3. The third (meaning of al-'aql) is knowledge acquired
from the experience of passing circumstances, for one whom experience has instructed and the modes of acting have trained is said to be intelligent ('agil) in general; while one who is not described by this quality is said to be simple, inexperienced, and ignorant. So this is another kind of knowledge which is called "intelligence".
4. The fourth (meaning of al-'aql) is that the power
of tnis natural disposition leads one to know the issue of affairs and to tame and conquer his appetite which tempts him to (follow after) fleeting delight. When this power is obtained, the possessor of it is called intelligent in respect to his advancing and refraining according to what is demanded by consideration for the ends, not according to the authority of his fleeting desire. This also is one of man's. peculiarities by which he is distinguished from the rest of the animals.
The first division is the foundation, the root, and the source, while the second is the branch which is closest to it. The third is a branch of the first and the second, for by the power of the instinct and axiomatic knowledge, experiential knowledge is benefitted. The fourth is the fiani fruit and the ultimate aim. The first pair come by nature, while the latter pair come by acquisition.
For that reason 'Ali said,
"I saw intelligence as two intelligences,
One was granted by nature, the other was the product of hearing.
That which is the product of hearing is of no use,
If you do not have what is endowed by nature,
Just as the sun gives no benefit,
While the light of the eye is extinguished."
The first is what Muhammad meant in his saying, "Allah
created no creature more respected by Him than intelligence", while the last is what he meant in his saying, "If people draw near by the doors of righteousness and righteous deeds, then you should draw near by your intelligence."
It is what the Messenger of Allah meant in his saying to Abi al-Darda', "Let your intelligence be increased and you will be increased in respect to nearness to your Lord."
He said, "You are father and mother to me, but how can you be intelligence for me?"
"Shun what is forbidden by Allah", said the Prophet,
"and love His obligations (fara'id) and you will be intelligent. Do righteous deeds and, in the present fleeting world, you will be increased in respect to loftiness (of rank) and honor; and, in the future, you will receive from your Lord nearness and majesty as requital for it."
On the authority of Sa'id Ibn al-Musaiyab (it is re-
lated that 'Urnar, Abu Bin Ka'b, and Abu Hurairah went in (to see) the messenger of Allah. They inquired, "0 Messenger of Allah, who is the most learned of people?'
"He replied, 'The intelligent person.'
"'Then who is the most devout person?' they asked.
"He replied, 'The intelligent person.'
"'Then who is the most excellent of people?' they asked. "(Again) he replied, 'The intelligent person'. "So they asked, 'Is not an intelligent person one whose
manhood is perfected, whose eloquence is obvious, whose palm
is liberal, and whose rank is great?'
"So he said, 'All that belongs to the earthly life, while with your Lord the next abode is for the god-fearing. For an intelligent person is he who is pious, even if he is contemptible and humble in the present world.'"
In another tradition the Prophet said, "Verily an Intelligent person is one who has faith in Allah, believes His zmmessengers, and acts In submission to Him."
It seems as if the root of the word al-'aql originally denoted that innate quality (al-gharlzah), and in like manner its use. And it was ascribed to knowledge from the point of view that it is its fruit, just as something is known by its fruit. It is (also) said that knowledge is reverence (alkhashyah)and a learned person is he who reveres Allah.
Reverence is the fruit of knowledge, and is like a figure of speech for something other than that innate disposition, but our purpose is not to discuss language. What is sought is (to assert) that these four divisions exist and that the name 'aqi is ascribed to all of them.
The only disagreement about the existence of all of them concerns the first division. The truth is that they do exist, rather they are the source and these sciences are just as if they were included in that Innate disposition by nature, but they appear in existence when some cause happens which brings them out into existence so that this knowledge is not something which has come to it from outside, but it is just as if it were hidden in it and becomes obvious.
It is like the water (which is hidden in) the earth,
for it appears by the digging of a well, where it collects and it is distinguished by the senses, not by something new being poured into it. Of a similar nature is the fragrance of the almond and rose water. For that reason Allah said, "i'hen the Lord brought forth their descendants from the backs of the sons of Adam and made them testify against themselves, 'Am I not your Lord?' they said, 'Certainly`' (7:171).
What is meant oy j_t is an avowal of their souls, not an avowal of their tongues; for, on the question of the avowal of tongues (people) are divided into those who confess and
those who disavow wherever tongues and people are found.
