By Dr. Afshan Ahmed.
“Purification of the soul” deals with the heart. Hearts cannot obtain their desire unless they are connected with their Lord. They cannot connect with their Lord unless they are “pure,” because Allah is Pure and only accepts what is pure. The purer the heart, the closer it will be to its Lord and will enjoy being with Him. “Purification of the soul” means to purify and cleanse the heart of immoral traits while lending beauty to it with good deeds. The command to purify our hearts from sins is an essential Islamic teaching.
Allah said in holy Quran Surah Ash-Shams 91:9-10
He has succeeded who purifies the soul, and he has failed who corrupts the soul.
And Allah said in Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:88-89
A day when there will be no benefit in wealth or children, but only in he who comes to Allah with a pure heart.
We learn from these verses that our success in the hereafter depends upon the purification of our hearts in this life. We must purify our hearts from spiritual sins such as greed, malice, envy, arrogance, and worldliness. In their place, we must adorn the heart with spiritual virtues such as generosity, compassion, benevolence, humility, and asceticism.
One of the primary methods we can use to purify our hearts is to perform sincere supplications and prayers according to the prophetic way (Sunnah). He has succeeded who purifies himself, who remembers the name of his Lord and prays.
When we exalt Allah and ask for our sins to be forgiven, this removes arrogance from our hearts and makes us humble. When we pray for Allah to guide others, this removes malice and hatred from our hearts and makes us love others for the sake of Allah. When we remember the hereafter and the Day of Resurrection, this makes us less attached to the world and more inclined to help others. Prayer is meant to prevent us from committing sins and immoral deeds. We can purify our hearts by charity and by performing good deeds for others.
Allah said: Surah Al-Layl 92:17-18
But the righteous one will avoid Hellfire, who gives from his wealth to purify himself.
And Allah said: Surah At-Tawbah 92:103
Take from their wealth a charity by which you cleanse them and purify them, and invoke blessings upon them.
When we give away our wealth in charity, this removes worldliness from our hearts and envy of what others have and it makes us hope for our good deeds stored in the Hereafter. Charity means not only giving wealth, but also giving people your time, your effort, your work, and even a smile or a kind word. Every good deed is charity.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
Verily, when the believer commits a sin, a black spot appears upon his heart. If he repents and abandons the sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished, but if he increases in sin, the blackness increases. That is the covering which Allah has mentioned in his Book: Nay, but on their hearts is a covering because of what they have earned. (83:14)
How can we purify our soul?
*By understand the pure Tawheed. The Quran says: “Devote yourselves to Allah and assign Him no partners, for the person who does so is like someone who has been hurled down from the skies and snatched up by the birds or flung to a distant place by the wind.” (Quran 22:31)
*Our belief is fundamental. We cannot truly purify our soul unless we hold the correct beliefs about the Creator of our soul.
*Practicing devotional acts of obedience and abandoning prohibitions and to endure in doing both of them. Repetition and routine have great spiritual value, therefore endurance is the key. Devotional acts enlighten the heart and energize the limbs, whereas prohibitions darken the heart and make a person lazy.
*Seeking religious knowledge at the hands of qualified scholars. Knowledge is the key.
*We can purify our soul by spiritual exercises and sitting in isolation.
*Keeping good company and being careful in selecting our friends. The company we keep help us with purifying our soul and staying away from distractions.
By Purifying the Soul we will have Success in this life and in the life to come. There will be Satisfaction and comfort of the heart and Steadfastness in practicing Islam and obeying Allah.
We must look after the purification of our soul on a daily basis. Our thoughts, wills and desires are where our mind is. The submission of our spirit is the most important thing. In order to acquire a virtue, we must be humble and careful. In conclusion, Purification of soul is achieved through performing sincere supplications, prayers, and acts of charity toward others.
May Allah Almighty guide us to purify our souls and keep us away from all sins and evils. We will be judged on the Day of Resurrection according to the purity of our hearts and soul and the righteousness of our deeds. May we have a soul that is pure and strong that prepares itself with the remembrance of Allah, seeking forgiveness from Him and turning towards Allah.
Writer is Pharmacist by education and writes on social issues.