Let's Uncover the Five Hidden Dangers Corrupting Our Hearts and Learn Practical Steps to Strengthen Our Connection with Allah (SWT).

Below is a partial transcription of an audio lecture by Shaykh Abu Adnan, Principal of Al-Badr Islamic Institute in Chester Hill and Khateeb at Masjid Imam Ahmad in Liverpool, Sydney. It includes personal reflections by the author. Here is the link to the audio 'Corrupters of the Heart':"

“There is inside our body a morsel, if it is to be corrected, then the whole body is corrected, and if it is corrupted, then whole body is corrupted, and that is the heart.” Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 2, Hadith 49

This hadith is often quoted to emphasize the profound importance of the heart. Think of the heart as a king, with the limbs as its soldiers, obediently following its commands. When people distance themselves from Allah (SWT), their hearts harden, becoming like stones.

ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُم مِّنۢ بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ فَهِىَ كَٱلْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً وَإِنَّ مِنَ ٱلْحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنْهُ ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ ٱلْمَآءُ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَهْبِطُ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

“Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:74)

Imam Ibn Qayyim (RA) identifies five major factors that corrupt our heart. By recognizing and addressing these factors, we can strive to soften our hearts and connect deeply with Allah (SWT). The following are five evils that prevent our hearts from being righteous and hinder our connection with Allah (SWT):

1. Overindulgence in Social Interactions

We often find ourselves spending a considerable amount of time chatting with friends or relatives, whether in person or virtually on social media platforms or telephonically. This time, which could be devoted to Dhikr (remembrance of Allah), is often wasted in idle conversation.

We may unknowingly fall into the traps of gheebah (backbiting), slander, and other vices. We might even find ourselves visiting places or engaging in activities that displease Allah (SWT).

To safeguard our hearts and souls, it’s crucial to choose our friends wisely. Surround ourselves with those who encourage us to prepare for the Hereafter, who remind us of Allah (SWT), and who steer us away from evil. The Quran addresses the effects of evil friends in several verses, emphasizing the dangers of associating with those who lead others astray.

"And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, 'Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.'" Surah Al-Furqan (Chapter 25), Ayah 27-29

Abu Talib, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, was on his deathbed, and the Prophet ﷺ was eager for him to embrace Islam. Prophet ﷺ pleaded with Abu Talib to say the Shahada.

However, Abu Talib was surrounded by his influential friends from the Quraysh, including Abu Jahl and Abdullah ibn Abi Umayyah. They pressured Abu Talib to remain loyal to the religion of his ancestors, saying, 'Will you abandon the religion of Abdul Muttalib?'

Despite the Prophet’s continuous urging, Abu Talib, died without professing the Shahada. Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 39

This incident illustrates the impact of evil friends and their influence on a person's decisions. In Abu Talib’s case, his companions negative influence led him away from accepting Islam, demonstrating how evil friends can negatively influence us, especially in critical moments.

How we can do it?

  1. Set Boundaries on Social Media: Limit the time on social media platforms. Use apps or settings on phone to track and restrict usage. Unfollow or mute accounts that post content leading us towards idle talk or sinful activities.
  2. Limit Idle Talk: Be conscious of the time spent in idle chatter and try to redirect conversations to more meaningful topics.
  3. Evaluate Friendships: Periodically assess friendships to ensure they are beneficial and spiritually uplifting. Distance from relationships that consistently lead towards sinful activities.
  4. Reflect on Conversations: Be mindful of the topics discuss with friends and relatives. Steer conversations away from gossip, backbiting, and slander. Encourage discussions about beneficial knowledge and positive actions.

2. Wishful Thinking

The second corrupter of heart is the wishful thinking. As human beings, we have an endless list of wants and desires that we pursue until we die. In contrast, we often neglect our longing for the afterlife, assuming we will succeed based on false wishes without taking any actions to achieve it.

