Human Heart (Qalb) in Islamic Ethics: A Perspective From the Quran and Sunnah

Prajna Vihara 24 (1):82-92 (2023)
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The importance of the self (nafas) with which heart is assumed to be connected is significantly present in Islamic ethics that could be derived from the primary sources of Islam, the scripture and Sunnah. However, the human heart (Qalb) is in need of further exploration concerning its relationship to ethics. Ethics is part of the Islamic worldview and authentic ethical behavior in such a worldview is connected to intentionality which is an attribute of the heart. The Islamic sources show that the sound heart is at the center of an ethical agent that is free of vices, and the strength and motivation for good actions originate from the heart by the virtue of belief, Iman. Therefore, the right ethical behavior emanates from the heart. The important point is that intentionality as the property of the heart matters in Islamic ethics because ethical accountability is ultimately before God in Islam. Therefore, there is a responsibility for a Muslim to safeguard his heart from temptations and vices. Hearts can get ethically sick and one reason for such sickness and hardness could be because of committing sins repeatedly which are mostly unethical actions by their very nature. Therefore, a Muslim should keep his heart clean from vices. In ethical decision-making, the heart plays its role as its purity will lead to good actions and better understanding. The heart has intellectual and cognitive powers that can help in making ethical decisions.

Author's Profile

Mohammad Manzoor Malik
Assumption University of Thailand


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