Three Cures for the Heart
By Shaykh-ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah [d.728H]
[1.2 The Qur’aan is a Cure for the Heart]
The Qur’aan is a cure for that which within the heart, and for the one who has the sickness of doubt and desire in his heart, for it contains clear proofs that distinguish the truth from falsehood, and remove the sickness of false doubts to leave certain knowledge, correct perception and understanding such that the heart sees things in accordance to their reality. It contains wisdom, goodly exhortations both encouraging good and deterring from evil, and stories which contain lessons that necessarily lead to the correction of the heart by making the heart desire what is good for it and detest what is harmful to it. Hence the heart is left desiring that which will guide it, hating that which will deviate it after it used to desire that which would deviate it and hate that which would guide it.
The Qur’aan removes all the sicknesses that invoke false desires until the heart becomes pure and therefore its desires become pure and it returns to the natural state [fitrah] that it was created in, just as the body returns to the natural state upon being treated. The heart will be nurtured with faith and the Qur’aan such that it will become strong for indeed the purification of the heart is like the growing of the body.
[1.3 Righteous Actions are a Cure for the Heart]
Zakah [purification] in the language means: growth and increase in correction, it is said, ‘something has zakah,’ when it has grown in correction. The heart is in need o being nurtured so that it may mature and increase until it becomes complete and correct just as the body is in the need of nourishment that is good for it, but along with this there is a need to prevent anything from harming it. So the body will not grow until it gains that which will benefit it and is prevented from that which will harm it, likewise the heart will not become complete with respect to its correction, until it attains that which benefits it and represses that which harms it – just as the flower will not grow without these two factors.
Sadaqah [charity], due to its extinguishing the sins as water extinguishes fire, causes the heart to be purified. Its zakah means something additional to it being merely free of sins. Allaah the Exalted said,
“Take tadaaqah from them in order to purify them and sanctify them with it.” [At-Tawbah 9:103]
[1.4 Leaving Indecent Actions are a Cure for the Heart]
Similarly abstaining from indecent actions and sins leads to purification of the heart, for those are of the same level as leprosy of the body or thorns on a flower. So when the body is freed of this leprosy be releasing the additional blood for example, the natural strength of the body emerges and it can find relief and thereby grow. Likewise when one seeks repentance from sin, the heart is released from contamination – whereby it mixed the righteous actions with evils actions, so when one repents from sins the strength of the heart emerges as does its desire to perform righteous actions and it finds relief from these false corrupt matters that it was submerged in.
So the zakah of the heart means its growing and becoming complete. Allaah the Exalted said,
“And had it not been for the Grace of Allaah and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins…” [An-Nur 24:21]
“…And if you are asked to go back, then go back, for it is purer for you.” [An-Nur 24:28]
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their private parts. That is purer for them…” [An-Nur 24:30]
“Indeed whoever purifies himself shall achieve success, and remembers the Name of his Lord and prays.” [Al-A’la 87:14-15]
“Indeed he succeeds who purifies himself, and indeed he fails who corrupts his self.” [Ash-Shams 91:9-10]
“But what could tell you that perchance he might become pure.” [‘Abasa 80:3]
“And say to him [i.e. Fir’aun]; ‘Would you purify yourself, and that I guide you to your Lord, so you should fear Him?’.” [An-Nazi’at 79:18-19]
So tazkiyyah [purification], even if its basic meaning is growth, blessing and increase in goodness, is only attained by removing the evil, and this is why purification has come to combine both these matters [i.e., performing good and avoiding evil].
He, the Most High, said,
“And woe to the polytheists, those who do not give the zakah, and are disbelievers in the Hereafter.” [Fussilat 41:6-7]
Meaning by zakah, the tawhid and imam by which the heart is purified, for indeed tawhid includes negating any lordship besides Allaah and affirming the Lordship of Allaah in the heart, this being the reality of ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah’ [there is none worthy of worship except Allaah] and this being the basis by which the hearts are purified.
Tazkiyyah [purification] is the act of making something pure, either in and of itself, or in belief, or in reports. It is similarly said: ‘adaltuhu’ when you make it just, in and of itself, or in the belief of the people.
Allaah, the Most High, said,
“So do not ascribe purity [tuzakku] to yourself…” [An-Najm 53:32]
i.e. do not broadcast that you are pure, and this is not the same as His saying,
“Indeed he succeeds who purifies himself.” [Ash-Shams 91:9]
This is why Allaah, the Most High, said,
“He knows best who fear Allaah.” [An-Najm 53:32]
Zaynab was initially known as Burra, and it is said that she purified herself and so the Messenger of Allaah [sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] called her Zaynab. As for the saying of Allaah,
“Have you not seen those who claim purity for themselves, nay – but Allaah purifies [yuzakki] whom He pleases.” [An-Nisa 4:49]
Meaning He makes pure whomsoever He pleases and makes his purity known, just as the purifier declares to be pure only to those whose justice he can bear testimony to.
Transcribed [by islamictexts.wordpress.com] from: Diseases of the Hearts & their Cures, Pgs. 51-57, by Shaykh-ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah [d.728H], Translated by Abu Rumaysah, Published by Dar us-Sunnah Publications