[Following has been inspired from an awesome talk by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db explaining ‘Wuqoof-e-Qalb’i given in Chicago, US on 01-11-2003. It is a small excerpt from the talk, not a word-word transcription]
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ
وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Wuqoof-e-Qalbi means to remember Allah swt all the time. This word, “Wuqoof” comes from the word “waqf” which means “To Pause”.
So, Wuqoof-e-Qalbi means to pause your heart; to maintain your heart; to still-stop your heart on the remembrance of Allah swt – to not let your heart deviate; to not let your heart go astray into the thoughts of ghairullah (anyone other than Allah swt) but to pause your heart on the remembrance of Allah swt.
Allah swt has Given us this ability that if we want to, we can keep something in our heart at all times – we can keep a thought running in our background at all times.
1. If someone’s wife tells him to go get vegetables from the market, and he goes to the market but on the way he finds a friend so he stops on the way and starts talking with his friend – but all the time he remembers that my original purpose to get out of the house was to get the vegetables. He won’t forget that he has to get the vegetables, when he leaves his friend he will go get the vegetables. This shows that Allah swt ability to do two things at once – on one hand he was talking to his friend and inside his heart he was thinking that he has to get the vegetables.
2. Just like that when a student has any exam coming up -whether its a madressa exam or college exam – when the exam is one week away, that student is in an examination-mode! Every second of the day he knows that his exam is coming up; that his examination is looming on top of him – he might be stopping to eat something; drink something; he might be driving on the way to the library – but every second he knows that I have this exam coming up. So, this means that a person has this ability to process something at the background.
Just like in a computer, you have windows. Windows is the operating system, it is always running at the background no matter what programs you put over it windows never stops functioning its always there in the background – just like that a true believer in his heart always remembers Allah swt. No matter what he is doing, he has a cord attached from his heart to Allah swt
This is why our Mashaikh say that that moment in which a person forgets Allah swt it is as if he is a kaafir! Because if you open up his heart – its empty and if you open up the heart of a kaafir, its also empty(of the remembrance of Allah swt). So, the only difference between us and a kaafir is of the remembrance of Allah swt.
Now, how to do this Wuqoof-e-Qalbi? How can we practically focus our heart on Allah swt?
To do Wuqoof-e-Qalbi means that you focus your attention on your heart and then you focus your heart on Allah swt. So, the first thing is that you have to be aware that you have this heart inside of you, untill you know the importance of the heart, you will even forget that you have a heart inside of you. So many ayahs of Qur’an-e-Karim and Ahadith instill the importance of our heart, so if you know that you have this valuable precious thing inside of you then you should focus your attention on your heart through out the day and then focus your heart on Allah swt.
And, the way to do this is to think about Allah swt at all times. This Dhikr-e-Kaseer; this 24-hour Dhikr, it just means to think about Allah swt; to remember Allah swt at all times.
Anything that comes in front of you through out the day, anything that you do – you have to make it a means of remembering Allah swt
E.g. If you’re doing something with your family, then while you are with your family look at them and view them as a blessing of Allah swt and immediately that will lead you to remember Allah swt
Everything that you do you have to seek a means of making it a way for you to think about Allah swt. We are exactly the opposite.
– If we sit in the Masjid, we find some means to think about the Dunya; if we are standing in Salah, some way our nafs finds something to think about the world; If we are reading our Qur’an, our Nafs finds someway to make us think about the world.
So, just like the Dunya is so overpowering on us that we are always thinking about it – Wuqoof-e-Qalbi means that you have to make Allah swt overpowering in your life. You have to bring Allah swt back into your life. You have to reconcile that distant Lord. You have to stay away from those things that keep you from Allah swt – so through out the day, each and every thing that comes in front of you, you should use it as a means to think about Allah swt.
One of the things that the Mashaikh prescribe to assist you in this is that for everything you do, you must form a Niyyah; an intention.
1. You should memorize all the Sunnah duas for each and every action – the Duas before eating; the Duas after eating, the Dua before entering the Masjid; the Dua before leaving the Masjid, the Duas before sleeping
2. In addition to that, before performing any action you should make a niyyah in your heart. Link every action you do to Allah swt
For e.g. When you recite the dua before eating – Bismillahi wa ‘ala barakatillah. At the same time, link that act of eating to Allah swt, and make this intention that, ‘O Allah swt! I’m eating this food with the intention that I will get enough strength from this food; I will get enough nourishment from this food so that i can use this strength and nourishment in Your ibadah; in Your worship; in Your Dhikr; in Your remembrance.
So, each and everything you do, while you recite the Sunnah Dua that is affiliated with that action, you can alongside make a niyyah that somehow joins that action to Allah swt.
