Sunday, December 10, 2006

70)Sequential, rational intellect of the mind versus timeless, instantaneous intellect of the heart

Various definitions and explanations of intellect and reason, showing, among other things, the clear difference between timeless, instantaneous intellect of the heart and the rational, cogitative, sequential intellect of the human mind(compiled by Khalil Andani):

1)Here is a relevant verse from the Qur'an, cited by Nasir-i Khusraw, hujjat-i Khurasan in his Khawaan al-Ikhwaan : "It is He who created you from dust, then from a sperm drop, then from a blood clot, then He brings you forth as a child, then lets you reach your age of full strength, then lets you become old - though some of you die before - and then lets you reach the appointed term; and that haply you may find the intellect (la'allakum ta'qilun)."

2)Inna fee khalqi alssamawati waal-ardi waikhtilafi allayli waalnnahari waalfulki allatee tajree fee albahri bima yanfaAAu alnnasa wama anzala Allahu mina alssama-i min ma-in faahya bihi al-arda ba-‘ada mawtiha wabaththa feeha min kulli dabbatin watasreefi alrriyahi waalssahabi almusakhkhari bayna alssama-i waal-ardi laayatin liqawmin ya-‘aqiloona:
Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth; (Here) indeed are Signs for the people of intellect.

3)Inna anzalnahu qur‘anan ‘arabiyyan la'allakum ta-‘aqiloona
We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an, in order that ye may intellect. - Holy Quran 12:2

4)Kathalika yubayyinu Allahu lakum ayatihi la‘allakum ta-‘aqiloona
Allah thus makes clear to you His Signs that you may intellect. -Holy Quran 2:242

5)Wama alhayatu alddunya illa laAAibun walahwun walalddaru al-akhirati khayrun lillatheena yattaqoona afala ta-‘aqiloona
What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But best is the home in the hereafter, for those who are righteous. Will ye not then intellect? - Holy Quran 6:32

6)The intellect is not reason. Reason proceeds discursively, through language, and like a bridge, joins two banks, knower and known, without removing the river in between. The intellect knows intuitively and (as noted above) identifies the knower with what he knows, causing one to become the other. -Huston Smith, (Introduction to Frithjof Shuon, The Transcendent Unity of Religions, Quest Books, 1993)

7)Reason, the reflection of the intellect upon the human psyche, can then be both an instrument for reaching the divine truth found in revelation which is super-rational but not irrational and a veil which hides it from man and becomes the means of rebelling against God and His revealed religion. - Seyyed Hossein Nasr, (Sufi Essays, Revelation, Intellect and Reason in the Quran, Suny Press, Albany, New York, 1972, pp. 52)

8)The beginning of all things, their origin, their force and their prosperity, is that intellect (‘aql), without which one can profit from nothing. God created it to adorn His creatures, and as a light for them. It is through intellect (‘aql) that the servants recognize God is their Creator and that they themselves are created beings …It is thanks to intellect (‘aql) that they can distinguish what is beautiful from what is ugly, that they realize that darkness is in ignorance and that light is in Knowledge. - Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, (al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 1, pp. 34)

9)Intellectus/nous is that which is capable of a direct contemplative vision of transcendent realities, whereas reason – the translation of the Latin ratio and the Greek dianoia – is of an indirect, discursive nature; it works with logic and arrives at mental concepts, only, of those realities. With the intellect, then, one is able to contemplate or ‘see’ the Absolute; with reason, one can only think about It. - Reza Shah-Kazemi, (Justice and Remembrance: Introducing the Spirituality of Imam Ali, I.B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, 2006, pp. 23)

10)“If everything that appears to us were just as it appears, the Prophet who was endowed with such penetrating vision, both illuminated and illuminating, would never have cried out, “Oh Lord, show us things as they are!” - Jalal al-Din Rumi, (quoted in William C. Chittick, The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi .Albany, 1983, pp. 19)

11)In explaining the intellect and its relation to ‘seeing’ the Absolute, it is helpful to contemplate upon Meister Eckhart’s Sermon on the ‘Eye and the Wood’. “As I was coming here today I considered how to preach to you clearly so that you would understand me properly, and I hit upon an analogy. If you can understand it, you will be able to grasp my meaning and get to the bottom of all that I have ever preached about. The analogy is with my eye and wood. When my eye is open it is an eye; when it is shut it is the same eye; and the wood is neither more nor less by reason of my seeing it. Now mark me well: Suppose my eye, being one and single in itself, falls on the wood with vision, then though each thing stays as it is, yet in the very act of seeing they are so much that one that we can really say ‘eye-wood’, and the wood is my eye. Now, if the wood were free from matter and wholly immaterial like my eyesight is, then we could truly say that, in the act of seeing, the wood and my eye were of one essence. If this is true for material things, it is all the more true of spiritual things.” - Meister Eckhart, (Meister Echkart – Sermons and Treatises, II:104-103, translated and edited by M. O’C. Walshe, Longmead, Element Books, 1987, 1989)

