Different States of Heart

Different States of Heart



In the previous article ‘The status of the heart in the human personality,’ we tried to prove in the light of revealed knowledge and the acquired (scientific) knowledge that the heart is the king or ruler, coordinator, administrator and commander  of human personality; while other parts, limbs and senses obey its orders like submissive servants, or like soldiers of their commander. The heart as a king tries its level best for good governance in the human kingdom; and as a commander, devises the strategy to protect itself and other organs from all types of invasions, especially from the attack of the evil web of Iblis. Moreover, as a coordinator the heart synchronizes the activities not only of different pillars of the kingdom but at cellular level as well, with the help of a number of hormones. As an administrator, the heart commands, directs, and guides all the organs and limbs to perform their prescribed functions and duties towards others. 

People have been using different terms or phrases for the heart from ancients to date. These phrases include ‘hard-hearted,’ ‘cold-hearted,’ ‘warm-hearted,’ heart on one’s sleeve,’ and ‘touch my heart.’ Hard-hearted is the one who shows no mercy or kindness to others; the one who is incapable of being moved to pity or tenderness; unfeeling; and not kind or sympathetic toward fellow human beings  or other creatures. Cold-hearted is the one who shows no understanding for or not feeling sorry about another person’s sufferings; and having or showing a lack of care for others. Warm-hearted means sympathetic and kind; showing love and affection; and he is the one who helps a needy person. A warm-hearted person is friendly, kind, generous, forgiving, readily sympathetic and affectionate. Heart on one’s sleeves means the one who does not or cannot conceal one’s emotions from others. The phrase wear your heart on your sleeve is to make your feelings and emotions obvious rather than hiding them. The phrase ‘it touched my heart’ may be used to describe something that has made a strong emotional impression on someone, such as a meaningful book, or a heartfelt speech, and other such wonderful things. When someone’s words or actions penetrate others’ souls and affect them profoundly, they say that this person ‘touched their hearts’ or touched the core of their hearts. The Arabic equivalent for the English word core is known as lubb, which also refers to heart, as well as the intellect and the essence of human personality. 

The objective of the activities of the heart is to get nearness of Allah (swt); achieve piety or righteousness (Taqwa); know and understand metaphysical realities; receive wahi (divine message or revelation) and Light; and ponder over Allah’s signs. Allah Almighty does not like the heart to be possessed by anything other than Him. When the heart becomes inhabited by Allah’s Light all evil forces run away. In short, the heart is the essence of the  human personality.  

Human heart is designed to accommodate diverse faculties of different and opposing natures, as the human species is a mixture of opposites. At the time of birth the heart of every baby is healthy, transparent and soft, but based on one’s interactions with people may create positive or negative effects – it may become healthier, softer, sound and polished or may be affected with a number of spiritual diseases with different intensities and severity . In other words, with the passage of time, while passing through different developmental stages, the condition of the heart may improve or deteriorate depending upon the strength/weakness of the faith and the quality and quantity of good or bad deeds. 

The Din of Islam on the planet Earth was started from Prophet Adam, passed through different evolutionary stages and was completed on the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), therefore it (Islam as a complete code of life) provides guidance for the improvement of the heart in order to achieve true success in this world and in the Hereafter. Throughout human history, on the planet Earth, evil web has been struggling hard to mislead the sons of Adam mainly by attacking on their hearts and affect them adversely, make them sick and in certain cases cause the spiritual death of their hearts.


Some religious scholars are of the view that there are three states of the heart: healthy, dead, and sick. In a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) four states of the heart are mentioned: three states are mentioned above and fourth is the ‘upside down heart’ or ‘inverted heart.’  In another scheme the heart has been classified into six states: Healthy, deviated, sick, hard, rock and locked heart. Some scholars have discussed seven states of heart: Healthy, broken, fearful, angry, hopeless, hard, and numb (checked out) heart. These states of the heart are briefly described. 

2.1. Three States of Heart

2.1.1. The Healthy Heart   

The healthy heart is also known as ‘soft heart’, ‘transparent heart’, ‘shining heart ‘,  ‘polished heart’ or ‘sound heart.’ The healthy heart is as shining  as a radiant lamp and this word is used for the light of faith. For everything there is a polish and the heart becomes polished with the remembrance and worship of Allah (swt). 

There are many verses of the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which shed some light on the healthy heart. It is not feasible here to mention all of them, therefore we intend to give a few selected verses and hadiths only. 

For the sound heart the Qur’an uses the phrase ‘Qalbun Salim’ or ‘Qalbun Muneeb’. The Arabic word salim is derived from ‘Salaamah’ which means safe and sound. The term Qalbun Salim (sound heart or healthy heart) is that which possesses all innate potential qualities both latent and manifest; and the heart which is in pure form and without any pollution. If it is polluted in any manner and in any form it no longer remains healthy or sound, but becomes sick or diseased; hard not remains soft; it does not remain transparent but becomes opaque, it may have some black spots or rusty spots as well. 

It is generally believed by eminent religious scholars that a sound heart is the one which is free from negative personality traits such as unbelief or disbelief, hypocrisy, pride, jealousy, hatred, and headlessness, etc. It is the heart which has surrendered completely to the Will and Commands of Allah (swt); and its first priority is to get nearness of Allah and make Him happy under all circumstances and always gets ready to sacrifice everything for His sake. The healthy heart promptly acts according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) sincerely without any hesitation even under difficult situations. Moreover, the healthy heart remains busy in acquiring obligatory and other branches of knowledge and believes that all revealed knowledge is from Allah (swt). 

Every work which is done with a soft heart, its good effects are manifested in the whole body, especially through the tongue, because it is the interpreter of the heart. The behaviour of such a person towards others will be soft and moderate without any harshness. Such behaviour can transform enemies into friends; and creates love, unity  and harmony not only in oneself, but in the family, in society and in a nation as well. 

Healthy heart possesses resistance against the machinations of Satan and its evil web; remains happy and satisfied under all situations; and loves and hates for the sake of Allah; always avoids to commit sins, but if some sin is committed intentionally or unintentionally, it immediately repents and seeks forgiveness from Allah (swt) most of the time and makes efforts to achieve true success in this world and in the hereafter. The possessor of a healthy heart fulfils all the obligations towards Allah, fellow human beings and other creatures; helps the poor and needy; remains fearful in connection with returning to the Lord of the universe. In this connection the the Qur’an says: 

And those who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord (1).

This verse may be elaborated like this: “They serve their Lord and try their best to obey Him and do righteous deeds, but all along they  remain humble in their hearts and are not puffed up with the pride of their piety: nay, in spite of all their good deeds, their hearts are always filled with awe that they shall have to render an account of their Lord, and they are not sure whether they will come out successful in the judgement of their Lord or not.” In this connection Caliph Umar said before his death, “I shall consider it a favour of Allah, if I am neither rewarded nor punished in the Hereafter” (2).

“A believer obeys Allah and is yet fearful of Him, and a hypocrite disobeys Allah and is yet fearless of Him” (3).

And We did not send before you (O Muhammad) any messenger or prophet except that when he spoke (or recited), Satan threw into it (some misunderstanding). But Allah abolishes that which Satan throws in: then Allah makes precise His verses.……so He makes what Satan throws in (asserts) a trial for those within whose heart is disease and those hard of heart. And indeed, the wrongdoers are in extreme dissension. And so those who were given knowledge may know that it is the truth from your Lord and (therefore) believe in it, and their hearts humbly submit to it (4).

