Qalb as Described in the Qur’an

Qalb as Described in the Qur'an
Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

The Arabic word, 'qalb,' often translated as ‘heart’ in English and used extensively in the Qur'an in its different forms, is here described by Shaykh Fadhlalla as that core part of us that constantly turns and is in a state of revolution, and which brings about change and dynamism within ourselves as we live our earthly lives, dealing as we do with duality: shadow and light, life and death, sorrow and happiness, and so on.

This succinct discourse gives a perspective on the heart’s vital role in the movement of our evolving consciousness, both as a species over vast periods of time, and as individuals at all times.

Shaykh Fadhlalla speaks of how the heart is seen in the Qur'an to be at the centre of this movement, from lack of awareness to the rise of intelligence, intellect, and reflection. The human heart is seen as a spectrum and the connector between the earthly and the heavenly, and several verses from the Qur'an are cited to demonstrate its key role as the link between eternal Life and the life we experience in our limited earthly existence.

One of the greatest qualities of the heart is its capability and capacity to allow us, as creatures caught in time and space, to transcend these limitations in this life because it is blessed with the light of the Ruh, the unfathomable entity that gives humankind life and light and whose connection to the heart is directly referred to in the Qur'an in 132 verses.

Four levels of the heart are described along the spectrum, including the heart in denial, kufr, which is locked in a state of darkness and disbelief, and the inner kernel of the heart, fu’ad, that part of our heart that never lies and is open to inspiration and insight from the Ruh.

Also detailed here, are four states of the heart including one of the most harmful and damaged states, in which shirk (associating other powers/forces as equal with Allah) and Iman (consciousness of Allah as One) are mixed up, creating sickness in the heart, and the healthy heart, qalbun saleem, which is in a state of wholesome wellbeing and utmost humility…

Key Terms: Qalb; Heart; Qur'an; Revolution; Duality; Light; Life; Evolving Consciousness; Intelligence; Intellect; Reflection; Spectrum; Earthly; Heavenly; Time; Space; Transcendence; Ruh; Kufr; Fu’ad; Insight; Inspiration; Shirk; Iman; Wellbeing

(36:12)