Therefore Allah said, "If you ask them who hath created
them, they will be sure to say, 'Allah'" (43:87), the meaning of which is that, if you take their circumstances into con
sideration, you will see by that that their souls and inner lives are a creation (fitrah) of Allah according to which He created people. That is, every man was created with faith
in Allah, rather in accordance with knowledge of things as
they are. I mean they are just as if they were inclosed in them on account of the nearness of their preparation to un
Then, when faith was produced in their souls by creation, people were divided in two parts: a) those who opposed. So they forgot. They are the unbelievers; and b) those who centered their thought on it. So they remembered (what was forgotten). They are like those who carry a testimony and
forget it through heedlessness. Then they remember it. Allah said, "Perhaps they may be made to remember" (8:59), and
"that those endued with understanding may remember" (38:28), and "Remember Allah's favor upon you and the covenant which He has covenanted with you" (5:10), and "We have made the Qur'an easy for admonition, but is there any who is admonished?" (54:17 etc..---22,32,40)
To call this kind a remembering is not far (from the
meaning of the word in respect to language). So it is just as if the remembering is of two kinds, one of which is that one remembers a form, the existence of which was present in his heart but which disappeared after having been present; while the second is that he remembers a form which was inclosed in him by natural disposition. These are realities which are obvious to one who observes with the light of intelligence; difficult (to understand) for one who puts the veil of audition and imitation above revelation and vision. Therefore you see him stumble in verses like these and use discommendable license in allegorically interpreting remembering (al-tadhakkur) and causing souls to be at rest (igrar al-nufus), and he imagines various kinds of contradic-' tions concerning traditions and verses. Many a time he considers them contemptuously and believes that they will collapse, because that dominates him.
He is like a blind man who enters a house in which he stumbles over the utensils which are orderly arranged in the house, and he asks,"What are these utensils? Why are they not taken out of the way and put in their places?"
(The people of the house) reply, "In fact, they are in their places; the real defect is in your sight."
The defect of mental perception (al-basirah) acts in
the same manner, though it is more overwhelmingly momentous;
for the soul is like a horseman and the body, the horse. And for a comparison between the mystic and the physical sight Allah said, "His heart did not falsify what it saw"
heavens and the earth" (6:75).
Its opposite is called "blindness". And Allah said, "Verily it is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts in their breasts are blind" (22:45), and He said, "One who
has been blind in this (world) will be blind in the next abode and most erring in respect to the way" (17:74)..
These are matters which were revealed to the prophets. Some of them were through the physical eye; and some, through the inner eye; while all of them were called revelation (alru'yah). In short, the only part of religion which will stick to one whose inner eye is not piercing is its skins and its forms, not the kernel and its truths.. And these are the
divisions to which the name 'aql was ascribed.
C. An Exposition of People's Disparity
People have disagreed about the disparity of intelligence, and there is no sense in engaging in transmitting the words of one whose attainment is little, but first and foremost (we should) hasten to snake the truth clear.
53:11), and "Thus
do we show Ibrah1m the kingdoms of the
The clear truth about it is that disparity applies to the four divisions except for the second division which is axiomatic knowledge of the possibility of what is possible and the absurdity of what is impossible; for anyone who knows that two is greater than one, also knows the absurdity of a body being in two places (at one time) and of something being both eternal (gadim) and created (hadith). The same is true for the rest of similar things and everything that he has thoroughly and really understood without any doubt. As for the three-divisions , disparity applies to them.
As for the fourth division, it is the domination of a strong (will) in taming fleshly inclinations; and people's disparity in this is not concealed, rather the disparity in one individual's circumstances concerning this is not concealed.
Sometimes this disparity is because of the disparity of fleshly inclination, for sometimes an intelligent person may be able to forsake some of his fleshly inclinations and not others; but this is not restricted to him. For a young man may be unable to forsake adultery; but when he grows up, and his mind is perfect, he is able to control it; while his inclination to hypocrisy and leadership increases in respect to strength by growing up, notin respect to weakness'
Sometimes its cause is the disparity in knowledge which
is know by the harm of that appetite. Because of this a physician is able to abstain from some harmful foods, while he who is his equal in intelligence may not be able to do that, if he is not a physicain, even if he is wont to believe that on the whole their is harm in it. Rather when the physician's knowledge is more complete, his fear is more intense. So his fear becomes a soldier for intelligence and a tool in taming and breaking the fleshly inclinations. For that reason a learned person is better able to forsake his disobedient acts than an ignorant person, on account of the strength of his knowledge of the harm of his disobedient acts.
I mean by this the truly learned person, not the lords
of the Tailasah and the possessors of senseless talk (ashab
al-hadhayat Even if there is a disparity from the point
of view of fleshly inclination, it has no reference to a disparity of intelligence. If it is from the point of view of knowledge, we have also named this kind of knowledge Intelligence. Then it strengthens the innate disposition of intelligence. So the disparity is in that to which the naming refers, and it may be pure disparity in the innate disposition of intelligence. If it is strengthened, its taming of the fleshly inclinations is inescapably more severe.
