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Dr. Karim Crow

Creation of Intelligence


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1. Abdallāh b. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d. 290/ 903), in the zawāid /addenda to his fathers On Renunciation / IKitāb al-Zuhd II 300:

Isnād: ß Ali b. Muslim aI-tūsī (d 253/867) ß Sayyār Hātim al-Anazl (d 199 or 200/ 814-6) ß Jafar b. Sulaymān al-Dubai (d. 178/ 794-5) ß Mālik b. Dinār Cd 127/745) ß

al-Hasan al-Basri (d 110/ 729) ß marfū [raised to the Prophet Muhammad without intermediate link of a Companion] :

When GOD created the [divinely provisioned innate trait of] intelligence, HE said to him, Face forward! so he drew near. Then HE said to him, (Face back! so he withdrew. [So GOD swore: (By My Power and My Glory!] * I did not create a creature dearer to ME than thee! By means of thee I receive, and by means of thee I bestow. *[missing from this version, found in most others.]

2. al-Barqi (d. 274/887), al-Mahāsin, ed. al-Husayni; <;( al-Kulayni, Usūl ai-Kāfi, ed. al- Ghafrār I 110 §1:

lsnād: ß aI-Hasan b. Mahbūb Cd 224/839) • al-A1ā b. Razin ß Muhammad b. Muslim (d 150/ 767) ß Abū Jafar Muhammad al-Bāqir (d ca. 117/ 735, or 114);

When GOD created the intelligence, HE interrogated him [istantaqahu /examined·tested him]. Then HE said to him, (Come forward! so he drew near. Then HE said to him, (Go back! so he withdrew. Then HE said to him, By My Power and My Glory! I did not create a creature dearer to ME than thee! I do not make you perfect (wa Ii aJanuJuka) save in one whom I love (illā fi-man ahabba). Truly, thee alone I command and thee alone I forbid. Thee alone I reward and thee alone I punish.

3. An influential expansion of the immediately preceding narratives was taught by the twelver imams Jafar al-sādiq (d. 148 /765) and his son Mūsā al-Kāzim – same sources as No.2. This functions as a cosmic setting for an ethical listing of seventyfive pairs of virtues and vices in a psychomachia of purgative mysticism with psychological dualism: (aq]·light vs. jahl·darkness. Below is an abbreviated form in translation, though the full listing of seventy-five opposing pairs of virtues and vices is of great psychic-spiritual interest, and set a model for later spiritual systems.

... inna llāha kha1aqa 1- Aq1a wa huwa awwa1u khaJcl kha1aqahu min al-riilJiinJyin an

yamini 1- arshi min nūrihi ... thummā khalaqa I-Jahla min al-bahri 1- ujāj zulmāniyan ...

GOD created aI-aql [intelligence·wisdom] and it is the first creature HE created among the spiritual·immaterial·beings [i.e. bodiless hosts or ArchAngels] on the right side of the Throne from HIS Light. Then HE said to him, (Face forward!. . . (Face back! . . . 7 created thee as a great being and I have ennobled thee above all My creatures! Then HE created aI-jahl [ignorance folly] from the briny sea full of darkness. So HE said to him, (Face back! and he withdrew. Then HE said to him (Face forward! - but he did not draw near. So HE said to him, (Hast thou become prideful?! and HE cursed him. Then He equipped al-aql with seventy-five powers. .. [jahl is similarly awarded troops to empower him in his struggle against light; mans task is to combat the unseen enemy.]

Briefly, Sādiq is here combating Manichaean ethical dualism by joining the personifications of Intelligence and Ignorance (Wisdom and Folly) with the prototypes of Adam and Iblis. Satan is truly the enemy of humans, not of God for whom he must play a specially designated role in creation (this was to become esoteric doctrine among Sufis). The Spirituals/rūhāniyūn are plausibly the Arch-Angelic Throne bearers, the nearest beings to the divine presence. While the setting is reminiscent of the pre-creation cosmic strife between light and darkness (the briny ocean) in Christian Daysāani and Manichaean gnosis [both vital movements in Iraq during Jafars lifetime from which several of his disciples were drawn], the real import of their enmity and struggle is never lost sight of: namely the internal psychic tension within the breast of man whose innate faculties and powers are sourced in a pre-creation drama which sets the parameters of human experience. This expanded version creatively worked out by Sādiq wherein aql becomes "the first creature He created among the spiritual· immaterial beings- is not what the earlier Hellenic or later Muslim philosophers meant by the First Intellect. The association with Throne and Light clarifies its genuine context: first-born Wisdom, and the narratives from Dāwūd b. al-Mu4abbars K al-Aql On Intelligence concerning the Throne confirm this. Nevertheless, the presence of a pre-creation drama of primordial forces in the Throne realm, propels this narrative towards its eventual coalescence with Hellenic thought. But before it achieved this, it was adapted by Isma1TI circles (cf. the Druze cosmogony).


4. Ibn narratives in e.g., Ibn al- , Jami al-  XXIX 14-5 on creation of the PEN:

A wwalu khalaqa ll hu 1-qaJama7 fa- ... / The first that GOD created is the Pen. Thereupon HE said to it, Write! So it wrote what came to pass and what will come to pass [kataba   wa  huwa  in/what is in being and what will be] until Resurrection Day.

[+ similar Prophetic via Ibn  : in al-Tirmidh  & .]

Creation narratives about the Pen /qalam as first creation are certainly archaic, but they should be seen as co-incident with those about Gods creation of Intelligence. Proponents of the Pen upheld a pre-determinationist position while controverting the teachings on aql which awarded humans the potency to act (qudrah). That is why we find several variants of the aql-creation narrative that were modified to support a determinist position (No. 1 reported from al-Hasan al  might be so interpreted?). That may be an indirect argument that the many narratives with the form "When God created the Intelligence" really did imply a first creation context when they were first put into circulation.

These considerations mitigate against any simplistic acceptance of either the Pen or the Intelligence narrations as having genuinely Prophetic authority; rather they probably mirror the first theological debates among Muslim thinkers in the generation of the early Successors during the last third of the 1st century H. Nor does this detract from their significance and value for Muslim thought in any way.

We may recall the utterance by the early Basran Mu  b. Qurrah al- (d. 113/ 731): "People perform good deeds, however they receive their recompense on Resurrection Day in proportion to the measure of their intelligence / ... yu, tawna yawma l-  ala qadri ." This saying is rivaled by a teaching story by Mu4ammad al-B qir : an old wisdom tale about a hermit or stupid-saint pursuing his devotions alone on a verdant island, who wished that God had a donkey to help crop the weeds. Angel Gabriel is impressed by his devotions, but disgusted at his stupidity. The moral is expressed by God stating, ".I shall punish my servants in proportion to what I granted them o/intelligence (in this world)."


The earliest surviving work on aql in clear systematic expression, M iyyat al - Aq1. . .! The Essential Nature of Intelligence and Reality of lts Meaning, was produced by the seminal Baghdadi S fi master al-  al-  (d. 243 /857).

Expanding on the legacy of the pupils of al- Hasan.. MUH SIB 02 linked the innate endowment of intelligence with light ( ) and a means to knowledge (ilm):

"it is the light of the inborn aptitude [of comprehension understanding] together with experience, augmenting and intensifying by means of knowledge and discernment / huwa I-ghar zah ma a I-taj rib, yaz du wa yaqw  bi-I- ilmi wa 1-hiIm.

