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 [may Allaah have mercy upon him] 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 [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] 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 Aayah 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 over the Messenger is that one who gives precedence to his 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?” (1)
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may allaah have mercy upon him] said, “In this great Surah 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 in religious affairs, and that they do not put themselves forward before Allaah and His Messenger. The people of knowledge say that this Aayah 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 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- hears the statements of the slaves and knows their state of affairs. He knows the truth you utter and other than it, knows what you do, the truth you utter and other than it. The meaning of this is that be mindful of Allaah 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”. (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?
Answer: 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 [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], 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. (3)
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated, “It has been stated that the reason behind Iblees being distanced [from the mercy of Allaah] 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: “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, ” You created me from fire, and him you created from clay”. So, he thought that this rational analogy that resembles truth- even though it is false – will benefit him in his false interpretation and thus 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 ٱلَّذِينَ يُجَـٰدِلُونَ فِىٓ ءَايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ بِغَيۡرِ سُلۡطَـٰنٍ أَتَٮٰهُمۡۙ إِن فِى صُدُورِهِمۡ إِلَّا ڪِبۡرٌ۬ مَّا هُم بِبَـٰلِغِيهِۚ فَٱسۡتَعِذۡ بِٱللَّهِۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡبَصِيرُ
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] (4)
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “And even though there is something in the paths of analogical reasoning and reflection that will lead to knowledge, however sometimes it cannot give detail explanation in a dispute between the people of the earth due to the minute details and ambiguities [in that dispute], and at other times due to the fact the people differ when prioritizing necessities. Therefore, due to this Allaah [The Most High] commanded [us] to return to the revelation in times of dispute. 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”. (5)
[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 4: An Excerpt from ‘As-Sawaa’iq Al-Mursalah 1/371-372]
[Ref 5. Dar Ta’aarud Al-Aql Wan-Naql: 9/17-18]