Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Self Development: Occupation of the Heart

We read this gem in our hadeeth class, and did a self development exercise afterwards.

An Occupied Space cannot Contain two Opposites

By Imaam Ibnul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751H)

A beautiful example of the contents of the Heart by the great scholar, Imaam Ibnul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah.
It is better for your mouths to be full of pus until it makes it go bad than to be full of poetry.


For a space to accept what is being put in it, it has to be emptied of the opposite. The same way this is relevant with individuals and objects, it is also true for beliefs and wills. So, if the heart is occupied with loving and believing in falsehood, then it has no space for loving and accepting the truth. Just like if a tongue is busy uttering what does not have benefit, then its owner will not be able to utter what has benefit for him except if he stops talking about what is useless. Also if the different body parts are busy doing what is not obedience then it is not possible to keep them occupied in doing what is obedience except if he (the owner) frees them of the opposite. In the same way, a heart full of loving other than Allaah, wanting him, longing to meet him, and enjoying his company cannot be occupied with love for Allaah, wanting Him, longing to meet Him except by emptying it (the heart) from attachment to anything other than Him (Allaah). And the tongue cannot move to remember Him nor can the body parts move to His service except if he (the owner) frees them from mentioning and servicing other than Him. So if the heart is full of occupation with creation and sciences that do not have benefit then there is no space for being occupied with Allaah and knowing His Names, Attributes, Laws. And the secret of that is that the Isghaa (listening in concentration) of the heart is like the Isghaa (listening in concentration) of the ears, so if he listens to other than the Hadeeth (meaning speech , words, subject) of Allaah, then there will be no room to listen to or understand the Hadeeth of Allaah. Just like if he is inclined in love towards other than Allaah then he would have no room to incline in love towards Allaah. If the heart utters other than the remembrance of Allaah then it will not have any space to utter His remembrance by using the tongue. And that is why we find in an authentic narration from the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam):

"It is better for your mouths to be full of pus until it makes it go bad than to be full of poetry." [1]

So he made it clear that a mouth can be full of poetry and therefore it also becomes full of doubts, fictions and unexisting measures. Also the sciences that have no benefit, jokes, comedies, stories and so on. If the heart is full of that, then when the truths of the Qur`aan, and the sciences that can make it experience its full function and happiness, come to him, it will not find any space for itself and no acceptance (from it), so it bypasses it (the heart) and moves to another place. If you give advice to a heart full of its opposite, it will not find a way in and (the heart) will not accept it. It does not enter inside but it only passes by briefly and not from the inside. That is why it was said:

"Clean your heart from other than Us , and you will find Us
For our Highness is compatible with every clean heart
And patience is a chest for the treasure of being associated with Us
He who makes the chest compatible wins its treasure."


[1] Narrated by Sa'ad Ibn Abee Waqqaas in Saheeh Muslim, Kitaabush Shi'ir (Book of poetry) (27/5610).


Self development exercise:

What Occupies your Heart?

List the beneficial and the harmful things that occupy your heart. 

After listing the things occupying your heart, consider what needs to be evicted (kicked out) and what needs to be brought in, in order to make your heart clean and a source of happiness for you.


  1. Asalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu!
    Truly this blog is sooo beneficial. Your post is SPOT ON mashallah! If you fill your heart and mind with the bad, the good goes away forgotten. May Allah protect us from this and allow us to remember all that is good. Ameen!

    Amina Bint Yusuf Knuckles

    1. Wa alaykum ussalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh Amina.

      This subject is so important, subhaan Allah. The pursuit of entertainment through stories, internet, games and excesses in what is halal have taken over so much space in many hearts, before we mention the sickness of busying ourselves with what does not concern us or is clearly haraam. Ameen to your du'a, thumma ameen!

  2. Assalamu alaikum ukhthi,
    Good reminder jzkillahu khairan.btw have you closed your blog or have gone private. Truly I miss your posts.

    1. Wa alaykum ussalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh my dear sister Anisa.

      I made my blog private for a short period of time to spring clean and have everything checked by a student of knowledge maashaa Allah. It should be open again within a week or two bi idhn Illah ta'ala. If you like, you can send your email and I will add you to the readers list. The comments are moderated so it won't be public. Barak Allahu feekee, ukhtee, wa iyyaaki.


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