In his M iyyat aI- AqI (p. 201-2), al-  expands upon this terse definition:

Intelligence is an inborn disposition / God ... placed in the majority of His (human) creatures. People do not become aware of (Gods existence) from one another, nor do they become aware of Him of their own accord through sight or sensation, nor through taste or flavor. Rather, God apprises them (of His existence) by means of the intelligence coming from Him (innam  arrafahum bi-I- aqli min-hu). Thus by means of that intelligence they are cognizant of Him; and they testify to His (existence) of their own accord with the intelligence by which they know Him, through recognizing what benefits them and what harms them.

adds that aqI is a "light in the heart" [i.e. basar/ insight],just as vision is light in the eye; the light is part of the native constitution (tab an wa )

enabling humans to perceive and articulate meaning (ibid, 204). This conception underlines his treatment of the role of innate intelligence in matters of faith, which he termed aq1 aq1 al-hujjah, namely faith intelligence or sacred mind as opposed to the self-centered profane ·mind of the disbeliever or hypocrite. The idea that the divine endowment of human reason acts as Gods proof, or decisive argument (hujjah) against humans developed from the late 15t century H onward.

orthodox enunciation of doctrine prefigured a growing relationship between Sufism and Ash arism. Two centuries later the leading Ash arite thinkers al Juwayn  and his pupil al-  drew upon al-  s idea of aq1 for their own synthesis, but further integrated the philosophical psychology of the rational soul he adapted from Avicenna into his own synthesis of theology and Sufism.


1. For the earlier Ash theologians aq1 is an accident, while Traditionalists and Sufis viewed it as an inborn trait / ghar zah and linked it with both fitrah and light.

"Know that people disagree over the definition of al-aq1and its true nature ( ), "states in the second section of his chapter on Knowledge of his opus Reawakening Religious Knowledge, "and the majority of them failed to heed that this noun designates different notions, so that became the cause of their

disagreement. " al-Aql is a noun jointly applied to designate four notions, just as the noun al-ayn, for example, designates a number of meanings .... "

These four notions are:

a) Gha zah Innate Faculty: "The property by which the human is distinguished from the rest of the beasts, and by which he is made ready to receive theoretical knowledge, and to conduct invisible cogitative operations (tadb ru I-khafiyyati 1-fikriyyah); this is what al-  b. Asad al  meant when he defined al- aql as «an innate faculty that prepares one for the perception-comprehension of theoretical knowledge / ghar zatunyatahayya u  1-  1- nazariyyah »-as though it were a light cast into the heart by which one is made ready to comprehend things. Whomever denies this [aqI being a ghar zah] and attributes al- aqI to m-ere necessary knowledge fails to do justice (to its true nature); considering that a person heedless of (some facet of) knowledge and the sleeping person may both be called possessed of intelligence ( ) with respect to the presence of this innate faculty within them, together with the absence of knowledge .... " [There follows a discussion of the nature of the human innate faculty for grasping theoretical knowledge, and its qualitative difference from any, innate animal faculty.] ... Thus the relation of this innate faculty to knowledge is like the relation of the eye to seeing; while the relation of the Quran and revealed truth (aI-shar) to this innate faculty in its process of knowledge being disclosed to it, is like the relation of the light of the sun to vision. In like manner must we understand this innate faculty."

b) al  al-Dar riyya Some Necessary Knowledge: "This is the knowledge that comes into existence in the being of the discerning child (Fi , dh ti I-tfile I-mumayyiz), with the possibility of conceivable notions and the impossibility of inconceivable notions," including the principle of non contradiction (e.g. two is greater than one; a person cannot be in two places at one time).

c) al-Ilm al- Musta ad Acquired Knowledge: "Knowledge acquired from experience in the course of events and through life circumstances." This prudential knowledge distilled from life experiences is also termed aql[practical wisdom], as opposed to jahl [ignorance or folly].

d) Practical & Theoretical Wisdom: This highest type of intelligence is the final fruit of the preceding three and their ultimate aim, being the maturation of the innate human knowing-comprehending faculty marked by undaunted restraint reigning in wayward desires, and consummated by acquired knowledge-experience yielding true insight into the outcomes of affairs.

al-Gh zaI  now states that the first two kinds of intelligence are inborn within the human natural disposition (bi-I-lab), while the last two kinds are learnt or acquired ( bi-I-iktis b).

"The first [an innate faculty] is the foundation and the root and the fountainhead [of the other three] (al-uss wa I-sinkh wa I-manba); the second [some necessary knowledge] is the nearest branch to it; the third [acquired knowledge] is the derivative of the first and the second, since by means of the aptitude of the innate faculty and of necessary knowledge is experiential knowledge acquired (tustaf du uI mu I-taj rib); and the fourth [practical & theoretical wisdom] is the final fruit and the ultimate goal (aI-gh yatu l-I qusw  ). ... And the first is what was intended by (the Prophets)

statement: God Mighty and Majestic did not create a creature more esteemed by Him than the intelligence /m  khalaqa azza wa jalla khalqan akrama alayhi min al- aq1 And the last is what was intended by (the Prophets S) statement [to Ali b. Ab  T lib: When people draw near (to God) by means of the variety of righteous acts and devout deeds, then do you yourself draw near (to Him) by means of your intelligence /  taqarraba 1-

bi-abw bi 1-birri wa i-a m li 1- S lihah fa-taqarrab anta bi- aqlika!

[al-Ghaz fi goes on to cite in this section alone three more traditions ascribed to the Prophet from D w ds Kit b al- Aq1 In total, he cites at least eighteen narratives from D w d about intelligence in his Ihy  .

What al-Ghaz I  accomplishes in this section on the real nature of aql and its divisions is a remarkable integration of the traditional ethical and the Sufi conceptions of intelligence being an innate faculty and practical wisdom, with the rational doctrine on intellect as self-evident knowledge of Sh fi al-flqh and the speculative reasoning of Ash ar  kal m. He clarifies that the kal m view limiting the nature of aql solely to a variety of necessary knowledge is mistaken. Like his teacher Juwayn , Ghaz I  embraced al-  s notion of human intelligence being an innate endowment (ghar zah) in terms of a readiness for perception and knowledge, i.e. a preparedness for both intuitive necessary knowledge and acquired demonstrative knowledge-as well as embracing illuminative vision (mush hadah).

Muh sib  had conceived of this innate faculty of aql in terms of "a light in the heart" just as vision is light in the eye; this light being part of the native constitution enabling humans to perceive and articulate meaning and grasp knowledge. The materials transmitted in D w d b. al-Muhabbar s  Kit b al- Aql, reflecting a primary stage of Sufi meditation upon the nature of aql, were thus exploited by al-Ghaz li to support his integration of these heretofore conflicting strands of Islamic thought.

This process of re-valorization of the ah d th through enrichment of meaning investing these traditions with deepened relevance for his thought may be witnessed in the case of Alis had th, where the Prophet says: " ... then do you yourself draw near (to God) by means of your intelligence / fa- taqarrab anta bi- aqlika." Ghaz I  cites this had th again in Ihy  (III.1 sharh aj  ib al-qaIb) where he explains that this drawing near is achieved only by means of acquired knowledge (bi-I-muktasabah, i.e. reasoning and demonstration, in the third meaning above), not by means of the innate instinctive faculty (I  yumkinu l-taqarrubu bi-l-ghar zati l-fitr yah) nor by means of self-evident necessary knowledge (Ia bi-I- ulumi l-qar r yah). He comments: yet the likes of Ali ... are able to draw near (to God) by employing the intellect to avail oneself of the knowledge by means of which proximity to the Lord of the universe is bestowed." This may be read as an implied reference to film almuk shafah.

Such acquired knowledge was conceived of by al-Ghaz I  as an impress of "the divine presence / al-hadrat al-il h yah" within the human soul.

2. In a passage treating the real nature of knowledge from his al-Mustasf  min Ilm al-Us l (I 69) which is an exoteric work on the roots of law, Ghaz I  states:

When the realities of the intelligible objects of perception (haq  iq al- ma, q l t are impressed upon the intelligizing soul (al-nafs al- aqiIah), they are called knowledge; and just as the sky and the earth and trees and rivers are imaged as being seen in the mirror as if they were present in the mirror and as if the mirror contains them all, so likewise the divine presence in its totality is imaged as being impressed upon the human soul. Now the divine presence is a mode of expression for the totality of existents (jumlat al-mawj d t), for they are all within the divine presence since there is nothing in existence save God Exalted and His Acts. So if (the divine presence /totality of existents) are impressed upon (the human soul), then (the soul) becomes as though it were (ka-annah ) the entire world, on account of its cognizance of (the entire world) imaged and impressed [within itself]; whereupon one who does not understand might suppose (such cognizance to be) infusion [al-hul l, i.e. indwelling of divine in the human], then he would be like the person who supposes that the image is resident in the mirror (h llat un  f  I-mir t); while he is mistaken, for the image is not in the mirror, rather: as though it is in the mirror."

This statement may be read with Ibn S n s psychology of the rational soul in mind:

how the intellect-in-act (al- aql bi-l-fll) of the rational soul (al-nafs al-n tiqah) receives the impress of the intelligibles (al-ma q l t) from the Active Intellect (al- aql al-fa" l), thereby fully actualizing its material potential or preparedness for knowledge by contact with the giver of forms (w hib al suwar) thus realizing the condition of the acquired intellect (al- aql al-mustaf d). Yet in Ghaz I s

terminology, knowledge is received through the intermediate causality of angelic intelligences (bi-was iti l-mal  ikah).

D. Aql - First Intellect in Philosophy

1. al-J:Iusayn b. Muhammad al-R ghib al-Isfah n  (d ca.430450 H 7), the 6th 11 th century philologist, Quran savant and moral philosopher who was a formative influence on the important thinker al-Ghaz l  (d.505I1lll), treats aql /reason -intellect at length in his classic ethical manual Expedient-Means to the Eminent Character-Traits of the Divine Law/al-Dhar  ah il  Mak rim al-Shar ah [ed.

Abu Zayd al-Ajaml (Cairo 1985), fa 2, pp. 1 67ff.J. Raghib introduces this section treating facfJlat a!- aq1 / the surpassing virtue of intelligence by invoking the famous yet controversial1;zadith assigned to the Prophet Muhammad portraying Gods creation of the human intellectual faculty:

Al- Aq1 is the first immaterial substance / awwalu jawhar brought into existence by God the Exalted, and the most sublime / ashraf (creation), according to the indication of what is reported that the Prophet $ said:

The first thing GOD created is al- aq1, then HE said to him Face Forward! so he drew near; next HE said to him: Turn Back! so he withdrew. Then GOD said By My Power and My Glory! I did not create any creature more esteemed by ME than thee. By means of thee do I receive, and by means of thee do I bestow by means of thee do I reward, and by means of thee do I punish.

Now, if aq1was a non-essential accident / arad [i.e. an existential quality subsisting in matter according to what a certain group imagines [Theologians[, then its being the first of created beings / awwalu makhl q could not be true, for the reason that the existence of a thing pertaining to the non-essential accidents is inconceivable prior to the existence of an underlying substance to carry it. [Le.: reason must be an immaterial substance]

The Prophet also said: "There is no faith-practice for one lacking aq1 [innate moral-intelligence] /l dina Ii-man l  aqla  la-hu "; and "Do not marvel at a mans isl m until you know the resolution of his aq1" [both from D w1 ds Book] In accordance with this aspect pointed to by the

Prophet, the Sages have said:

One in whom their aql does not predominate over their goodly traits, then this [abdication of the commanding role of {moral-reason] becomes their destruction by the predominance of evil traits over them.

By means of al- aql the human becomes the Deputy of God I khal fat All h· and if aql was imagined to be elevated [beyond the reach of humans], then the surpassing-virtues /la-fad  il would disappear from the world, let alone from the human. By means of that which God the Exalted has implanted within the human, is one rightly-guided to whom God the Exalted grants success in purifying his soul I tazkiyat nafsihi, mentioned in the Exalted s utterance: He, indeed, prospers who purifies it, and he is

ruined who corrupts it [Q aI-Shams 91 :9-10]; and by means of aql does one attain the harvest of the Hereafter mentioned in the Exalteds utterance: "Whoso desires the harvest of the Hereafter, We give him increase in his harvest. .. [Q al-Sh r  42:20]." The fruit of the harvest of the Hereafter is detailed in seven things: subsistence without non-being, potency without incapacity, knowledge without ignorance, wealth without poverty, security without fear, ease without labor, and glory without ignominy.

It is al-aql which is pointed to in the Exalted s utterance: "God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. His light is like unto a lustrous niche, wherein is a lamp. The lamp is inside a glass-globe . ... [al-N r 24:35] till the end of the verse. Thus, the meaning of the Light of the heavens and the earth is the illuminator / munawwir of the heavens and the earth; and the Light is al- aql, ...

. . . [p. 207] GOD, Mighty and Majestic, has two messengers / ras l ni to HIS creatures: the first of them pertains to the interior I min al-b tin and it is al aql; the second pertains to the exterior /min al-Z hir and it is the Messenger [Prophet]. There is no possible means for anyone to benefit from the external Messenger without previously availing themselves of the internal. For the internal (messenger) apprehends/ ya rifu the veracity of the external (Messengers) claim, and if not for aql then the decisive argument / al- hukkaj by means of (the Prophet s) words would have no compelling force. For this reason, GOD hands the one who is skeptical concerning HIS Oneness and the veracity of HIs prophets prophecy, over to al- aql; thus HE bids him seek asylum in aql regarding the cognition of their veracity. Thus aql is a commander and religion is a reinforcement / fa-1- aq1q  id wa 1-d n madadun ; if aql did not exist then religion would not continue to be maintained, while if religion did not exist then aql would become bewildered. The combination of the two is, as God the Exalted says, Light upon Light [Q a!-N r24:35]. R ghib goes on to discuss the differences between inborn or innate intelligence (ghar z ) vs. acquired or learnt intelligence (mustaf d, muktasab), employing the imagery of innate aql as eyesight and acquired aql as light, for the operation of insight. The imagery of light found in the famous Light verse is aligned with gUidance, and elsewhere R ghib emphasizes that the dual guidance of aql with the Quran is Light upon Light, in that the Quran is the oil feeding the lamp of aql He further comments on this verse (Dhar ah 70) :

" ... the Lamp is a parable for a!- aql, the Niche is a parable for the bosom of the faithful one, the Glass for his heart . . " and the Oil is a parable for the Quran; God clarifies that the Quran supplies al- aql as oil feeds the lamp, being all but sufficient on account of its self-evident clarity even if a!- aql does not assist it; then HE said Light upon Light, namely the Light of the Quran and the Light of a!- aql "R ghib emphasizes the cognitive function of intelligence in conjunction with praxis (p.176 "a1- m n zubdatu 1- aq1 wa 1- amah /faith is the quintessence of intelligence and deeds"); the nexus of the understanding and the he art/ qalb; and treats at length the relation of aql with film /knowledge (pp. 169- 180,229- 251). R ghibs treatment of aql was the model for Ghaz l1s influential discussion in his Ihy  Ul m al-D n, an authoritative base text for normative Islamic thought. / R ghibs passage indeed highlights the theological center-of-gravity for the Islamic religious aql notion, at the same time that it displays the distinct impact of philosophical ideas, notably his definition of aql as an immaterial substance /jawhar, and his denial of its being an existential quality or accident / arad.

