In this article I am going to talk about how to heal our hearts with the Quran.
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ says in the Holy Qur’an,
وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۙ
And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers.Qur’an 17:82
From this we know the Holy Qur’an was sent as a cure and mercy for all believers. It has a cure for every disease, for every ailment.
But what I wanted to speak about today in particular is how the Qur’an can heal our heart from spiritual diseases. It’s important to talk about this because in this day and age we are living lives of greater of luxury and affluence than ever before. Yet we are lacking that inner peace with so much unrest in all of us.
The reason is that many of us are suffering from spiritual diseases in our hearts. Diseases like doubts about Allah and His deen. We don’t feel the sweetness of the Qur’an whilst reciting it because our hearts have been hardened. We don’t feel the khushoo in our prayers and feel weakness in our eeman. There’s so much love for dunya, with so many people living in confusion and doubts about the deen, doubts about themselves. People are confused about their lives and their identities. All of these spiritual diseases which don’t let us connect with Allah and His book.
But the thing is if we don’t truly know Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ, our Creator, then how can we truly know our purpose in this world?
Because the only way to know ourselves and our purpose in this world is to know Allah first. And the way to know Allah is through His book, the Holy Qur’an.
This is the reason we need to realise that Qur’an is like a medicine that we need to take every single day. We might not be in the mood to recite the Qur’an but we need to do it anyway. Just like we don’t go a day without eating food. similarly we cannot go a day without reciting the Quran. Not just reciting but pondering over it as well.
When Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen was asked about is there any verse in the Quran about medicine, he said whole of the Qur’an is medicine.
We are never going to feel that true inner peace, that strength and stability in life until we hold firmly to the Qur’an in our lives.
So what can we do to connect with Qur’an?
Below I give some methods and suggestions in how to connect with the Qur’an:
Practical methods to use the Quran in order to heal your heart:
These are some short term methods we can use to help start building our relationship with the Qur’an but nevertheless beneficial إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللّٰهُ :
1. It is recommended to take wudhu before reciting especially if you’re going to be touching the mushaf.
2. Seek refuge with Allah from shaytan. You’re asking Allah to help you to keep shaytan from coming between you and the words of Allah when reciting. This gets you into the right mindset.
3. Speaking of mindset, it is very important. When we have that different mindset towards the Qur’an, that is what makes a huge difference in the overall effect we get when we recite the Qur’an. We need to focus on the One who is speaking to us through the words in the Qur’an. Although we are the ones reading those words but in essence Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ is speaking to us through those words. So we need to make our self feel that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ is speaking to us through every word that we recite.
4. The other thing is to prepare your inner state. While reciting the Qur’an, one of the mistakes many of us make is we focus on reading with our eyes only. What we need to learn is to read with our hearts. A lot of us pay attention to the letters, words, tajweed. This is important. But we also need to switch on the sight of our heart and the feeling of your heart and read the words with your heart.
5. Realise your need for the Quran. Qur’an is the most powerful source to make us feel closer to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ. And to benefit from the Qur’an we need to approach it with humility and really wish for Al-Ghani (The Rich One) to enrich us with His words.
We busy ourselves with the matters of this world and many times even fall in sin unknowingly which make our hearts hard. But Allah is most Merciful and we are in need for the mercy of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ through reading His words. Allah is the only One who can cure us from the diseases in our hearts. We are weak beings unable to face all the trials in this life and only Al-Qawi (The Most Strong) and Al-Aziz (The Mighty) can give us that much needed strength.
6. Read the Qur’an with the right intention. We need to read the Qur’an not just for the reward, but to increase ourselves in knowledge, action, guidance, to soften our hearts and to cure them from spiritual diseases
7. Try to visualise what you recite: When we are reciting the Qur’an and an ayat comes about Jannah, we should try to imagine what it would be like to live in Jannah. The happiness, the peace, the beauty. No more sadness or problems without having to hear anything that causes pain or sadness in our heart. The more we reflect on the beauty and peace of Jannah, the more we would to want to push our self to be from those people of Jannah?
Similarly when we come across any ayat about hell fire, we should think about the punishment, despair and regrets the disbelievers would have. So the more we read about those verses and think about them, the more we don’t want to be like those people. This will help us to push away from anything that can lead us to that path. And this is how the Quran is the greatest motivator in helping us to reach the Akhirah safely.
8. Interact with the Ayaat: When we come to ayaat about the fire, we should ask Allah to protect us from the fire. When we come to ayaat about Jannah, ask Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ to make you from the people of Jannah. We should pray to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ to cure the diseases from our hearts.
Allahumma ishfee qalbee, allahumma ishfee sadaree.
Heal my heart, heal what is in my chest from those diseases.