The Arabic word tamanna has two meanings: ‘desire’ and ‘to recite’ something. If the first meaning is taken, it will imply: “Satan tried to prevent the fulfilment of his desire.” If the second meaning is taken, it will imply: “When the Prophet recited the Revelation, Satan created different sorts of doubts about its truth and meanings in the minds of the people.” If the first meaning is adopted, it will imply: “Allah fulfils the Prophet’s desire and makes his Mission successful in spite of the obstacles of Satan and confirms the truth of His Revelation by fulfilling His promises to the Prophet.” In case of the second meaning, it will imply: “Allah eradicates all the doubts and objections inspired by Satan in the hearts of the people and clarifies the confusion created about any verse of the Qur’an in subsequent Revelations. Allah is All-Knowing and has full knowledge of the mischief worked by Satan and of its effects, and being All-Wise, He counteracts every mischief of Satan. That is, “Allah lets Satan work such mischiefs to put to the test both the righteous and the wicked people.” The people with a perverted mentality deduce wrong conclusions from these and deviate from the Right Way, while those, who think on the right lines, realise that all these things are the mischiefs of Satan and that the Message of the Prophet is based on the Truth. They conclude that the very fact that Satan has been so much agitated and become active against it is a clear proof of its being the Truth. It is very important to understand the real significance of this passage (verses 22:52-54) for this has given rise to a grave misunderstanding. Further information is available in reference (5).

The healthy heart is filled with the knowledge that Allah sent, and such knowledge cleansed it, polished it, so it would shine filling the whole body with the desire to please Allah and fearful of displeasing Him. The person with a sound heart prays to Allah to keep his heart healthy and shining all the times, and expand his breast to contain Islam.  

It is He who has sent down to you (O Muhammad), the Book; in it are verses (that are) precise (muhkamat) – they are the foundation of the Book…………But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All (of it) is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except of those of understanding. (Who say), “Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. You are the Bestower  (6).

So whoever Allah wants to guide – He expands his breast to (contain) Islam (7).

“He makes his breast wide one to Islam” means, “Allah makes him fully convinced of the truth of the Islam by removing from his mind and heart every kind of doubt, suspicion, hesitation and indecision about Islam” (8).

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned. Their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely. The one who establishes prayer, and from what We have provided them, they spend. Those are the believers, truly. For them are degrees (of high) position) with their Lord and forgiveness and notable provision (9).

This implies that a man’s Faith increases on every occasion he acknowledges the Revelation of Allah to be true, and submits to them. Most surely his Faith increases and grows, whenever he surrenders himself to the Book of Allah and to the teachings of the Holy Prophet though they are against his own desires, his opinions, his conceptions, his theories, his habits, his lusts, his comforts, his affections and his friendship. For instead of changing the teachings, he changes himself in accordance with the Commands of Allah Almighty and the instructions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and accepts them for his guidance. In contrast to this, if a believer hesitates to accept these, his Faith begins to decrease and fade away. This also shows that Faith is not something that is incapable of growth and decrease and which always remains in one and the same state but it is capable of both improvement and decay. Every denial of the Truth corrupts its quality, and likewise every acknowledgment and acceptance improves it  (10).

The Day when there will not benefit (anyone) wealth or children. But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart (11).

On the Day of Judgment, only a sound heart, sound in faith, and free from disobedience and sin, will be of any avail to man and not wealth and children, for wealth and children can be useful only if one possesses a sound heart. Wealth will be useful if one would have spent it sincerely and faithfully for the sake of Allah, otherwise even a millionaire will be a poor man. Children also will be of help only to the extent a person might have educated them in Faith and good conduct to the best of his ability; otherwise even if one’s son is a Prophet, the father will not escape punishment, if he died in the state of disbelief, because such a father will have no share there in the goodness of his children (12).

Anis bin Maalik used to say: Most of the dwellers of Paradise are those who have sound hearts and who always entertain good thoughts regarding others (13).

Entrance into Paradise is dependent on the condition of the heart. It means only those persons will enter Paradise who are with a healthy heart. 

The Messenger of Allah said, “For everything there is a polish, and the polish for the hearts is the dhikr of Allah. There is nothing more potent in saving a person from the punishment of Allah than His dhikr” (14).

Shaddad ibn Aws reported that the Messenger of Allah used to say, “O Allah I ask you Qalb-e-Salim (sound heart)” (15).

The Holy Prophet said, “Who is deprived of softness of the heart has been deprived of everything” (Muslim, 6598). He further said, “Indeed softness in any thing makes it beautiful, while hardness makes things extremely unpleasant or repulsive” (Muslim 6602). 

The healthy heart is that state of the heart which is free from every disease, defect, rust, or deformation; it is transparent and shining like a mirror. It is also free of character defects and spiritual blemishes; and pure and sincere. From it stems good thoughts, pleasant words, and a smile on the face, etc. The healthy heart is free from any desires that oppose the commands of Allah and from any doubt that contradicts what He reveals; it submits completely to Allah and relies on Him alone; and is humble, soft, and gentle; it is cleansed from any passion; and  possesses almost all positive personality traits. 

In every stroke the healthy heart remembers Allah (swt) and it’s no stroke is without Allah’s remembrance and obedience. The one with a healthy heart feels great pleasure in His worship and in doing righteous deeds. Here we use the word worship in its broader sense – every utterance and every action or deed which is done according to the commandments of Allah and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  

 Allah Almighty increases the potential of a person with a healthy heart to remain patient against hardships and ordeals in this world. because such a person feels pleasure in doing righteous deeds, and severely hates sins in any form and in any intensity; performs every pious deed and duties towards others in the best possible way with full attention, at optimum time without any delay and deviation. He maintains balance and remains within limits in all utterances and actions; he prioritises one’s activities according to their importance – the most important actions and activities are farz-e-ain or obligatory duties towards Allah (five prayers daily, keeping fast for the month of Ramadan, pay zakat, and performing pilgrimage at least once in life in a prescribed way), followed by farze-kafiah, which is the duty of the community; commendable utterances and action; and avoid from prohibited works and actions. 

A healthy heart is full of belief and guided by its light. It gets the veil of sensual pleasures cleared away; the light of belief is luminous in it. Its luminosity glows that may burn the satan  when he approaches it. Such a person looks like a sky that is guarded by stars which cause satans to burn if they exceed them (16).  

2.1.2. The Dead Heart

The dead heart may be called a sealed, black, rusted or extremely hard heart; and the heart  with a knot tied around it. The possessors of dead hearts are  unbelievers or disbelievers who are members of the evil web; and those disbelievers who reject the signs of Allah (swt); create hurdles against those who are engaged in preaching Islam to other people.  

Dead heart is also known as frozen or rock hard heart. Allah refers to this heart as being closed – the condition when something becomes frozen and does not perform its function. Allah has placed the capacity of transformation in human hearts, with information which comes through senses and intellect. When the data from the senses or other organs reaches the heart it influences the heart, it being the centre of human personality, transforming it. As a result the heart develops and evolves and there is progress through this process. But the spiritual diseases freeze the heart and the information which is supposed to play the role of development and transformation does not have any impact. This is what is meant by the Qur’an that such people’s hearts freeze (stationary, not dynamic).

Dead heart is also known as wrapped heart (Qalb-e-Aghlaf). It is the heart  which does not allow anything to enter it other than what is inside it already. 

And they said, “Our hearts are wrapped, But (in fact), Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little it is that they believe (17).

By this (our hearts are quite secure, or our hearts are wrapped) they meant to say, “We are so staunch in our Faith that we are not going to be influenced by anything that might be said to the contrary.” All such people, as are slaves of irrational prejudices, delude themselves like this. They believe such an obstinate attitude to be a sign of their firm Faithand, therefore, a virtue. In fact, there can be no greater vice than to stick to one’s own traditional creeds and beliefs even though there are strong arguments against them (18).

Indeed those who disbelieve – it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe. Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil12. And for them is a great punishment (19).

A covering preventing them from discerning guidance. This condition is a direct result of their arrogance and persistence in sin (20).

It does not mean that their rejection of the Truth was due to some arbitrary decree of Allah and not because of their own fault; they refused to accept the Truth because Allah had sealed their hearts or they did not listen to it because Allah had sealed up their ears or they did not see the Truth because Allah had put a cover over their eyes. As a matter of fact, the sealing up of their hearts and ears was the result of their own persistent rejection of the Truth and not the cause of it. The Qur’an simply states a Law of Nature: if one takes a biassed view of something and deliberately nourishes prejudices against one’s mind one can neither see any virtue in it nor hear anything in its favour nor open one’s heart to consider it dispassionately. This is the Law of Nature and, as it is Allah’s Law, the act of sealing up of the hearts and the ears and the covering of the eyes has been attributed to Him (21).

