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The Human Heart and Spirituality

The human heart is the seat of all human emotions. A heart that is full of evil emotions and thoughts is but a favourite place for Satan. Satan takes residence in such a heart and uses it as a control centre to deviate the servant of Allah from the right path. Those hearts that are disbelieving, doubtful and mischief-mongering are, according to the Holy Quran, hearts that have been sealed. Allah (swt) says in His book: 'Thus do We seal the hearts of transgressors.' (Yunus 10: 75) and: 'I will instil terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve.' (Al-Anfal 8: 13).

The Holy Quran makes many such references to the human heart. The Book of Allah proclaims numerous merits of a sound heart, a contended heart full of unbounded love and deep understanding of God and mankind, His creation. For instance the Holy Quran proclaims: 'Verily, it is in the remembrance of Allah that hearts can find comfort.' (Ar-Rad 13: 29).

And Allah admonishes all Muslims that: 'He joined your hearts in love (brotherhood/ friendship)' (Al-Imran 3: 104); and that He: 'put your hearts at rest.' (Al-Imran 3: 127).

Scientific research has conclusively proved that there is a vital link between the state of one’s thinking and one’s physical well-being. A healthy heart will undoubtedly keep a mind healthy and vice versa. A person’s character is built on his thoughts, in other words, we are what we think. Allah our merciful Lord through His benevolence has given us the choice and power to govern our thoughts and thereby build a character that is worthy of praise.

An immoral character grows from the seeds of immoral thoughts while a virtuous character grows from the seeds of virtuous thoughts. As I mentioned earlier, the heart is where all kinds of good or bad thoughts are born. Therefore, it is imperative to cultivate a pure and clean heart.

While the heart is usually regarded as the centre of romantic emotions of all kinds, which touches our everyday life, but scientific advancement has it that the heart is only an unfeeling pump. Indeed, scientific medicine has made extraordinary progress against heart disease. By treating the heart as an unfeeling pump, surgeons have been able to create pacemakers and work their way up to the ultimate point in high-tech medicine, that is, by creating (through the permission of Allah and knowledge from Him) the artificial heart. This separation between the spiritual and the physical is clear here. 

But spiritually and emotionally speaking, the heart is used metaphorically to refer to the centre control of our inner being and the fact that this area need always be clean, sincere and pure. Likewise, physically speaking, the heart is the main part of our body, and its care is our responsibility. The greater care we take of it, the greater the chance for us to remain healthy.

A sincere Muslim is one who examines his heart from time to time to see if his feelings towards others are tender, his motives are honest, he is loving towards others and his heart is in constant search for truth and the love of Allah. Such a heart is an epitome of love, kindness, courage, affection, honesty, truth, sincerity and humility. The heart is the seat of all emotions, soul, mind, courage, etc. When one is thankful to a person, one thanks him from the bottom of one’s heart and when one is stricken with grief, it is heart-rending. If a person is courageous, we call him lion-hearted and to describe sincerity we say it is heart-felt. An unexpected piece of news or an event can break one’s heart and to understand the essence of matter, is to get to the heart of the matter. When you like a person deeply beyond description, you say he is a man after my heart. Lest we forget to mention the change of heart, it is one of the rare human traits that has not been bestowed to any other creature. Some people have a change of heart too often and others have a heart made of rock.

Jesus, son of Mary (as), is reported to have said: 'You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' (Matthew 22: 37). 

The Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh) has also described the importance of a pure and sincere heart. Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said: 

'In the body there is a piece of flesh, when it is healthy, the whole body is healthy, and when it becomes unhealthy, the whole body gets unhealthy, and verily that piece is the heart.' (Bukhari).

This concise quotation illustrates that the human heart is the fountain-head of all our emotions. If one’s heart entertains pure thoughts then all of one’s deeds will be upon the road to virtue, but if one’s heart if full of vicious thoughts and ideas, then one is bound to follow the path of vice and depression.

Thoughts and ideas are born in a heart like seeds in a garden that soon sprout into full grown plants. The purity of heart stimulates the growth of the tree of virtue. The crux of the matter is that if one’s heart is in good shape, then one’s hands, feet, tongue, mind and eyes will be in good shape as well.

All praise belongs to Allah (swt). I pray to Allah (swt), may Allah (swt) help all of us to cleanse our heart and make our heart pure and then no vicious thoughts and ideas will fill in our heart; only purity of heart shall remain. Insha-Allah, Ameen, Summa Ameen.

--- Friday Sermon of 31 March 2017(02 Rajab 1438 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.

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