2. Ab  H mid al-Ghaz l , a1-Ma rif al- Aql yah, ed. Abd al-Kar m al-Uthm n (Damascus, D r al- Fikr, 1963) transl. of pp. 27-29. This work is addressed to the dhaw 1-alb b and the ,t lib mutafakkir / the thinking seeker, with five chapters explaining the semantic and conceptual difference between three key terms reason, speech, and utterance / a1-nutq a1-kal m and a1-qawl, as well as kit bah. It focuses upon nutq /speech -reason, taken as distinctive attribute of the human rational soul and characteristic of the human mind, comprising the chief distinguishing mark of humanity (al-insiiniyyahJ and begins by discussing the essential-nature of speech -reason providing a cosmologic creation account invoking the famous Aql creation narrative.

When God, praised be He, wished to manifest His Imperious  Supremacy /Jabar tih by means of the Volition! al-ir dah befitting His essence, He originated a spiritual immaterial-substance -simple, perceiving, perfect, perfecting (abdaa jawharan r h niyy an bas tan mudrikan mukammilan; and He clarified and polished it like a mirror. Then He confronted it I q balahu with the light of His Sublimity and Beauty /n ri Jal lihi wa Jam lih; so the divinity of the Creator, may His Sublimity be exalted, reflected itself in the essential-nature of this immaterial substance /fa- tasawwarat il h yatu 1- B ri ... f  m hiyyati jawhariyyatih. (Thereupon, this spiritual jawhar)cognized the Lordship of his Originator /wa aqala rub biyyata mubdi ih, and thus he recognized the servantship of his own essence I fa- arafa ub dlyata dhatih.

So that immaterial-substance, as the first originated being / al-jawharu 1- mubda u 1-awwalu, became an intellect/ aq1 due to the pure clarity of his essence, (and he became) an intellecting-subject qilan due to (his cognizing) the Lordship of his Creator, and an intellected –object/ lma"q r due to comprehension of the servantship encompassing him. Thereupon he recognized his Lord I arafa rabbahu, obeyed His command/ at , a amrahu, and took charge of the concealments of the divine determination and the hiddenments of the divine decree / istawl  al  ma,twiyy ti 1-qadari wa makhfiyy ti 1-qadari means of The WORD of the Creator I bi-kalimati 1- B ri, Exalted be He.

And (this Intellect) turns toward Him so as to receive [for himself benefit from Him], and turns away from Him so as to impart [benefit to others] / aqbala alayhi bi-1-istif dah wa adbara an-hu bi-1-if dah; as it is relayed

from the Prophet $ who said:

-The first (being) GOD created is the Intellect. Then HE said to him Turn forward! so he faced front; then HE said to him Turn back! so he faced back.

The Intellect turns toward The WORD to receive benefit [for himself], thus he remains single /tawahhada; then he turns away (from The Word) thereby projecting the Soul by means of imparting benefit [to another] /fa –azhara I-nafsa bi-l-if dah. Thereupon (the Intellect) coupled /fa-tazawwaja (with Soul); thus Matter I al-hay la was brought forth from the intimate contact of Intellect and Soul; and multiplicity was completed by three, as it is said "the minimum plurality is three."

Thus the Intellect is the first of originated beings I awwalu 1-mubda t, and the Soul is the first of projected beings / l  I-munfa il t, and Matter is the first of generated things / l  1-muwaJIad t. God, Exalted be He, said: "God (Himself witnesses that there is no Divinity save Him, and the angels and the possessors a/knowledge (are also witnesses) [ I Imr n 3: 18]."

He follows this by enumerating the numerals from their origin in unity through to TEN:

one = al-kalimah, two = aI- aq1, three = aI-nafs, four = spiritual· Matter (aIhay l ), five = nature (a1-tab ah), six = Body (a1-jism), seven = the heavenly Spheres (al-afl k), eight = the four elements (al-ark n al-arba ah), nine = Generated things [i.e. the three kingdoms of mineral, plant, animal / aJ-muwa11adiit] , and ten = the Human (al-ins n).

Now this is precisely the scheme expounded in the Ras il of the  Ikhw  n al- Saf  , [e.g.Y. Marquet, La philosophie des Ikhw n a1Saf , (Alger, SNED, 1975) p. 41-2] ! At completion of ten, the end reverts to the beginning by adding one: ten + one = ins n n tiq lin mil / a knowing, acting, rational human, or prophecy and messenger-ship:

[p.30] " ... the end of numerals is ten, and ten returns to the First One, who is the Universal Intellect I al- Aq1 al-KuI1l, and the Universal Intellect is the trace/ athar of a word from the speech of God the Creator, Exalted be He; and al-nutq is a trace from the Universal Intellect.

In this manner Ghaz f  portrays articulated-speech reason as the necessary condition of the human rational soul in articulating abstract thought [30-1]. The person who enunciates real meaning (al-n tiq) is [34] "one whose soul becomes an image /mith l for God the Exalted s BOOK, and whose heart becomes a transcript / nuskhah of Gods Words ... , so that he is able to hear his Lord, Blessed

and Exalted, and to cause others to hear; and this is the utmost degree of the glory of the human race and the condition of the angels .... " Furthermore, in good Ash arite fashion, Ghaz I  explicitly includes within the scope embraced by nutq: "the Speech of the Creator, the moral-obligation of revelation, affirmation of human servantship, assenting to prophecy, and the confirmation of Gods Lordship."

It may be relevant to recall that early Ism l l  thinkers debated whether the human rational soul is a part / juz, or a vestige, trace / athar of the celestial universal Soul / Nafs; the latter view was taught by Ab  I tim al-R z  (d. 3221 934-5) in his aI-Isl h [ed. I:I. M n chehr (Tehran 1998) 28; & 30-3]: aI-nafS aI n tiqah = atharan min dh lika I-jawhari I-aI  1-shar f, while both the jawharS of "Aq1 & Nafs are united by the WORD /kalimat ai-B r . This distinction between part and trace derives from Neoplatonic discussions reflecting the positions of Plotinus and Proclus respectively [consult esp. Paul Walker, "The Universal Soul and the Particular Soul in Ism l  Neoplatonism," Neoplatonism and Islamic Thought, ed. P. Morewedge (Albany, NY 1992) pp. 149-166].

