A heart that is free

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


He said, “Do you know what you did with Joseph and his brother when you were ignorant?” They said, “Are you indeed Joseph?” He said “I am Joseph, and this is my brother. Allah has certainly favored us. Indeed, he who fears Allah and is patient, then indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” They said, “By Allah , certainly has Allah preferred you over us, and indeed, we have been sinners.” He said, “No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” [Qur’an, 12:89-92]

How is it that Yusuf (as) was able to forgive his brothers who tried to kill him? And they did that when he was just a child. This seems to be really difficult.

Many of us can carry grudges for years for things that are much less. What is the root of the grudge? At some level, we want to be angry at the person who hurt us. Perhaps we feel that we are punishing them by doing that. We want to remain in this constant state of disapproval to show that what they did was not ok. Another reason could be that we desire to control the situation. When they hurt us, we lost control. So we need to remain angry, because somehow we believe this gives us control. Finally, an aspect of it could be that we desire approval from them. If they hurt us and did not apologize, we remain angry because we want for them to come and apologize.

But Yusuf (as) didn’t suffer from any of the above. Carrying grudges can only harm you. How is being angry hurting anyone but yourself? You can let a person know that what they did was not ok without this process of self-harm. And that is because you do not desire anything from them. Not their approval, and not control from them. They did what they did, perhaps because they lacked something in themselves. It happened. But you are living for something greater, like the Prophet (as) Yusuf. And your main focus is God.

This may sound difficult. And it may sound like it is a request to be unfeeling. But it’s the opposite. Once we hinge our basic desires in God- the desire for approval, control and security- there is little people can do to harm you emotionally. Because your heart is free. You can love truly because your love is not held back by these fears or desires. Just like Yusuf (as). He was not unfeeling. He went through much external hardship but internally he was connected to God. He didn’t rely on people to validate his experiences. He wasn’t angry that he didn’t have control or that fear that his security was at stake. He knew that all of those are in the Hands of God. So very little that anyone did could actually harm him.

And what was the result? His brothers asked for his forgiveness. They wanted his approval. They recognized their wrong. And he was happy to forgive them and remind them of the vast mercy of God. When your heart is free, all you focus on is the mercy.

May Allah give us a heart like Yusuf and Ibrahim (as).


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