Ihya' 'Uloom al-Din

(Revival of Religious Sciences)

Imam Al-Ghazali

Book I (The Book of Knowledge)

Translated into English from the original Arabic by

Nabih Amin Faris

Published by:

Sh. Muhamamd Ashraf Lahore (Pakistan)

Section VII

On the Intellect, its Noble Nature, its Definition, and its Divisions

The Noble Nature of the Intellect : It will be superfluous to show the noble nature of the intellect (al'aql ) especially because through it the noble nature of knowledge has been revealed. Intellect is the source and fountainhead of knowledge as well as its foundation. Knowledge springs from it as the fruit from the tree and the light from the sun and vision from the eye. How then could that which is the means of happiness in this world and the next not be noble or how could it ever be doubted? The beasts, despite their weak understanding, respect the intellect, so that the largest; most ferocious, and strongest among them, fear the very sight of man, because they sense his superiority over them, which is the result of his native resourcefulness. For this reason the Prophet said, "The position of the chief (shaykh ) in his tribal organisation is like unto that of the Prophet among his people." [1] This however, is not because of the abundant wealth of the shaykh , nor because of his great person, or his enormous power, but rather because of his rich experience, which is the fruit if his intellect ('aql ). For this reason you find that the Turks and the Kurds as well as the ruffians among the Arabs and all other people, despite the fact that they are so close in their lives to the beasts, respect their shaykhs instinctively. Similarly, when several of the rebellious Arabs, who had made up their minds to kill the Prophet, saw him and beheld his noble countenance, they feared him, and there shone on them through his face the radiant light of prophecy, although it was only latent in his soul in the same manner as the intellect.
To be sure the noble nature of the intellect is perceived instinctively. It is our purpose, however, to relate what the tradition and the Qur'an say concerning its noble nature. Thus we find in the Qur'an that Allah called it light when He said, "Allah is the Light of the Heavens and Earth. His Light is like a niche in which is a lamp - the lamp encased in a glass - the glass, as it were, a glistening star." [24 : 35] The knowledge derived therefrom was called a spirit, a revelation, and a life. Said Allah, "Thus have We sent the Spirit to thee with a revelation, by Our command." [42 : 52] And again, "Shall the dead, whom We have quickened, and for whom We have ordained a light whereby he may walk among men, be like him, whose likeness is in the darkness, whence he will not come forth?" [6: 122] Furthermore, whenever Allah mentions light and darkness He means thereby knowledge and ignorance respectively, as is evident in His words, "And He will bring them out of the darkness into light". [5: 18]
The Prophet said, "O ye men! Know Allah and be ruled by intellect, then ye will know what ye have been enjoined and ye have been forbidden. Know ye that intellect is your glory before Allah. He who obeyeth Allah, although his looks may be ugly, his rank lowly, his station modest, and his appearance shabby, is intelligent; but he who disobeyeth Allah, although his looks may be good, his rand exalted, his station noble, his appearance fair, and his power of speech sharp and fluent, the same is ignorant. For the apes and the pigs are, in the sight of God, saner than he who disobeyeth. Therefore be not deceived by the honour which the men of this world receive: verily they are of those who are doomed." [2] The Prophet also said, "The first thing which Allah created was the intellect. On creating it Allah ordered it saying, 'Come forth', and it came forth. He then ordered it saying, 'Return', and it returned. Thereupon Allah said, 'By My power and glory I have created nothing more reverent towards Me than thee. Through thee I take through thee I give, through thee I reward and through thee I punish."
You may ask, if this intellect is an accident ('arad ), how could it have been created before all other substances, and if it is an essence (jawhar ), how could it be a self-existent (qa'im binafsih ) essence and not be isolated? If you should ask such a question, then you should know that it belongs to the science of revelation ('ilm al-mukashafah ), and, therefore, it is not proper to discuss it under the science of practical religion ('ilm al-mu'amalah ) which is our present concern.
It has been related on the authority of Hadrat Anas that a group of people once commended a certain man in the presence of the Prophet and praised him excessively. Thereupon the Prophet said, "What kind of an intellect hath that man?" But they replied saying, "We tell these about his diligence in prayer and about the various good works he doeth and thou inquirest from us concerning his intellect!" The Prophet answered and said. "The fool doeth more harm through his ignorance than doeth the wicked through his wickedness. Moreover, men will not advance to a higher degree of proximity to God except in proportion to their intellect."
