Your Heart is the Pillar of Your Worship

Shaykh ‘Abdullah’ Azzam, An-Nidaa Publications

The heart is the machine that drives all acts of worship. It is what moves the entire body! As long as the heart is alive, then the limbs will be alive, and the soul will open itself up to worship.

However, if the heart becomes diseased, then worship will become too heavy on the soul, leading to it eventually disliking and hating-and we seek refuge with Allah from this-worship. Because of this, Allah-the glorified and Exalted- said regarding the prayer:

“…and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except on those who are submissive…” [al-Baqarah; 45]

The prayer is heavy, because one’s legs and hands are not what get up for the prayer. What gets up for the prayer are the heart and the soul.

“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for the prayers, they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.” [An-Nisa’; 142]

Because of this it is the heart that stands up for worship. The limbs are simply slaves of this heart, carrying out what it commands them. If the heart is alive, then the soul will be alive, and worship will become beloved and sweetened to the hearts and souls, and they will open up for it.

However, if the heart becomes diseased, then worship becomes too heavy on it. The heart is like the digestive system: right now, the most beloved thing to you is meat. However, if you develop an ulcer somewhere in the digestive system, then the meat along with its fat and oil-becomes the most hated thing to it, since it is diseased. Sweets are also something beloved to the soul. For example, if you were fasting right now and were to break your fast on some desserts, then your soul would become satisfied with that, right? However, if one were to be stricken with diabetes, then he would not be able to handle these sugary foods, even if they were beloved to him. The heart is like this: it must be strong so that it can handle worship that is strong.

The stronger your heart becomes, then throw as much worship upon it as you wish. You will get up to pray at night, and you would cherish this prayer and consider sleep to be your enemy:

“Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope…” [as-Sajdah; 16]

He begins to forsake it because an enmity develops between him and his bed. He prays behind the Imam, and he says to himself: “If only he would make the prayer longer” So that he would increase in his opening up to his worship, and his tasting of its sweetness. At times I would pray a normal prayer with the people behind me, so I would elongate the prayer. The youth would then come to me and say (the hadith):

“Whoever leads the people in prayer should go easy on them,” –the youth!

And there is an old man behind me who was between 90 and 100 years of age –his face filled with light-and he will say to me:

“Keep making the prayer long and do not answer them”

A man of 90 years getting pleasure out of a long prayer, and a youth of 20 who probably practices karate and judo, cannot handle the same prayer. Why? If he went to the soccer field and spent two hours playing there without becoming bored, then why would he become bored from hearing the Quran for five minutes? The difference between a short prayer and a long prayer is simply five minutes, so why does he become bored from these five minutes of Quran yet does not become bored from two hours of soccer? Why does he not get bored from standing for two hours staring at an inflated piece of leather, his heart attached to it? Because what stands up to pray is the heart, and what stands up for sports are simply the body and the muscle.”

Reference: From a lecture given by ‘Abdullah’ Azzam on 15,1988 entitled ‘The true preparation, ’found in the collection‘ At-Tarbiyyah Al-Jihadiyyah Wal-Bina’; 1/220]


Islamnode is a platform for the dissemination of sound Knowledge of Islam and an orientation of Muslims of the Sciences of the Din in accordance with the Pristine Knowledge taught by the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – to the Companions – Ridwanullah ‘Alayhim – and understood by them, their Students and those who followed them of the earliest generations. We follow the Sunnah of the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and promote the Works of the Ulama of Sunnah from the first generation to date. Our goal is to propagate the Sciences of Islam, to disseminate the sound understanding of the Salaf and to enable the sound education of Muslims in this era.

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