Does Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani consider that the intellect takes priority over Sharia and believe that we should follow the intellect instead of Sharia?
Your question arises from the incorrect assumption that there is a contradiction between the intellect and Sharia, in such a way that following one means not following the other, and one of the two must inevitably take priority over the other, whereas His Honor Mansoor believes that the intellect and Sharia have originated from one source and both are the creations of God the Wise, and therefore, there is no contradiction between the two; as God Almighty has said: ﴿مَا تَرَى فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَنِ مِنْ تَفَاوُتٍ﴾; “You do not see any discrepancy in the creation of God”. Based on this, following the intellect does not mean not following Sharia, but on the contrary, it means following Sharia as well; because Sharia, due to its common origin and its full compatibility with the intellect, commands to follow the intellect and calls toward it; as it has said for example: ﴿لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ﴾; “It is hoped that you use the intellect”, and said: ﴿أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ﴾; “So do you not use the intellect?!”. Therefore, His Honor Mansoor does not consider that the intellect takes priority over Sharia, nor does he believe that you must follow the intellect instead of Sharia; rather, he considers the intellect in harmony and agreement with Sharia, and believes that it is necessary to follow both of them together, as God has commanded to follow both of them together and said: ﴿أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ﴾; “Or do you think that most of them will listen (to Sharia) or use their intellect?!”, and said: ﴿وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ﴾; “And (those in Hell) say that if we had listened (to Sharia) or used our intellect, we would not have been among the inmates of Hell”, while many Muslims, contrary to the words of God, think that there is no need to follow the intellect with the existence of Sharia, and Sharia eliminates their need for the intellect; rather, they think that following the intellect is not permissible with the existence of Sharia, and whoever employs the intellect with the existence of Sharia has made an innovation and gone astray. At the head of this group are the Muslims of Ahl Al-Hadith who believe that whatever they need is mentioned in Hadiths, and therefore, there is no need to use the intellect, whereas this belief is contrary to reality; because even Hadiths, whether in terms of validity or in terms of meaning, are known by the intellect, and they cannot be known without using the intellect. Therefore, His Honor Mansoor considers that using the intellect is compulsory and inevitable, and believes that dissatisfaction and disbelief in it have no effect on using it.
Yes, he considers the intellect as the criterion of cognition, and in this sense it can be said that the intellect takes priority over Sharia, but this is only due to the fact that Sharia is known by the intellect and cannot be known by itself; because it is clear that one cannot verify the validity of the Quran by relying on the Quran and the validity of the Sunnah by relying on the Sunnah, and such a work is meaningless. Therefore, in order to know the validity of Sharia, there is no choice but to rely on the intellect, and this means that the intellect has some sort of compulsory and natural priority over Sharia, and Sharia recognizes this priority as well, but this does not mean that the intellect independently knows all of the religious considerations such as the rulings of prayer, fasting, Hajj and Zakat; because such considerations are the inventions of the Legislator, and the intellect cannot comprehend their causes and purposes, and therefore, it needs to hear them from the Legislator. Therefore, the fact that the intellect is the criterion of cognition does not mean that it does not need Sharia, but it means that it is a means to know everything, including Sharia, and this is of course possible only if it has intrinsic and self-evident validity.
It is hereby understood that those who accuse His Honor Mansoor of giving priority to the intellect over Sharia despite its deficiency in comparison with Sharia, have not understood what he meant at all, and have not comprehended any of the things mentioned before and after his words, and have looked at his book only from the perspective of their preconceptions based on the illusion that the intellect contradicts Sharia or is equivalent to qiyas and istihsan. Undoubtedly, it is impossible to know his thoughts and the image he has presented of the pure and perfect Islam without abandoning these preconceptions and properly comprehending his ideological foundations, and those who listen to his teachings by relying on their own ideological foundations and baseless preconceptions and without paying attention to the preludes and prerequisites, will neither understand nor accept any of them, and this, of course, would not be the sin of this scholar, but the sin of those who mock him instead of inquiring him, and annoy him instead of benefiting from him, or decide to be meaninglessly and uselessly silent in his presence.