On the Science of the Heart

Man’s Innermost Reality, the Center of Consciousness


At the end of a longer hadith the Prophet (the blessings and peace of Allah upon him) said:

أَلَا وَإِنَّ فِي الْجَسَدِ مُضْغَةً إِذَا صَلَحَتْ صَلَحَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ وَإِذَا فَسَدَتْ فَسَدَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ أَلَا وَهِيَ الْقَلْبُ

“Truly in the body there 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. Truly it is the heart.”

Imam Ali said: “The disease of the heart is worse than the disease of the body.”

Al-Nawawi said: “This hadith was used as proof that the seat of the mind is the heart (al-ʿaql fi al-qalb) and not the head.”

  Heart → Soul, Knowledge

The term “heart” has different connotations in the Islamic tradition. It is not simply the organ of emotions, “feelings” and desires, but encompasses the soul, knowledge, bravery and more. When purified it is the seat of the intellect, i.e. the ray of the Divine in man and woman.

This is why it is called the “true essence of a human being” (Al-Jurjani), containing “all levels of inner being” (al-Hakeem al-Tirmidhi), and for the prophets it is the place of revelation (peace and blessings be upon them all).

At first “the heart” or ”the mind” (al-qalb) is something unstable, unreliable, easily changing. In short it can either be sick or sound, dead or alive, due to its beliefs and certainty and due to the actions of man.


Origin of Thoughts

Hearts are the origin of our every good & evil thought & deed.

May Allah mend our hearts, forgive our sins, conceal our faults, and protect—even that which eludes our awareness.

Summarised from ʿIzz bin ʿAbd al-Salāms Shajarat al-maʿārif by Musa Furber (#iḥsānology), 2021-07-032

Concerning God-consciousness (taqwā), the Prophet ﷺ said, while pointing to his heart:

"God-wariness is right here" (al-taqwā hāhunā).

And as an unstable organ, it is continually influenced and turned by - but in the best of cases - eventually inspired and re-turned (and re-tuned) to - Allah (may His Majesty be exalted) Most High:

{ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ }

{ Allah intervenes between man and his heart } 8-24

Allah (may His Majesty be exalted) has informed us in the Holy Quran about the “heart” or ”the mind” (qalb), where it is mentioned not less than ≈137 times, which is indicative of the importance of this term!

  Islam - A Holistic Way of Life


Islamic virtue is grounded in the attempt to find Allah present at all times and in all places, just as the Prophet ﷺ found Him present. So virtue pertains to the heart (qalb), where one is able to experience the reality of Allah - God without any intermediary.

Islamic understanding is rooted in investigating the objects of faith that are identified by the Koran - Allah, the angels, the scriptures, the prophets, the Last Day, and the ”measuring out” (qadar) of good and evil.
So understanding pertains to the mind or ”intelligence” or ”intellect” or ”reason” ('aql), which also is the domain of the heart (qalb).

Islamic practice is rooted in the Sunnah or model of the Prophet ﷺ, who demonstrated how the Quran should be applied to everyday life, so practice pertains to the domain of the body, and informed by the heart (qalb).

Slightly adapted from The Worldview of Islamic Philosophy, W C Chittick

Healing the Heart

The Perfection of Human Happiness Lies in the Refinement of the Soul.

1st step is accepting that there is no god but Allah, the One, the Real, the Majestic and the Mighty, Who is in need of no-one, while we human are in constant need of something, in need of everything, not the least in need of air, water, food, love and life.

Everything that is existent is a manifestation of Allah سبحانه و تعالى, (may His Majesty be exalted). Everything which is not He is non-existent and cannot come into existence.

We humans did not bring ourselves into this life, it is Allah (may His Majesty be exalted) who brought us here and now.

Our task is to mend our heart, because only sound hearts will be accepted by Allah, and He is the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate towards the faithful.


{ The day on which property will not avail, nor sons; except him who comes to Allah with a sound heart.} (26-88/9)

Mending the heart - after finding it - is the project of our life, at least it should be, and the rewards are immense, as we are told in the revelation of the Quran.

The doctor of the lost hearts is Prophet Muhammad, - the blessings and peace of Allah upon him, he is the guide, example and foremost interpreter of the Quran. He understood the complexity and vulnerability of the human condition.

The aim then is the the soul at peace ( nafs al-mutma`inna )
Mentioned in this verse in sura 89-27/8

{O Self, in complete rest and satisfaction!
Return unto thy Lord, content in His good pleasure!}.


The refinement of the soul cannot be done by mental exercise, although the activities of intellect are important. A guide is needed because the traps are many.

Guide #1 is Prophet Muhammad ﷺ the blessings and peace of Allah upon him - , then the leaders of our community, the scholars, imams, the sincere friends of Allah سبحانه و تعالى. To have met even one of them is better than reading 1000 books, they are the transferers of barakah (divine grace), by Allah's permission.


If we do not see God, the world, and ourselves with the full vision of both eyes (that is, both reason and imagination), we will not be able to see things as they are.
 Understanding God

The Disease of the Heart Is Worse…

Imam Ali ( كرم الله وجهه ) said: “The disease of the heart is worse than the disease of the body.”
Al-Nawawi said: “This hadith [above] was used as proof that the seat of the mind is the heart ( al-ʿaql fi-l-qalb ) and not the head.”

A heart [it is the spiritual heart which is meant above] that has become diseased can no longer function, making it harder for the truth to be recognized. - 21:36, 21:38,

Review our extensive presentation on the science of the heart (mind):

 About The Pure Heart

What Is Heavier…

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