The Types of Hearts

Narrated by Ibn Bashir: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying: “Both legal and illegal things are evident but in between them there are doubtful (suspicious) things and most of the people have no knowledge about them. So whoever saves himself from these suspicious things saves his religion and his honor. And whoever indulges in these suspicious things is like a shepherd who grazes (his animals) near the pastures of someone else and at any moment he is liable to get in it. (O people!) Beware! Every king has a pasture and the pasture of Allah on the earth is His illegal (forbidden) things. Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” [Bukhari]

It is clear from this Hadith that the heart is the essence of the whole body.

So what do we mean by a good and bad heart? Are we saying a bad heart is on the brink of a heart attack, clogged and cluttered with cholesterol and a healthy heart is of the one who cares for his health, eating well and exercising so his heart is strong. NO!

This Hadith describes the doubtful matters, the matters that are not clearly forbidden or clearly permissible; the matters that one has no knowledge of. The one who avoids the doubtful matters, is keeping himself clear from what is unlawful. And the one who indulges in these matters, is likely to slip into the unlawful.

Clearly, with the warning that follows this must mean that the dealing in the doubtful and unlawful matters has an effect on the heart. So this is what we mean by the health of the heart.

To further emphasize the importance of the heart, the Hadith transmitted on the authority of Abu Hurairah with some addition: “Verily Allah does not look to your bodies nor to your faces but He looks to your hearts,” and he pointed towards the heart with his fingers.” [Muslim]

So if Allah is going to look to our hearts, wouldn’t you want your heart to be in the perfect condition? How much effort do we put into making our house, our personal presentation beautiful when we are expecting our fellow Muslims to visit? They are only the creations of Allah, surely we must exert much more effort in our presentation to Allah. We are unaware of what moment our souls will be taken from us forever, so we must make sure the house of our heart is spotless at all times.

To be able to do this we must first understand what condition our heart is in. Understand the different types and conditions of the heart.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The hearts are four types: polished as shiny as the radiating lamp, a sealed heart with a knot tied around its seal, a heart that is turned upside down and a wrapped heart. As for the polished heart, it is the heart of the believer and the lamp is the light of faith. The sealed heart is the heart of the disbeliever. The heart that is turned upside down is the heart of the pure hypocrite, because he had knowledge but denied it. As for the wrapped heart, it is a heart that contains belief and hypocrisy. The example of faith in this heart is the example of the herb that is sustained by pure water. The example of hypocrisy in it is the example of an ulcer that thrives on puss and blood. Whichever of the two substances has the upper hand, it will have the upper hand of that heart.” [Ahmad]

This Hadith describes the types of hearts.

The Healthy Heart

We start first with the heart that is polished as shiny as the radiating lamp. This is the heart of the believer in Allah and His messengers and the radiating lamp is the light of faith.

There are so many references in the Quran describing the healthy, believing heart. Allah says: “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses are recited unto them, they increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone);” [Noble Quran 8:2]

“…who patiently bear whatever may befall them (of calamities)” [Noble Quran 22:35]

“And those who give charity and also do other good deeds with their hearts full of fear (whether their charities have been accepted or not), because they are sure to return to their Lord (for reckoning).” [Noble Quran 23:60]

“He it is Who sent down (calmness and tranquility) into the hearts of the believers, that they may grow more in Faith along with their (present) Faith…” [Noble Quran 48:4]

This heart is filled with fear, fear for disobeying Allah, fear of whether their good deeds will be accepted, fear of the Punishment of disobedience, fear of not reaching Paradise. And also patience for whatever befalls them, calmness and tranquility, having Faith in their Creator that everything is the Will of Allah.

Allah also says: “And that those who have been given knowledge may know that it is the truth from your Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may submit to it with humility.”

“And verily, Allah is the Guide of those who believe, to the Straight Path.” [Noble Quran 22:54]

And this is the best part of a healthy heart, is the gift of understanding the knowledge. These hearts are filled with the knowledge that Allah has sent, it wasn’t lost in the throat, in the chest, it sank into the heart and cleansed it, polished it so it would shine like a radiating lamp, filling the whole body with the desire to please Allah and fearful of displeasing Him.

The Dead Heart

Then we have two other types described in the previous Hadith “…a sealed heart and a heart that is turned upside down…”

These are the dead hearts. These are the hearts of the disbelievers, the ones who rejected the signs of Allah and who brought upon themselves the wrath of Allah.

