Intellect and the Quran and Sunnah

This week’s reminder is about intellect and evidence from Quran and Sunnah

Dear brothers and sisters, we spoke last week of the great gifts that we have been given from Allah SWT and one of those we spoke of was the revelation that is the Glorious Quran.

However, one of the ones we are going to touch upon in this week’s reminder is that of intellect or the human mind to think, to understand and to comprehend.

So in this day and age, where we have the revelation from Allah SWT. A direct speech of our Lord, the master of the Day of Judgment, in a form that is guarded and is free from any deviation since the day it was revealed, why is is then that we have those who disbelieve?

Allah SWT spoke of this in the Quran and the imam mentioned it today. Sura Imran, ayat 101 can be translated to say:

And how could you disbelieve while to you are being recited the verses of Allah and among you is His Messenger? And whoever holds firmly to Allah has [indeed] been guided to a straight path.

Dear brothers and sisters, as you may know, each and every ayat of the Quran has a blessing and a lesson for us to ponder upon. If we look at the translation of this, we can derive that it is only the defiantly disobedient who hold on to their desires and their inertia for ignorance do they remain in a state of disbelief.

We hear again and again of people who come to Islam after studying the Quran and in fact we heard of this once again in the news this week with the German Far-Right political party, known for its anti-muslim rhetoric, having to release a statement because one of it’s executive members reverted to Islam. Allahu Akbar.

We have people who disbelieve, reiterating a narration that the mind and the spirit cannot co-exist. They claim that science disproves religion and that if there was a mindful person then they cannot be believers in religion. In essence they place science in place of religion and they dismiss the opinion of those who believe as not using their heads.

So how does one tackle this firstly and secondly why is there this disagreement between the two?

Firstly, we need to understand that science and religion are not opposite to each other. In Islam, we are taught to have critical thinking, the Quran tells us to ponder, to give it some thought. Indeed, when the Quran was being revealed, each letter, each word, each ayat was meticulously read and studied for lessons and for guidance.

The Quran is the verbatim word of Allah SWT. In other words, it is the direct speech of Allah SWT without translation, via the Prophet SAWS. So, if we ponder the verses of the Quran, does it make us at odds with critical thinking or with science?

The misfortune we have growing up in this country is that we are not taught the impact that Islam actually had on sciences. From glasses to coffee to the actual concept of organised learning, i.e. universities, these all came from Islam.

We have pioneers throughout history in all areas of critical thinking and in all areas of science. On top of that, we have the glorious Quran itself telling us about areas of science, challenging man to replicate the miracles within the book, asking us if we can see these miracles then why do we not believe?

Just a layman’s study of the Quran will discover topics such as Astronomy, Geology, Biology with detailed explanations on the human embryology and the water cycle. This contradicts the narrative that science and religion cannot exist as the Quran is also a book of science as well as being a complete teacher in life.

We don’t need to fall silent when we hear of those who claim religion has no place in the mind of a critical thinker as we have a book here that not only encourages it but then challenges it through scientific facts which could not possibly have been known 15 centuries ago.

So with that being said, how is that we still have people that disbelieve or disagree with the message?

This part of the reminder can be divided into two parts. Firstly, the disagreement can be due to the hadith being fabricated, the translation being misinterpreted or worse still, take out of context to suit a certain opinion.

We ought to take a lesson from this in that, especially in this time and place of misinformation, we ought to be conscious of this danger and thus spend effort in verifying what we hear from reputable teachers we know.

The second reason can be down to our own shortcomings when it comes to understanding the lessons in the Quran and from the hadith.

The imam mentioned a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is translated to have said:

Verily, the (peoples) before you were ruined because of their disputation in the Book. All the parts and the Ayat of the book of Allah confirming each other, put what you know into action and whichever you have no knowledge about then leave it for it’s scholar.

Dear brothers and sisters, we can derive an important lesson from this hadith and that is we should avoid the habit of being the online Sheikh. This phenomenon has come about through the advent of the internet where these days everybody shares their opinion on complex topics and often without study and indepth knowledge of the subject.

We ought to remind ourselves that those hadiths and ayats being commented on are usually done by people who dedicate their lives to this area of study and for us to refute or comment is disrespectful at the very least and actually contradicts the overall message of using our brains wisely.

After all, if there is a topic on Rocket Science, we wouldn’t dream of going on a forum and debating the points with other experts unless we are experts ourselves.

The lesson here again is to follow the advice and guidance of teachers that have proven to be of good reputation and have sound knowledge. For most, the first port of call is their local imam.

Dear brothers and sisters, we have been blessed with sound mind and a thirst for the truth. Let us not be of those who waste it in mindless activities and instead use it for the pursuit of the truth and guidance that comes from the Quran and the Sunnah.

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