It has also been related on the authority of Hadrat 'Umar that the Apostle of Allah said, "Man doth not gain anything like a worthy intellect which leadeth him to righteousness and dissuadeth him from sin; nor doth his belief become complete and his religion upright until his intellect matureth." And again, "Verily man will attain the rank of the fasting worshipper through his good character; but no man will be blessed with good character until his intellect matureth. Then and only then will his belief become complete, and not until then will he obey Allah and disobey the Devil."
It was also related on the authority of Hadrat Abu-Sa'id al-Khudri that the Apostle of Allah said, "For everything there is a support, and the support of the believer is his intellect; in proportion to his intellect will his worship be." For have you not heard the words of the sinners in Hell: "Had we but hearkened or understood, we would not have been among the dwellers of the flames." [67 : 10] It has also been related on the authority of Hadrat 'Umar that he himself once asked Tamim al-Dari [3] saying, "What holds the supreme authority among you?" Tamim replied, "The intellect." Thereupon 'Umar said, " Thou hast said the truth. I have asked the Apostle of God the same question and he gave me the same reply saying, "I have asked Gabriel what the supreme authority was and he answered, 'The intellect'."
It was also related on the authority of Al-Bara' ibn-Azib [4] that once upon a time the questions which were submitted to the Apostle became too many, and thereupon he said, "O men! For everything there is a mainstay, and the mainstay of man is his intellect. The most convincing and the most authoritative among you is he who has the best intellect." It was also related on the authority of Hadrat Abu Hurayrah that when the Apostle of Allah returned from the raid of Uhud he heard the people say that so and so was braver than so and so, and so and so fought better than so and so, and so on. Thereupon he said, "Ye have not knowledge concerning thing." "How, O Apostle of Allah?" they inquired. He replied, "Verily they have fought, each according to the intellect which Allah hath given him. Their victory and hope were also proportional to their intellect. Consequently those of them who were injured in the fray were injured at various stages (manazil ), and on the day of resurrection they will occupy those stages, each according to his intentions and intellect."
It was also related on the authority of Al-Bara ibn-'Azib that the Prophet said, "The angels have been earnest and diligent in their obedience to Allah wholly through their intellect; while the believers among the children of Adam have endeavoured to do His will as far as their intellect has allowed. Consequently, the most obedient among them possesses the greatest intellect." Again it was reported on the authority of Hadrat A'ishah that she once said, "O Apostle of Allah! Wherein do people excel one another in this world?" He replied, "In intellect". "And in the Hereafter?", she added. "In intellect", he again replied. Then A'ishah said, "But are they not rewarded according to their works?" To which the Apostle replied: "O A'ishah! Have they ever achieved anything except in proportion to what God has given them of intellect? Their works will always be in proportion to their intellect which God has given them, and their reward will be in proportion to their works".
It was also related on the authority of Ibn-'Abbas that the Apostle of Allah said, "For everything there is an instrument and a tool, and the instrument of the believer is his intellect: for everything there is a mainstay, and the mainstay of man is his intellect; for everything there is a support, and the support of religion is the intellect; for every group of me there is a goal, and the goal of the worshippers is the intellect; for every people there is a missionary (who calls them to true faith), and the missionary of the devout is the intellect; for every merchant there are goods and merchandise, and the merchandise of the scholars is the intellect; for every house there is a keeper, and the keeper of the houses of the saints is the intellect; for every ruin there is rehabilitation, and the rehabilitation of death is the intellect; for every man there is a offspring who bears his name and perpetuates his memory, and the offsprings of the saints, who bear their names, and perpetuate their memory , are their intellects; and finally for every journey there is a shelter, and the shelter of the believers is the intellect".
The Prophet also said, "Verily the believer who is most beloved of Allah is he who toils in the service of Allah and gives counsel to his people, whose understanding is complete; who admonishes himself and consequently sees the truth and acts accordingly himself and consequently sees the truth and acts accordingly all the days of his life, with the result that he himself prospers and leads others to success". And again, "The man who possesses the most mature mind among you is he who fears God most, fulfilling best what He enjoined and desisting from what He has forbidden, although that man may be the least willing to obey."

