Throughout the world, regardless of continent or culture, the symbol of the heart has come to represent love. Perhaps the reason for this is that true love entails complete surrender of the heart to the beloved. One voluntarily sets aside one’s own inclinations, preferences, ideas and aspirations, and wholeHEARTedly embraces the preferences of the beloved, hoping to secure his pleasure and happiness. In other words, one sheds his own identity and ego and molds himself in the mold of the beloved.

Imagine a husband and wife who live together, and go through the motions of married life, but do so grudgingly. Although each may fulfil the rights of the other, the spark in their relationship will swiftly fizzle out, causing it to turn into a relationship-wreck. Likewise, imagine an employee who obeys his employer, but pulls up his face, questions his authority at every turn, and considers his employer to be an inconvenience in his life. Obviously, though such an employee cannot technically be faulted, he will not be expected to last long in his position.

As Muslims, after bringing imaan in Allah Ta‘ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), our effort is to fulfill the commands and injunctions of the sharee‘ah and make our lives conform to the blessed sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). However, while this is indeed important and necessary, it is not the final destination in our effort to becoming complete and perfect believers. Rather, the next aspect that is required is that we remain pleased, at all times, with the decree, decision and law of Allah Ta‘ala. Allah Ta‘ala mentions in the Quraan Majeed:

So, never by your Rabb! Never shall they become true believers, unless they make you the judge in the disputes that arise between them, then find no discomfort in their hearts against what you have decided, and surrender to it in total submission. (Surah Nisaa v65)

Though the above verse was revealed in relation to a specific incident of a dispute, the lesson is general and applies to one and all. The lesson is that in order for one to be a true believer, one must not ONLY follow the commands of Deen, but must ALSO find no reservations in his heart regarding these commands. Instead, he should wholeheartedly embrace them and willingly comply with the order of his Beloved Allah Ta‘ala. This applies to all the commands of sharee‘ah and sunnahs of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), whether relating to our domestic lives, financial lives, social lives or any other dimension of our lives.

If a Muslim finds resentment, dislike or reservation in his heart for any aspect of Deen, command of sharee‘ah or sunnah practice (may Allah Ta‘ala save us from this!), then it is indicative of a severe weakness of imaan. Converse to this were the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) regarding whom the Quraan Majeed bears testimony saying, “Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Allah.”

Regarding the shar‘ee injunctions of purdah, not interacting with the opposite gender, women not leaving the home without a need (as discussed here) and other similar laws relating to hayaa, then unfortunately, many women regard these to be a burden. Even some of the women who wear hijaab and niqaab (purdah) or remain at home regard it to be a form of imprisonment. While these women have fulfilled the obligation of sharee‘ah, which is great indeed, they have left a blemish on their righteous action by carrying it out grudgingly and with a heavy heart.

On the contrary, when a woman increases her love for Allah Ta‘ala and strengthens her imaan, then she not only finds it easy to obey Him – she finds fulfilment, pleasure and happiness in doing so. Hence, Moulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (rahimahullah) mentions that a Westerner once asked a Muslim man, “Why do you Muslims keep your women imprisoned in the home? This is extremely difficult for them and is an act of great oppression against them!” The Muslim replied, “A person will be regarded as being imprisoned when he is held against his will. However, on account of (true) Muslim women possessing the quality of hayaa, they naturally dislike leaving the home. Hence, (keeping them in the home) is not imprisonment. On the contrary, if such a woman (with true imaan and hayaa) is asked to come out of the home, then since she has a natural dislike (for leaving the home), this will be ‘imprisonment’.” (Malfoozaat Hakeemul Ummat vol. 13 pg. 300)

May Allah Ta‘ala bless us all with hayaa as well as the love for Islam, the Sunnah, and all qualities of imaan such as hayaa, aameen.