In Islamic philosophy, the qalb (Arabic: قلب), or heart, is the origin of intentional activities, the cause behind all humans' intuitive deeds. While the brain handles the physical impressions, qalb (the heart) is responsible for deep understanding within the sadr (the chest).[1] Heart and brain work together, but it is the heart where true knowledge can be received.

In Islamic thought, the heart is not the seat of feelings and emotions,[2] but of rūḥ (Arabic: روح): the immortal cognition, the rational soul.[3]

Qalb (قَلْب) literally means to turn about. So what is the connection between “turn about” and “the heart”? When something turns about, it does not remain the same and so does our heart. Our feelings and thoughts change all the time and that is why it is called Qalb (قَلْب).

In the Quran, the word qalb is used more than 130 times.[citation needed]

Stages of taming qalb

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Qalb also refers to the second among the six purities or Lataif-e-sitta in Sufi philosophy. To attend Tasfiya-e-Qalb, the Salik needs to achieve the following sixteen goals.

  1. Zuhd or abstention from evil
  2. Taqwa or God-consciousness
  3. War' a or attempt to get away from things that are not related to Allah.
  4. Tawakkul or being content with whatever Allah gives
  5. Sabır or patience regarding whatever Allah Subhanahu wa ta'âlâ does
  6. Şukr or gratefulness for whatever Allah gives
  7. Raza or seeking the happiness of Allah
  8. Khauf or fear of Allah's wrath
  9. Rija or hope of Allah's blessing
  10. Yaqeen or complete faith in Allah
  11. Ikhlas or purity of intention
  12. Sidq or bearing the truth of Allah
  13. Muraqabah or total focus on Allah
  14. Khulq or humbleness for Allah
  15. Dhikr or remembrance of Allah
  16. Khuloot or isolation from everyone except Allah


  1. ^ Treiger, Alexander (2011). Inspired Knowledge in Islamic Thought: Al-Ghazali's Theory of Mystical Cognition and Its Avicennian Foundation. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-136-65562-3.
  2. ^ von Grunebaum, Gustave E. (2010). Medieval Islam: A Study in Cultural Orientation. University of Chicago Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-226-86492-1.
  3. ^ Rassool, G. Hussein (2015). Islamic Counselling: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. Routledge. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-317-44125-0.

See also