Allah informs the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that those people who do not fulfil six requirements which are mentioned in verses 2:3-4 or reject all or any one of them will not believe because Allah has sealed their hearts, vision and hearing as a punishment for them due to their refusal of Allah’s guidance. Allah has set a seal on their hearts means that He closed their hearts so tightly that the faith which was therein and went out when they disbelieved cannot enter their hearts. The sealing of the heart is like sealing an air container, once one fills it with something and seals it completely, then nothing will come out and nothing will go in. 

The seal on hearing means that they were unable to hear the truth and make use of it. They can hear but they do not want to listen, it is of no interest to them, they do not want to know what is being said, they might hear it but they do not take it in. In other words they do not pay any attention to those people who continue conveying the message of Islam. Allah has also placed a covering on their eyes meaning that they were unable to see the truth. 

Those who accept the message shall gain the great reward and those who turn away We shall turn their hearts away, as they refused to believe therein for the first time and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly (6:110). So, do not you ever think that Allah has forced them to be disbelievers and at the same time applies a great torment upon them. All these are torments due to their disbelief, yet there will be a greater torment waiting for them in the Hereafter in the form of sending them in Hell eternally.  

Then your hearts become hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and  there are some of them that fall down in fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do (22).

Indeed, those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers – upon them will be the curse of Allah and of the angels and the people, altogether, abiding eternally therein (under the curse in Hell) their punishment will not be lightened, nor will they be reprieved (23).

The literal meaning of the Arabic word kufr is ‘to conceal.’ By and by it came to be used for the concealment of the Truth and then for its rejection, as the antonym of Iman. Iman means to believe, to accept and to submit, and kufr means to disbelieve, to reject and to oppose. According to the Qur’an, one shall be guilty of kufr: If one does not believe at all in Allah or refuses to accept Him as the Supreme authority or as one’s Master and Master of the Universe. Or as the only God of worship, or if one professes to acknowledge Allah but refuses to accept His Commandments and Guidance as the sole source of the knowledge of Truth and of Law, or even if one accepts on principle the Guidance of Allah, but refuses to accept the authority of the Messengers whom Allah has sent with His Commandments and Guidance, or if one accepts a particular Messenger or some Messengers and rejects the others according to one’s whim or prejudice, or if one discards the whole or any part of the Islamic creed, or its code of life or the teachings of the Messenger, or if one accepts all these things in theory but disregards the Commandments of Allah deliberately in practice and persists in this conduct and leads a life of rebellion instead of submission –  all these modes of thought and action are rebellious against Allah and are kufr according the the Qur’an . Besides the above usages, the Qur’an sometimes uses kufr as a substitute for ingratitude, for it is nothing but ingratitude to use the things and facilities given by Allah against His Will and to adopt the attitude of rebellion against one’s benefactor (24).

The example of those who disbelieve is like that of one who shouts at what hears nothing but calls and cries (cattle or sheep) – deaf, dumb, and blind, so they do not understand (25). 

The parable has two aspects: these people are like those herds of cattle which merely bear the call and cry of the drovers and move about at the sound of their call without understanding the meaning of their words. Preaching before them is like preaching to the cattle which only hear the sounds but do not comprehend the meaning and the implication of the words that are spoken to them (26).

O Messenger, let them not grieve you who hasten into disbelief ……They distart words beyond their (proper) places (usages), saying, “If you are given this, take it; but if you are not given it, then beware.” But he for whom Allah intends fitnah – never will you possess (power to do)  for him a thing against Allah. Those are the ones for whom Allah does not intend to purify their hearts (27).

This refers to the people who were using all their intellectual powers and energies to preserve the previous state of ignorance against the reformation efforts of Islam. They were distorting the Truth knowingly and doing their worst to defeat his holy mission by lies, deceit, cunning tactics. In reality these people are the slaves of their lusts and are not interested at all in the Truth but in falsehood only. They eagerly listen to lies because that alone can gratify their lust for falsehood. They used to attend the meetings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his followers so that they might spread false reports about them in order to malign them. They used to come as spies to obtain some secret information for the benefits of the enemies of Islam; they come with hostile intent to obtain material for bringing false accusations and slander against the Holy Prophet and his followers in order to cause misunderstandings among the people. The Jewish scholars used to tell their illiterate people to accept any teaching of the Messenger of Allah only if it agrees with theirs, if not they should reject it. In this regard it is evident that a person was put to trial by Allah Almighty, and He did not purify such a person because one did not wish to purify oneself. It is not the way of Allah to deprive a person of purification, if one desires it and tries for it. He does not want to purify that person only who does not intend to purify himself (28).

And, O Muhammad, relate to them the news of him to whom We gave (knowledge of) Our signs, but he detached himself from them: so Satan pursued him, and he became of the deviants…….he adhered to the earth and followed his own desires……..How evil an example (is that of) the people who denied Our signs and used to wrong themselves….And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless (29).  

The person (probably Balaam, the son of Ba’ura or Umayya bin Abi Assault or Saifi ibn Ar-Rahib), who has been held out as a bad type, possessed the knowledge of the Revelation of Allah (swt) and was acquainted with the Reality……..but he became inclined towards the benefits, lusts and comforts of the world and succumbed to temptations. He was so overpowered by avarice of these lower desires that he discarded all the higher things and let go of all the rational and moral potentialities of progress. Thus he transgressed all the limits that he ought to have observed in accordance with the demand of his knowledge. When Satan, who was lying in ambush nearby, saw him turning away deliberately and wilfully from the Truth because of his moral weakness, he chased him down and down from one abyss to the other, till he fell into the company of those who had utterly lost their reason under his misguidance. Allah has likened such a person to a dog because of his similarity to it in avarice and lust. The dog is proverbial for various undesirable characteristics: its ever hanging tongue and watering mouth points to its insatiable greed: it goes on smelling the earth even when it is hit with a piece of stone; it picks it up in its teeth, hoping that it might be a piece of bone. Its intense greed for exclusive ownership becomes manifest when it comes across a big carcass, sufficient to feed a number of dogs; but it does not let any other dog share it. The other characteristic of the dog is its being very sexy. It is because of these things the worldly man, who transgresses all bounds imposed by Faith and knowledge, has been likened to a dog. The one becomes like a dog, looking for nothing but the means of filling up one’s belly and gratifying one’s lust. What is the meaning of the statement “there are many jinns and humans whom We have created for the sole purpose of sending them to Hell and with the intention of making them fuel for it?” Its meaning is this: “We created them and gave them hearts but these wicked people did not make use of it to discern the Truth from falsehood and made themselves fuel for Hell by their evil deeds” (30).

So have they not travelled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts (31).

The words ….the hearts….blind have been used in the metaphorical and not in the literal sense. Since the heart is regarded as the centre of emotions, feelings and of mental and moral qualities, these words have been used to imply that their obduracy has imbibed them from feeling and acting rationally (32).

But those who disbelieved – their deeds are like a mirage in a low land which a thirsty one thinks is water until, when he comes to it, he finds it is nothing but finds Allah before him, and He will pay him in full his due, and Allah is swift in account. Or (they are) like darkness within an unfathomable sea which is covered by waves, upon which are waves, over which are clouds – darkness, some of upon others. When one puts out his head (therein), he can hardly see it. And he to whom Allah has not granted light – for him there is no light  (33).  

That is, they refuse to accept sincerely the Divine Message which was brought by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). These verses clearly show that only the truthful and righteous believers can benefit from Allah’s Light. In contrast to them, the state of those people is being described here, who refused to believe and obey the Holy Prophet, who was the real and sole means of attaining the Light of Allah (swt). 

