A few weeks ago, I found myself facing an internal crisis; a guilty conscience ate away at me restlessly for days. A feeling of hopelessness overcame me as I sensed my heart being engulfed in coatings of rust and filth. I imagined it to be like a lantern upon which layers and layers of dust and dirt continued to accumulate, and today the thick tar-like coating was making it impossible to light the way any longer. I could feel the light in my heart flickering. Dimming. Diffusing.
“No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning” Surah Mutafifeen (83:14)
For several months, I had felt myself losing more and more control of my tongue; it would ramble on with idle talk, arguments and would say things that I would regret the second after I said them. I knew that it was in fact my tongue which was most responsible for rusting my vulnerable heart. I needed to regain control of this tongue. I needed to restrain it. Tame it.
Truly, my Rabb is near and responsive. Truly, my Rabb is in full view of what this poor slave of His is going through. Just moments after my heart cried out, my Rabb responded. And the response to curing my spiritually suffocated heart was none other than remembering it’s Creator… Dhikr.
Ills of the Tongue
Over the months, I had found myself using my tongue in ways that I would often regret. Some of these ways included:
- Talking excessively without a purpose
- Speaking impulsively often driven by emotion
- Indulging in gossip
The root of each of these verbal-related ills laid in the fact that I did not think before I spoke. I did not filter or sensor my words. I just rambled on, not pausing to reflect over the consequences my speech would cause, nor on the question of whether it was even necessary for me to respond. Talking excessively got me labeled as a “chatterbox”, while speaking impulsively caused me regret. Indulging in or even sitting around gossip sowed within me seeds of ill-will towards others, while arguing only caused me to waste my breath.
The Treatment: Curing the Heart through Dhikr
When I first began treating my rusting heart, I chose Istighfar as my default Dhikr. The first hour was the most difficult, as the wiswaas of shaytan were quite strong, “that’s good enough.. isn’t your mouth tired?… how much more?”, and my tongue was still getting used to the sudden change. I knew consistency was key, so I continued throughout the rest of the evening. Astaghfirullah, Astaghfirullah, Astaghfirullah. I pushed myself to keep it up the next day as well; from the moment I awoke to the time I lay back in bed the following night. Slowly, my tongue got into the routine.
Dhikr had begun its treatment in taming this tongue of mine, and the effects were incredible!
Within three days of persistently implementing this treatment, I felt myself finally starting to get a grip on my speech – for the first time in months! Amazingly, the tongue was not the only organ that this treatment was curing, for I had also begun to feel a sliver of light in my heart as well, walhamdulillah!
I noticed a series of changes stirring within me as my Dhikr-occupied tongue gradually learned to pause, filter, then speak.
- Using less of my tongue meant using more of my ears, and thus listening to others molded my personality to be one in which others could confide.
- Being pre-occupied in Dhikr, my habit of talking excessively faded away.
- The faster my heart beat, the more Dhikr spilled onto my tongue: one tasbeeh per heartbeat; this greatly reduced my urge to speak impulsively in anger and emotion.
- Being constantly reminded of the presence of the One whom I was mentioning, caused me to humble myself; I no longer cared to prove myself right and win arguments, because He alone knew best about who was more correct.
- Upon hearing or thinking of any negative mention of a person, my heart would urge my tongue to withhold and instead I’d find myself making du’a for that person; replacing any ill-feelings with well-wishing.
Within a few days, Dhikr had completely transformed my heart and personality! Though the occasional disagreements and arguments still inevitably occurred post-treatment, the frequency of their occurrence had greatly dwindled down walhamdulillah!
Before this experience, Dhikr was just something I would quickly mumble after saying my salams in salah, before running off. Prior to this, I had not realized how powerful the treasures of this incredible armor actually were, for it was the only thing that revived this withering heart of mine.
What are ways in which we can prevent our hears from getting rusted? Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below. 🙂 We would love to hear what you have to say.