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Islamic Character Articles

Releasing Grudges From Your Heart

How do you feel today? I think this is one of the most frequently asked questions and one of the least correctly answered. How many times have you been asked this question and in reality you feel awful! You feel like your world is caving in. You feel like your spiritual battery is almost flat and that you are on your hands and knees struggling through each day of your life. Yet, despite all this, you answer, "Oh me? I'm fine." What a lie!

So what does all this tell us? Well, first people are not always honest with each other. We do not always open up and say what is on our minds, but yet we keep up the nice manners, politeness, and all that to keep our relations OK with those around us. But the second and more important point is that we live with the state of our own hearts. And that state is the very foundation onto which our being is built. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us about the importance of the heart:

That which is lawful is plain and that which is unlawful is plain and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which not many people know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honour, but he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allah's sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be whole, all the body is whole and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Having a healthy heart is the basis of enjoying good health in body and mind. There are many diseases that are triggered from having a stressful mind and a troubled heart. Having a peaceful mind is one of the most sought-after things in life and very few people get it. People might search for peace and tranquility in a bottle of alcohol or in drugs of addiction that, at best, provide a quick transient moment of pleasure and relief but which plunge the person back to reality after the affects wear off. All such attempts at gaining peace end in frustration because real peace lies deep within the heart. Peace is found in a place known only to you and your Creator. It is a place that is free of shirk meaning that you worship only Allah the Almighty. It is free of pride meaning you realize your smallness in the vastness of creation. It is free of corruption, meaning you live a life of piety. It is free of hate, meaning you hold no grudges and forgive easily.

For many people the last one is the hardest to achieve. Why? Is it because we live in a world where we are continually being hurt and misused by others? Difficulty and hardship are the nature of this worldly life. We all hurt and are hurt. The problem is when we forget the sins that our own hands and tongues have sent forward and, instead, focus on what others have done and said to hurt us.

When we nurture wounds, remembering harsh words that were spoken and continually recalling painful events our sense of injustice is ignited, our anger flares, the healing of our inner wounds is slowed down, and the whole body and mind is put under great stress. So it is important to release grudges from the heart so as to not allow the heart to foster negative feelings towards others. But how can this be done, especially when people really do say and do hurtful and harmful things to each other?

We must realize from deep within our hearts that Satan is our open enemy and that he loves to sow discord, division, and bad feelings and grudges between people. Do not let him win! He waits in ambush for mankind, waiting for us to be in our weakest moment and then whammy! His helpers from among humankind say and do things to hurt us. He wants to damage our hearts because he realizes their importance in our eternal success.

So take the first step to keep your heart free of spiritual disease and adopt a forgiving nature like that of our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Allah the Almighty says: [Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Rich and He is Most Forbearing] (Al-Baqarah 2:263).

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