|Translation of the Persian explanation of Shaykh Saleh Sabziwari|
The doubts of deniers of the authority of intellect
(I seek refuge to God from the expelled Shaytan
In the name of God, the most merciful and the most beneficent
Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace be upon Mohammad and his purified family
In the previous lesson, we became acquainted with another anti-rationalisms group, the "Muslim Salafists", explained by our master, Mansoor, and we found that they, like the majority of Muslims of hadith, assume intellect and religion as contradicting each other on one hand, and assume religion precedes intellect on the other hand, while in the opinion of his excellency, there is no contradict between intellect and religion; because they both are created by merciful God and are the acts of unit God, and there is no contradict between creatures of merciful God and the acts of unit God. Therefore, the question of which one's intellect and religion precedes the other, does not come about; because precedence has meaning when there is a contradictory and when there is no contradictory, then precedence does not have any meaning. Therefore, this assumption that our master, Mansoor believes that intellect precedes religion, is not a correct assumption; because he believes that intellect and religion have a same nature and believes in an interpretation that intellect is "inner religion" and religion is "external intellect" and yet, he does not take precedence of one over the other. Yes, he considers the knowledge of religion through intellect possible, while he does not consider the knowledge of intellect through religion possible, and therefore, he considers a kind of inevitable and natural precedence for intellect, but this precedence is not due to contradictory between intellect and religion, but is due to precedence of the perceptual over the perceptive, which is an inevitable and natural precedent; therefore, in fact, it is not considered as a true precedent; since a true precedence is the precedence of a perceptive over another perceptive which is at the same level, while religion is not at the same level with intellect, and with this description, considering intellect in precedence over religion, is like considering a whole in precedence of its component which is not correct. Therefore, it can be concluded that our master, Mansoor, does not consider intellect in precedence over religion, but he sees religion in the heart of intellect and he sees nothing in between but intellect.)
(But the next issue is)
[The doubts of deniers of the authority of intellect]
(Meaning the thing which have made the deniers of authority of intellect suffer such a great blunder. Our master, Mansoor says :) It seems that the thing which has made this group deny the authority of intellect more than anything else (considering that there are also other things), is their unwise beliefs (explaining that many of the beliefs of intellect’s authority deniers, such as Christian scholars, as well as Ahl al-Hadith and Muslim Salafists, are not consistent with intellect, and this has led them to deny the authority of intellect); since believing in authority of intellect, requires (them of) relinquishment of these beliefs (such as believing that God is high is the sky and He is sitting on a throne and He is coming down into the world's sky and He can be seen through our eyes and He has two real eyes and two real ears and two real hands and two real feet) and this (relinquishment of these beliefs) is something they are not willing to do (because these beliefs have become their culture and official interpretation from religion as a result of the propagation of Abbasid rulers since Mutawakil and the strong emphasis that has been made on it over the last several centuries, and these beliefs are being considered necessary for monotheism!). I have seen those people (This is a very important point that our master, Mansoor have seen and does not talk about them without seeing them. The reason for his emphasis in several parts of the book that he has seen them or has spoken to them is to know that his reports about them are due to objective experiences and field observations, not due to rumors or suspicious and indirect acquaintances. You see how much this man is concerned with his own intellectual foundations, and to what extent he has reliance on intellect that he relies all his analyzes on certainties! He says: “I have seen them” To inform of the sensibility of the thing he attributes to them; according to the fact that "seeing" is one of the senses of human and its validity is certain. Apart from the fact that God’s friends are “witnesses” to people, meaning they are witnesses to their beliefs and deeds; as God has said about them: «أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الصِّدِّيقُونَ وَالشُّهَدَاءُ» (Hadid/19); “these are the sincere and the witnesses” and has said: «وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا ۗ» (Baqara/143); “Thus We made you a moderate community, that you may be witnesses to humanity, and that the Messenger may be a witness to you”; Rather He has considered one of the dignities of the Prophet and pure and perfect believers that they “see” the deeds of people; as He has said: «وَقُلِ اعْمَلُوا فَسَيَرَى اللَّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۖ» (At-Tawbah/105); “Say: “Work”. God will see your work, and so will His Messenger, and the believers”; this is why this believer man and friend of God says: "I have seen them" and testify to them! Therefore, each of his phrases has deep meanings that can be gained with more attention and contemplation. What he has seen from these sects is that); most of them (meaning the deniers of authority of intellect, especially the Salafis) prefer to die than to abandon their predecessors’ (whom they call as “Salaf”) beliefs, such as the polytheists who, according to the informing of God about them (exactly like the Salafis), say: «إِنَّا وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا عَلَىٰ أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ مُهْتَدُونَ»; “We have found our ancestors on a manner and we have been guided because of following them” (such as Salafis who assume following the predecessor as their guidance) and do not listen to God’s words (toward them and their like-minded) that says: «أَوَلَوْ جِئْتُكُمْ بِأَهْدَىٰ مِمَّا وَجَدْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَكُمْ ۖ»; “Even if I have brought to you something more guide-full than what your ancestors have believed?!”