Use of Intellect

Holy Qur'an 21/10

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Through this traditional greeting we assure and express our regards, reverence and good wishes for you and for all mankind. May the CREATOR and SUSTAINER of the Universe shower HIS Bounties on all HIS creatures on this earth!
Now we take recourse to the Last and Final Testament from our LORD in order to reform and develop our actions, emotions and attitudes as prescribed by the Glorious Qur’an, the Divine Book of Guidance. We profess and testify the Oneness of our LORD and strive for purification and perfection of our own life. We sincerely believe that no course on this earth can promise a more comprehensive development of our personality than the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet (s.a.w.s.) who has set the highest standards of piety and righteousness.
Today we shall ponder over verse 10 of chapter 21, and find out what morals do they contain for us and for the whole mankind.

It is not at all possible to render the Heavenly Revelation in any earthly language, as the words of Man, can never be a match for the diction of GOD ALMIGHTY. And so this is only an attempt to get closer to the contents and spirit of the original verses and to seek guidance from GOD’s Commandments that guarantees success of both the worlds. May the LORD of the worlds help us in our humble efforts! According to my understanding, the translation would be:

“O Mankind! WE have bestowed upon you from on high a Divine Writ in which there is your narration. Will you not, then, use your reason?”
In this verse, GOD ALMIGHTY says that HE has revealed a Divine Book unto us, which essentially deals with our own accounts. Strangely enough, the Book of ALLAH, unlike other religious books, exhorts the believers to apply intellect, or at least common sense to differentiate the truth from the falsehood. In every period and among all nations, GOD ALMIGHTY sent down HIS Commandments through HIS Messengers, which invariably dealt with the fundamentals of human life, and man’s accountability to his CREATOR. Thus, as we find, man is the subject of every Divine Revelation. Similarly the Holy Qur’an directly addresses the human beings, and gives a substantial description of his past, present and future.
Now just imagine, if some body tells us that a newspaper today carries a news-item or an article that concerns us, how would we react? We will be more than curious to know what it is all about! What does it say about us? Or if someone informs us that he had received a message, which is mostly related to us, we would make it a point to go through the contents of the message as early as possible.
But alas! We hardly pay any such attention to the Messages sent down by our own CREATOR, our own SUSTAINER, and our own MASTER from time to time. If only we could have the same curiosity regarding the Book of our LORD, which is an authentic source of information about our origin and existence, the reality of our earthly life, and the information about the life to come, the human society would have been an ideal habitat for mankind, and Utopia.

“O Mohammed (s.a.w.s), proclaim: "It is ALMIGHTY GOD Who has brought you all into being, and has endowed you with hearing, and sight, and hearts, so you can use your reason. Yet, how seldom are you grateful!”