3. Mulla S lih al-M zandar n  (17th cent. CE Isfah n  sage), Sharh Us l a1- K f  vol. I kit b a1-"aq1 wa I-jah1pp. 67-77: had th §l - on the fifth im m Ab  Jafar al-B qir. [He comments on the creation narrative:]

[68:] Ab  Jafar said: "When God created the Intelligence"-namely, the Rational Soul, it being the substance free of matter in itself apart from its action in bodies through regulating and directing (al-nafs al-n tiqah wa  hiya 1- jawharu 1-mujarradu an al-m ddati f  dh tihi d na fj lihi f  1-abd n bi-1-tasarrufi wa 1-tadb r). This immaterial substance/ jawhar is called nafs with respect to its attachment to the body; and aql with respect to its freedom (from matter) and its link connection to the World of the Holy (nisbatihi il   Iami 1-quds), since in this latter aspect it intelligizes its [ own] self (ya "qilu nafsahu)-that is to say, it withholds and forbids (the self) from that which the former (bodily) aspect necessitates (claims ex act slyaqta41hl) of evils and malicious deeds that prohibit the return to this World.

The Rational Soul has surpassing levels /mar tib mutaf witah and differing states of strength and weakness, there being six: [We provide the philosophic &

sufi equivalences in brackets].

First -the state of pure preparedness propensity for perfections [=a1-aq1 al-hay l n ;

Second -the state in which First Principles Primaries are witnessed [=al- agl bi-lmalakah];

Third -the state in which the Theoretical / al-nazariyāt are witnessed from the mirror of the First Principles [=aJ-aql bi-l-fi I];

Fourth -the state in which those Theoretical are witnessed after their cessation from (reflection in) this mirror and their storage without renewed acquisition [=al- aql al-mustatād], and this state is the state of Knowledge of Certainty (iIm al-yaqin), being the state in which the Knowledge Forms and the Sought-after certitudes (al-Suwar al- ilmiyyah wa l-matālib al-yaqiniyah) are witnessed in its self [fi dhātihi, i.e. at this level or plane of soul experience];

Fifth -the state of the Eye of Certainty (ayn al-yaqin), being the state in which those Knowledge-Forms and Sought-for certitudes are witnessed in the self/being of the Emanator / fi dhāti l-mufid [al-mufid = al-aql aI-fa "āl];

Sixth - the state of the Reality of Certainty (haqq al-yaqin), being the state in which (the human reason) contacts connects with the Emanator by an ideal connection [ittisālan ma nawiyyan; i.e. an immaterial link] and meets the Emanator in a spiritual encounter, and this is the greatest state of the human faculties.

And all these states belonging to the Soul/ nafs have also been called Mind/ aql. From here there appears the aspect of the dissimilarity of intellects (tafāwut al- uqiil ) within humanity, and the aspect of their reception of completion and diminution. The term al- aql has thus been applied to the substance separate from matter in its self essence and its action. It is said that al- aql is the first

creation from among the Spirituals (awwalu khalqin min al-rūhāniyin)...

4. The Safavid Twelver authority Mullā Muhammad Bāqir al-Majlisi (d.1110 /1698) comments on imam Bāqirs narrative on the testing of aql: "what is meant by the interrogation"(of the intelligence) is its being made receptive to perceiving knowledge by means of (such interrogation); and that the command to face forward and {turn back is an ontological command / amran tākwiniyan to make the intelligence capable of being a means for attaining both this world and the Hereafter and of felicity and misery, and the instrument for utilization in knowing the realities of affairs as well as for pondering over the intricacies of stratagems" [see Majlisi, Mirāt al- Uqūl v. I kitāb a!- aq! wa l-jah/pp. 25-31].

This same distinction was first propounded by the great Safavid era Sage MirDāmād (d. 1041 /1631) in his al-Taliq alā Kitāb al-Kāfi (ed. Mahdi Rajā!, p.19), commenting on the divine command to Reason to perform iqbāl: Face Forward! In Bāqirs narrative, in an insightful manner:

This command is one of originative formation / a1-takwlnl a1-ijādi, not one of legislative commissioning-obligating / a1-takIlff at tashri I, and the iqbāl and idbiir is the augmentation or diminution in every step in the degrees of the rational faculty [a1-quwwah a1- āqi1ah, or the apprehending-perceiving faculty] and in the degrees of the practical faculty-in proportion to the knowledges and the character-traits both quantitatively and qualitatively-in accordance with each (specific individual) pertaining to their primary inborn preparedness capacity / al-istidād al-awwal al-jibilli in the first fitrah; since it is by means of actions and inactivity [i.e. suspension of works] in the second fitrah that what is in the first fitrah becomes augmented or becomes deficient. . . This intensification and lessening I a1-izdiyiid wa l-intiqās pertains to the intrinsic properties of the substance of the human intellect / min khawāssi jawhari 1- aqli 1-insāni. Thus, for that reason it became the most beloved creature of GOD Exalted, and by that it merits the legislative obligating of bidding and forbidding from the Most HONORABLE PERSON - may Praise be to HIM ....

On Mir Dāmāds views on first creation and his teaching of the two fitrahs, see further Ayatullāh Rūhallāh Khumayni, junūd a1- Aql wa l-Jahl [his commentary on a1- sādiqs hadlth of the seventy-five powers of Intelligence and Ignorance, published posthumously], Arabic trans. by Ahmad al-Fihri ..... and idem, Misbāh; a1-Hidāyah ilā 1-Khiliifah wa 1- Wi1iiyah, Arabic text edited with Persian trans. by Al}mad al-Fihri (Tehran, Intishārāt Payām Azādi, 1360 shamsi /Dec.1981) pp. 141-182 on the First Issuant /a1-sādir al-awwa1 ; - see esp. pp. 157-164 for Imam Khomeinis rather profound insights into al-Bāqirs aql creation narrative, coupled with a penetrating critique of Mir Dāmāds explanations. This demonstrates that the creative intellectual and spiritual impulse within this tradition has been maintained.

Creation of Intelligence

In a lengthy derived from the 2nd / 8th century Basran – Baghdadi Proto Sufi b. al – Muhabbar s Kitab al – Aql , the Companion Ibn  ] d. 43/ 663 , a Madinan Jewis Convert to Islam[ is portrayed as questioning the Prophet Muhammad about the Throne (al – arsh) as the greatest of all Gods Creations. In this hadith, the Prophet Informs Ibn  that the Angels once asked GOD Himself about the greatest creation, even greater than the Throne and here stated to be al – aql – which is beyond the comprehension even of Angels. GOD then informed the Angels about this greatest creation.

Knowledge of It cannot be fully comprehended! Do you have knowledge of the number of grains of sand? … Truly I created al aql as diverse sorts like unto the number of grains of sand. Of that I give some people a single grain, and to some two loads, and to others even more.

]when Ibn  asks the prophet who is so fortunate as to receive such compounded measures of intelligence – understanding, the Prophet replies:[

Those who labor in accordance with obedience to GOD, (are given measures of aql) in proportion to their deeds and their diligence and their certitude (  qadri a  wa jiddihim wa ), and in proportion to the Light GOD placed in their hearts. Their Custodian (qayyim) in all of that is al – aql which GOD provided them. Thus in proportion to that ]finite measure of intelligence granted them by GOD[ the worker among them labors and rises in degrees (yartafi, u ).

]Innate faculty of intelligence- wisdom was often described as: a light in the heart, or as being like a lamp shining in the midst of the house (set within a high niche)[.