.(It turns out from our master’s statement that although such verses have been revealed about the polytheist, but they can be applied to Muslims whenever they follow the polytheist way. Therefore, nobody should imagine that a belief or a deed which is bad for the polytheist, is not considered bad for Muslims; Because it is even worse for Muslims. Therefore, one of the goals of the Quran from explaining the beliefs and bad deeds of the polytheists is to prevent Muslims from these beliefs and deeds; as God Himself has made such comparisons and has mentioned the similarities of the people of religion with the people of Kufr and for example has said about Christians and Jews: «وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُمْ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ ۖ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ» (At-Tawbah/ 30); “And the Jews said, “Ezra is the son of God,” and the Christians said, “The Messiah is the son of God!” These are their statements, out of their mouths. Their words are similar to those who have previously become infidel”; Therefore, the purpose of our master, Mansoor, from citing such verses to explain the wrong beliefs and deeds of Muslims, is not that these verses are revealed about Muslims, but that these verses, with their generality and in terms of the unity of standard, also apply to the wrong beliefs and deeds of Muslims; although the differences between Muslims and polytheists are still reserved.) Therefore, these people (meaning the Salafists) do not worship God (in a pure and real way) in this method (meaning imitation of the predecessors), rather, they worship their predecessors (because they follow them instead of God and take their beliefs and their deeds as the basis of their own beliefs and deeds) and this is not much strange (meaning unprecedented and unique); since worshipping the ancestors is from among the oldest types of polytheism in the world! (Given that many wild and primitive tribes in the world, worship the spirits of their ancestors and they consider following the way of their fathers essential.)
Of course, those (such as Ahl al-Hadith and the Salafists) who do not regard intellect as a proof, have an observation upon limitation of its perceptions (meaning they do not regard intellect as a proof with this observation that intellect is limited and cannot percept everything such as subordinate religious rules) and think that (it is not a proof and) it may not be the cognition standard with those descriptions, while (this assumption is wrong; because) limitation of the intellect perceptions, does not mean their incorrectness and (for this reason) does not prevent the authority of intellect; but means that those perceptions are less compared to the divine perceptions (in the sense that perceptions of intellect are less than perceptions of God) which is the requirement (meaning the outcome and the natural result) of being a creature for the intellect and is the inherent limitations of the creature (meaning the limitation of perceptions of intellect is due to the fact that intellect is a creature and every creature is limited and being a creature and being infinite at the same time is not possible). Therefore, intellect does not know everything (in the field of nature and religion), but whatever (in these fields) it knows is regarded true (the reason he says “is regarded true” instead of saying “it is true” is because with the existence of impediments to cognition in the outside world, it really can be wrong, but this probability, since does not partially and actually exist in the inner world and in the intellect itself, does not preclude its authority, otherwise, absolute skepticism and sophistication would become required and the magnitude of knowledge and action collapses; because everything that human finds with decisiveness and certainty may not really be, even his body and soul and with this description, knowledge and action becomes impossible, while it is absolutely and naturally possible) and this is sufficient for being as a proof; as for instance the eyes do not see everything (for example, they do not see the unseen world), but whatever (for example in the world of nature) they see, is regarded as true (even if it is not really true in the outside world, like mirage, but as long as they see it, they would not find the possibility of the opposite and have to act accordingly) and ears do not hear everything but whatever they hear (even if it does not really exist and is, for example, due to illusion), is regarded true and this is sufficient for both, being proof (since one cannot say to human: this thing which you see or this thing that you hear, does not exist! And also one cannot say to him: this thing which you understand by your intellect, does not exist! This is impossible and does not make any sense). The complete cognition (of the world of unseen and seen) only