How to approach the Qur’an:
We need to have the right approach with the Qur’an. The most important thing is to have the urge to change. We need to be ready to open up our hearts to receive that guidance. There are many people who have memorised the whole Qur’an but yet we see the Qur’an doesn’t even go past their throats. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ says in the Qur’an:
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.Qur’an 29:69
This ayah tells us is that the most important thing we need in order for the Qur’an to impact our heart is to approach the Qur’an with ikhlas (sincerity). This way we will be able to heal our self from the spiritual diseases and gain the true inner peace that the whole world is searching for.
Shaykh Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله gives us a 4-step process for approaching the Quran:
- The first step is to empty our hearts from all the problems. We need to detach ourselves from all the problems and concerns, from all the worldly matters and focus our hearts solely on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ and the next life.
- We need to pay full attention to understanding and pondering the meanings of the words which are being are recited.
- We need to think about and question why these words were sent.
- Then we should apply those meanings to the diseases in our hearts and then by that إِن شَاءَ اللّٰه we will be cured.
And this is why it is very important for us to have self-awareness. We need to be able to look internally and know our own individual weaknesses. We need to know we have got those types of spiritual diseases which we need to rectify.
If we know that we’ve got doubts that are plaguing us, then we need to be able to identify that and then read the Qur’an with the purpose of asking Allah to cure us through reciting His words.
Sometimes we won’t feel anything when we recite the Qur’an and that’s okay.
In the beginning of our journey we won’t feel anything. But each time we recite the Qur’an, our heart is being washed and cleaned. Each time we read the Qur’an, the words are break down the shackles of our hearts.
If we feel hardness of our hearts when reciting the Qur’an, then we should stop and say astaghfirallah. Saying astagfirallah helps soften the heart. Many of us are suffering from hardness of heart because of our love for dunya and that is why we are having difficulty in really connecting with the Qur’an.
Uthman ibn Affan said that if our hearts were pure, they would never have enough of reciting Allah’s speech.
If we want the Qur’an to reveal its secrets upon us, we need to keep on struggling and reciting it. It is only by that sincere struggle that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ will begin to unlock the secrets of the Qur’an for us.
Advice from Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله :
Hassan al-Basri رحمه الله advises us to really think about what each of the ayat is teaching us. He says that when the righteous predecessors used to recite the Qur’an, they used to look at the Qur’an as if its messages coming from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ.
What does Allah teach us in the Qur’an:
In each ayat of the Qur’an Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ :
- Wants us to know about something about Himself so we can feel closer to Him.
- He is telling us something about His signs so that we can witness His power and greatness.
- He is teaching us our religion so that we know how to truly practice our Deen.
- He is showing us something that we need to do in order to reach jannah.
- He is telling us something we need to avoid from in order to protect ourselves from the fire.
- He is teaching us how to have the akhlaq of the believers so we can make ourselves like them.
- Telling us the characteristics of the disbelievers or the munafiqeen (hypocrites) so that we can avoid following their path.
- He is strengthening our hearts by reminding us of the stories of struggles and the sacrifices of the prophets and messengers. He tells us about their trials and how they coped with them.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ
Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart.Qur’an 25:32
One of the most important things we’re going to get from the Qur’an is the effect that it has on us.
It is not just about the emotions. What is the use of having tears and having emotions if that does not move us into action. The Qur’an should make us stronger in practice of our deen. It should make us into a better person with better akhlaq.
Some one asked A’isha to describe the Prophet ﷺ .
How did she describe him?
كَانَ خُلُقُهُ الْقُرْآنَ
His character, his whole personality was the Qur’an.
This goes to show that get that with internal effect from the Qur’an there should be that external change in us. Every ayat we recite from the Qur’an should be a proof for us on yawm al-qiayamah, not a proof against us in front of Allah.
Even if we don’t understand a word we read, we need to keep in mind that the Qur’an is still purifying us. It is still raises our level with Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ. The more difficult we find it to recite the Qur’an, the greater the reward. Even if we are able to recite a little bit of the Qur’an everyday, be it in the morning or before going to bed, we need to keep reminding our self of how much we are in need of the Qur’an. It’s always purifying us and raising our level through our recitation of it.
We should have is to think of our relationship with the Quran as a type of journey.
Our aim on this journey should be to try to grow closer to the Qur’an gradually over the years. And how do we do that? By actively seeking to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the Qur’an so that we can increase the impact it has on our hearts.
We should never just be complacent in sticking with only English. We should try to move to the understanding Arabic language and try to deepen our knowledge of the understanding of the ayat by studying tafseer so we can go deeper in our understanding of the Qur’an. This will help in developing our relationship and grow closer to the Quran over the years.
I will leave you with a beautiful dua which is part of a dua of the Prophet ﷺ that we can say in order to ask Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ to strengthen our heart and take away all our grief and worries through reciting the Quran,
اللهم ْ اجْعَلَ الْقُرْآنَ رَبِيعَ قَلْبِي، صَدْرِي، وَجَلَاءَ حُزْنِي، وَذَهَابَ هَمِّي
O Allah, make the Great Qur’an the springtime of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness, and the pacifier of my worries.