Thinking Begins in the Heart


by Samina Farooq

Two years back when I gave a brief presentation on this topic, it stirred quite a controversy among the listeners, who’d perhaps thought of the heart as no more than a mushy, bawling-over-love organ.

But after two years of studying Quran, Hadith, and Arabic, I stand my ground even more firmly: feeling generates thought. I don’t have much scientific support for this but the hadith and the verses from Quran speak for themselves. I do hope that someday, someone will make an extensive scientific research on this topic.

Let’s strike at the heart of it, shall we?

1. From the Quran

So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts. [Quran, 22:46]

Hearts are the main source of reasoning. Here, rationality has been associated with it, since no organ works if the heart doesn’t.

So you see those in whose hearts is disease hastening into [association with] them, saying . . . [Quran, 5:52]

Almost everywhere, feelings precede thinking. What you feel is what you say usually. It all starts from the root, out until the fruit. Is it really think before you speak, or rather feel before you do?

The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children. But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart. [Quran,26:88-89]

You have a damaged heart and it makes a lot of difference. So don’t take this half-heartedly!

Then do they not reflect upon the Quran, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? [Quran,47:24]

This implies that one can’t reflect if one’s heart is locked. Perhaps we should try to think with an open heart instead of an open mind, because if the heart is open eventually the mind will open, too, because thinking sprouts from the heart.

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. [Quran, 3:103]

Great minds think alike? How about this: Great hearts bond alike.

2. From Hadith

Allah said, ‘I have prepared for My righteous slaves (such excellent things) as no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard nor a human heart can ever think of.’ [Bukhari]

The heart isalso the source of imagination.

Allah has forgiven my nation for the evil suggestions of their hearts, so long as they do not act upon it or speak of it, and for what they are forced to do. [Ibn Majah]

The false dichotomy of head versus heart cannot be resolved by the mind gaining dominance over the emotions, but rather by increasing the balance between the two systems.

Verily Allah does not look to your bodies nor to your faces but He looks to your hearts. [Muslim]

You can’t have a sweet fruit with a bitter root.

Narrated Abu Hurairah, I came to the Prophet (saws) and spread out my garment to him, then he took it and gathered it at my heart, so I did not forget after that [any Hadith]. [Tirmidhi]

This was really new to me because I would never have connected forgetfulness with the blood-pumping organ, but now I know why they say “know it by heart.”

3. From Science

The heart senses emotional information five to seven seconds before it happens, while the brain senses it three to five seconds beforehand. So not only are emotions important contributors to our output of thoughts, but they may be one of the best ways to influence and create a change in what and how we think.

In 1974, the French researchers Gahery and Vigier, stimulated the vagus nerve (which carries signals from heart to the brain) in cats and found that the heart and nervous system were not simply following the brain’s directions.

In 1983, the heart was reclassified as an endocrine gland when a new hormone called atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), which affects blood vessels, kidneys, adrenal glands and regulatory regions in the brain, was found to be being produced by the heart.

Dr. J. Andrew Armour discovered the heart also contains a cell type known as intrinsic cardiac adrenergic (ICA), which synthesizes and releases neurotransmitters once thought to be produced only by neurons in the brain and nerve ganglia.

The heart starts beating in an unborn fetus before the brain has been formed, a process scientists call “autorhythmic.”

Dr. Armour introduced the concept of a functional “heart brain” in 1991. Considered an independent entity, the heart’s brain is composed of an elaborate network of neurons, support cells and neurotransmitters which enables it to process information, learn, remember and produce feelings of the heart and then transmit this information from one cell to another.

“We observed the heart was acting as though it had a mind of its own and was profoundly affecting perception, intelligence and awareness,” explained McCraty.

According to Goleman, it’s a person’s EQ (Emotional Quotient) that enables them to succeed in life as much or more than their IQ (Intelligence Quotient).

During the ‘60s and ’70s pioneer physiologists John and Beatrice Lacey conducted research that showed that the heart actually communicates with the brain in ways that greatly affect how we perceive and react to the world around us.

Neurologist Antonio Damasio stresses the rationality of emotion in his book Descartes’ Error, where he emphasizes the importance of emotions in decision-making. He points out that patients with brain damage in the areas of the brain that integrate the emotional and cognitive systems can no longer effectively function in the day-to-day world, even though their mental abilities are perfectly normal.


I don’t mean to say that the brain has no purpose in our lives. There are many places where Allah (swt) has mentioned using the intellect, but the main point remains— the heart is an important part of it all.

You have to water the roots first. Don’t cut off the connection with your heart merely because you want to be a logical, rational person, thus burying it under the debris of darkness.

It’s never too late. There is time until the last breath crawls out of our lungs. Heal the heart to cure the brain and mend actions. Instead of solely relying on your own self or the people around you, seek help from Allah (swt) as Prophet (saws) used to.

The supplication he (saws) said most frequently was: O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion. [Tirmidhi]

May Allah (swt) give every one of us such a sound heart.


  1. Excellent article. Heart is a main source of evry thing. One cam feel actually when you start thinking of some thing, frist of all you heart responds to your feeling and then the mind will get involved. We should practically
    feel this.

  2. Mahjabeen Khan March 7, 2014 Reply

    Jazakallah Khairun for such an inspiring and heart opening article.May Allah(SWT) bless you and grant us sound hearts Ameen

  3. Habibullah March 7, 2014 Reply

    From the Heart to the Brain then to the Mind. That’s the chain. This message have passed through such chain. May Allah ‘Aza Wajal Illuminate Our Hearts. Ameen. Jazaakallahu Khairan for this.

  4. aronnoanindo March 7, 2014 Reply

    Please provide proper references of the papers you cited. Without this, whatever you claim does not stand on scientific judgement.

    • Samina Farooq March 9, 2014 Reply

      Your comment is visible. Kindly refer to the research section of IHM (Institute of heartmath). Above are just the excerpts.

  5. Rocky Abdhal March 8, 2014 Reply

    أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم A’oodhubillahi minashshaitaanirrajeem I seek refuge in Allah(The creator of everything ) from the rejected Shaitaan (Evil)
    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Bismilla hirrahmaa nirraheem In the name of Allah
    the most gracious ,the most merciful
    السلام عليكم ASSA LAAMU ALAIKUM May Peace be upon all of you
    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam First of all I thank almighty Allah for introducing me to you and you to me الحمد لله ALHAMDULILLAH All praise to be Allah
    Allah has created us with heart as a main center After “the opening ” (الفَاتِحَة – Al-Fathiha) the opening of the Noble Quran or the Opening of our conversation with our creator or the first Sura then comes the second surah in it Allah says Ayah No 10. فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ۬ فَزَادَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ مَرَضً۬ا‌ۖ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمُۢ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكۡذِبُونَ

    In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increase their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie

    The Ayah before this also mention about the Heart and that reminds us that Heart takes a major role in our intentions to do our actions .
    How funny the Modern Days when the Doctors cannot find the reasons for the symptons of the sickness they go for a blood test which is circulated in our body from THE HEART

    Thanks for the topic

    جزاك اللهُ خيراً‎ شكرا Jazakallahul Khair May Allah Award you goodness
    May Allah help us open our hearts to understand Allah and Allah’s instructions through Alla’h’s Messengers specially the last prophet Muhammed Sallallaahu Alaihiwasallam

    إن شاء الله Insha Allah If the creator willing

    جزاكم الله خيرا Jazakumullahu khairan May Allah reward you good
    كفى المحسن احسانه وكفى المسئ اساءته Kafal muhsinal ihsaanuhu wakafel maseea isaa’athuhu A good person’s good deeds will save him or her ,and a bad person’s evil deeds will destroy him or her

    والسلام‎ في امان الله Fee amanallah Be in Allah’s protection

    I do every good deed not to please anyone but to please the almighty creator of the earth ,the heaven and every thing including you and me
    (Allah الله )

  6. Sophia Tariq March 8, 2014 Reply


  7. Dr. Anwar Parvez Sayed March 8, 2014 Reply

    My physiology professor once said, when first human heart transplantation was undertaken, the doctor asked the patient how he feels. Patient responded by saying, though I am better my emotions are flat! Anyone can experience pain or heaviness in chest and not their heard when they are really sad. Jazakumullahu khairan.. Thanks for bringing this up in your article.

  8. Yaqoob Ali March 8, 2014 Reply

    Subhan Allah, Sound Heart.

    Ameen Ya Rabulalameen

  9. The prophet said in a Hadith when the Heart is good, the other organs in our body will follow. The learned said that Allah created Angels from Light with Brain but no Desire. He created Human Being from Earth and Jinne from Fire and gave Brain and Desire/Nafs in Arabic to get the pleasure of eating, drinking, sex and other desires. Allah created animals with Desire only and no Brain. The Angels followed whatever commands from Allah. The Jinnes and Mankind some follow and some reject. Only three groups were given by Allah Thinking Skills. Not with Animals which had only one Desire skills. The Hadith of the prophet Muhammad s.a.w. mentioned the from One group created by Allah in the beginning, it turns to 73 groups in the end of the world. Only one group who believe Allah is alone and one and prophet Muhammad is the last (25th prophet/Rasul/Apostle would be entering Paradise). The other 72 groups had the right to choose Hell created by Allah in the next eternal world. May Allah guide us to the 73 group.

    Salam from Md Razale 70/72 Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

  10. Mohammed Rafique Akolvi March 8, 2014 Reply

    Assalamu Alikum WRWB,

    An excellent subject and well composed explanation about heart. May ALLAH ALMIGHTY give us HIDAYA to read out most important DUAA.



  11. Samina Farooq March 8, 2014 Reply


  12. aronnoanindo March 8, 2014 Reply

    So my comment was deleted about requesting proper references of the scientific facts the author mentioned!! Which part of my comments was not appropriate? Or is that Understand Quran Academy just want us to believe everything they wrote on their blog just because they say it. If it is. this is really a poor mentality both in knowledge and in terms of writing.

  13. Rocky Abdhal March 9, 2014 Reply

    Have the modern science or we human found where is the mind that we always talk about, it is said the brain takes the major role with nerves and cells (including blood) but the moment the heart stop pumping blood you are dead ,Same way when the heart stop functioning we cannot use the brain but when the brain stops functioning still we can use the heart When you hear a sad/happy story you feel a heaviness in the chest, Then you sigh ”
    People with HBP have sudden death they call “heart attack” or cardiac arrest or what ever it is
    this shows the heart is the root or the starting place to think
    There are so many things still science is struggling to find answers..To all the problems there are answers
    but science is not only the answer.

  14. Samina Farooq March 9, 2014 Reply

    Kindly refer to the research section of IHM (Institute of heartmath)

  15. Rocky Abdhal March 9, 2014 Reply

    Sorry every problem has a solution

  16. Umar March 9, 2014 Reply

    aronnoanindo: Incase you can’t find, here’s the direct link for the source you requested.

  17. Raheen Sayyed March 10, 2014 Reply

    Subhan Allah

  18. Tajudeen Omotoso March 11, 2014 Reply

    This is a good combination of both Spiritual and Sceinstifics proof of the Hearlth/Mind.JazzakhaAllahKhairn.

  19. fathima zahan March 13, 2014 Reply

    SUBHANALLAH!Amazing and enlightening article, jazakallah khair for sharing.

