The Holy Prophet (s) was once asked, “Ayna Allah?” (Where is Allah?), and he said “ ‘Inda al-munkasirati qulubuhum” (He is with those who hearts are broken) [Al-Rawandi, Al-Da‘awaat, pp. 119-120]. This brilliant statement unfortunately has sometimes been misconceived and misinterpreted. A common understanding is to focus mainly on the state of the broken heart, regardless of its cause and level of excellence. If this was the case, many hearts break due to the petty issues of material world. Does this dictum also refer to them? A better and more profound understanding of this hadith is gotten when we consider another similar tradition, which specifies the nature of the heart and the cause of its breaking: Amir al-mu’minin ‘Ali (‘a) is reported to have said: “Tuba lil munkasirati qulubuhum min ajli Allah” (A pleasant final state be to those whose hearts are broken for Allah) [Al-Aamadi, Ghurar al-Hikam, tr.5937]. The phrase ‘min ajli Allah’ (for the sake of Allah) here clearly depicts that the principal cause of the brokenness of hearts must be related to Allah. For example, because one has not yet achieved one’s principal goal in life which is Divine proximity, one’s heart is broken!
One of the subtlest meanings of the verse “Ud‘uni astajib lakum” (Call Me and I shall respond to you) [Qur’an, 40:60] is that we are told to seek Allah only. Ud‘uni (Call “ME”). How selfish and degenerate of us to call the only Beloved for our material and selfish motives. Ask one who is engaged to someone for marriage, the reason why he tends to call her constantly? Is it because of her wealth? Is it because of her position and fame? Is it because of the physical enjoyment he anticipates from her? If these are the reasons, then in reality he is engaged with them and not with her. Let us call the Beloved for the Beloved, and nothing else. Let us stop approaching Him as an intermediary for our mundane goals. Let us understand that He is THE GOAL. If we tangibly observe that our hearts are broken “min ajli Allah” (Because of missing Allah), then we should most surely guarantee His Presence! “I am in the presence of the broken HEARTS”