BALM FOR THE HEART
The renowned Sage of Islam, Hadhrat Ahmad Ibn Aasim Antaaki (rahmatullah alayh) said: “The balm of the heart consists of five constituents:
♦ The company of the Sulaha (Pious)
♦ Abundant tilaawat (recitation) of the Qur’aan Majeed
♦ Keeping the stomach empty
♦ Performance of Tahajjud Salaat
♦ Shedding tears in the morning.”
Each constituent is a subject by itself. Hadhrat Antaaki (rahmatullah alayh) has here presented the process of moral reformation and spiritual elevation very concisely in a nutshell.
The Ahaadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) are replete with the significance of all these acts of ibaadat.
With regard to ‘keeping the stomach empty’, the Mashaaikh and Auliya who are the experts in the field of spirituality have advised that due to the extreme physical and spiritual weakness of the people of these ages so distant from the Khairul Quroon era (the first three noble ages of Islam), the rigid austerity which the former Auliya practised regarding food consumption no longer applies.
It now suffices to abstain from filling the stomach to capacity and to keep the Masnoon fasts such as fasting on Mondays, Thursdays, the two days in Muharram, the Day of Arafaat, the 15th Sha’baan and the month of Ramadhaan. All the other constituents in the reformatory process remain unchanged.
As far as shedding of tears is concerned, this is an emotional state which is a bestowal of Allah Ta’ala for those who strive against the villainy of their nafs and adopt Taqwa. Spiritual states of the emotional category are not acquirable by volition.
These are divine bestowals awarded temporarily to enhance enthusiasm and determination to press forward along the spiritual journey in the quest for Allah’s Proximity.