The importance of Intelligence in Shia narrations  – 2

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“In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful”

The importance of Intelligence in Shia narrations  – 2

H 2, Ch. 1, h 2

Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from Sahl ibn Ziyad, from ‘Amr ibn ‘Uthman, from Mufaddal ibn Salih

from Sa‘d ibn Tarif from Asbaq ibn Nabatah, from Ali (A) who has said the following:

Once angel Jibril (Gabriel) came to Adam (A) and said, “I am ordered to offer you three choices. You may choose one and leave the other two”. Adam then asked, “What are those three things?”. Gabriel replied, “They are “Aql”[1] (Intelligence), “Haya”[2] (Shame on committing ugliness- Shamefacedness), and “Din”[3] (Religion)”. Adam then said, “I chose Intelligence”. Gabriel then asked shamefacedness and religion to return and leave Intelligence with Adam. They said to Gabriel, “O Gabriel, we are commanded to be with Intelligence wherever it may exist”. Gabriel then said, “It then is up to you”. He then ascended to the heavens.

One question that first comes to mind is whether modesty, religion, and intelligence speak and have consciousness. Do they speak? Do they understand commands? Let’s answer the first question and then raise a very important topic. The Holy Quran says, “There is not a thing but with Us are its treasures (source), and We send it down only in precise measure[4] (Al-Hijr:21).  So, everything in this world such as love, intellect, modesty, justice, courage, and so on has a reality and truth in the divine world and those truths are alive because Quran says, “The life of this world is nothing but diversion and play, and verily the home of the Hereafter is alive if they only knew[5] (Al-Ankabut:64). The Hereafter is pure and mere life, so all the truths there are aware and speak. The Holy Quran also says, “They will say, God, Who made all things speak, made us speak[6] (Fussilat:21). For example, the month of Ramadan in the divine world has a truth that is alive. Imam Sajjad (A) talks with the month of Ramadan and says goodbye to the month of Ramadan in Sahifa Sajjadia. The month of Ramadan has a truth, it is coming and it is returning and it has blessings for itself; Heaven is the same, hell is the same. As the verse of the Quan says, “And on that Day, Hell is brought forward[7] (Al-Fajir:23). In a narration, When the Prophet Muhammad (S) goes towards hell, Hell says: “Get away from me, I have nothing to do with you”. So, Hell speaks too and all the beings of the Hereafter are all alive.

So, if we say, Gabriel brings shamefacedness and religion, do not say what is shamefacedness and religion?! Do shamefacedness and religion speak? Do they have intellect? Yes, everything is alive there. As God addresses the fire in the story of Prophet Abraham (A), “We said,  fire, be coolness and safety upon Abraham[8] (Al-Anbiya:69). Fire is a servant and obedient and it says yes! If the fire did not have intellect, God would not have addressed him. God also commands the mountain to cry with Prophet David (A) as Quran says, “O you mountains! Glorify with him (Prophet David (A))! And you birds (also)[9] (Saba:10). All beings are alive because everyone glorifies God as Quran says, “Whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth glorifies Allah[10] (Al-Hashr:1). Surprisingly, some commentators say, “These are symbolic things and myths that God wants to explain to us”. No! These have truths in the Hereafter that are alive. God says about death, “He who created death and life[11] (Al-Mulk:2). So, death is a being and it has a truth. “When death approaches one of you[12] (Al-Baqara:181). “Say, The death from which you flee will catch up with you[13] (Al-Jumu’a:8). Therefore, we realized that these are living and conscious beings in their world, from which a manifestation of them now appears in us, that we have intelligence,  religion, and shamefacedness. 

Another very significant point is: what do these three have to do with each other? “Shamefacedness, Intellect, and Religion”. Why did Imam (A) not say, Courage, Intellect, and Religion? Or Generosity, Courage, Intellect? These are necessary and inseparable. If you see someone who is rude, know that he has no religion.

A narration says, “The first thing God created was Intellect”[14]. All beings are the rays of this Intellect. Animals also understand some things, can we say that animals also have intellect? No. Why? Because the intellect is a special understanding and not every understanding is called intellect. When we explain this hadith, we will realize what is “Intellect”.