  20. Imran Riaz March 18, 2014 Reply

    This is a beautiful article & speaks itself for its firm standing, well supported by Quranic verses & hadith. The subject is well chosen as a lot is still required to be written on this very topic. As even followers of Quran are unaware of these facts about the Heart, and consider brain as center of feelings & emotions.
    As very little is available from scientific research about this very topic, as advancement in the field of medical has not yet fully explore the function of heart more than merely a pumping device. Non believers may find it difficult to swallow this up as they consider logics before the Book.
    Logics or no logics, quranic verses are more than enough to believe that IT IS HEART. Despite immense progression in the field of medical science, root of emotions & feelings are still a mystery to be resolved.
    Regarding my comments on the article, the write-up is beautiful & worth reading. It involves the reader with an excellent starting sentence & same goes true till it ends. Well supported with the Verses & Ahadith & scientific clues.
    I personally believe, may be wrong, more than “thinking” it is “feeling” which roots in the heart. Thinking works on logics & may be a part of brain, but feeling is something purely related to human heart. Our feelings have strong impression on what our mind thinks, & output i.e our decisions are based on both. A heart drenched in eeman will impose the same on the thinking mind & ultimately output would be a momin

  21. ayesh bint farooq March 18, 2014 Reply

    i loved what you said and how you described it as …. GENERATION OF A THINKING IS A FEELING!
    no wonder if we apply it on our own selves we will realize the truth behind it…

  22. Iffat June 16, 2014 Reply

    Anyone interested to know the working of the heart as per the above article can tune in to this programme given below…from Google
    Discovery, The Heart Has Its Reasons Broadcasts. BBC World ServiceWed 20 Oct 2010 09:32 GMT

    Duration: 28 minutes
    First broadcast: Wednesday 20 October 2010
    Does the head really rule the heart as modern science would have us believe, or does this organ play a far greater role in our emotional responses?

    For Discovery, Tim Healey makes a personal exploration of the mysteries and science of the heart.

    Throughout history, poets have acknowledged that the heart possesses its own wisdom.

    Has the modern, rationalist tradition been too prone to make the head rule the heart?

    Some scientists now believe that the heart plays a more important function within the body – while it may not rule the head – it plays a large part in how our brain perceives emotion and feeling.

    Tim speaks to scientists, medical historians, classical scholars and people of faith. Also exploring the Hindu belief of the heart as the centre of emotion, in his quest to find out if the heart has its reasons.

  23. Samina Farooq June 18, 2014 Reply

    Jazakillahu khair iffat 🙂 appreciate that 🙂 hope others benefit from it aswell.

  24. ayesh July 24, 2014 Reply


  25. umm aairah July 24, 2014 Reply

    “You have to water the roots first. Don’t cut off the connection with your heart merely because you want to be a logical, rational person, thus burying it under the debris of darkness….”. MAKES SENSE!

  26. Umar Tariq July 24, 2014 Reply

    “Heal the heart to cure the brain and mend actions”

    An insight about the most important organ, our hearts. Jazak Allah Khair.

  27. Fareeha July 25, 2014 Reply

    MashAllah samina, I am so proud of you

    This article touched my heart. Even before your sharing , I read that and was praising it. MashAllah its very well written : )

  28. maimoona July 25, 2014 Reply

    So proud of you

  29. MC July 25, 2014 Reply

    Dear Samina ,
    This is giving me a hard time understanding :S
    Did u get training from Paulo coehlo ?

  30. umm aairah July 25, 2014 Reply

    masha Allaah too good…comprehensive n educating !

  31. syra July 25, 2014 Reply

    The article is BRILLIANT. AWESOME. Its good in the way that it doesnt go into details that jam ur brain but explains it in a laymans language yet scientific enough to sound impressive.

  32. limaan August 1, 2014 Reply

    extremely impressed. It’s a fascinating read masha Allah, written and expressed in a very engaging way.

  33. Samina Farooq August 8, 2014 Reply

    jazakumullahu khairan (to all) for taking the time out to comment/give feedback.

  34. Muhammad afzal August 11, 2014 Reply

    Masha Allah Subhan Allah

  35. Jitika August 11, 2014 Reply


  36. Abdurrahim August 11, 2014 Reply

    i like this.

  37. Samina Farooq October 18, 2014 Reply

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