Thus it is of utmost importance to have a sound heart at all times because we don’t know when we are going to die. After an accident, we will not wait with a bleeding leg and say to ourselves, ‘I’ll go to the doctor after I finish watching this movie!’
In the same way, we can’t go around with a hardened heart. Let us look at some of the ways in which a hard heart can be broken open by the will of Allah.
1. Remember Allah:
As much as possible and imagine him watching us wherever we are and whatever were are doing.
Contemplate over his attributes. His greatness and magnificence. We should try to understand his attributes so that we may be filled with reverence for him and be in awe of his majesty all of the time.
“Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah; verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:28)
Glorify him in remembrance:
Easy Dhikr which is light on the tongue but heavy on the scales!
2. Read tafseer of Qur’an:
In order to understand the deeper meanings of the verses and contemplate and ponder over them.
A true believer who reads Almighty Allah’s Book in deep contemplation feels great awe of Him Most High. Allah Almighty says in that respect: “Allah hath (now) revealed the fairest of statements, a Scripture consistent, (wherein promises of reward are) paired (with threats of punishment), whereat doth creep the flesh of those who fear their Lord so that their flesh and their hearts soften to Allah’s reminder. Such is Allah’s guidance, wherewith He guideth whom He will. And him whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no guide.” (Az-Zumar: 23)
3. Avoid major sins:
As it is major sins that blacken the heart making it difficult to get emotional during worship.
Committing sins regularly will darken and harden the heart and make purifying it once again a difficult mission.
So we should repent and remember three facts:
a. The grave consequence of sins.
b. The painful punishment for sins and
c. How week a person is when committing such sins.
Once we leave the major sins and replace them with good deeds then we will feel our heart start to soften and the shackles lifted off of us for it is these shackles that prevent us from weeping to Allah.
4. Reflecting on Creation:
In many places in the Quran, Allah has told us to reflect on various creations of His. Here are some examples:
Then do they not look at the camels – how they are created? And at the sky – how it is raised? And at the mountains – how they are erected? And at the earth – how it is spread out? (88:17-20)
I’m sure you have experienced it sometime in your life when you just looked at natural phenomena – it might have been looking at the vastness of a sea, or watching a sunset – and you were just mesmerized. Your eyes started watering from the sheer beauty of what you were beholding. Allah said in the Quran:
We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. (41:53)
5. Remember death and the hereafter:
Remember that one’s life may end at any second and this should give us a sense of urgency in trying to make the best of every second we have left for any second could be our last.
We should remember death and visit the graves often and when we look at the last gravestone we should think the next grave next to it could be ours.
6. Du’a (and Dhikr):
Lastly, the most important part of the process of softening of the heart is direct communication with Allah. It may be through du’a, or dhikr, or in salah, you have to feel that direct connection, feel it physically in your heart. It may not come immediately. If there has been a long gap since you last called your Lord, then it might take some time to re-establish that connection.