[1] Unidentified
[2] Unidentified
[2] A.H. 40/A.D. 660-61. See Ibn-Qutaybah, p. 149; Ibn-Sa'd, Vol VII, Pt. 2, pp. 129-30; al-Suyuti, Husn al-Muhadarah fi-Akhbar Misr w-al-Qahirah (Cairo, 1327), Vol. I, pp. 76-7.
[4] A.H. 72/A.D. 691-2. See Ibn-Quaybah, p. 166; Ibn-Sa'd, Vol. IV, Pt. 2, pp. 80-83.


On the Truth concerning the Intellect and its Divisions
Let it be known that people have disagreed on the definition of the intellect and the truth concerning it. Many have forgotten that the term has been applied to several things, a fact which has led to the existing disagreement concerning the definition of the term. The truth, however, is that the word intellect ( 'aql) is a term used interchangeably for four distinct meanings in the same way as the term for eye has been used for several meanings. In the case of such words, therefore, no one single definition should be expected to cover the several meanings of the term. On the contrary each meaning should have its individual definition.


First it is the quality which distinguishes man from the other animals and prepare him to understand and grasp the theoretical sciences (nazariyah ), and master the abstract (fikriyah ) disciplines. This is exactly what Al-Harith ibn-Asad al-Muhasibi meant when he said in defining the intellect ('aql ) as an instinct (gharizah ) through which the theoretical sciences are grasped and understood. It is as though it were a light cast into the heart  preparing it thereby to grasp things and and understand them. Hence he who denies this and limits the intellect to daruriyah knowledge only, is wrong because he who is unaware of the existance of these facts as well as he is fast asleep, in so far as they possess that instinct, are called intelligent, although they lack the knowledge of these facts. And just as life is an instinct whereby the body is disposed to carry out the voluntary (ikhtiyariyah ) movements and respond to sense perception (idrakat hissiyah ), so is the intellect an instinct whereby some of the animals are disposed to grasp the theoretical sciences. Furthermore if it were conceivable to regard the donkey equal to man in instincts and sense perception and say that there was no difference between them except that God, just as a matter of course, imbued man with sciences with which He did not bless the donkey and the animals, it would also be conceivable to regard the inanimate objects equal to the donkey in life and say that there was no difference between them except that God, just as a matter of course, endowed the donkey with some particular movements. But if the donkey were inanimate and lifeless, it would have been necessary to say that every movement which the donkey might perform must have been originated in it by God in that particular sequence. And just as it has been necessary to say that the donkey would not differ from inanimate objects in movement except for an instinct characteristic of it which is expressed by the word life; so would it be in the case of man in relation to the animal, he differs from it in his grasp of the theoretical sciences through an instinct which is expressed by the word intellect. This is just like the mirror which is distinguished from other objects by its ability to reflect images and colours through a particular quality peculiar of it, namely its polish. The same is true of the eye which is distinguished from the forehead in several qualities and characteristics which enable it to see. Hence the relation of that instinct, (namely, the intellect), to the sciences is similar to that of the eye to vision; while the relation of the Qur'an and the law to that instinct in so far as it leads to the unfolding of the sciences is like that of the light of the sun to seeing. In this manner, therefore, should this instinct be defined and understood.


Secondly the word 'aql is applied to that knowledge which makes its appearance even in the infant who discerns the possibility of possible things (ja'izat ) and the impossibility of impossible things (mustahilat ), such as the knowledge that the two are greater than the one and that the one individual cannot be in two different places at the same time. It is what one of the scholastics meant when he defined the word 'aql as some axiomatic (daruriyah ) knowledge, such as the possibility of possible things and the impossibility of impossible things. This definition is right, as it stands, because this knowledge is existent and the application of the word 'aql to it is clear. What is wrong, however, is to deny that instinct, and to hold that only this kind of knowledge exists.


In the third place the word 'aql has been applied to that knowledge which is acquired through experience (empirical knowledge), in the course of events. Thus he who has been taught by experience and schooled by time is generally called intelligent ('aqil ), while he who lacks these qualifications is called unintelligent, stupid and ignorant. Here, therefore, is another type of knowledge which is called 'aql .


In the fourth place the word 'aql is used when the power of the instinct develops to such an extent that its owner will be able to tell what the end will be, and consequently be will conquer and subdue his appetite which hankers for immediate pleasure. Whenever such a power obtains, its owner, in view of the fact that he embarks on an undertaking, or refrains from it only after a thorough consideration of its end rather than in answer to the urge of a carnal appetite, is called intelligent. This, too, is among the peculiarities which distinguish man from the other animals.


