I Who do not fit inside the 18,000 universes dwell inside the heart of my believing servant.
The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s infinite peace always embrace him, pointed to his heart and said that true religion is right here. The heart is the Kaba of Allah and the home of humanity. Religion is the act of returning home. Allah speaks tenderly into our spiritual ear “I am closer to you than your own life vein, for I am the One within your heart. Realize Me, witness Me, return entirely into Me.”
Sufism is the path of the heart. When we speak of the heart we normally mean the emotional/physical one, inhabited by feelings of elation, sadness, or distress. Shaykh Nur referred to this as the ‘courtyard of the heart’, the zone of psychological and emotional vibrations which circulate around the true heart, the qalb, like thunderclouds surrounding a core of light.
The qalb itself is pure love. When we consciously inhabit the qalb we see everything through the eyes of love. We see all life forms simply as the play of Love, and the desire of Love for Itself, the pouring forth in infinite creativity and the drawing back of all into Its own Essence. We know that we are in the heart when we act for the sake of love, and not with the desire to gain something from our action. We know that we are in the heart when we speak the truth, and if we cover our words it is only to protect someone else. In the realm of qalb, limited consciousness dissolves like the dew drops on a blade of grass when the sun rises. And the deeper we fall into the ocean of qalb the stronger is the power of love over us.
The root of qalb means to turn and fluctuate. Ibn al Arabi, may he be blessed with Allah’s mercy, says that fluctuation is the true nature of the heart as it moves in the waves of Allah’s revelations, receiving moment by moment the fresh news from its Lord. Allah Most High has informed us that the heart of each of us is held between His two fingers and turned ceaselessly. The Prophet Muhammad would take oath through the power of the “One Who Holds my heart between his two fingers.” We are free to take this image literally or understand it as a figurative way to express a relationship of intimacy. Both are true.
The heart is clearly not something we control. We give up all control and submit to the loving embrace of Allah when we say yes and plunge into the heart. This is teslimyet, the submission which alone brings peace. And as our awareness begins to inhabit the deeper realms, we open to the divine realities which are named the secret and the secret of the secret. The latter is also called the ‘gnostic heart’, the infinite kingdom where Allah Alone exists. Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi, may Allah sanctify his secret, said of this heart, “Were limitless existence, if its limits could be imagined, together with the essence that brought it into existence, to be put into one of the corners of the Heart of the gnostic, he would have no consciousness of it. It is established that the Heart encompasses the Reality, but though it be filled, it thirsts on, as Abu Yazid has said.”
The path however begins where we are. If our conscience is in the outer courtyard, love reaches us there and calls us to return into the heart. Love is the guide because it is the very essence of the heart, and it always brings us home. In the heart we meet Allah and we disappear into Allah, which has been our great longing from the time we came into human form. In reality, we were never separated, we only imagined we were. Our path is the melting of the prison wall of imagined separation, which we have mistaken for our home, and the return into the true self of the heart, into Allah.
Keep vigilance with your heart and you will be with Allah. Be aware of the waves which rise and fall within it, but do not be carried away by them. Do everything from the heart. What we bring to Allah ultimately is our heart.
The heart is the open space of divine manifestation.
The heart is continuously pregnant with revelation.
The heart is the greatness of humanity.
On one level the heart is seeing Allah, and on another level, the heart is Allah’s seeing. It is the eye of Reality, and the life of Reality.
The heart is the tiniest, most hidden of creation and it is the vastness beyond all horizons, embracing all creation.
To awaken, to love, is to live within the heart of Allah, for our heart is none other than the heart of Allah.
When we commit any act against love, we deny our heart and leave a trace on the pure mirror around the heart. When we offer an act of love, when we immerse ourselves in the state of dhikrullah, we clarify all obscuration.