The Sayings of Imam Ali (A.S.) regarding the heart
I am amazed at the heart of man: It possesses the substance of wisdom as well as the opposites contrary to it ... for if hope arises in it, it is brought low by covetousness: and if covetousness is aroused in it, greed destroys it. If despair possesses it, self piety kills it: and if it is seized by anger, this is intensified by rage. If it is blessed with contentment, then it forgets to be careful; and if it is filled with fear, then it becomes pre-occupied with being cautious. If it feels secure , then it is overcome by vain hopes; and if it is given wealth, then its independence makes it extra-vagant. If want strikes it, then it is smitten by anxiety. If it is weakened by hunger, then it gives way to exhaustion; and if it goes to far in satisfying its appetites, then its inner becomes clogged up. So all its shortcomings are harmful to it, and all its excesses corrupt it.
There are four things that make the heart die: wrong action followed by wrong action, playing around with foolish people, spending a lot of time with women, and sitting with the dead. Then they asked Imam Ali: ' And who are the dead, O Commander of the believers? ' He replied: ' Every slave who follows his desires. '
Surely want is a trial, and having sickness of the body is more difficult to bear than indigence, and having a sickness of the heart is more difficult to bear than having a sickness of the body. Surely being very wealthy is a blessing, and having a healthy body is better than being very wealthy, and having awe of Allah in your heart is better than having a healthy body.
Surely hearts have desires, and they turn towards, and they turn away ... so approach them by means of what they desire and what they turn towards, for surely if the heart is forced to do some thing against its will, it goes blind.
The Sayings & Wisdom of Imam Ali (as)
The Muhammadi Trust
Contributed by Br. Ali Abbas, email@example.com