I Intellectual Paralysis

Educated Muslims generally are not comprehending their present day situation. Many contemporary Muslim societies are submerged within ethnic or nationalist politico-social orders wherein genuine Islamic intellectual and spiritual resources are · evaporating under the double inroads of globalization accompanied by strident reassertion of parochial identities turbaned with a religious abuse of authority. The Historical idealization of their religion long favored by many Muslims thereby projects a static objectification of a monolithic invariable ISLAM in terms of an ingrown culturalism shaping their prevailing mindset and communal identity. In the words of Samir Amin:

What they understand by Islam seems to be no more

than a conventional social version reduced to formal respect for all ritual practices; it is a community to which one belongs by heritage, like an ethnic group, not by deep personal conviction. All that matters is the assertion of a collective identity. It is a way of thinking based upon the notion that each culture has a number of .invariable, transhistorical specificities ... which operate in the same way that genes do in racist ideology and have the same power to transmit themselves across time.

These static images framing an unchanging portrait of ISLAM have deposited accumulated barriers which persist historically, resisting any future shift towards a differing understanding. This may explain why Muslims often retreat from embracing a new mindset, or remain bewildered and incapable of communicating across incompatible conceptual barriers even within their own faith tradition. As the Prophet

Muhammad stated: GOD hates the faithful-person of weak intelligence.


Rene Guenon, "The Radiating Hemi and the Flaming Hemi", in Fundamental Symbols, ed.

M. Valsan, trans. Alvin Moore, Jur. (Lahore: Suhail Academy, 2001) on p. 285

traditionally intelligence was related to the heart [transcendent intellect & centre of being]. Enlightenment rationalism identified intelligence purely with reason, with the heart reduced to the seat of affectivity or sentiment. Consequent loss of hierarchical modalities.

" ... when intellectual intuition, which resides in the heart, had ceased to

be recognized and reason, which resides in the brain, had usurped the illuminating role of the intellect, there was nothing left for the heart but the possibility of being looked on as the seat of affectivity. Furthermore, the modern world had also to see the birth of what can be called sentimentalism, as a kind of counterpart to rationalism, that is, the tendency to see in sentiment what is most profound and most elevated in the being and to affirm the supremacy of this over intelligence: ... the exaltation of the infrarational ... could not have come about except for the fact that intelligence had first been reduced to reason alone."

Intelligence and love? Affectivity with intelligence? / heat I light:

Sun-heart / Moon-brain:: the less light a flame gives out, the hotter it is.

Reason: a light without heat = a reflected illumination, cold like lunar light. / / Feeling: a heat without light relation? intelligence (& love) are two inseparable aspects of the same thing - yet this love [unlike sentiment] is more akin to pure intelligence different from reason.

Heart and Brain" pp. 287-294. essential difference between rationalism and true intellectuality:: complementarity & symmetrical correlation?.. or subordination & reflection } reason as a reflecting faculty.

Moon- Brain - rational discursive intelligence } organ of reason = transmitter-transformer. / Sun - Heart - intuitive intelligence} organ of illumination.

uiz. root: man - moon - mind (rational-mental faculty) : Sanskrit manas, Latin mens, English mind} man taken in his rational nature. + idea of measure & division or allotment are also linked to this root.

291 "The lunar light is in reality only a reflection of the solar light....

What is true "for the sun and "moon is true also for the heart and the brain or better, for the faculties to which these two organs correspond and which they symbolise, that is, the intuitive intelligence and the rational or discursive intelligence. The brain, inasmuch as it is the organ or instrument of reason, truly plays only the role of transmitter and of transformer: not is it without due cause that the world reflection is applied to rational thought, by which things are seen only as in a mirror .... "

292 "Reason, which is only a mediate knowing faculty, is the strictly human mode of intelligence; intellectual intuition can be called supra human  as it is a  direct participation in universal intelligence which, residing in the heart, that is, at the beings very centre where lies his point of contact with the Divine, penetrates this being from within and illuminates him with its radiation." }

Light =  knowledge solar light = direct intuitive knowledge of pure intellect. / lunar light = reflective knowledge, discursive rational faculty.

"As the moon cannot give its light unless it is itself illuminated by the sun, so likewise reason - in the order of reality which is its own rightful domain - cannot function validly except under the guarantee of principles which enlighten and direct it, and which it receives from the higher intellect.

higher intelligence: direct perception-contemplation of the intelligible light. = heart- knowing: supra trans-rational prehension 292 rationalist error of modern mentality: "rational principles" are conceived of as inherent to reason, or in some way the work of reason ...

Aristotle: "one does not demonstrate principles, but one perceives their truth directly." / / yet in order to govern reason they must impose themselves upon it - thus they come from above... / True principles are

grasped immediately and can not be the object of a discursive knowledge

characteristic of rationalism - a knowledge that is indirect & mediate & fallible. Disclosure of principles is actually a mode of knowledge or a manner of being higher than rational or scientific knowledge = metaphysical knowledge .



Intelligence & Creation in Islam

Quran and Reason

Early Islamic creation teachings were inspired by the Qur ān and complemented by closely related Biblicist traditions. They eventually grew to encompass the Hellenic emphasis on intelligible reality preceding or transcending the psychophysical realms, as among Muslim philosophers and metaphysicians. During the 19th and 20th centuries aql enjoyed a type of reincarnation along modernist Muslim thinkers facing Western cultural and political challenges. Recent decades have witnessed a growing interest among contemporary thinkers in a1- na?ar a1- aqIithe rational argumentation of the Qurān. In contemporary usage aql now most often connotes reason, mentality or discursive mentality, "reflecting brain conception prevalent in our contemporary mindset-e.g. aql ilaktruni & mukhkh ikaktrūni/ electric brain or computer. This Brain conception forms a crucial legacy of modernity inherited from the Enlightenment project and globalised by the dominance of Euro-American financial, military and cultural hegemony.

In its earliest Islamic unfolding the concept of aql comprised the intersection of old Arab and Qurānic with Biblicist (Jewish & Christian) components. Aql became the carrier of multiple overlapping or diverging n1eanings. It assumed particular meanings in ethics, humanistic studies (adab), prosody and rhetoric, law, theology, philosophy, as well as in spiritual and metaphysical speculations. The spectrum of Islamic understandings of reason and rationality would cover the chief disciplines where rationality played an extensive role: grammar, legal theory / usūl al-fiqh, speculative theology / kalāmn, as well as philosophy / falsafah with its eventual transformation into a metaphysic of higher rational·spirituality (l;.ikmah and irfiin). Attention Inust also be paid to the pronounced anti-rationalist tendency consistently exhibited by a wing of Sunni Traditionalism - the Hashwiyah or HanbaIi Traditionalism.

Quranic logic and polemical persuasion form part of the operation of Gods absolutely compelling argument (a1-hujjat al-bālighah) in guiding to truth or delivering from error. Thus the frequency of the refrains in the Quran both castigating those who fail to heed the guidance and urging them to think and reflect and understand: a- fa lā ta qilūna? In a powerful depiction of the lament and regret of disbelievers in Hell (al- Mulk 67:10): And they shall say, Had we but heeded [divine revelation] or understood, we would not now be among the inmates of the Blazing fire!/ wa qālū law kunnā nasma u aw naqilu mā kunnā fi ashābi l-sa iri. The invariably verbal Qurānic employment of yaqilu linked with the essential doctrine of Gods āyāt or signs operating a species of semiotic pointers to the divine providential purpose at all levels of creation. The evidentiary role of the āyāt in the creation theology of the Qurān (see esp. the semantic fields of rerms ya qilu, tafakkur, and ulū l-albāb) reflects reflects the deep concern for a teleological mode of thought within prophetic teachings, where humans are asked to ponder and exercise sapiential reflection over the wisdom of the overall design leads to a form of intuitive discernment of the Creator and of ones own creaturely status, which was deemed by the theologians to be an innate form of necessary knowledge provided to all humans (ilm darūri).

One may discern within the Qur ān the inter- linked notions of a cognitive elite, the possessors of understanding / ulū 1-albāb [lubb as heart mind] distinguished by their knowledge, wisdom and God- mindfulness (ilm, hikmah, taqwā_; as well as of a cognitive scale forming a hierarchy of response and understanding on the part of the faithful (pondering à comprehending à remembrance à ultimately yielding certainty / tafakkur & tadabbur à aql à here and in the Hereafter. This essential insight concerns the hierarchical scale of knowledge varying in scope of truth and degree of certainty. Corresponding with this vertical scale of knowledge is the attainment and intensity of understanding. This central Islamic idea of a knowledge hierarchy is rooted in the Qur āns teaching of the scale of human cognition and degrees of knowledge among the faithful. Consider the Qurān verses al-Nahl/the Bee 16:10-13, its cognitive and conative progression through aql/ intelligence understanding àdhikr/ remembrance à shukr / gratitude; as well as verses 16:65-69, the scale of cognitive aptitudes progressing through sam /hearing à aql à fikr / reflection à culminating in à yaqin / certainty. It is indisputable that aql constitutes a key element in the human reception of divine guidance.

This nexus between faith and understanding has always been a hallmark of interlligent Islamic spirituality, wherein the emotions and instinctive faculties operate harmoniously with the proper exercise of human reason and understanding, promoting the true felicity and blessings intended by the Creator of our reason. Early on many Muslim thinkers taught that the human hierarchy of perceptive. Cognitive capacity embraced in the conception of aql as inborn reason intelligence exists by reason of Gods providential purpose for His creatures, since the varying innate measures /aqdār of individual reason of constitution as serving Gods wise and just plan for His creation. Disparities or inequalities in Human reasoning. Knowing capacities were understood to be part of the Divine qadar /pre- determination pertaining to "Gods secret". Islamic teachings also affirm that among humanity is was the prophets who were endowed with the largest portion of reason. Intelligence. God distributed the differing shares or inborn measures of individual human reason into our primordial nature /fitrah when He first created us. These teachings occur in early Islamic hadith narrations and became central for Islamic theological teachings on taklif / human legal moral obligation, which has as its primary conditions a sound operating reason in a balanced functioning organism.

The centrality of intelligence reason for Islamic Ethics unfolds out of the central insight that the human volitional impulse arises within us prompted by our own understanding, and directed by the reception of divine guidance from without. As one of its most basic functions, reason energizes the efficacy of conscience thus possessing a conative or volitional force, since without the native intelligence created in us God no ethical response is possible. This insight is ultimately responsible for the great emphasis put on reason as the condition for valid moral obligation / taklif among the Mu tazili and Ashari theologians.

More significantly, human reception of divine guidance through revelation depends ultimately upon the efficacy and integrity of our reasoning- principle or intelligence. Without the divine provision of reason, humans would be incapable of comprehending and properly responding to Gods guidance. And the more abundant an individuals native endowment of reason is, then the greater the possibility is for this individual to attain a larger magnitude of understanding and thereby realize a higher of response. The unfolding of Islamic meditations on the role of reason in salvational and spiritual experience flow in one way or another from this master idea. One major trajectory of development flowing from this idea held there exists a direct proportion between the efforts of individuals who attain understanding, and the measure of intelligence understanding divinely allotted to them.

Creation narratives about the pen / qalam as first creation are certainly archaic, but they should be seen as co-incident with those about Gods creation of intelligence.

Proponents of the pen upheld the pre-determinationst doctrine- while opposing teachings about aql awarded humans the potency to act (qudrah). That is why we find several variants of the aql- creation narrative may be an indirect argument that the many narratives with the form "Lammā when God created the intelligence…" might have actually implied a first creation context in their original intent.

There also exist several versions of these of these narratives which portray the double creation of both the pen followed by "Aql; these composite versions arose in late 2nd / 8th century Syria and intended a compromise between conflicting doctrines but in favor of pre-destination. //it is recorded that in Iraq later advocates of the primacy of "Aql as first cleverly rebutted their opponents by the following argument: Aql must have been created before the Pen - for how could the Pen have the intelligence to hear Gods command Write! and then ask of God: what he should write! [Nearing - comprehension]

+ Note :: the dispute over whether humans possess the innate aptitude or capacity (qudrah) to perform their own deeds - and thereby to bear moral responsibility for the consequences of their own acts of obedience or of disobedience, thus meriting reward or punishment in the Hereafter - was one of the most divisive hotly debated issues in the first two Islamic centuries. The narratives upholding the prior creation of Intelligence often support the theological position of Free Will, a doctrine taught by the early Qadariyyah in Syria and Iraq (fore-runners of the rationalizing Mutazilah school). Whereas the narratives about first creation of the Pen uphold the Determinist position wherein human deeds are created directly by God; this in fact became the normative doctrine of the Sunni Traditions creed. This dispute lies at the heart of the age-old problem of Theodicy: he responsibility and justification for evil and suffering, within a cartoonist world-view that posits an all-powerful all-knowing God. Yet as some thinkers subtly suggested: If GOD did not wish to be disobeyed, then HE would not have created !blis.

In sharp contrast to the Euro-American view, classical Islamic notions of intelligence or reason embraced the faith-induced dimension of knowledge yielding conviction and moral-volition in the operation of human intelligence, intimately joined with its cognitive or perceiving-knowing dimension. Such a practical or prudential ethico-religious dimension of reason has a close connection with ethical endeavor and moral volition: the-faculty of conation [volition, will-power]. Ethics is the domain of practical reason or the prudential mind (aql amali) involving the power of conation: the impulse or striving to change ones behavior and act in accordance with the directives of both inner conscience and outer guidance or divinely revealed imperatives mediated by revelation. The nonnative view in Islamic civilization was always that of faith-in-reason, while also simultaneously recognizing the limits-of-reason. Remember that the very term for reason -intelligence in Arabic - al- aql - has at the core of its concrete linguistic meaning the practical idea of restraining and binding as an interior self-imposed limit-of holding ones selfback from blameworthy conduct: thus the ·polarity of aql vs. jahl / intelligence vs. ignorance, or wisdom vs. folly.

Just as with the ascending  of knowledge, likewise with faith imān, since normative Islamic theology recognizes increasing and decreasing levels of faith-intensity ·lntensity ascending degrees in Paradise (darāt) or descending degrees in Hell (darakāt). The Quran emphasizes that true knowledge and understanding form part of faith; or to express it another way, that faith embraces the dimension of certainty and knowledge - the cognitive dimension of faith. Put simply, we humans are not all the Same in degree of Knowledge and Understanding, just as we differ in levels of Faith and Certainty. Interestingly, later sophisticated Hanbali Traditionalists such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Jawzi accepted and defended the dissimilar degrees of the human endowment of aql-understood in terms of the inborn faculty of intelligence-reason. Both the rationalizing theological schools of the Mutazilah and the early Asharites before al-Ghazafi denied such a dissimilarity in human reason and posited the Same degree of aql understood in terms of innate necessary knowledge constituting l inborn reason-to be held equally by all mature persons of sound mind.

