The Heart and The Quran

The more important part of your ‘person’ is your inner self. This inner self the Quran calls the qalb or the ‘heart’. The heart of the Prophet  was the first recipient of the Quranic message:

Truly it has been sent down by the Lord of all the worlds, the Trustworthy Spirit has alighted with it upon your heart [O Prophet], that you may be one of the Warner … Quran26:192-194.

You will therefore reap the full joys and blessings of reading the Qur’an when you are able to involve your heart fully in your task.

The ‘heart’, in Quranic vocabulary, is not just a piece of flesh in your body, but it is the centre of all your feelings, emotions, motives, drives, aspirations, remembrance and attention. It is the heart which softens Quran 39:23, or hardens. Quran 2:74 It is the heart that goes blind and refuses to recognize the truth Quran 22:46 and it is the heart that inspires the function to reason and understand. Quran 7:179; 22:46; 50:37 In the heart, lies the root of all outward diseases Quran 5:52; it is the seat of all inner ills Quran 2:10. The heart is the abode of faith Quran 5:41 and hypocrisy. Quran 9:77 It is the heart, which is the centre of all that is good and bad, whether it be contentment and peace Quran 13:28, the strength to face afflictions Quran 64:11, mercy Quran 57:27, brotherly love Quran 8:63, God-Consciousness Quran 49:3; 22:32; or, doubt and hesitation Quran 9:45, regrets Quran3:156, and anger Quran 9:15. Finally it is, in reality, the way of the heart for which we shall be accountable, and only the one who brings before his God a sound and sincere heart will deserve to be saved.

God will not take you to task for a slip, but He will take you to task for what your hearts have earned. Quran 2:225

The Day when neither wealth nor children shall profit, [and when] only he [will be saved] who comes before God with a sound heart [free of evil]. Quran 26:88-89

You must therefore ensure that so long as you are with the Quran, your heart remains with you. The heart not being that piece of flesh but what the Quran calls qalb.

God has sent down the best discourse as a Book, fully consistent within itself, oft-repeated, whereat shiver the skins of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and hearts soften to the remembrance of God. Quran 39:23

Excerpted and adapted from the book “Way to the Quran” by Khurram Murad


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“Invite to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious..”
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One Response to The Heart and The Quran

  1. bint Yusuf says:

    assalamu alykum,

    shukran for your post admin. I came across this articleon the same subject that I would like to share with all:

    Heart-Mind Relationship in the Holy Qur’an

    By Hassan Ali El-Najjar / 29 of Muharram, 1429 (February 7, 2008)

    Introduction

    The Holy Qur’an refers to the heart as a processor of information, particularly concerning emotions. This reference to the heart as such attracts attention to the relationship between the mind and the heart.

    This article starts by listing down the verses that deal with the heart and explaining them, in order to sort out the mind-heart connection. Then, few academic articles about the subject will be reviewed in order to explore this relationship further, from a scientific perspective.

    Verses mentioning the heart in the Holy Qur’an

    Upon checking the Holy Qur’an index in Arabic,[1] this author found that there were about 132 verses in which the heart was mentioned in singular and plural forms. Here are some of them. The Arabic text of the verses is from quranexplorer.com.

    وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْر

    آل عمران ، 3: 159

    ‌If you were severe or harsh-hearted (in treating them), they would have left you. So, pardon them, and ask (Allah) to forgive them, and consult them in the affairs (of the community). (Al-E-Imran, 3: 159).

    إِلَّا مَنۡ أَتَى ٱللَّهَ بِقَلۡبٍ۬ سَلِيمٍ۬ (الشعراء ، 26: 89).

    Except he, who came to Allah with a sound heart ( Al-Shu’ara, 26: 89)

    مَّنۡ خَشِىَ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنَ بِٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَجَآءَ بِقَلۡبٍ۬ مُّنِيبٍ (قاف ، 50: 33).

    Who feared the unseen Al-Rahman (The Merciful), and came with a repentant heart (Qaf, 50: 33)

    وَيُشۡهِدُ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا فِى قَلۡبِهِۦ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ ٱلۡخِصَامِ (البقرة ، 2: 204).