This parable describes the condition of those people who, in spite of disbelief and hypocrisy, practise some good deeds and also believe, among other things, in the life after death, in the hope that their good deeds will be of some help to them in the Hereafter even if they did not believe and follow the Prophet and lacked the qualities of true believers. In this parable they are being told that their expectations of reaping benefits of their ostentatious deeds of virtue in the Hereafter are no more than a mirage. Just as a traveller in the desert takes the glittering sands for a surging pool of water and runs towards it for quenching one’s thirst, so are these people travelling on the road to death cherishing false hopes on account of their good deeds. But just as the one running towards a mirage does not find anything there to quench one’s thirst, so will these people find nothing to avail them when they enter the state of death. On the contrary, they will find Allah there, Who will require them to account for their disbelief, hypocrisy and misdeeds, which they committed along with their ostentatious deeds of virtue, and will deal with them in full justice. This parable describes the condition of all the disbelievers and the hypocrites including those who perform good deeds for ostentation. It is being stated that such people are passing their life in a state of absolute and complete ignorance, whether otherwise they are the most learned people in the world and leaders in their respective fields of learning. They are like the men who are lost in complete darkness where no ray of light can reach them. They think that knowledge merely consists in producing atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, supersonic planes and moon rockets, or in attaining excellence in economics and law and philosophy. But they little understand that real knowledge is something entirely different and they have no idea of it. Thus considered they are just ignorant, and are like illiterate peasants who have gained some acquaintance with the Divine Truth. Here is stated the real objective of the discourse which began with: Allah is the Light of the heavens of the earth.” When in fact there is no light in the universe except the light of Allah and all manifestation of reality is due to that Light, whereas can the one whom Allah does not give light have light? There exists no other source of light from which one can receive a ray. (34).

Indeed, you will not make the dead hear, nor will you make the deaf hear the call when they have turned their backs retreating (35).

To warn whoever is alive and justify the word (decree) against the disbelievers (36). 

Only those people who receive admonition from the Qur’an and act according to it are alive in the sight of Allah Almighty and others are considered as dead or with a dead heart.  

Death of the spiritual heart refers to its spiritual corruption. It can occur in different ways and manners. For example, excessive laughter leads to hardening of the heart, which in turn leads to heedlessness which may lead to death. The root of excessive laughter is love of this world, which is the cause of every sin. The death of the heart also occurs by responding to the call of someone other than Allah.  

And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the hereafter, except (brief) enjoyment(37).

This verse refutes the wrong criterion by which disbelievers of Makkah and all other disobedient people of the world judged whether one was or was not a favourite of Allah. They judged a man’s worth by his wealth and worldly prosperity and not by his faith and righteous conduct. They thought that the one who was enjoying all the good things  of life was a favourite of Allah, even if he had erroneous beliefs and did wicked deeds. On the other hand, they considered the one who was poor and indigent to be under the wrath of Allah, even though he was righteous. That is why in their judgement the chiefs of the Qureshs were far superior to the followers of the Prophet. They would say, “you can see for yourselves that Allah is with the chiefs of the Quraish. In this verse, Allah warned them that they are absolutely wrong in drawing such a conclusion from the worldly conditions of the people. Allah gives His provisions to the people abundantly or sparingly for reasons different from those which they presumed and riches or poverty is no criterion by which to judge the worth of people. The real criterion by which to judge the worth of people is their beliefs and deeds. The one, who has righteous beliefs and does good deeds, shall be higher in rank than the one who has wrong beliefs and does evil deeds. Thus the real criteria is the quality of his deeds and not the possession or the lack of wealth   (38).

From our discussion it becomes clear that the hearts of non-believers and disbelievers are dead and until and unless they have faith in Allah and other articles of Islam and do righteous deeds their hearts remain dead, and if they do some deeds which are beneficial for the fellow human beings and other creatures they will get reward in this world in the form of wealth, status, name and fame, but there will be no reward of such good deeds in the Hereafter and their final abode will be the Hell eternally. 

2.1.3. The Sick Heart

The Arabic word ‘maradh’ means sickness or disease. In connection with the heart, the Qur’an uses this world twelve times. In addition to maradh the Qur’an uses other words such as ‘zagh,’ (disease), ‘akin’ (veil), ‘rana’ (rust) for the spiritual disease. 

The sick heart is also known as diseased heart. It is that heart which is fed by two sources: an angel which leads towards truth, and from evil web or other isms which lead away from the revealed knowledge. On the one hand the action of a true believer feeds the heart which positively affects the internal reality. Another source feeding the heart is Iblis and his evil web which feeds the heart against the religion of Islam – lying, being rude and transgressive in disagreements; breaking promises; doing oppression and agression; not believing in Allah and other articles of Islam. The nature of this heart becomes predominant according to the influence it has. This heart is always at a cusp and vacillates between the heart of a true believer or a disbeliever. 

The sick hearts are terrible ruins because the darkness of such hearts cannot be dispelled by its sensual desires. The desires are the veils of the heart and interior of the heart remains restless, uncomfortable and sorrowful, The possessor of the sick heart tries to remain busy in materialistic activities in order to get pleasure or peace of mind but he utterly fails in one’s endeavours in this world, and in the hereafter they will suffer severe hardships in their onward journey from death to worst final abode (Hell). 

The sick heart is between the dead heart and healthy heart. In the case of a sick heart there is a chance for it to get better or become worse depending upon one’s lifestyle. It has faith in Allah, sincerity towards Him and reliance on Him, which give it life, but it is also susceptible to the machinations of satans, and has a number of  diseases. 

The verses 2:8-16 of the Qur’an mentions about the spiritual diseases of the heart of hypocrites. They habitually tell a lie their hearts are sick, and due to continuously telling lies Allah increases the number and intensity of diseases and ultimately their spiritual hearts may become dead. 

The hypocrites delude themselves by imagining that their duplicity will safeguard their interests but obviously their policy proves harmful in this world and most surely shall be so in the next world. A hypocrite may succeed in deceiving some people for some time but one cannot deceive all people for all times. 

Allah increases the disease of their duplicity with the passage of time. They do not accept Islam truly and sincerely like the true believers. They considered as fool the people who had accepted Islam sincerely and exposed themselves to troubles, hardships and dangers. According to their appraisal, it was nothing but folly to make the whole country their enemy merely for the sake of truth and righteousness. They considered it wise not to bother about the right and the wrong of a thing but only to look after their self-interest It is evident from the Qur’an that the Prophet Muhammad spread the light of Truth that discriminated right from wrong and virtue from vice, who used their faculties properly to distinguish between these things. But the hypocrites, who were blinded by self-interest, could not see the right path even with the help of this light. They are deaf to hear the Truth, dump, to speak the Truth and blind to see the Truth. By pressing their fingers in their ears, they delude themselves for a while that they have escaped destruction. But, in fact, they cannot save themselves from the wrath of Allah (39).

And We have already sent (messengers) to nations before you (O Muhammad); then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves (to Us). Then why, when Our punishment came to them, did they not humble themselves? But their hearts have become hardened, and Satan made attractive to them that which they were doing (40).

The sickness of the heart that Nursi sees as affecting modern men and women is one caused by a lack of faith. It is the sense of ennui, a feeling of being without direction or hope, the capacity to love and a conviction of the absurdity of life that afflicts those whose life is not informed by faith. Positivist materialism, belief in nothing beyond what one can see and touch, is thus a common spiritual sickness of our time. This basic disorder arising from the lack of faith in Allah and a transcendent system of values precipitates multiple social ills: Istanbul politics is a type of spiritual illness ‘like the Spanish flu; racism is a disease; frigidity in marriage can be said to be a type of spiritual sickness. It is not only unbelievers who suffer from spiritual sickness; there are other illnesses of the Soul, such as innovation, scruples, exclusivism and partisanship. Mentalities, or desire for acclaim, which can afflict believers. Even saints and conscientious worshippers have lamented over the sickness of heart experienced in moments of tranquility (41)

The Qur’an says about the sins of the heart: 

And do not conceal testimony, for whoever conceals it – his heart is indeed sinful, and Allah is knowing of what you do (42).

