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The Heart in the Holy Quran

Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini

The phrase heart carries special importance and has been used extensively in the Holy Quran and narrations. But what is meant with this phrase is not the pine-shaped physical heart located in the left side of the chest which support the animal life system by continuously pumping fresh blood into various parts of the body. Because, the Holy Quran relates things to heart which are not comparable with this pine-shaped heart. e.g.:

1. Reasoning and Comprehension
The Holy Quran said:
"Have they not traveled in the land and have they hearts wherewith to feel and ears wherewith to hear."
-the Holy Quran (22:46)

2. Un-comprehending and Reasoning
The Holy Quran said:
"Having hearts wherewith they understand not, and having eyes wherewith they see not."
-the Holy Quran (7:179)
And said:
“And their hearts are sealed, so that they apprehend not.”
-the Holy Quran (9:87)

3. Faith
The Holy Quran said:
These are they into whose hearts He has impressed faith and strengthened them with a spirit from Him."
-the Holy Quran (58:22)

4. Blasphemy and Disbelief
The Holy Quran said:
"And as for those who believe not in the Hereafter there hearts refuse to know, for they are proud."
-the Holy Quran (16:22)
And said:
Such are they whose hearts and ears and eyes God hath sealed. And such are the heedless.” -the Holy Quran (16:108)

5. Dissension
The God-Almighty said in the Holy Quran.
"The Hypocrites fear lest a surah should be revealed concerning them, proclaiming what is in their hearts." -the Holy Quran (9: 64)

6. To Receive Guidance
The God-Almighty said:
"And whosoever believeth in God, He guideth his heart. And God is knower of all things." -the Holy Quran (4:11)
And God said:
“Most surely there is a reminder in this for him who has a heart or he gives ear and is a witness.” -the Holy Quran (50: 37)

7. Negligence
The God-Almighty said:
And obey not him whose heart we have made heedless of Our Remembrance, who followeth his own lust." -the Holy Quran (18:28)

8. Certainty and Tranquility
The God-Almighty has said:
"Verily in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest."
-the Holy Quran (13:28)
And said:
"He it is who sent down peace of reassurance into the hearts of the believers that they might add faith unto their faith." -the Holy Quran (48:4)

9. Anxiety and Conflict
The God-Almighty has said:
“They alone ask leave of thee who believe not in God and the Last Day, and whose hearts feel doubt, so in their doubt they waver."
-the Holy Quran (9:45)

10. Blessing and Kindness
The God-Almighty has said:
"And places compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him."
-the Holy Quran (57:27)
And said:
"He it is who supporteth thee with His Help and with the believers. And (as for the believers) hath attuned their hearts." -the Holy Quran (8: 62-63)

