Allah Taãla says in the Noble Qurãn, 'You are the best of nations sent to man. You command good and forbid evil and you believe in Allah'. (Aali Imraan).
Allah Taãla states that one reason for this Ummah being titled as the best of Ummah, is the practice of commanding good and preventing evil'.
Those who have believed and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, it is the remembrance of Allah which provides tranquility to hearts.
The true believers are those who find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Their hearts find rest. Their hearts are still. Their hearts find satisfaction. When dhikr (the mention of Allah) is made in their presence, their hearts find assurance and security. Dhikr, in this verse, can be the Qur’an or any deed that includes the remembrance of Allah. The Qur’an is the most effective dhikr because it is a shifaa’, a cure, for any illness in our chests.
The believers in this verse are those who remember Allah, recognize His ayaat, and are conscious of their emaan. Their hearts are the ones that find peace and security in the remembrance of Allah.
Why do their hearts find rest?
Simple: Our purpose in this life is to worship Allah, dhikr is worship, and when we remember Allah, we are fulfilling our purpose. Therefore, our hearts are at peace.
People often seek peace of mind (or heart) in such things as music, alcohol, shopping, or eating. But Allah ta’ala uses “alaa” in this verse. ‘Alaa’ is known in the Arabic language to imply exclusivity, meaning, ONLY with the remembrance of Allah will hearts be at peace–there is no other way!
The true believers are those whose hearts tremble with fear when Allah is mentioned, and whose faith increases as they listen to His verses and their put their trust in their Rabb. (8:2)
Again, Allah ta’ala uses a phrase in Arabic that shows exclusivity, for “inna-ma” is like saying the reality is nothing but this, meaning the reality is that only the believers have these special qualities.
Ask yourself how your heart feels when the name of Allah is mentioned? Does your emaan increase when the Qur’an is recited? If not, we need to re-evaluate our emaan because this verse shows that only the true believers feel this way.
Notice that Allah ta’ala describes this as a cause and effect relationship. The believers feel their hearts tremble–they are literally awe-struck–and their emaan increases and becomes stronger. Still, they take the means, put their trust in Allah, and enjoining what He has commanded while staying away from His prohibitions. These believers don’t just seek a fuzzy feeling, they follow their fuzzy feelings with actions.
These fuzzy feelings are what is known as an “emanrush.” Many of us may attend gatherings of dhikr just to soften our hearts and bask in the mention and remembrance of The Most High. It is this feeling that draws people again and again to classes at the masajid, lectures by the shuyookh, and almaghrib seminars. Yes, our intention also includes seeking knowledge for the sake of Allah, but nothing can come close to hearing an ayah and whispering to yourself “subhanAllah” while your heart is utterly humbled. This is where the believers find tranquility.
In these two verses we see that Allah ta’ala mentions the effect of dhikr on the hearts of the believers, but does dhikr effect us externally as well?
Allah has revealed the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating: the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the remembrance of Allah. Such is the guidance of Allah. He guides therewith whom He pleases, but such as Allah leaves to stray, can have none to guide. (39:23)
Imam ibn Katheer states beautifully,
“this is the description of the righteous, when they hear the Words of the Compeller, the Protector, the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving, because they understand the promises and warnings contained therein. The frightening words and threats make their skin shiver from fear. ‘Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah’ because of their hope for His mercy and kindness.”
Qatadah said about this verse,
“`This is the characteristic of the friends [auliyaa] of Allah; Allah has described them in this manner, saying that their skin shivers, their eyes weep and their hearts find rest to the remembrance of Allah.”
Then Allah ta’ala says in the end of the verse, “Such is the guidance of Allah,” meaning these feelings are a trait of those who are truly guided, and no one else. This, again, shows exclusivity.
Thus, these verses imply three implications of exclusivity:
ONLY with the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace.
ONLY the believers’ hearts tremble with fear when Allah is mentioned, and their faith increases as they listen to His verses.
ONLY the skins and hearts of the guided will shiver with the remembrance of Allah and then become soft.
Next time you have an emanrush, remember these verses and thank Allah ta’ala. Always seek out the dhikr of Allah to soften your heart, to reach peace of mind, to feel humble in front of The One to Whom prostrates what is in the heavens and earth. Remind yourself that Allah ta’ala is not in need of your worship or remembrance in any way, He is Al-Ghaniyy (The One Free of All Needs), and this good is only for your weak and needy self, so be not among those whom Allah has cursed:
So, woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah! They are in plain error! (39:22)
These are the ones whose hearts do not become soft, who do not take heed when the verses of Allah are recited to them, who do not feel any fear or humility, and they are in plain misguidance. may Allah azza wa jal protect us from being amongst them and may He soften our hearts and skins to His remembrance and make us among those who act upon it, Ameen.