The sealed heart is the heart that never believed. As described in the interpretation of the meaning of the Quran:

“Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearings, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.” [Noble Quran 2:7]

Again it is most beautifully described in the Quran:

“Or the state of the disbeliever is like the darkness in a vast deep sea” [Noble Quran 24:40]

The other type of dead heart, is the upside down heart, the heart of the hypocrite. The one who has had knowledge and rejected it. For him is the lowest, most horrific abode in the Hellfire.

In the Interpretation of the meaning of the Quran, Allah says: “And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe therein for the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly.” [Noble Quran 6:110]

They are arrogant in their thoughts:

“The Hypocrites – they think they are over-reaching Allah, but He will over- reach them: When they stand up to pray, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance;” [Noble Quran 4:142]

They oppose the laws of Islam:

“The Hypocrites, men and women, (have an understanding) with each other: They enjoin evil, and forbid what is just, and are closed with their hands. They have forgotten Allah. so He hath forgotten them. Verily the Hypocrites are rebellious and perverse.” [Noble Quran 9:67]

And they are insulting towards the beloved Prophet of Allah, as Allah explains: “And behold! The Hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (even) say: “(Allah) and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion!” [Noble Quran 33:12]

Certainly this shows the lowest nature of these hearts.

The Sick Heart

Now we examine the nature of the sick heart.

It is true that words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) come clear and sweet, as only he can explain the sick heart and leave no doubt to its meaning:

“…As for the wrapped heart, it is a heart that contains belief and hypocrisy. The example of faith in this heart is the example of the herb that is sustained by pure water. The example of hypocrisy in it is the example of an ulcer that thrives on puss and blood. Whichever of the two substances has the upper hand, it will have the upper hand of that heart.”

This is the heart of the believer in Allah, and the Last Day, but they are wavering in their faith. Their desires pull them away from their Creator and they are focused on the delights of the Dunya with little regard for the ultimate delights that could await them in the Hereafter. They are drowning in sinful behavior and slow to repent.

Their hearts have been described by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) “…and the other (heart) black and dust-colored like a vessel which is upset, not recognizing what is good or rejecting what is abominable, but being impregnated with passion.” [Muslim]

We all, as believing Servants of Allah have times where we fall into this category, where our focus is diverted from the Hereafter and we become lost in the trials and delights of this short life we are currently living. It is a time when belief is weakened and fear of Allah is reduced.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “There is (at times) some sort of shade upon my heart, and I seek forgiveness from Allah a hundred times a day.” [Muslim]

Surely, on hearing this we must ask ourselves, the heart of the Prophet (peace be upon him) must be the healthiest of all hearts, he has been labeled the best of all Mankind, so if his heart feels a shade upon it and feels that he needs to seek forgiveness 100 times a day, we must ask…what must we do to have a healthy heart?

Repent sincerely, with full hope of Allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness, and strive in His cause to better ourselves and the deeds that we do.



In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

 I. Allah’s servants were created with none of them having any prior wealth or knowledge:

It is part of Allah’s justice and mercy and knowledge and wisdom that He created His slaves equal at the time of their creation. At their dates of birth, they were born equal in everything: abilities, powers, resources and potentials. He made clear to them the path of good and encouraged them to follow as well as He made clear to them the path of evil and warned them against. Allah created His slaves with none of them having any prior knowledge, any prior wealth, or any prior power. Only, He created the tools for them to acquire knowledge. Allah says:

16/78 (Allâh has brought you out from the wombs of Your mothers while You know nothing).

II. Functions and Duties of organs as created by Allah:

Allah says:

 16/78 (Allâh has brought You out from the wombs of Your mothers while You know nothing and He gave You hearing, sight, and hearts that You might give thanks (to Allâh).

  • Ears are merely devices, which bring sounds from the outside into the heart. Ears cannot identify sounds; it is the heart that identifies them and translates them into meanings.
  • Eyes are merely tools, which bring images from its external visual state into the heart. Eyes cannot understand these images; it is the heart that that identifies facts, takes lessons, draws conclusions, accepts or questions, queries and analyses.
  • Hearts:
  • Hearts are the essence of wisdom and comprehension.
  • Hearts are the place of learning, understanding and making sense.
  • Hearts are like a laboratory of analysis and testing and evaluation.
  • Hearts are the place of forming intention and developing will power.
  • Hearts are the place of endeavor and resolve.
  • Hearts are the focus of losing and winning or success and defeat.

 Hearing and sight are for transferring images and sounds.

Hands and legs are for implementing and doing work.

Hearts are for evaluating matters and making decisions.

All other organs are for obeying and following the heart and going per its will and command.

That is the function and duties of organs as created by Allah.