11. Hot-temper and Cruelty
The God-Almighty said:
"If thou hadst been stern and fierce of heart they would have dispersed from round about thee." -the Holy Quran (3:159)
Therefore, heart in the Holy Quran has been assigned the most important privileged position, and various psychic tasks have been related to it, namely: faith, blasphemy, hypocrisy, reasoning, understanding, not understanding, acceptance of truth, unacceptance of truth, guidance, deviation, sin, intention, purification, corruption, benevolence, aggravation, love, invocation, negligence, fear, anger, doubt, conflict, mercy, cruelty, regret, assurance, arrogance, jealousy, rebellion, offense, and other similar acts. Since the pine shaped piece of flesh called heart could not be the origin of these effects, instead these effects are the consequences of human self and spirit. Therefore, it could be said: What is meant with heart is the same "Celestial Jewel" which controls the degree of human-ness within a human being :
The heart possesses such exalted position in the Holy Quran that it is mentioned when the topic of revelation i.e. communication between God and men is discussed. God-Almighty said to Holy Prophet (S):
"Which is the true spirit hath brought down, upon the heart, that thou mayest be (one) of the warners."
-the Holy Quran (26:193-194)
And said:
"Say (O Muhammad, to mankind) who is enemy to Gabriel! For he it is who hath revealed (this scripture) to thy heart by God's leave."
-the Holy Quran (2:97)
The heart's position is so eminent that it sees the revealing angel and hears his voice. The God-Almighty has said:
And He revealed unto His slave (Prophet Muhammad) that which he revealed. The Heart lied not (in seeing the angel) what it saw."
-the Holy Quran (53:10-11)
Soundness and Sickness of Heart
Our living depends upon spirit and heart because, they are the ones who manage the bodies. All the parts of the body obey their command and all deeds and action initiate from the heart. Therefore, the salvation and cruelty of a person depends upon his hearts condition. It has been inferred from the Holy Quran and narrations that like the human bodies which are healthy and sick at different times, his heart's condition may also follow the same cycle (i.e. some times it is healthy while at other times it is sick).
God-Almighty in Holy Quran said:
"The day when wealth and sons avail not (any man). Save him who bringeth unto God a whole heart " -the Holy Quran (26: 88-89)
And said:
"Lo! therein verily is a reminder for him who hath a heart”
-the Holy Quran (50:37)
And said:
"And the Garden is brought nign for those who kept from evil, no longer distant. (And it is said): that is that which ye were promised, (it is) for every pertinent and heedful one, who feareth the Beneficent in secret and cometh with a contrite heart."
-the Holy Quran (50: 21-33)
Therefore, the above verses make it explicit that health of a person is related to his heart's condition and his eternal salvation depends upon his return to God-Almighty with a pure and humble heart. On the other side the Holy Quran introduces some examples of hearts which are sick as follows:
"In their hearts is a disease, and God increaseth their disease."
-the Holy Quran (2:10)
And said:
"But as for those in whose hearts is disease, it only addeth wickedness to their wickedness."
-the Holy Quran (9:125)
And said:
"And when the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease were saying: God and His Messenger promised us naught but delusion."
-the Holy Quran (33:12)
And said:
And thou seest those in whose heart is a disease race towards them, saying: We fear lest a change offortune befall us."
-the Holy Quran (5: 52)
In these verses the blasphemy, hypocrisy, and friendship with the pagans have been introduced as heart's sicknesses. Similar verses and hundreds of authentic traditions narrated by Holy Prophet (S) and infallible Imams (A) of his Holy Progeny had stated that human heart and soul are susceptible to sickness like human bodies.
God-Almighty the Creator of heart and soul, the Holy Prophet (S), and Infallible Imams (A) who are the specialists of human beings and their hearts had informed us about the sickness of some of the hearts. Why should we ignore this reality? The real human specialists after identifying the symptoms namely: blasphemy, dissension, unacceptance of truth, arrogance, revenge, anger, criticizing, slander, treason, self-conceit, fear, malevolence, defamation, ill-speaking, back-biting, harshness, oppression, felony, misery, avarice, fault-finding, lying, ambitiousness, hypocrisy, deceit, suspicion, cruelty, self-weakness and many other indecent characteristics, have introduced them as the sickness of heart and soul. Therefore, those who leave this world with such contaminated hearts will not be returning to God with a pure and sound heart to be worthy of the verse:
"The day when wealth and sons avail not (any man). Save him who bringeth unto God a whole heart." -the Holy Quran (26: 88-89)
The sicknesses of heart and self could not be considered as small or insignificant rather they are much more dangerous and incurable as compared to bodily diseases. In case of bodily diseases the physical order of the body looses its equilibrium thus, causing pain, discomfort, and inflicting damage upon a specific part of the body. But this is rather limited and in any case these effects cannot go on beyond the physical life span of the inflicted person. However, the sickness of heart and self are accompanied with continuous anguish, torture, and eternal punishment; the pain and punishment which penetrate until the very depths of heart engulfing the soul with eternal flames.
