(Chapter 21: Ihya’ Ulumuddin)
“The Messenger (PBUH) said: there is in the body a bit of flesh, if it was good, the body will be good. It is the heart.”
This hadith gives a clear understanding that the essence of human is the heart and it is the king which should be obeyed in all the body. Imam al-Ghazali had explained his view about the heart in this chapter which has become one of the very important chapters in Ihya’ Ulumuddin.
1.0 Qalb, Ruh, Nafs and ‘Aqal
1.1 Qalb (Heart)
The heart or Qalb has two meanings: the first meaning is the pineal flesh which is the left side of the chest and there is inside it a cavity, in which there is a black blood and it is the source of the soul. The animals and dead people also have the same figure of heart.
The second meaning is a spiritual one (lathifa) which attaches to this flesh. This spiritual thing is the way to know Allah and understand what is not achieved by the imagination and illusion. Therefore, this is the reality of the human and they are the addressee of the meaning in verse 37 of Surah Al-Qaf;
“Indeed in that is a reminder for whoever has a heart”
However, if the meaning of al-qalbu here is the pineal figure, surely it can be found in everybody. When human know this, we should realize that the connection between the heart and the piece of flesh is obscure thing which is not be realized by saying but it depends on eye seeing (the witness). All we can say is the spiritual heart is like a king and the piece of flesh is like the house. Besides, if the spiritual meaning related to the flesh like the accidents, this cannot be valid because Allah has mentioned in verse 24, Surah Al-Anfal that He makes like a barrier between the person and his heart.
1.2 Ruh (Spirit)
It also has two meanings.
Ø Natural Spirit
The smoke that its essence is black blood inside the cavity of this pineal flesh, and it prevails by veins which are in all the parts of the body. For example, the lamp in the house which lightens all the corners of the house and this is the meaning which the doctors want when they utter the word spirit.
Ø Spiritual as the spiritual one for the heart
The spirit and the heart revolve around the same spiritual meaning. This spirit that Allah has mentioned in verse 85, Surah Al-Isra’:
“And they ask you, Oh Muhammad, about spirit. Say, the spirit is of the affair of my lord”.
1.3 An-Nafs (Soul)
This word has two meanings.
Ø Power of anger, lust and the dispraised traits
It is the wanted meaning in the Messenger’s saying: The fiercest enemy for you is your soul which is between your sides. It is the soul which we are ordered to strive and to overcome.
Ø Spiritual soul
The second meaning is the spiritual one, which is one of the two meanings for the spirit, heart and self, in addition to the heart. The spirit is called also by this good meaning which represents his reality as a man and differ from the animals which not being called as soul.
Besides, it would be called as the reassured soul if the soul was clear and adhered to mentioning Allah, and the effects of lusts and dispraised traits were removed from it. This is what Allah meant in verse 27, Surah Al-Fajr: “To the righteous it will be said, O reassured soul”
There are two ranks of souls before it reach his rank as reassured soul.
~Reproaching soul- Allah swore by it when He said in verse 2, Surah Al-Qiyamah:
“And I swear by the reproaching soul”
It blames its owner for committing sins and it does not tend to do bad deeds and accepting them.
~Enjoiner of evil
Before it reaches the rank of reproaching soul, there is another rank which is enjoining for evil. As Allah said in verse 53, Surah Yusuf; “The soul is a persistent enjoiner of evil”. This soul sometimes orders of the goodness and does not blame for the evil, which is the lowest of the soul.
Therefore, it is clear that the reassured soul is the highest and the reproaching soul is between that two. Reassured soul does not accept the evil things and it does not assure to it but it assures to the goodness, by mentioning Allah.
1.4 Aqal (Mind)
Mind has several of meanings. Two from it are as following:
~Knowing the reality of things that took place in the heart.
~Part of human that have ability to absorb knowledge. It is same with the heart with the meaning of lathifah as mentioned above. We know that everyone have wadah that can hold knowledge. Knowledge is something that lived and fixed in the wadah. Knowledge is not identical with the wadah that holds it. Therefore, the word Aqal is used to portray something that stick to the scholar or knowledgeable people. Maybe that is what being meant by the Messenger (PBUH), “The mind is the first thing that Allah has created, then He said to it come and it came”. This is because knowledge is something that is ‘aradh, it cannot be imagined as the first creation. It must being created before it of together with it. Besides, it is impossible for wadah to accept conversation. Next in the narration, Allah said come and it came.
