In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Most High] said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَرْفَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ
O you who believe! Do not put (yourselves) forward before Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah. Verily! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet. [Surah Al-Hujuraat. Aayaat 1-2]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said:
When it is the case that Allaah forbade [us] from giving precedence to [ourselves] over the Messenger, then which type of giving precedence to oneself over the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] can be more severe than giving precedence to one’s intellect over the revelation he was sent with? Many of the Salaf stated [that this ayah means]: ‘’Do not say anything [about the religion] until the Messenger speaks and do not act until he commands you.’’
The most disobedient person amongst the people and the worst with regards to giving precedence to himself [or herself] over the Messenger is that one who gives precedence to his [or her] intellect or the intellect of another person over the revelation the Messenger was sent with. And when it is the case that Allaah has indeed forbidden them from raising their voices above the voice of the Messenger, then how about raising their intellects above the statements of the Messenger and the revelation he came with? [Ref 1]
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [rahimahullaah]) said:
In this great Soorah there are lofty benefits and rulings. The Muslims are greatly in need of understanding (it), being conscious of it and take benefit from it. In the first part, there is a warning against putting oneself forward before Allaah and His Messenger. And that which is obligated on the People of Eemaan is that they are to be followers and not innovators, and that they do not put themselves forward before Allaah and His Messenger.
The people of knowledge say (that this ayah means): “Do not speak until you are commanded by Allaah and His Messenger, and do not act until the Messenger acts and legislates; do not put (yourselves) forward before him with either speech or action, (but) be you followers of that which has been prescribed for you and that which has been made clear for you in the (Islamic) legislation. This is the way the people of Eemaan are to be -they do not innovate acts of worship and rulings in Allaah’s Sharee’ah.
[وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيم – And fear Allah. Verily! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing]
Allaah hears their statements and nothing is hidden from Him with regards to your state of affairs. He hears the statements of the slaves and He knows their state of affairs. He knows the truth you utter and other than it. He knows what you do, the truth you utter and other than it. The meaning of (this is that): Be mindful of Him and be warned about (disobeying Him) because nothing is hidden from Him. He hears and He knows your state of affairs. Therefore, it is obligated on you to be followers, and not innovators in Allaah’s Sharee’ah. [Ref 2]
Question to Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz:
Shaikh, are the ones who depend on their intellects in understanding many of the affairs of the religion considered to be from those who are mistaken?
Yes; it is obligated on him not to depend on his intellect, rather he studies the texts and relies on the divine texts from the speech of Allaah and that of Allaah’s Messenger [salllal laahu alayhiwa wasallam], because there is guidance in it and direction towards good. As for the intellect, it can be right or wrong. The sects that oppose Ahlus sunnah were destroyed due to their intellects. They thought that they had good intellects and that their intellects arrived at what is correct and thus they opposed the texts by way of their stagnant intellects which they thought were sound. What was that which made the Jahmiyyah negate the Perfect Names and Attributes of Allaah, except due to their corrupt intellects?!
What was it that led the Mutazilah to negate the attributes of Allaah and declared that the sinners [i.e. those who die whilst committing the major sins that are lesser that major kufr and major shirk] will remain in the fire forever, except due to their corrupt intellects?! Likewise, is the case of their followers who utter this same speech.
What led the Khawaarij to excommunicate the people due to committing sins – that the sinner is a disbeliever and that he will remain in the fire forever, except due to their corrupt intellects. Likewise. this is the case regarding other than them amongst the proponents of Bidah. The intellects which they depend upon is that which destroy them, because they think that their intellects are safe, sound, good and infallible, whereas that is not the case; rather it is not infallible – commits mistakes a lot; however they hold a good suspicion regarding their intellects and an evil suspicion regarding the texts and thus they are destroyed.