As for the third division which is experiential knowledge, people's disparity in that is not denied. For they differ
in the amount of (being) right and speed of understanding. The cause is either in the disparity of their innate quality or in the disparity of practice. As for the first, it is the the fundamental principle; I mean the innate disposi
tion (al-pharlzah). There is disparity in it; there is no way to deny the fact.
It is like a light which illuminates the soul. Its morning and the beginning of its ascension appear at the age of discretion. Then it continues to develop and increase by a hidden gradual progress until it is perfected around -the age of forty. It is like the dawn, for its beginning is so concealed that it is difficult to perceive it. Then it gradually continues to increase until it is completed by the rising disc of the sun.
The disparity of the light of intelligence is like the disparity of the light of the eye, and the difference between one who is blear-eyed and one who is sound in sight is
perceptible, but Allah's usage in all His creation is to
use a gradual process in causing (anything) to exist so that the innate disposition of the fleshly appetite does not appear in a boy in one sudden stroke, when he reaches puberty; rather it appears little by little in successive degrees.
The process is similar for all powers and qualities. One who denies people's differences or disparity in this innate
disposition is like one who is out of his mind. One who supposes that the Prophet's intelligence is like that of one
of the Suwadlyah and the coarse Bedouins is viler himself
than one of the Suwadiyah. How can one deny the disparity
in innate disposition, when were it not for this, people would not have differed in understanding knowledge and they would not be divided into the stupid who only understand after long effort on the part of the teacher, and into sagacious individuals who understand with the merest sign and hint, and into the perfect from whose soul there spring up the reality of matters without teaching, just as Allah said, "Its oil would almost shine out even though fire did not touch it, light on light" (24:35).
That is like the example of the prophets, for in their inner life many obscure things were obvious to them without learning and audition, and that is expressed by "illumination" (11ham). (It is also) something like that which the Prophet expressed, when he said, "The Holy Spirit breathed into my heart (ru')(and inspired me), 'Love whomever you like, for you will be separated from him; and live as you wish, for you are dead; and do as you wish, for you will be rewarded according to it.'"
This kind of (act on the part of) the angels in causing the prophets to know differs from clear revelation (al-way
al~ sar h) which is hearing a voice with the auditory sense
and seeing an angel by vision. Therefore this was men
tioned as "breathing into the heart" (bi '1-nafth ft '1-ru').
The degrees of revelation (wah) are numerous, and to delve deeply into them is not suitable for the practical sciences; rather it belongs to mystic science. Do not suppose that a recognition of the degrees of revelation evokes the function of revelation, not infrequently a sick doctor knows the stages of health and a wicked learned person knows the degrees of justice, even though he has none of it in himself. Knowledge is one thing, while the existence of that which is known is another. Not everyone who knows prophecy and sainthood is a prophet or a saint, and not everyone who knows piety and godliness and their minutiae is pious.
People are divided into (the kind of person) who is warned by himself and understands, and one who only under stands by warning and teaching, and also one whom teaching and warning do not benefit, just as the earth is divided into (a place) in which water is gathered and it accumulates
and springs flow freely in It, and that.which requires digging to lead (the water) out into channels, and that which is not benefitted by digging. It is dry land. That is on account of the diverse qualities of the earth's substance.
Similar to that is the difference in people's innate
disposition of intelligence, and what was related about 'Abdullah Bin Salam indicates their contrast in intelligence from the point of view of transmitting (tradition). He questioned the Prophet about a long traditition.at the end of which was a description of the greatness of the throne. The angels asked, "0 Master, hast Thou created anything greater than the throne?"
"He replied, 'Yes, the intelligence.'
• 'What equals it in value?' they demanded.
"He answered, 'What a difference there is! It is not
encompassed by knowledge. Do you know the number of the
(grains of) sand?'
* 'No', they replied.
"Allah said, 'Verily, I have created as many diverse kinds of intellect as the number,_of the grains of sand. There are people who have received one grain, some who have received two, some who have received three and four, some who have re
ceived a portion (farq), some who have received a camel's load, and some who have received more than that."
If you should ask, "What is the matter with certain people of the Sufis who blame intelligence ('aql) and the power of understanding (ma'qul)7" you should know that it is because peopled have transferred the name "intelligence','
and "power of understandin
to "dialectics" (muj .dalah) and
debate (munazarah) with saying that which is contradictory
in meaning (al-munagadat) and constraint (on one's) opponent, which is the work of scholastic theology. And they were not able to decide among themselves that you erred in the terminology, for that was not (so soon) erased from their hearts
after their tongues had pronounced it so often and it had been firmly grounded in their hearts. Theyblame intelligence and the power of understanding which is what it is called among them.
