Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body, if it becomes good (i.e., reformed), the whole body becomes good, but if it gets spoilt, the whole body gets spoilt, and that is the heart. [Bukhari]
Compiled by Shaykh Dr Seventy-Six (HA)
Physician (MD,Internal medicine), Spiritual seeker, Antiquarian of Islamic manuscripts.
Summarising the Problem:
Dr Bruce Hubbard (PhD) Conceptualises the problem as follows:
Worry is an anxious preoccupation with an anticipated negative event. Over the course of evolution, worry helped us adapt by directing awareness to true problems that once identified can be effectively addressed. In this way worry is effective in managing challenges of your everyday life.
For some people, this process breaks down. Their minds become trapped in a endless process of “figuring it out.” They are plagued by thoughts and images of disastrous outcomes that in reality may never come to be. Worriers are particularly challenged by problems that have no clear solution. Instead of accepting and managing these difficult realities, they are viewed as evidence of the futility of even trying to work things out.
Obsessive Thinking Unhealthy worry is part of a broader problem called obsessive thinking. Obsessive thinking is an inability to gain control over recurrent, distressing thoughts, images. These thoughts and images are embedded in a complex network of feelings, sensations, and at times, behavioral rituals and routines.
Obsessive worry is focused on future outcomes. Rumination, another form of obsessive thinking, is the uncontrollable preoccupation with the past. Rumination is experienced as guilt, regret and anger, over perceived mistakes, losses, slights, actions taken or not taken, opportunities forever lost, with irreversible, catastrophic results.
And Islam says?
Do you suffer from any of these or recognise someone who does?
Modern Psychology proposes to address the thought pattern of such a patient but the Prophet of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) offers a different diagnosis summarised in the following beautiful Hadeeth:
أَلاَ وَإِنَّ فِي الْجَسَدِ مُضْغَةً إِذَا صَلَحَتْ صَلَحَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ، وَإِذَا فَسَدَتْ فَسَدَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ. أَلاَ وَهِيَ الْقَلْبُ
Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.
Join us on an epic journey to explore, decode and ultimately control your (obsessive, runaway) mind by focusing your heart!
Wuqoof e Qalbi (Vigilance of the Heart):
Band sheeshon ke pare dekh.. Dariche ke udhar..
Sabz pedon pe.. ghani shaakhon pe.., Phoolon pe.. vahaan,
Kaise chupchaap barasta hai musalsal pani..
Kitni aawaazein hain..,Ye log hain.., Ye baatein hain..,
Magar zehan ke peeche.. kisi aur hi sateh pe kahin..
Jaise chupchaap barasta hai tasavvur tera....
Look through the closed glass.. across the window..
Over the lush green trees.. on thick branches.. flowers..over there
How silently it showers.. on and on..
So much noise.. These people.. Their talk..
But in the back drop of mind.. somewhere..
on a different level altogather..
showers silently your thoughts…
Identification with one's mind,which causes thought to become compulsive,not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction.but we do not realize it, because almost every body is suffering from it.so it is considered normal.
The incessant mental noise prevents us from finding the true realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.It also creates a false "mind made self" that casts a shadow of fear and suffering.
Thinking has become a disease.Disease happens when things get out of balance.For example, there is nothing wrong with the cells dividing and multiplying in the body,but when this process continues in disregard of the total organism,cells proliferate and we have cancer.
The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly.Used wrongly,however,it becomes very destructive.To put it more accurately,it is not so much that we use our mind wrongly - we usually do not use it at all.It uses us.
This is the disease.The instrument has taken us over.The mind uses us,We have falsely identified ourselves with it,so we don,t even know we are its slaves,almost as if we are possessed with out knowing it,and we take the possessing entity to be ourselves.
When someone goes to the doctor and says "i hear a voice in my head" he or she would be most likely send to a psychiatrist.The fact is,that in a very similar way,virtually everyone hears a voice or several voices,in their head all the time,the involuntary thought process continues in our minds non stop.
The voices comments,speculates,judges,compares,complains,like s,dislikes and so on..., some times associated with visual images (mental movies).
Is it harmful ? Yes.This the biggest obstacle between us and the realization Of Allah (SWT).unless we learn how to control our thoughts,we can't learn to turn our mind to our creator.
How impossible this demand seems to have "Perfect "concentration in salah for five minutes while our mind is used to free thinking for the rest of the day and night.How many of our "Sins" are just related to our uncontrolled thought process.
We look at opposite sex because we cannot control our mind, we hate because our emotions (an interplay between mind and body) takes over,We indulge in false delusions of grandiosity because our mind plays it that way for us.
If one calculates, very few of us has the real chance of a physical sin, most of our sins are imaginary.
Sufia,may Allah bless them,after realizing this problem,developed many methods for the control of mind.
One such method is Wuqoof e Qalbi.
The basic idea behind Wuqoof e Qalbi is this: Qalb occupies the same significance in our body as "ARSH" in Alam e Akbar, so when one concentrates on his/her Qalb,fuyuzat from Arsh,starts pouring on Qalb. even if one has not intended it,this gradually brings the "monkey mind" under control.
"Try to focus your mind on your Qalb,gradually empty your mind from all thoughts, and remain in this state for as long as you comfortably can.The success is in regularity and not on the length of time spend".
So the single most vital step on our journey to peace of mind is this: Learn to create a gape in the uncontrolled flow of thinking process,every time you create a gape in the stream of thought,the light of your consciousness grow stronger.
Shaykh Dr (Mufti) Kamaldduin Ahmed (HA) on Wuqoof e Qalbi (Vigilance of the Heart):
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Wuqoof-e-Qalbi means to remember Allah all the time. This word, “Wuqoof” comes from the word “waqf” which means “To Pause”.
So, Wuqoof-e-Qalbi means to pause your heart; to maintain your heart; to still-stop your heart on the remembrance of Allah swt – to not let your heart deviate; to not let your heart go astray into the thoughts of ghairullah (anyone other than Allah swt) but to pause your heart on the remembrance of Allah swt.
Allah (SWT) has Given us this ability that if we want to, we can keep something in our heart at all times – we can keep a thought running in our background at all times, for example:
1 If someone’s wife tells him to go get vegetables from the market, and he goes to the market but on the way he finds a friend so he stops on the way and starts talking with his friend – but all the time he remembers that my original purpose to get out of the house was to get the vegetables.
He won’t forget that he has to get the vegetables, when he leaves his friend he will go get the vegetables. This shows that Allah swt ability to do two things at once – on one hand he was talking to his friend and inside his heart he was thinking that he has to get the vegetables.
2 Just like that when a student has any exam coming up -whether its a madressa exam or college exam – when the exam is one week away, that student is in an examination-mode! Every second of the day he knows that his exam is coming up; that his examination is looming on top of him – he might be stopping to eat something; drink something; he might be driving on the way to the library – but every second he knows that I have this exam coming up. So, this means that a person has this ability to process something at the background.
Just like in a computer, you have windows. Windows is the operating system, it is always running at the background no matter what programs you put over it windows never stops functioning its always there in the background – just like that a true believer in his heart always remembers Allah swt. No matter what he is doing, he has a cord attached from his heart to Allah swt
This is why our Mashaikh say that that moment in which a person forgets Allah swt it is as if he is a kaafir! Because if you open up his heart – its empty and if you open up the heart of a kaafir, its also empty(of the remembrance of Allah swt). So, the only difference between us and a kaafir is of the remembrance of Allah swt.
Now, how to do this Wuqoof-e-Qalbi? How can we practically focus our heart on Allah swt?
To do Wuqoof-e-Qalbi means that you focus your attention on your heart and then you focus your heart on Allah (SWT). So, the first thing is that you have to be aware that you have this heart inside of you, untill you know the importance of the heart, you will even forget that you have a heart inside of you. So many ayahs of Qur’an-e-Karim and Ahadith instill the importance of our heart, so if you know that you have this valuable precious thing inside of you then you should focus your attention on your heart through out the day and then focus your heart on Allah (SWT).
And, the way to do this is to think about Allah (SWT) at all times. This Dhikr-e-Kaseer; this 24-hour Dhikr, it just means to think about Allah swt; to remember Allah swt at all times.
Anything that comes in front of you through out the day, anything that you do – you have to make it a means of remembering Allah (SWT)
E.g. If you’re doing something with your family, then while you are with your family look at them and view them as a blessing of Allah swt and immediately that will lead you to remember Allah swt
Everything that you do you have to seek a means of making it a way for you to think about Allah swt. We are exactly the opposite.
- If we sit in the Masjid, we find some means to think about the Dunya; if we are standing in Salah, some way our Nafs finds something to think about the world; If we are reading our Qur’an, our Nafs finds someway to make us think about the world.
So, just like the Dunya is so overpowering on us that we are always thinking about it – Wuqoof-e-Qalbi means that you have to make Allah swt overpowering in your life. You have to bring Allah (SWT) back into your life. You have to reconcile that distant Lord. You have to stay away from those things that keep you from Allah swt – so through out the day, each and every thing that comes in front of you, you should use it as a means to think about Allah swt.
