THERE are many ways through which one can become deeply devout and pious and have a soft heart. The best and most important of such ways is to have deep faith in Almighty Allah.
True believers who deeply understand Almighty Allah’s attributes and names revere Allah with all their hearts and show complete obedience to His teachings. Whenever they hear a verse of Almighty Allah’s Book or a Hadith of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), they hasten to abide by the teaching implied therein, uttering in deep faith
“We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord and to You is the return (of all).” (Al-Baqarah 2:285).
Following are things that help one attain piety and devotion:
Understanding Almighty Allah’s attributes and names:
When believers contemplate Almighty Allah’s names and attributes and believe that only in Almighty Allah’s hands is the dominion over all things and that only He can protect them but none can protect against the Most High, they will do their best to vie in doing good and avoiding evil. Thus, understanding Allah’s attributes is the best and most important step that fills one’s heart with reverence for Almighty Allah and draws one closer and closer to the Most High. When you experience such a state, you will be ever mindful of Allah Almighty, and in every moment of your life, whether a moment of blessing or trial, your faith in Allah’s greatness and bounty is asserted.
One who truly knows Allah Almighty has a heart filled with awe of the Most High. On the other hand, one who never cares about knowing Allah Almighty is far away from understanding His attributes. One who is in such a state is hard-hearted and never perceives how severe Almighty Allah’s punishment may be and how limitless His mercy and bounty are. One who has no concern for knowing Almighty Allah deviates from the right path and is not bothered by violating Allah’s laws and teachings. The only aim such a one lives for is to get worldly pleasures.
Moreover, such a one keeps deviating from the right path, despairing of Allah’s mercy, for he or she is ignorant of Allah’s boundless forgiveness that He, the Most High, grants to whoever returns to Him in repentance.
Contemplating on Almighty Allah’s Book:
It helps one become more pious and devout to contemplate on Allah’s Book, whose ayaat guide one to the right path. Mind what Allah Most High says about His Book:
“(This is) a Book, ayat whereof are perfected (in every sphere of knowledge), and then explained in detail from One (Allah), Who is All-Wise Well-Acquainted (with all things).” – (Hud 11:1).
When believers deeply contemplate the ayaat of Almighty Allah’s Book, their eyes fill with tears and their hearts turn unto Allah Most High in deep penitence. Their hearts in such a state are like a barren land that has bloomed after being watered with Allah’s illuminating words. They find themselves then thirsty for doing good deeds for Allah’s sake and wholeheartedly willing to do what pleases Him.A true believer who reads Almighty Allah’s Book in deep contemplation feels great awe of the Most High.
The influence of the Qur’an on its attentive listeners is amazing. There are some Companions of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) who embraced Islam immediately after listening to some of the Qur’anic ayaat. When they listened to these ayaat, they promptly believed in the truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and gave up worshiping the idols, declaring faith in Almighty Allah alone.
We are to bear in mind that the Qur an is the speech that the Only Lord directs to His creatures from among mankind and jinn, and thus its teachings are to guide them to His right path.
Allah Almighty guides the one who is keen to comprehend its words and contemplate its meanings.
Remembering the Day of Judgment:
One of the things that help one get closer to Almighty Allah and hasten to return to Him in repentance is remembering the Day of Judgment. One must bear in mind that there is an end to every beginning, that after death there is no chance to reform one’s mistakes, and that one’s abode after this world is either Paradise or Hell.
When you deeply realize that the life of this world is temporary and that its pleasures will inevitably come to an end, this certainly will lead you to despise this world and return to Almighty Allah in sincere repentance. If you visit graves and reflect on the conditions of its dwellers and how, sooner or later, you will join them, you will realize the ineffectiveness of running after the worldly gains, and will, in deep awe, submit heart and soul to Almighty Allah’s will.