• Mohammad Manzoor Malik


There is a broad discussion concerning the importance of
the self (nafas) in Islamic ethics. This discussion is based
upon the primary sources of Islam, the scripture, and
Sunnah. However, the idea of the human heart (Qalb) is
not so widely discussed, which is considered integral to
the self. This idea needs further exploration concerning
its relationship to ethics. Ethics is an essential part of the
Islamic worldview, and the measure of authentic, ethical
behavior is intentionality which is an attribute of the heart.
The Islamic sources assert that the ethical agent must
possess a ‘sound heart’ that is free of vices and which, by
belief, Iman, provides strength and motivation for good
actions. Therefore, proper ethical behavior emanates
from the heart. The critical point is that intentionality as
the property of the heart matters in Islamic ethics because
ethical accountability is ultimately before God in Islam.
Therefore, a Muslim is responsible for safeguarding
his heart from temptations and vices. The hearts can
experience sickness and hardness through repeatedly
sinning. Therefore, a Muslim should keep his heart clean
from vices. In ethical decision-making, the heart’s purity
will lead to good actions and better understanding. The
heart has intellectual and cognitive powers that can help
make ethical decisions.


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