‘Concealment of evidence’ applies equally to the evasion of evidence and also to the concealment of the true facts while giving evidence (43).

Whether you show what is within yourselves or conceal it, Allah will bring you to account for it (44).

Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those will be questioned (45).

The meaning of ‘Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge’ is very comprehensive. It demands that both in individual and collective life, one should not follow mere guess work and presumption instead of ‘knowledge.’ This instruction covers all aspects of Islamic life, moral, legal, political, administrative and applies to science, arts and education. It has thus saved society from numerous evils which are produced in human life by following guess work instead of knowledge. The Islamic moral code demands: Guard against suspicion and do not accuse any individual or group without proper investigation. In law, it has been made a permanent principle that no action should be taken against anyone without proper investigation. It has been made unlawful to arrest, beat or imprison anyone on mere suspicion during investigation. The believers should accept only that which is based on the knowledge imparted by Allah and his Messenger (46).

Nursi has discussed in detail  the significance of illness in human beings. We here will give some salient points only. According to him life passed without diseases and other trials or ordeals is fleeting and insubstantial. The sick person should realise that Allah has given this opportunity to come to a deeper and richer appreciation of life. 

The sick person who does not complain, but accepts illness patiently and takes refuge in Allah – that person is actually worshipping Him. For worship is of two kinds: active worship (prayer, fasting, etc.) and passive worship, which consists of those periods of illness where the believer is simply aware of one’s own weaknesses and powerlessness and Allah’s power and compassion. By submitting to Allah’s will and trusting in Allah’s power to heal, in this case one is performing a very pleasing form of worship to Allah. Illness is an occasion for the believer to give witness that this world is not to enjoy. Humans are here to work hard and make preparation for everlasting life in the hereafter. 

Sickness is a reminder of death and forces one to reflect on more serious questions of what life is all about; and it provides an opportunity to seriously think that one’s body is not a private possession to be disposed of according to one’s whims, but is subjected to the decrees of its Creator, Lord and Provider. 

Sickness can make people more mindful of their weaknesses and duties towards Allah; it is a time for waking up and is a privileged occasion of Allah’s grace leading to conversation for them, ‘illness is good health.’ 

The sick person should reflect on the transient nature of their illness and place their hopes in Allah who will eventually restore the person to good health and enjoyment. 

Illness is an antidote to natural human pride and an invitation to become humble before Allah. Illness makes a person appreciate the great blessing involved in good health, therefore Allah afflicts people with illness from time to time. This is about physical diseases, but the serious diseases are those of the spiritual heart, which arise from unbelief or disbelief and disobedience. By patiently accepting one’s physical illness and placing one’s trust in Allah, the sick is actually distancing himself from these greater and more eternally threatening diseases. 

Much of the anxiety felt by the sick person is based on fear of death. The believer can overcome this fear by reflecting on good things that await a person at death and in the subsequent events: rejoining near and dear including relatives and friends, returning to one’s true homeland, accepting the invitation to the gardens of Paradise. 

When a sick person thinks of the past, he should be grateful to Allah because he has been able to endure the illness up to this time. Sickness brings the benefit of knowing how much one is in need of Allah and how little one can count of one’s own strength. Sickness increases the fear of Allah and leads them to be faithful and obedient. 

The loss of physical sight enables one to see spiritual realities more clearly. Physical sight can act as a veil which blinds one from a contemplation of Paradise. Whatever one lacks in the physical world can be used by Allah to teach and enlighten the sick person about deeper spiritual truths. By lessening one’s attachment to the world, sickness eases the pain of one’s departure from the world (47).

The sick heart is a battlefield of angels and devils. Good thoughts are from angels which are known as ilham (inspiration) and bad thoughts are known as Waswasa (whispering of devils). The cause or urge which calls towards good is called angel and the cause towards bad is called devil. The action of an angel is to give impetus to good actions, to disclose truth and to order to do good. Devil is its opposite. His action is to order for evils and indecencies. Thus Allah created two opposite forces. Except Allah all things are opposed to one another. Allah is One and Unique who created everything. In other words there are two impulses in the heart, one impulse of an angel which calls towards good and confirms truth. He who feels this impulse should know that it is from Allah. Another impulse comes from the enemy which leads to doubt and holds out the truth as falsehood and prohibits good works. He who feels this should seek refuge to Allah from the accursed devil (48).  

Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality, while Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing (49).

The diseases of the heart are more dangerous  than the diseases of the body, because the diseases of body at the most can cause the death of the body after which one moves from transitory and temporary place to one’s onward journey and after passing through different stages will reach one’s permanent abode depending on one’s faith deeds. If one dies for the sake of Allah one’s final abode will be high status in the Paradise. In reality, everyone will die without any exception. If one does care one’s spiritual diseases and one’s heart dies and remains dead till one’s physical death, then one will be thrown into Hell forever without any relief. Further details of different stages from physical death to final abode have been discussed in (50).  

2.2. Four States of Heart

In a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the heart has been divided into four states: polished heart (Qulb un ajrad); sealed heart, upside down heart; and the wrapped heart. Some of the religious scholars follow this tradition while discussing different states of the heart. We prefer to follow the second view point.  

Abu Sa’id Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “There are four kinds of hearts: A polished heart is shiny as a radiant lamp; a sealed heart with a knot tied around it; a heart that is turned upside down; and a heart that is wrapped. As for the polished heart, it is the heart of the believer and its lamp is the light of faith. The sealed heart is the heart of the unbeliever. The heart that is turned upside down is the heart of a pure hypocrite, for he had knowledge but he denied it. As for the heart that is wrapped, it is the heart that contains both faith and hypocrisy. The parable of faith in this heart is the parable of the herb that is sustained by pure water, and the parable of the hypocrisy in it is the parable of an ulcer that thrives upon puss and blood; whichever of the two is greater will dominate” (51).

The heart that is upside down is the heart of a hypocrite, who contains both faith and hypocrisy. It is also known as the heart of the hypocrite. It is worse than the heart of the polytheist or that of a disbeliever. The hypocrite has knowledge about religion, yet he denies and rejects it. The non-believer or disbeliever does not have the revealed knowledge. His heart witnesses the truth and even then he prefers to lead life against the commandments of Allah and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. 

Indeed the hypocrites (think to) deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing (themselves to) the people and not remembering Allah except a little, wavering between them (belonging) neither to these (the believers) nor to those (the disbelievers) (52).

Indeed the hypocrites will be in the lower depths of the Fire – and never will you find for them a helper – except for those who repent, correct themselves, hold fast to Allah, and are sincere in their religion for Allah, for those will be with the believers. And Allah is going to give the believers a great reward (53).

You see that those, who have the disease of hypocrisy in their hearts, are always moving among them. They say, “We fear lest we get involved in some disaster. But  it may be that these people will feel ashamed of the hypocrisy they are hiding in their hearts, when Allah will give you a decisive victory or show something else from Himself. At that time the Believers will say, “Are these the same people who stated to us upon solemn oaths by Allah that they were with you?”  All their deeds became vain and they ended in utter failure  (54).

This refers to the condition of the hypocrites during the period when the conflict between Islam and kufr had not come to any decisive conclusion. Although Islam had become a power by dint of the sacrifices of its followers, the opposing forces were also very powerful and there were equal chances of the victory of either side. The hypocrites, while living among the Muslims, wanted to keep good relations with the Jews and the Christians so that if the conflict ended in the defeat of the Muslims, they might safely take refuge with their enemies. Then there was also the economic factor; at that time the Jews and the Christians were economically the most powerful people in Arabia, and they had a strong economic hold upon the people. Moreover, the most fertile soils of Arabia were in their possession. Under such a situation, they considered it very dangerous to break relations with Jews and Christians because of the conflict between Islam and kufr, for they feared  it might ruin them both economically and politically. Due to their bad intention all the good acts they did were lost because they lacked sincerity. They did not dedicate themselves wholly to Allah but had divided their loyalties equally between Allah and His rebels for the sake of their worldly interests (55).

