Does Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani consider that the intellect takes priority over the religion and believe that we should follow the intellect instead of the religion?
Your question arises from the incorrect assumption that there is a contradiction between the intellect and the religion, 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, may God protect Him, believes that the intellect and the religion have been 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 Himself has said: ﴿مَا تَرَى فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَنِ مِنْ تَفَاوُتٍ﴾; “You do not see any difference in the creation of God”. Based on this, following the intellect does not mean not following the religion, but on the contrary, it also means following the religion; because the religion, due to its common origin and its full compatibility with the intellect, commands to obey the intellect and invites toward it; as God Almighty 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, may God protect him, does not consider that the intellect takes priority over the religion, and does not believe that you should follow the intellect instead of the religion, rather he considers the intellect compatible and in agreement with the religion, and believes that it is necessary to follow both of them, as God Almighty has commanded to follow both of them and said: ﴿أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ﴾; “Or do you think that most of them will listen (to the religion) or use their intellect?! They are nothing except like the beasts, they are even more ignorant”, and said: ﴿وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ﴾; “And (those in Hell) say that if we had listened (to the religion) or used our intellect, we would have not been among the people in Hell”, while many Muslims, contrary to the words of God, think that there is no need to follow the intellect with the existence of the religion, and the religion removes their need for the intellect; rather they think that following the intellect is not permissible when the religion exists, and whoever cites the intellect while the religion exists is in a state of Bid’ah and deviation. At the head of this group are the Muslim Ahl Al-Hadith who believe that whatever they need is mentioned in narrations, and therefore there is no need to use the intellect, whereas this belief is contrary to reality; because even narrations, 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, may God protect him, considers that using the intellect is forcible 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 the religion, but this is only due to the fact that the religion 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 citing the Quran and the validity of the Sunnah by citing the Sunnah, and such a work is meaningless. Therefore, in order to know the validity of the religion, there is no choice but to cite the intellect, and this means that the intellect has some sort of forcible and inevitable priority over the intellect, and the religion recognizes this priority as well, but this does not mean that the intellect independently knows all of the religious considerations such as the laws of the 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 the religion, but it means that it is a means to know everything, including the religion, 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, may God protect him, of giving priority to the intellect over the religion, despite its deficiency in comparison with the religion, did not understand his meaning at all, and did not comprehended any of things mentioned in the beginning and end of his words, and they look at his book only from the perspective of their presuppositions based on the illusion that the intellect contradicts the religion or is equal to qiyas and istihsan. Undoubtedly, it is impossible to know his thoughts and the image of the pure and complete Islam that he has presented without abandoning these presuppositions and properly comprehending his ideological foundations, and those who listen to his teachings by relying on their own ideological foundations and baseless presuppositions and without paying attention to the introductions and prerequisites, will not understand nor accept any of them, and this is not of course the sin of this scholar, but the sin of those who mock him instead of asking questions from him, and harm him instead of benefiting from him, or decide to be meaninglessly and uselessly silent in his presence.