The Danger of Giving Privilege to Reason
Sheikh ‘Abdul Rahmaan as Sudais
June 7, 2013 ~ Rajjab 28, 1434
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Praise be to Allah! We give praise to Him, ask for His forgiveness, and return to Him in repentance. O Allah! Eternal and unrelenting praise is due to You! We do express infinite gratitude to You, both secretly and publicly!
(The Sheikh cites two lines of poetry about praise):
We untiringly voice praise to the Lord of the Worlds,
Praise that is doubled, nay trebled!
Our thanks multi-fold are due
To Him every now and then.
I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, with no associate. He bestowed upon us the blessed shari’â and the Qur’ān, and I bear witness that our Prophet and Master Muhammad is Allah’s Servant and Messenger. He is endowed with the soundest proof and signs from Allah and represents Muslims’ exemplary model of unconditional belief in, and submission to, divine revelation. Oh Allah! Confer Your blessed, fragrant, and most agreeable salât and peace on him, his family which are chaste morally and wise intellectually, his Companions who sanctified the texts of sharî’a and were brave knights, the tabi’în (the contemporaries of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ after his death), and all those who have righteously followed their footsteps.
Now then, servants of Allah, observe taqwa as it should be observed, for observing the taqwa of Allah is the ultimate glory and the sublime guidance one may aspire to. It is the key to achievement, triumph, and satisfaction: “O you who believe! Fear Allâh as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islâm.“ [Surah Ale Îmran: 102]
(The Sheikh cites two lines of poetry):
Taqwa of hearts is the key to sublime existence,
And the straight path conducive to Allah’s satisfaction;
Let us observe taqwa vis-à-vis Allah, Our Lord!
Praise is due to Him chanted in graceful recitals.
O Muslims! After a certain period during which divine revelation stopped the fragrant breezes of Islam blew carrying its glamorous legislations, and nations of good natural disposition across the entire globe spontaneously embraced it with neither reluctance nor resistance resulting from crooked character. Yet, a misguided group have recently come to embrace a very problematic creed issue which has led to utter irrationality and total obscurity in the minds after all sources of enlightenment have been totally eclipsed.
Nowadays, particularly in our present time, such an issue has resumed its popularity and gained more momentum to the point of stimulating a feeling of embarrassment in the Muslim conscience which has grown impatient with the heightened impetus given to this issue. Nevertheless, it has failed to realize its objectives in spite of its best, but vain, endeavours and its potential impact on religion which is more incisive than a sword and its consequence on the Prophet’s guidance ﷺ which is more lethal than an arrow gliding into flesh.
This is, O Muslims ‒may Allah protect you‒ precisely the issue of giving privilege to Aql (reason) over attested holy texts (i.e. the Holy Qur’ān and the Noble Authentic Sunnah). It consists in audaciously challenging such holy texts, using as weapons purely personal opinions and whims leading to irremediable disintegration. As a result, minds have become twisted, brains have grown rebellious, truth has become a privileged target to lethal projectiles, and people have kept looking aghast, captive of intense loss. May Allah guard us against such a phenomenon!
O Muslims! Both Islam and prominent Muslim scholars have already taken a clear position on this issue with which certain minds have been imbued. In fact, a number of people have fallen prey to its advocates and have therefore drowned in its fathomless quagmire: “O you who believe! Make not (a decision) in advance before Allâh and His Messenger…“ [Surah Al-Ĥujurat: 1].
This verse of the Qur’ān is a reference when it comes to asserting the relegation of reason to a lower rank below that of holy texts. It is a foundational principle stipulating the necessity to consecrate religious texts and show total submission to them in speech and action alike.
In this particular respect, the adept scholar, Imam ibn Taymiyya, expressed a genuine opinion combining authenticity and articulateness. He said (Rahimahulah): “One of the foundational principles on which there was consensus among the Prophet’s Companions and the tabi’în is the rejection of any argument where someone opposes the Qur’ān using his own opinion, taste, rationality, analogical thinking, or personal sentiments. Allah said: “Thus … whosoever honours the Symbols of Allâh, then it is truly from the piety of the hearts.“ [Surah Al-Hajj: 32]. In fact, honouring the symbols of Allah can but take place through sanctifying them and considering them as norms of arbitration to which human will must totally submit.”
In this regard, the most certainly/important symbols are the Holy Qur’ān and the Noble Sunnah; both of which serve like lamps that illuminate darkness. This is how true believers should normally perceive them and how people seeking divine satisfaction should customarily understand them. The knowledgeable scholar Ibn Al-Ǭayyim (Rahimahullah) says, “The first degree of glorifying Allah ‒Who is the Essence of Truth‒ is the glorification of His commands and prohibitions. Depending on the degree of such glorification, a given believer can be said to be endowed ‒based on accepting Islamic creed‒ with a flawless faith, and to be free from any symptoms of clear hypocrisy.”