And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that if a sign came to them, they would surely believe in it. Say, “The signs are only with (from) Allah.”And what will make you perceive that even if it (a sign) came, they would not believe. And We will turn away their hearts and their eyes just as they refused to believe in it (the revelation) the first time. And We will leave them in their transgression, wandering blindly (56).

Here ‘sign’ stands for such a tangible miracle seeing that they should have no alternative left but to acknowledge that Muhammad (pbuh)  was a true Prophet appointed by Allah Almighty. In connection with showing such signs the Holy Prophet (pbuh) declared that this is entirely in the power of Allah and He may or may not  show them.  No change in their mentality since the first time they heard and rejected the Message of the Prophet Muhammad. They will accept the message only if Allah should force it upon them like animals and other creatures by depriving them of the freedom of thought and action. But this is against the wisdom of the objective for which human beings have been created. There is no possibility that Allah would make them believers by His supernatural intervention (57).

The hypocrites men and women (have an understanding) with one another. They enjoin what is wrong and forbid what is right and close their hands. They have forgotten Allah so He has forgotten them (accordingly). Indeed, the hypocrites – it is they who are defiantly disobedient. Allah has promised the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the disbelievers the fire of Hell, wherein they will abide eternally. It is sufficient for them. And Allah has cursed them, and for them is an enduring punishment (58).

These are the common characteristics of all hypocrites. All of them are interested in evil and inimical to good. If someone undertakes to do an evil, they would dedicate all their sympathies, counsels, encouragements, contributions, good wishes, praises, and their approval to such a one. They would join hands to accomplish that evil thing and persuade others to take part in it. And encourage the doer in every way.. Moreover, they would show in every way their heartily pleasure if they perceived that that evil thing was progressions satisfactorily. On the other hand, if someone undertakes to do a good thing, they are shocked to hear the very news of it for it pains their hearts; nay, they do not even like that such a thing should be undertaken at all. Then if they see someone coming forward to help it, they feel very uncomfortable and try their worst to hinder them from it and if he does not give it up, they would wish that he should fail in it. Then all of them have this common characteristic that they do not spend anything at all for good ends irrespective of the fact whether they are otherwise parsimonious or generous. At any rate, their wealth is neither for hoarding or for evil deeds. As a matter of fact, they would spend large sums on evil works generously but would not be willing to spend a farthing for good things (59).

And (remember) when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease said, “Allah and His Messenger did not promise us except delusion (60).

Indeed, those fear Allah – when an impulse touches them from Satan, they remember (Him) and at once they have insight. But their (Satan’s) brothers – they (devil) increase them in error, they do not stop short (61).

The believers who fear Allah should keep in mind tactics and machinations of Satan and his evil web. The members of the evil web may be from human beings as well as from Jinns. Whenever they feel the provocations of mischievous people they become alert and realise that it is from the evil web, therefore they seek refuge in Allah, and invoke His help for protection; they try to remain cool-hearted. Under such a situation Satan incites the active members of the evil web to attack the believer and then incites him to make counter-attacks on them. As Satan has a long experience of misleading people he uses diverse ways for this purpose: sometimes he comes in the shape of a shaikh, philosopher, as an intellectual, uses alluring and pious words, makes promises for help, incides one to attack on his own disciples, and create waswasa in such a way that it becomes very difficult to understand it except the help and protection of Allah. The brothers of Satan become self seeker, under their influence, and cannot withstand their temptations. So they follow the members of the evil web who tempt them to retaliate, and resort to every kind of abuse. Further information on this aspect is available in (62).

And inspired it (soul or heart) (with discernment of) its wickedness and its righteousness, he has succeeded who purifies it, he has failed who instils it (with corruption) (63).

The word ilham is derived from lahm which means to swallow. According to this very basic meaning, the word ilham is used terminologically for Allah’s inspiring a man with a concept or idea unconciously. Inspiring the human self with its wickedness and its piety and virtue has two meanings. First the Creator has placed in it tendencies to both good and evil, and this is the thing that every person feels in himself. The second is that Allah has endowed every man’s unconscious mind with the concept that there is a moral good and there is a moral evil, that good morals and acts and evil morals and acts are not equal and alike: fujur (immorality) is an evil thing taqwa (abstention from evils) a good thing. Allah has endowed man with the ability to distinguish between good and evil naturally. Man has been granted inspirational knowledge and guidance continuously since the time of his creation, by virtue of which he has been discovering things and making inventions to develop his civilization. Moreover, as a moral being Allah has blessed man by inspiration with discrimination between good and evil and of realisation of the good to be good and of the evil to be evil. This sense of discrimination and realisation is a universal truth. On account of which no human society in the world has ever been without the concept of good and evil; there has never been in history, nor is there now, a society which may not be having some kind of a system of rewarding the good and punishing the evil. This fact being prevalent in every age, at every place, and at every stage of every civilization is a clear proof of its being natural, inherent and innate. Further-more, this is also proof that a Wise Creator possessed of knowledge has endued man’s nature with it, for in the elements of which man is made up and the laws which govern the material system of the world, no human origin of morals can be traced out. 

This is for which an oath has been sworn by the things mentioned in verses 91:1-7 (by the sun and its brightness; and by the moon when it follows it; and by the day when it displays it; and by the night when it covers or conceals it; and by the sky and He who constructed it; and by the earth and He who spread it; and by the soul and He who proportioned it). Let us now consider how those things bear upon it. The rule that Allah has followed in the Qur’an is that to bear testimony to the truths that He wants to impress on the human mind, He cites some of the most conspicuous, common-place things which every man sees in his surroundings, or in his own self. Accordingly here, pairs of contradictory things have been cited, each unlike the other in its effects and results, rather opposite and reverse. The first pair is that of the sun and the moon. The light of the sun is intensely bright and also hot. As against it, the moon has no light of its own. Even if it is there in the sky when the sun shines, it is without light. It shines when the sun hides, and even then its light is neither so bright that it may change the night into day nor is there any heat in it that it may have the same effect as the sun’s light. Nevertheless, it has its own effects which are quite different from the effects of the sun. Likewise, there is the pair of the day and the night. Each is the reverse of the other. The effects and results of each are so different from the other that no one says they are alike; so much so that even a most foolish person cannot possibly say that the day’s being the day or the night’s being the night does not make any difference and similar is the case with other pairs. After citing these universal evidences, man’s own self has been considered, and it has been said that after balancing it with suitable combinations of the limbs, senses and mental powers and faculties the Creator has placed in it tendencies, inclinations and motives to both good and evil, which are contradictory to each other, and made him understand by inspiration the distinction between the two: that one is fujur, which is evil, and the other is taqwa, which is good. They are opposite and reverse of each other. Taqwa is appreciable and worthy of praise, reward and recompense. On the contrary, fujur is worthy of condemnation and punishment. But the real judgement does not lie with man; it lies with the Creator, who has inspired man with his fujur  and taqwa. The one who purifies himself of fujur and develops it to the level of taqwa and cultivates in it the good, will attain eternal success. As against this, the word dassaha has been used infinitive of which is tadsiyah, which means to suppress, conceal, seduce and lead astray. The one who suppresses the tendency in his self towards good instead of developing and cultivating it, who seduces it into doing evil, and makes fujur dominate over taqwa so as to cover it up completely like the dead body which is buried and covered with earth, will be a failure. Adoption of purity has been regarded the act of man, because Allah does not suppress a self forcibly, but when a man is resolved on iniquity, Allah deprives him of the grace of taqwa and tazkiyah, and leaves him alone to suppress and bury himself under any heap filth he likes. Further information on this aspect is available in (64).