One of the things that the Mashaikh prescribe to assist you in this is that for everything you do, you must form a Niyyah; an intention. For E.g.
1 You should memorize all the Sunnah duas for each and every action – the Duas before eating; the Duas after eating, the Dua before entering the Masjid; the Dua before leaving the Masjid, the Duas before sleeping
2 In addition to that, before performing any action you should make a Niyyah in your heart. Link every action you do to Allah (SWT)
For e.g. When you recite the dua before eating – Bismillahi wa ‘ala barakatillah. At the same time, link that act of eating to Allah swt, and make this intention that, ‘O Allah swt! I’m eating this food with the intention that I will get enough strength from this food; I will get enough nourishment from this food so that i can use this strength and nourishment in Your ibadah; in Your worship; in Your Dhikr; in Your remembrance.
So, each and everything you do, while you recite the Sunnah Dua that is affiliated with that action, you can alongside make a niyyah that somehow joins that action to Allah swt.
3 When you sleep and recite the Sunnah dua before sleeping, “Allahumma bismika amootu wa ahya”; at the same time make a niyyat, link that act of sleeping back to Allah (SWT). Say that, ‘O my Allah (SWT) ! I lay myself down to sleep, so that I may get enough rest from sleeping so that I may rise fresh in Your ibadat, so that I may rise for Tahajjud; so that I can remember you at these special times.
So, each and everything in your life, whether it is a worldly thing or a religious thing – you should make an intention for it and link that intention back to Allah swt.
And this will be a test for you that anything that you cannot make an intention; anything in your life that you cannot link to Allah (SWT) – know that it has some level of sin; that thing has some level of ghaflah; that thing is somehow keeping you away from Allah (SWT).
Because through the best of your ability, you cannot link it to Allah (SWT), it means that that thing is clearly a ghairullah; that thing is other than Allah (SWT) ; that thing will make you distant from Allah (SWT) ; that thing will distract you from Allah (SWT). So, each and every thing in your life, you have to link it to Allah (SWT).
Another way to do Wuqoof-e-qalbi: Think your heart is saying Allah Allah Allah
Another way of doing Wuqoof-e-qalbi is to actually think that your heart is saying Allah Allah Allah. This is when you have free moments of time, for example:
- Many of us, when we sit on a bus, we have no books with us; we have nothing to do! we just sit for one hour on that bus. So, normally what a person does is that he processes different thoughts – he starts thinking about different things or sometimes he just goes blank; he just goes empty, he doesn’t think about anything for one hour – he wedges out (What we call in English slang)
We should make use of that time – spend that time in wuqoof-e-qalbi; maybe it is too awkward in front of the people sitting in the bus to actually do Muraqaba(silent remembrance and reflection of the heart) but at least while sitting there just think about Allah swt -
Think anyway you can about Allah swt- the doors of Ijtihaad are open to you in wuqoof-e-qalbi. You can make better intentions than the one I gave you – you can link each and every action in better and better ways each and every day with Allah swt.
You can find newer ways to think of Allah swt, for example:
Just look up at the sky, its vastness, and think ‘O my Lord! You are even vaster than this!’
Look up at the stars and think, O Allah swt! Forgive me for my sins which maybe greater than the stars
You can look at the stars and think, O Allah swt! I praise You as much as there are stars in the sky
You can look at the sand and beaches and think, O Allah swt! I love You more than there are grains of sand in the beaches
Just like a lover thinks about his beloved at all times; a true believer thinks about his Beloved Allah swt at all times!
Just find new and new ways to remember Allah (SWT); just like when a young man falls in worldly love with a strange women, he thinks about her at all times in strange ways – he is thinking about her everyday; he never tires of thinking about her. Just like that, a true believer is in love with Allah (SWT)
وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ
[Surah Baqarah; 2:165]
That know that the characteristics of believers is that they are crazy mad about their Lord! – they adore Allah (SWT); they are in love with Allah (SWT)!
What is the requirement of love? that you think about your beloved at all times.
Use your own creativity; use your own ingenuity; think carefully – try and try to think about Allah (SWT) in more and more different ways; to remember Allah (SWT) in more and more different ways. This is all that it means by Wuqoof-e-qalbi – think about Allah (SWT) at any moment that you can and make sure you don’t forget Allah (SWT) at any moment in time!
