HASSAN RASHEED: ASA, your talk on black & white is excellent! I hear in your words & explanations Imam W. Deen Mohammed (All Praise Due To Allah). Please don't stop! I have a question if you don't mind. What does the heart symbolize in scripture? Too many our Imams are not clear when referring to the heart. They make it seem as if scripture is addressing the flesh (physical heart). Also, how can I support what you are doing?
IMAM EARL ABDULMALIK MOHAMMED: Thank you for your question my brother. I very much appreciate your kind words and support. We go back a long way, and I have many fond memories of our work together when I was Imam in Baltimore. Please extend greetings to all of our dear brothers and sisters there from me.
The heart is a big subject in Scripture. Any natural function in human life that is a vital function is taken up as a serious matter of attention in the Revealed Knowledge or Revealed Books. We can think of those mentioned as Prophets and Messengers as scientists in a sense, of the human life. They were looking closely at humanity, the human physical form, human tendencies and the human emotional nature, and they were studying the human vital organs in their functions in feeding the human body's health, as symbols for the whole existence of humanity and the meaning and destiny of human life.
Every symptom, every condition, every state in the thinking of human beings and how that results as expression in human community, the small picture or microcosm of it, is in the human form. This is how ancient man would look at the natural world. They saw everything as a picture with a message for human life. We can see Abraham, peace be on him, in his mind working, studying, searching the night and day skies for answers for the human life. Finally, we know he came to conclusions. He found what he should give his devotion to, the Lord-Creator who fashioned all that he was looking at. He came to understand that the One who ordered it all, also made the order for him as an individual, and that that same One, the Lord and Creator, had a plan for human life. Abraham was searching for answers for problems in the human world and once he came to the conclusion that there is a Lord-Creator, the Qur'an said he had the perfect condition for the heart -the heart at peace.
So, Abraham sets the tradition for the searching that comes to a satisfaction in the human psyche. So, the heart is the symbol of that satisfaction. The heart is the reservoir for the satisfaction that every human soul searches for. The heart is the seat of intelligence -it is the core faculty of human life because it is the intelligence that has to be satisfied. They were looking inwardly too, at the human body. They came to understand higher meanings for the eyes, and the hands, and the feet, and the head, and especially the heart. The eyes may see, the fingers may touch, the tongue may taste, the ears may hear, the nose may smell, but there is no discernment without the sensitivity of intelligence and urge for satisfaction that the heart feels. So, this is not the physical heart. We see in the function of the physical heart, how it feeds blood to all of these areas to support the senses ability to take in information. But the symbolic heart is what processes the values of these senses, and organizes these values for human life to progress.
The physical heart is a symbol for the real heart. The real heart is what permits us to have an intelligent, satisfying, moral community existence. If that symbolic heart is diseased then we will permit anything into our world and say it is ok to live with. Our eyes will see blight in our neighborhoods, and it is not the eyes that are offended, it is the heart influencing the eyes that will be offended. The eyes just see what is there. The eyes don't have the ability to make a determination of value without the heart. And it is the heart that says to the brain and the hands, go and do something about that blight. If the heart is diseased, those same eyes will see that blight and not be offended. The diseased heart will not speak to the brain and the hands to make any change at all, because the heart in that state is dead to its true purpose. This is why Prophet Muhammed, the prayers and the peace be on him, said that there is a piece of flesh, that if it is whole and healthy then the body is whole and healthy, and if it is diseased, then the body is diseased. Surely, it is the heart.
The intellect of man must also be fed by the healthy symbolic heart, just as the physical heart pumps blood to the brain. Brother Hassan, please invite me to Baltimore for a public address so I can preach this at the Baltimore Convention Center just as Imam W. Deen Mohammed did in the later 90's. When we are performing our prayers and we are at the point of completion in the prayer and we turn to the right and then to the left, the salaams that we give must come from the healthy heart or else they are voided. This is why we bow our head between the salaams, to be conscious of the role the heart plays in guaranteeing a peaceful and productive human society. There is much more to say, but we will have more opportunities to address this question in the coming months and years.
My brother, the best way to support my work is to make a way for me to come into these cities all over America with this message. I know you see and support its value, and I am looking for you and other strong men like you to help me deliver Imam W. Deen Mohammed's message again in this world.