The Heart as the Property of Allah (s.w.t.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from Tafsir at-Tustari by Imam Sahl at-Tustari (q.s.).

By the much-frequented Fane; (Surah ath-Thur:4)

The Fane here, refers to the Bayt al-Ma’mur.  In its inner meaning, it refers to the heart: the hearts of mystics, are frequented by His Gnosis, ma’rifat; His Love, mahabbah; and intimacy, uns, with Him.  It is to this, the mystic’s heart, that the angels make pilgrimage, for it is the House of the Realisation of His Oneness, Bayt at-Tawhid.  He Created the heart ‘for Himself’; the heart of a mu’min is His Throne, His House, the Ka’bah.

Now consider this ayat:

“… and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up or bow or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). (Surah al-Hajj:26)

Just as He has commanded the purification of His House at Makkah from idols, so also He has commanded the purification of that house of His in which He Deposited the mystery of faith, sirr al-iman, and the light of gnosis, nur al ma’rifah, that is the heart of the believer.  There are hearts illumined with adzkar and there are hearts deserted due to ghaflah, heedlessness.

Now such were their houses ― in utter ruin ― because they practised wrongdoing.  Verily in this is a Sign for people of knowledge. (Surah an-Naml:52)

Whomsoever He Inspires with His dzikr, He has freed from oppression, zhulm.  Yet again, showing the heart to be Allah’s (s.w.t.) Property.  Truly the heart is like a house: if it is unoccupied, it goes to ruin, while if it is occupied by other than its Owner, or by other than one whom the Owner has Settled there, it will also go to ruin.  Therefore, if we wish our hearts to be in good repair, we must not allow anyone other than to Allah Exalted is He to occupy it.  The heart, therefore, needs to be protected; it is the seat of faith, it can be diverted from the true direction, like how Adam (a.s.) was diverted.

The heart is the most beneficial part of the human being.  It is also the most dangerous, due to its tendency to fluctuate, taqallub, and its depth, and it is compared to a sea across which one must journey.  The heart has a light of insight, through which it can overcome desire and lust.  The heart is the quality within human nature, which transforms spiritual power into reality.  When it performs its proper function, it is able to distinguish between reality and illusion, right and wrong, and truth and falsehood.  If the heart is not functioning properly, even the sensory organs begin to lose their true functions.  The heart’s role is an extension of the functions of the sensory capacities to a higher level of functioning.  People whose hearts are locked away from Divine Guidance are described in the Qur’an as:

… they have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not.  They are like cattle nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning). (Surah al-A’araf:179)


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