As for the mystic light of intelligence by which Allah and the veracity of His porphets are known, how can one imagine blaming it, while Allah (Himself) has praised it (cf. 29:42)? If it is blamed, then what(about that which is beyond it? Is it)praised? If what is praised is the divine law, then with what is the reality of the law known? If it is known with the blameworthy intelligence in which there is no confidence, tae law also is blameworthy. One will pay no heed to anyone who says that it (i.e. the divine law) isunderstood by the eye of certainty and. the light of faith, not by intelligence. For we mean by intelligence (al'a2l) what he means by the eye of certainty ('ain al-yagin) and the light of faith (nur al-loran), and it is the mystic quality by which the human being is differentiated from animals so that by it he understands the real state of affairs.
dost of this confusion has sprung up from the ignorance of people who sou ht (inner) realities from (outer) terms (alfaz), and they were confused about them on account of people's confusion in the use of conventional terms.
This is a sufficient amount on the exposition of intelligence. Allah is most knowing. The Book of ,"nowledge is completed with praise of Allah and His bounty. -May Allah bless our lord, iuham.m7ad, and every chosen servant of the people of earth and heaven.
If Allah wills, the Book of the Rules of Beliefs will follow.
And praise (Allah) alone, first and last.
Inadvertently We notes are numbered to
1.66 and then continue with ,~= 147 thus
leaving two sets of notes numbered
dotes to the Kitab al-'Ilm
1. The Basmala, al- amdala, and Salt are treated in the Encyclopedia of Islam in the following order: i, p. 672; ii, p.245; and iv, p. 96.
SMZ states that three things are obligatory on everyone who writes a book: the basmalah, the hamdalah and the salt , while four others are permissible: praise of his craft or art, mention of the motive for writing, naming
the book, and an explanation of the arrangement of its
chapters and divisions, thus making seven things. (i,p.53.)
S1MZ here referred to stands for. them Sayyid M-urtAda al
Zabldl's commentary on the Ihya', known as the Ithaf al-, SAda al-.J~uttagSn (Broekelmann, i., page 422; ii, 287 f.) See also, Calverley, Worship in Islam, page 37, note 2. The commentary will be referred to hereafter as SMZ.
. istidrAj see: ,Tensinck: the Muslim Creed, p. 226.
Discussing the theory ofrniracles and the objection that they are also ascribed to Pharaoh, Satan, and Anti-Christ---,
he says, t'. evertheless, an explanation is found by connecting
them with the deluding activity (istidraj, makr) of Allah
towards His enemies, which is familiar to luslims from the
"'ur'a.n (vii, 181; x,22; xiii,42; lxviii,44)."
3 al-akhbar wa '1-athar, The SMZ's distinction between khabar and athar is given in his Introduction to the Ithaf, v. i, p.48, as pointed out by Calverley in his note on page 61 of Worship in Islam.
4. 'ilm al-mu'amalah This is exceedingly difficult to express in a phrase. The Encyclopedia of Islam, ii, p.101, under the article, filth, terms it "=social life", but it
would have to be understood to comprise the civic, economic,
social, and moral life.
SNZ,i, p. 135, describes it thus: "--that is, knowledge
of spiritual activities and external acts. And you should
know that beyond the tawhld the obligation is of two kinds, one of which is what is an obligation for a man according to the law of Islam. That is knowledge of spiritual acti
vities('ilm al-mu'amalah al-galbiyah) and correcting the inner life in order to augment the soul's illumination and
causing bad character to cease and firmly establishing pleasIng character.
The second of tnem is what is an obligation for a man,
when new obligations come around, such as entering upon the
time of worship, the fast, the pilgrimage, the religious tax, and others. As for the worshipper, if he becomes a 4uslim
in a time in which these things are not encumbent on him, it is not an obli ation on him to know them; because the
time when they are obligatory for him has not come.- So
activities. Then if,after he becomes a huslim, opportunity
and leisure permit and he does not engage in obtaining prac
tical knowledge or ratiaer knowledge of spiritual activities,
he is neglecting an obligation for which he is responsible on the day of resurrection although none of those external
obligations such as worship and its like came around (in
point of time). This just summarizes what the author will
later treat in detail."
Again, page 167, he states that 'ilm al-mu'Amalah is an
expression for knowledge of souls (nufus)and their rank, their perfections and imperfections and their good and bad qualities", which is really ethics.
Also see iughes: Dictionary of Islam, pp.285-286
5. 3-1.2 says this is a, tradition of Abu al-Darda'
6. 'alam al-malakut This is treated in Wensinck's On the Relation between rhazal3's Cosmology and His Mysticism.
7. 'Abdallah Ibn 'Abbas, cousin of the Prophet, (d.66, 69,
or 70). Ency.of Islam, i, p.19
8. darajah (degree) is like a manzilah (stage), but one says that a manzilah has a darajaa, if it has regard to as
cent rather than to extent over the earth, life the step of
a roof and a stairway. By this an elevated degree is under-