For instance- ignorant people who wish to become billionaires by investing only a few dollars in gambling are deceived by their own false hopes. Wishful thinkers often end up bankrupt. In contrast, a Muslim is an achiever who sets clear targets and takes action to achieve them. A believer always puts their tawakkul (trust) in Allah (swt). As Muslims, we have something unique in this world ie reliance on Allah (SWT) and qadr (faith in our destiny). For instance we hope to be in jannah (paradise) and to achieve that we do good deeds and actions as commanded by Allah (swt).

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “If the son of Adam had two valleys of money, he would wish for a third, for nothing can fill the belly of Adam’s son except dust. And Allah forgives him who repents to Him.” Sahih al-Bukhari 6436 (Book 81, Hadith 25)

This indicates that human desire for wealth is insatiable, and true satisfaction comes only from turning to Allah (SWT) and seeking His forgiveness. Excessive attachment to material possessions corrupts the heart by fostering greed and envy, leading to neglect of commandments of Allah (SWT). This fixation on worldly gains diverts attention from the remembrance of Allah (SWT) and the pursuit of righteousness.

How we can do it?

  1. Limit Material Pursuits: Set boundaries on spending and avoid impulse buying. Create a budget that prioritizes necessities and savings over luxury items. Before making a purchase, ask ourselves if it is truly necessary?
  2. Set Jannah as our ultimate goal: Reflect on the transient nature of worldly life and the eternal significance of the Hereafter. Recite and contemplate the Quranic verses that emphasize the importance of hereafter- Surah Al-Baqarah (2:201), Surah Al-Baqarah (2:281), Surah Al-Imran (3:185), Surah Al-An'am (6:32), Surah Yunus (10:7-8), Surah Al-Hadid (57:20) etc.
  3. Practice Gratitude: Daily thankfulness can shift our focus from what we lack to the blessings we already possess. Keep a gratitude journal and write down at least three things we are thankful for each day. Alhamdullilah- This simple yet powerful phrase can be used frequently to express gratitude to Allah (SWT) for all His blessings.

3. Over Attachment to Others Beside Allah (swt)

The third corrupter of the heart is attaching one's heart to anything other than Allah (SWT). Sometimes we become deeply attached to our parents, spouses, children, and other loved ones. When something happens to them, it feels as if our world has shattered. However, in a Muslim's life, this should not be the case because it is Allah (swt) who gives and takes away.

While it is natural to love and care for our family and friends, we must remember that our ultimate reliance and attachment should be to Allah (swt). He is the one who controls all things, and our trust should be in His wisdom and plan.

Similarly, many of us become attached to worldly things like wealth, lifestyle, and business. As Muslims, we should avoid excessive attachment to these worldly matters. Wealth, lifestyle, and business are temporary and should not become the centre of our lives. A Muslim should prioritize their relationship with Allah (swt) and the Hereafter over these transient worldly matters.

A believers heart should be attached solely to pleasing Allah (SWT), not to any person or possession. Our actions should reflect our faith and commitment to Allah, as He is the ultimate provider and sustainer.

The Prophet Muhammad  said, 'Whoever loves for Allah and hates for Allah, and gives for Allah and withholds for Allah, will have perfected their faith.' Sunan Abi Dawud 4681 (Book 42, Hadith 86)

This highlights that our attachments and actions should be for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone.

How we can do it?

  1. Read Stories of the Prophets and Righteous People: Learn about how they maintained their attachment to Allah (SWT) despite facing various trials and hardships.
  2. Practice Sincerity (Ikhlas) in our Actions: Before performing any action, ensure that our actions are for the sake of pleasing Allah (SWT) and not for seeking approval from others.
  3. Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah): Engage in regular Dhikr to keep Allah (SWT) in our thoughts. Simple phrases like 'SubhanAllah,' 'Alhamdulillah,' and 'Allahu Akbar' can be repeated throughout the day.

4. Overeating and the type of food we consume (halah or haram)

The fourth corrupter of the heart is the overeating and consumption of unlawful (haram) food. We must be vigilant about what we eat, whether it is Halal or Haram and whether it comes from permissible or forbidden means. Feeding ourselves and our families with earnings from Haram sources will lead to a lack of Barakah (blessing) in our lives and invite the wrath of Allah (swt).

