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1. Islam: A Brief Introduction  

2. Performing Islamic Prayers

3. Three Levels of Faith: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan 

4. The Scientific Evidence That God Exists and the Holy Qur'an Is His Message to Humanity 

5. Creation and Evolution in the Holy Qur'an

6. Humans, As God's Caliphs on Earth

7. Adam's Contest With the Angels, and Getting Out of Paradise

8. The Relationship Between the Spiritual and the Physical in Islamic Teachings  

9. Mind, Self, Soul, Spirit, and Happiness from an Islamic Perspective 

10. Heart-Mind Relationship in the Holy Qur'an

11. Worshippers By Choice Or Forced Slaves?

12. Allah, As He Described Himself in the Holy Quran

Articles with Islamic Perspective:

Health Care Crisis in the US: An Islamic Perspective

"Terrorism" & "Islamo-Fascism" Propaganda Campaigns: An Interactive Lecture

Six Questions About Islam, Muslims and Jews

Five Islamic Issues: Predestination and choice, position toward other religions, angels, and the End of Days

Food Islamic Rules and Teachings  

Are Muslim women second-class citizens  

The French Ban on Islamic Headscarf, an Interview with

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Islam:

God's Message of Guidance to Humanity

10

Heart-Mind Relationship in the Holy Qur'an

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

29 of Muharram, 1429 (February 7, 2008)

 

Introduction 

The Holy Quran refers to the heart as a processor of information, particularly concerning emotions. This reference to the heart as such attracts attention to the relationship between the mind and the heart. 

This article starts by listing down the verses that deal with the heart and explaining them, in order to sort out the mind-heart connection. Then, few academic articles about the subject will be reviewed in order to explore this relationship further, from a scientific perspective. 

Verses mentioning the heart in the Holy Quran 

Upon checking the Holy Quran index in Arabic,[1] this author found that there were about 132 verses in which the heart was mentioned in singular and plural forms. Here are some of them. The Arabic text of the verses is from quranexplorer.com.

   ۖ  ( 3: 159).

If you were severe or harsh-hearted (in treating them), they would have left you. So, pardon them, and ask (Allah) to forgive them, and consult them in the affairs (of the community). (Al-E-Imran, 3: 159).

  ۡ ٱ ۡ۬ ۬ ( 26: 89).

Except he, who came to Allah with a sound heart ( Al-Shuara, 26: 89) 

ۡ ٱٰۡ ٱۡۡ ٓ ۡ۬   ( 50: 33).

Who feared the unseen Al-Rahman (The Merciful), and came with a repentant heart  (Qaf, 50: 33) 

 ۡ ٱ ٰ ۡۦ ٱۡ ( 2: 204).

... and he calls Allah to witness about what is in his heart; yet he is the most contentious of enemies  (Al-Baqara, 2: 204) 

  ۡ ٱٰۚ ڪۡۡ  ۥۤ ۬ ۡ ( 2: 283). 

Do not conceal the testimony. And whoever conceals it his heart is sinning. (Al-Baqara, 2: 283) 

 ۡ ۥ ۡٮٕۢ ٱٰۡ ( 16: 106).

 ... and his heart assured by faith (Al-Nahl, 16: 106). 

ۡ ٱ ۡۦ ۬ ( 33: 32). 

... lest the one in whose heart there is sickness should aspire (to you). (Al-Ahzab, 33: 32) 

  ۡۢ ٱ ۡ ۡ   ( 64: 11). 

... and whoever believes in Allah, (Allah) guides his heart  (Al-Taghabun, 64: 11) 

  ۡ ۡۖ ٰ ٰ ۡٮٕ ۡ ( 2: 260).

He (Allah) said: Havent you believed yet? He (Ibrahim) said: Yes, but for my heart to be assured  (Al-Baqara, 2: 260) 

  ٱ ۬ ۡۡ ۡۦۚ  ( 33: 4).

Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his chest  (Al-Ahzab, 33: 4) 

 ۡ ٱ ٱۡ ( 3: 151).

We shall cast great fear into the hearts of the nonbelievers (Al-E-Imran, 3: 151) 

 ٱ ۡٮٕ ۡ ٱۗ ڪۡ ٱ ۡٮٕ ٱۡ ( 13: 28).

Those who believe, and whose hearts find assurance (and peace) in the remembrance of Allah. For, in the remembrance of Allah, hearts find assurance (and peace)  (Al-Raad, 13: 28) 

  ۡ ٰٓٮٕ ٱ ۡ ٱۡ ( 22: 32).

and whoever glorifies the rituals of Allah, it is (a sign) of piety of hearts  (Al-Hajj, 22: 32) 

 ۡ ٱۡۡ ۡ ۬ ۡ ٓ ۡ ۬ ۡ ǝۖ ۡ ٱٰۡۡ ٰ ۡ ٱۡ ٱ ٱ ( 22: 32).

