Hadith: "Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart. " (*)
This word is the last part of the famous Hadith of N`oman ibn Bashir that begins with "Both legal and illegal things are evident.” This Hadith was reported by Al Bukhari (1) and Muslim (2) on the authority of N`oman ibn Bashir who said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) saying: "Both legal and illegal things are evident.”
This Hadith was quoted by Dr. Muhammad `Ali Al Barr in his book (Death of the Heart or Death of the Brain?) (3) and by Dr. `Abdullah `Abdur-Rahim Al `Ibadi in his book (Modern Science an Argument for Human Being or an Argument Against Him?) (4).
Dr. Muhammad `Ali Al Barr says: "This Hadith contains a medical miracle because any disease of the heart necessarily affects the rest of the body. It is the heart that pumps blood carrying carbon dioxide to the lungs where the carbon dioxide is breathed out and the oxygen meets the hemoglobin present in the red blood cells then the purified (oxidized) blood returns from the lungs into the left ventricle whereupon the heart pumps it to all parts of the body through the aorta.
If this circulation is weakened due to any disease of the heart the tissue cannot get the needed amount of oxygen. It is worth mentioning that oxygen burns sugars and fats in order to reproduce the energy. Otherwise (5) the movement and activity of cells and tissues is stopped leading to their death and destruction hence, any corruption in the pumping system in the left side within the rib cage leads to the corruption of whole body.” After that Dr. Muhammad `Ali Al Barr outlined spiritual aspect of the heart.
Dr. `Abdullah `Abdur-Rahim Al `Iba’di also talked in this regard similar to the words of Dr. Muhammad `Ali Al Barr then Al `Iba’di added: "The Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) elucidated it fourteen centuries ago before the people knew nothing about the blood circulation in human body explaining the role of the heart that has such importance in human life." (6)
Words of both doctors link the health of the body and its sickness to the physical health or physical sickness of the heart while they have ascribed the moral and ethical behavior to the spiritual side of the heart. Nevertheless, this conclusion is true but there is another aspect as the body is also affected in the terms of health and sickness by the spiritual condition of the heart. And this is evident from our observance as we see a man burdened and sad with slender and tired body contrary to a healthy person. And Allah knows best.
(*) Death of the Heart or Death of the Brain? p.(28).
(1) Sahih Al Bukhari in the book of faith, chapter on (The excellence of the one who exercises prudence in his religion)(1/126 Hadith No.52).
(2) Sahih Muslim in the book of distribution of water, chapter on(Acting according to permissibility and leaving the suspicions) (3/1219.1220 Hadith No. 1599). Al Jam`e (11/221 Hadith No. 2076).
(3) Death of the Heart or Death of the Brain? (p. 28).
(4) Modern Science an Argument for Human Being or against Him? (2/112).
(5) It is better to say if Allah wills, as in Islam according to Hadith any good result should be attributed to Allah firstly then to the direct visible cause.
(6) Modern Science an Argument for Human Being or against Him? (2/114).