Allaah Ta’aala has blessed us with the ne’mat (favour) of five senses through which we are able to perceive the world around us. We cannot imagine the existence of the world without our senses – vision, smell, hearing, taste and touch. All the living beings are blessed with these basic senses, though there are vast differences among all species. We cannot see what dogs do; we cannot smell what cats do; we cannot hear what bats do; we cannot taste what sharks do; we cannot sense what snakes do. If these animals are adorned with such extraordinary senses and capabilities then, indeed, they are superior to humans! Apart from these five physical senses, Allaah Ta’aala has blessed the humans with the sixth sense – which is superior to all physical senses and governs them. It is only because of the sixth sense – intellect (‘aql), which is not present in others that we are able to rule over the world. Intellect has made the humans most superior creation (ashraf ul-makhlooqaat) of Allaah. Without the power of intellect we would have never been able to tame giant elephants or domesticate wild horses or calm wild cats.
In other words, our physical senses are the window of our intellect. It is through these senses that we grasp and think over the things around us. Eyes only give us power to see but we understand what we see through our intellect; we hear through the ears but we comprehend the heard sound by the brain. The same is true for other senses. It is rightly said that, “We perceive what we know and we don’t think what we are unaware about.” If a half filled glass of water is shown to two persons, one will say it is half filled and the other will say it is half empty. Though the glass is one and the amount of water is the same, there are two answers! This is because of the intellect governing the senses.
It is the co-ordination of both – intellect and physical senses that makes the world around us sensible and meaningful. Absence of any one of it makes our life miserable. An insane person who has lost his intellectual powers cannot take advantage of his physical senses because he is unable to comprehend the world around him. Conversely, a person who is intellectually sound with a defect in one of his physical senses becomes handicapped.
Intellect, which is a hidden sense, is also not a single entity. It consists of five elements – Thinking (Takhayyul), Impression (Tasawwur), Memory (Tahaffuz), Contemplation (Fikr) and Meditation (Tadabbur) in respective order. This is a complete cycle of our thought process. Error in any one step of the thought process leads to wrong concepts and thinking. For example, wrong thinking leads to wrong impression which is called as Waham – false impression. Many of us commit mistakes through this process. Many times we take decisions based on fixed past impressions about a thing or a person which may not be factual at all. We harbour false impressions – Waham through our past experiences but we never give a second thought to it and verify it. Believing in the hearsay (heard or said thing) also leads to Waham.
A minute difference between Thinking and Impression is that, we can think only when are awake but it is not true for the impression. Even while asleep we may see a dream which may leave a lasting impression on our mind. A wrong way of thinking leads to wrong or false impression – Waham. Hence, it all depends upon the way of thinking. People whose way of thinking is erroneous right at the beginning of the process will always jump over wrong conclusions and concepts. While interacting with such people we often feel that their basic understanding is at fault. They won’t ever change and will always look at the darker side of everything. They are called as “Za’eef ul-Aql” (intellectually weak).
As far as animals are concerned, their learning process is limited to impressions which are learnt circumstantially as they grow up. These repeated impressions leads to a closed set of activities which they do in their lifetime. Their memory is confined to their daily routine. Unless they are tamed or trained, they lead a stereotype life and die. Conversely, humans are blessed with larger brains packed with complex thinking abilities; and the first and foremost among them is intellectual process followed by emotions. There is no end to our thinking process. Another amazing thing humans have got is the memorizing power. We can memorize anything we want and can recollect it at anytime. We need to have a paper and a pen to write a sentence; then we need eyes to read it. Till this stage the sentence is in its original form to us. But when we think over the written sentence we can come out with many different meanings and ides of a single sentence. Hence the written sentence is one but when it is subjected to the intellectual process it takes multiple forms of the concepts. Recollecting the written sentence is nothing but reading from our stored memory.
This proves that a thing though seems to be single in the physical world or to our senses, but when we ponder over it, we come out with different ideas over it. It is through our intellectual process that we are able to know the facts of the physical world. We must implement our thinking process very cautiously and in correct way which leads us to the fruitful understanding of the facts. The physical five senses are evident in our bodies but intellect cannot be found anywhere physically – it is a hidden ability. With the senses we can know but with the intellect we can understand.
Rasoolullaah (saws) has said, ‘I leave behind two precious things for you – one is the evident book - Qur’an and the other is the hidden book – my Itrat (progeny) – one who will grasp these two will indeed enter in the Jannat.' Hence if Qur’an is the physical single book then Ahl ul-Bayt (as) who is the Itrat (progeny) of Rasoolullaah (saws) – Maulaana Ali (as) and A’immat-e-Taahereen (as) is the intellect of the Qur’an. If we understand the Qur’an through Ahl ul-Bayt (as) and A’immat-e-Taahereen (as) we will find the meaning of the Qur’an in its true sense. No one can understand the Qur’an without them. Just as our physical world is useless without intellect, Qur’an is rendered meaningless without Ahl ul-Bayt (as).
The so called translations and tafseer of the Qur’an which are done without the intellectual support of Ahl ul-Bayt (as) are nothing but unreasonable printed books which lead us nowhere but confusion and doubt. Countless praise to Allaah that He has given us birth in the community of Haqq and Who has directed to His path – through Nabi, Wasi, Imaam and Da’i. A single aayat of the Qur’an is true irrespective of time and period till the day of Qayaamat. It remains same though its context changes with time. The understanding of Qur’an is this particular way has been done by our A’immat-e-Taahereen (as) – which is conveyed to the mumineen in the Wa’az and Bayaan on various occasions.
Following a religion demands commitment of some rituals and deeds. This is true for Islaam. It has seven pillars known as “Da’aaim ul-Islaam”. One cannot be called a Muslim unless he follows the 6 basic tenets – Namaaz (prayer), Saum (fasting), Tahaarat (ritual purity), Hajj (pilgrimage), Zakaat (giving a stipulated amount of wealth to the Hujjat (representative) of Allaah once in a year) and Jihaad (protecting religion). All these tenets are physical deeds – which is mandatory upon every Muslim. Just like we grasp our physical world through our five senses, in the same way we are able to know the religion through these basic tenets of Islaam. A higher quality or ability – which is superior to these basic tenets, is necessary to understand the essence of Islaam. This superior ability is nothing but Imaan (faith) i.e. Walaayat (obedience of the representative of Allaah) which is the 7th and the most important pillar of our Islaam.
It is only through Imaan that we are able to comprehend “Da’aaim ul-Islaam”. Even if we follow the tenets with devotion for the whole life and we don’t have Imaan then all what is done is useless. Conversely, if anyone says that he has Imaan (faith) and does not practice the tenets accordingly, then his faith will be of no help to him. Hence, Namaaz in its physical form may seem to us as a single physical deed but when we think over it by the intellect of Imaan, we come to know about its vastness and endless depths. This is true for all other pillars. Also, Imaan in itself is not a single entity. It consists of four elements – Sabr (patience), Yaqeen (surety), Adl (justice) and Jihaad. Maulaana Ali (as) and A’immat-e-Taahereen (as) are the fountainheads of the Imaan. One who believes in their divine succession is said to be mumin (one who has imaan – faith). All the physical deeds of Islaam is of no use if one is void or empty of Imaan. We praise Allaah that he has blessed us with all the supreme qualities – Intellect, Ahl ul-Bayt (as) and Imaan. With these favours in our hands we are sure that they will lead us to the Jannat. Aameen.
Reproducing what has been explained in the above text in a nutshell we conclude over following: