What is the touchstone of the mind?

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Is the mind enough to understand the religious issues?

Mind is one of the greatest bounties that Allah has given to people. Because man understand and realize many things, and relates them by means of mind. He can differentiate the right and the wrong, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly by weighing in his mind. Based on this, in fact, Allah holds the people of sound mind responsible for their actions. He does not hold the children (who are not at the age of discretion) and insane people responsible. He refers to the mind at the end of many verses of the Qur’an with the expressions like “don’t you ever think?” However, the mind alone is not enough. It can find the right way if it is together with the revelation; that is, if it depends on the revelation. If the man only listens to the mind and ignores the revelation, he goes astray. “Whatever the light means for the eye, the revelation is the same for the mind,” says Imam Ghazali. If it weren’t for the light of revelation, the mind could not see the truth.

Affected by the western philosophy, which does not listen to the revelation, some people in the Islamic world see the intellect enough to weigh everything in the mind. Instead of using the mind according to the Qur’an and Sunnah measures, they test the Qur’an and Sunnah with their mind saying that “Islam is the religion of the reason.”

Then doesn’t this lead to different understandings of religion by different people; because everyone’s perception and measure of mind are different.

It is true that Islam is the religion of reason. But the question is “What is the measure of mind?” This measure must be the revelation, the Qur’an, and Sunnah. Islam is built upon the reason, the wisdom, and the logic; and it is proper to sound minds. The following verse refers to the sound mind: “Only those who have understanding take heed.” (Ra’d, 13:19)

And it is narrated that, “Whoever is granted with the (sound) mind, he is saved.” (Fayzu’l-Qadir)

“It is agreed upon that when the mind and the narration are contrary, the mind is paid regard and the narration is interpreted. But that mind must be a sound mind,” says Imam Said Nursi in his treatise Muhakamat (Reasonings). “The expressions at the end of verses like ‘Will you not then think?’ ‘Will they not think?’ point that Islam is established upon the reason, the wisdom, and the logic. And it is the characteristic of Islam that sound minds accept Islam.” (Isharatu’l-Ijaz)

If the mind were enough, Allah, who does everything with wisdom, would not send books and prophets. That is to say, All-Knowing and All-Wise Allah has sent books and prophets, because the mind alone is not enough.

Along with the reason Islam should be understood by means of the Qur’an and Sunnah, which are called narration (naql). “If Islam had only been the religion of mind, we would wipe under our thin-soled boots (mash) while taking ablution, not on them,” says Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), making the point clear.

Some people occasionally say that there are things in religion that are unreasonable. First of all, this claim should be corrected as “there are things that the mind cannot comprehend.” Here, our attitude should not be to deny the things that the mind cannot comprehend. We must strive to understand the things that Allah conveyed to us, and we should ask the things we cannot comprehend to those who know and understand. Moreover, the reason does not have the capacity to understand everything. It is the nature of the man that he has some limits. He is not an infinite and absolute being. Just as the ears can hear sounds in the certain ranges and cannot hear the sounds from out of those ranges; and the eyes can see the certain things; so too, the mind can comprehend certain things. It cannot understand everything. After all, Allah does not hold people responsible for the things the mind cannot comprehend.

2 thoughts on “What is the touchstone of the mind?

  1. “We never punish until we have sent a messenger.” (Isra, 17:15)
    This verse is interpreted by scholars that a community unaware of any prophet will not be held responsible. That is, although people have reason, they are not necessarily supposed to find that there is one creator, or even if they find that there is one Lord of this world but do not know the pillars of belief, they still do not have to give account of their deeds.
    This convinces me that the test of this life starts with the sending of the prophets.

  2. Reason very well accepts that there must be an owner of all the things in this universe. And actually this leads man to express a gratitiude to that owner. But after this point it is really really hard to find answers as to the meaning of life, man’s essence, what will happen after death, and many other things. I think this is the point that prophets and holy books come to help.

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