The Types of Hearts: The Sound and Correct Heart

Because the heart is described as possessing life or death, it is
classified into three types:

1.The Correct and Sound Heart:

This is the truthful and sound (salim) heart. It is the only type of heart that a person can bring to Allah on the Day of Judgement which will rescue him.

Allah, Exalted says,

“…the Day when neither wealth nor sons will be
of any use – except for he who comes to Allah
with a sound and flawless heart.”

[ash-Shuara (26): 88-89]

The meaning of salim (secure) is salim (the one who is secure), it has come in this form because it depicts an innate attribute or description of the described. As such it is grammatically like
the words tall (taweel), short (qaseer), or graceful and charming
(Zarif).

Therefore the one whose heart is described as salim, is characterised so,  because this attribute of truthfulness and soundness has become its constant and established quality. In this respect it is like the terms, ‘the one who knows’ (alim ) and ‘the one
who has power’ (qadir).
It is also the opposite of diseased (marid), sick (saqim) and
ailing (alil).

People have described the sound and truthful heart in different ways. However they all revolve around the following basic concept:

-That the truthful and sound heart is secure from every carnal desire that opposes the order and prohibition of Allah.

-It is secure from every doubt and uncertainty that would obscure or go
against His narrative.

-It is secure from displaying servitude to any other than Him; just as it is secure from seeking ruling from any other than His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Therefore it becomes sound through loving
Allah and seeking the ruling of His Messenger.

-It becomes sound through showing Him fear, hope, trust and reliance, penitence, and humility; it prefers
what pleases Him in every circumstance and distances itself from everything that would displease Him in every possible way. This is the reality of servitude
(ubudiyyah) which can only be directed to Allah Alone. Therefore the truthful and sound heart is that heart which is secure from committing any form of shirk whatsoever and instead its servitude is directed only to, and purely for, Allah, Exalted is He. Its desire, love, trust and reliance, penitence, humility’, fear and hope is only for Allah and its actions are purely for His sake. Hence if it loves, it loves for the sake of Allah; if it hates, it hates for the sake of Allah; if it gives, it gives for the
sake of Allah; and if it withholds, it withholds for the sake of Allah.
But this alone does not suffice until the heart becomes secure
from submitting to, and going to anybody else but, the Messenger of Allah (جل وعلا) for judgement. Therefore the heart ties a firm bond with him (صلى الله عليه وسلم) resolving to follow him and obey him alone in sayings and actions. These sayings comprise the saying of the
heart: the matters of belief; and the sayings of the tongue which convey what the heart contains. These actions comprise the actions of the heart: its desire, love, dislike and other connected matters; and the actions of the limbs.

Therefore the judge for all these matters – the major and minor of them – is that which the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came with. Hence the heart does not put itself before him in any matter related to belief, saying, or action. Allah, Exalted says,

“O you who believe! Do not put yourself forward in front of Allah and His Messenger…”

(Al-Hujurat (49): 1]

Meaning: do not speak of a matter until he has spoken of it and do not act until he has commanded it.
Some of the Salaf said,

“There is no action, even if it be small, except that two records will be unfurled for it: why? how?”

meaning: why did you do it? How did you do it?
The first question enquires about the cause, onset and motive of the action. Was it done for some temporal and worldly gain such as attaining the praise o f people? Was it done for fear of people’s censure? Or was the motivation of this action establishing the rights of servitude, seeking the increase of ones love of, and closeness, to Allah, Glorious and Exalted is He, and seeking the means of drawing close (wasilah) to Him?

The essence of this question is: was it upon you to perform
this action for the sake of your Master or for the sake of personal gain and base desire?
The second question enquires about the following of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in that action of worship: was the action you did from those actions which have been legislated upon the tongue of My Messenger? Or was it an action that he did not legislate
and was not pleased with?
Therefore the First question concerns sincerity (ikhlas) and the second concerns following (‘mutaba’ah). Allah does not accept any action until both these prerequisites are met.

The method of absolution from the first question is to purify ones sincerity such that it is for Allah Alone. The method of absolution from the second question is to actualise the following of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and by securing the heart from any intent that would impair its sincerity and any base desire that would impair its following.

This is the reality of the sound and truthful heart from which ensures victory and bliss.

Taken from – Ighathatul Lahfan fi Masayid Al Shaytan [1/11-19] of Imam Ibn al-
Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him.

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