How excellent Imam Shâtibi (Rahimahullah) was in his following words: “The legal objective behind establishing the Shari’â is to emancipate the mukallaf (the Muslim who is islamically capable ‒as far as age and mental health‒ of observing the precepts of religion) from the exigencies of his capricious desires in order for him to become the servant of Allah by volition besides being already the servant of Allah by coercion.”
The act of emancipating man from the exigencies of personal whims solely aims at elevating his status regarding the glorification of the two noble revelations (i.e. the Holy Qur’ān and the Prophet’s Sunnah). The requirement of such glorification consists in performing commands obediently, retreating from interdictions, and feeling ashamed of giving priority to one’s opinion over the teachings of the Prophet ﷺ.
Brothers and sisters in Islam! Nowadays, certain individuals have imported a number of fallacious premises from the sources of misguided people. Consequently, they conspired against the Prophet’s verbal Sunnah and rejected it as contrary to the premises of reality. Their position is based on the claim that certain types of Hadîth run contrary to the principles of their reverse logic, appear in contradistinction with findings in modern medical research, or prove to be incompatible with human integrity.
According to their refutable claims, Sunnah imposes a series of restrictions upon reason, chains its innovative potential, and manacles its boundless creativity. Such speculations which glorify reason and give it over the Holy Qur’ān and Sunnah are indeed disastrous and fatal. It is a Mutazilite and Orientalist mental derangement which is a rather sectarian trend of thought advocating a rationalist approach to religious texts through interpreting them with reference to historical, social, political, and real-life circumstances. This is in fact likely to allow their capricious minds to spread poisonous ideas and their simple-mindedness. Allah says: “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” [Surah an-Nisâ: 65] It is a category of submission which indicates total acceptance, loyalty, sincerity, and salvation from capricious desires and from the incitements to death.
(The Sheikh quotes two lines of poetry):
I wish I knew which reason on earth can ever measure
The Holy Qur’ān, the divine guidance, and the Sunnah?
Whoever gives priority to caprices over holy texts
Will certainly undergo divine wrath and consequently fall.
According to tradition, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (Radiallahu Anhu) is reported to have said: “When I narrate a Hadîth uttered by Allah’s Messenger ﷺ, do attune your mind to Allah’s Messenger ﷺ with maximum credibility, amenability to guidance, and observance of piety (taqwa).”
Imam ash-Shafiee (Rahimahullah) has an outstanding statement in which he excelled in glorifying the Holy Text when he said: “Whatever contradicts the Prophet’s ﷺ teachings and instructions is to be discarded, as it can be sustained neither by rational judgment nor by analogical argument, for Allah has excluded whatever pretexts in the presence of the Prophet’s sayings ﷺ.”
In this particular respect, Abu At-Tahir Assilafi (Rahimahullah) said, “Whoever rejects the Prophet’s ﷺ authenticated Hadîth and refuses to acquiesce to it will go astray and err, for the Prophet ﷺ never used to speak of his own desire.”
Allah is Great! How marvelous this enlightening speech is! It is anointed with the glorification of the Holy Text and its sublime essence. That is because the Prophet’s ﷺ speech is absolute truth and certainty while other people’s statements ‒however high-ranking they might be‒ remain mere assumption and sheer speculation. However, as the poet once said:
Whoever suffers from mouth diseases will only
Find bitter fresh pure water.
The Sheikh of Islam (i.e. Ibn Taymiyya) (Rahimahullah) says, “All Muslims unanimously agree that what Allah’s Messenger ﷺ preached cannot be subjected to rational scrutiny by all minds; and had they been able to perceive it by their minds, they would have disposed of the Prophet’s ﷺ guidance.”
Al-Haq has created minds with a limited potential for perception; a well-determined capacity for origination beyond which they may not operate. This is by no means an attempt to undermine the power of reason and its significance; it is rather one for highlighting the candid mind as a necessary precondition for proper perception, integrity and righteousness. Furthermore, the mind is one of the five general conceptions which Islam’s canonical law pledges to defend and uphold.
Far from being absolute and regimented, reason is governed by systematic and conventional laws that are set to control and contain its ups and downs, fend off the frivolous among advocates of rationalism and prevent them from advancing their ‘gloomy’ ideas, fabrications and falsehood.
(The Sheikh quotes a line of poetry):
My love is for texts, my passion for the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah
Never will reason take precedence over the two Revelations.
