Editor’s note: Imam Abdullah El-Amin is a prominent Detroit-area imam and is a TMO columnist. His opinions are his own.
“None of you truly believes until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”
“There is a morsel of flesh where if it be whole, the entire body is whole: and if it be diseased, the entire body is diseased. Surely it is the heart.” Saying of Prophet Muhammad
The above “symbolic heart” clearly shows that our goodness should guide our intellect. If you are smart as a whip, but have no morals, you are no good to society. And if you don’t wish goodness on your brother or sister, your belief comes into question. Those words have a deep and profound meaning as they relate to the way the sons and daughters of Adam (human beings) are supposed to behave. Prophet Isa ibn Maryam said the same thing in the Injeel when he said, “Love your brother as yourself.”
When we are embarking upon an action on another human being, the first question we should ask ourselves is “How would I want to be treated in this same circumstance?” The way to get the best answer is to first have a purification of your heart. You must start with a clean heart and with the best of intentions.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of the heart in guiding the rest of our existence on a peaceful, progressive journey. Intelligence is second – the heart is first. As I said last week, the heart is what allows us to “talk” to each other in a non-verbal way. Our hearts communicate with truths that cannot be denied.
So how do we insure that our hearts maintain a level of compassion and love?
1. First we must make an appointment with the Almighty giver of peace, ALLAH. When we are spiritually ailing, ALLAH is ready and willing to help us. He has promised to renew us when we ask and submit our wills to His will.
2. Number two; we must examine our hearts frequently. We must keep a check on our intentions. It is possible to feel that we are living normal, healthy lives when in reality we may have physical problems we are unaware of. It is the same with our spiritual well being. We should regularly examine the state of our own hearts in relation to others and our Creator. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I recognized someone in need? How did I react to them? How do I react when I know someone is hurting and in need?”
3. We must keep positive habits about ourselves. Look first to change yourself instead of trying to change someone else. You can do this in simple ways such as: greeting your neighbors with a smile, looking people in the eye, listening carefully when they speak. Instead of turning inward, make a conscious decision to look outward. Consistently imagine yourself in others’ situations, and you will soon learn what being compassionate is all about.
4. Keep yourself physically healthy. If your heart is in good shape physically, you will be able to concentrate on the spiritual aspects of it. You will be able to practice generosity and discover the joy of giving. Instead of waiting for those in need to come to you, keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to search for them. Find new ways to help. Seek out service programs at the Masjid that you are interested in. One of those programs just might be what you need to give your heart a needed workout – and the Masjid will benefit by positive growth.
This is how we can enhance what ALLAH has provided us with to make His world a better place for all who live here. There is hope for weary, apathetic hearts. Think to make your intentions pure and then act on that purity. It will elevate you as well as your brother. If you want it for yourself – make sure he gets it too.