Abdullah ibn Umar (Radhiyallaho anhuma) narrated:
"Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said, “The hearts get rusted as does iron with water.” When someone asked, "What could cleanse hearts again?” Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said, "Frequent remembrance of death and recitation of Qur'an."
Excess of sins and negligence in the remembrance of Allah cause the hearts to rust, as water causes iron to rust.
The reading of Qur'an and the remembrance of death polish the rusted hearts. The heart is like a mirror. If it is not cleaned, it will not properly reflect the recognition of Allah. The more burnished and brighter it is, the better will it show from the enlightenment. Therefore, the more we indulge in sinful lust and devilish acts, the more are we deprived of the recognition of Almighty Allah. It is with a view to polishing the mirror of the heart that mashaa'ikh enjoin upon their disciples to devote themselves to self-discipline endeavours, spiritual occupation, incantation and remembrance of Allah.
It is mentioned in some ahadith that when a man commits a sin, a black dot stains his heart. If he repents in real earnest, this dot is removed, but if he commits another sin, another black dot appears. In this way, if he goes on committing sin after sin, his heart gets completely blackened. At this stage the heart becomes quite disinclined to do good,, and keeps on turning to evil.
May Allah save us from such a stage.
"Verily their evil deeds have covered their hearts with rust" refers to this blackening of the heart.
According to another hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said, "I leave two 'wu'aaz' (plural of waa'iz-preacherj-one speaking and the other silent. That which speaks is the Holy Qur'an and that which is silent is the remembrance of death.”
Certainly the words of Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) are worthy of loving acceptance. But only those who take proper heed derive benefit from a sermon. On the other hand, if we consider deen itself as being a useless occupation and an obstacle in the way of material progress, we will neither feel the need of spiritual advice nor act upon it.
Hadhrat Hasan Basri (Rahmatullah alaih) says, "People of earlier times believed the Holy Qur'an to be the Commandment of Allah, they contemplated over it throughout the night and acted upon it during the day. Whereas today you exercise particular care to pronounce its words and vowels correctly, but do not take it as the Commandment of Allah, and do not contemplate over it."
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