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Assalamualaikum, i actually wanted to know what is deeds of heart? I heard a lot of scholars say that if a person doesn't have deeds of heart, he basically doesn't have faith, so what is good deeds of heart, and what are bad deeds of heart, do they mean a person's intention or his believe it things like a person's believe in islam, and things like that, are they called deeds of heart?

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    Honestly the only scholars I've read so far using this term are ibn Taymiyyah, his student ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah and of course salafi scholars. I'm not aware whether this term is used by any others or earlier scholars. However the meaning or importance of the heart's impact on deeds is agreed upon.
    – Medi1Saif
    Feb 2, 2022 at 7:44

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You may be referring to al-Ghazali's The Marvels of the Heart

He describes the deeds of the heart as a process in four steps:

  • an involuntary intention, an impulse that has not yet come into contiousness.
  • an inclination, as comming into contiousness, but without a decision
  • conviction, where it is considered whether something should be done.
  • decision to act Thes stages are "deeds of the heart". He writes about the decision:

The Fourth of these stages is a decision to act, and one is held accountale for it, But if it is not carried out, the case is to be considered. If the men has given it up through fear of Allah and contrition for his decision, then this is reckoned to him as a good deed. His decision was evil, but his abstaining from it and struggle with himself against it were good. A decision in accord with nature does not indicate a complete heedlessness of Allah, but abstinence through struggle against the nature requires great power. So his effort in going contrary to nature, which is a work done for Alleh, is stronger then his effort to agree with Satan through agreeing with his own nature, Thus it is reckoned to him as a good deed, because his effort in abstaining end his decision thereto outweighed his decision to do the deed. But if the act is stopped by some hin- drance, or if he gave it up for any reason other then the fear of Allah, it is reckoned to him as an evil deed. His decision was voluntery act of the heart.

Ghazhali places the action of faith acting mainly in the fourth, decision-making period, as a concious act, regulating unconscious impulses and exposes how to train this institiution in belief, and qualifies the mere intention to sin not as a sin but counts the unrevised sinful decision that was prevented from bein done only by external influence as a sin.

You may read his entire book (see link above) to understand his thoughts. I quoted from chapter 13, p.165 in the linked document.

A different approach is found parting from faith, making the believer become eager to do good deeds as in the context of Al-Hasan Al-Basrî:

Faith (îmân) is not by embellishment or wishful thinking, but it is what settles in the heart and is verified through your works. Whoever says good but does not do good will have his words compared to his deeds by Allah. Whoever says good and does good will have his words raised by his deeds. This is because Allah ‘azza wa jalla said: To Him ascends the good word, and the righteous deed raises it. [Sûrah Al-Fâtir: 10]

In likeliness, a good deed of the heart is equally not valuable until it is done or, in analogy, speaking with al-Ghazali, it was hindered by outer circumstances.

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Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: “Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.”

(Sahih Bukhari: 52).

We know that good and evil are coupling to make this universe. Same is the case with human nature or inner personality, which has strong connection with our heart. Our physical organ, heart circulates and connects us to human emotions, beliefs as well as experiences of love, joy, loss, grief, drama, sadness, inspiration and motivation as well. Spiritually provides us a context and tells us how we have to use all these attributes to build a better life. So, the heart is the basic, central point for our intentions, actions and life. Most of our stories belong to it.

However, good deeds of hearts belong to the purity of heart, intentions, thoughts and emotions and bad deeds occur due to the corruption of these attributes. Satan, our Nafs and Fitnas around us corrupt these attributes whereas, our Fitra (Natural inclination), Allah’s messengers, Quran, hadith, scholars, and every person or sign who guides towards Allah are all present to enable us for doing good deeds. Let’s talk in detail.

             **Bad deeds of heart:**

Firstly, we are all sent in this world for a test. Our first test is to keep ourselves away from Satan’s waswasas, he insinuates in our hearts.

Satan said to Allah Subhan Tallah:

"Because you have made me go astray, I shall certainly try to seduce people into straying from the right path” “Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from their right-hand side and from their left-hand side; and You will not find many of them giving You thanks”

(Al Araf: 16, 17)

These Ayats suggest that evil intentions, arrogance, ungratefulness, jealousy, forgetting Allah Subhan Tallah and getting astray from Siratay Mustakeem are related to the bad deeds of hearts. They are all included in Satan’ mission as he said all this out of the above-mentioned attributes. Allah Subhan Tallah has granted him permission that’s why

"Satan reaches everywhere in the human body as blood reaches in it,”

(Sahih Bukhari: 2035)

But at the same time, Allah Subhan Tallah has favored us as mentioned in a hadith:

"Every son of Adam sins, and the best of the sinners are the repentant."

