Spiritual Purification With the Divine

Awakening of the Heart

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cryptic_star/4691710571/Yes, your physical heart beats. Yes, it is keeping you alive, physically. Yes, it is pumping blood without you ever having to remind it to do so—but is that all? What about spiritually? Is your heart spiritually beating? Is your heart keeping your connection with God alive? Is it pumping the spiritual motivation that you need to get through your daily life without falling to pieces–without breaking every moral fiber within your being? It is important to ask these questions, because if not, then life will have no meaning—no fruit—and not a moment of peace.

Maybe you remember a time when it was fully alive and thriving. You could feel it pumping the essential life juices from your spiritual heart through your veins and straight to your limbs, making the good deeds easy and making desires easily avoidable.

But maybe not. Maybe you do not ever remember it being alive. But you have craved it. You wish that you could feel it, that it would start pumping, beating, so that the emptiness inside you could finally fade away. You wish that it would start working, like you know it should, so that these useless desires that you know you should not be chasing will not seem so, enticing. You just want it to keep you alive.

Either way, it is possible. Either way, it is essential. And the fact that you even want it to is a sign, in and of itself, that God wants you to be awakened. He wants you to come back to Him. And how amazing is it to feel that the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth wants you, specifically. Think about it for a moment, let it sink in. The purpose of the heart, is to love, so the most essential step in bringing it back to life, is to allow it love. Someone once asked me if we can teach our heart to love. The truth is, no we can not. But as Rumi, a poet, once said: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Whether we realize it or not, we have all built barriers around the walls of our heart. They may be walls that have accidentally been placed there, over time without our realizing. But sometimes these are intentional walls, which we have built up to protect ourselves from what we conceive to be potential harm. Whatever it may be, we must find out what walls stand between us and embracing the beautiful Love of God that our heart craves and needs. You may be thinking, “Well tell me, what are the walls that surround my heart that are preventing me from this love?” And I wish I could answer you clearly and precisely. But the thing is, it is your heart. No one knows your heart like you do—well no one except God. You must realize that it is essential to get to know yourself. If you know your heart you will know yourself—and if you know yourself you will begin to know God.

I will not leave you completely clueless. There are numerous barriers that may be there in your heart, but I will name a few to get you started while thinking about yourself. These are not comprehensive, rather simply a spark to ignite the fires of your thought.

  1. Arrogance: Only the humble can know God, as they realize that He is everything and they are nothing without Him. When the heart has arrogance, even just a little, this begins to serve as a barrier between His Love and His Light. Humble yourself for God, and He will raise you.
  2. Anger: Anger, for other than the sake of God, hardens the heart. It consumes the heart and rids it of the opportunity to feel happiness and love. It prevents the Light of God from flowing in. If you are an angry person—angry at people, or at the world in general, get to know that anger. Figure out where it comes from and why it is there, and find a way to rid yourself from it.
  3. Ignorance of God: This is a bg one. If you do not know God, how do you expect to love Him? And I do not mean being able to recite 99 of His magnificent names in a song. I mean, know what these names refer to in Him and how that affects us. Specifically, how they affect YOU. If you love a human being, be it an actress/actor, a romantic partner, or any other person—you spend time getting to know them. And most of the time, the more you know them, the more you love them. It can sometimes even become an obsession. What then of God? Shouldn’t we get to know Him so that the walls of our ignorance that surround our heart begin to crumble and His love is allowed to flow through?

Strive to awaken the heart of your spirit and in turn awaken meaning to life. When the heart begins to thrive, doing good deeds become easy, and desires become unattractive and even disgusting. Do not give up on yourself, because God has not. And know that even in this state, you are beloved to God and He wants you close. Imam Al-Shaadhili once said:

“If you were to open the heart of the disobedient believer, its light would blind the universe. What then of the obedient believer?”


About the author

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref grew up in a small Texas city and was unexpectedly uprooted to Cairo, Egypt. The shift of countries precipitated a shift in her outlook on life; this, with her enriching experience in community activism—specifically social service, youth work, and Qur’anic Studies—provides for a rather enlightened perspective. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She keeps her own blog, contributes regularly to various publications, and – most importantly – you’ll find her entries on this site.


  • MashaAllah, jazaakyAllahu Khairan for this much needed article. I have been desperately trying to look for a way to remove these barriers around my heart. I’ve definitely tasted that feeling of immense love for Allah (SWT) which makes good deeds seem so easy and bad deeds unappealing and disgusting. But it lasts for such a short period. I’m currently trying to look for a teacher to help me on this journey, but it’s been very difficult. What are some things you recommend on this journey of self-discovery?

    • Nader,

      Such an insightful question that sparked me to take a moment and dig deeper into my own heart in order to answer it. That is something beautiful about our nature–when we set out to help others, we ultimately help ourselves. So thank you for asking this question..for the question itself is helping me!

      First, take a moment and thank Allah for even those short periods of immense love. These moments are the gifts that Allah places in our path…and at times serve as the motivation for us to push forward. It’s a sign of the great sweetness of obedience that is to come if you continue down the path to God. Also, God tells us that if we thank Him…He increases us…so the more you thank Him for these moments..the more He will give you and hopefully rather than simply being momentary states it will become that actual station that you are at.

      Having a teacher is a great step in this path as well–so make dua that Allah shows you and brings you the people in your life that you need and that will help you get closer to Him. But don’t put all your hope in simply that, continuously make dua to God to fix and purify your heart and to make the barriers your heart apparent to you.

      Also, something that has helped me..and continues to help me..is having a journal. Emptying out the thoughts that are constantly playing in your head and the feelings and emotions that you are harboring really help in self-discovery. Some times they are just so jumbled up when they are inside of us that we cannot really understand them…but when we place them on paper, it becomes easier to pick them apart and begin to understand ourselves. Not to mention that it is also a great therapy technique :).

      I could go on and on…but I think I’ll stop here :-). I hope this helps!

      Take care,
      Reehab Ramadan

  • Alhamdullilah! I am so happy to have come across this website!
    The way you articulated in this article and the other wonderful articles you have just really strikes the heart .

    May Allah continue to help you englighten the minds of Muslims

  • I have actually heard of dhikr (from the heart) and wajd for some months ago. First I thought it was nonsense, I think that shaytan played with my thoughts a while, then I accepted it as a truth, I tried it a couple of times but I did not feel anything. But subhan Allah, now I am really determined that this is a gift, that I got to know about this. Once I had my hand on my brothers heart, who has been doing dhikr a while, I felt it pumping really hard.
    This afternoon I tried to do sincere dhikr again, and I think my heart felt like it was melting.. or not melting but, spreading to the rest of my body.. I am not sure whether it’s just me or not, but is it possible to feel it if you are doing dhikr?

Leave a Comment