As to these four usages of the word 'aql  it should be pointed out that the first is the foundation of the other three, their origin and fountain-head. The second is the branch nearest to the first while the third is an offshoot of both the first and the second combined, since through the power of the instinct and axiomatic knowledge, are the empirical sciences acquired. The fourth is the final fruit and ultimate aim. The first two are native (bi-al-tab' ), while the last two are acquired (bi-al-iktisab ). For this reason Hadrat 'Ali said:


Knowledge is of two kinds: native and acquired,

But no acquired knowledge is of any use,

If there is no native knowledge,

Just as the light of the sun is useless

When the light of the eyes is shut off.


The first, namely the native (matbu' ), was intended by the Prophet when he said, "Allah has not created a more honored thing than the intellect ('aql )". The second, namely the acquired (masmu' ), was intended by the Prophet when he said, "When men draw near unto Allah through righteousness and good works, draw thou near unto Him through thy learning." The same is meant by the words of the Apostle of Allah when he said to Abu-al-Darda', "Increase in learning and thou wilt draw nearer unto God". Abu-al-Darda' exclaimed, "May my father and mother be thy ransom! How can I do that?" The Apostle replied, "Avoid the prohibitions of Allah and fulfil His commandments and thou wilt be wise; do the works and thou wilt receive a place of favour and exaltation from thy Lord in the world to come".


It was also related on the authority of Hadrat Sa'id ibn-al-Musayyab that 'Umar, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, and Abu-Hurayrah called one day on the Apostle of Allah and said, "O Apostle of Allah! Who is the most learned of men?" He said, "The wise". "Who is the most worshipful of men?" they asked, "The wise", replied the Apostle. Again they said, "And who is the most excellent of men?" And again He replied, "The wise." Thereupon they said, "Is not the wise man he whose manliness is complete, whose eloquence is manifest, whose generosity is active, and whose rank is exalted?" The Apostle replied, "All these are of the things of this world while the hereafter is reserved by God for pious who fear Him. Verily the wise man is he who is pious, although he may be abject and despised in this world." According to another tradition the Prophet said, "Verily the wise man is he who believes in Allah, accepts His Apostles, and obeys His commandments".


It is very likely that the basic use of the word 'aql has been for that instinct, [native intellect], and the same is true of its technical use. It was, however, applied to knowledge because the latter is, as it were, its fruit, And just as a thing is known by its fruit so that, as a result, it is said, "The fear of Allah is knowledge", and "He who fears Allah is learned", because the fear of God is the fruit of knowledge, so has the word 'aql been used metaphorically for other than that instinct, [native intellect]. It is not, however, our purpose to discuss language. All we mean is that these four parts exist and that the term 'aql is applied to all of them alike. Furthermore there is no dispute regarding the existence of all but the first part, namely the instinct. There is no doubt, however, that it exists; in fact it is the origin of the other three while all the forms of knowledge, are as it were, inherent in it by nature and come to light when some cause which will bring them out takes place. Such is the case with knowledge that it would seem as though there was no external influence whatever in its appearance: it merely was latent in that instinct and later appeared. This can be illustrated by the waters in the bowels of the earth: it appears on digging and collects at the bottom of the well and can be distinguished by the senses; yet throughout the whole operation no new element was introduced. The same is true of the oil in almond nuts and the attar in rose petals. For this reason Allah said, "And when thy Lord brought forth their descendants from the reins of the sons of Adam and took them to witness against themselves, 'Am I not', said He, 'your Lord?' They said, 'Yes, we witness it'". [7: 171] What is meant here is confession in their souls, not verbal profession, because men are divided in the case of verbal profession into two groups, believers and unbelievers. Consequently Allah said,  "If you ask them who created them, they will be sure to say, 'Allah'". This means that if they would only consider their condition, their souls and hearts would subscribe to the fact that God had created them (in accordance with) "the nature (fitrah ) which God has given them". [43 : 87] In other words every human being is created and born a believer; still more every human being is born with an inherent knowledge of reality; inherent since it is readily disposed to perceive reality. With belief installed by nature in the human soul, men have split, into two groups; the one has turned away from that belief and has forgotten all about it - it comprises the unbelievers; the other has pondered and remembered, resembling theirin one who has a witness, and, in his oversight, for a while has forgotten all about it, but finally has remembered it. For this reason Allah said, "Haply they may remember"; [cf. 30 : 29] and "those that endued with understanding may recall and remember"; [2:321, 14 : 30] and again, "And remember the favuor of God upon you, and His covenant which He had covenated with you"; [38 : 28] and again, "And we have rendered the Qur'an available as a sign to be remembered - but is there anyone who will remember?" [5: 10] It is not, therefore, far-fetched to call this kinds, remembrance (tadhakkur ). This remembrance is of two kinds: the one is to recall a picture which once existed in one’s mind but has since disappeared, while the other is to recall a picture which is inherent in one’s mind by nature (fitrah).


These facts are evident to him who exercises his insight, but are abstruse to him who is given to blind imitation and simple acceptance of things on authority (taqlid ) rather than to investigation and personal observation. Consequently you find such man entangled in these and similar verses, hopelessly lost in the interpretation of remembrance (tadhakkur ) and the confession of the souls, and continually imagining that the traditions of the Prophet and the Qur'an are full of contradictions. [56:17] Such an attitude may take hold of him so that he will regard them with contempt, believing that they are utterly incoherent. He is like a blind man who enters a house and, stumbling over some vessels says, "Why were not these vessels removed from the way and returned to their places?" He is then told that they are in their right places and what is wrong is his sight. The same is true of the disorder of the insight; in fact it is worse because the soul is like the horseman while the body represents the horse, and the blindness of the horseman is more serious and disastrous than that of the horse. The relation between insight and sight is evident. Thus Allah said, "His heart falsified not what he saw", [53:11] and again "And thus did We show Abraham the kingdoms of the Heavens and of the Earth". [6:75] The opposite of both insight and sight has been called blindness. Thus Allah said, "For surely it is not the eyes that are blind, but blind are the hearts which are in the breasts". [22:45] As to those things which were revealed to the prophets, some were revealed through the sight and some through the insight, but both were called seeing (ru'ayh ). In short he whose insight is not keen will grasp nothing of religion except its husks and outward forms rather than its pith and truth. These, then are the things to which the word 'aql is applied.




Men have disagreed concerning the disparity which exists among their intellects (`aql). But there is no use in repeating the arguments of those of little knowledge. It is more important to proceed immediately tothe declaration ofthe truth. The obvious truth in this case is that this disparity pervades all the four parts of the intellect except the second, namely axiomatic (daruri) knowledge, such as the possibility of possible things and the impossibility of impossible things. Thus he who comprehends tha: iwro are greater than one will also comprehend the impossibility for one object being in two different places at the same time, or for a thing being both eternal (qadim) and originated (hadith). The same is true of all other similar facts and whatever is comprehended with certain comprehension free of any doubt. The three other parts, however, are subject to disparity.

As to the fourth, namely, the ability of the power ofthe instinct to conquer the appetite, the disparity in it among men is evident and clear; in fact it is evident and clear that, at times, even the individual betrays a certain degree of disparity therein. This is sometimes the result of variation in the intensity of different appetites. A wisemen may be able to overcome one appetite more readily than another; but the problem is not restricted to this only. The young man may fail to overcome the appetite of sex and desist from fornication, but when he advances in age and his understanding becomes mature he will be able to subdue his lust. On the other hand hypocrisy and pride increase and grow stronger with age.

This disparity may also be the result of difference in the mastery of the knowledge which reveals the evil of the other appetites. Thus a physician may be able to abstain from some of the harmful foods, while another man may fail simply because he lacks medical knowledge, although he may be the physician’s peer in intellect and of the same belief in the harmful effects of those foods. Again the more mature the physician’s intellect, the stronger will his fear be. Hence fear is an aid in the service of intellect, an instrument with which to overcome and break appetites. Similarly, the learned man is more capable of renouncing sin than the ignorant, because his knowledge of the evils of sin is greater. I mean the true learned men and not those of the flowing robes who dote and rave and prate of things they know little about.

If this disparity is due to appetite it will have nothing to do with the disparity of intellect, but if it is due to knowledge, then we shall call this kind of knowledge, intellect, because it strengthens the native intellect and hence the disparity will be that of the particular knowledge then involved, after which it will also be named. It may also be caused by disparities in the native intelellect the ability of which to stamp out appetite becomes inevitably stronger as it grows more powerful.

As to the third part, namely, empirical knowledge (‘ulum al-tajarib),ithe disparity of men in it cannot be denied. They differ therein in the number of times they are right in their quickness to comprehend. This may be the result of either disparity in the instinct, (i.e. native intellect), or disparity in practice and experience. In the case of the first, i.e. the instinct, which is the origin, the disparity cannot be denied. It is like a luminary which shines upon the soul, whose dawning and first rays begin to illuminate the soul at the age of discrimination and continues to grow and increase very gradually until it reaches its fullness around the age of forty. Or like the light of the morning, the beginnings of which are hard to discern but it increases little by little until it attains its fullness at the rising of the sun. The disparity of insight is like that of eye sight where the difference between the weak-sighted man and the keen-sighted is quite evident.

