Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Special Properties of the Heart of Man

Taken from book 21 of Imaam Al-Ghazzali’s Ihya Ulum Al-Din
Title: An Exposition on the Special Properties on the Heart of Man.

Khaasiyah – an attribute which is inseparable to something, which makes it unique and thus has a special property.
There are things in the world where Allah has given them special properties, e.g. there are certain herbs in the world which are used for specific medicinal purposes, animals have their own unique attributes, and so what makes Man so special? It is his Heart.
The special properties of the heart are based on:
-          Knowledge (Ilm)
-          Will (Iraadah)
From Knowledge (Ilm) meaning: special knowledge, the ability to reflect on the past and future (animals cannot reflect on things) – thus is a special attribute gifted to Man related to the Heart.
From Will (Iraadah) meaning: the ability to act on the intellect, to reach a certain desire/benefit.
Knowledge and Will are related because, if someone wants to do something beneficial (i.e. take medicine), but can only do it through a way that is undesirable (through injection), if they are intelligent they will still go ahead with it in order to reach that which benefits them, therefore the Will goes against the desire based on their knowledge. In comparison, an animal will not go against the desire, it Wills what it desires, if its hungry it eats.
Imaam Al-Ghazzali states that the heart of man has the special properties of Knowledge  and Will which separate it:
-          From other animals (as described above)
-          From the youth in his natural disposition, for this comes to him only with maturity
Thus the difference between the Heart of Man and animals, and the heart of the mature man and the youth.
So its interesting to note that one may adopt the special qualities of the heart – but infact it will be of no real use to them until they know how to use it, and they will know how to use it only with maturity and maturity only comes with time and life experience. Hence why we have young people of today whom have the Will to gain and seek out knowledge, however are still not righteous people, or are unable to make right decisions as they lack maturity  and experience which can only come through time.

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