The Three Kinds of Hearts
Contrary to the happy ones described above are those who neither accept the guidance that Allah sent with His Messenger, nor do they benefit from it. They are described by Allah in the following:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also classified people into three groups based on their response to His message and Guidance. He said:
The example of the guidance and knowledge with which Allah sent me is like rain that falls on different kind of land:
1) One kind of land is good. It accepts the water and produces vegetation and grass in plenty.
2) A second kind of land is dry, with a solid bed that reserves the water so that the people can drink and irrigate with it.
3) A third kind is a porous land that can neither retain water nor produce vegetation.
This is an example of those who acquire the knowledge of the Deen and benefit from the guidance that Allah gave me, and of those who do not take heed nor accept Allah’s Guidance. (Recorded in al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Messenger(peace be upon him) likens the knowledge that he was given to rain because both are causes of life. The rain is the body’s cause of life, whereas the knowledge is the heart’s cause of life. He also likens the heart to valleys, as Allah says:
He sends down water from the sky, making valleys flow according to their different capacities…..(Ar-Ra’d 13:17)
Just as there are three kinds of land, there are three kinds of hearts:
1) The first is a good land that is receptive of water and productive of vegetation. When the rain falls on it, it absorbs the water eagerly, giving rise to all sorts of pleasant vegetation.
This is an example of a person with a healthy, pure and intelligent heart. His heart embraces knowledge, and is guided by its true intelligent nature, blossoming by that wisdom and true faith. Therefore, because of its good nature, it is eager to take the knowledge, and ready to bear fruits.
This person is also like a rich merchant who has experience in different trades and investments, which enables him to invest his wealth in what brings the best profit.
2) The second kind is a hard and solid land prepared to keep and preserve the water. This benefits the people who frequent it for drinking and irrigation.
This is an example of a person whose heart preserves the knowledge and safeguards it so as to convey it just as he hears it, without alteration or conjecturing. This type of person is also described by the Prophet(peace be upon him) as follows:
There is often a person who conveys the knowledge to those who are more knowledgeable than himself; and there is often a person who carries the knowledge when he himself is not knowledgeable. (Recorded by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmithi, Ahmad, and others from Zayd Bin Thabit, Anas Bin Malik and others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albani (as-Sahihah no. 404)
This is also like a rich man who does not possess the knowledge or experience to invest his wealth, but who knows very well how to preserve it.
3) The third is a barren land incapable of holding water or producing vegetation. Regardless of the amount of rain falling on it, that does not profit it.
This is an example of a person whose heart does not accept any knowledge or wisdom. It is also like a poor man who neither possesses wealth nor knows how to preserve it.
The first of the above three examples applies to a learned teacher of knowledge, calling to Allah’s path with clear guidance. Such are the inheritors of the prophets(peace be upon them).
The second example applies to a person who preserves the knowledge, precisely conveying what he hears. He carries to other people precious goods that they can use for trade and investment.
The third example applies to a person who neither accepts Allah’s guidance nor benefits from it.
Thus this hadith covers the different types of people and their positions in regard to the Prophet(peace be upon him)’s message, the first two types being happy ones, and the third being the miserable.
Source: Ar-Risalat Ut-Tabukiyyah