One must strive to purify his heart as it is the true key to behaving properly in this life and gaining Allah's pleasure and Paradise in the next life.There are signs that one can notice within himself to be able to determine whether or not his heart is pure and wholesome. Many of these signs demonstrate that the pure and healthy heart is inclined to this world, but instead, it is attatched to Allah and the Hereafter.
These signs have been discussed by ibn al-Qayyim and they include the following :
1. The person considers himself to be belonging to the next world and not this world.He is a stranger in this world and cannot wait to reach his abode in the Hereafter.
2. The person continues to be upset with himself anytime he commits a sin until he finally and completely repents to Allah.
3. If the person misses his daily recitation of the Qur'an and dhikr, he is more upset and unhappy than if he had lost his wealth.
4. The individual finds a pleasure in worshipping Allah that is much greater than any pleasure he finds in eating or drinking.
5. When the person begins his prayer,his worries and concerns about this world leave him.
6. His only concern and worries are concerning Allah and acting for the sake of Allah.
7. He is more concerned with wasting time and more stingy about wasting his time than a greedy person is with respect to his wealth.Time is one key element that everyone must use for the worship of Allah. Needless to
say Allah often blesses people with free time and yet they have no idea how to use it,so they simply waste it.
8. The person is more concerned with the correctness of his deed than he is with the performance of the deed itself.
At the same time, there are many signs that a persons heart is impure or diseased.It is important to take note of these signs and cure the heart.Many people are concerned with the physical health of their hearts. If their blood pressure rises,they immediately seek help. However,the more important aspect is not the physical health of the heart, but the spiritual health of the heart.This does not mean that one neglects the physical health of his heart. It does, though, mean that if one is only taking care of the hearts physical health, he is neglecting the more important factor, the factor that is more important for his health in this life and the Hereafter.
Ibn al-Qayyim also discussed the signs that indicate that there is an illness in the heart.These signs include the following :
1. The person does not feel any hurt or pain when he commits evil deeds and sin.
2. The individual finds both pleasure in committing acts of disobediance to Allah and rests after performing them.
3. The person looks after the less important matters and does not care about the more important ones. Obviously, if a heart is sound, it will look after the persons best interest. When the heart does not care about essential matters, it is clearly a sign that it is not only sick but perhaps dead.
4. The person dislikes the truth and has difficulty accepting or submitting to it.
5. The person does not find comfort in being among the righteous people but finds a great deal of solace and peace while among the evildoers and sinful people.
6. The person is susceptible to be affected by misconceptions and doubts. He is attracted to discussions, debates d arguments that surround such misconceptions rather than to reading the Qur'an and other beneficial acts. This aspect can truly be seen nowadays among muslims, especially over the Internet. Today, a muslim may spend hours discussing, for example,whether or not to hijab is a part of Islam or if riba (interest) is forbidden and so forth. Many times, such discussions begin by quoting non-muslim authors and then going from there. Those who love this type of discussion and who get affected by it must be aware that this could be a sign of a sickness in their heart.
7. The person may not be affected by any kind of admonition whatsoever. Some people, for example, can listen to the Friday khutbah -- even excellent khutbahs-- and there is never any effect on them. This is another sign that the heart is diseased or truly dead.