Fighting the Ills of the Heart

Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazzali (died 505 AH) lists amongst the chief ills of the heart in his book, Bidayat l-Hidaayah (The Beginning of Guidance), three things:


  • Envy (hasad)
  • Self amazement (‘ujb) and
  • Self-display (riya)

There are other ills like, anger, hate, resentment, arrogance, pride, greed, avarice, eagerness, worry, anxiety, and a score of others. But by mastering the three listed above, overcoming all the others become even easier.

What one must understand is that overcoming the ills of the heart demands that one gains a deeper understanding of the divine decree (qadar). Tranquility, harmony, and peace in one’s life are directly related to not questioning Allah’s wisdom in decreeing a particular event. By not questioning His wisdom in anything removes one from being on par with Satan and spares one from a similar fate as his. For it was merely that he questioned Allah’s wisdom that he was damned to the eternal abode of chastisement.

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