Now harnessing the gift of the GOD ALMIGHTY, the human intellect, we would try to make our personal development in the light of the Holy Qur’an with the hope that our LORD will help us.
Any sane person will admit the fact that we are not the permanent denizens of this earth. We have come from somewhere, and are bound for somewhere. And it has always been a most personal affair; we come alone and every one of us has to depart from this world all-alone. In other words, we can say that every human being brings his return ticket with him, with date and departure time fixed and confirmed, when he comes to this world. Every one is allowed to stay on this earth only for a certain period as The Creator Himself says in verse 56/60:
“WE have indeed decreed that death shall be ever-present among you: and there is nothing to prevent US to cause you to die.”
Now the question that comes naturally to our mind: Are we permitted here to live a kind of life we want, a life free from any moral obligation? Should we live a life as the wild animals live? Should there be a Jungle Raj? The human intellect replies, “No, it can’t be there”. And our LORD asks us in verse 23/115:
“O mankind, do you think that WE created you purposelessly, and that you would not have to return to US?”
There should be some laws, some social norms, and some code of conduct to regulate our life? Now again the question arises, what laws should we follow? And who will frame these laws? The average human intellect replies that the laws will be framed by The ONE Super and Supreme who has created us, sustains us, has mastery over us, has the power to cause us to die.
And here comes the role of the Divine Book, the Glorious Qur’an, the Book of GOD ALMIGHTY, the Book of our CREATOR, the Book of our LORD. HE informs us in verse 14/1:
“Alif.Lam.Ra. This is a Revelation, a Divine BOOK which WE have bestowed upon you O Mohammed (s.a.w.s) from on high, in order that you bring all mankind out of darkness, and lead them to the Divine Light by their Sustainer's leave, onto the way that leads to the Almighty, the ONE to Whom all praise is due.”
Now what we need to do is to follow this Law-Book in totality. We must study and ponder over it, try to understand its pronouncements, and follow them in all sincerity. But with theoretical instructions, there must also be a practical example to emulate. And so our LORD declares in his Book in verse 33/21:
“Verily, in the Messenger of ALLAH you have an excellent example for everyone who looks forward with hope and awe to ALLAH; and is conscious about the accountability of the Last Day; and remembers ALLAH unceasingly.”
An objective study of the ideal character of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), his conversation, his personal and social life, his business dealings will reveal that on all counts, his personality is a perfect amalgamation of precepts and practicals. And thus we have the multifaceted personality of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as a great orator, a wise thinker, an astute legislator, a fearless fighter, a brave commander, a dignified ruler, a liberator of human mind and intellect, an eradicator of superstitious beliefs and dogmas, a redeemer of lost humanity, the founder of an evergreen system of life based on the Divine Laws. He is the one who ruled over the minds and hearts of the multitudes, the one who did his utmost to set the humanity free from the worship of false and fictitious gods and goddesses, and established the kingdom of the One and Only GOD ALMIGHTY. The human history has never seen any one like him. And so GOD ALMIGHTY has enjoined upon the believers to follow the examples of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) who is placed on the highest pedestal of human character.
Thus verse 3/132 states:
“And obey ALLAH and obey the Messenger, by that way you will obtain mercy.”
If we have both the sources, first, the Book of our CREATOR, and secondly its practical application, the life of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), and if we follow them in all spheres of our life, at every stage, we will discover new realm of knowledge and enlightenment. Our LORD says in verses 5/15 & 16:
“O mankind ….. There has come unto you from ALLAH a Divine Light, a Divine BOOK having open statements. ALLAH Guides thereby to anyone who wants to seek HIS pleasure, to ways of salvation and safety, and drives them out from the darkness to the light, and guides them onto a straight way, by HIS leave.”
The whole world is wonder-struck as to how the sprawling Arabian Peninsula with almost no literacy rate became hundred percent literate within a short span of twenty-three years. Yes, it happened because the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.s.) declared the acquisition of knowledge a religious obligation for every believer. He demolished the artificial division of humanity made on the basis of their birth, language and nation, and granted every man the equal social status. He encouraged every man to apply his intellect and common sense that ultimately resulted in an unprecedented growth and development of human civilization.
Every human is unique unto himself, and so he deserves equal status and dignity. GOD ALMIGHTY has granted every man some special qualities. And it is important to let him develop his personality and character. His self-respect is to be maintained. He should be given liberty and equal rights. That is what we find in the life history of many companions of the Prophet, who did not have respect or dignity during the period of ignorance. But when they came in the fold of Islam, it gave them a place that even a King would envy. Now they are universally acclaimed personality of the human civilization. They are revered as the companions of the Prophet.
The word ‘ Aql ’ that broadly means human intellect or common sense occurs at many places in the Holy Qur’an. This word is used 49 times in the Holy Book. At several places the Omniscient GOD insists upon man to apply intellect. GOD ALMIGHTY does not like those who do not use this most precious gift granted by HIM, although HE has Granted it commonly. And thus HE states in verse 22/46:
“Have they not traveled around the earth, so they may acquire hearts to reason with, and ears to listen with? It is not the eyes that have become blind - but blind have become the hearts that are in their breasts!"
Frequently we come across certain phrases in the Book of ALLAH, like la-allakum taqeloon, afala taqeloon, leqqomin yaqeloon, fahum la-yaqeloon, aksarohum la-yaqeloon. These verses exhort the human beings to apply their intellect. It clearly brings forth the importance of logic and reasoning in all human affairs, be they religious or otherwise. In fact the thinking process of a human mind is the key to all his progress. Beyond the material progress of this world, it may also open up the secrets of the success in the next world. The only condition is that, the intellect should be applied in the light of the Book of ALLAH and the traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
In verse 8/22, The Holy Qur’an issues a strict warning for those who do not use their senses, to think, to analyze and understand even after repeated reminders:
“Indeed, the worst of all creatures in the sight of ALLAH are those deaf, those dumb ones who do not use their reason.”
The distinction between man and other creatures is the power of judgment, the power to think. The Book of ALLAH emphasizes on this point. The CREATOR of man is well aware of man and all his traits. GOD ALMIGHTY knows merits of man as well as his shortcomings. HE knows what the forces that may lead him astray are. HE knows very well what a man pretends and what lies within. His unbridled greed, his endless desires, his envy and temptations, everything is known to his SUSTAINER. He also knows the strength of his inner self. To keep the tempting forces under control, and to purge his character of the evil instincts, and to improve his moral and spiritual standings, GOD has made HIS Book of Guidance available in this world. For those who wish to seek guidance from it, GOD ALMIGHTY has prescribed two preconditions for it. The first: man should utilize the most valuable gift of GOD. That is, he should use his intelligence. And secondly, he should follow the practical model of the Prophet of ALLAH (s.a.w.s.).
The Book of Guidance lays great emphasis on individual training. As every person is individually accountable for his all the actions. It wants to inculcate in such individuals a sense of responsibility and a commitment to his LORD, to his family, to his society, to his nation. It aims to produce such individuals who know their duties, who are aware of the rights of other people. HE says in verses 70/24 & 25:
“And the Men of perfection know that in their possessions, there is a due share for needy, and for those who ask for help, and for deprived ones.”
The Book of ALLAH draws a clear-cut line between the ‘dos’ and the ‘don’ts’. An avid reader of the Divine Book repeatedly comes across these reminders in his personal recitation, in prayer meetings and in the sermons. The one who is willing to mend, can reform himself constantly on his personal level. Because a man is the best assessor of his own worth. He knows his own self better than any outsider. As we have observed that external forces can hardly bring about much of a change. The man- made laws have always proved insufficient to reform man’s inner self. A man can reform his own self only if he wills. GOD ALMIGHTY declares this human tendency in verse 75/14 & 15.
“But Man knows himself very well, although he puts forward excuses.”
Similarly the Book of ALLAH frequently urges a man to utilize all natural gifts for his moral up-gradation. If a man does not use his mental faculties, it displeases rather invokes the wrath of the GOD ALMIGHTY so much so that HE declares in verse 10/100:
“…..And GOD places disgrace upon those who do not use their reason? "
In brief, the Glorious Qur’an, the Book of Wisdom gives a one-point programme to develop one’s own personality, that is, a man must use his perception and intellect, the power of reasoning and most of all, his common sense to understand the truth. Moreover if this human intellect is combined with the wisdom propounded by the Book of ALLAH and the exemplary character of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) it will reform definitely his life in this world and ensure unimaginable rewards in the life to come.
Once perfected under the light of the Divine Noor, our personality would reflect a light that would illuminate the surroundings. We would be beneficial for the people around us. We conclude with a prayer to our LORD to help us in our efforts to reform our life in accordance with the Qur’anic intuition. Amen!