Reason and Ignorance

In the Name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1. Abu Ja،¥far Muhammad ibn Ya،¥qub (al-Kulayni, the compiler of this book al-Kafi) informed us (al-Kulayni's disciples) saying: "A group of our (al-Kulayni's) associates handed down this tradition. Muhammad ibn Yahya al-،¥Attar quoted Ahmad ibn Muhammad who quoted from al-Hƒmasan ibn Mahƒubub who quoted from al-،¥Ala،¦ Razin who quoted from Muhammad ibn Muslim on the authority of Abu Ja،¥far (Muhammad al-Baqir ،X peace be upon him), as saying:

،¥When Almighty Allah created reason, He tested it. Then He ordered it to come forward and it came forward. Then He ordered it to go back and it went back. On this Almighty God said: I swear by my power and majesty that no creation of Mine is dearer to Me than you are, and I have only made you perfect in those whom I love.

Lo! To you are My orders and prohibitions addressed. And for you are My rewards and retributions reserved.،¦ "

2. ،¥Ali ibn Muhammad (،X) Sahl ibn Ziyad (،X) ،¥Amr ibn ،¥Uthman (،X)Mufadƒudƒual ibn Sƒlalih (،X) Sa،¥d ibn Tƒlarif (،X) al-Asƒwbagh ibn Nubatah (،X) ،¥Ali (ibn Abi Tƒlalib - p.b.u.h.) as saying :

"Jibr.l (Gabriel) came to Adam, and informed him: ،¥O Adam! I have been ordered to let you choose one out of three things. Therefore, choose one and leave the other two.،¦ Adam asked: ،¥What are the three things?،¦ He replied, ،¥Reason, modesty and religion (din).،¦ Then Adam said: ،¥I choose reason.،¦ So Jibr.l ordered modesty and faith to withdraw and leave reason but they said: ،¥O Jibr.l! we both have been instructed (by God) to remain with reason wherever it may be.،¦ Jibr.l answered: ،¥Then that is your situation,،¦ and he ascended towards Heaven."

3. Ahƒumad ibn Idr.s (،X) Muhammad ibn ،¥Abd al-Jabbar (،X) some of his associates (rafa ahu) who made a reference climaxing into Abu ،¥Abdillah (p.b.u.h.) that the narrator inquired of the Imam;

"What is reason?" The Imam replied: "Reason is that by which God is worshipped and a place in Paradise earned." The Imam was then asked: "What did Mu،¥awiyah have?" The Imam replied: "That was just wickedness and cunning, which seemed like reason, but it was not reason."

4. Muhammad ibn Yahya (،X) Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ،¥Isa (،X) Ibn Fadƒudƒual (،X) Hƒmasan ibn al-Jahm, as saying:

"I have heard ar-Ridƒua (p.b.u.h.), as saying: ،¥The friend of every man is his reason and his foe is his ignorance.،¦" 5. Muhammad ibn Yahƒuya (،X) Ahmad ibn Muhammad (،X) Ibn Fadƒudƒual (،X) al-Hƒmasan ibn al-Jahm, as saying:

"I asked Abu'l-Hƒmasan (p.b.u.h.) about a group of people that were among us who had love (for prophet and his progeny) but had not the resolution of will to confess the belief in your Imamate. The Imam replied: ،¥Such men are not among those whom God will blame (for their failure in finding truth) verily, Allah has said: ،¥. . . therefore take heed, O you have eyes.،¦ " (al-Hƒmashr, 59:2)

6. Ahmad ibn Idris (،X) Muhammad ibn Hƒmasan (،X) Abi Muhammad ar-Razi (،X) Sayf ibn ،¥Amayrah (،X) Is'hƒuaq ibn ،¥Ammar 

(،X) Abu ،¥Abdillah (p.b.u.h.) as saying:

"One who has reason has faith. And he who has faith will have a place in Paradise."

7. A group of our (compilers') associates (،X) Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid (،X) al-Hƒmasan ibn ،¥Ali ibn Yaqtƒzin (،X) Muhammad ibn Sinan (،X) Abi al-Jarud (،X) Abu Ja،¥far (p.b.u.h.) as saying:

"On the Day of Judgment, Almighty Allah will exact a detailed account from His servants, in exact proportion to the reason with which He had endowed them in the worldly life."

