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Why is the Heart So Important in Islam?

What will save us on the Day of Judgment? Are we favored based on our race or color? No. Then what is it? It is the place in our body which Allah made the location of the most valuable possession of a human being: imaan (faith). It is your heart.

What favors you in the sight of Allah is the state of your heart. What will save you on the Day of Judgment is qalbun saleem— a sound heart.

Let’s get started and find out about the amazing position of the heart in Islam and learn the secrets of a productive heart.

So have they not traveled 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. (Quran, 22: 46)

The Significance of the Heart

In order to start moving in life, you first need to have knowledge; with that knowledge you can define if something is important or not. Then it is up to you to make the move.

The Prophet said about your heart:

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Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be sound, all the body is sound and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart. (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

Allah informed us in the Quran about the “heart” (generally qalb in Arabic). For example, the word naas (people, mankind) is used 241 times, but the word “heart” is used no less than 137 times.

What is the State of Your Heart?

The state of your heart will decide what you do with your knowledge. Will you benefit from it by practicing it or not?  For example, if you hear an ayah of the Quran or a hadith, does it make you feel you want to practice it straight away or does it not have much impact on you? Whatever the answer is, it will tell you about the state of your heart.

Sins have an effect on your heart; they can cause your heart to be sealed so that the light of knowledge doesn’t reach it anymore and the ayaat of Allah don’t affect you anymore. May Allah protect us from this.

There are many diseases we find in our hearts, like jealousy, envy, greed, lust, and showing off. Our aim should be to strive to purify our hearts and turn back to Allah with a sound heart. Once a wise man  made this dua:

“O Allah purify my heart from anything but You.”

The Heart and the Mind

When you say the word ‘Think!” most of us point to our heads, right? How many of us point to our hearts when we say “Think?” The Prophet said:

Taqwa is here, and he pointed to his chest. (Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad)

Subhanallah, one of the functions of the heart is ta’aqqul (understanding). Allah gave us a heart to comprehend, to reflect, and to reason. That brings us back to the verse:

and have hearts by which to reason…

Ibn Taymiyyah said that many doctors and philosophers have said that the mind is in the brain, so we think and understand with our brains and not with our hearts. He then said that the center is actually the heart.

Ibn Kathir said:

“The arrogant philosophers say that the mind is in the brain.” (Tafsir ibn Kathir vol 4 p.508)

To believe, to disbelieve, to understand, to comprehend,  to have tranquility,  to feel confusion, to have tawakkul and to have khushuare all functions of your heart.

Different Names for “Heart” in the Quran

In the Quran, Allah uses different words to describe the heart; qalb, fu’ad and sadr.
Qalb is the general word for heart and the root word means something that turns around, something that changes easily. When Allah refers to imaan and the diseases of the heart, He uses the word qalb.

Fu’ad comes from a root that means “burning” or a flame and is used when the heart is inflamed with emotion. A beautiful example is when Allah describes the state of the heart of the mother of Moses:

But there came to be a void in the heart (fu’ad) of the mother of Musa. (Quran, 28:10)

Imagine how her heart was inflamed with emotions while she put her newborn, suckling son in a river!

means “chest.” When Allah refers to secrets or motives, He uses the word sadr, like in chapter An-Naas:

The one who whispers in the hearts of Mankind. (Quran, 114: 5)

See how understanding the words of the Quran open a door to a whole new world of meanings for you?

What Do You Do With YOUR Heart?

Now the question is, what is your heart attached to? Is it attached to your house, your money, your favorite tv show, or to those special moments you spend with the Quran and reading about the Prophet?

Allah says:

…when the only one who will be saved is the one who comes before Allah with a heart devoted to Him. (Quran, 26:89)

How can you train your heart to become devoted and sound? I came across this beautiful list of the signs of a devoted and sound heart and I pray you will be as inspired as I was!

But before examining your own heart, take this extremely important step: Ask Allah by His beautiful names to purify your heart.

He is Al-Wahhaab (The Giver), so ask Him to give you a pure heart.

And He is Al-Qareeb (The Close One), so ask Him to make your heart close to Him.

He is Al-Wadood (The Ever-Loving), so ask Him to fill your heart with love for Him. It’s as simple as that.

Now it’s time to test yourself on the signs of a pure and devoted heart!

  • It continues to push its companion until he turns to Allah and repents.
  • It doesn’t grow tired of the remembrance of Allah or His worship.
  • If it misses out on an act of obedience it feels a pain that is more severe than the pain felt when losing money.
  • It finds sweetness and delight in worship greater than any delight from food and drink.
  • If it enters salah, its worries and troubles from this worldly life leave it.
  • It is stingier with its time being wasted than a miser’s stinginess with his money.
  • It is more concerned with a good deed being performed correctly and accepted than the actual deed itself.


Memorize and use this beautiful Quranic dua in your daily life:

Who say, Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower. (Quran, 3:8)


About Khawlah bint Yahya
Khawlah b. Yahya founded SISTERS' PROJECT in 2008, a United Kingdom women's support organization and is a writer for different Islamic organizations and academies. She authored the renown How to Live by the Names of Allah Series, published by the Understand Qur'an Academy, as well as the internationally shared Revive a Sunnah Series. She focuses most of her work on how to translate classic Islamic Knowledge to daily life action. She recently released Personal Lessons from the Qur'an, in which daily life action points are based on Qur’anic ayaat in a way that’s never seen before. You can now purchase the E-book on: