How does the Heart fast?
by Shaykh Aa’id ‘Abdullâh al-Qarnî
The guidance of the heart is the basis of all guidance, the law of all success, the origin of every deed and head of every action. The Prophet saws said:
‘Truly there is a piece of flesh in the body which, if it be wholesome, the whole body will be healthy and which, and if it be diseased the whole body will be diseased. Truly it is the heart.’
Thus the goodness of your heart is the guarantee of your happiness in this world and in the hereafter. Likewise, its corruption is the surest way to destruction, the extent of which only Allah knows.
‘In this, behold, there is indeed a reminder for everyone whose heart is wide-awake – that is [everyone who] lends ear with a conscious mind’ (50:37).
Every creature has a heart. In reality though they are two hearts, a heart that is alive and pulsating with the light of faith. It is filled with intense conviction and God-consciousness. The other is a dead heart, covered and diseased with every wreckage and rubbish.
Allah Almighty says concerning the hearts of the foolish folk:
‘In their hearts is disease, and so God lets their disease increase’ (2:10).
‘But they say, “Our hearts are already full of knowledge.” Nay, but God has rejected them because of their refusal to acknowledge the truth: for, few are the things in which they believe’ (2:88).
Allah also says:
‘Will they not, then, ponder over this Quran? — or are there locks upon their hearts?’ (47:24).
‘And so they say, [as it were:] “Our hearts are veiled from whatever thou callest us to, [O Muhammad,] and in our ears is deafness”’ (41:5).
From all these verses we learn that the hearts can become ill, they can be covered, locked and they die. The enemies of Allah have hearts in their bosoms but they do not perceive with these hearts. Hence the Prophet saws used to say:
‘O dispenser of hearts make my heart firm in Your religion.’
The heart of the believer fasts during Ramadan and outside of Ramadan. The fasting of the heart is done by emptying it of all corrupt material such as destructive forms of polytheism, false beliefs, evil suggestions, filthy intentions and degenerate thoughts. The heart of the believer is adorned with the love of Allah. It knows its Lord by His names and His qualities as He has described Himself. This heart explores with a discerning eye the lines of His names and qualities and the pages of Allah’s making in the universe and the books of His creations.