It means the one who purifies one’s heart will get salvation. The objective of purity of heart is to gain light of faith therein or to enkindle the light of divine knowledge. It means Allah expands the breast of one for Islam whom He wishes to guide.  In this connection the Qur’an says: 

So in one whose breast Allah has expanded to (accept) Islam he is upon (guided by) a light from his Lord (like onewhose heart rejects it)? The woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah. Those are in manifest error (65).  

The brightness of the heart is gained by remembrance and worship of Allah. The polish of the heart is obedience to Allah. Sins are impurities on the heart. The one who proceeds towards sins makes one’s heart dark. Whoever lifts up the screens of sins from one’s heart, the pictures of unseen things are disclosed in one’s heart. The light of faith in the heart has got three stages. In the first stage, the light is that of the faith of an ordinary person. It is the light of blind faith. The second stage is the light of faith of followers of jurisprudence. It is mixed with some sort of proof. The third stage is the light of faith of the friends of Allah. It is the dazzling ray of strong faith. This is the real knowledge or faith gained by direct sight (66).

2.3. Six States of the Heart 

The six states include: healthy heart, deviated heart, sick heart, hard heart, rock heart, and locked heart. The healthy heart is already described. The second state is when the heart starts getting rusty due to bad deeds. 

No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning (their bad deeds) (67).

At the third state the heart is inclined toward deviation and wrongdoing. At this stage, the person does not go directly towards wrongdoing, but rather, tries to justify the wrong.  

The people with rusty hearts follow the Holy Qur’an, but they try to spread the interpretation of its verses in a manner which benefits their agenda. At the third stage the heart becomes sick, rendering it not able to distinguish between right and wrong; it loses its power of comprehension (7:179). In the fourth stage the heart starts losing its natural condition and becomes hard due to disease (6:43). In the fifth stage the heart is transformed into a piece of rock (7:100). It means that the heart reaches a point which cannot be called a heart because it cannot hear, see or listen. In the sixth stage locks are placed on the heart and nothing can go inside it (2:88). It is known as the complete death of the spiritual heart (2:7, 6:46). The possessor of such hearts remain alive physically, but, spiritually they are dead and are considered the worst creature in the world. 

2.4. Seven States of Heart

The seven states of the spiritual heart include: healthy, broken, fearful, angry, hopeless, hard, and numb or checked out heart. Salient points of each state are briefly described. Healthy heart is already described. 

2.4.1. The Healthy Heart

It is already described under the heading of three states of the heart 

2.4.2. The Broken Heart

 Any mishap such as death of a dear and near one; bad treatment by family members, relatives or friends; unexpected bad happenings, etc. may break the heart and as result one may feel rejected, dejected, failed, damaged, and may become with a heavy heart. It can destroy one internally but a positive approach during such crisis periods may awaken one’s Soul. Due to such stress the body may produce stress hormones and as a consequence one’s muscles may become tense, stiff neck, headache, chest tightness, and dizziness, and may cause a number of negative health consequences for body and Soul, such as loss in appetite, inflammation of skin, and insomnia, etc. One may feel restless, depressed, anxious, and fearful.  

2.4.3. The fearful heart 

Fear comes in multiple shapes and sizes. Fear and anxiety are considered as the major contributors for many emotional, physical, and spiritual diseases. Fear is powerful and infectious. Fear may hold people on their journey, especially those whose hearts have been broken due to one reason or the other. 

Hope is the antidote to fear. There is hope for those who struggle with a fearful heart, and there is no fear in love, and perfect love drives out fear. Love and fear displace each other and broken hearts invite hate. Fear drives out the ability of sense, experiences and the power of love. Fearful hearts become hypersensitive and constantly live to avoid their hearts being hurt or exposed. As fears remain intact, the stress and insecurity adds on another layer on top of fear; anger. Anger stems from unresolved brokenness. 

2.4.4. The angry heart

The birthplace of anger is the heart; its food is revenge and greed. The result of anger is hatred on account of which a person is ruined, therefore one should not get angry and try to oneself excessive anger. Anger destroys faith as condiment destroys honey. If one gets angry, he roams near Hell. Anger is the key to every evil. Anger is the root of foolishness and its guide. Wisdom does not remain safe at the time of anger. Anger is the enemy of intellect. Anger is one of the four elements of infidelity. Whenever anything stands against one’s wishes, anger is enhanced in such a way that the blood of the heart spreads through all of one’s veins and as a result one’s eyes become red and face reddish. Human beings are divided into three types according to the degree of anger: no anger, moderate anger, and extreme anger.  The people without anger are known as impotent and with very short intellect. The moderate anger is better in every respect. Excessive anger is harmful; due to excessive anger one may go out of intellect, religion and divine service; one loses one’s sense of right and wrong, and power of good thinking; one becomes blind, and deaf to advices and councils; uses abusive language; and one may attack any person which come in front of him. Out of wrath, one cuts one’s clothes, slaps one’s own face, beats the ground with hands and feet and breaks things which one finds in one’s vicinity (68).

An angry heart will eventually carry hate, mainly self-hate along with it. The anger may remain hidden or may lash out on others in diverse ways. 

2.4.5. The hopeless heart

The hopeless heart in which energy becomes low and irritability high. At this point, one’s faith becomes weary, and hope becomes weak. This is where one develops a ‘hope deferred’ condition, which makes the heart sick spiritually and in certain cases physically sick as well. At this stage one may lose hope and may adopt negativity and cynicism. 

2.4.6. The hard heart

At the stage of a hard heart, it loses its ability to believe. A callousness forms around the heart, the eyes are veiled and hearing is dulled. Hard heart does not hear encouragement or hope anymore. Whenever there is a hardened callous in one’s heart, one becomes more resistant to the transformative work of God; becomes more stubborn in ways that need change. Pride pushes one back from seeing one’s vulnerabilities; his heart becomes an idol. 

2.4.7. The numb heart

The last stage is numb or checked out heart. Getting to this stage is deadly, and it is nearly impossible to revert to a healthy heart. People’s bodies are breaking down because they feel separated from loving relationships with God, themselves and others. They live in an emotional prison, but have no ability to recognise that inwardly they are dying. Further information on this subject is available in (69).


We conclude our article with a few selected couplets from the poem which Shaykh Muhammad Malud (an eminent scholar of Islamic sciences including the inward sciences of the heart) wrote in his Matharat al-Qulub:  

Realise your abject and impoverishment, 

and you will gain dignity and wealth from the All-Powerful.

There is no salvation like the heart’s salvation, 

Given that all the limbs respond to its desires.  

After firmly grasping this foundation,

then mastering the heart’s infirmities is the second stage. 

Knowledge of the heart’s ailments, what causes each of 

them and, what removes them, is an obligation on everyone.  

But know that obliteration of these diseases until no trace 

remains beyond the capacity of human beings. 

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Dr Baqir Hashmi

Dear Dr. Muhammad Salim,

I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to express my heartfelt appreciation for your recent article on the different states of the heart. It, like your previous works, was nothing short of mind-blowing.

Having read all three of your articles, I am continually amazed by the depth of your insights and the clarity with which you present complex topics. Your ability to seamlessly blend spirituality, science, and philosophy is truly remarkable.

Each article has left a lasting impression on me, provoking deep contemplation and expanding my understanding of these profound subjects. Your dedication to research and your passion for sharing knowledge shine through in every word.

Thank you for your invaluable contributions to the world of thought and understanding.

Dr Ikram Niazi

Dear Dr. Muhammad Salim,

I hope this message finds you in good health and high spirits. I recently had the pleasure of reading your latest article, and as always, it was a great source of enlightenment.

I couldn’t help but notice the fantastic addition of images to complement your insightful content. They enhance the reading experience significantly. Building upon this, have you considered the possibility of incorporating animated videos? I believe they could further engage your audience and make complex ideas even more accessible.

Your dedication to providing valuable content is truly commendable, and I’m consistently impressed by the depth of your research and the clarity of your writing. Your articles are a treasure trove of knowledge that enriches the minds of your readers.

Additionally, I happened to come across your resume, and I must say, “Masha Allah, it’s impressive.” Your credentials and achievements speak volumes about your expertise and dedication to your field.