12)A religious scholar once asked Ali b. Abi Talib, “O Prince of Believers! Do you see the Lord when you devote yourself to worship?” Ali replied, “Beware! I would not worship a God that I could not see.” “Then how did you see Him”, asked the scholar. Ali said, “Beware, the eyes cannot see Him with the glance; it is rather hearts that see Him through the realities of faith (haqa’iq al-iman).”[1]

13)Neither My heaven nor My earth embraces Me, but the heart of My faithful servant (mumin) does embrace Me. - Hadith-i Qudsi

14)Qalb al-mu'min 'Arsh al-Rahman
The heart of the faithful is the Throne of the All-Merciful.

15)The seat of intelligence is the heart and not the head, as affirmed by all traditional teachings. The word heart, hrdaya in Sanskrit, Herz in German, kardia in Greek, and cord/cordis in Latin, have the root hrd or krd which like the Egyptian Horos, imply the centre of the world or a world. The heart is also the centre of the human microcosm and therefore the “locus” of the Intellect by which all things were made. - Seyyed Hossein Nasr, (Knowledge and the Sacred, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1989, pp. 150)

16)Intellect ('aql) in the heart is like a lamp in the centre of the house. - Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, (quoted in Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi, The Divine Guide in Early Shi’ism, (State University of New York Press, Albany, 1994, pp. 48)

17)According to a famous hadith of the Prophet: The first thing created by God was the Intellect (‘aql).[2]

18)God – may He be Glorified and Exalted – created Intellect (‘aql) first among the spiritual entities; He drew it forth from the right of His Throne, making it proceed from His own Light. Then he commanded it to retreat, and it retreated, to advance, and it advanced; then God proclaimed: ‘I created you glorious, and I gave you pre-eminence over all my creatures.’ - Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, (Al-Kulayni, Usul, vol. 1, pp. 23-24)

19)The Intellect is the substance of (God’s) unity and it is the one (al-wahid), both cause and caused, the act of origination (al-ibda) and the first originated being (al-mubda al-awwal); it is perfection and perfect, eternity and eternal, existence and that which exists all in a single substance. - Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani, (Kitab al-Riyad, pp. 221-222)

20)The Logos or Buddhi or ‘Aql, as the Intellect is called in various traditions, is the luminous center which is the generating agent of the world – “for it was by the Word that all things were made” – of man, and of religion. It is God’s knowledge of Himself and the first in His Creation. -Seyyed Hossein Nasr, (Knowledge and the Sacred, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1989, pp. 147)

21)The Divine Intellect, Aql-i Kull, both transcends and informs the human intellect. It is this Intellect which enables man to strive towards two aims dictated by the faith: that he should reflect upon the environment Allah has given him and that he should know himself. It is the Light of the Intellect which distinguishes the complete human being from the human animal, and developing that intellect requires free inquiry. The man of faith, who fails to pursue intellectual search is likely to have only a limited comprehension of Allah’s creation. Indeed, it is man’s intellect that enables him to expand his vision of that creation. - Mawlana Hazar Imam, (AKU Convocation Speech, Karachi, Pakistan, November 11, 1985)

22)Have they not travelled in the earth so that they should have hearts with which to intellect, or ears with which to hear? For surely it is not the eyes that are blind, but blind are the hearts which are in the breasts. - Holy Quran 22:46

23)By the Nur-i Imamah we mean the inner or metaphysical reality of the manifest Imam which the Imam of the Time often refers to in his Farmans. The notion of the Nur-i Imamah (Light of Imamate) as the Universal Intellect (‘aql-i kull) is rooted in Fatimid Isma‘ili theosophy but there are other interpretations as well. Specifically, the Isma‘ili theosophy found in the literature of the Alamut period, namely the works of Nasir al-Din Tusi and other authors (i.e. Abd al-Karim al-Shahrastani and Hassan bin Sabbah) define the Imam as the locus of manifestation (mazhar) of the Universal Command (amr-i kull) or Divine Word (kalimat) – a metaphysical reality superior to the Universal Intellect. It is then the figure of the Pir or Hujjah (Proof of the Imam) who serves as the locus of manifestation of the Universal Intellect. This particular doctrine corresponds more to the theosophies of Sufism and Christian gnosis where the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ, respectively, are regarded as manifestations of the Universal Intellect.

24)Excerpt of speech made by Mowlana Hazar Imam at the founding of the Aga Khan University In Karachi, Pakistan in 1983: ..........In Islamic belief, knowledge is two-fold. There is that revealed through the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) and that which man discovers by virtue of his own intellect. Nor do these two involve any contradiction, provided man remembers that his own mind is itself the creation of God. Without this humility, no balance is possible. With it, there are no barriers. Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation.....


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3