THE teachings of Islam attach great importance to an individual’s heart. The heart is the organ that is considered to be at the centre of human existence. It receives vital energy for onwards transmission to various other organs in the body, but sometimes matters can go amiss as well. Therefore, the Quran emphasises that believers should examine their heart. It advises believers to invoke “… O’ Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower (3:8)”.

As the heart oscillates between right and wrong, it is regarded as the best and also the worst part of human existence. The heart can be white or black, guided or misguided, enlightened or shrouded in darkness; therefore, one needs to resort to those means by which one may succeed in examining the heart.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said: “In a body is a morsel of flesh which if it be sound, all the body is sound and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. This part of [the] body is the heart.”

The day-to-day condition of the heart makes a person happy or otherwise. Happiness eludes a person when the heart is dissatisfied or dejected. It is the life-sustaining source of all our wishes, aspirations and intentions. We keep trying to fulfil our wishes to make our heart happy. Sometimes, when our heart is unhappy, it reflects its glaring unhappiness through day-to-day dealings with others.

The fulfilment of worldly desires cannot make our heart happy.

An unhappy heart makes our days dull, nights sleepless, and food tasteless. We do not concentrate on work and try to avoid everyone.

Therefore, making the heart happy is one of the major tasks of every living person. But material gain or fulfilment of worldly desires cannot make our heart happy, for the Quran says “…It is He Who sends down calmness into the hearts of the believers. ... (48:4)”. It is the remembrance of Allah that brings ultimate happiness.

The heart’s significant role in various aspects of life cannot be ignored; rather, its volatile condition impacts every aspect of life. At the physical level, the heart is the key organ of the body and the entire circulatory system depends on its worthiness. As a hollow muscular pump, its main functions include propelling blood throughout the body. This is the heart which doctors operate upon and which physicians transplant. If the heart fails, our entire physical body stops breathing and working, and ceases to exist.

Psychologically, it is said that the heart is a place where all human feelings, emotions and moods are generated which subsequently impact the whole personality. We lose heart when we fail to achieve the desired results of our efforts. There is a heart which is deeply hurt when a person is insulted; there is a heart which makes our body restless when we are worried; there is a heart which is elated when one is praised; and there is a heart where all secrets are kept.

Socially, we give our heart to the one we like the most. We symbolise our pledge of allegiance, oath of any public office or respect for the national anthem by placing our hand over our heart to show our sincerity.

We embrace our close relatives, friends and others on special occasions. In religious terms, it is said that every believer’s heart is an abode of Allah (qalb al-momin bait Allah). This has social implications, that nobody should hurt or break the other’s heart as it is the ‘abode of Allah’. Winning someone’s heart is like winning Allah’s happiness.

In one sense, most believers consider the human heart to be at the root of spiritual existence — it is the heart that submits, and the entire body follows. Allah is He who flows between the pericardium and the heart. The Holy Quran says, “…And know that Allah comes in between a person and his heart (8:24)”. In Islam, no prayer or act of goodness is accepted unless performed with head and heart. Within his heart, a believer receives light and guidance; he remembers his Creator within the heart through a constant act of zikr to elevate his or her soul spiritually.

One needs to consider the fact that Allah has provided the human body with many organs in pairs, such as eyes, ears, hands and legs, but the heart is on its own. Therefore, a believer’s heart should be occupied by none except the Creator. Allah says that He has not assigned unto any man two hearts within one body (33:4).

In a nutshell, the importance of the heart cannot be emphasised enough. What is essential is the need to examine periodically what is in one’s heart in order to receive Allah’s blessing for a peaceful life in this world.

The writer is an educationist with an interest in religion.

valianiamin@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018

Opinion

A fragmenting ummah
Updated 23 Jul 2021

A fragmenting ummah

Muslims are suffering in many parts of the world, all of which is known by other Muslims, but that nevertheless continues.
Virtual vultures
Updated 22 Jul 2021

Virtual vultures

Pegasus software has stirred a storm of indignation across the globe.
Shifting goalposts
Updated 20 Jul 2021

Shifting goalposts

Afghanistan is one place where proxy war by regional and bigger powers has always been a constant.

Editorial

India’s admission
Updated 21 Jul 2021

India’s admission

It was no secret that India had been manoeuvring behind the scenes to ensure that Pakistan remained on the grey list.
EU headscarf ban
Updated 23 Jul 2021

EU headscarf ban

Moves by the EU to curtail the religious freedoms of Muslims and others in the bloc need to be reviewed.
Disposal of offal
Updated 22 Jul 2021

Disposal of offal

The least people can do is to make an effort and dump entrails in designated areas.
New blow for Pak-Afghan ties
Updated 20 Jul 2021

New blow for Pak-Afghan ties

Islamabad police need to build a watertight case around their final conclusions because the stakes could not have been higher.
20 Jul 2021

FDI decline

THE worrisome, sharp decline in the more permanent, non-debt-creating foreign direct investment, or FDI, should be a...
20 Jul 2021

Another tragic accident

ALMOST every other week, if not every other day, newspapers report deadly road and rail accidents. It has been ...