Devotional — Purification of the heart

Published 2:35 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

We have a tradition which gives us a simple message of guidance. It reminds us that there is a morsel of flesh in our bodies, if it is healthy then the whole body is clean but if it is diseased then the entire body is sick — indeed this is the heart.

If we ponder this message in the context of human history, its validity peeks through the curtain of our lived experiences. The oppression of human potential has plagued us generation after generation.

Centuries of wars, military occupations and oppression of human potential, the invasion of one super power of its sovereign neighbor and man’s greedy self-interest have upset the inherent peaceful balance in the Almighty’s Creation.

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If the sensitivities of our heart are motivated by selfishness, then there is no space for concern for the wellbeing of others. When our hearts have defined a specific objective, our minds begin to develop approaches to achieve that goal.

We find this truth expressed in scripture: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs, 23:7). How could one participate in some of the atrocities that we have historically witnessed if the oppressive individuals or governments were in possession of a clean heart? Do they not understand that each soul is responsible for its actions? Apparently not.

“Do those in whose hearts is a disease, think that God will not bring to light all their hidden hatred? (Qur’an, 47:29)”. Our hearts are the motivators of all human actions. Kindness in our hearts motivates us to treat others with kindness. Distrust in our hearts results in distrust of others which is reflected in our actions. Hatred in our hearts leads us to actions that are expressive of these feelings.

Our hearts engage our minds to analyze situations from a unique perspective. Our minds translate this analysis into actions — whether positive or negative. This heart-mind-action interchange defines us as individuals. For example, it is not too difficult to discern the heart of Mother Teresa or that of Adolph Hitler.

Each of us is responsible for our actions which are motivated by our thoughts. Our thoughts, in turn, emerge from the sensitivities in our hearts. Social justice for all Americans starts with a pure heart — one that is congruent with the Divine laws of The Almighty.

Our heart is the gateway to our mind. We must guard it with care.

Qadir Abdus-Sabur, Ph.D. is an Imam at the Islamic Center of Prince Edward. His email address is