Are there locks upon their hearts?

I memorized the surah An-Naba’ in the year 2006… but I didn’t actually think of memorizing it… in fact it was just through listening it again and again over a period of several days that its words just got engraved on my heart and mind… forever… but what made me listen to it so much?

Actually what happened was that in those days I was doing my taleemul Quran course (privately at home) and the day I began my last juz I was feeling quite a mixture of emotions that my journey through Quran was coming to an end… and instead of being excited I was full of sadness that I didn’t want the journey to end at all… so with that state of mind when I listened to this great surah An-Naba… it just took my breath away… the scene of the day of judgement was made so vivid as if it was happening right there in front of my eyes… and then the last line just made me cry with tears of grief and regret:

“Indeed we have warned you of a torment that is very near… the day when a person will see what his two hands had sent forth… and the disbeliever will say “O woe to me…would that I were (mere) dust…”

I was reminded of this yesterday when I attended the first online class of this Ramadan in which instead of doing the regular Dawra-e-Quran, our teacher has decided to teach us how to contemplate and reflect on the Quran such that it motivates us to implement it in our lives.

Just by listening to the introductory class I got the answer to my oft repeated question: why isn’t Quran making us better people? Why isn’t it reflected in our daily lives? we say Quran has the solution to all problems so why do we not come out of our problems even though we read Quran daily and have even spent years learning its meanings too…

The answer is that Quran benefits us when we connect to it in five ways:

  • By listening to its recitation

  • By reciting it with proper tajweed

  • By memorizing it

  • By pondering upon its meanings

  • By acting upon it

But our problem is that we only fulfill one or two conditions… majority of us just think its enough to read it daily… that too without proper recitation… even the majority of people who have become Hafiz are not bothered by the fact that they have just memorized words and have no idea what the Quran says… its only a very small percentage of muslims who take the time to learn its meanings… but even they have not been taught how to contemplate upon its meanings… that is why our hearts remain unaffected and therefore our thinking and behaviour remains unchanged.

Getting this diagnosis for my lack of progress as a true believer gave me such a relief and hope because once you identify the root of a problem then the solution lies only a step away…

I was super excited to know that in this blessed month of Ramadan; which was in itself a celebration of the revelation of Quran; I would be learning the proper way to reflect upon the Quran and also to take the proper action accordingly… even if I was just joining this class online, still it will connect me to my teacher and daily I will be learning on how to really make my life a reflection of Quran.   

So Alhamdulillah yesterday we had our first session in which we covered the first part of surah An-Naba’… I was so excited that we were starting with my most favourite surah… but as we went over the meanings word for word and the gist of the message in it… I was bewildered at the state of my heart… why wasn’t it responding? Why was it so unaffected? I reasoned that maybe it was because of my headache and weakness which I usually experience in the first few days of fasting…

Or maybe it was acting like that due to the fact that I was yearning to go to the class and being alone in my room was making me sad…

So I thought I will just sleep it off and maybe after a nap I will feel more active and alert…

But then after the nap there came up other issues which made me forget all about the class… until when I stood up for isha prayer and I just automatically started reciting the same surah… the question again rose up inside me why wasn’t I being affected?

I remembered a question which  Allah asks in the Quran:
“Do they not ponder over the Quran or are there locks upon their hearts?”

And it made me realize that Allah is telling me the answer in between the same question… He is telling me that if I am not being affected then either I am not reflecting… or if I am not being affected despite reflecting on the meanings then it means that there are locks upon my heart… not one lock but many locks… So what are these locks?

The answer came this morning when I was standing in the fajr prayer… it suddenly dawned upon me that when we read the scenes of hellfire and people being tortured in it… we don’t think it could happen to us… we listen to these horrifying things just like we listen to news of destruction in some other part of the world which does not make any difference to our life and our routine.

It is human nature to care most passionately about our own concerns… therefore Quran will affect me only when I truly believe that ONLY Allah knows where I am going to end up on the day of judgement… because when I will start thinking of hell as being a possible destination only then I will feel its torture as described by Allah… and only by feeling its pain now, I will start thinking of ways to avoid it… I will start protecting myself by doing only that which Allah loves and avoiding all that displeases him…

But if I think of myself as a good person… too good to go to hell… then even if the most terrifying picture is presented before me I will not be affected because it will seem irrelevant… something that will only happen to others… something that does not concern me…

So this self righteousness is one of the locks which Allah is referring to… the locks upon the heart which obstruct the path to enlightenment… which create a distance between the heart and true guidance…

May Allah help us to identify and remove all these locks so that we can become the people of Quran in the real sense of the word… ameen

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