Thursday, 12 January 2012

The importance of the heart

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Insha Allah this will be the first in a series of discourses focusing on the importance of the heart.

Firstly, we know that the body can function without some organs / limbs. For example if a person’s leg is amputated he can still lead a relatively normal life. However the same cannot be said of the heart. If a persons heart stops pumping then that persons will inevitably die. This is possibly why Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said ‘Verily there is in the body a piece of flesh; if it is good the whole body is good and if it corrupted the whole body is corrupted; Lo! It is the heart’.

In order to analyse the importance of the heart let us make reference to the following.

Physically; the heart is the most important organ.
For example if the brain is deprived of oxygen contained in the blood; one will immediately become unconscious. So physical; the heart is the most important organ in the body. Without it the body will decay.

The heart is the abode of faith.
If one has to have faith it must come from the heart. It cannot come from the tongue as it won’t mean anything. In relation to this Allah says in Surah Hujuraat;

‘The desert Arabs say, "We believe." say, "Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say, 'We have submitted Our wills to Allah,' for not yet has Faith entered your hearts. But if ye obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not be little aught of your deeds: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." (49:14)

These Bedouins were not hypocrites rather they declared faith and just left. They didn’t spend the time to learn about Islam. Allah gave them a warning because if you don’t have faith in the heart you can still act on the basis of emotion, temptation, etc.

Again Allah says in Surah Nahl;

“Anyone who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith - but such as open breast to unbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful”. (6:106)

Allah judges us on the basis of what is in our heart. Sometimes people are forced to do or say something against their natural way for example in the past a lot of indentured workers in Trinidad had to denounce Islam in order to acquire employment. However they still maintained belief in Allah in their hearts. As such Allah will judge on the basis of what is in the heart. So what is projected physically may be different to that which is in the heart.

In relation to this there is the Hadith Qudsi where Allah says ‘Allah doesn’t look at your physical appearance or wealth but looks at your heart and actions’.

The heart is the recipient of advice.
We’re all familiar with the saying “it passes through one ear and out the next”. If any advice is given to you and it doesn’t sink in your heart it will just be nothing more than words. As Allah says in Surah Anbiyaa;

“Never comes (aught) to them of a renewed Message from their Lord, but they listen to it as in jest,- their hearts toying as with trifles. The wrong-doers conceal their private counsels, (saying), "Is this (one) more than a man like yourselves? Will ye go to witchcraft with your eyes open?" (21:2-3)

When you are inclined to get closer to Allah you will ‘tune in’ your heat to goodly advice. You won’t ignore the inclination that your heart is feeling, as is recorded in Surah Nahl;

‘Your Allah is one Allah. As to those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts refuse to know, and They are arrogant’. (16:22)

The heart is the centre form where our intentions comes form.
We’re all aware of the popular hadith ‘actions are judged by intentions’. Our intentions are derived from the heart. This is why Satan whispers to mans heart; in anticipation that he can cause them to drift off Siratul Mustqeem.

‘(the same) who whispers into the hearts of mankind’. (114:5)

The heart is place where secrets are kept.
The heart is the organ that keeps secret. Allah says;

‘for Allah knoweth well the secrets of your hearts’. (5:7)

Only Allah knows the condition of the heart. Some may appear to be to have the best of intentions but in reality they have some sort of hidden agenda. For example the hypocritical Jews at the time of Prophet Muhammad (saw); they openly declared their intention of abiding by the laws that were put in place in Madinah however they were secretly trying to undermine the Muslims.

We see therefore just a few reasons that make the heart a very important organ in our personality. Success in this life and the next depends largely on the condition of the heart. We need to continuously work on purifying it so that it will have a domino effect on the rest of our personality and afford us the privilege of being classed with the righteous.

May Allah grant us the understanding of the importance of the heart and the wisdom to purify it. May He save us from the whisperings of Satan and take care of our affairs in this world and the next.

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