    … and he calls Allah to witness about what is in his heart; yet he is the most contentious of enemies (Al-Baqara, 2: 204)

    وَلَا تَكۡتُمُواْ ٱلشَّهَـٰدَةَ‌ۚ وَمَن يَڪۡتُمۡهَا فَإِنَّهُ ۥۤ ءَاثِمٌ۬ قَلۡبُهُ (البقرة ، 2: 283).

    Do not conceal the testimony. And whoever conceals it his heart is sinning. (Al-Baqara, 2: 283)

    وَقَلۡبُهُ ۥ مُطۡمَٮِٕنُّۢ بِٱلۡإِيمَـٰنِ (النحل ، 16: 106).

    … and his heart assured by faith (Al-Nahl, 16: 106).

    فَيَطۡمَعَ ٱلَّذِى فِى قَلۡبِهِۦ مَرَضٌ۬ (الأحزاب ، 33: 32).

    … lest the one in whose heart there is sickness should aspire (to you). (Al-Ahzab, 33: 32)

    وَمَن يُؤۡمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ يَہۡدِ قَلۡبَهُ (ِالتغابن ، 64: 11).

    … and whoever believes in Allah, (Allah) guides his heart (Al-Taghabun, 64: 11)

    قَالَ أَوَلَمۡ تُؤۡمِن‌ۖ قَالَ بَلَىٰ وَلَـٰكِن لِّيَطۡمَٮِٕنَّ قَلۡبِى (البقرة ، 2: 260).

    He (Allah) said: Haven’t you believed yet? He (Ibrahim) said: “Yes,” but for my heart to be assured (Al-Baqara, 2: 260)

    مَّا جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ لِرَجُلٍ۬ مِّن قَلۡبَيۡنِ فِى جَوۡفِهِۦ‌ۚ (الأحزاب ، 33: 4).

    Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his chest (Al-Ahzab, 33: 4)

    سَنُلۡقِى فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ ٱلرُّعۡبَ (آل عمران ، 3: 151).

    We shall cast great fear into the hearts of the nonbelievers (Al-E-Imran, 3: 151)

    ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَتَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكۡرِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ أَلَا بِذِڪۡرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ (الرعد ، 13: 28).

    Those who believe, and whose hearts find assurance (and peace) in the remembrance of Allah. For, in the remembrance of Allah, hearts find assurance (and peace) (Al-Ra’ad, 13: 28)

    وَمَن يُعَظِّمۡ شَعَـٰٓٮِٕرَ ٱللَّهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقۡوَى ٱلۡقُلُوبِ (الحج ، 22: 32).

    and whoever glorifies the rituals of Allah, it is (a sign) of piety of hearts (Al-Hajj, 22: 32)

    أَفَلَمۡ يَسِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمۡ قُلُوبٌ۬ يَعۡقِلُونَ بِہَآ أَوۡ ءَاذَانٌ۬ يَسۡمَعُونَ بِہَا‌ۖ فَإِنَّہَا لَا تَعۡمَى ٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرُ وَلَـٰكِن تَعۡمَى ٱلۡقُلُوبُ ٱلَّتِى فِى ٱلصُّدُورِ

    (الحج ، 22: 32).

    Have they not traveled throughout the Earth, with their hearts to reason with, and ears to hear with? Truly it is not the eyes that become blind, but do the hearts which are in the chests (Al-Hajj, 22: 46)

    Meanings associated with the heart, according to the above verses

    The above verses provide us with a number of meanings associated with the heart. These include severity and harshness in dealing with people, soundness, repentance, rivalry, sinfulness, faith, sickness and trouble, guidance, assurance and peace, love, fear, thankfulness for positive surroundings, and reasoning.

    Basically, the heart reacts notably to issues related to goodness and wickedness.

    Exploring the relationship between the heart and the mind

    The relationship between the heart and the mind has been explored in many articles or works, as readers can find on the internet. Here is some information from few of them, by no means this is a survey or a review of the literature. The idea here is conveying to readers that the relationship between the heart and the mind has been studied and researched away from any references to the Holy Qur’an.