 III Hearts are very important to physical doctors as well as spiritual ones:

 Hearts are quite important to physical doctors and also are very important to spiritual doctors. If the physical wellbeing of a human being in this life of his is directly associated with the physical wellbeing of his or her heart, then similarly, his or her eternal wellbeing and success is also associated with the heart being free from ailments warned against by the Koran.

 Because hearts are the devices which can identify the paths for guidance, and to study and analyze Allah’s message, and study the universe and the Koran, therefore, the heart is the most dangerous device. It is also a very sensitive and a thin transparent container which can breakdown or malfunction at any moment. The messenger (pbuh) said: {In the body, there is a flesh; if it becomes good then the whole body turns good, and if goes bad then the whole body goes bad. It is the heart}.

Without a heart one would not fathom what one sees or hears. Looking at a funeral for example, all one would see is a group of people carrying a dead person and nothing beyond that. And one may hear a verse in the Koran warning against something and it would mean nothing to him or her. It is just words and sentences with nothing and no consequences. Indeed, two big beautiful eyes are of no value if there is not a sane and sensible heart behind them that can really see.

 IV: Hearts as described in the book of Allah and the sunnah of The Prophet:

 But why do most hearts keep on the task of pumping blood but fail to perform their greater task. That happens because of lack of protection against temptations.

The messenger (pbuh) said: {temptations are offered to the hearts continuously and plentifully one temptation at a time, when a heart accepts a temptation a black dot is dispersed into it. And if a heart denies it or refuses a temptation then a white dot is dispersed into it. That is until all hearts shall return as either of two hearts. Either a black heart which acknowledges no good deed and denies no evil, or a white heart which no temptation will do it any harm for as long as the heavens and the earth last}.

Yes, if the heart is not cleaned and kept shining it can take to sin as a sponge would suck and saturate with water.

Allah has described the failing hearts with many different descriptions such as those that are sick with deeds which are close to being sinful (suspicious deeds), and those hearts which are sick with lust and desires. Or those hearts which cannot resist temptations. And because there are such sick men in society, that women are told against soft and sweet talk to avoid stimulating those who are sick.

 Another type of description which Allah gave is the digressing and wandering or roaming hearts. Other descriptions include the sealed hearts, and the wrapped hearts, and the tough and harsh hearts, and the engulfed or enshrined. Allah will not accept on the day of resurrection an individual with a sick heart. Allah says:

88/89 (On the Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will be of benefit, except Him who brings to Allâh a clean heart) [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifâq (hypocrisy)].

 A heart which is free from lust to disobey Allah’s commands, or a heart which disagrees with His book, and free from slavery to any other than Allah, and free from following any other than His messenger (pbuh). A heart which is sincere in worship to Allah alone at free will, and a heart which loves and depends on Allah, and only fears Allah and returns only to Allah, and has hope into Allah and does the deed purely for Allah. If the heart loves; it only loves for Allah and if it despises it does so for Allah, and if it gives; it gives for Allah, and if it holds back it does so for Allah. It becomes satisfied for Allah and gets upset for Allah. A heart which has very little and yet it shines up like a bulb. Transparent and sensitive and delicate, shy and feels pity and very sensitive to what satisfies or dissatisfies Allah. Very aware of what brings closer to hell fire and what brings away from it.

 You would recognize those with these types of hearts by their eyes which fill with tears, and their God fearing senses, clean spoken tongs, plentiful in remembering Allah and reciting the Koran, continually doing prayers and fasting. You would recognize them as they get upset when Allah’s prohibitions are violated, or when a sin is made public. They seek out groups of good; and attentively listen to preaching of good. They get away from places of evil and those who attend such places. Hearts get sick only when the owner of the heart commits sins and does not follow them with repentance.

 When Allah punished the children of Israel he did not punish them through taking away their riches or children. Allah says:

2/7 (Allâh has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearings, (i.e. they are closed from accepting Allâh’s Guidance), and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment).

 Allah also says:
2/18 (They are deaf, dumb, and blind, so they return not (to the Right Path).
On the day of resurrection, the Koran gives an indication of their minds, Allah says:
{And they say: Had we been want to listen or have sense, we had not been among the dwellers in the flames. So they confess or acknowledge their sins; but far removed (from mercy) are the dwellers in the flames}67: 10-11. Sure they may seem intelligent but they are not brainy.

Allah says:

13/19 (shall He Then who knows that what has been revealed unto You (O Muhammad) from Your Lord is the Truth be like Him who is blind? but it is Only the men of understanding that pay heed).