The heart which remained completely ignorant of God’s existence without witnessing His signs by spending a life of disbelief, deviation, and sins in reality is blind and dark, which will be raised on the Day of Judgment with similar condition, and will have no other choice except to be condemned into Hell to live a painful eternal life full of anguish and torture. The God-Almighty in Holy Quran said:
"But he who turneth away from remembrance" of Me, his will be a narrow life, and I shall bring him blind to the assembly on the Day of Resurrection. He will say: 'My Lord! wherefore hast thou gathered me (hither) blind, when I was wont to see?' He will say: 'so (it must be) our revelations come unto thee but thou didst forget them. In like manner thou art forgotten this Day."
-the Holy Quran (20:124-126)
And said:
"Have they not traveled in the land, and have they hearts where with to feel and ears wherewith to hear ? For indeed it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts, which are within the bosoms, that grow blind."
-the Holy Quran (22:46)
And said:
"Whoso is blind in here will be blind in the Hereafter, and yet further from the road."
-the Holy Quran (17:22)
And said:
"And he whom God guideth, he is led aright, while, as for him whom He sendeth astray, for them thou wilt find no protecting friends beside Him, and We shall assemble them on the Day of Resurrection on their faces, blind, dumb, and deaf "
-the Holy Quran (17:97)
May be you will find the above, something strange and may ask: How the esoteric eyes will become blind on the Day of Judgment? Do we have eyes and ears other than these apparent bodily eyes and ears? The reply is: Yes! The Creator of human beings and Divine human doctors had informed that human heart and also soul, have their own eyes, ears, and tongue but of their own kind.
Human self is a mysterious existence possessing a special life in his inner essence. Self has his own world in which there is light as well as darkness, there is purity and cleanliness as well as indignation and contamination, and there is seeing and hearing as well as blindness and deafness. But the light and darkness of that special world is not similar to the light and darkness of this world, rather the belief in God-Almighty, Day of Judgment, Prophethood, and the Holy Quran is the illumination for self's world.
The God-Almighty has said:
"Then those who believe in him (Muhammad) honor him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him: They are the successful."
-the Holy Quran (7:157)
And said:
"Now hath come unto you light from God and a plain scripture."
-the Holy Quran (5:15)
And said:
"Is he whose bosom God hath expanded for the surrender (unto Him), so that he followeth a light from His Lord (as he who disbelieveth) ? Then woe unto those whose hearts are hardened against remembrance of God. Such are in plain error."
-the Holy Quran (39: 22)
God-Almighty has informed that Islam, Quran, faith, and Divine obligations are all illumination and their obedience makes the heart enlightened; although, in reality this happens in this same world but its final result is declared in the Next World. Also, He had informed us that blasphemy, hypocrisy, sinning, non-acceptance of truth all are darkness and make the heart dark and contaminated, which would certainly become manifested in the Next World. The Divine Prophets were dispatched by God-Almighty with the mission of leading human beings out of darkness of blasphemy towards the environment of illumination and belief.
The God-Almighty has said:
"We have revealed unto thee (Muhammad) that thereby thou mayst bring forth mankind from darkness unto light."
-the Holy Quran (14:1)
The believers, by means of illumination of faith, self-purification, good moral conducts, God's-Remembrance, and righteous deeds make their heart and souls illuminated; witness the sublime realities through their esoteric eyes and ears; and ascend toward God's Nearness through various stages of perfection. Such souls when leaving this world will turn into absolute illumination, joy, cheerfulness, beauty, and in the Next World will be utilizing the same illumination accumulated by them in this material world. The God-Almighty has said:
"On the day when thou (Muhammad) wilt see the believers, men and women, their light shining forth before them and on their right hands (and will hear it said unto them): Glad news for you this day: Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein ye are immortal. That is the supreme triumph."
-the Holy Quran (57:12)
Yes! The illumination for the eternal world must be arranged in this world, and it is because of this reason that the pagans and hypocrites do not have illumination in the Next World. The God-Almighty has said:
"On the Day when the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women will say unto those who believe, look on us that we may borrow from your light! It will be said: Go back and seek for light!"
the Holy Quran (57:13)

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