Saturday, 11 February 2012

Concept of 'qalb' and 'fuwad' in Quran

Scientifically looking, human brain is associated with various functions and attributes including feelings, decision-making, intellect, hearing, seeing and all kinds of bodily instructions. In Quran, nowhere the word ‘ brain’ has been used, but the various functions and attributes assigned to human brain are described with words ‘ qalb’ and ‘fuwad’.   Word ‘fuwad’ is used for human feelings; whereas  word ‘qalb’ is used for all brain’s functions like decision-making and intellect including feelings; In other words, in Quranic terminology, words ‘qalb’ and ‘fuwad’ are used with the meaning of brain or mind.

We know that human brain is associated with all kind of feelings-pleasures and sorrows, liking and disliking, excitements and shocks, sadness and happiness, love and hate, affection and aversion, hope and frustration, confidence and disbelief, self-respect and lack of self-respect, courage and cowardliness, patience and impatience, resilience  and lack of resilience. In short, human brain is transmitter and source of all human feelings.

Similarly human brain is the origin of human decision- making, and intellectual exertions. It is also associated with human functions like acts of hearing and seeing. Apart from this, human brain is the center of all instructions under which human body acts and reacts.

It is strange enough to note that in Quran whose subject is HUMAN BEING is devoid of word ‘brain/mind’; nowhere in Quran this word ‘brain/mind’ has been used. In fact in Quran all attributes and functions of human brain/mind are described through words ‘qalb’ and ‘fuwad’. It means these words ‘qalb’ and ‘fuwad’ are used with the meaning of brain/mind. In Arabic language word ‘qalb’ means human intellect apart from other meanings associated with this word. 

The word ‘fuwad’ is used in Quran for describing human feelings. As feelings are associated with human brain/mind, it means ‘fuwad’ is used in Quran to describe human mind/brain.
“And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the ‘fuwad’/ feelings- about all those [one] will be questioned” (al-isra-36).

Human feelings are associated with act of hearing or seeing; that is why every person will be questioned about the working of these three human faculties, as has been mentioned in above quoted verse.
Similarly sura hud-120 states: “  And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your ‘fuwad’. And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an instruction and a reminder for the believers”.
In this above verse too, word ‘fuwad’ has been used with the meaning of human ‘mind’. In many other verses too, this word ‘fuwad’ has been used with the meaning of ‘mind’; the instances are Ibrahim-37; al-nahl-78;al-sajda-9; al-humaza-7; al-anam-110.

Similarly word ‘qalb’ has been used in Quran with meaning of human mind/intellect/wisdom and feelings as well. As mentioned earlier, human mind/brain is associated with human functions like decision-making, intellectual exertions, and acts of seeing and hearing, these facts have been described in Quran in  many verses.
“So have they not traveled through the earth and have ‘quloob’ by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the ‘quloob’ in the upper parts(sudoor)” (al-hajj-46).
we know that human eyes’  and ears’ signals are linked with brain; if brain’s concerned parts are not functioning properly, one cannot see or hear even if one’s eyes and ears are without any defect. This fact is being mentioned in the above verse. This verse also mentions that human ‘qalb’ is associated with thinking and intellect; in other words ‘qalb’ means human brain/mind. These ‘quloob’ lie in ‘sudoor’; in Arabic language ‘sudoor’  means ‘upper portions’ apart from other meanings attached with this word. In this verse this word ‘sudoor’ does not mean breasts or chests; rather it means ‘frontal/upper portion’; it implies that act of seeing is associated with frontal/upper parts of human brain; this fact has been proved scientifically as well.

In many verses, this word ‘sadr/sudoor’ has been used with meaning of upper part of brain or human body. For instance, sura al-imran states:
“so that Allah might test what is in your upper parts and purify what is in your minds/brains. And Allah is Knowing of that within the upper parts” (al-imran-154).
Other instances, among so many, in which word ‘ qalb’ has been used with the meaning of human brain/mind are: al-imran-151; qaf-33; tawba-117.
“Indeed in that is a reminder for whoever has a ‘qalb’ or who listens while he is present [in mind] (qaf-37).
In this above verse, word ‘qalb’ is used in the meaning of human intellect/wisdom. This verse says Quran is advice for those who have intellect/wisdom; If we interpret word ‘qalb’ as heart, it would mean Quran is advice for everyone who has heart; as we know everyone has heart, so everyone should have advice/guidance from Quran. But we know this is not the case; in other words ‘qalb’ means human intellect/wisdom which everyone does not have. This verse states that everyone who has intellect/wisdom can avail advice from Quran.

