Ateneo de Davao University

Ateneo de Davao

The head, heart, and hand

IN BEING a Muslim, we need to remember the three “H”. This refers to the “head, the heart, and the hand”. To be more precise and to have scientific description about the three “H”, this refers to “cognitive, affective, and behavioural”. Allow me to explain further each concept.

The first of is the Head. The Head reminds us that we need to study and understand the teachings of Islam. In most of the Hadith (sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), it reminds Muslims to value of knowledge in the different fields of science, math, art, and language.

The very first verse of the Qur’an revealed to him on the night of 27th of Ramadhan in 611 AD says: “Recite: In the name of thy Lord who created man from a clot. Recite: And thy Lord is the Most Generous Who taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not.” (Quran, 96:1-5) Another verse from the Qur’an says: “And they shall say had we but listened or used reason, we would not be among the inmates of the burning fire.” (Quran, 67:10)

Because of these verses and the several Hadiths of the prophet (SAW) that are important to every Muslim all over the world after his death, they gave rise to the Muslim Golden Age civilization from 8th to the 13th century. It was a period of scientific discovery in medicine, physics, astronomy, and others.

All Muslim scholars agree that every Muslim man’s and every Muslim woman’s prayer should be: “My Lord! Enrich me with knowledge…” (Quran, 20:114) Thus, the pursuit of knowledge and the use of reason, based on sense and observation is made obligatory on all believers. Aside from the Head, Islam also reminds Muslims of their Heart. One great Sufi mystic that I admire most is Rumi. He once said, “If you are seeking, seek us with joy, for we live in the kingdom of joy. Do not give your heart to anything else but to the love of those who are clear joy, do not stray into the neighborhood of despair. For there are hopes: they are real, they exist – do not go in the direction of darkness – I tell you: suns exist!”

The words from Rumi talks about the how we reflect and transcend beyond our physical nature. It also helps us to discern and see the hidden Light, to discover Divine Secrets, to perceive the Way that lovers can find their Beloved.

Another Muslim scholar, Sheik Hamza Yusuf, wrote in his book, Purification of the Heart (Translation and Commentary of Imm Mawlkd’s Mamharat al-Qulkb), described the concept of the heart in this manner: “almost universally, religious traditions have stressed the importance of the condition of the heart. In the Muslim scripture, the Day of Judgement is described as a day in which neither wealth nor children shall be of any benefit [to anyone], except one who comes to God with a sound heart. (QURAN, 26:88-89)

He also added, “The sound heart is understood to be free of character defects and spiritual blemishes. This “heart” is actually the spiritual heart and not the physical organ per se, although in Islamic tradition the spiritual heart is centered in the physical”. He also used as an example how traditional Chinese medicine describes the heart that houses what is known as “shen”, which is spirit. These descriptions about the heart from different cultures give value of our spiritual nature and how we see ourselves beyond this worldly life.

From the Heart, we have the Hand. The hand refers to our behaviour. How we act and react on certain things in life. Our actions relates to our eeman.

As the month of Ramadhan is fast approaching, may our head, heart and hand practice the true essence of Islam. May we remember that it is a period in our life where we learn more about our faith, to purify our hearts, and to do more good deeds to ourselves and to our fellow Muslims and non-Muslim friends and neighbours?

Lastly, according to Imam Khalid Latif, Executive Director and Chaplain, Islamic Center at New York University, “There are as many forms of fasting as there are organs of perception and sensation, and each of these has many different levels. So we ask to fast from all that Allah does not love for us, and to feast on what the Beloved loves for us.

Let us certainly fast from the limited mind, and all that it conjures up. Let us fast from fear, apart from fear and awe of Allah’s majesty. Let us fast from thinking that we know, when Allah alone is the Knower.

Let us fast from thinking negatively of anyone. Let us fast from our manipulations and strategies. Let us fast from all complaint about the life experiences that Allah gives us. Let us fast from our bad habits and our reactions.

Let us fast from desiring what we do not have. Let us fast from obsession. Let us fast from despair. Let us fast from not loving our self, and from denying our heart. Let us fast from selfishness and self-centered behaviour. Let us fast from thinking that only what serves us is important. Let us fast from seeing reality only from our own point of view. Let us fast from seeing any reality other than Allah, and from relying on anything other than Allah.

Let us fast from desiring anything other than Allah and Allah’