Signs of 'Sharh al-Sadr in Din

Some signs of the Divinely-guided, and the firm on error, have been given in the third verse (125). Said there was: فَمَن يُرِ‌دِ اللَّـهُ أَن يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَ‌حْ صَدْرَ‌هُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ (So, whom Allah wills to give guidance, He opens his heart for Islam).

Hakim in al-Mustadrak and Baihaqi in Shu'ab al-'Iman report from Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn Masud ؓ : When this verse was revealed, the Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ requested him to explain the meaning of Sharh al-Sadr, the opening of the heart for Islam. He said: ` Allah Ta` ala puts a light in the heart of a believer through which his heart opens up for the perception, understanding and acceptance of truth. The Sahabah submitted: ` Is there a sign which will help recognize the person who has such Sharh al-Sadr? He said: ` Yes! The sign is that 'Akhirah and its blessings become the object of all his desires. He avoids uncalled-for desires and fleeting enjoyments and starts getting ready for death before it comes.'

After that, he said: " وَمَن يُرِ‌دْ أَن يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَ‌هُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَ‌جًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ " (and whom He wills to let go astray, He makes his heart narrow, much too narrow [ wherefore, for him to accept the truth and to act in accordance with it becomes as difficult ], as though he climbs up to the sky).

Kalabi has said: ` the narrowing of his heart means that no passage for the entry of truth and good remains open there.' A similar explanation has also been reported from Sayyidna Faruq al-A'zam ؓ and Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas ؓ has said: ` When he hears the ذِکر Dhikr of Allah, he feels being harassed and when he listens to what is Kufr and Shirk, his heart relishes it.

The Noble Sahabah: Ever-Eager Receivers of Truth

This was the reason why the noble Sababah, may Allah be pleased with all of them, who were chosen by Allah Ta` ala to be His Prophet's companions in faith, and to be the learners and carriers of his teachings as his direct disciples. They were so convinced as his adherents that their doubts about Islamic injunctions, if any, remained negligibly low. During their whole lifetime, the number of questions presented before the Holy Prophet ﷺ by them are but a counted few. The reason was that by the grace of the company of the Holy Prophet ﷺ their hearts were almost engraved with love and reverence for Allah Ta` ala and because of which they were blessed with the high station of Sharh al-Sadr, a heart open to the acceptance of truth. In fact, their hearts had become in themselves the very standard of truth and falsehood. They would accept truth promptly and falsehood could not find entry into their hearts. After that, as the distance from the blessed period of the Holy Prophet ﷺ increased, doubts and scruples started finding room for infilteration and that was the be-ginning of dogmatic differences.

To Remove Doubts : Open Hearts, Narrow Debates

In our day, the world is a stage infested with doubts. People seek solutions through debates, arguments and counter-arguments and end up with confusion worse confounded. This is not a sound way to handle doubts as pointed out by the unique Indian poet, Akbar Ilahabadi:

فلسفی کو بحث کے اندر خدا ملتا نہیں ڈور کو سلجھا رہا ہے پرسرا ملتا نہیں

The philosopher deep in debate cannot find God

He is untangling the string but cannot find where to begin!

There is only one way out, that which was taken by the blessed Companions ؓ and by the early righteous elders: Think of the perfect power of Allah Ta` ala and imagine His blessings and feel the presence of His love and reverence, the doubts evaporate automatically. This is the reason why the Qur'an has itself prompted the Holy Prophet ﷺ to make the following Du` a (prayer):

رَبِّ اشرَح لِی صَدرِی

Rabbishralh li sadri

0 my Rabb, open my heart.

At the end of the verse it was said: كَذَٰلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللَّـهُ الرِّ‌جْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ which means that this is how Allah brings damnation and disgrace upon those who do not believe. For truth, their hearts are not open while to every evil they dash.