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Author Topic: On Some Diseases of the Heart Sh. Mokhtar Maghraoui  (Read 1734 times)
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« on: Jul 10, 2008 05:21 PM »

as salaamu alaykum,

These are some notes from one of the classes at the Tazkiyat an-Nafs retreat with Sh. Mokhtar Maghraoui this year... please note that they are not the *exact* words of the teacher, but what the student understood/noted....  hope it's of benefit and inspires you to try to attend the retreat next year  Smiley

Tazkiyat an-Nafs Retreat Summer 2008
Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui
Summary from Main Class - June 18th

In order to be true murids [seekers of Allah] we must be willing to search deep within ourselves and admit to our deficiencies.  A person who assumes that he or she is healthy will never properly diagnose their illness, and will thus remain untreated, leaving the sickness to become stronger and more debilitating, taking a powerful hold over the body until it is too late.  Whereas a person who looks out for the symptoms of an illness will be quick to recognize them within him or herself and take the steps necessary to becoming well and of sound health once again.

Similarly, if we do not reflect and admit to ourselves that we have inner ailments and spiritual deficiencies, we will not work to remedy them, and will remain in the same unhealthy, spiritually ailing state.

Knowing our true condition and admitting to our mistakes and weaknesses is a very beautiful thing, though it is at times painful.  It is only our own nufus [lower selves] and Shaytan that keep us floating along in a state of ghaflah [heedlessness and distraction], discouraging us from the remedies to our condition such as khalwah [introspection away from people], dismissing it as too extreme or as low on our list of priorities.

We must realize that each ailment inside of us is an obstacle that prevents us from seeing the Divine, and deprives us of connection to Him and experiencing His beauty.  In understanding the evil consequences of these illnesses and admitting that we do suffer from them, we can then begin to work hard to uproot them from ourselves, and shield our hearts from acquiring more of them.

Ghurur is one of the many harmful ailments of the qalb [spiritual heart], meaning vanity or self-delusion, in the sense that one assesses him or herself as higher than what one really is.  It can even creep into our spirituality in that it may lead one to believe that they have a very high station with Allah when in truth they are very far from that.

Like all of the illnesses we are learning about, we should assume that we have this ailment and ask, 'Ya Allah, help me to find it and remove it from myself.'

Shaytan is the perfect example of one who is maghrur, self-deluded, and also works to delude others.   He assessed himself in terms of his relationship with Allah as higher than what he really was, while the angels in contrast were humble and obedient.  Their questioning was based on a sincere desire for reassurance in order to become more lovingly obedient, while his was based on a self-deluded notion of superiority.

A proof that I am sick is not being able to accept criticism or advice from others and being overly sensitive to the way a person corrects me.  My focus should be on me, not them.  I should be happy when someone gives me the gift of showing me my own faults and mistakes.  Imam Al-Ghazali likened a companion who does so to kibreet al-ahmar, a very rare natural material, while the noble companion Umar (radiAllahu anhu) said, 'rahima Allahu maran ahdaa alayya 'uyuubi.' (‘May Allah have mercy on the one who gives me the gift of showing me my defects and weaknesses.’)

Another disease that we learned about is Hubb as-Suma'h, love for being heard or talked about by the people.  It is considered a disease because it is a focus on the nafs, and because I am attributing those good qualities to myself instead of to Allah. 

We should know that when someone praises us, we are actually only witnessing the beautiful manifestation of Allah being as-Siteer (the One who veils).  It is Allah who allowed them to see good in us and He, azza wa jal, who veiled our faults and dhunub [sins], so all praise is due to Him.

A third disease is ar-Riyaa', an internal state in which we feel pleased when others see us doing good, and anger or sadness when they don't, especially in acts in which we should be seeking Allah’s pleasure - namely, the ‘ibadaat [acts of worship].  It is a disease because instead of seeking Allah’s pleasure, we are seeking a sense of self-satisfaction or acceptance and love from the people.  It is actually considered a type of shirk because the person’s concern and focus is on the creation instead of Allah.
The majority of the ulema say that any amount of riyaa found in a good deed invalidates it, and there is text which teaches us that on the Day of Judgment Allah will say He is free from such an act, and it will instead go to the other one it was intended for. 

Riyaa is a very common disease of the heart especially for those who seek knowledge when that talb al-ilm is not coupled with the path of tazkiya[spiritual purification of the heart].  A person may find it easy to be disciplined with food and drink and sleep, but when it comes to reputation, ego, or pride, they are easily moved and led by the nafs.

We will reach a state in which we have no riyaa when our feelings remain the same inside whether we are being watched by people, cows, or are alone.  We must ask ourselves, what is the original motivating force the caused me to perform this act?  And we must learn to accept people thinking of us badly.

Another disease of the heart is al-Hirs, covetousness for this world, which consists of two components: desire for al-Maal [wealth] and for al-Jaah - to influence or have control over the hearts of people.  A text teaches us that covetousness for wealth and power is to our deen like two hungry wolves let loose on a flock of sheep, wreaking havoc, bloodshed and destruction.

Closely tied to al-hirs is al-Hasad, violent envy of another creature.  It leads to bughd [hatred] and haqd [vindictiveness], and actions that are vile and ugly.  People with hasad are led to commit crimes beyond comprehension, all beginning with the small spark of a feeling inside.

We should know that if we are deprived of something, it may be the vices and deficiencies inside ourselves that prevent us from receiving that gift.  Allah is generous, but we are undeserving.  Or, it may be that we are performing apparently good deeds but with an ugly heart or intention, and Allah does not accept such acts.

We should also realize that what people have is from Allah.  If I have hasad towards what someone has, there is some falseness to my claim that I believe it is Allah alone who gives.

Al-'Ajalah is to seek to hasten the fruit or harvest of our endeavors.  It is a type of ghurur in terms of assessing our state and what we are capable of as being more than what it actually is.  We should know that 'li kulli ajalin kitaab', “For every matter there is an appointed time given”, and that kitaab is with Allah and not me. 

When I am hasty I may rush to the next step before I am ready and then fumble, falter, or revert back to my original state or worse.  Hastiness is an indication of lack of sabr, and may lead us to hurt others and myself by making rushed decisions.

A subtle disease that may cause all the rest to follow is Ru'yatul Asbaab, a dependence on the creation/means instead of Allah.  It may include a reliance on our own intelligence, abilities, philosophies, or other creation or means, instead of Allah.

We must know that all peace, security, and joy is with Allah and depending on Him, and we will not taste that when we depend on others.

How do we treat these illnesses?  First by understanding them, being able to recognize them in our selves and knowing their harmful consequences.  Most importantly, we need to be practically engaged in tazkiya by moderation in eating, sleeping, and actively performing samt [quietness], khalwah [introspection], frequent dhikr and much supplication, asking Allah for betterment and change.  We must also know who Allah is and have a deep understanding of Tawheed.

We must also have a high himmah [aspiration and resolve], a heavenly himmah, so that we can reach Him.  As the shaykh, hafidhahullah [may Allah protect and increase him], eloquently put it in the last class,  “If my himmah remains on the coastal lines then I shall never see beyond the sea.”

May Allah make us people of pure hearts, heavenly aspirations and beautiful practice, Ameen.

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