The mind & the heart

Abdessalam Yassine

June 22, 2023

The mind [aql], in the Qur’an, is the action of an inner faculty within the human being, called the heart [qalb]. The mind is a reception of the realities of Revelation by means of the heart. Comprehension [fiqh], in the Qur’an, is a knowledge that arises inside the human being, in his heart. Contem- plation [tafakkur] is a heart-centered movement that meditates upon the universe in order to demonstrate the existence of God.

As for the ordinary practical mind shared by all humankind, it may be a tool for the heart’s aspirations for its Creator. Or it may be a tool for the passion that considers itself divine, for the lower self and its appetites, for philosophy and meditation, for influencing components, or for collecting data and making deductions. The perfect use of the instrumental mind is to serve the heart and its aspirations, with a service that is timely, coherent and firmly connected both here and there: here in the world, where it participates with the whole of humanity in the methods of acquiring the sciences of the visible universe, and there be- yond the veils of the Unseen, where true knowledge is attainable only by learning from Revelation.

The subject of the “heart [qalb]” is mentioned more than one hun- dred and thirty times in the Qur’an. In no instance is it used as a term for the fleshy pineal gland. The subject of the “mind [‘aql]” is men- tioned fifty times in the Qur’an. In no instance is it used as a term for the common tool. The subject of “comprehension [fiqh]” is mentioned twenty times, and the subject of “thought [fikr]” eighteen times. In every case, the reference is to the faith-related function of the heart.

The instrumental mind obtains its knowledge of the cosmos by means of the senses and the natural instincts, and then by means of the logic that it develops from the investigation of invariables and inter-related consequences. The perfect mind obtains from Revelation knowledge of the Unseen, and from the common faculties knowledge of the visible realm.

The mind that believes in God and Revelation suffers a loss of sight when it closes the eye of the common faculties, becomes incapable of learning from the cosmos and abandons its tool to neglect and rust. It thereby fails to achieve the mastery of worldly life and sits idly in the company of the impotent slackers. That is a shortcoming and a lack of understanding Revelation. God made the universe subservient to us and commanded us to move about the earth, to dwell in it and to compete and strive with earnest endeavor. That is impossible unless we strive to learn how to use this marvelous instrument called the mind.

The common instrumental mind is afflicted by total blindness that negates the sole real vision: the vision of God and His commandment, the vision of Afterlife and the source of human felicity both here and hereafter.
The believing mind is afflicted by paralysis and impotence in this world, if it closes one of its eyes and turns away from competing in the arena of scientific and industrial endeavor, side by side with the com- mon mind.

When the mind is blind and averse to Revelation, it wanders astray. For it finds no guidance to the unique goal that decides its eternal des- tiny either in the Garden of Paradise or the Fire of Hell. It finds no guidance to its Otherworldly bliss, even if it holds the means of its ma- terial comfort in this world.

The Muslim Mind on Trial, P 1-2