Why? because Allah (SWT)’s Wujood/His Presence is so Great and on top of that He Gives us His Proximity; His Qurb; His Ma’yyiyat; His Closeness to us! How can we forget Allah swt? How undeserving will we be? How deceitful will we be?
وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ
it means that they did not truly fulfill the rights of Allah (SWT) as they were supposed to. So, one meaning is this that (it befits Him that) you should’ve been thinking about Him at all times!
Benefits of Wuqoof e Qalbi (Vigilance of the Heart):
1 It will improve our Salah because if a person comes on the Musallah to pray Salah and says his Takbir-e-tehrima (Allahu akbar) and if all day he was forgetful of Allah (SWT) then just by doing this, he has to do 100% of the work.
But if, throughout the day, he remembered Allah (SWT) – if he remembered Allah (SWT) 20% of the day, then he has to do 80% of the work, if he remembered Allah (SWT) 50% of the time, now he has to do only 50% of the work and if he remembered Allah (SWT) all day long then now when he comes for his Salah, its very easy for him to concentrate in Salah or it will be very easy for him to focus in Muraqabah;
its very easy for him to detach himself from the dunya and reflect on Allah (SWT) because while he was in the dunya, he kept himself attached to Allah (SWT) by way of wuqoof-e-qalbi.
2 It gives you a (real) perspective on the dunya because once you detach yourself from the dunya; once you disengage yourself from the dunya, the reality of the dunya will open up in front of you – when you sit and you do wuqoof-e-qalbi in a gathering; when you remember Allah (SWT) in a gathering then the nature of that gathering will be opened up in front of you.
E.g. A person who stop watching T.V. and leaves T.V. for 10 years, then when he walks into a house and sees people watching T.V., the scene looks so strange to him. He looks at these people; he looks at these pictures on the screen and thinks what are these people doing watching this screen. But, that person who regularly watches T.V., it seems like something normal to him.
Why? Because the reality of that act; the reality of the ghaflat and heedlessness of the act is unveiled infront of that person who remembers Allah swt. So, the more you remember Allah (SWT), the reality of your dunya will be exposed to you and then you will be able to detach yourself from the dunya. Unless you attach yourself to Allah (SWT), you wont be able to detach yourself from the dunya.
3 It becomes very difficult to sin because normally when a person sins, he sins in a state of forgetfulness. If you ask any young man who committed a sin, that at the moment when you were sinning , were you remembering Allah (SWT) ? He’d say at that time I wasn’t remembering Allah (SWT), I even forgot that I was even a Muslim! I had no recollection of Allah (SWT); I even forgot Rasoolullah (saw); I even forgot that I am someone who has read the Kalima.
I was so absorbed/intoxicated/lost/drunken in my sin. But, a person who remembers Allah (SWT) throughout the day, when he is in a state of remembrance, it is very difficult to commit a sin because at that time you are attached to Allah (SWT); how can you be attached to Allah (SWT) and commit a sin at the same time?
Either you’ll have to break that attachment or you’ll have to break off that sin. So, those of us who want to leave our sins, an easy way to do that is to do wuqoof-e-qalbi; is to increase in pausing your heart in the perpetual remembrance of Allah (SWT).
Shaikh Zulfiqar Naqshbandi (HA) on Wuqoof e Qalbi (Vigilance of the Heart):
Question 2: What exactly is Wuquf-e-Qalbi and should one’s heart resound with the Name of Allah subhanahu wa'tala or not?
No, one’s heart does not have to repeat the Name of Allah subhanahu wa'tala but one should be conscious toward Allah subhanahu wa'tala and His Omniscience. For example, two brothers leave the house in the morning; Brother A to his office and Brother B for an important court date in which he is the defendant.
Despite carrying on with his work load at the office, Brother A will be preoccupied with thoughts of his brother and the process and outcome of the court case. He checks his mail in the morning, interacts with whoever he needs to in the office, but his thoughts are elsewhere. When the two brothers meet at the end of the day, Brother A says that Brother B was in his heart and mind all day.
In exactly the same way, the believer takes care of his worldly duties throughout the day but his heart and mind remain connected with Allah subhanahu wa'tala. The lover thinks of his beloved not just one time during the day, but hundreds of times during the day.
In the same way, the believer will be preoccupied with thoughts of Allah subhanahu wa'tala if love for Allah subhanahu wa'tala enters the heart. Focusing the heart and mind upon Allah subhanahu wa'tala throughout the day is called Wuquf-e-Qalbi.
Shaikh Dr (Maulana) Husain Abdul Sattar (HA)Husain Abdul Sattar (HA) on Wuqoof e Qalbi (Vigilance of the Heart):