    “While not all negative thoughts and feelings are bad for health, specific emotional states (mental), especially stress and depression, have now been linked to heart troubles of all kinds. Evidence is overwhelming that the heart takes a beating after psychic trauma, but lesser insults may do us in as well. A bad marriage, an angry or abusive boss, a mugging in the park—all increase risk of heart disease, a bounty of evidence shows. Personality factors like extroversion and optimism can positively impact the cardiovascular system and the health of the heart, while anger and stress can damage the heart and the mind. Some forms of heart disease even trigger the same chemistry found in depression and stress.” [2]

    “At HeartMath we’ve spent the last 15 years diligently studying the “heart” physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our researchers have been mapping the communication pathways between the heart, the brain and the rest of body while also studying the effects of positive emotions on health and performance. What we’ve learned is that the heart is the master controller in the human system capable of sending powerful, healing commands throughout the entire body. These signals from the heart have a dynamic impact on the nervous, hormonal and immune systems. They also influence brain function and have the ability to improve cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, psychological problems and more. In essence our old friend the heart may be the best healer of all.” [3]

    “The key to harnessing the heart’s amazing power lies in our ability to consciously generate positive emotional states like appreciation, care and love. With stress increasing—personally, interpersonally and socially—many people have lost this ability only experiencing these regenerative emotions occasionally.” [4]

    The relationship of our emotions and psyche (mind) to heart disease is intriguing. There is evidence linking cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric disorders and the possible mechanisms and pathophysiology of this association. There is also a possible role of using mood enhancing therapies (mainly antidepressants) and their safety in patients with cardiovascular disorders. [5]

    “There is a plausible biological basis for the association between psychiatric morbidity (mind) and cardiovascular (heart) disease. Anxiety, panic disorder, and depression are common in patients with coronary heart disease and hypertension.” [6]

    Conclusion

    There is a very close and an interactive relationship between the mind and the heart, particularly regarding the issues of emotions as well as issues related to good and evil.

    People with optimistic and good life style enjoy peace of the mind and calmness of the heart. However, pessimism and wrong doing may be associated with mental and cardiac disorders.

    Thus, basic good characteristics of love, appreciation, care, tolerance, sharing, understanding, helping others, and observing God’s teachings not only are rewarded in the hereafter but they also bring peace of the mind and soundness of the heart during your life on Earth, making it better and more enjoyable.

    The healing signals from the heart, which have a dynamic impact on the nervous, hormonal and immune systems, give evidence that the heart not only reasons but makes decisions and acts for the welfare and wellbeing of the body.

    The heart can thus be described as a part of the brain, but located in the chest.

    Notes and References

    ———————————————————
    [1] Pages 549-551 of the Holy Qur’an Index in Arabic by Muhammed Fuad Abdul Baqi. Cairo: Dar Al-Fikr. 1406 (1986). The Arabic Title of the index is: “Al-Mu’ajam Al-Mufahras Li Alfadh Al-Qur’an Al-Kareem.”

    [2] The High Price of a Broken Heart Yes, you can die from heartbreak. In fact, even mild forms of the blues can put you at risk By PsychologyToday.com: http://health.msn.com/health-topics/depression/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100170423
    [3] Understanding the Relationship Between Heart, Mind & Body By Howard Martin: http://www.inlighttimes.com/archives/2006/03/heart-body-mind.htm

    [4] Understanding the Relationship Between Heart, Mind & Body By Howard Martin: http://www.inlighttimes.com/archives/2006/03/heart-body-mind.htm

    [5] Heart and mind: (1) relationship between cardiovascular and psychiatric conditions By S U Shah, A White, S White, W A Littler: http://pmj.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/80/950/683
    [6] Heart and mind: (2) psychotropic and cardiovascular therapeutics By S U Shah, Z Iqbal, A White, S White: http://pmj.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/81/951/33
    ————————————-

    * Dr. Hassan Ali El-Najjar has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Georgia, USA. He is also a native speaker of Arabic.

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