A golden rule to this effect states that: “conformity of the Holy Qur’an and authenticated Sunnah to open and honest reasoning.”
O believers! Among the disgraces of the rationalistic approach is the rejection of authenticated ahad Hadiths which have won the Ummah’s approval. This rejection is a grave crime and a blatant challenge to the much-revered authorities in the areas of Hadith narration, documentation, verification, auditing, weakening, authentication, emendation and checking. How excellent they were as far as piety, meticulousness, religiousness and trustworthiness!
All of this bears evidence of these people’s glorification, ennoblement, respect and appreciation of the holy texts. This is part of what Imam Maalik used to do in this regard; showing reverence for the Prophet’s honourable guidance. He used to dress up every time he addressed people in veneration and honouring of the Prophet’s Hadiths.
(The Sheikh quotes two lines of poetry):
The One who forbade what is ‘haram’is
The same who legislated what is ‘halal’ and beneficial;
So how can it be rational to believe in some of it
And disregard some other?
O Ummah of Islam! You, followers of the Master of mankind ﷺ! Can you imagine the woe befalling the Ummah when its two sources of guidance and happiness are being deliberately and persistently challenged; when the fabrications of the human mind are set to take precedence over the words of Allah’s Prophet ﷺ who was sent to us in order to guide us with the Truth and glad tidings.
Where is that thorough, spiritual devotion to the Hadith texts that are attributed to the Master of mankind ﷺ?
O Lord! O Lord! This is evil attitude and unwanted reasoning. These are snappy and uncalled-for opinions from the part of those practicing deception and falsehood in order to satisfy the desires of a mutinous and stubborn mind rather than the yearning of the studious, divine heart.
Those conceiving of a faith devoid of sentiments of glorification, submission, abidance and gratitude vis-à-vis the sacred texts are doomed to undergo failure, distress, and fall from the highest peaks of grace into the abyss of death, destruction, felony, annihilation and calamity.
It is therefore incumbent on the entire Ummah to join hands and put in perspective such a serious disaster as the ominous resolve to subjugate Hadith texts to rationalistic thought in an effort to ward off its suppliers and recipients alike and to defeat the strong and the defiant among them. The ultimate purpose in this regard is to corroborate Allah’s religion, safeguard His Sharia law and protect the sunnah of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad ﷺ.
We seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan: “Those who oppose Allâh and His Messenger they will be among the lowest.” [Surah al Mujadalah: 20]; and “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error.” [Surah al Ahzab: 36] “… I only desire reform to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allâh, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent.” [Surah Hūd: 88]
May Allah bless me and you with the texts in both sources of revelation! May Allah benefit us with the sunnah of the Master of the Thaqlain, guard us against its violation, and keep us from regression and dissention!
Having said this, I ask Almighty Allah to forgive me, you and all Muslims for all our wrongdoings; so ask Him for forgiveness and repentance; our Lord is indeed Most Forgiving, Most Merciful!
Praise be to Allah, The Glorious, The Great, The Supreme, The Majestic! I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah alone with no partner; a witness to which hearts would surrender in submission and compliance. I also bear witness that our Prophet, Muhammad ﷺ, is His servant and Messenger; may Allah send His Salat (Graces, Honours and Mercy) and Peace on him, his family and Companions who spared no effort in safeguarding the venerated texts through words and action, and those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment!
Now then, O servants of Allah! Observe Allah’s Command to glorify the Hadith texts and endeavour to embellish your faith with their words whenever possible. Thus, you shall achieve a unity packed together like a solid structure.
Dear beloved brothers and sisters in faith, there is no doubt that Islam has always been lucid in its texts and impressive in its rules and provisions. Therefore, missing out on any of these is a vile move motivated by one’s worldly wishes and desires that are geared to distract one from perceiving the pure Truth and the shining torch of guidance. Those seeking to try out their shallow minds and futile thoughts against the Revelation of the Lord of the Worlds and the guidance of the Master of all messengers will have deviated from the most significant principles and verities of Islam and the greatest of its features and particularities: surrender and subjugation to the Sharia law of the King, The Ad-dayyan.
However, what added insult to injury are those encroachments practiced on Islamic constants, narrations (of Hadiths) and divine omniscience through the technology of social media, in addition to the overflow and predominance of materialistic and rationalistic ideology.
O Ummah of Islam! It has become an obligation on your part to seek to raise your youths and communities on the glorification of Islamic texts through words, belief, deeds, and abidance scientifically, morally and socially. Verily, this constitutes the framework within which Islamic identity ought to be preserved and be an impenetrable fortress to those attempts by intruders with rationalistic disposition to infiltrate the lofty bounds of Muslim dwellings. Only then shall the Ummah be able to rise to power and prosperity and to reach the highest levels of glory.
