When the Heart is Filled with Desires No Khair Reaches It
After talking about the demands of unbelievers Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala talks about His Signs of guidance. He says,
The word yashrah [يَشْرَحْ] is from the root sheen-ra-ha which literally means “to cut something, to open up, enlarge, expand or uncover”. Meaning when Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala wishes to guide someone He expands his heart to accept Islam, and strengthens his resolve to embrace it. It becomes easy for him to submit to the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala.
Sometimes when people learn about a command they say, “I cannot do this. I cannot do that,” and their hearts close up or become constricted. On the other hand, there are people whenever they learn something new they say, “Okay I will do this as well,” or “I will do this.” They show more capacity and tolerance for acceptance.
Hakim in al-Mustadrak and Baihaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman report from Abd-Allah ibn Masoud radhiAllahu `anhu when this Ayah was revealed, the Companions of the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam requested him to explain the meaning of Sharh al-Sadr, the opening of the heart for Islam. He said, “Allah puts a light in the heart of a believer through which his heart opens up for the perception, understanding and acceptance of truth.” The Sahabah asked, “Is there a sign which will help recognize the person who has such Sharh al-Sadr?” He said, “Yes. The sign is that ‘Akhirah and its blessings become the object of all his desires. He avoids uncalled-for desires and fleeting enjoyments and starts getting ready for death before it comes.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says in Surah al-Hujraat Ayah 7, “Allah has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided.”
Then Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala talks about another condition of the heart. The word dayyiq [ضَيِّقاً] is from the root dad-ya-qaf which means “narrow, choked or overfilled with something”. When Allah wishes to send someone astray his heart closes up meaning he is unable to accept guidance, thus being deprived of faith. The bigger your container, the more you can contain. The narrower your container, the lesser you can contain.
Notice that one meaning of the word dayyaq is “overfilled with something”. What is the heart overfilled with? With the desires of dunya. It is already filled. It doesn’t have any room for the love of Allah or Islam.
The word haraja [حَرَجا] used in the ayah means “everything gathered at one place”. For example, you gather your entire furniture and put it in the garage. The garage becomes constricted. You can’t access the things inside. And perhaps your car too won’t be able to fit in.
`Umar radhiAllahu `anhu once asked a Bedouin as to what the word haraja meant. He replied, “[We use] the word haraja for a tree that is in the midst of other trees (meaning surrounded by other trees) and because of that no one can reach it.” `Umar replied, “Such is the heart of a munafiq that no khair reaches it.” This heart is distant and surrounded by desires and deception of dunya. The person has filled his heart with so many things that he doesn’t have time to pray or read the Qur’an and act upon it.
Then it was said, “…as though he were climbing into the sky.” Sa`eed ibn Jubayr commented that in this case, “[Islam] finds every path in his heart impassable.” Ibn `Abbas commented, “Just as the son of Adam (`alayhi salaam) cannot climb up to the sky, Tawheed and faith will not be able to enter his heart, until Allah decides to allow it into his heart.” Imam Abu Ja`far ibn Jareer commented, “This is a parable that Allah has given for the heart of the unbeliever which is completely impassable and closed to faith. Allah says, the example of the unbeliever’s inability to accept faith in his heart and that it is too small to accommodate it, is the example of his inability to climb up to the sky which is beyond his capability and power.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala ends the ayah by saying just as He makes the heart of whomever He decides to misguide, closed and constricted, He also appoints Shaytan for him and for his likes, those who refused to believe in Allah and His Messenger. Consequently, Shaytan lures and hinders them from the path of Allah.
This is how Allah brings damnation and disgrace upon those who do not believe. For truth, their hearts are not open while to every evil they dash. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from such a punishment, aameen.
After Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala mentioned the way of those who were themselves led to stray from His path and who hindered others from it, He emphasized the honor of the guidance and religion of truth that He sent His Messenger with.
The ayah points towards Islam, meaning that We have legislated for you by Qur’an Allah’s straight path. It is the path that the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam was on. People who have sound comprehension are the ones who understand what Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam have mentioned. Such people take benefit from the ayaat of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and for them, Allah mentions the reward in ayah 127.
For them is Paradise. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala describes Jannah as the Home of Peace because its residents are safe due to their access to the straight path which conforms to the way of the Prophets. And just as their way was not wicked, they earned the abode of peace which is free from all wickedness. In Surah Ghashiyah Ayah 11 about Jannah it was said, “Wherein they will hear no unsuitable speech.”
And Allah is their Protector, Supporter and Helper. As a reward for their good deeds, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has favored them and been generous with them, and awarded them Paradise.
– In this ayah, we learn about two types of people: one whose heart is open to Islam and other whose heart is constricted. The one whose heart has opened up he loves the word of Allah, and is welcoming to every command. On the other hand, the condition of him whose heart is constricted is such that he gets bored upon hearing the words of Allah. He does not want to listen. His heart becomes tight every time he learns something. His heart is going on, “Oh my God! Oh my God! I can’t do this. I can’t tolerate that.”
The Sahabah were an example of those chosen by Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala for guidance. Whenever they heard a command they would readily accept it. They were so convinced as adherents of Islam that any doubts that they had remained negligibly low. Their hearts were engraved with the love and reverence of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and His Messenger salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam. Their hearts had become in themselves the very standard of truth and falsehood. They would accept truth promptly and falsehood could not find entry into their hearts.
When the blessed period of Companions ended and people started distancing from the teachings of the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam doubts and scruples started finding room. Today, people seek solutions through debates, arguments and counter-argument and end up with confusion worse confounded. This is not a sound way to handle doubts as pointed out by an Indian poet, Akbar Ilahabadi,
The philosopher deep in debate cannot find God
He is untangling the string but cannot find where to begin!
– When a person is constantly concerned about his eternal abode and abstains from the world of deception then it’s a sign that such a person’s heart has been opened up by Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala for guidance. It’s not that he is anti-social but he is not attached to things which is why he finds time to act on the commands of Allah.
– The Qur’an and the path of the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam are the only true guidance. We must hold on to them to receive khair from Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala.
– People are concerned about building a house in this dunya. They will go for mortgage to own a house, and Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala tells us about a house that’s better than any house in dunya. It is the abode of peace. In the dunya, we may find the best house but sometimes the neighborhood is not good. In the Akhirah, the neighborhood for the dwellers of Jannah would be the best that a person can imagine: the righteous companions. In the dunya, sometimes people find a house in the outskirts. They are away from their family and friends. In the Hereafter, people will be near Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala Who will be their Wali. In the dunya, our house can be at a place of heavy traffic and there is absolutely no peace. The house of Hereafter, on the other hand, will have peace and serenity.
We learn a beautiful du`a through Aasiya `alayhi salaam, in Surah at-Tahreem Ayah 11: “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise.” We should make this du`a a part of our daily du`as.
– Make yourself worthy of Jannah. When a person wishes to buy a house in this world he works double shift to earn that much money. He cuts down his expenses, eats less, buys less, sleeps less and is focused on his house. We struggle so much for the temporary benefits of this fleeting world wouldn’t we work for a permanent abode? We need to “work” do some amal to get the House of Peace.
– If a person strives for Akhirah he suffers in dunya. If a person strives for dunya he suffers in the Akhirah. It’s either or!
O Allah open up our hearts to guidance, help us walk on the path of our Prophet, choose us to be the residents of Jannah and be our Wali in this world and the next, aameen.
DOWNLOAD PDF: al-Anaam Ayaat 125 – 127