Quran is a book which gives us a blueprint towards reaching perfect human existence. In order to achieve this, one of the vital components is the heart (‘qalb’ in Quranic terms). The heart appears in 132 verses and gives various states of being. The heart is where imaan/conviction enters for example (49/14). It is the home of stillness (48/4). It is also home of the spiritual disease (2/10 )
One of the directly mentioned (as a phrase) states of the heart is the sound heart (qalbin saleem). This state is mentioned in only two places, 26/89 and 37/84. Let us first consider the meaning of the phrase ‘qalbin saleem’. The word ‘qalb’ (translated as ‘heart’) also manifests as the verb ‘taqallub’ which means to turn upon something or to flip. From here we can tell that the role of the heart is act as a human being’s internal compass.
The word ‘saleem’ comes from the word ‘silm’ which means to be whole or sound. It is the opposite of being fragmented. 68/47 tells us that human beings will be called to submit while they are still ‘saalimoon’ (able to make things whole). This is the opposite of having no capacity (68/46) and deconfirming (68/48).
Therefore, a ‘qalbin saleem’ refers to a heart which is sound. It is not fragmented but rather whole. This is the only thing which will bring us benefit on judgement day as 26/89 tells us. The things which detract us from this are possessions and children/followers/movements. This does not mean we cannot have them, only we are not to be swayed by them.
The other occurrence of ‘qalbin saleem’ refers to the Quranic personality ibrahim in 37/84. This relates directly to his position as a member of nuh’s party (37/83). This shows the ‘qalbin saleem’ is to do with the primal survival mechanism symbolized by the ark. The other point to be made is that the ‘qalbin saleem’ relates to the intent of ibrahim to worship Allah alone. He then turns to the guides of his people and destroys the imagery of his people. (37/84-99). This shows the ‘qalbin saleem’ in far greater detail. It refers to internal compass which intends to be whole in worshipping Allah. This is how one’s life can escape being fragmented.
These are the occurrences of the phrase ‘qalbin saleem’. By following this course, we may be able to become whole in our orientation towards Allah.