How Do I Deal With These Various Illnesses of the Heart?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

I’ve reflected a bit on diseases in my heart, alhamdulillah.

I noticed that many hidden defects tend to come out at certain times. I’d like your advice on the best cure for each one (preferably with book recommendations).

  1. Arrogance/ if I’m arguing or naturally debating with someone and I’m in the right, I feel quite proud of it, OR if I’m in the wrong, I get really insecure that Allah dislikes me and doesn’t back me up
  2. Struggle to have the best thoughts about Allah throughout hard times
  3. Controlling my lust
  4. When someone I’m close to gets angry, upset, or even disagrees with me, I get quite upset/offended
  5. My heart fearing other than Allah, e.g., a big man

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Purifying the heart from spiritual illnesses and inward sins is a personal obligation for every Muslim.

Allah Most High says, “And by the soul and ˹the One˺ Who fashioned it, / then with ˹the knowledge of˺ right and wrong inspired it! / Successful indeed is the one who purifies their soul, / and doomed is the one who corrupts it!” [Qur’an; 91:7-10]

In order to purify one’s soul, one needs knowledge of the spiritual illnesses, their signs, and the method of purifying them. A great reference for this science is the works of Imam al-Ghazali, specifically The Revival of the Religious Sciences.

In the final 1/4th of the Revival (which is, in total, 40 books), he discusses the destructive traits (muhlikat). You will find all the details layed out for you their.

I will offer a short answer in the meantime, for the most severe of the illnesses you listed:

Arrogance

Arrogance is to perceive oneself better than others and/or to refuse to accept the truth.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Arrogance is to look down on people and to reject the truth.” [Muslim]

The great Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Salim (Allah be pleased with him) said, “Whoever sees themselves as better than any Muslim (at all), is truly an arrogant person (mutakabbir).” [Salim, Miftah al-Sara’ir]

The True Standard of Comparison

No created being has intrinsic greatness, whatsoever. We are all finite, ephemeral, needy, weak creatures desperately in need of the Creator for our continued existence and sustenance.

Allah Most High says, “Say, “Consider this: if your water were to sink ˹into the earth˺, then who ˹else˺ could bring you flowing water?” [Quran, 67:30]

Amongst created beings, such as ourselves, there are only two valid standards of comparison to determine who is ‘better’ than the other: piety and the final seal.

Piety

Allah Most High says, “O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Quran, 49:13]

The Final Seal

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“Indeed, each of your creations was done all together in their mother’s womb, first as a drop of semen for a 40-day period; then as a clot for a like period of time; then as a lump of flesh for a like period of time. Thereafter Allah sends an Angel to blow into him his spirit and is then commanded with four things: to write all his allotted provisions, his life span, his deeds, and whether he is of the saved or the damned.”

He continues saying, “I swear by the one other than whom there is no other God! Indeed, one of you will do the actions of the people of Paradise until they are only an arm’s length away. Thereafter, their destiny will catch up to them, their seal will come as they are doing actions of the people of Hellfire, and they will enter it. And one of you will do the actions of the people of Hellfire until they are only an arm’s length away. Thereafter, their destiny will catch up to them, their seal will come as they do the actions of the people of Paradise, and they will enter it.” [Tirmidhi]

We hope in Allah’s mercy and the intercession of His beloved Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace). However, we do not know what our ending ultimately is in the Divine decree. For this reason, we likely see ourselves as better than someone today, but they may have a better seal than us. This is hidden from us and only known by Allah.

Argumentation: The Door to Arrogance

Since argumentation and arrogance go hand in hand. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) advised us to leave off argumentation, even if we are correct.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “… whoever leaves argumentation, even though he is in the right, a home will be built for him in the middle of Paradise, and whoever beautifies their character, one will be built for them in this highest parts of Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]

Bad Opinions of Allah

Allah Most High says, “O  believers! Avoid many suspicions, ˹for˺ indeed, some suspicions are sinful…” [Quran, 49:12]

In another place, He says: “It was that ˹false˺ assumption you entertained about your Lord that has brought about your doom, so you have become losers.” [Quran, 41:23]

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) narrates that Allah Most High said, “I am as my servant thinks of me. So let him think of Me as he wishes.” [Ahmad]

Controlling Lust

Allah Most High mentions two things by which a person will enter Paradise and two things that will likely lead him to Hellfire.

He says, “then as for those who transgressed / and preferred the ˹fleeting˺ life of this world, / the Hellfire will certainly be ˹their˺ home. / And as for those who were in awe of standing before their Lord and restrained themselves from ˹evil˺ desires, Paradise will certainly be ˹their˺ home.”  [Quran, 79:37-41]

Hope this helps.

Allah knows best.

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.