Allah said الْيَوْمَ نَخْتِمُ عَلَىٰ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتُكَلِّمُنَا أَيْدِيهِمْ وَتَشْهَدُ أَرْجُلُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ “Today We seal their mouths, yet shall their hands speak unto Us, and their feet shall bear witness concerning every thing they had done!” (Yā Sīn 36:65). The soul is bestowed with the capacity to discern right from wrong, and the tacit loyalty of the body in this life as it obeys the soul may ultimately lead the body to betrayal in the Afterlife when it testifies against her. Her vices are what make her human, but when oriented toward God at the crossroads between علم knowledge and عمل effort, she illumes angelic!

Allah said, تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ . الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ “Hallowed be He in Whose hand is all dominion, Who has power over every thing, the One Who created death and life to try you—which of you shall be most beautiful in deeds. And He is the Almighty, the Forgiving!” (al-Mulk 67:1-2). The deeds that we author into our lives are the material manifestation of the spiritual health of our hearts. This beauty that exudes is an extension of the heart’s soundness, while injustice is every indication of imbalance in the heart.

Our mother, Lady ʿĀʾishah, narrated from the Prophet ﷺ that the archangel Jibrīl once told him that Allah said, “The heavens and the earth cannot encompass Me, but the heart of My faithful servant encompasses Me!” In truth, the heart cannot be reminded that it is meant to be the dwelling of the One Who animates it, for its very life cycle is an unceasing invocation of His Name between contraction and expansion—Al-lāh, Al-lāh, Al-lāh. His nearness is to all hearts, but He only dwells in those hearts whose chambers are aesthetically ornate with the hues of faith.

The Prophet ﷺ guaranteed Paradise to a man whose one salvific deed was the state of his heart: he would not sleep before removing every trace of enmity, rancor, or anger against anyone who crossed him that day! We pray Allah purify our hearts of anything that would not welcome our Lord’s dwelling, that we may color our deeds with the strokes of beauty, the very test of our deaths and lives.

Taught by El-Hajj Hisham Mahmoud
Recommended reading: Purification of the Heart by Hamza Yusuf