It is obligatory to harbour a good suspicion regarding the texts and an evil suspicion regarding the intellect, and to submit the intellects to the texts. The texts are infallible if their chain of transmission are established to be authentic. As for the intellects, they are fallible. A person susceptible to mistakes, shortcoming and desires. As for the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam], what he conveyed from Allaah is infallible. and likewise the Qur’aan is infallible- the speech of Allaah. Therefore, it is obligatory that the Qur’aan and Sunnah passes a judgement on your intellect and that you give precedence to the Qur’aan and Sunnah over your intellect- over the intellect of the Shaikh, the Mashaayikh, your forefathers, ancestors and all the people. The texts are given precedence over all the intellects. [Ref 3]
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] said:
Allaah [The Most High] said:
[ كَانَ ٱلنَّاسُ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَبَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ لِيَحۡكُمَ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ فِيمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِۚ -Mankind were one community (i.e. upon Tawheed and Allaah’s Sharee’ah) and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed]. [Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 213]
Therefore, Allaah [The Most High] designated the revealed Books [i.e. the Qur’aan being the final of them] as the judge between the people in matters wherein they differ”. [Ref 4]
Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr [may Allaah preserve him] said, “If you say that the intellect is to be given precedence over the revelation, then which intellect should we follow? Are the intellects of the people combined in the intellect of one man or do they differ? There are intellects of the philosophers, the atheists, the heretics, the people of evil desires and those who confound truth with falsehood; and due to this one of the pious predecessors said, ‘Had the desires been one, it would have been considered to be the [basis of] truth’; therefore, we say, ‘Had the intellects been one, it would have been considered to be the [basis of] truth’”. [Ref 5]
How The Enemies of The Messengers Beautify Falsehood And Its Effects Upon The Feeble Minded
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said:
Allaah [The Most High] said:
وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِىٍّ عَدُوًّ۬ا شَيَـٰطِينَ ٱلۡإِنسِ وَٱلۡجِنِّ يُوحِى بَعۡضُهُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬ زُخۡرُفَ ٱلۡقَوۡلِ غُرُورً۬اۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ مَا فَعَلُوهُۖ فَذَرۡهُمۡ وَمَا يَفۡتَرُونَ
And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies – Shayaateen (devils) among mankind and jinns, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception). If your Lord had so willed, they would not have done it, so leave them alone with their fabrications.” [Soorah Al-An’aam: Ayah 112]
Allaah [Glorified Be He] stated that they aid one another in opposing the command of the Prophets with what some of them inspire others of adorned speech, so that the gullible and feeble minded people are misled by it. He [The Most High] stated the reason behind a perpetrator’s [adorned speech] and the reason why it is accepted by the people; then He [The Most High] mentioned [in ayah 113 Al-An’aam] the effects it has on those ignorant souls. When those souls incline towards such adorned speech and become pleased with it, they carry out what it calls them to do -in speech and action. Therefore, ponder upon these verses and the sublime meanings they convey, for they clarify the roots of false principles and alert a person against them. And if you ponder upon the statements of the people of falsehood, you will indeed find them clothed with expressions and presented in a good light with sophisticated terms, which are quickly accepted by those deprived of sound discernment-to the extent that the wicked sinners would give [good] names to the greatest types of wicked deeds. [Ref 6]
Iblees And The Proud Intellect
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] also said:
It has been stated that the reason behind Iblees being distanced [from Allaah’s Mercy] is because of false interpretation, for indeed he made an analogy with the text and gave precedence to the analogy over the text. He made a false interpretation about himself and that [his so called] rational analogy takes precedence over the command to prostrate. [Allaah informed us that Iblees said]:
