By Sadia Dehlvi
Aug 2, 2018
Sentences using the ‘heart’ as a metaphor
to indicate guidance and righteousness are mentioned multiple times in the holy
In Sufism, the spiritual heart is at the
centre of one’s entire being. Zikr, that is remembrance of God, is recommended
for polishing the heart so that it reflects Divine knowledge. A famous saying
of Prophet Muhammad is, ‘Actions are based upon intentions’. All intentions
emanate from the heart, which means that every action is rooted in the heart.
The Arabic word for heart is Qalb, meaning
something that turns and Inqilab is from the same root, means to turn
upside down. Two of the ninety-nine names of Allah are Al Qabid and Al
Basit, The Constrictor and the Expander, for it is Allah who makes our
hearts expand and contract, both physically and spiritually. The nature of the
heart is to constantly turn, and is understood as either moving towards purity
or impurity; either towards God or away from Him.
According to Islamic philosophy, the heart
is designed to be in a state of calm, something that is achieved constant acts
of piety. The Quran says, ‘Surely in the remembrance of Allah do the hearts
find calm’. Sentences using the ‘heart’ as a metaphor to indicate guidance and
righteousness are mentioned multiple times in the holy book.
The Prophet David is said to have once
asked; ‘Oh God! All the emperors possess treasure then where is Your treasure?
God-Almighty replied: ‘I possess a treasure which is greater than the sky;
vaster than the Heaven’s firmaments; smells better than the perfumes of
Paradise, and is beautiful than the Celestial Kingdom.
Its earth is enlightenment; its sky is
belief, its sun is enthusiasm; its moon is love, its stars are inspiration and
attention towards Me; its clouds are reason, its rain is blessing, its fruits
are obedience; and its yield is wisdom. My Treasure has four doors, the first
one is the door of knowledge, the second one is the door of reason, the third
one is the door of patience, and the fourth one is the door of contentment.
Know that My Treasure is the heart of a believer’.
Reiterating the importance of the heart,
Prophet Muhammad said,
‘ Surely in the breasts
of humanity there is a lump of flesh, if sound then the whole body is sound,
and if it is corrupt then the whole body is corrupt. Indeed, it is the heart’.
spoke of the heart as repository of knowledge and a vessel sensitive to the
needs of the body. He explained that it perceives wrongful action and is
agitated by it. Just as one works to keep a healthy physical heart, a sound
spiritual heart requires constant God consciousness to protect it from falling
to lower passions of the self.
The Prophet also said,
‘ the difference
between one who remembers God and one who does not is like the difference
between the living and the dead’.
hearts of those who have never known truthfulness, humbleness, generosity,
compassion or struggles in the way of God are what are referred to spiritually
dead hearts. When the heart becomes pure, serene and sound, it is able to hear
the call of God, the call of the Prophets, Sufis and sages. A sound heart is
tender, compassionate, detached from worldly pursuit and acts in accordance
with the will of God.
'Only In the Remembrance of God Is the Solace
of Hearts' (Quran13:28)
Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of