(Tirmidhi: 2499)

So, any human being can be subject to errors, Allah being the only perfect one. Thus, the sole authority for the forgiveness of any human being corresponds to Allah.

Secondly, if we succeed in keeping ourselves away from Satan mission, then we have our Nafs as a test.

"And if we have willed, we would surely raised him by their means but he clung to the earth and followed his desires."

(Surah Araf: 176)

Al-Tabari reported:

“Hasan Al Basra, May Allah be blesses with him said: your true enemy is not the one you are relieved from if you killed him, Rather, your true enemy is your Nafs, between your two sides.”

(Tahdhid al Athar Musnad ‘Umar2/812).

But Allah Subhan Tallah has favored us at the same time by saying:

But as for the one who fears to stand before his lord and restrains himself from low desires The gardens (of bliss) shall surely be (his permanent) abode.

(Naziat: 40, 41)

Prophet Muhammad Pbuh said:

“The actual Mujahid is the one who strives against his self in obedience to God, The Mighty and majestic.”

(Tirmidi: 1621, Musnad Ahmad: 23997, Ibn Hibban: 4706.)

It means lack of self-control and following low desires are also related to the bad deeds of hearts. Whereas, the obedience of Allah Subhan Tallah develops Taqwaa (every deed which makes Allah happy) and self-control against all the evil deeds of heart

Thirdly, we have lots of Fitnas (temptation) in our surrounding.

“And We test you by evil and by good by way of trial [fitna]….”

(Surah Al Anbiya: 35).

“ ….Henceforth if there comes to you a guidance from Me, then whosoever follows My guidance shall neither go astray nor suffer misery.”

(Taha: 123).

……so if they repent and amend (keeping their conduct good) then turn aside from them, For Allah is always ready to accept repentance. He is All-Compassionate

(Nisa: 16).

      ***Good deeds of Heart***

Allah has made all the arrangements to provide us guidance and Hidayat. As He has created us upon his fitrah.

“Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: No child is born but upon Fitra. He then said. Recite: The nature made by Allah in which He created man, there is no altering of Allah's nature; that is the right religion." (Sahih Muslim: 6425).

It is the fitrah (natural inclination/sound human nature) which is instilled in our souls and hearts, that drives us to believe in and obey Allah Subhan Tallah whole heartedly.

Allah Subhan Tallah has also placed some of His attributes in us like modesty, forbearance, kindness, Sabar, assuming goods of other, forgiveness and natural goodness for all etc.

“And when your Lord said to the angels: I am going to place on the earth a vicegerent” “And He taught Adam all the names, then presented them to the angels; then He said: Tell me the names of those if you are right.”

(Al Baqarah:30, 31)

Here the names mean realities and knowledge which guide us to do good deeds of heart. That’s why, Humans have the greatest capacity for knowledge on account of having divine element in them, which makes man a worthy being. The angels were commanded to prostrate before Adam (a.s.) only after Allah had breathed life into him-that is instilling the Divine Spirit into Adam. All the capabilities of this species originate from this endless and everlasting source-the Divine Spirit. Along with these attributes, He has also given us a tool kit in the form of Quran and hadiths to fight against Satan, Nafs, and Fitnas.

Except them:

And He shows you His signs, and then which of the signs of Allah will you deny?

(Ghafir:81)

These signs also lead us towards the recognition of Allah Subhan Tallah. And whoever recognizes Him, will surely follow his commands which are based upon the good deeds of hearts. I end here with this hadith: Mu'adh (bin Jabal) (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (pbuh) held my hand and said, "O Mu'adh, By Allah, I love you and advise you not to miss supplicating after every Salat (prayer) saying: اللهم أعني على ذكرك وشكرك، وحسن عبادتك‏ (O Allah, help me remember You, expressing gratitude to You and worship You in the best manner)"

(Abu Dawood, An Nasa’i, Riyad as-Salihin:384)

May Allah Subhan Tallah protects our hearts from deviation and doubts and always guide us to the path of the truth. Ameen

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