Can you think with your heart? The Quran says, “yes”. How can that be possible?
What does it mean to have a heart and not think with it? We know that brains think, why is Allah saying hearts think? Because Allah says that revelation and faith lies inside the heart.
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. (7:179)
So, when I walk down the street maybe with a geologist, or somebody who studies plants, they can tell me the species of a tree, they can tell me how old the tree is; they can tell me everything concerns the tree…
But if I look at that same tree from my heart, I am reminded that Allah brings life out of death; because this tree at one point was just a seed and Allah brought life out of it.
I am reminded of my own mortality when I see a tree.
A scientist can look at the sky and tell me a lot of things. I can look at the sky and just find humility. I remember Allah saying:
… Do you see any breaks? (67:3)
In other words, you can look at the world around you from a scientific lens, from a skeptic lens, or just as a scenery passing you by… But if you look at the world around you with your heart, you’ll see something other people don’t see.
The Quran’s view is that everything that you see physically in the world around you can turn into a spiritual reminder.
How to Think with Your Heart
Let’s put that to the test: I was driving with a bunch of guys to some college program one time, and they were speeding like 90MPH. before I told them to slow down, I was reminded by the verse:
No! But you love the immediate. (75:20)
Them speeding became a reminder of something Allah said, like how well Allah knows us:
Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted? (67:14)
I started looking at the window and see something that reminds me of this verse: I see the cows that are grazing, and the car goes by them, but they still continue to eat its grass; it’s completely oblivious to its surroundings.
At that very moment, I remembered when Allah talked about people who are heedless; He compared them to cattle.
Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless. (7:179)
What could be a more example of heedlessness than cattle?
Allah didn’t even compare it to any other animal because other animals react, other animals have sharp reflexes, cattle don’t.
While we’re driving, I see a billboard. It was a billboard about buying a home. It’s got a picture of a house, a family hugging each other… It says:
“Own the American dream!”
I looked at that and the first verse came into my head was:
Indeed, he had [once] been among his people in happiness. (84:13)
Subhanallah! Everything can become an ayah. Not a thing around you won’t be; everything will be. This is if you have a heart that seeks to think.