Have they not traveled throughout the Earth, with their hearts to reason with, and ears to hear with? Truly it is not the eyes that become blind, but do the hearts which are in the chests (Al-Hajj, 22: 46) 

Meanings associated with the heart, according to the above verses 

The above verses provide us with a number of meanings associated with the heart. These include severity and harshness in dealing with people, soundness, repentance, rivalry, sinfulness, faith, sickness and trouble, guidance, assurance and peace, love, fear, thankfulness for positive surroundings, and reasoning. 

Basically, the heart reacts notably to issues related to goodness and wickedness.

Exploring the relationship between the heart and the mind 

The relationship between the heart and the mind has been explored in many articles or works, as readers can find on the internet. Here is some information from few of them, by no means this is a survey or a review of the literature. The idea here is conveying to readers that the relationship between the heart and the mind has been studied and researched away from any references to the Holy Qur'an. 

While not all negative thoughts and feelings are bad for health, specific emotional states (mental), especially stress and depression, have now been linked to heart troubles of all kinds. Evidence is overwhelming that the heart takes a beating after psychic trauma, but lesser insults may do us in as well. A bad marriage, an angry or abusive boss, a mugging in the parkall increase risk of heart disease, a bounty of evidence shows. Personality factors like extroversion and optimism can positively impact the cardiovascular system and the health of the heart, while anger and stress can damage the heart and the mind. Some forms of heart disease even trigger the same chemistry found in depression and stress. [2] 

At HeartMath weve spent the last 15 years diligently studying the heart physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our researchers have been mapping the communication pathways between the heart, the brain and the rest of body while also studying the effects of positive emotions on health and performance. What weve learned is that the heart is the master controller in the human system capable of sending powerful, healing commands throughout the entire body. These signals from the heart have a dynamic impact on the nervous, hormonal and immune systems. They also influence brain function and have the ability to improve cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, psychological problems and more. In essence our old friend the heart may be the best healer of all. [3] 

The key to harnessing the hearts amazing power lies in our ability to consciously generate positive emotional states like appreciation, care and love. With stress increasingpersonally, interpersonally and sociallymany people have lost this ability only experiencing these regenerative emotions occasionally. [4]

The relationship of our emotions and psyche (mind) to heart disease is intriguing. There is evidence linking cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric disorders and the possible mechanisms and pathophysiology of this association. There is also a possible role of using mood enhancing therapies (mainly antidepressants) and their safety in patients with cardiovascular disorders. [5]

There is a plausible biological basis for the association between psychiatric morbidity (mind) and cardiovascular (heart) disease. Anxiety, panic disorder, and depression are common in patients with coronary heart disease and hypertension. [6] 

Conclusion 

There is a very close and an interactive relationship between the mind and the heart, particularly regarding the issues of emotions as well as issues related to good and evil. 

People with optimistic and good life style enjoy peace of the mind and calmness of the heart. However, pessimism and wrong doing may be associated with mental and cardiac disorders. 

Thus, basic good characteristics of love, appreciation, care, tolerance, sharing, understanding, helping others, and observing Gods teachings not only are rewarded in the hereafter but they also bring peace of the mind and soundness of the heart during your life on Earth, making it better and more enjoyable. 

The healing signals from the heart, which have a dynamic impact on the nervous, hormonal and immune systems, give evidence that the heart not only reasons but makes decisions and acts for the welfare and wellbeing of the body.

The heart can thus be described as a part of the brain, but located in the chest.

 Notes and References

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[1]  Pages 549-551 of the Holy Quran Index in Arabic by Muhammed Fuad Abdul Baqi. Cairo: Dar Al-Fikr. 1406 (1986). The Arabic Title of the index is: Al-Muajam Al-Mufahras Li Alfadh Al-Quran Al-Kareem.

[2] The High Price of a Broken Heart Yes, you can die from heartbreak. In fact, even mild forms of the blues can put you at risk By PsychologyToday.com:   http://health.msn.com/health-topics/depression/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100170423  
[3]  Understanding the Relationship Between Heart, Mind & Body By Howard Martin: http://www.inlighttimes.com/archives/2006/03/heart-body-mind.htm

[4]  Understanding the Relationship Between Heart, Mind & Body By Howard Martin: http://www.inlighttimes.com/archives/2006/03/heart-body-mind.htm

[5]  Heart and mind: (1) relationship between cardiovascular and psychiatric conditions By S U Shah, A White, S White, W A Littler: http://pmj.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/80/950/683
[6]  Heart and mind: (2) psychotropic and cardiovascular therapeutics By S U Shah, Z Iqbal, A White, S White: http://pmj.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/81/951/33

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* Dr. Hassan Ali El-Najjar has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Georgia, USA. He is also a native speaker of Arabic.

 

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