Abi Dawud)

This is an immensely beautiful and practical way to purify ourselves. It involves sincere desire at heart, then purification of the limbs and then directing oneself to the Source of Purity in prayer in order to come back upright on His path.

In another beautiful narration that gives us a lot of hope also, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) is reported as saying:

Anyone who performs ablution and performs his ablution well, and then he offers two rak’ahs of prayers in a way that he does not forget (anything in it), will be forgiven all his past sins. (Sunan Abi Dawud)

So, this is an act that we need to maintain and be persistent on if we are struggling with fighting sins and purifying our hearts.

If we make sure we cleanse the black spot that appears on our hearts as a result of the sins as soon as we commit it, then we will be better at maintaining a pure and sound heart. But if we don’t do that, sins will accumulate over our hearts and eventually, cover up the light of our hearts.

An Essential Tip to Maintain the Purification of the Heart - About Islam

Let us remember here something very beautiful that The Most Knowing taught us in the Quran.

Adam (peace be upon him) also committed a sin. We know from Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) that all the sons of Adam are sinners, but the best of sinners are those who repent often.

In the story of Adam in the Quran, Allah Almighty showed us that Adam sinned, but He also showed us how Adam was swift in his sincere repentance to Allah Almighty. And Allah also immediately accepted His repentance.

This is what we need to do. Just like we constantly wash the shirt we wear and we don’t neglect it or let the dirt pile up over it, we also need to pay attention to our hearts that we’re carrying at all times and constantly cleanse them to prevent the effects of sin from covering up the purity of our hearts.

How Repentance Brings us the Love of the Most Loving

Admitting our shortcomings and our neediness to Allah Glorified and Exalted is a main component of our relationship with Him. Allah is The Only One who is free of need, but all His creations are in need of Him.

When we acknowledge this fact with humility, we actualize a main part of our purpose in life and this earns us the love of Allah. Remember that He says:

Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves. (Quran 2: 222)

May Allah help us purify ourselves and grant us His Love in this life and the next. Ameen.

(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)

About Dina Mohamed Basiony
Dina Mohamed Basiony is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She specializes in Islam and spirituality. Dina holds an MA and BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo.