Man starts the journey in this world with a heart that is clear and bright, free of impurities
This pure, clear heart is a blessing that all mankind receives from God and that affords its owner vast opportunities in this world and in the Hereafter. The heart starts out so pure, because it has had no negative impact from intentions, words or deeds. A heart that is so pure is one in which knowledge bears great fruits and which provides the best pathway to a good hereafter. “Knowledge is light” 1, so in a clear, pure heart, it actually provides further illumination.
It must be understood that the flames of hellfire are in fact caused by the bad deeds of man, in other words, “if a man does not light the fire by his works and deeds, hell will be extinguished.” 1 On the other hand, if man can table only good deeds, words and intentions after death, this will also be reflected in his position in the hereafter. “All of the works and deeds and words of man will be reflected in the other world.” 1 Khomeini asks the question as to how it can even be possible that someone should consider the existence of hell possible, and yet still do wrong, knowing all the while that wrongdoing could lead to remaining in the fire forever.
If the heart becomes tainted and covered over, even knowledge is to no avail
“If man does not cast pollution from the core of his soul, not only will whatever studying and learning he does be of no benefit by itself, rather it will actually be harmful.” 1. Khomeini describes the process of knowledge in a black corrupt heart as spreading “wide the skirts of darkness and blackness.” 1 As knowledge is light, it cannot render the dark space of the blackened heart more luminous; all that is achieved when the light of knowledge hits upon this darkness is that the darkness becomes obfuscated and spreads out more.
A heart becomes covered over when a person keeps committing sins; with time, the clear heart becomes tainted, as each sin represents a black speck, and as these sins continue to be perpetrated, the black marks accumulate, until the clear heart is blackened over. On the other hand, if the sinner were to desist from sinning and were to offer only good deeds, words and intentions, by the same token the black specks would become wiped out one by one.
It is not just sins that cause the pure heart of man at birth to cloud over, it is also the attachment to wordly things that brings about this effect. “The heart of man is like a mirror, clear and bright, and because of too much attention of this world and too many sins, it becomes dark.” 1 Corporeal worlds are described as dark veils, so that if man directs too much attention to this world, he becomes covered by these dark veils. Consequently, the light of knowledge cannot penetrate. Yet if the corporeal worlds are used to direct our attention to Allah, these veils are actually veils of light. “If the world is a means of directing attention to the Truth and for arriving at the abode of the Hereafter, which is the ‘abode of honor’, then the dark veils, are transformed into veils of light.” 1
Khomeini compares the color of the impure heart to that of Satan, “someone who pursues selfish desires and who is obedient to Satan gradually turns the color of Satan.” 1 The pure, clear heart of the true believer however remains like a mirror, “if man is certain and has faith that all the outward and inward worlds are in the presence of the Lord, and that God, the Exalted, is present everywhere and sees everything in the presence of God and God’s blessings there would be no possibility for committing sins.” 1
The clear, bright heart is a requirement for the “just ruler’ as well
“Anyone who rules over the Muslims, or over human society in general, must always take into consideration, the public welfare and interest, and ignore personal feelings and interests.” 2 These personal feelings and interests would include attachments to worldly things.
“The ruler must also possess excellence in morals and belief; he must be just and untainted by major sins.” 2
All the aforementioned attributes thus apply to the “just ruler”, the “wilayat-e-faqih.