Thank you for your continued commitment to sharing wisdom and knowledge with the world. I eagerly await your future endeavors.


Dr sb,
The paragraph highlights that anger is one of the “four elements of infidelity.” Could you explain the other elements and how they relate to anger in the context of faith and spirituality?

Faiqa Ahmad

Your comprehensive article on the various states of the heart has left me with a deep sense of introspection. However, I have a question and seek further insights on some of the heart states you discussed:

Regarding the “Broken Heart” (2.4.2), you mentioned that a positive approach during crisis periods may awaken one’s soul. Could you elaborate on effective strategies for nurturing a positive approach during these challenging times?

Faizan Ahmad

In the segment about the “Hard Heart”, you described it as losing the ability to believe and becoming resistant to transformative work. Are there strategies for softening a hardened heart and rekindling belief?

Farhan Yousuf

The concept of the “Numb Heart” (2.4.7) is intriguing yet concerning. Can you shed more light on recognizing and addressing this stage, even if it is in its early phases?


I hope this message finds you in the best of health and spirits. I recently had the pleasure of delving into your articles on the different states of the heart, and I felt compelled to express my admiration for your profound insights.

Your ability to explore the intricate facets of the human heart, both in its physical and metaphorical dimensions, is truly remarkable. Your articles have provided me with a deeper understanding of the human condition and the various emotions that can reside within us.

As I read through your work, I found myself reflecting on my own experiences and the journey of the heart. Your articles have ignited a desire for self-improvement and spiritual growth within me.

I eagerly await your future articles and the wisdom they are sure to impart. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with the world.

John Brad

Its my First ever comment. I’ve been an avid reader of your blog, Your insights have left a lasting impact on me, and I find myself contemplating the profound concepts you’ve presented.

I have some questions and would greatly appreciate your guidance:

In your article, you discussed the “Hopeless Heart” and the concept of ‘hope deferred.’ Could you provide strategies for individuals to rekindle hope in their hearts during challenging times?

You touched upon the “Numb Heart” and its dire consequences. Are there early warning signs that one can recognize to prevent reaching this stage, and how can one begin the journey of healing if they suspect they are in this state?

The “Hard Heart” was another topic that caught my attention. Can you share practices or exercises that may help soften a hardened heart and open it to transformative experiences?

Your expertise in these matters is evident, and your guidance would be invaluable to those of us navigating the complexities of the heart’s states.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Dr Saif

Dear Dr. Muhammad Salim,

I Hope this message finds you in the best of health and spirits. I am writing to express my profound appreciation for your remarkable articles, especially on the different states of the heart. Your work has had a profound impact on my understanding of the complexities of the human heart, both in its physical and metaphorical dimensions.

Your ability to seamlessly integrate spiritual wisdom, scientific insights, and philosophical depth is nothing short of awe-inspiring. As I read through your articles, I found myself embarking on a journey of self-discovery, exploring the depths of my own heart, and reflecting on the intricate tapestry of emotions that reside within us all.

Your exploration of the “Healthy Heart” and its connection to the soul provided me with a fresh perspective on the importance of maintaining emotional and spiritual well-being. Your insights on the “Broken Heart” shed light on the profound impact of life’s challenges and losses on our internal world, prompting me to contemplate resilience and the power of a positive mindset during times of crisis.

The section on the “Fearful Heart” resonated deeply with me, as fear and anxiety are emotions we all grapple with at some point in our lives. Your reminder of hope as the antidote to fear left me with a newfound sense of optimism and a determination to cultivate hope in my own heart.

The exploration of the “Angry Heart” was eye-opening, highlighting the destructive nature of anger and its corrosive effects on faith and intellect. Your advice on managing anger and preventing its harmful consequences is invaluable.

The “Hard Heart” section prompted me to reflect on my own vulnerabilities and the importance of remaining open to transformation. Your words served as a reminder that pride and stubbornness can hinder personal growth, and the journey towards a more receptive heart is ongoing.

The description of the “Numb Heart” struck a chord, as it illuminated the dangers of emotional detachment. Your insights compelled me to be more attuned to my own emotions and to recognize the signs of spiritual and emotional disconnection in myself and others.

Lastly, your depiction of the “Hopeless Heart” reinforced the significance of maintaining hope and combating negativity and cynicism. Your words serve as a beacon of encouragement in challenging times.

Dr. Muhammad Salim, your dedication to sharing knowledge that transcends the boundaries of science and spirituality is truly commendable. Your articles have left an indelible mark on my heart and mind, and for that, I am profoundly grateful.

I eagerly await your future articles, knowing that they will continue to be a source of enlightenment and inspiration. Your work is a testament to the power of words to nourish the soul and expand the mind.

Once again, thank you for your invaluable contributions to the world of thought and understanding. May your journey of exploration and enlightenment continue to shine brightly.

Warmest regards,


what are some of the spiritual diseases that can affect the heart, and how do they manifest in one’s behavior?


I recently had the opportunity to read your thought-provoking content on the concept of the “Sick Heart,” and I wanted to express my heartfelt appreciation for your insightful and profound analysis of this spiritual topic.

Your content provided a comprehensive exploration of the various states of the human heart, ranging from the “Healthy Heart” to the “Dead Heart” and the “Sick Heart.” The way you discussed the influence of both positive and negative impulses on the heart was particularly enlightening. Your explanations shed light on the internal struggles individuals may face in their journey towards spiritual growth.

I was also intrigued by your perspective on illness, both physical and spiritual, and how it can serve as a means of reflection and spiritual growth. Your insights into the role of illness in humbling individuals before Allah and encouraging reliance on Him were thought-provoking.

As I reflected on your content, several questions arose, and I would be grateful if you could provide further insights:

You mentioned that the “sick heart” is influenced by both good and bad impulses. Could you elaborate on practical steps individuals can take to discern these influences within their own hearts?

In your discussion of spiritual diseases affecting the heart, which disease do you consider the most detrimental, and how can individuals guard themselves against it?

The idea that illness, both physical and spiritual, can lead to spiritual growth is intriguing. Can you share examples or anecdotes that illustrate how individuals have experienced spiritual growth through illness?

Your content highlights the importance of sincerity and reliance on Allah in relation to the heart. Could you provide guidance on how individuals can cultivate sincerity and strengthen their reliance on Allah in their daily lives?

You mentioned that Satan can threaten with poverty and encourage immorality. What strategies or practices do you recommend for individuals to protect their hearts from such negative influences?

In the context of your discussion on distinguishing between right and wrong and avoiding false accusations, how can individuals strike a balance between being cautious and avoiding baseless suspicions?

I genuinely appreciate the depth and clarity of your content, and I believe that your responses to these questions will further enrich my understanding of this important topic. Your work has provided valuable insights for personal growth and spiritual reflection.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom on this subject, and I look forward to your response. Your contributions to the discourse on matters of the heart are greatly appreciated.

Warm regards,

These are the series of articles, in the coming article’s you’ll find all the answers of the above questions you asked. Thank you so much for taking interest in reading article.


Your content touched upon the idea that positivist materialism is a common spiritual sickness of our time. What strategies or practices do you recommend for individuals to combat this materialistic worldview and cultivate faith in Allah and transcendent values?


You mentioned that illness serves as a reminder of death. How can individuals use this reminder as a source of motivation for leading a more meaningful and purposeful life?


In the discussion of the “battlefield of angels and devils” within the heart, could you provide practical advice on how individuals can strengthen the influence of angelic impulses and weaken the influence of devilish ones in their daily lives?

Ibad Ullah

Your content alluded to the idea that mentalities, such as the desire for acclaim, can afflict even believers. How can individuals maintain humility and sincerity in their religious practices and avoid falling into the trap of seeking recognition?


In your discussion of fear of death, you mentioned the positive aspects of the afterlife. Can you elaborate on what the Qur’an and Islamic teachings say about the rewards and experiences awaiting believers in the hereafter to alleviate the fear of death?

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