In nearly every culture, people use metaphors that directly or indirectly allude the heart. We call people ‘hard hearted’ because they show no mercy. Likewise people are said to have ‘cold hearts’ or ‘warm hearts’. When someone’s words penetrate our soul and affect us profoundly, we say that person ‘touched my heart’. When people fall in love supposedly, they speak of ‘stealing one’s heart’. The heart is the axis of emotions.
The emotions of love and pain are tasted by the tongue of the heart. The sweetness of union and the bitterness of disunion are experienced by the heart. The heart is full of life. The heart is a world within a world.
Every act is hinged upon the heart. Arabic is written from right to left, towards the heart, which, – as some have noted, mirrors the purpose of writing, namely to effect the heart. Also, one should consider the circumambulation of the Ka’bah, it is performed anti clockwise, with the left side to towards the Ka’bah, with the heart inclined towards the Ka’bah.
The pivotal essence of the heart is further demonstrated by the phenomena related to the physical heart. The physical heart beats around 100,000 times a day, pumping two gallons of blood per minute and over 100 gallons per hour. If we were to attempt to carry 100 gallons of water, form one place to another, it would be very exhausting. Yet the human heart does this every hour of every day for one’s entire lifetime. The vascular system through which blood is pumped around is over 60,000 miles long-more than two times the circumference of the earth. We know that the heart starts beating before the brain is fully fashioned. We also know that when the heart loses all connections with the brain (as in a heart transplant) it continues to beat.
The spiritual heart is deemed to be situated in the location of the physical heart. The presence of the spiritual heart overshadows the physical heart. The soundness of the spiritual heart is more important than the soundness of the physical heart. Islam provides the method by which our hearts can become safe and sound again. One can say that Islam is a program to restore purity and calm to the heart through the remembrance of God, just as an anti virus eliminates a fatal virus in a computer.
by Mufti Faraz al-Mahmudi