Is the heart responsible for understanding?

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an;

"As to those who reject Faith it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and on their eyes is a veil great is the penalty they incur."
(Al-Qur’an 2:6-7)

In the Arabic text of the verse the word used is 'Qalb' which means heart. It also refers to intelligence thus in the above verse it means that Allah has put a seal on their intelligence.

It does not actually refer to the organ heart here. This is a matter of literary usage of the word only. Infact we see that in most of the languages the word heart is used to mean intelligence. For instance when it is said; 'I love you from the core of my heart' it is always understood as en expression of one's emotions and feelings. This is true even according to the well known English dictionaries, see Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

Quran says in Surah Aa'raf:

"And certainly We have created for hell many of the jinn and the men; they have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear; they are as cattle, nay, they are in worse errors; these are the heedless ones. "
(Quran 7:179)

QURAN 22: 46

These verses can well taken as simple method of speech but there is verse which talk about 'hearts which are in the breasts' i.e. it talks of the organ. The verse goes as:

"Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts."
(Surah Hajj 22:46)

The hearts of the non believers are blind in the proverbial sense that they do not understand.

Few Non Muslims have picked up these and similar Ayahs in the Holy Quran and say that the Human organ responsible for thinking is the 'Brain', as proved by modern science, then why does the Quran holds the human heart responsible for thinking?

The answer to this question also lies in the modern research work carried out in the field of heart mind interactions.

Traditionally, the study of communication pathways between the "head" and heart has been approached from a rather one-sided perspective, with scientists focusing primarily on the heart's responses to the brain's commands. However, we have now learned that communication between the heart and brain is actually a dynamic, ongoing, two-way dialogue, with each organ continuously influencing the other's function. Research has shown that the heart communicates to the brain in four major ways: neurologically (through the transmission of nerve impulses), biochemically (via hormones and neurotransmitters), biophysically (through pressure waves) and energetically (through electromagnetic field interactions). Communication along all these conduits significantly affects the brain's activity. Moreover, our research shows that messages the heart sends the brain can also affect performance.
These newly discovered facts are already mentioned in the Holy Quran when it encourages us to think saying: “They have heart with which they do not understand”; indicating that hearts have some dynamic relation with thinking.

The heart communicates with the brain and body in four ways:

  • Neurological communication (nervous system)
  • Biophysical communication (pulse wave)
  • Biochemical communication (hormones)
  • Energetic communication (electromagnetic fields)

[ Source : Science of The Heart:Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance]

Many interesting scientific researches are going on in this field. It is becoming a separate subject now. Those people who had gone through heart transplants also experienced strange feelings and started adopting the habits of the person from whom they got the heart.

Yasha Kresh, PhD, Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Medicine, Research Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery says:

"It turns out that the heart has its own 'brain' - an intrinsic nervous system. It's not clear what it does or if it's subservient to the higher brain. But it's clear that it is there, and I believe it has a mission because evolution does not allow things to remain without purpose. We think this internal nervous system helps to fine-tune and integrate the heart's diverse activity."

[ Source : The Brain and Heart of Chaos, An interview with Dr. Yasha Kresh]

It is amazing that science had proven the importance of the heart in our thinking process, and showed how the heart does indeed have a thinking capability and storing of thoughts and feelings in it, and how it does interact with the brain and control our thinking and perspective, while the Noble Quran 1400 years ago talked about the heart and its ability to understand and store thoughts and "secrets", when people viewed understanding as only controlled solely by the brain.I urge the readers to read the interesting material on the subject and be amazed with the fact that how is it possible that something that accurate is mentioned in the Holy Quran many centuries back without any modern equipment.

Indeed Allah knows the best!

by Muhammad Awais Tahir

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1 comment :

    1. Good article. What's amusing is that sometimes it's the christians who pose this question to muslims. The christians who only have to read their own bible to see that it also says the very same thing. Shame on "answeringislam".