Representative statements by early authorities holding a more interior meaning defined knowledge lim (as well as wisdom/ hikmah and deep-comprehension / fiqh) to be a Light placed by God in the hearts (nūrum ja alahu llāhu fi l-qulūb), and a Light by means of which God guides whom He wishes (nūrun  yahdl bi-hi llāhu man yasilā u). These utterances explicitly state their opposition to contrary views that knowledge consists only of narrated reports (i-e. Prophetic ahādith serving as the basis for legal rulings, as with the ahl al-hadith or Traditionalists), or an abundance of law cases (Le. positive fiqh, as with the ahl al-ray or legal Rationalists). A well-known utterance assigned to the Prophet defined aqI to be: "a Light in the heart that discriminates between truth and faIsehood. The 3rd/9th century Sufi theological thinker al-Hārith al-Muhāsibi (d. 243 H) took his cue from such utterances when elaborating his views of innate intelligence in matters of faith which he termed aqI dini or aql al-hujjah, namnely faithintelligence or sacred mind - as opposed to the profane-mind of the disbeliever or the hypocrite. This teaching was elaborated and integrated with other disciplines by later thinkers, notably the great Shafi1 jurist and Ash arite theologian Abū Hāmid al-Ghazāli (d. 50511111) whose doctrine of the centrality of heartmind (qalb & aqI) is deemed to en1body the normative Islamic view.

Recent trends advocating a renewed engagement with reason have emerged within major Muslim cultural blocks (esp. in the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia; and among Westen1 Muslim minorities), exhibiting a range of views about the direction of contemporary Muslim intellectual and civilization projects. A liberal reformist trajectory (often paralleled by leftist nationalist trends) has recourse to conceptions of modernity infused with the notions and worldview of critical historical methodology-in order to overcome the perceived inadequacy of the traditional Islamic mind. Islamic religious and intellectual authorities urge the adapt ion of one or another mode of rationality drawn from classical Muslim experience-whether Mutazilah theology, a transformed new Kalām, or updated Falsafah, or derived from legal (ijtihād), ethical (akhlāq, hikmah), or spiritual domains.

Serious questions remain: What are the distinctive features of Islamic

rational endeavor most relevant to our contemporary requirements? How and where do they differ and contrast, or correspond to and replicate, with currently known Western understandings? What may Muslims acquire or adopt from prevailing conceptions of modernity-and what may the West learn or adapt from Islamic conceptions-relevant to reason and rationality? Among the most pressing issues contemporary Muslims are only now beginning to seriously confront, we may mention three:

¡ Marginalization or eclipse of classical modes of rationality in Muslim societies today, in preference for lower-order technological skills and scientific disciplines required for modernization. Did a process of marginalization set in close to a millennium ago when al-Ghazāli critiqued philosophy (as conventional wisdom maintains), and are the modes of rationality of the past no longer adequate for needs of contemporary Muslim societies?

¡ The parochial inadequacy of much contemporary Muslim intellectual leadership, and how best to overcome this deficiency - including the paucity of teaching and research centers of excellence for the Islamic intellectual-rational disciplines in Muslim societies, and the mediocre state of their leading educational institutions.

¡ The present status of Muslim self-critique over perceived failings in cultivating rational historical and social critical methods. This involves regional variations in analysis, awareness and remedial efforts among

Arab, Iranian, Southeast Asian, and European & American Muslims. Generally: ethnic particularize, strident nationalism, and unconscious secularist consumerism dominates much of so-called Islamic thinking today. Perhaps our situation is not as Bleak as I suggest ??

- For detailed analysis of chains-of-transmission of thirty creation narratives, textual variants, and discussion of literary and historical issues, see our monograph to be published by Brill, Leiden: Men God Created Wisdom: Early Islamic Aql Creation Narratives.


- al- , iyyat al- Aql & Fahm al-Qur , ed. Husayn al-Quwwatl (Beirut, 1971; rpr.

al-Kind , 1978), text pp. 201-38. The editor misread and wrongly corrected his manuscripts.

- ai- Abd al- ibn al- , al- iyyah al- , ed. M. al

& Abd al- M. al- Hulu (Cairo, al-Kutub al-Arabiyyah, n.d.), tarjamah of

al- , II §65 pp. 275-284, on 281, as reported by Al].mad b. al- directly

from al- . Ibn al- also cites (ibid, pp. 281,283) the famous statement by al-Mu4asibl

(from his al-Ri ?) defining al- aql as "ghar zatun yata bi- daraku 1-  wa laysat

min- / an innate aptitude from which arises the attainment of knowledge, while itself not part

of know/edge."

- U  aI-ilm, bay n faaq qati 1- aqi wa aqs mih /the real nature of

intelligence and its divisions (Cairo, 1982, I kitab aI- Ilm, fj 1- aqi p.83ff) .

- al-Ghaz l  wrote an esoteric work on the inner deeds of the heart, entitled ai-Gh yatu 1Qusw ; see his

references in Minh j al- Abidin pp. 49 & 78.

- This tradition derives from Sulaym n b. s s lost work Kit b Tafd l al- Aql. The original thrust of

this report contrasts the unthinking piety and prodigious exertions of the z hid or n sik, against the

comprehending worship of the man-of-understanding who comprehends of God ( agala an All h) yet

does not match the outward deeds of the former-also a prominent theme of the narratives included in

D w d b. al-Muhabbars Kit b ai- Agl.

- Hul l the sense of the indwelling of God in a creature, also termed substantial union/itth d not in

the sense of the inherence of the soul / al-nll;! in the body, as the atomist theologians including the

Asharites admitted, since they viewed the r h materially to be a rarified bodyeven in the case of

angels and demons; see L. Massignon & G.C. Anawati, Hul l E.l2 III 570b-571 b.

- Samir Amin, Obsolescent Capitalism: contemporary politics and global disorder pp. 165- 171 Culturalism & ethnicism and Political Islam - on p 167.

- consult the detailed analysis by Martin R. Zmmit, A Comparative Lexical Study of Qur ānic Arabic (Leiden, Brill, 2002), who provides charts for the key semantic fields of Qur ānic terms on pp. 47-51, the two largest semantic fields treat Soul & Intellect: 1) State of Mind= 8.07%;

- Prudence was always taken to be intimately related to practical ethics, thus early Islamic teachings 

taught a close connection between traits of intelligence / aql and organic shame or prudence /hayā


- Ibn Abd aI-Barr, Jamj Bayān al- Ilm I 17- 18, II 25 (utterances by the Madinan jurist Mālik b. Anas d.l 79/

795), & cf. I 106-7 (by the pre-Islamic sage Luqmān al-Haklm).


- nūrun fl-I-qalbi yufarriqu baYl1a 1-Haqq wa l-bātil; see ego Ibn Abd Rabbih, al-7qd al-Farid, ed. Ahmad AmIn et aL (Cairo, 1953) II 248. This statement makes an equivalence between intelligence and knowledge, with knowledge taken as being akin to cognitive-insight or wisdom (aql & hikmah). Details are given in our "Between Wisdom and Reason: Aspects of Aql (Mind Cognition) in Early Islam", in Islamic [School of Economics, University of London] 1 (1999) 33-49.

- a1-MuhāsibI, Kitāb al- Aql & Fahm al-Qur ān, ed. Husayn al-Quwwatli (2nd ed. , Beirut, Dar al-Kincl1,1978); in the latter he expands this view by applying it to the proper comprehension of the Qurān.



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