Having said this –may Allah bless you– I urge you to obey the command of your Lord whereby you shall be greatly rewarded and profusely honoured. Allah so gloriously said:”Allâh sends His Salât (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy) on the Prophet, and also His angels. O you who believe! Send your Salât on him, and greet him with the Islâmic way of greeting.” [Surah al Ahzab: 56]. The Prophet ﷺ said: “whoever prays for blessings upon me once, Allah, in return, blesses him with the likes of ten such blessings.”
(The Sheikh quotes a few lines of poetry in this regard):
May the Peace of Allah be on you for as long as it rains
And for as long as the Saba winds blow the leaves of ferns!
A Salat from the Lord and a greeting filled with fragrance
For the Chosen Prophet whenever there is lightning in the skies.
O Allah! Send Your Salat and Peace on the Master of all mankind ever and the mercy sent unto the Worlds, our beloved Prophet and leader, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah! O Allah! We seek Your satisfaction with the righteously guided Imams and Caliphs, Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, with the rest of the Prophet’s Companions and tabi’în and those who followed them in righteousness, and with us along with them, by Your Mercy, O You, Most Merciful!
O Allah! Grant glory to Islam and Muslims! O Allah! Grant glory to Islam and Muslims! O Allah! Degrade polytheism and polytheists (who associate partners with You)! Destroy the enemies of Your Religion, and make safe, secure, generous and prosperous this homeland and those of all Muslims!
O Allah! Grant us security in our homelands and set right our leaders and those responsible for our affairs! O Allah! Support with the Truth our leader and ruler! O Allah! Grant him, his deputies, his brothers and assistants success to do what brings glory to Islam and righteousness to Muslims!
O Allah! Guide all Muslim leaders to govern by Your Sharia and to follow the Sunnah of Your Prophet ﷺ! O Allah! Make them a Mercy on Your believing servants!
O Allah! We seek Your Guidance, Piety, Chastity and Sufficiency!
O Allah! Guide to the right path those of us who have gone astray, O You, Lord of the Worlds! O Allah! Relieve the distressed among Muslims, alleviate their anguish, pay off the debts of those indebted, and cure our patients and theirs!
O Allah, our Creator, our Provider with every blessing and our Lord! The matter has turned so grave, the suffering so enormous and the situation so aggravated for our fellow Muslims in the Levant! O Allah! They are oppressed, so grant them victory! O Allah! They are oppressed, so grant them victory! O Allah! Bring an end to the oppression of our Muslim brothers in Al Qusair, the Levant, Palestine, Arakan, and everywhere, O Lord of the Worlds!
O Allah! We ask You to make the last of our deeds the best and the latter part of our lives the most blessed and graced! O Allah! Make the Day we shall meet You the best of all, O Lord of the Worlds!
O Allah! We seek refuge in You from the accursed Satan, from his soldiers and his clan, O You, Lord of the Worlds!
O You, the Living, the Lord of Majesty and Bounty! It’s Your Mercy we seek! We beseech You not to entrust us to ourselves, not even for a twinkling of an eye, and set right all of our matters!
O Allah! We leave Your enemies, the enemies of Your religion to You, for they are no match to You! O Allah! Disband their gathering, scatter their unity and make them spoils for the Muslims, O Lord of the Worlds!
“… Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!” [Surah al-Baqarah: 201]
Our Lord! Do accept from us (the good deeds) as You are the All-Hearing! Do accept our repentance as You are the Most Forgiving, Most Merciful! Do forgive us, our parents, grandparents, and all the Muslims, those who are dead and those still alive, by Your Mercy, You, the Most Merciful!
And the last of our supplications is all praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!
 An Arabic word (الحق) meaning ‘the Truth’ which is one of Allah’s 99 names.
 The five conceptions (الكليات الخمس) are: religion (الدين), the soul (النفس), the mind (العقل), progeny (النسل), and property (المال).
 An ahad Hadith (حديث الآحاد) is a hadith narrated by only one person (narrator).
 The Sheikh is implicitly quoting the Holy Qur’ān without referring to the chapter (السورة) or the verse (الآية). This is a current practice by Sheikhs and Muslim scholars when delivering khutbahs and speeches or giving lessons.
 The Arabic word (الثقلين) means the humans and the Jinn.
 The Arabic word (الديان) is one of Allah’s attributes meaning the Judge, the All-Powerful.
 The Arabic word (الصّبا) refers to easterly winds that often blow during that period of the year when the day and night are equal in length.
Translated by Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University.