“Give the Gift of Life – Blood”

The above slogan is one that is often displayed by blood banks seeking donors, and it highlights one fundamental and undeniable fact – without blood, man would simply cease to survive.

Blood flows throughout the human body, and it is not only responsible for carrying nutrients to the various organs while simultaneously removing their toxins and waste. Rather, the most critical role played by blood is that of circulating oxygen throughout the body. Hence, if the blood flow is impeded, causing the oxygen flow to be interrupted, it could lead to a stroke in the brain or necrosis (death) of some other organ or tissue within the body.

From birth until death, 24 hours a day, the heart beats ceaselessly and tirelessly. It is estimated that the average heart beats a staggering 100 000 times a day, 35 million times a year, and more than 2.5 billion times in a lifetime! Such is the pivotal position of the heart that if it ceased to beat, the entire body around it would collapse and die in a matter of moments… And that is why the heart is so important.

Nevertheless, an important point, often overlooked, is that just as every organ requires blood to survive and thrive, and this blood is supplied by the heart – in the same way, the heart itself also requires blood. The heart, simply put, is a muscle, and since it is exerted relentlessly and unendingly, it is highly reliant on its own blood supply.

When this blood flow to the heart is impeded (known as a myocardial ischemia), it causes a myocardial infarction aka a heart attack. On the contrary, when the heart is healthy and strong, the rest of the body benefits accordingly.

In the same way, every person, in some capacity or another, is like a ‘heart’ to those around him. The ustaaz/mu‘allimah in the madrasah is like the heart through whom the students derive Deeni benefit, and the parents are like the hearts through whom their children acquire Deeni benefit. Likewise, those who engage in any effort of Deen are like hearts, circulating Deeni benefit to others around them.

Every ustaaz, parent and Muslim in general cares deeply for their fellow Muslims (especially their own students or children) and will exert themselves in trying to assist them to progress in Deen. However, the ‘heart; should never forget that he himself is always in need of blood. In fact, being the heart, his need for blood is even greater, as his collapse or deterioration will lead to the collapse or deterioration of all those connected to him.

The ‘lifeblood’ of a Muslim’s spiritual heart is his ‘ibaadah such as zikr, nafl salaah (especially Tahajjud Salaah), tilaawah, etc. It is this ‘ibaadah that nourishes and sustains his spiritual heart. Hence, despite a person’s services to Deen, such as teaching in a maktab, hifz class, etc. or teaching one’s own children, or one’s services to humanity such as social and welfare work, or one’s engaging in the effort of da’wah and tableegh – it is imperative that one also set aside special time daily to engage in nafl ‘ibaadah.

In the Quraan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala instructs Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) saying, “When you are free (from your service to Deen), then exert yourself (in ‘ibaadah).” (Surah Alam Nashrah v7)

Hence, we find that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), despite spending his entire day in the service of Deen, would thereafter spend a major portion of the night engaged in Tahajjud Salaah and du‘aa. Similarly, emulating his blessed example were great luminaries of Deen, such as Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah), who would also spend their nights in ‘ibaadah, despite their entire day being dedicated to Deeni service and imparting the knowledge of Deen.

In essence, our nafl ‘ibaadah is the lifeblood that sustains our spiritual hearts and gives life to our Deeni services. If we wish for Allah Ta‘ala to accept our efforts, and make our words bring life to people’s hearts and change their lives (such as us being a positive influence to our own children), then we must first ensure that our hearts are alive with the remembrance of Allah Ta‘ala that is acquired through engaging in nafl ‘ibaadah over and above the fulfilment of the fardh, waajib and sunnah.

May Allah Ta‘ala enliven all our hearts with His remembrance, aameen.