Tasawwuf series, part 1

These notes are from a talk called “Making our hearts fertile”, which is one of a number of talks on Tasawwuf. The speaker is a Chicago-based scholar, Shaikh Hussain Abdul Sattar. You can find this 16 minute talk (fertile_hearts.mp3) and many others of his at http://www.sacredlearning.org/general_talks.htm.


Making our hearts fertile

Humans = 2 parts: body and soul, each with a head (command centre / key aspect)

    • Head of body: nafs (base, animalistic desires)
    • Head of soul: heart

Spiritual battle of each person is in the heart

    • Teachings of Prophet s.a.w. -> aims to purify the heart
    • Shaytaan -> aims to destroy heart

The heart – which is where passion lies – controls the physical body: what’s in the heart is what the physical body will pursue.

2 components of the heart:

1. ‘Soil’ of the heart
2. ‘Seeds’ planted in the heart


1. The soil:

Not all plants grow in all soil.

You need the right soil for a particular plant you want to grow.

If the soil isn’t right, planting the seeds will make no impact – seeds won’t grow.


What we take in (hear, see, smell, etc) is processed by the mind. The mind then plants the seed in the heart. That heart must have the right soil in order for the seeds to survive and grow.

*This is why something can sound good in our mind, but it might never stick within us – we don’t have the right soil.

Our soil of the heart must be: Allah, Prophet s.a.w., the Hereafter.

With this as your focus, your heart becomes fertile to the seeds of the deen – and what you learn of it sticks with you, grows, and you implement it.

Then, when you’re reminded of that which has been planted, the whole body submits to that thing.


How to cultivate the Soil:

  1. Recite Quran and spend time with it: creates receptive soil in heart
  2. Istighfaar: cleans up the soil
  3. Salawaat: Fertilises the soil
  4. Reflection (Muraqaba): helps to enlighten the soil
  • On Allah, Day of Judgement, Grave, blessings given to you, life of the Hereafter, your self
  • Muraqabat were Sahabah that were deep in their reflection


2. The seeds:

Seeds are planted into the heart via:

  • the company of one another
  • the impulses the mind generates.


The mind is the thing with the biggest effect on the heart: if the mind is generating good thoughts, those thoughts filter through to the heart, and sticks in the heart.

The heart is what will be judged on Qiyammah


The power of the mind, and developing your mind:

Very important, because what starts in the mind ends up in the heart. 

If you sit and reflect on the life of this world:

  1. your impulses and thoughts will be focused on this world
  2. that filters to your heart, and your goal becomes this world
  3. your mind is then occupied with this world, which leads to actions (which can end up haraam) towards the goal

If you sit and reflect on the Hereafter:

  1. think about the Hereafter
  2. that filters to your heart, and your goal becomes the Hereafter
  3. that then filters back up to your mind  – which then leads you to do that which is good for the Hereafter, and abstain/avoid things that are bad for the Hereafter


Muraqabah focuses on training the mind to reflect and focus on Allah, so that you can generate positive thoughts. 

Having proper Islamic knowledge straightens out and purifies your mind:

  1. The ideas coming out of your mind are regulated, restricted.
  2. Your mind’s impulses are generated from Quran and Hadith.
  3. Those impulses, plus the proper deeds (i.e. deeds that fertilise the heart) = goodness, goodness, goodness
  4. In the heart, beautiful ‘garden’ grows. A pure heart:
  • pleasure for that person
  • please for those around them (who can see that beauty)
  • success on Qiyammah – that garden (heart) is presented to Allah

Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) focuses on the heart, purifies the heart, creates fertile environment in the heart.


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