According to philosophers, Intellect has two points of view:

1) A view of its origin or creator.

2) A view of things below itself.

A point of view to the one who created it and a point of view to itself. These philosophers believe that wisdom has two parts: “Theoretical wisdom and Practical wisdom”. In “Theoretical wisdom” there is a discussion of God, meaning, the attention to its origin. In “Practical wisdom” the attention is based on human actions about other beings, meaning, the view of itself. When the “Intellect” pays attention to its superior and its origin, “Shamefacedness” will occur. Because modesty is passive and the modest one becomes passive. He is affected and the impact appears on his face. And you know that “modesty” is an adjective that is specific to humans and animals are not modest. The Intellect is becoming passive from its origin, and it is receiving grace from its origin. The receiving grace is the same as passivity that becomes “modest” in the position of the soul. But when the Intellect pays attention to itself and other beings, religion will occur which is related to actions. The word “Aql” (Intellect) in Arabic is rooted in “Aqal”.  Arbs says “Aqal” rope that fastens the camel’s knee that causes the camel to not move around. “Religion” occurs when the Intellect pays attention to itself. “Religion” is our set of actions on how we act, what we should do and what we should not do. Now we understand why “Shamefacedness and Religion” say we are attached to the “Intellect” and are not separated from it.

The intellect is a being that takes grace from one side and gives it to another. In the sense that the Intellect receives grace, it is paying attention to its source and superior. In the sense that it bestows grace, it pays attention to the lower positions. How do we describe “Religion”? What is the “Religion”? A set of divine laws that man must obey. What to do and what not to do! This becomes religion. Do you remember the discussion of “prophecy and guardianship”? We discussed before that “What is the difference between a Prophet and a Guardian?”. The Prophet tells us religion, it is the Prophet who guides us on what to do and what not to do. All prophets are also guardians of God. It means a prophet has two points of view or aspects. Because the Prophet is the intellect. One aspect is its guardianship, which pays attention to its creator, and one aspect is its prophecy, which pays attention to its nation and other people. But the guardians who are not prophets pay attention to their superiors and not that they do not pay attention to the inferior, but they do not have to bring a religion. The prophets must go and announce the religion to people even if they are martyred. Quran says, “The Messenger’s sole duty is to convey[15] (Al-Ma’ida:99). But guardians are not like that. Amir Al-Mu’minin Ali (A) stayed at home for twenty-five years. A verse of the Quran says, “So ask the people of admonition (Quran) if you don’t know[16] (Ann-Nahl:43). Imam Sadiq (A) said, “This verse is about the Guardians of God. You were told to ask us, but we have not been told to answer”. It means that we don’t need to come to you, you must come to us. But the Prophets were not like this and the prophets needed to go to the people. So, the “Intellect” is a truth that on the one hand pays attention to its creator and on the other hand pays attention to its inferior. From the point of view that paying attention to the superior, there is a shamefacedness that we interpret as “Wilayat”; Therefore, you can see how much shame is discussed in the prayers of the Prophet and Imams (A). You read the divine letter book (Ilahi Name)” of Allameh Hassanzadeh, many times he says, “I am ashamed”. For example, “God, I am ashamed of the sun and the moon and the stars, I am ashamed of my heart and soul, I am even ashamed of the devil, who are all steadfast in their work, and this weak covenant (I) is unsteady”. “God, there is no question of your forgiveness and mercy, even if you forgive me, what can I do out of shame; You are the witness that I am ashamed of asking for forgiveness”. Man is religious because of his modesty. He is ashamed of his God to sin.

Look how many people are praying. Has been accustomed to praying since childhood! It is a habit for them if you get it from them, they become upset. It is not out of intellect and modesty. Many believers who go to higher education forget everything at once. He no longer prays; He does many things worse than others. Why? Because his religion was not based on reason. His parents had taught him. Of course, it is somewhat good. But it is not acceptable! A narration from Imam Sadegh (A) said, “whoever has no modesty has no faith”. Is it possible for someone to believe in God and then lie ?! So, if he lies, he does not see God present and watching, he is not ashamed of God, even though he is praying and fasting. Imam Sadegh (A) said, “Someone prays for fifty years, but two rak’ats are not acceptable”. How many wise people do we find? The one who is ashamed of God and does not sin; This person is wise and has intellect. So, if someone claims that he has intellect, he should have modesty and religion. Think hard about this hadith and find out if we are among the wise or not! Intellect came in Quran many times. We should understand what is the intellect that the Holy Quran says.