belongs to God and no one can have a complete cognition (of all beings of the worlds) except Him and therefore, the religion He has descended, is complete (because it comes from His complete knowledge about the past and the future), but completeness of the religion does not require contradiction to intellect (which is limited and, for example, does not know the past and the future of the world); since in matters about which intellect speaks (meaning it has independent perceptions), religion does not say anything contrary to the intellect’s words (because it has come from its origin; as explained), and in matters about which intellect is silent (meaning it does not have independent perceptions), religion says something which is not contrary to the intellect’s words; since intellect does not say anything about them so that the words of religion become contrary to them (considering that the conflict between something which exists and something which does not exist, does not have meaning, rather it happens between two existing things. Therefore, what religion says about things which intellect does not say anything about them, is not a conflict with intellect); such as detailed descriptions of the heaven and hell that have an occult nature and accordingly intellect is silent about them (because intellect has not felt and experienced them and has no means to know about them with other than religion), but religion (given that it relies on complete divine knowledge of the unseen and the seen) talks about them (and for example says that there are some trees and streams and women and jewels in heaven or there is fire and boiling water and Moghulan thorn and the tree of Zaqqum in hell) and with above description, its words are not regarded as contrary to the words of intellect (because intellect has not seen and experienced heaven and hell and cannot deny these descriptions about them) and such as the details of worship acts (such as rak’ahs of prayer and things which break the fast) that are credence in nature (meaning they are not natural and fixed facts and have originated from religious legislator’s conventions) and intellect is accordingly silent about them (because intellect initially is not aware what has been legislated by the religious legislator), but religion talks about them (and for example says to pray two rak’ahs in the morning and four rak’ahs in the noon and three rak’ahs in the evening and avoid eating and drinking and coition from the sunrise until the sunset) and in this way, its words are not regarded contrary to the words of intellect (because the intellect does not say you should not pray or you should pray three rak’ahs in the morning and two rak’ahs in the noon and four rak’ahs in the evening or you should avoid things which break the fast only from sunrise to noon. Intellect does not have any standards for such credits and subsequently does not interfere in them.); especially considering the fact that intellect understands the religion’s authority (with regards to the divine miracles to prove prophecy of the prophets) and as described above, it accepts its practical reliabilities (meaning religious orders) and certain information (such as information about prophets and angels and heaven and hell) about possible (and not impossible) events (Considering that intellect understands the possibility and the impossibility of events and actions, and if an information or a credit is attributed to religion which is not possible, such as movement of God and seeing Him with eyes or requirement of Zakat Fitra on someone who cannot afford it, it cannot accept it; meaning it understands it is not coming from religion and is only attributed to it).
Anyway, (it is realized from this section that) it is impossible for those (like Ahl al-Hadith and Salafists) who deny the authority of intellect to prove their claim (of non-authority of intellect); since proving any claim (including this claim) without the authority of intellect is impossible (because proving is an intellectual act and is not possible without using intellect). Therefore, they are reasoning based on intellect without knowing themselves (meaning without realizing); since as for instance, the argument of limitation of the intellect (as the first statement of the theorem) which states that reasoning by a limited thing is not permissible (as the second statement of the theorem), is a wise argument based on using intellect and as described before, if reasoning by intellect is not permissible, this reasoning is not permissible either (because this reasoning is also a reasoning to intellect!) and if reasoning by intellect is permissible, this argument is wrong! (Because this reasoning says that reasoning to intellect is not permissible! See how these arguments of them are at the highest levels of strength and stability!)
As a result, propagation against the intellect (which some people from Ahl al-Hadith and Salafists do and prevent people from rationality by doing that) is a satanic deed (who is the main enemy of mankind) to (due to his hostility to them) provide the ground for spread of ignorance in the world (because when rationality is reduced in the world, ignorance increases in it; as in today, that rationality in the world has been reduced and ignorance has increased in it!) and any human being who propagates against the intellect, is from the Satan’s faction and his soldier who is placed at his service, willingly (like Satanists) or unwillingly (like Salafists) and he is fighting against God (through fighting against His will and law).
Wa salamualaikum wa rahmatullah
↑ . [Translator note: Mutawakkil was an Abbasid caliph who reigned in Samarra from 847 until 861.]
↑ . Az-Zukhruf/ 22.
↑ . Az-Zukhruf/ 24.