Keep Your Heart Clear

One’s etiquette in social situations is the key foundation to having strong relationships with others. This article is the nineteenth in a series taken from the On Demand Course: Discussion on Sulami’s Adab of Keeping Company.

There are various qualities that are the most distinguishing qualities of the elect servants of Allah. Of them is having a good opinion of Allah’s servants, meaning all of creation.

The (spiritual) heart is what you turn to Allah through. It is a seat of emotions. The (spiritual) chest is vaster. The heart is where you feel and you respond. The heart is like the castle but the chest is like the walls around the castle. Keep your chest clear. Do not allow the ill feeling to come to the gates of the castle. 

This happens by knowing your thoughts. Keep away negative thoughts.

Forgive for Allah

With family, you know their faults, failings, and their mistakes.  People could sometimes say something hurtful to you. Do not hold a grudge. Keep your heart clear. Forgive them for the sake of Allah. 

Consider the example of someone who prayed and did not rise from the bowing position properly. Perhaps he has an excuse such as a bad back. In that scenario, if a brother he does not know well came and said, “Brother, when you rose from the bowing you did not rise properly.” 

The critical mind says, “He did not give me the greeting of peace. He did not ask me if I was okay. Why did he do that?” The devil jumps. One could become overly critical of the person who gave you the advice. But, keep your chest clear regarding them. 

A sincere believer is one whose concern is the pleasure of Allah. In relations, the governing quality should be sincerely wanting the good for the other. 

Good Opinions

When you have a good opinion of a person, if they tell you something, take it as sincere counsel. If it is wrong, take counsel from it and ignore what is wrong. 

So if they said you did not rise fully from bowing but you know you did, take it as sincere counsel and say, “May Allah reward you with good, I appreciate it, please supplicate for me.”

 At times, the specific advice may not be correct, but you could take the general purport of the advice.

This is only possible if these two qualities exist. Actively striving for the pleasure of Allah and having sincere concern for other people’s good.

Assume that they have a sincere concern for you. That way you can benefit even from the critic. One way to change your life is to listen to your critics, even when they are wrong. They may have a point that you can benefit from.  

Be careful of the devil trying to get you to focus on defending yourself or being overly critical of the other 

Why would they even go out of their way to give you advice? Care and concern for you, even if they are not saying it in the best of ways. Focus on that. 

Do not turn things into a scene. Be careful of arguing about religion. 

Keep Your Promises

Your promise is your word. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) warned about promises, “The signs of a hypocrite are three: if they speak, they lie and if they make a promise, they break their promise and if they are entrusted, they do not fulfill their trust.”

Hypocrisy means someone is not true to their faith. Your speech has implications for your faith. By lying, you let someone go astray, believe the wrong thing, or get deceived. It harms them or the relationship and it harms you.

Breaking promises is from not fulfilling what mercy entails in relations. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) warned that whoever is not merciful, shall not find mercy. 

Allah is the All Merciful. How you are with people affects your relationship with Allah. Never jump into a promise, think about it. Have surety that you will be able to fulfill it. 

If you have committed to doing something but you are somewhat forgetful, make a note of it on your device for example, after you made the promise. One should take one’s word seriously. 

The basis of relationships is trust. The only way relationships work is by being true to one another.