Making Your Heart Compassionate

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin

“None of you truly believes until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”
“There is a morsel of flesh where if it be whole, the entire body is whole: and if it be diseased, the entire body is diseased. Surely it is the heart.”
Hadith of Prophet (s)

The above “symbolic heart” clearly shows that our goodness should guide our intellect. If you are smart as a whip, but have no morals, you are no good to society. And if you don’t wish goodness on your brother or sister, your belief comes into question. Those words have a deep and profound meaning as they relate to the way the sons and daughters of Adam (human beings) are supposed to behave. Prophet Isa ibn Maryam (as) said the same thing in the Injeel, “Love your brother as yourself.”

When we are embarking upon an action on another human being, the first question we should ask ourselves is “How would I want to be treated in this same circumstance?” The way to get the best answer is to first have a purification of your heart. You must start with a clean heart and with the best of intentions.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of the heart in guiding the rest of our existence on a peaceful, progressive journey. Intelligence is second—the heart is first. The heart is what allows us to “talk” to each other in a non-verbal way. Our hearts communicate with truths that cannot be denied.

So how do we insure that our hearts maintain a level of compassion and love?

1. First, make an appointment with the Almighty, ALLAH. When we are spiritually ailing, ALLAH is ready and willing to help us. He has promised to renew us when we ask and submit our wills to His will.

2. We must examine our hearts frequently. We must keep a check on our intentions. It is possible to feel that we are living normal, healthy lives when in reality we have physical problems we are unaware of. Similarly with our spiritual well being. We should regularly examine the state of our own hearts in relation to others and our Creator. Think, “When was the last time I recognized someone in need? How did I react? How do I react when someone is hurting and in need?”

3. We must keep positive habits. Change yourself first instead of trying to change others. You can do this in simple ways: greeting your neighbors with a smile, look people in the eye, listen carefully when they speak. Instead of turning inward, make a conscious decision to look outward. Consistently imagine yourself in others’ shoes, and you will soon learn to be compassionate.

4. Keep yourself physically healthy. If your heart is in good shape physically, you will be able to concentrate on spiritual aspects. You will be able to practice generosity and discover the joy of giving. Instead of waiting for those in need to come to you, keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to search for them. Find new ways to help. Seek out service programs at the masjid that you are interested in. One of those programs just might be what you need to give your heart a needed workout—and the masjid will also benefit by positive growth.

This way we can enhance what ALLAH has provided us with and improve the world. There is hope for weary, apathetic hearts. Make your intentions pure and act on that purity. It will elevate you as well as your brother. If you want it for yourself—make sure he gets it too.

As Salaam Alaikum
(Al Hajj) Abdullah Bey El-Amin

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