The law of Allah operates universally among all His creatures and follows the principles of gradual development. Thus the sex instinct does not appear at puberty all at one time suddenly; rather it appears little by little gradually. The same is true of all the other forces and facilities. In fact he who denies the disparity of men in this instinct is loose outside the confines of sanity, and he who thinks that the intellect of the Prophet is the same as that of any of the outlandish peasants and desert ruffians is himself filthier than any of those peasants.

Furthermore how could the disparity of instinct (i.e. the native intellect) be denied when without it men would not have varied in their ability to understand knowledge, nor would they have been divided into the stupid who fail to understand anything except after long and tedious explanation byateacher, the brilliant who respond to the least sign, and the perfect from whose soul truth emanates without any previous instruction. Thus Allah said, “Whose oil would well nigh shine out, even though fire touched it not! It is light upon light.” (24:35) Such are the Prophets to whom recondite things are clarified in their inward thoughts without having learnt or heard anything of the sort. This is expressed by the word inspiration (ilham). The Prophet expressed the same thing when he said, “Verily the holy spirit whispered into my heart and said, `Love anyone,, thou shalt part from him; live anyway thou desirest, thou shalt verily die; do anything thou wilt - thou shalt be accordingly rewarded’.” This kind of imparting information by the angels to the Prophets is different from explicit revelation which involves hearing a definite voice with the ear and seeing the angel with the eye. Consequently the stage (of revelation) has been described as whispering into the heart (al nafth fi al-ruh). As to the stages of revelation (wahi), they are many, but to embark on a discussion of them under practical religion (‘ilm al-mukashafah) is not fitting, because they fall under the science of revelation (‘ilm al-mukashafah). Do not think, however, that the knowledge of the stages of revelation requires that a person be himself a receiver of revelation, because it is not unlikely for a sick physician to know the different stages of health or for the trespassing learned man to know the various stages of justice despite the fact that he lacks justice. For knowledge is one thing and the existence of what is known is another. Consequently not everyone who knows what prophethood and sainthood are will be a Prophet or a saint, and not everyone who knows what piety and godliness are will be pious or godly.

That men are divided into those who take notice by themselves and understand those who do not understand except through warning  and instruction, and those who benefit from neither, is like the division of the bosom of the earth into parts where water collects and increases until it brusts out by itself into springs of living water, parts where water collects but cannot be reached without digging, and and parts where not even digging will avail. This is true of the disparity of men in native intellect. Attesting to the disparity of the intellect is a tradition narrated by `Abdullah ibn-Salam to the effect that the Prophet at the end of a long conversation, described the throne and stated that the angels once asked Allah saying, “ O our Lord! Hast thou created aught greater than the throne?” Allah replied, “Yes, the intellect.” The angels said, “How great is it?” Allah answered and said, “Verily no one can grasp its greatness. Can you number the sand of the sea?” They said, “No.” Allah then replied, “Verily I have created the intellect in different kinds as numerous as the sand of the sea. Some men were given one grain, others two, three and four grains, still others received a good portion, others a portion equalling a camel-load, and others even greater.”

You may say, “Why then do some groups among the Sufi disparage the intellect and reason as well as the rational and the reasonable?”You should know, then, that the reason for it is that men have transferred the term intellect or reason (`aql) and the term rational or reasonable (ma’qui) from their real and original meaning to another and false meaning, namely argumentation and debate over contradictions and requisites, which is scholastic theology. Consequently the Sufis could not tell that men have erred in this terminology, especially since it has not been possible to remove that from their minds in view of its current and well established usage. As a result they disparaged reason and rationalism. Could it be imagined, however, that the light of the insight, through which Allah is known and the truthfulness of His Apostle is recognized, will ever be disparaged or belittled when Allah Himself praised it? And if it were ever disparaged what other thing could be praised? But if the praiseworthy knowledge be the law, by what is its truth known? If it were known through the blameworthy and unreliable intellect, that the law itself is blameworthy. No attention, however, is paid to him who says that the law is known through certainty itself (‘ayn al--yaqin) and the light of belief rather than through intellect, because we mean by intellect what he means by certain sight and the light of belief, namely the inner characteristics by which man is distinguished from the animal and through which he comprehends reality. Most of these wild errors have arisen from the ignorance of some who sought realities in words and erred wildly therein, because of the confusion which exists in the technical terminologies of men.

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