[أنا خير منه – I am better than him [i.e. Aadam], and that a virtuous one cannot humble himself to one who has been given virtue over him; therefore he quickly said [as Allaah informed us that Iblees said]: [خلقتني من نار وخلقته من طين – You created me from fire, and him you created from clay]. Therefore, he thought that this rational analogy that resembles truth- even though it is false – will benefit him in his false interpretation. So, that which happened him happened and he became the leader of everyone- until the day of judgement- who makes a false interpretation of the texts of the revelation. How many a person in this world are followers of this cursed leader! And if you contemplate on the majority of those doubts that are made to resemble the truth by the false interpreters of the texts and seeking to nullify them, you will find that it is similar to the doubts of Iblees which he seeks to portray as truth. So, a person says: If the intellect and the text oppose each other, then give precedence to the intellect. This is where this principle is derived from and he [i.e. the proponent of this affair] use it as a fundamental principle through which he rejects those texts of the revelation which he claims are in opposition to the intellect, just as his leader Iblees claimed that a [so called] rational proof opposed the command to make sujood. This doubt came to him due to pride which prevented him from submitting to the clear texts of the revelation. Likewise, you find every false disputer against the texts of the revelation does so due to pride. Allaah [The Exalted] said: [إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُجَادِلُونَ فِي آيَاتِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ سُلْطَانٍ أَتَاهُمْ ۙ إِن فِي صُدُورِهِمْ إِلَّا كِبْرٌ مَّا هُم بِبَالِغِيهِ ۚ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ – Verily, those who dispute about the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, without any authority having come to them, there is nothing else in their breasts except pride [to accept you (Muhammad ) as a Messenger of Allah and to obey you]. They will never have it (i.e. Prophethood which Allah has bestowed upon you). So seek refuge in Allah (O Muhammad from the arrogants). Verily, it is He Who is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer]. [Surah Ghaafir. Aayah 56] [Ref 6.1]
Fir’awn The Wicked Sinner And His Blind Followers
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
فَٱسۡتَخَفَّ قَوۡمَهُ ۥ فَأَطَاعُوهُۚ إِنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا فَـٰسِقِينَ
Thus he [Fir’aun (Pharaoh)] befooled and misled his people, and they obeyed him. Verily, they were ever a people who were Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
He be fooled their intellects, called them to misguidance and they responded to him. [Ref 7]
He stirred up their feelings, befooled their intellects and thus deprived them of intelligence through his plots and misguidance. [Ref 8]
He sought to make a fool of them to follow him and thus they quickly responded and followed. He befooled their intellects, so they followed him. [إِنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا فَـٰسِقِينَ – Verily, they were ever a people who were Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah)]- Meaning, this why they hastened to obey that wicked sinner and misguided individual. [Ref 9]
Fir’awn deceived them through those doubts, which were portrayed as something true. He deceived his people and his chiefs through words that neither carried any reality nor were such words a means by way of which truth could be distinguished from falsehood. And those words cannot deceive, except the possessors of feeble intellects. Fir’awn did not possess any proofs; rather he only stated that he was the king of Egypt (at the time) and that the rivers flow beneath him? He did not produce any proof to nullify the message brought by Moosaa [alayhis-salaam], even though Moosaa [alayhis-salaam] had few followers, found it hard to express himself clearly and did not possess the riches that Firawn possessed. However, the fact of the matter is that Fir’awn’s chiefs had no common sense, so they followed whatever he said -whether truth or falsehood. And because they were rebellious sinners, Fir’awn beautified shirk and evil for them. [Ref 10]
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Al-Waabil as-Sayyib’ page: 21. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Al-Fawaa-id al-Ilmiyyah Min Ad-Durar Al-Baaziyyah: page: 391-392; Vol: 4. Publisher: Daar Ar-Risaalah 1st ed 1430AH (Year 2009)]
[Ref 3: https://binbaz.org.sa/fatwas/28730/%D9%8A%D8%AC%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7-%D9%8A%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%B9%D9%82%D9%84%D9%87-%D8%A8%D9%84-%D9%8A%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%AF-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B5. Paraphrased]
[Ref 4: Dar Ta’aarud Al-Aql Wan-Naql: 9/17-18]
[Ref 5: Muqaddimah Fee Diraasah At-Tawheed’ by Shaikh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-Badr (may Allaah preserve him) Lesson: 3]
[Ref 6: An Excerpt from As-Sawaa-iq al-Mursalah of Imaam Ibnul Qayyim: 2/438). Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 6.1: An Excerpt from ‘As-Sawaa’iq Al-Mursalah 1/371-372’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 7: Al-Misbaah Al-Muneer Fee Tahdheeb Tafseer Ibn Katheer page 1248]
[Ref 8: Zaadul Maseer Fee Ilmit Tafseer. Page 1281]
[Ref 9: Roohul Ma’aanee 14/140 by Imaam al-Aloosee (rahimahullaah)]
[Ref 10: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan’ by Imaam As-Sadi (rahimahullaah)]