THE BLACK HEART

close up of padlocks hanging on heart shape

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Inner Peace and harmony is a prerequisite to all uplifting feelings in a human being, such as joy, happiness, empathy, kindness, generosity, love, and mercy.

For the attainment of peace and harmony one has to understand their source. How to access this source, maintain it and use it to build an environment filled with peace and harmony both within and around us, during life and after death.

Our Creator is the source of Harmony and Peace and He designed each cell in our body to be in resonance with these forces. As we enter this world He in His infinite mercy has placed within us a beacon that will illuminate the path to happiness, peace, love and harmony. This beacon, housed in the human chest is the source of Divine Light.(Hadith)

It is said that when Adam (Peace be on him) was just a lump of clay from many sources, resulting in different colors and textures, his potential was unknown even to the angels. However, The Divine said to the angels “ you do not know what I know” (about him) and thus it is said He blew into Adam (Peace be on him) the Divine light and taught him all the “Names”.(Quran) .

99 Names of Allah

Names of Allah tapestry at the Islamic Center in St. Louis

All the generations to come from Adam were raised and were asked, “ Am I not your Lord?” and they said “Bala: Yes indeed you are”. After taking the covenant they were returned to their state from which they will continue to rise in birth in this world and return in death into the next world.(surah Araf)

While Abraham and his son were building the Kaaba, one last cornerstone fell short. God provided the “Black stone”, the missing piece. At that time it is said that the stone was pure, transparent, and scintillating with a source of inner light. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “it is the sins of man that have turned it black”.

Our Heart (Qalb) can be likened to the Black stone of the Kaaba.

hajar aswaad11168459_10153341398016405_5331808789778932957_n

Muslims in Hajj waiting to kiss the Hajr e Aswad

The vessel that carries the Divine Light in the chest of a human is the heart.  The heart is not just a lump of flesh that pumps blood into hundreds of miles of arteries to nourish the body. In it lies the source of Light from the Divine that can guide us to our Creator.

Soiled hands (metaphorically speaking), uncouth behavior and a life that is not centered on the love of the Creator can dim this light.

When we human beings forget what brings us happiness and what was the covenant we took long before we were a twinkle in the eyes of our parents, we become disobedient to our Lord. We delve into harm to our self and our fellow human beings. These actions have a silent consequence of gradually blackening our heart.

Each disobedience of the Divine places a small black dot on our heart hardening and thickening the walls metaphorically and thus imprisoning and dimming the Divine Light.(Hadith)

As these black dots multiply with each act of disobedience to our Creator, the Divine light becomes encased in an opaque, hard container. This proliferation of the black dots occur either by violating the natural harmony of our body cells by abusing it with harmful and or inebriating substances or by becoming the author of chaos and anarchy and torching peace and fellowship amongst fellow humans.

Once the Divine Light is caged in a blackened heart it can no longer illuminate our path to our Creator. We can no longer recognize or experience happiness, express neither joy nor compassion, until the heart returns to its pure state of clarity.

It is only when we return to our inner self and scrub years of dirt from our blackened heart that the Light begins to shine out of its transparent clear walls. The scrubbing makes the heart soft, and it bends with compassion, fills with remorse and exudes joy and peace. Life has meaning, stress is removed and harmony hugs us.(Tazkiyah tun Nafs)

Peace and Harmony – the words and symbols of the hippie days – stem from a rejection of all that affects the Divine Light of the heart.

Scrubbing the heart or beating the dust out of it is no easy task. Rumi says:

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

Sufis all over the world have spent entire lifetimes in the process. Some have reached the state of Ma’arifa and some have died trying.

In the Quran, which Muslims believe to be the word of The Divine there is a call for humans to purify their hearts (Qalb e Saleem) (Quran) in order to return to their Lord and live in the House of Peace (Darussalam) for eternity.(Quran)

A heart that has no direction is figuratively blind. It has become hard and unmoved by compassion.(Quran: Qasat Quloob) Such a heart that is not at peace within it self cannot bring peace without.

No matter how many candles we light, how many mantras we chant, or how much incense we burn, nothing will happen unless we take the steel wool to our hearts and begin to scrub years of darkness from it.

It is neither an easy nor a painless task to scrub anything, leave alone something as fragile and tender as the heart.

In the Quran God Almighty states that He has fulfilled the request in the prayer of Abraham (peace on him) for a Messenger who teaches us how to purify our self inside and out. (Quran)

The Quran is sprinkled with examples of people in the past who failed and others who succeeded at the procedure for purification of the Heart.  The teachings of the Messenger (peace be upon him) provide tips of how to start and how to recognize the end point. Each Messenger (Abraham, Moses, Yakub, Jesus, Muhammad pbuh) sent to this earth has come with the message of Peace and how to purify your heart.

The forces of anarchy and oppression have persecuted each of the Messengers in their time. However time has illustrated the verdict. Peace has survived in many hearts and all the persecutors are dust. This is especially important today when people ask, “why is God allowing these calamities to happen?”

This process of scrubbing the blackened heart to free the Divine Light within it is open to everyone. It is called “Purification of the Heart” and in the classical literature on Spirituality is termed “Tazkiyah tun Nafs”. There are no shortcuts and no Cliff Notes. There are many temptations to renege on the process especially in the beginning and middle third of the process, but thatjust impedes the progress.

A baby is born with a pure heart, thus is universally loved by all. As the baby gets older its heart is affected by changes based on treatment by the nurturers and the environment in which it lives. Sometimes it is taught to lie, and base emotions are encouraged to ride roughshod over everything pure and natural. Some parents feed the pure baby impure food and expose it to damaging influences. These influences may be witnessed violence and or overt pornography transmitted electronically into our bedrooms and living rooms, which not only modify the brain via its plasticity but also affect the heart. It is then that the black dots begin to surreptitiously populate and cover the heart.(Hadith)

The Messenger: Prophet Muhammad pbuh  not only brings techniques for purifying our hearts but also methods that would prevent black hearts in our children while we they are dependent on us.

The ultimate goal of Purification of the heart is three fold:

  1. To bring inner peace and harmony to our soul while we walk this world.
  2. To avoid those things that would blacken the heart.
  3. To bring a heart to our Lord, that is scrubbed sparkling clean, scintillating with The Light, whole and complete in its perfection (Qalb e Saleem)

The black heart is something we have created out of our own volition. We have blinded it to purity, virtue, peace and harmony. As a result we suffer from “stress”.

Each cell in our body that has been programmed for harmony and resonance with peace and yearns for the guiding Light to return it to its original state.

The black heart is blind and cannot guide us to the path of happiness and joy nor peace and harmony.

Peace and harmony within is a prerequisite to peace and harmony without. Neither can happen without taking the blindfold off the black heart and releasing The LIGHT.

“A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.”

Rumi, Words of Paradise: Selected Poems of Rumi

 

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