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُلُوا۟ مِن طَيِّبَـٰتِ مَا رَزَقْنَـٰكُمْ وَٱشْكُرُوا۟ لِلَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

'O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.' Surah Al-Baqarah (2:172)

The significance of consuming Halal food is emphasized, consuming Haram food or earning through forbidden means not only deprives us of Allah's blessings but also corrupts our hearts and bodies.

Additionally, moderation in eating is crucial. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few morsels to keep him alive. If he must fill it, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for air.” Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Book 36, Hadith 2380

Leave the table when you still feel slightly hungry, and drink one or two glasses of water. We should eat to live, not live to eat.

How we can do it?

  1. Avoid Forbidden Means: Ensure that our income comes from Halah (permissible) sources. Avoid jobs or business practices that involve Riba (interest), gambling, or deceit. Choose employment that aligns with our ethics and values.
  2. Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overeating. Remember the hadith about filling one-third of the stomach with food, one-third with drink, and leaving one-third for air.
  3. Avoid Wastefulness: Plan our meals and grocery shopping to avoid buying excess food that might go to waste. Make an effort to use leftovers creatively to prevent waste.
  4. Make Dua for Halal Sustenance: Regularly ask Allah (SWT) to provide us with Halal sustenance and to keep us away from Haram.

5. Excessive Sleeping

The fifth corrupter of the heart is excessive sleeping. Overeating often leads to oversleeping, Proper sleep is essential for health, but excessive sleep can lead to laziness and neglect of duties. Managing sleep effectively allows us to remain active and engaged in Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and learning.

Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA), the second Caliph of Islam, was known for his immense dedication to his responsibilities. It is narrated that he would sleep very little, spending his nights in prayer and his days in serving the people. His commitment was so intense that he would sometimes collapse from exhaustion. This narration about Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) sleeping less to the extent that he used to collapse reflects his dedication and tireless efforts in serving the community and maintaining his personal piety.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The best of prayers with Allah is the prayer of Dawood (David) and the best of fasts with Allah is the fast of Dawood. He used to sleep half the night, stand (in prayer) for one-third of it, and sleep for a sixth of it, and he used to fast every other day.” Sahih Muslim, Book 6, Hadith 2612. This illustrates the balance between rest and worship, showing that while sleep is necessary, it should not overtake our commitment to Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and good deeds.

How we can do it?

  1. Set Regular Sleep Hours: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, ensuring we get sufficient sleep without oversleeping. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night, which is generally considered adequate for most adults.
  2. Set Early Morning Routine: Make it a habit to wake up early for Fajr prayer. Utilize the early hours for Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and recitation of the Quran. Use the early morning to plan and organize our day, setting goals for both spiritual and worldly activities.
  3. Reduce Screen Time: Avoid using electronic devices late at night, as they can interfere with our sleep cycle. Wind down with calming activities like reading the Quran or making Dua before bed to promote better sleep.
  4. Follow Natural Rhythms: Align our activities with natural daylight hours, using the day for productivity and the night for rest.

And Allah Knows the Best.

Alima Ahmad

Alima Ahmad is a dedicated writer and advocate for change, with a focus on Islamic teachings and community welfare. Alima holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi) and has worked with various philanthropic organizations. As a professional social worker, passionate author, and creative writer, Alima has made significant contributions to literature and social advocacy. She has authored children’s books such as 'Islamic Quiz Book' (IBS, Delhi) and 'Colors of My Dua' (IIPH, Riyadh). She is committed to fostering positive change within the community through insightful and thought-provoking articles. Her creative writings have appeared on platforms like Muslimmatters, Islamonweb, Hiba, Aaila, and Times of India (Delhi). Recently, two of her articles were published on Muslim Matters and Islamonweb. Links to the articles: Emotional Self-Healing: Lessons From The Quran And Sunnah and The Promise of Playful Parenting: Islamic Teachings Ihsan . Alima can be reached at [email protected].

  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Highlights
  Topics: Allah, Quran

Related Suggestions

The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.