Tafseer Art: The Qur’an and The Heart

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In Surah Yunus, verse 57, Allah says:

“O mankind, there has come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers.”

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The Arabic term ‘mau’izah’ (preaching) means to restrain intermingled with warning and awakening. The phrase ‘shifa-is-sudur’ refers to the purification of spirit and heart from spiritual evils. The spiritual defects are more grievous than diseases of the body. The Qur’an’s advantage lies in this very healing of spiritual diseases.

This short verse encompasses four great qualities of the Qur’an – instruction, healing, guidance, and mercy. These qualities are listed in that specific order to allude to the four kinds of stages that shape education and development, that is:

  1. The preaching stage against visible sins
  2. The purification stage for purging the soul from ethical and social evils.
  3. The self-guiding stage towards those objectives which signify worldly happiness and the happiness and prosperity in the Hereafter.
  4. The stage of receiving divine blessings which is forgiveness and Paradise. Only those groups who seek will be covered by the divine blessings.

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This verse is comparable to Surah Al-Isra, verse 82:

“And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.”

And Surah Fussilat, verse 44:

“And if We had made it a non-Arabic Qur’an, they would have said, “Why are its verses not explained in detail [in our language]? Is it a foreign [recitation] and an Arab [messenger]?” Say, “It is, for those who believe, a guidance and cure.” And those who do not believe – in their ears is deafness, and it is upon them blindness. Those are being called from a distant place.”

This is why the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“When afflictions, like a dark and terrible night, invade you, seek refuge in the Qur’an. It is simultaneously full of preaching as well as being a remedy, a source of illumination and blessing all at the same time.”

I am sure many Muslims have experienced a lapse in faith at least once in their lives, which is why Allah reminds us repeatedly to turn to the Qur’an when we feel a sickness of the heart. What I find encouraging is that Allah has addressed this verse to the whole of mankind, which is a reminder that no one is alone in experiencing spiritual ailments, that it is normal. He consoles the believer by explaining that low points are simply part of the journey.

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