Intelligence is immeasurable, intangible and difficult to define. When we think of intelligence we think of IQ and academic achievement. But what exactly is intelligence and what are the characteristics of an intelligent person? These were questions that led me to read ‘The Intelligent Heart, The Pure Heart’ by Dr. Gohar Mushtaq.
It has historically been understood that the brain is an institution of reason, while the heart is an institution of emotion. The brain containing skills of reason, logic and the linear process of rational thought has been used to categorize masculinity, while the heart being the realm of feeling has been inclined towards femininity. But it surely cannot be that men are purely creatures of the brain while women of the heart. There is a linkage between the heart and the brain and this is what Dr. Mushtaq emphasizes in his well-researched book.
The Quran informs that the heart is not just a pumping organ with a biological function, but it has abilities of insight and understanding and thus recognizing truth from falsehood. The believing heart is ‘satisfied’, ‘wide awake’ and ‘strong’ and the disbelieving heart is ‘hard’, ‘sealed’ and ‘diseased’.
The book is divided into four chapters. The first chapter considers the functions of the heart beyond the pumping of blood. The writer clearly explains that the eyes and ears collect information while the heart analyses and interprets what is gathered from the environment. In the second chapter it is argued that both the brain and heart possess intelligence. It explores the relevance of emotion and intuition in the heart leading the writer to claim that ‘the brain needs the heart for its survival more than the heart needs the brain.’ (p.22)
The third chapter considers ‘The Unique Heart’ with close discussion of the condition of the believer’s heart and astonishing scientific facts therein. Dr Mushtaq explains: ‘The companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa) had very strong immunity and a good defence system and their hearts were united because they had vaccinated themselves with the Quran.’ (p.40) And finally the final chapter considers the diseases within the heart and their cures.