Sound Heart: (Tafseer extractions From The Well Known Qurtubi رحمه الله. Compiled and Edited By Maymoona Stranger)
It’s beneficial and beautiful, yet extremely comprehensive. A Dua that’s light on the tongue and easy to memorize, that I’ve learnt and find too beautiful not to share. A Dua that goes as follows:
اللهم إني أسألك قلبا سليما
(Allāhumma innī asa’luka qalban saleemā)
Translation: “Oh Allah I ask you for a Sound Heart.”
What makes this dua so beautiful is what intrigues me, and it’s nothing other than the Tafseer behind the Āyaat of the Qurān, from which this particular supplication is derived.
In Surah al-Shu’araa’, the Prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام made a Du’aa in which he described the Day of Judgment by saying:
يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون الا من اتي الله بقلب سليم
The Day wherein neither wealth nor sons will avail, * Except him who brings to Allah a qalb saleem pure heart/Sound Heart
Commenting on this in his famous book of tafsir, Imam al-Qurtubi wrote the following:
قوله تعالى : يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون ( يوم ) بدل من ( يوم ) الأول . أي يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون أحدا . والمراد بقوله : ” ولا بنون ” الأعوان ; لأن الابن إذا لم ينفع فغيره متى ينفع ؟ وقيل : ذكر البنين لأنه جرى ذكر والد إبراهيم ، أي لم ينفعه إبراهيم . ـ
يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ
The Day wherein neither wealth nor sons will avail – “meaning, a day on which neither wealth nor sons will benefit anyone.”
And the intended meaning of his statement, “nor sons” is helpers, because if sons do not help you, then who else will? And some say, “he mentioned sons here because it comes along with mentioning Ibrahim’s عليه السلام father” – i.e. Ibrahim will not benefit him.
إلا من أتى الله بقلب سليم هو استثناء من الكافرين ; أي لا ينفعه ماله ولا بنوه . وقيل : هو استثناء من غير الجنس ، أي لكن من أتى الله بقلب سليم ينفعه لسلامة قلبه . ـ
إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى الله بقلب سليم
“Except him who brings to Allah a qalb saleem [pure heart]/Sound Heart”
This is an exclusion of the disbelievers, i.e. their wealth and sons will not benefit them. But others say, it is an exclusion without any exception, i.e. (on that day neither wealth nor sons will benefit) however, whoever comes to Allah with a qalb saleem [pure heart]/Sound Heart will benefit from the purity of his heart.
وخص القلب بالذكر ; لأنه الذي إذا سلم سلمت الجوارح ، وإذا فسد فسدت سائر الجوارح . وقد تقدم في أول ( البقرة ) . ـ
And the heart is mentioned specifically here because it is that which, if it is pure then one’s limbs are pure, but if it is corrupted then the rest of one’s limbs are corrupted. As the Hadeeth says so beautifully concerning the heart:
اذا صلحت صلح الجسد كله وإذا فسدت فسد الجسد كله
The Tafseer continues:
And there have been different opinions as to the meaning of qalb saleem [pure heart].
Some commentators say: pure from doubts and from al-shirk, but as for sin then there is no one who is safe from that. This is as Qatadah, ibn Zaid and the majority of the Mufasiroon said.
Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib, who was a well know Taabi’ee, said: “A heart which is saleem – meaning healthy – is the heart of the believer, for the hearts of the disbelievers and the hypocrites are ill. Allah said:
فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ
In their hearts is a disease [2:10]
With regards to سليم؛
Abu ‘Uthamn al-Sayyaari رحمه الله said: it is a heart free from al-bid’ah (religious innovation), content with the Sunnah.
Al-Hasan Al Basri who was a giant Sūfi رحمه لله said: pure from the diseases of wealth and children.
Junaid al Baghdadi رحمة الله عليه said: linguistically, saleem means “bitten”, so the meaning is that the heart is like one who has been bitten by the fear of Allah.
Furthermore, a heart bitten with the fear of Allah is ever conscious of His presence. This motivates him to stay away from sin.
And Al-Dhahhaak رحمه الله said: al-saleem, meaning pure.
And I [Qurtubi] say: This statement [of al-Dhahhaak] combines all these various opinions by means of its inclusiveness, and it is a good statement. By it he meant: pure from all forms of blame, and characterized by all forms of beauty. And Allah knows best.
وقد روي عن عروة أنه قال : يا بني لا [ ص: 108 ] تكونوا لعانين فإن إبراهيم لم يلعن شيئا قط ، قال الله تعالى : إذ جاء ربه بقلب سليم . ـ
And it has been narrated from ‘Urwah that he said: O my son, don’t be one of those who curse, for Ibrahim never cursed anything at all. Allah said:
إِذْ جَاءَ رَبَّهُ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ
When he came to his Lord with a pure heart [37:84]
وقال محمد بن سيرين : القلب السليم أن يعلم أن الله حق ، وأن الساعة قائمة ، وأن الله يبعث من في القبور . ـ
Muhammad ibn Seereen رحمه الله who was a leading Mufasir and great Tabiee said: al-qalb al-saleem (Sound Heart) is that one knows that Allah is the truth, and that the Hour is coming, and that Allah will raise him from the grave.
And in Saheeh Muslim there is the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “There will enter Paradise people whose hearts will be like the hearts of birds“, meaning – and Allah knows best – that they are similar in that they are free from every sin, pure from every unbecoming thing, not savvy in the ways of the world. This is similar to what Anas ibn Maalik narrated, that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The majority of the people of Paradise are simple-minded”,
and this is an authentic hadeeth. Meaning: not savvy when it comes to disobedience towards Allah. al-Azhari said, “Here, the simple-minded one is he who is naturally upon goodness and oblivious towards evil and does not know it.” And al-Qutabi said, “The simple-minded ones are those whose purity of heart and good thoughts regarding the people are the overriding norm.”
[Jaami’ li-Ahkam al-Qur’an 13/108-109]
Just to touch on the words of the Hadeeth that mention the “hearts of birds”, note that birds are soft hearted creatures. They rely on Allah with full reliance, and according to some commentators, they are frightful creatures. Hence it implies that be like birds, be extremely fearful of Allah’s anger, at the same time totally reliant on his mercy and have the utmost compassion in your heart. Good character towards humans and fulfilling the rights of The Creator to your best are vast subjects which are inevitably summed up to form a
From the above lengthy and beautiful discussion, we conclude that a sound heart is the greatest boon man could ask for, something that had to be continuously polished and something that will be treasured like any other priceless treasure. The Ambiyaa were blessed with such hearts, pure, sound and ever conscious of Allah.
The most we can do is that, in our aspiration to be like them, we try our best to follow them, immediately repent once we sin and follow our bad with good deeds.
و بالله التوفيق
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