When a person is ill, he is usually unable to use his sense of smell as efficiently as a person who is well. Additionally, he also often loses his sense of taste. Everything he eats tastes bland, and he therefore becomes deprived of the tastes of the most delicious foods. In fact, there is a certain illness in which pus increases in the body and everything the afflicted person eats tastes bitter to him, to the extent that even the sweetness of honey seems bitter to him. Similarly, there are certain diseases that afflict our heart, such as anger, pride, jealousy, etc. When a person’s heart is full of such diseases, he becomes deprived of spiritual virtues and of the incomparable sweetness of faith [imān].
Spite [hiqd] and hatred [bughudh] are such very terrible diseases of the heart. Hadhrat Fazlul Karim writes in his translation of Hadhrat Imām Ghazali’s (rah) book, Ihya Ulum-Id-Din, that hatred is “the prevalence of the effect of anger in the mind.” This means that when a person develops a grudge or feelings of hatred or enmity towards someone, his heart is afflicted with spite [hiqd]. Spite [hiqd] is a disease that is unfortunately both incredibly destructive and very commonly found. It is an illness that destroys relationships and that leads to several other sins, such as jealousy, backbiting, and lying.
Sometimes a person gets into a small disagreement with someone about a certain matter, or someone does something that the person dislikes, and, soon afterwards, he begins to despise him. And it is unfortunate that he begins to hate the person himself instead of his flaws or bad deeds, when in reality, we should hate the sin as opposed to the sinner. For instance, if a certain Muslim brother is known to drink wine, then we should hate the brother’s tendency to drink wine—for, consuming alcohol is prohibited [harām] and hated by Allah (swt)—rather than the brother himself. If Muslims begin to treat each other with love rather than spite, then more Muslims will become inclined to leave sin and to hasten towards the religion [dīn]. Additionally, we have no idea how Allah (swt) views the same person whom others deem a sinner. What if that same brother who drinks wine wakes up in the last portion of the night and makes sincere repentance [taubah] to Allah (swt) and consequently becomes one of Allah’s (swt) beloved slaves?
The cure for spite [hiqd] is that the afflicted person should forgive the person he despises and overlook his flaws, even though he may find this to be a very difficult thing to do.
Additionally, it has been said that in order to cure hatred [bughudh], the afflicted individual must first recognize that hatred [bughudh] and be disgusted by it. The second step is for the individual to become genuinely ashamed of himself for thinking such terrible thoughts and of the type of person he has become. When a person is ill, the only way he will be able to free himself of his illness is by actually acknowledging the fact that he is ill. Only after this recognition will he go see a doctor and take the steps to cure his sickness. Similarly, it is only when a person feels sincere remorse for his hatred [bughudh] that he will be able to escape from it. The third step a person who intends to cure his hatred [bughudh] must take is to make sincere supplication [du’ā] for the person he hates. Again, this may not be an easy thing to do, but he must force himself to make the same type of heartfelt supplication [du’ā] for that person as he would for a loved one.
When a person forces himself to make supplication [du’ā] for the brother or sister he developed hatred [bughudh] towards, and he does this with the sincere intention [niyyah] of removing that hatred [bughudh] from his heart, then Allah (swt) will remove the hatred [bughudh] from his heart, Insha’Allah. The “secret” to curing spite [hiqd], hatred [bughudh], or any other spiritual disease is simply a person’s earnest intention [niyyah] and seeking [talab]. For, if we truly desire to rid our heart of spiritual diseases, then Allah (swt) is the one who is going to cure us. No matter what we learn or do, we are incapable of curing ourselves. Allah (swt) is the only one who is capable of curing us; all we must do is attempt to become magnets of His mercy [rahmah]. And when we do these things (e.g. making supplication [du’ā] for the person we despise) with the sincere intention [niyyah] of curing ourselves, we become magnets of Allah’s (swt) mercy [rahmah].
May Allah (swt) purify our hearts of all spiritual diseases, may He allow us to experience the sweetness of faith [imān], and may He bestow us with hearts that constantly remember Him. Ameen.
- Ihya Ulum-Id-Din by Hadhrat Imām Ghazali (rah)
- “Keenah” by Hadhrat Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad (db) (http://www.tasawwuf.org/audio/itikaf_urdu.htm)
- “Hatred (Bughuz)” by Hadhrat Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed (db) (http://www.islamicspirituality.org/lectures/classical/purification)