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  • Writer's pictureRaghad Bushnaq

The Qyam of the Heart

We have embarked upon this great annual journey of the holy month of Ramadan. In this journey, we progress inwardly through worship, which intensifies as the month moves on, reflecting the intensified holiness of the last 10 days and Laylatul Qader while the hearts increase softness, sensitivity, and sense of attentiveness to the nourishment of ibada that is offering us. In this season, we learn the necessity of particular brokenness.

Ramadan confiscates our usual pleasures, treats, and bad grazing habits and puts us in a different and challenging atmosphere as if the angels are watching and wondering whether we’re going to live up to the invitation that the month represents? or will we just mess around? Will we just fake it? Will we just somehow block far away through the month, and then a day or two after the Eid, the benefits are gone completely? or will we actually use it?

The Key virtue to the state of the heart and the disposition of the soul is how to be in the condition of confiscation of all bad habits and come broken to Allah. It’s the idea of a certain humility, as scholars explain, like lowering the head, awareness, vulnerability, and honest thought to accept that Allah alone is great. This is the virtue often associated in the Quran with the qualities of salat and saber, and it is called in Arabic the virtue of khushu’

{واستعينوا بالصبر و الصلاة و إنها لكبيرة الا على الخاشعين} البقرة ٤٥

{Seek help in prayer & patience, and it’s difficult for people except those who have khushu’} 2:45

Fasting is closely related to saber. Saber indeed is the key virtue you need to seek in Ramadan. Those patients abstain from all usual indulgences and maintain other active devotion.

First of all, we are asked to find help in prayer and in saber, then we were told that is it is difficult except for the people of khushu’. In other words, we seek help from the principle of khushu’ to the extent that the heart is humbled and inwardly reflects the outward humbling of the body. It can open up to the reality of Ramadan, open up to the reality of the divine name Alqareeb.

{و إذا سألك عبادي عني فإني قريب أجيب دعوة الداعِ إذا دعان} البقرة ١٨٦

{when my servants ask concerning me, I am near} 2:186

And the whole journey of faith is the realization of the divine closeness; it’s not traveling to the divine presence; instead, it’s an unveiling of the divine presence, which is something that has no geographical or temporal location because it’s too near to us. It’s closer than the jugular vein.

The quality of khushu’ turns out to be the prime virtue that will enable Ramadan for us and turn it from being an outward practice surrounded by charming features of inherited cultures into a contemplative exercise.

What is the quality of this khushu’?

one of the great scholars defined it as

تذلل القلوب لعلام الغيوب

the humbling of the heart to the knower of the unseen

This means that a person knows that Allah sees all his worships and intentions and Ramadan practices.

It means that the person doesn’t leave the mosque in a sense of self-satisfaction for performing 20 rakaa rather than leaving Taraweeh in the state of Istighfa and hopefulness. That only comes through khushu’, through brokenness and humility.

This status is sweet because it is the precondition to experience the nearness of the One who’s all perfection and all healing.

We should be fully engaged in scrutinizing the state of the heart at the beginning of the prayer: do I really mean it when I say, Allah Akbar? Then examine the heart; when prayer is over: What is the emotional experience of the qunoot by the end of the witer?

This khushu’ is about not distracted or looking around.

The Khushu’ is called the upholding of the heart, which we confuse with the upholding of the body. It is the heart standing before Allah in His presence with a unified concern, which means minimizing the number of intentions and actions we have.

The munafiq has dozens of intentions, most of which he doesn’t even deserve; the believer has one intention: to please the One who alone is the meaningful judge.

Khushu’ is measurable when we consider to which extent our concerns are focused. Are we thinking only about Quran? About the quality of the sujoud? About a meticulous adherence to the perfect form of the chosen one rather than surrendering to any kind of innovated personal preference?

Brokenness is the submission of human beings to Allah. Arrogance is the refusal to bow down to the rouh in Adam.

{و من آياته أنك ترى الأرض خاشعة فإذا أنزلنا عليها الماء اهتزت و ربت} فصلت ٣٩

{And of Allah’s signs, you see the earth in the state of khushu,’ and when we send down upon it the rain, it thrills and grows.} 41:39

In a sense, we must be like the earth in the state of potential fertile receptivity; grace comes from the Creator; we can’t make the rainfall. We may have extraordinary moments to transform our lives. If we are giving this month its rights, we will harvest many gifts and richness bestowed at this time. Still, we must be empty, broken, and receptive, which is the meaning of Islam itself, receptivity, submission, and acceptance. So, we ask Allah as we venture into this holy time to make full use of it. We don’t waste a second when the distractions to the world become less attractive. There’s more focus on the unified contemplative concern so that we remember only the one in the multiplicity.

There is no distraction by anything at all but focus only on Allah Al-Wahid Al-Qahhar, the one the overwhelming.

May Allah accept our fasting, prayers, intentions, and goodness to our family, neighbors, and community to invert prosperity for ourselves and the entire umma.

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