We can conclude that in Quran words ‘qalb’ and ‘fuwad’  are used with meaning of human mind/ brain. The word ‘fuwad’ is used to express brain’s attributes like human feelings and word ‘qalb’ to express all brain’s functions like intellect/wisdom and decision-making including human feelings. The human mind/brain lies in the ‘sadr’ (plural is ‘sudoor’) which means upper/frontal part of human body; it does not mean chest or breast.


  1. Dear Arif,

    you wrote quite well, however i have a question. There is a certain verse (33:4) which says "Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his (one) body": The arabic is word Qalab in plural form here and this verse only points towards the real human heart cauz in all medical history so far, babies with twin brains are born but not a single baby has yet born who has two hearts because two heart baby will die immediately as it is a common sense.

    So here Allah takes the word Qalab in its literal sense i.e. the human body organ, the Heart. So, i would like u to comment that how then we can say that the word heart is used in the sense of mind. Why was it not easy n simple for Allah to clearly use the word brain or head in Quran. I think we should research more on why God has used the word heart instead of the word brain. what you say?

    1. From a lecture I learned that Allah didn't put two hearts in a "man" as in male. But he did in a women because when she is pregnate she has her heart and the baby's. hence the "two hearts".

  2. I am sorry to respond too much late; because I did not know about your comments; It is only now I read your comments. Dear I appreciate your question is very interesting. Two "Qaloob" in one baby would be considered one for all practical purposes, if they function like one "qalab" (if thought process is homogeneous). And if they do not function like one "qalab", I am sure such baby may not survive. Moreover, you know humans now can live on artificial hearts; obviously no human can be rewarded by Allah on the basis of artificial heart. But according to Quran, Allah rewards on the basis of "qalb e salim".
    My thesis is that word "qalb" does not mean "heart"; Allah has not used word "heart" in Quran.

  3. Quran repeatedly exhorts the humanity to; Ponder [ يَتَدَبَّرُ] over Signs [āyat ءَايَة], Albāb أَلْبَٰب understand, Think [فَكَّرَ ], seek Proof [بُرْهَانٌ] seek and employ Knowledge [il'm عِلْم] and Wisdom [Hik'mat حِكْمَة] to be guided to true path for salvation. Those who reject the guidance are Ignorant جَاهِل. Quran refers to brain for intellect as commonly perceived now:"Nay, We hurl the Truth against falsehood, and it knocks out its brain, and behold, falsehood doth perish! Ah! woe be to you for the (false) things ye ascribe (to Us)". [Quran;21:18]. Moreover while talking about 'intellect' and 'understanding' Quran also uses other terms like; albāb (أَلْبَٰب) understanding', fuād (فُؤَاد) 'heart', qalb (قَلْب) heart & Sadr (صَدْر) breast. The heart (♥) has long been used as a symbol to refer to the spiritual, emotional, moral, and in the past, also intellectual core of a human being. Metaphoric use of words is common in all all languages.For more visit:

  4. I would add only one thing. there must be a rule to assign literal or idiomatic meaning to a word.We are not free to use literal or idiomatic meanings at our will. The principle of interpretation is that idiomatic meaning is to be adopted if literal meaning does not make any sense; if a sense
    is made out, literal meaning will be adopted ( and idiomatic meaning may also be adopted, if not contradictory to the literal meaning or Quran).

  5. Gооd artiсle! We aгe linking to this pаrtіculaгly gгeаt
    poѕt on our website. Κеeр up the gooԁ writing.

    Alsо visit my blog post :: Cheap legal highs

  6. Excеllent post. І wаs checkіng contіnuously this blog and I
    аm imprеsѕed! Vеry helpful іnfo pаrticularly
    the last part :) I care for such іnfo muсh.
    І was seekіng this particular іnfo for a long timе.
    Thank yоu аnd good luck.

    mу pаge - legal hallucinogens united states

  7. Hi there would you mind letting me know which webhost you're using? I've loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must
    say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price?
    Kudos, I appreciate it!

    Also visit my web blog ... Celinda

  8. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of
    the site is also really good.

    Stop by my homepage: sex

  9. The word brain / damag is used in quran,

    Nay, We hurl the Truth against falsehood, and it knocks out its brain, and behold, falsehood doth perish! Ah! woe be to you for the (false) things ye ascribe (to Us).

  10. The word brain / damag is used in quran,

    Nay, We hurl the Truth against falsehood, and it knocks out its brain, and behold, falsehood doth perish! Ah! woe be to you for the (false) things ye ascribe (to Us).