2.0 The Soldiers of Heart
Ø The heart have two soldiers, which one of it can be seen by eyes such as the hand, legs, eyes, and other organs. The other one is which is seen by insight, as being mentioned in a hadith: There is in the body of a piece of flesh, and if it’s good, all the other organs of the body will be good. It is the heart. Therefore, the heart is just like a king that ought to be followed by other organs towards the commandments and avoiding the forbidden matters.
Ø If the heart failed to commands towards goodness, the lusts will prevail, and the king will be ordered and the matter will be reflected, thus the king realizing that he will be subjugated in the hand of dog or enemy when he followed the amarah.
Ø Besides, if the man obeyed the caller for evil or lust, he would see himself prostrating before a dog while actually he had obeyed the pig which is representing greed. In this case, he is actually had obeyed the Evil because these dispraised qualities are the soldiers of Evil on the heart and the heart cannot overcome them so it become weak, causing the annihilation the quality of this good meaning.
Ø Allah has mentioned in verse108 in Surah An-Nahl the word of sealing: “ Those are the ones over whose hearts and hearing and vision are sealed by Allah”
2.1 The imagery of heart with mirror
The heart is just like a mirror. When it is still clear and protected from rust and scum, definitely it is possible to see things in it. However, if it rusted and not being cleaned so it would be prevail upon it, where cleaning would be impossible and this is what being meant by the word ‘sealing’ in Al-Quran. Furthermore, the Messenger once said relating this condition of heart.
“The hearts rust like the iron. He was asked, ‘how can we clear the heart?’ He said, ‘By remembering death and reciting the Holy Quran’. Therefore, when the heart ends and the Evil becomes the predominant, the praised traits will turn into dispraised ones.
2.2 The four kinds of heart
According to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), there are four kinds of heart;
~ A clear heart, in which there is a lamp which lightens and this is the heart of the believer
~A black relapsing heart, this is heart of disbeliever
~A covered heart, this is the heart of the hypocrite
~A plated heart, in which there is a belief and hypocrisy.
-A belief in it is like the legume which is nourished with pure water and the hypocrisy in it is like the sore which is extended by the pus. Therefore, any of these was prevailed will be the ruling for it.
Allah has mentioned in verse 201, Surah Al-A’raaf; “Indeed, those who fear Allah- when an impulse touches them from Evil, they remember Him and at once they have insight”. It can be understood that the sight of heart and its clearness occur by the remembrance and the pious are only those who remember Allah. The taqwa is the door for zikr, and zikr is the door of disclosure or kashaf, and kashaf is the door for great winning.
3.0 The imagery of heart in relation to the science
The example of kasyaf heart is just like a mirror and the science and the facts are like the shapes which are seen in the mirror. The mirror is a thing and the facts are other things, and the appearance in the mirror is a third thing. These are three things: the science is like the appearance in the mirror and the heart is like the mirror and the facts are third things.
However, not every single figure can be appeared in the mirror for five reasons:
1) The corruption of the mirror, before taking the shape of the mirror.
2) When the shape is rusted.
3) If the thing was isolated from the mirror by being behind it
4) If there is a screen between the mirror by being behind it.
5) Not knowing the direction of the figure, and thus the heart is ready to appear in it the truth which is in all matters.
Human’s heart is like a mirror which is prepared to receive the reflection from the reality of the truth that covers every single thing. If there is knowledge about something that cannot be accepted by the mirror possibly because of these five things:
--The decrement in the figure of the heart, such as a little boy and mad people.
-The turbidity of the sins and scum which are accumulated on the heart because of the increasing of the lusts. The Messenger (PBUH) referred to this meaning when He said: “Who committed a sin, his mind had left him and it would not be return to him”.
Humans’ hearts getting turbid by the sins they made, and the trace can’t be removed because what they can do is followed the sins with good deeds to refine the heart whereas if they that good deeds without doing sins, undoubtedly the heart will shine brilliantly.
