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4 Poisons of the Heart

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Ramadhan is a time of blessings, and also the best month for repentance and increasing our ibadah. Yet even though Shaitan is locked away, we still find ourselves lacking in our amal - why?

When our hearts are pure, in shaa Allah the willpower and discipline to perform ibadah will be there. But what happens when our hearts are tainted with poison? That’s when it becomes difficult to do ibadah and maintain our connection with Allah S.W.T.

From the book The Purification of the Soul, compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn Al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, here are 4 poisons which are the most widespread and have the greatest effect on a heart's well-being, and how to avoid them as much as we can.

1. Unnecessary Talking

Our Prophet S.A.W. always used his speech in a positive way. He encouraged us to do the same and avoid using the tongue for ill-talking. Hadrat Anas (R.A.) reported him to have said:

The faith of a servant is not put right until his heart is put right, and his heart is not put right until his tongue is put right. (Musnad Ahmad)

In our free time, it’s easy to fall into the trap of gossip about whatever trends or celebrities have made the news. That’s just one of the ways we use our tongues for ill - others include backbiting. speaking rudely to people, or even just spreading rumors and misinformation.

How to prevent this:

Be conscious of the company you keep and the topics of conversation you engage in. Though it may be difficult to avoid negative conversation completely, we can still distance ourselves and not participate if it does happen around us.

2. Unrestrained Glances

Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do. [Quran, 24: 30]

One of the biggest sins in Islam is the sin of zina (fornication). And the road to zina begins with unrestrained glances. When we fail to guard our gazes from inappropriate images, attractive celebrities and the like, we unwittingly place ourselves in danger of going down this forbidden path.

How to prevent this:

Avoid spending too much time on your phone, particularly social media. This is where the likelihood of seeing inappropriate images is the most high.

3. Too Much Food

Hadrat A`ishah (R.A.) described the Prophet (S.A.W.) in the following words:

From the time of their arrival in Madina up until his death, the family of Muhammad (S.A.W.) never ate their fill of bread made from wheat three nights in a row. (Bukhari and Muslim)

With the bazaars and Iftar meal sets popping up everywhere, it’s very easy to end up overindulging during Ramadhan instead of cutting down on food! The whole point of Ramadhan is to remind ourselves of the nikmah and blessings of food and water, and to learn empathy for those less fortunate who suffer without food and water every day.

Remember, Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. himself often abstained from eating too much, even when he could more than afford to do so.

How to prevent this:

Be mindful of our food consumption (especially around bazaars) and only get what we need, no matter what our hungry stomachs say! If you’re buying food, limit yourself to 1 or 2 dishes per meal; more than enough to keep you satisfied.

4. Keeping Bad Company

The Prophet (S.A.W.) was reportedly asked:

“Which of our companions are best?” He replied: “One whose appearance reminds you of God, and whose speech increases you in knowledge, and whose actions remind you of the hereafter.” [Al-Muhasibi]

The company we keep is an important factor of what kind of life we want to lead. When we surround ourselves with kind people who encourage us and guide us, then we will flourish. Conversely, associating with people whose morals are skewed, or those who are unkind and unjust, will only bring us further away from Allah S.W.T.

How to prevent this:

Be picky with who you spend your time with, and don’t be afraid to cut off relationships that only bring harm. You can also reach out to your local mosque or other communities nearby to make some new friends with similar interests!


If you’d like more ways to make your Ramadhan the most blessed one yet, check out our Ramadan: 30 Days 30 Ways posts for daily reminders!

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