The “Intellect” is different from “Knowledge”. Someone has a lot of knowledge but he does not have modesty, so he does not have intellect and faith because he does not have shamefacedness. We should examine ourselves to see how much we believe in God, how much we care about our origin, and how much we are ashamed of God even in solitude. Ibn Arabi says, “A master sees his disciple praying and says: “O God, forgive me the sins that I have committed in my solitude”. His master said, Why do you sin in your privacy at all that you now want to ask for forgiveness?! Our actions should not be any different in solitude and in public. Are you not in the presence of God in solitude? So why do you sin in private?”. Allameh Hassanzadeh used to say, “We should also wear underwear when we take a shower. Are we alone there? God is present, be ashamed of God, and cover ourselves. We have even been ordered to say “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate” when we want to go to the bathroom and discover our private parts. We do not see God when doing many things. The intellect is not involved there. Well, if the presence of God is complete, man cannot stretch his leg in his privacy because he might say this is not respectful to stretch his legs in God’s kingdom and in front of Him. This is how a man becomes wise. The wise man is ashamed of God and is religious because of his modesty. A wise person is religious and it does not matter if others see him or not.

Prophet Muhammad (S) said, “Consider that you are in the presence of one of your righteous friends or neighbors”. You are in the presence of your master; how do you behave? The glass falls from your children and breaks, what do you do? Do you shout at your child? if your master is standing next to you, would you do that? You probably will say, “My son, it’s okay, don’t worry”. Why? Because you are ashamed to be angry there. A very beautiful woman is passing by you. What do you do when you are with your master or when you are alone? Consider your master always by your side, how did you behave here? You argue with your husband, if your master was there, how would you deal with your husband and vice-versa? This is the best code that Prophet Muhammad (S) taught us. Men must try to implement it moment by moment. Do we believe in God and the Resurrection? He who steps on the path of the Hereafter must make an effort. Imagine our master standing next to us, how do we behave? Prophet Muhammad (S) said, “By doing this, you increase your certainty (“Yaqin”), and you slowly learn modesty and will learn how to be ashamed of God”.

Here is the question to think about, “Did prophet Adam have the intellect to select “Intellect”? How did he select intellect among shamefacedness and religion?

Muhammad Mahdi Me’marian

All praise is to God to the extent that He deserves it.


[1] -عقل

[2] -حیاء

[3] -الدین

[4] -وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا عِندَنَا خَزَائِنُهُ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُ إِلَّا بِقَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ

[5] وَمَا هَٰذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا لَهْوٌ وَلَعِبٌ ۚ وَإِنَّ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ لَهِيَ الْحَيَوَانُ ۚ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ

[6] -قَالُوا أَنطَقَنَا اللَّهُ الَّذِي أَنطَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ

[7] -وَجِيءَ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِجَهَنَّمَ

[8] -قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ

[9] -يَا جِبَالُ أَوِّبِي مَعَهُ وَالطَّيْرَ

[10] -سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ

[11] -الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ

[12]– إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ

[13]– قُلْ إِنَّ الْمَوْتَ الَّذِي تَفِرُّونَ مِنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ مُلَاقِيكُمْ

[14] – أَوَّلُ‏ مَا خَلَقَ‏ اللَّهُ‏ الْعَقْلُ

[15] -مَّا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ

[16]– فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Tag: Allah, God, Lord, Prophet Muhammad (S), Amir Al-Mu’minin Ali (A), Imam Sadiq (A), Angel Gabriel (A), Allameh Hassanzadeh, Ibn Arabi, Knowledge, Intelligence, Shamefacedness, Modesty, Religion, Intellect, Material World, Methal World, Barzakh, Intellect World, Shia.

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