- He should be isolated from the wanted fact and his face should be directed to the deeds of obedience. He should say as the Messenger said: “Indeed, I have turned my face toward He who created the heavens and the earth, inclining towards truth” The person might be very diligent in worship, but he hasn’t had a clear truth although his heart is clean.
-The screen when there is in the secret of his heart a lust or corrupted belief which preceded during the childhood and its effects remained.
- Ignoring the direction from which he should ask the thing. He ought to have complete belief but it does not occur to him, the belief in the unknown. If the belief was none found, it will be impossible to know things which are not found.
A companion ask the Messenger, who is the best among human? The Messenger (PBUH) answered, “Every Mu’min that has a kind heart”. Then other companions asked what is meant by the kind heart. Prophet Muhammad answered, “The Mu’min that is pious and have a pure heart, no deception, no ruthlessness, no treasonous and not envious.” Companion said, maybe this is why Umar –May Allah pleased with him said: “My heart saw my lord”.
This is because Umar has a chaste heart and his hijab is lifted and tajalli happened in his heart. Allah said in verse 9, Surah asy-Syams: “He has succeeded who purifies it”.
3.1 The three ranks of accepting the truth
Ø The faith of Al-‘Awwam
Accepting by hearing at the first of the instinct and it is subjected to the mistake. This is an imitation which is done by common people.
-For example, in the age of six to seven years old (tamyiz), they hear from the parents about Allah’s existence, His iradah and qudrah, and His attributes. By hearing these, they accept it and hold onto it without having any bad thought to what they had received.
Ø The faith of Ahlul Ilm Al-Kalam
They believe and mixed it with the evidence. Nevertheless, there is still a possibility of having confusion in this stage. For example, you go to Zaid’s house and heard his voice. So, this convincing you that Zaid is really in the house. Differ from the condition of the first stage that only hears from others. However, it might be other people have the same voice like Zaid and he is actually not in the house.
Ø The faith of people Al-‘Arifin
This type of faith is called as ma’rifah that is the real knowledge or musyahadah, the witness by the heart that convincing, same with the ma’rifah of people in the stage of muqorrobin and siddiqin. For example, you enter a house and see by yourself that Zaid is there. Moreover, people of ‘Arifin have convincing evidence that is impossible to be accompanied by any error. Nevertheless, they themselves have different level of knowledge, different level of kasyaf that they have experienced.
Al-Ghazali, 2003. Keajaiban-keajaiban hati. Indonesia: Mizan Media Utama.
Rizq Wahid Sediq Muhammad, 2009. The Outlined Copy of Ihia’a Ulum Al-Deen. First Edition. Egypt: Dar Al-Manarah
Zaid Husein Al-Hamid, 2003. Ringkasan Ihya’ Ulumuddin. Fifth Edition. Malaysia: Darul Nu’man.
 Al-Ghazali,2003. Keajaiban-keajaiban hati. Indonesia: Mizan Media Utama, page 7.
 Zaid Husein Al-Hamid, 2003. Ringkasan Ihya’ Ulumuddin. Malaysia: Darul Nu’man, page 197.
 At-Tabrani in Al-Awsat. From Abu Umamah, narrated by Abu Nu’aim from AIsyah. However, valued as weak.
 Al-Ghazali,2003. Keajaiban-keajaiban hati. Indonesia: Mizan Media Utama, page 30.
 Zaid Husein Al-Hamid, 2003. Ringkasan Ihya’ Ulumuddin. Malaysia: Darul Nu’man, page 199.
 Rizq Wahid Sediq Muhammad, 2009. The Outlined Copy of Ihia’a Ulum Al-Deen. Egypt: Dar Al-Manarah, page194.
 Al-Ghazali,2003. Keajaiban-keajaiban hati. Indonesia: Mizan Media Utama, page 60.
 Al ‘Iraqi said that he never found that hadith.
 Al-Ghazali, 2003. Keajaiban-keajaiban hati. Indonesia: Mizan Media Utama, page61.
 Al-An’am 79
 HR Al Baihaqi from Abdullah ibn Umar with Sohih sanad