Is the Intellect in the Brain or the Heart? by Shaykh Muhammad ibn salih Al-Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him)

Allah the Most Glorious is the one Who knows the answer to this question. Allah knows the fraud of the eyes and what the heart conceals. The heart is in the chest. It has the intellect, understanding, and the ability for decision making.

Allah says,

أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَا

Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts to understand…[22/46]

Allah says

فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَـٰكِن تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ

“but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind in the chests [22/46]

Glory to Allah! It’s like this verse was revealed to answer a question for the people of today and the past, “ Is the mind in the brain or the heart? “

This particular question has caused some confusion among the intellectuals. The intellectuals look at and study issues through material and ideal things. They don’t refer this issue back to heart (in their conclusion). They don’t rely on Allah’s words or His prophet’s (sallahu alayhi wa salim) for their answer. In reality the answer is clear. The mind is in the heart and the heart is in the chest.

Allah says,

Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts to understand…[22/46]

Allah says,

But it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind in the chests [ 22/46]

He didn’t say the heart that is in the brain. Hence the answer is crystal clear. i.e the intellect is in the heart. Furthermore this answer is supported by the Prophet’s (sallahu alayhi wa salim) words.

“ Verily in the body there is piece of flesh, when this piece of flesh is sound and correct the entire body is sound and correct. And when the piece of flesh is corrupt the entire body is corrupt. This piece of flesh is none other than the heart.”

So, what do you think about a question that has been answered in the Allah’s book. And Allah is the creator of the world and everything else. What is your reply to something that has been answered in Sunnah of the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salim) !

It’s a must for us to face this issue and reject every speech which contradicts the Quran and Sunnah. Anything that opposes the Quran and Sunnah we must reject it and pay it no attention.

There is no doubt that the heart is the place for the intellect, but the brain is the function of thinking. Once the brain produces the thought, it prepares it and sends it to the heart. Then, the heart commands it or prohibits it. It’s like the brain is the secretary which prepares things then sends them to the heart. After they reach the heart, it either commands or prohibits these things. This action isn’t strange at all.

وفي أَنْفُسِكُم أَفَلا تُبصِرُونَ.
And also in your ownselves. Will you not then see…[51/21]

There are some amazing things in the body. The mind has a conversation. Also we say this because the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salim) said, “If it’s sound and correct the body is sound and correct.” Therefore if this affair wasn’t left to the heart, the condition of the entire body, being correct or sound wouldn’t solely be based on the heart.

In conclusion the heart is the place for intellect which directs man. Without a doubt, the heart has communication with the brain. Therefore, when the brain is absent the thoughts are idle and the intellect is ruined. The mind and the heart are connected. The intellect thinks about thoughts in the heart. And the heart is in the chest.

Allah says, “

وَلَـٰكِن تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ

but it is the hearts which are in the breasts…[22/46]

Taken from Riyadus Salaheen with Explanation from Shaykh Al-Uthaymeen vol 2/ 212-214 Darul Watan 1st edition 1995

Translated by Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Battle Sr.

Doha, Qatar 1432 ©

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