“I feel so depressed today! Nothing is going my way! Why does this always happen to me and nothing ever happens to anyone else!”
Sometimes, statements like these fill our thoughts and may even be uttered from our lips, greatly affecting our demeanor, the way we see the world and our relationships with our loved ones. Sometimes, as humans we tend to give in to these thoughts and emotions which significantly change the way we feel about life, our families and even our faith, by allowing ourselves to be overpowered by it. How can these emotions affect our Imaan in particular and what can we do to help free ourselves of the negativity and filth in our lives?
The answer is a simple one – by purifying ourselves, both externally and more so internally.
Tahaarah (purity) is a manifestation of both outer cleanliness and internal purification of the heart. It refers to cleanliness of the body and the surrounding environment and is a fundamental part and an essential indication of Imaan. Maintaining the purity of the fitrah (natural disposition of the human being) is the goal of Muslims which can only be achieved by total adherence to the guidance of Islam following the Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah says,
“Surely Allah loves those who often turn to Him, and He also loves those who cleanse themselves.” (Surah Al Baqarah: 222)
“In it there are men who love to observe purity and Allah loves those who maintain purity” (Surah Tawbah: 108)
In another ayah after explaining wudu and ghusl, Allah says,
“Allah does not desire to make any difficulty for you; but He desires to purify you, and that He may complete His blessings upon you that you may be grateful.” (Surah Al Ma’idah: 6)
We can now say that as any believing Muslim, our greatest goal in life should be earning the pleasure and the Love of Allah ‘Azza wa Jal and Subhanallah, in the verse above He has given us the answer to doing just that! Turning to Him and Tahaarah will surely bring us closer to Allah and help rid us of the things in life that bring us down.
Have we ever really just sat down and thought about how different our circumstances may be if we took seriously the matter of Tahaarah? There are many, many benefits which not only come from purifying ourselves, but purifying ourselves for the pleasure of Allah! Indeed, purification, both external and internal starts with our niyyah (intention) and this niyyah starts in the Qalb (heart). Our beloved Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wa Salam) said concerning the heart,
“There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily, this piece is the heart.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
The extent to which internal and external Tahaarah greatly enhances our well-being can be seen in our everyday activities. Let’s take a look at a few of these ways now:
1. Our Salaah – Alhamdulillah, we as Muslims have been greatly blessed by our Lord to be given the gift of Salaah, where we can have a private session with Him on a daily basis, 5 times a day at least. But, let us ask ourselves, do we truly get the feeling of being entirely fulfilled after the performance of our Salaah? If we are honest with ourselves, the answer may very well be ‘no’. Our solution? Tahaarah for the pleasure of Allah.
By purifying ourselves and our surroundings before every salaah, ensuring our prayer area is tidy and your clothing is clean, will greatly improve the serenity you feel when you are about to perform your Salaah. You will feel a sense of calm, tranquility, ease and peace of mind and heart which will then allow you to have better concentration and Khushu’ while you perform your Salaah.
Narrated by Jabir bin Abdullah that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “The key to paradise is the salah and the key to the salah is ablution.” (Ahmed)
2. Our Dua – It is a fact, that on many occasions we face a struggle when it comes to making sincere dua to Allah, where the tears begin to flow, and we cry out to our Lord Most High with our innermost desires and needs. Many times dua consists of memorized wordings that we utter after every salaah. But do these words truly come from our heart or are they mere utterances that reach no further than the lips? By purifying ourselves, our intentions, our reasons for asking for what we need, we will see a great improvement in the way we turn to Allah and beseech Him. We may find ourselves sincerely calling on Allah fervently and whole-heartedly and seeing answers to our duas in ways we never imagined.
‘Amr b Sa’id b al-As reported: I was, with Uthman that he called for ablution water and said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) say: When the time for a prescribed prayer comes, if any Muslim perform ablution well and offers his prayer) with humility and bowing, it will be an expiation for his past sins, so long as he has not committed a major sin; and this applies to for all times.” Sahih Muslim
3. Our Emotions – Yes! Indeed, the way we feel can be significantly affected by our heart and how ‘pure’ it is. Do we sometimes experience mood swings, or feeling suddenly sad? Do we find ourselves being negative all the time, pessimistic, depressed, having bad thoughts about ourselves and others around us? It may be that the most important morsel of flesh in our bodies has been forgotten. We may have lost focus on cleansing our hearts with the remembrance of Allah through dhikr and dua. Simple things like saying Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Laa Illaha Ilallah, and Allahu Akbar during our daily activities will bring a change in our lives if we are truly sincere. Also, seeking Allah’s forgiveness for whatever we have done on a regular basis will add to our well-being both inwardly and outwardly, by Allah’s Mercy.
“They are the ones whose hearts rejoice in remembering Allah. Surely, by remembering Allah, the hearts rejoice.” (Surah Ar Ra’d: 28)
4. Our Dealings with Others – Having hatred in the heart towards fellow believers and humans alike, looking at others and the things they have with jealousy and malice, wanting what they have, wishing failure upon others, casting the evil eye and the list of many other negative and evil intentions, are all signs of diseases of the heart. By cleansing our hearts of all these sorts of filth is what purity is all about. By ridding ourselves of these diseases through constant dua, salaah, dhikr and simply surrounding ourselves with the believers who remind us of Allah, we will give our souls the cleansing that it needs to return to the fitrah upon which Allah created us.
Tahaarah is therefore not only the performance of physical cleansing as we may think, but it is something that goes far beyond in helping us become a better Muslim. It is one of the means through which our souls can come closer to Allah ‘Azza wa Jal, our lives can change for the better, and our hearts becoming content in the knowing of our purpose for being here.