2. When you sleep and recite the Sunnah dua before sleeping, “Allahumma bismika amootu wa ahya”; at the same time make a niyyat, link that act of sleeping back to Allah swt. Say that, ‘O my Allah swt! I lay myself down to sleep, so that I may get enough rest from sleeping so that I may rise fresh in Your ibadat, so that I may rise for Tahajjud; so that I can remember you at these special times.
So, each and everything in your life, whether it is a worldly thing or a religious thing – you should make an intention for it and link that intention back to Allah swt. And this will be a test for you that anything that you cannot make an intention; anything in your life that you cannot link to Allah swt – know that it has some level of sin; that thing has some level of ghaflah; that thing is somehow keeping you away from Allah swt. Because through the best of your ability, you cannot link it to Allah swt, it means that that thing is clearly a ghairullah; that thing is other than Allah swt; that thing will make you distant from Allah swt; that thing will distract you from Allah swt. So, each and every thing in your life, you have to link it to Allah swt.
Another way to do Wuqoof-e-qalbi: Think your heart is saying Allah Allah Allah
Another way of doing Wuqoof-e-qalbi is to actually think that your heart is saying Allah Allah Allah. This is when you have free moments of time.
– Many of us, when we sit on a bus, we have no books with us; we have nothing to do! we just sit for one hour on that bus. So, normally what a person does is that he processes different thoughts – he starts thinking about different things or sometimes he just goes blank; he just goes empty, he doesn’t think about anything for one hour – he wedges out (What we call in English slang)
We should make use of that time – spend that time in wuqoof-e-qalbi; maybe it is too awkward in front of the people sitting in the bus to actually do Muraqaba(silent remembrance and reflection of the heart) but at least while sitting there just think about Allah swt –
Think anyway you can about Allah swt- the doors of Ijtihaad are open to you in wuqoof-e-qalbi. You can make better intentions than the one I gave you – you can link each and every action in better and better ways each and every day with Allah swt.
You can find newer ways to think of Allah swt
- Just look up at the sky, its vastness, and think ‘O my Lord! You are even vaster than this!’
- Look up at the stars and think, O Allah swt! Forgive me for my sins which maybe greater than the stars
- You can look at the stars and think, O Allah swt! I praise You as much as there are stars in the sky
- You can look at the sand and beaches and think, O Allah swt! I love You more than there are grains of sand in the beaches
وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ
وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ
- It will improve our Salah because if a person comes on the Musallah to pray Salah and says his Takbir-e-tehrima (Allahu akbar) and if all day he was forgetful of Allah swt then just by doing this, he has to do 100% of the work. But if, throughout the day, he remembered Allah swt – if he remembered Allah swt 20% of the day, then he has to do 80% of the work, if he remembered Allah swt 50% of the time, now he has to do only 50% of the work and if he remembered Allah swt all day long then now when he comes for his Salah, its very easy for him to concentrate in Salah or it will be very easy for him to focus in Muraqabah; its very easy for him to detach himself from the dunya and reflect on Allah swt because while he was in the dunya, he kept himself attached to Allah swt by way of wuqoof-e-qalbi
- It gives you a (real) perspective on the dunya because once you detach yourself from the dunya; once you disengage yourself from the dunya, the reality of the dunya will open up in front of you – when you sit and you do wuqoof-e-qalbi in a gathering; when you remember Allah swt in a gathering then the nature of that gathering will be opened up in front of you. E.g. A person who stop watching T.V. and leaves T.V. for 10 years, then when he walks into a house and sees people watching T.V., the scene looks so strange to him. He looks at these people; he looks at these pictures on the screen and thinks what are these people doing watching this screen. But, that person who regularly watches T.V., it seems like something normal to him. Why? Because the reality of that act; the reality of the ghaflat and heedlessness of the act is unveiled infront of that person who remembers Allah swt. So, the more you remember Allah swt, the reality of your dunya will be exposed to you and then you will be able to detach yourself from the dunya. Unless you attach yourself to Allah swt, you wont be able to detach yourself from the dunya.
- It becomes very difficult to sin because normally when a person sins, he sins in a state of forgetfulness. If you ask any young man who committed a sin, that at the moment when you were sinning , were you remembering Allah swt? He’s say at that time I wasn’t remembering Allah swt, I even forgot that I was even a Muslim! I had no recollection of Allah swt; I even forgot Rasoolullah saw; I even forgot that I am someone who has read the Kalima. I was so absorbed/intoxicated/lost/drunken in my sin. But, a person who remembers Allah swt throughout the day, when he is in a state of remembrance, it is very difficult to commit a sin because at that time you are attached to Allah swt; how can you be attached to Allah swt and commit a sin at the same time? Either you’ll have to break that attachment or you’ll have to break off that sin. So, those of us who want to leave our sins, an easy way to do that is to do wuqoof-e-qalbi; is to increase in pausing your heart in the perpetual remembrance of Allah swt.
…to be continued, inshaAllah.