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July 2006
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Book Review

The Heart is More than Just a Pump…
Reviewed by Nigar Ataulla


The Intelligent Heart, The Pure Heart An insight into the Heart based on the Quran, Sunnah and Modern Science

By Dr. Gohar Mushtaq

Edited by: Dr. Abia Afsar Siddiqui
Price: 4.00 Pounds
Published by: Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd, 1,Wynne Road, London, SW9 0BB, www.taha.co.uk. e-mail: sales@taha.co.uk


The Quran and Hadith refer to the heart as an organ of affection, understanding, thinking and feeling. The book, The Intelligent Heart, The Pure Heart, An insight into the Heart based on the Quran, Sunnah and Modern Science, by Dr. Gohar Mushtaq is a bold effort to render concept to the ubiquitous adage in almost all literary writings and in common verbal usage of the heart as an organ of intellect with the capacity for rational thought, inference and discrimination. Affection, emotion, love, hate, courage and a multitude of other words are used in relation to the heart to depict it as having the capacity of intellect, judgement and capable of distinguishing good from evil. Old scriptures and religious books including the holy Quran frequently refer to the heart as an organ of understanding and judgement. This fascinating book begins by examining the ‘intelligence’ of this unique organ of the human body in the light of the Quran and Hadith, showing how science is only now beginning to uncover the wisdom known to Muslims for over 1400 years. Recognising that the key to eternal life is through a Pure Heart, the book continues by examining the main diseases of the heart and their cures as prescribed within Islam. This is a refreshingly different approach to a classic subject.


Author of the book, Dr. Gohar Mushtaq, based currently in the United States received his Ph.D degree in Chemistry in 2001, specialising in the field of Bio-Chemistry and Bio-physical Chemistry. From his childhood, he received a thorough Islamic education from his father. Throughout his college and university education, he continued studying the classical Islamic sciences privately from various Islamic teachers. Dr Gohar frequently delivers Friday khutbahs and lectures at various mosques and Islamic centres in the areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He has also authored the popular book-Growing a Beard: In the Light of the Quran, Sunnah and Modern Science.


The book, The Intelligent Heart, The Pure Heart, is not an attempt to compare the functioning of the brain with that of the heart. The purpose of the research in this book is not to negate the importance of the brain, but to emphasise the importance of the heart.


The author should be credited for doing indepth research on the subject. Picking up references from Ihya Ulum ad-Din of Imam Ghazali to Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, Dr Gohar has presented facts which are amazing. He has emphasized the importance of the science of tazkiyyah, the purification of the heart, in this age of materialism where the emphasis is on the brain. In order to be complete as human beings, we must recognise and accept the importance of the heart’s wisdom together with the intellect of the brain. When our heart and brain waves act in synchrony, our thoughts become more focused and rational. We need to have our hearts and brains in order because that is the balance of batin (inward) and zahir (outward). We need to always remember the words of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh): “Indeed there is in the body a piece of flesh which if it is sound then the whole body is sound and if it is corrupt then the whole body is corrupt. Indeed it is the heart” (Bukhari and Muslim).


“It may be of interest to readers to mention the reason that acted as an impetus in my writing this book. The subject of the intelligence of the human heart as it is mentioned in religious scriptures has always fascinated me. During my high school years in the 1980s, I was once watching a lecture about the function of the human heart by a surgeon on television. During the course of his lecture, the surgeon mentioned that there is no intelligence or emotion in the human heart. At that time, I did not have any scientific proof to refute his claim. However that incident further triggered my interest in this subject and I started to research the subject of the intelligence of the human heart,” says Dr Gohar.


In this supersonic age of speed, people seem to have no time to reflect. They follow their minds and not their hearts. From dream merchants to movie makers, the heart is tossed about carelessly.They have made the heart a petty toy.


Dr. Gohar’s book comes as a wake-up call and contains compelling examples to initiate a process of thinking for the curious mind. Somehow, we will all agree that if the heart is not inclined, we rarely feel good. This feeling from the heart is the driving message of the book… the distinction between good and bad, the cure for the heart after all is the contented heart.


So follow your heart and pick up this book. (Dr Gohar can be reached at gmushtaq2000@yahoo .com)