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Converts To Islam  Place for reason
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The power of reason/intellect has a great status in Islam and has also been referred to as a 'personal messenger', in addition to the Prophet's(a.s) of Allah(swt) this 'Aql' or reason/intellect is of course the way to decipher right from wrong. Imam Rida(a.s) has said: "The friend of a person is his/her Intelligence and the enemy of a person is his/her ignorance." (Al-Kafi, Ch. 1, h 4) Human life, let alone faith and any progress is reliant on the power of reason, this is the power we use every day constantly. It is farcical when many people of faith choose to simply believe without applying any reason whatsoever to what they are claiming they stand for, after all it is said that 'Blind faith is no faith'. If reason has been sincerely applied and faith accepted through an informed intellectual process then certainly that claim to faith must be respected. The power of reason is essential in enhancing one's faith and must be the 'commander' over the other major human faculties namely Anger, Passion/Desire and Imagination; to process information properly for the enlightenment of our souls leading to the straight path the intellect is absolutely necessary.
All too often the power of reason is suppressed willingly or subsequently due to the heavy weight of emotion that sits above it from within us. There may be occasions when we are presented with a perfectly logical point which we reject due to blatant wilful dismissal or a pre programmed emotional response. Our power of reason may well have deciphered that the point being presented is perfectly plausible but our suppression of the intellectual ability allows us to dismiss the point, in Islamic terms this is known as 'Kufr', Kufr literally means 'to cover'. Another narration from the Hadith collection of Al-kafi. Ch. 1, hadith 2: Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from Sahl ibn Ziyad, from 'Amr ibn ‘Uthman, from Mufaddal ibn Salih from Sa‘d ibn Tarif from Asbagh ibn Nabatah, from Imam Ali (a.s) who has said the following. "Once Jibril came to Adam(a.s) and said, ‘I am ordered to offer you three choices. You may chose one and leave the other two. Adam(a.s) then asked, "What are those three things?" Jibril replied, ‘They are Intelligence, Modesty and Faith.’ Adam(a.s) then said, "I chose Intelligence." Jibril then asked Modesty and Faith to return and leave Intelligence with Adam(a.s). They said to Gibril, ‘O Gibril, we are commanded to be with Intelligence wherever it may exist. Gibril then said, "It then is up to you." He then ascended to heavens. This Hadith presents some very important lessons, faith or modesty can be adopted but if it is not based on an intellectual grounding it can lead to an unfounded belief system, some may end up worshipping an idol which another person has fashioned with their own hands, whereas when intellect is the leading power then faith, modesty etc. will naturally follow. Of the three choices we should first ask ourselves what would we have picked? Many religious people may have said 'Faith' as at first glance it seems the rational choice. An example of blind or uninformed faith could be that someone may believe that the river they live near, which has provided food and water for them and generations of their ancestors is God (Allah(swt)) because the river is the provider of their life essentials. Eventually a time may come bringing drought causing the once vibrant flow to recede to a mere trickle, consequently eliminating the once ample provision. A rational person in such a circumstance would re-think their inclinations and realise the world is still functioning and that food and water are still available but from elsewhere concluding that their belief in the river as God and provider was flawed. [13.3] And He it is Who spread the earth and made in it firm mountains and rivers, and of all fruits He has made in it two kinds; He makes the night cover the day; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect. This type of reasoning had to used by Prophet Ibraham(a.s) to try to awaken his people from their Idolatry; [6.74] And when Ibrahim said to his sire, Azar: Do you take idols for gods? Surely I see you and your people in manifest error. [6.75] And thus did We show Ibrahim the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and that he might be of those who are sure. [6.76] So when the night over-shadowed him, he saw a star; said he: Is this my Lord? So when it set, he said: I do not love the setting ones. [6.77] Then when he saw the moon rising, he said: Is this my Lord? So when it set, he said: If my Lord had not guided me I should certainly be of the erring people. [6.78] Then when he saw the sun rising, he said: Is this my Lord? Is this the greatest? So when it set, he said: O my people! surely I am clear of what you set up (with Allah). [6.79] Surely I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists. [6.80] And his people disputed with him. He said: Do you dispute with me respecting Allah? And He has guided me indeed; and I do not fear in any way those that you set up with Him, unless my Lord pleases; my Lord comprehends all things in His knowledge; will you not then mind? [6.81] And how should I fear what you have set up (with Him), while you do not fear that you have set up with Allah that for which He has not sent down to you any authority; which then of the two parties is surer of security, if you know? [6.82] Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with iniquity, those are they who shall have the security and they are those who go aright. [6.83] And this was Our argument which we gave to Ibrahim against his people; We exalt in dignity whom We please; surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing. The stubborn person however, whose pre-disposition is to surrender to their emotions will no doubt find an excuse and continue with their previous primitive belief even though the evidence may be crystal clear to the contrary. Another example of emotion getting the better of reason is our attachment to things in our modern lives that are not of any real relevance. If we spend our lives worrying about defeat or victory of our favourite sports team or are uncontrollably attached to a pop/movie star to an extent that this association shapes our thoughts and feelings affecting our decisions, this is a hindrance to our spiritual growth and true nature. These connections will of course have an effect on our longer term progression. Exaggerated devotion to someone or something which can neither help nor hinder us, like these simple examples are a more modern illustration of misplaced obeisance. Reason after faith is different from reason before faith. Faith helps reason to have a complete function. Faith without reason is blind and reason without faith is crippled and barren. Faith opens for reason realms other than the worldly life and reason makes grounds for true belief and faith Islam regards reason as one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on human beings. It is by means of reason that we understand ourselves and the world around us. It is by means of reason that we realise the necessity of investigating our origin and the One who has created us. If we had no reason, we would not be responsible for our acts or beliefs. In Islam great emphasis has always been placed on reason and the rational sciences. This emphasis derives from the Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet and the Imams of his household. The Qur'an says in several verses: Surely there are signs in this for those who ponder. (13:4; 16:12; 30:24) The Qur'an also condemns more than once those who do not think or use their reason. The following two traditions, selected from the large number of hadiths available on the subject, show the place of reason. Imam Sadiq (A.S.) says: Whoever has intellect has faith and whoever has faith will enter Paradise. With reason one comes to understand the truth, to believe in Islam and follow the teachings of the Prophet, and consequently will be able to enter Paradise. In an insightful hadith addressing one of his companions Hisham b.  Hakam: Imam Musa Kazim(a.s) said: With reason God completes His proof. God has equipped His prophets with the ability of expressing their ideas in a way that all people can understand. God has shown people His lordship through reason. Then the Imam recited the following verse of the Glorious Qur'an, “Your God is the One God, there is no god but God who is the Compassionate the Merciful…Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of days and night, and in the ships that move in the sea, and in the rain that descends from the sky to bring life on the earth, and all kinds of animals that God has spread over the earth, and also in the movement of the wind and the clouds which God has kept between the earth and the sky– in all these there are signs for those who are thoughtful.” (2:163 & 164) The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "Almighty God has endowed upon mankind nothing better than reason (wisdom). Sleep of a wise man is better than the waking hours of an ignorant. Rest of a wise man is better than the movement of the ignorant. God has not send any prophet or messenger without first perfecting his reason;... O’ Hisham! The Commander of Believers Imam Ali (as) used to say: "Of all the observance and devotions offered to God, the best one is of and by (the people of) reason. Reason of a person does not reach perfection unless it possesses some specific characteristics. The characteristics (of a perfect reason) is that: (1) It gives immunity against disbelief (Kufr) and evil; (2) Virtue and true guidance is expected to follow from such a man (of reason); (3) He exhausts his excessive wealth in good deeds; (4) He protects himself from irresponsible gossips; (5) His share in the worldly life amounts to what is needed for his existence; (6) He is never fed up with knowledge throughout his life; (7) Humiliation in pursuit of (belief, obedience and favor of) God is dearer to him than any honor in pursuit of things other than God; (8) Humbleness is dearer to him than dignity; (9) He regards the little good of others to him as much, and regards any good from him to others as little; (10)He regards people better than himself, and regards himself in his heart as of little consequence. And this is the climax!" ... O’ Hisham! He who has no generosity, has no religion, and he who has no reason has no generosity. The greatest man is he who never deems himself equal in value to the worldly life. Verily There is NO lower price for your bodies except to be sold in exchange for Paradise. Hence do NOT sell it for anything less than that. A wonderful lesson for promoting thought regarding our intelligently created universe is the famous Hadith from Imam Jafar Sadiq(a.s) known as 'Hadith e Mufaddal', please do take the time to ponder over the many lessons available in this amazing Hadith. Click here for Hadith Mufaddal. There are so many Quranic verses that could be presented to remind ourselves of the importance of the power of reason: [13.4] And in the earth there are tracts side by side and gardens of grapes and corn and palm trees having one root and (others) having distinct roots-- they are watered with one water, and We make some of them excel others in fruit; most surely there are signs in this for a people who understand.  [30.24] And one of His signs is that He shows you the lightning for fear and for hope, and sends down water from the clouds then gives life therewith to the earth after its death; most surely there are signs in this for a people who understand We appeal to all new and born Muslims alike, please apply reason and do not allow others to prevent you from your own free thinking. It is too easy to take on the ideas of people we know or are familiar with but real faith and steadfastness comes from determinism to strive beyond these 'safe' zones and penetrate these barriers into the arms of a warmly welcoming true Islam. All praise is for Allah(swt) the All-Knowing who has asked us to reach him through hard work, struggle and reflection, birthright or heritage play no part in real faith and understanding, it is down to us to wade through our life’s journey applying reason as we go to ensure we become of the people of understanding, after all it is none other than Allah(swt) who gave us reason for a reason. For a comprehensive study of this very important topic, please refer to this link from which some excerpts were used in this page. Click Here.