“Dhak dhak…. thump thump…beat beat… goes my heart. As long as I can hear these sounds, I know my heart is alive and I am still living,” I say to myself.
“This is not enough,” firmly whispers back my heart. “It is not enough for me to pump and beat. You have to make me do more than just that. I have been created to do more than that. I am the place where your belief and faith in Allah reside. You need to keep me clean and welcoming for Him.”
Remember! Allah says,
A day when there will be no benefit in wealth or children, but only in he who comes to Allah with a pure heart [Qur’an: Chapter 26, Verses 88-89]
“It is easy to do this when everything’s going just fine,” I reply to my heart. “I am very tired of fighting despair, hopelessness, anxiety, panic all the time these days. Where will I find the strength to polish and clean you now?”
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured [Qur’an: Chapter 13, Verse 28] ,”
recites my heart…
I know my heart is telling me the truth, the absolute truth. I have felt this peace in my heart on many occasions. It’s like finding shelter while a storm rages around. It’s like knowing, no matter what happens around me, I am safe for now.
I have memories of the time gone by when all was going well for me, my heart was like a vessel that was filled with laughter, joy and happiness. It forgave easily and was filled with hope and plans for a bright tomorrow. All it knew was to give; give love, share laughter, spark hope and spread the love… But then, it encountered one trial after another. I had hardly recovered from one trial when another one struck me hard. My carefree happy heart became a battleground. Fighting a constant battle with hopelessness, despair, anxiety and panic. It lost its battle many times, and I had to keep on reviving it. Each time I revived it, it grew weaker. I knew I had to do something fast. I had to make it strong enough to fight its battles and win more and lose less.
If you are reading this and going through a ‘trial’ in your life and can relate to what I have said so far, then let me say this to you: “It’s ok. You are going to be ok.”
I know this because if I am able to write this article, it is because I have somehow managed to keep my heart alive during my trials.
And if I can do it, then you can too!
Let me share with you some tips that I have found always work in keeping my heart alive during whatever comes my way.
1. Talk to your and my Lord, Allah
During the course of my short life, I have realized that one gets weary of listening to someone go on and on about what’s going wrong in their lives. But more importantly, one gets weary of speaking about it all the time too! I came to a point where I felt I could not bring myself to speak to anyone about my troubling thoughts, and I was ready to crumble with their weight. I was in utter despair. Then like a ray of light which pierced the darkness that was surrounding me, I came upon this ayah:
And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 186]
I can tell you, with utmost truthfulness that there is nothing better and more comforting than having a conversation with Allah . Place and time don’t matter. Just talk to Him. Say what you feel or fear. Speak about your darkest of thoughts, admit your deepest worries. He already knows everything and He won’t judge or psychoanalyze you. Allah will comfort, accept and fix you. It’s a promise He made in His Book.
2. Ask, ask and ask Allah
What my conversations with Allah led to was dua. I begged Allah to help me keep my heart alive. I told Him I feared that my heart could not withstand the constant revivals anymore. Did He answer my dua? Yes, in the best possible manner. Doors of healing and strength opened for me. Some from places I knew of and some from where I never expected. Allah opened the door for me. Walking through it always remains my choice.
3. Walk through the door of healing and strengthening
Close your eyes and ask yourself, “What could possibly be the best way to heal and keep my heart alive?”
Go on. Do it.
That was my answer. And it was true.
“And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers…” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 82]
Pick it up.
Ponder over what it says.
Even if it’s one simple command that you can, just do it.
For there can never be any other source of life for the heart other than the Qur’an. It is just the way Allah has created it.
4. Salah, never miss it
No matter what, whether your heart is in it or not, don’t miss your salah. It breathes in life to the heart that is fighting its battles for you. Pray sitting, pray lying down.Pray. Pour out your troubles to Allah while in prostration.
5. Help someone
As cliche’ as it may sound, helping someone in need, doing good pumps life back into the heart. Maybe it’s their prayers of gratitude for you, or that Allah is happy with you for doing a good deed, nut it always works. A phone call to an elderly or sick person, making something nice for someone, charity, anything that you can do. If you can make this a routine for yourself, then it is going to be even better!
6. Develop a gratitude habit
Nothing polishes the heart faster than gratitude. No matter how hard our circumstances, there is always something to be grateful for. Even if it’s just a breath that we can take to ask Allah to forgive us. Personally, for me, it always helps me feel better when I stop crying and just look at all the favors of Allah instead.
7. Do what you can and leave the rest for Allah
When my heart feels overwhelmed with worry, I tell myself, or rather my heart tells me:
…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves… [Qur’an: Chapter 13, Verse 11]
Do your bit to get out of the situation that you are in. Remember the hadith where the Messenger of Allah told the bedouin: “tie her and trust in Allah ” regarding his camel? [Jami at-Tirmidhi]
8. Keep going
Keeping the heart alive is a process that will keep going on until there is a single breath left for us to breathe. There will be lows and highs. Celebrate the highs and plow through the lows. There will be times when you will feel your heart wants to stop beating and there will be darkness all around. Don’t despair. Allah is Near. Just pick up yourself and revive your heart. Trust me, Allah fixes hearts in the most beautiful manner.
My dearest friend, I know what you feel. I have been there and I am there right now. The best news that I can give you is, never worry as you are never alone. Even in the darkest moments of your life, Allah is Near. Always.
I leave you with a gem that the Messenger of Allah left for you and me. Use it and use it well:
“O Turner of the hearts, keep my heart firm upon your religion.”
Shahr bin Hawshab said,
I said to Umm Salamah : “O Mother of the Believers! What was the supplication that the Messenger of Allah said most frequently when he was with you?”
She said, “The supplication he said most frequently was: ‘O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion (Yā Muqallibal-qulūb, thabbit qalbī `alā dīnik)’ and I asked him why did he supplicate it so frequently.”
“He said, ‘O Umm Salamah! Verily, there is no human being except that his heart is between Two Fingers of the Fingers of the Almighty, so whomsoever He wills He makes steadfast, and whomever He wills He causes to deviate.’ ” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi]
May Allah dispel all darkness and despair from your heart and light it with His light, ameen!
What are your productive tips to keep your heart alive during trials and tribulations? Share them with us in the comments!