Why is the approval of heart important in belief as medically the heart is controlled by mind?
Submitted by on Wed, 13/08/2014 - 13:30
Dear Brother / Sister,
What we mean by the heart is not the organ resembling a pinecone. It is a property belonging to the spirit. The mind is not the brain; it is another property belonging to the spirit.
The concept heart used in the Quran has two meanings:
Firstly: It is the material heart, whose duty is to pump blood all over the body and which is a roundish organ like a pinecone.
Secondly: It is a spiritual divine faculty that includes the functions of the mind, spirit and brain.
As a matter of fact, while explaining the concept of basirah (foresight/prudence) within the framework of sixth sense, Imam Ghazali states that the words like the heart, spiritual light, mind can be used interchangeably and that it is groundless to discuss about determining and identifying them. (see Ihya, 4/289)
The concept heart used by the Quran has a wide scope that includes the spiritual heart called the divine faculty along with the mind and the spirit, which is the center of lofty feelings. As a matter of fact, the word "mind" (aql) is not used in the Quran except in the form of verb. It means the word heart also expresses it.
The definition of the word heart is not given in the Quran but Islamic scholars expressed different views about the place of the mind and the heart, and the relationship between the mind and the heart in the light of verses of the Quran and hadiths.
- According to some scholars including Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, the mind is in the heart. That is, the heart is a spiritual mechanism that also includes the mind. Some of the evidences shown by those scholars are as follows:
a. The word heart in the following verse is used in the sense of the mind: "Verily in this is a Message for any that has a heart and understanding or who gives ear and earnestly witnesses (the truth)." (Qaf, 50/37) According to Ibn Hajar, most of the tafsir scholars interpret the word heart in the verse above as the mind. (As examples, see Tabari, Mawardi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Jalalayn, Ibn Ashur, the interpretation of the verse mentioned above)
This statement of the Quran's shows that the mind settles in the heart and that it originates from the heart. (see Ibn Hajar, 1/129)
- According to a narration, Ibn Abbas explained the word heart as the mind. Farra, a famous philologist, supported this view of Ibn Abbas and said heart is used in the sense of mind in Arabic. (see Farra, Baghawi, the interpretation of the verse mentioned above)
b. Another evidence that those who claim that the mind is not in the brain but in the heart is uses is the following hadith also mentioned in the question: "There is a piece of flesh in the human body; if it is good, the whole body becomes good; if it goes bad, the whole body goes bad. Know it very well that it is the heart." (Bukhari, Iman, 39; Muslim, Musakat, 107)
According to the scholars who hold this view, the expressions in the hadith above show that the mind is in the heart. (see Nawawi, the explanation of the hadith mentioned above)
We should say that what is first understood from the apparent meaning of the hadith is the piece of flesh located in the left side of the body pumping blood. For, this heart is described clearly in this hadith. It is a piece of flesh but the healthy operation of the body/biological structure depends on its healthy operation. All of the organs are dependent on the heart. Even death takes place when the heart stops operating. In a sense, the death of the brain takes place as a result of the death of the heart. There is a close positive or negative relation between the heart and the other organs. In general, the heart is like the sultan of the biological structure. Its orders are valid. This function of the heart's is pointed to in the hadiths. (Mirqatu'l-Mafatih)
According to some scholars like Abu Hanifa, the mind is not in the heart but in the brain. (Nawawi, ibid)
In fact, faculty is the general name given to the spiritual and subtle feelings of man. It is like the opposite of the term device. We can say that it is the general name of all of man's spiritual feelings whose nature he knows or does not know.Heart, spirit, conscience can be given as examples.
Man's material body has a map; similarly, if we liken his spirituality to a body, it also has a spiritual map. It is difficult to exactly match this spiritual map with the material map but there are some who match them due to their importance.
For instance, the place of the heart in the material body in terms of importance and function is equal to the heart in the spiritual body. Similarly, the place of the brain in the material body is the same as the place of the mind in the spiritual body.
Therefore, in the hadith, spiritual beings like the mind and spirit are attributed to the heart and brain, which are pieces of flesh. The brain and the heart are the most important organs and sultans of the material body; similarly, the mind and the spirit are like the sultans of the spiritual body.
In terms of representation, the heart represents the spiritual heart and the material body. The brain represents the mind. There is a spiritual connection between them; there might also be a fine material connection that we cannot perceive between them.
After all, what a person who believes in Allah and the Quran needs to do is as follows:
Whatever Allah, His Messenger and the Quran say is true. If the apparent meanings of some verses and hadiths contradict with the data of the exact sciences, there is definitely something wrong with the interpretations of the Islamic scholars or the scientists. For, the Quran comes from Allah's attribute of speech and the universe comes from Allah's attributes of power and will. The topics of these two books do not contradict by any means. No accurate scientific discovery contradicts with the realities that are put forward by the Quran and that are understood correctly. If there is something wrong, it is because of people's insufficient viewpoints, tiny minds and little knowledge.
In fact, woe to us if we have doubts that will harm our belief due to something that we do not know. It does not comply with belief to believe in the word of a materialistic scientist without any hesitation but to doubt the words of Allah and His Messenger.
May Allah make us have real and investigative belief. Amin.
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