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Smart Ways for Training the Heart

Can you control the feelings in your heart?

We have a tremendous power to influence our hearts as long as we believe we can and know how to approach it.

It is only impossible for those who come with the attitude: “It is a waste of time, since I am not going to succeed.” As for those who do not know how to approach it, successful change can take a considerable amount of time.

What we refer to as “involuntary” responses are the things we find it extremely difficult to change. However, with practice and persistence, we can gradually come to control the time, extent, and manner in which these responses occur. We have to first imagine that it is possible.

Start by watching a program or reading a book or article about the benefits of the thing you want to learn to love. Learn more about it and study its history. However, do so at a calm, gradual pace. Do not rush into things.

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Imagine yourself at a future time when this thing has become an integral, habitual part of your life.

There are a lot of successful people who have forged habits out of what makes them successful, and who have learned to love the very things which are the keys to their prosperity. In this way, they manage to take control of every aspect of their lives, all the way down to the details of when they eat, drink, sleep and bathe.

Even though Allah says:

Know that Allah comes between a person and their heart. (Quran 8: 24)

Nevertheless, He still calls upon us to believe in Him and develop our faith.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, speaking about matters of the heart:

O Allah! This is how I divide up what I control, so do not rebuke me for what is outside of my control.

However, this does not contradict where he says:

Love the one you love moderately, since they may become hateful to you one day.

Though we are not able to instantly and directly control what the heart feels, our hearts are nevertheless connected to what we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, say with our tongues, touch with our hands, go with our feet, and think with our minds.

The love a person feels is, likewise, a habit. It is not a holiday celebrated with a Valentine card.

Many young people today fail to appreciate that love is sacrifice, honesty, and selfless giving. They think it is about love songs, heart shapes, roses, love letters, sweet talk and transient pleasures.

It is quite common for love to leave your heart while you are halfway on its path, or when the beloved is attained. The Arabs of old had a saying:

“When love is consummated, it is ruined.”

Does Familiarity Diminish Love?

The Quran says:

And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). (30: 21)

Love will endure as long as both parties work hard on it and are willing weather the relationship’s inevitable storms with fortitude. When those storms pass, love, fidelity, and compassion are what remain.

Hearts are vibrant and will never stop feeling love as long as life remains.

Some hearts feel inordinate love, burning with longing and madness, especially when the beloved is kept away.

Concealment of love is common in conservative traditional families. The open expression of love is regarded as a weakness. They are unwilling to say to their loved ones that they love them. Yet, it is that very love between the husband and wife and between the parents and children which shelters the family.

They need to cherish it and nurture it, for it is what brings contentment, closeness, and growth.

Love is the foundation of everything good, and its own foundation is the love of Allah. That is a sacred feeling, and preceded even our hope in Allah and our fear of Him. It is the pinnacle of faith.


About Salman al-Ouda
Muslim scholar. Al-Ouda is a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and on its Board of Trustees. He is a director of the Arabic edition of the website Islam Today and appears on a number of TV shows and authors newspaper articles.