Allah Ta‘ala has blessed the human being with a mental faculty that has no peer or equal in the animal kingdom. From memory and retention, to imagination and creativity, the ability to learn new languages and acquire new skills, and reason intelligently – the scope and power of the human mind, especially viewing its vast versatility, is indeed ‘mindboggling’.

Such is the power of the mind that it even exerts influence and control over the body. For example, a person pondering over a traumatic incident, such as a scary hijacking, when reliving the incident in the mind’s eye, will often find their heart begin to race and their breathing begin to quicken. The memory seems so realistic that the body is convinced that the incident is transpiring once again, and hence the flight-or-fight instincts are triggered. Similarly, a person sometimes remembers a humorous incident, and though it may be years later, he finds himself involuntarily laughing.

When we have been given the ultimate minds from the animal kingdom, then we should dedicate it to the ultimate purpose – recognizing Allah Ta‘ala.

Utilizing the mind in this manner is generally referred to as ‘muraaqabah’. There are many themes of muraqabah – some aimed at recognizing and acquiring the greatness of Allah Ta‘ala in one’s heart, while others aim at acquiring the fear of Allah Ta‘ala in the heart. An article touching on the former can be found here, so it is the latter that will be touched on below.

Indulging in sins is the ingredient that will land a person in Jahannam, and hence a believer must refrain from all sins. However, when the passion and urge for sin is overwhelming, then how can he find the courage and determination to exercise restraint? The answer – he must instil, deep in his heart, the fear of Allah Ta‘ala and the fear of the punishment of the Hereafter.

From time to time, a person should ponder over the horrors of Jahannam – the blisteringly hot fire, the excruciating tortures that await the sinners, the pits filled with blood and pus, the venomous snakes that will wrap around the sinful and bite them, and the countless other painful punishments of Hell.

Likewise, one should imagine that he is standing before Allah Ta‘ala and is being called to account for his sins. Instead of his tongue speaking – each individual limb will speak up and confess to the crimes that it had committed. He should visualize that scene, when before his mother, father, wife, children and grandchildren, and before Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the entire creation, his secret sins, relished in the darkness of the night, behind closed doors, will be exposed before all. He will have nowhere to hide, and no way to deny the evidence against him.

This type of muraaqabah, when carried out regularly and diligently, proves effective in acquiring the fear and consciousness of the Hereafter in the heart. Bearing in mind the power of the mind, it is a proven and effective deterrent from committing sins and evils.

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and Taabi‘een (rahimahumullah) would also engage in this type of muraaqabah. Hence, it is reported that on one occasion, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Rawaahah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was resting with his head on his wife’s lap when he suddenly began to weep. Seeing the manner in which he was weeping, his wife’s heart was affected and she also began to weep. When he asked her the reason for weeping, she replied, “When I saw (the manner in which) you were weeping, it made me weep as well.”

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Rawaahah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) explained the reason for his weeping saying, “I remembered the verse: ‘There is none among you except that he will come to it (Jahannam)’ and I do not know whether I will be granted salvation (from the fire) or not.” (Tafseer Ibni Katheer vol. 5, pg. 248)

Similarly, it is reported that when Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would stand at the graveside, (pondering over the difficulties of the grave) he would begin weeping, and his tears would continue to stream down his cheeks until his blessed beard would become wet. (Sunan Tirmizi #2308)

May Allah Ta‘ala bless us all with His fear in our hearts, and protect us all from falling into sins and evils, aameen.