Question posed to al Allaamah ash-Shaykh Saleh al Fawzaan Hafidhahullaah
Question: What is the (proper) way to rectify and cleanse the heart from rancor and envy? And what are the most effective ways to reform the heart in this life?
Answer: Rectification of the heart takes place in different ways. Firstly, sincerity in ones intention for Allaah ‘azza wa jall when doing righteous actions and visualizing the magnitude of Allaah jall wa ‘alla and bearing in mind one’s (absolute) need of Allaah ‘azza wa jall.
Also remembering Allaah much. Allaah, the Most High says: “Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allaah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts find rest.” (13:28) So from that which rectifies the heart is remembering Allaah much. The Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallaam, has said: The example of the one who remembers Allaah and the one who does not remember Allaah is like that of the living and the dead.
Likewise from the means for the revitalization of the heart is consuming from the halaal (lawful) and leaving off consuming from the haraam (unlawful) because it (i.e. consuming from the haraam) hardens the heart, corrupts and sickens it. Evil nourishment(s) affect the heart and body. And likewise from the reasons Allaah says: “O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Tayyibaat [all kinds of halaal (lawful) foods (meat of slaughtered edible animals, milk products, fats, vegetables, fruits, etc.], and do righteous deeds.” (23:51) and Allaah ordered the believers with that which He ordered the Messengers, He says: “O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah – Islamic Monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with…” (2:172)
Consuming from the tayyibaat means the lawful things because Allaah has made permissible for us the tayyibaat and prohibited upon us the khabaaith (evil things). So therefore, nutrition with the tayyibaat, i.e. which are the lawful things, nourishes the heart with a pleasant nourishment just as nutrition with noxious things nourishes the heart with an abhorrent nourishment. And from those matters that sicken the heart are listening to music and flutes and the like which has become very prevalent in this time (of ours).
From those affairs that sicken the heart or cause it to die is busying one’s self with obscenities and the internet and whatever these evil devices promote from wickedness and evil ideologies like forbidden lusts and despicable sights. This is from those affairs that plague the heart. Likewise accompanying wicked and individuals and sitting with them corrupts the heart whereas accompanying the the upright people and the scholars and the people of goodness; is from those matter that reform the heart.
Transcribed from: Question Posed to Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan on How to Attain a Righteous Heart | Translated by Fouzaan Qaasim