8. ،¥Ali ibn Muhammad ibn ،¥Abdillah (،X) Ibrah.m ibn Is'hƒuaq al-Ahƒumar (،X) Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Daylami (،X) his father, who said : "I told Abu ،¥Abdillah (p.b.u.h.), ،¥Such and such a person is praiseworthy for his devotion and religious practice.،¦ The Imam inquired, ،¥How his reason is?،¦ I replied, ،¥I know nothing about his reason.،¦ Upon this, the Imam explained, ،¥The Divine reward is in relation to one's reason. There was a person from Bani Isra'.l 

who used to worship God devotedly in an island full of lush green and clear water. An angel happened to watch that person, asked God, ،¥Kindly show me the rewards meant for that person.،¦ When the angel was shown the rewards by God, they appeared to be very little to him. Upon this God suggested to him to go and stay with that person (for some time). The angel appeared before that man in human guise. The man asked the angel, ،¥Who are you?،¦ The angel replied, ،¥I am also one of the devotees of God and I have heard about this place and your worship in it.

Therefore, I have come to you so that I can also pray to Almighty God with you.،¦ So the angel stayed with him for a day. When it was morning, the angel remarked, ،¥This is a pleasant place; no place could be better than this for worshipping God.،¦ Then the devotee-replied, ،¥There is only one defect in this place.،¦ The angel asked what it was and the man replied, ،¥My Lord has no animal. If He had a donkey, we could pasture it in this place, for the grass is going waste.،¦ The angel remarked, ،¥Your Lord has no donkey?،¦ The man further said, ،¥If He (Allah) had a donkey such a quality of grass would not be wasted.،¦ Then Almighty God revealed to the angel, ،¥My rewards are in relation to a person's reason.،¦ "

9. ،¥Ali ibn Ibrah.m (،X) his father (،X) an-Nawfali (،X) as-Sakuni (،X) Abu ،¥Abdillah (p.b.u.h.) as saying:

"The Holy Prophet said, ،¥Whenever you hear about the good act and behaviour (hal) of a man, you should consider the goodness of his reason, since the divine rewards are based upon ones reason.،¦ "

10. Muhammad ibn Yahya (،X) Ahmad ibn Muhammad (،X) Ibn Mahbub (،X) ،¥Abdillah ibn Sinan as saying:

"I praised before (Imam) Abu ،¥Abdillah (p.b.u.h.), the reason of a person who was wrought with anxiety about ritual ablutions and prayer. The Imam remarked, ،¥What reason has he got when he is actually obeying the Devil?،¦ I inquired of the Imam, ،¥How, is he obeying Shaytƒzan (Satan)?،¦ The Imam replied, ،¥Ask him from where this anxiety comes to him. Surely he will tell you that (it comes) from the work of Shaytƒzan.،¦ "

11. A group of our (al-Kulayni's) associates (،X) Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid (،X) some of his companions (rafa،¥ahu) the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.a.h.p.), saying:

"Almighty God has endowed upon mankind nothing better than reason. The slumber of the man of reason is better than the waking hours of the ignorant. Comforts of the stationary life of the man of reason is better than the movement of the ignorant. God has sent no prophet nor messenger without first perfecting his reason. And his reason stands superior to all the reasons of (the people of) his community. 

What the Prophet has hidden in his heart is better than all the striving after knowledge of those who strive after it. No creature of God can ever discharge his obligations to God unless he comprehends them consciously. All the worshippers taken together cannot reach that height of excellence in their devotion to God as the man of reason does. The men of reason who are the possessors of understanding minds about whom God has said, ،¥... But none mindeth save the possessors of understanding minds." (al-Baqarah, 2:269; Al- ،¥Imran, 3:7)

12. Abu ،¥Abdillah al-Ash،¥ari (،X) some of our (Shi'ite) narrators, (rafa'ahu) Hisham ibn al-Hakam who states that Abu'l-Hƒmasan ibn Ja،¥far (peace be upon them), addressed him thus:

"O،¦ Hisham،¦ Almighty God has given good news to the people of reason and understanding to this effect, ،¥... So bear thou the glad tidings unto My servants. Those who hearken unto the word and follow the best of it; those are they whom God has guided and those they are men possessed of mind.،¦ (az-Zumar, 39:17،X18)

"O،¦ Hisham! It is through reason and understanding that God has completed evidence and proof (in respect of Himself and His religion) for mankind. He has helped His prophets and messengers by endowing them with the gift of elocution and guided them to comprehend His overlordship through reason and understanding. As He Himself has said: ،¥And your God is one God! There is no god but He, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate. 

Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day and the ship that runs in the sea with profit to men, and the water God sends down from heaven therewith reviving the earth after it is dead and His scattering abroad in it all manner of crawling thing, and the turning about of the winds and the clouds compelled between heaven and earth ،X surely there are signs for a people having understanding.،¦ (al-Baqarah, 2:163،X164)

"O،¦ Hisham! This consciousness (that there is some Master mind working behind this cosmos) has been presented by God as a 32 proof and demonstration for His recognition as He Himself has declared: ،¥And He subjected to you the night and day and the sun and moon; and the stars are subjected by His command. Surely in that are signs for a people who understand.،¦ (an-Nahƒul, 16:12)

"And He has further said, ،¥It is He who created you of dust then of a sperm-drop, then of a blood-clot, then that you may come of age, then that you may be old men ،X though some of you there are who die before it ،X and that you may reach a stated term; haply you will understand.،¦ (al-Mu'min, 40:67)

"He has again said: ،¥And in the alternation of night and day, and what God sendeth down from heaven, of the provision and therewith revives the earth after its death, and the turning about of the winds, there are signs for a people who understand.،¦ (al-Jathiya, 45:5) "And He argued further, ،¥. . . God revives the earth after it was dead, we have indeed made clear for you that haply you will understand.،¦ (al-Hƒmad.d, 57:17)

"And He (God) argues still further: ،¥... And gardens of vines, and fields sown, and palms in pairs, and palms single, watered with one water; and some of them We prefer in produce above others. Surely in that are signs for a people who understand.،¦ (ar-Ra،¥d, 13:4)

،¥And of His signs He shows you lightning, for fear and hope, and that He sends down out of heaven water and he revives the earth after it is dead. Surely in that are signs for a people who understand.،¦ (ar-R.m, 30:24)

،¥Say: Come, I will recite what your Lord has forbidden you; that you associate not anything with Him, and to be good to your parents, and not to slay your children because of poverty; We will provide you and them; and that you approach not any indecency outward or inward, and that you slay not the soul God has forbidden, except by right. That then He has charged you with; haply you will understand.،¦ (al-An،¥am, 6:152)

،¥... do you have, among that your right hands own, associates in what We have provided for you so that you are equal in regard to it, you fearing them as you fear each other? So We distinguish the signs for a people who understand.،¦ (ar-R.m, 30:28)

"O،¦ Hisham! God has counselled the people of reason and has drawn their attention towards the life hereafter with the words:

،¥And the life of this world is naught but play and vain sport; certainly the abode of the hereafter, is the best for those who guard (themselves against evil). Do you not then understand?،¦ (al-An'am, 6:32)

"O،¦ Hisham! God has put fear of His chastisement in the hearts of the people who do not act with reason and understanding to the affect, ،¥Then We destroyed the others. And you pass by them in the morning and in the night; will you not understand?،¦ (asƒw-Sƒlafat, 37: 136،X138)

"And He declared once again: ،¥Verily, We are bringing down upon the people of this town a punishment from heaven for what they were transgressing. And indeed We have left a clear sign of it for a people to understand.،¦ (al-،¥Ankab.t, 29:34،X35)

"O،¦ Hisham! remember that reason is in alliance with knowledge, as God has said: ،¥And those similitude We strike them for the people, but none understands them save those who know.،¦ (al- ،¥Ankab.t,29:43)