Imam Ibnul-Qayyim Al-Jawzi (rahimahullaah) said:
And using the intellect in opposition to the evidences is the basis of all evil in the world. And it opposes the call of the Messengers (‘alaihim u salaam) in every way. This is because they (the Messengers) called toward putting forward the revelation over one’s opinions and intellects, and those who opposed them did opposite to this. The followers of the Messenger put the revelation over the opinions and intellect, and the followers of Iblees (Satan; may Allaah curse him) – or a subsitute from his substitutes – put the intellect over the evidences.
Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Kareem Ash-Sharastani (rahimahullaah) said in his bookAl Milal Wa Nihal:
Know that the first doubt that was put forward was the doubt of Iblees, and the basis of this was putting opinion before an evidence, and in his choosing desire over obedience. And his pride because of the material he was created from – which was fire – over the material which Adam (‘alaihi salaam) was created from – clay. And from this, many other doubts came thereafter.
Reconciling between science and religion in issues that appear to be contradictory
Q: How can we integrate religion and science when it comes to issues that appear to be contradictory to one another? For example, we know through religion that stars were created for three reasons; beautification of the sky, missiles aimed at devils and guiding signs. But in geography we read that they are a set of celestial bodies that have a special system in their rotation and what we see blazing and falling at night are meteors and shooting stars that exit from a certain gravitation to the gravity of the earth. Therefore, they burn and fall. The falling speed of these shooting stars is 45 miles per second.
A: He who revealed the Glorious Qur’an and revealed the Shari’ah of Islam to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah the All-Knower, the All-Wise. He created the heavens and the earth and created everything and subdued it to achieve the purpose for which it was created. He knows what he gives of special characteristics and unknown things. Therefore, there is no contradiction between what Allah tells us or legislates and what He has created for His servant. All these things are compatible with each other. Therefore, what Allah says is compatible with scientific facts.
If a person thinks that there is a contradiction between what Allah says in His Book or what His Prophet (peace be upon him) says in authentically reported Hadiths and between reality, he lacks understanding and knowledge of natural sciences and Shari’ah texts. What is revealed in the Book of Allah concerning stars is an example of this.
Allah (may He be Exalted) says:
Verily! We have adorned the near heaven with the stars (for beauty). And to guard against every rebellious devil. They cannot listen to the higher group (angels) for they are pelted from every side. Outcast, and theirs is a constant (or painful) torment. Except such as snatch away something by stealing and they are pursued by a flaming fire of piercing brightness.
And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps (as) missiles to drive away the Shayâtin (devils), and have prepared for them the torment of the blazing Fire.
And indeed, We have put the big stars in the heaven and We beautified it for the beholders. And We have guarded it (near heaven) from every outcast Shaitân (devil). Except him (devil) that gains hearing by stealing, he is pursued by a clear flaming fire.
It is He Who has set the stars for you, so that you may guide your course with their help through the darkness of the land and the sea. We have (indeed) explained in detail Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, Revelations, etc.) for people who know.
And landmarks (signposts, etc. during the day) and by the stars (during the night), they (mankind) guide themselves.
The reports mentioned in the authentically reported Sunnah are compatible with the meaning of the texts of the Qur’an.
Whoever studies these texts will find that they are clear in pointing out some of the characteristics and benefits of the stars.
Nothing in these texts confines the characteristics or benefits of stars to the three things mentioned above. There is nothing that denotes that meteors are confined to shooting stars by which devils are shot especially those who eavesdrop. There is no mention of other meteors whether in confirmation or negation. He who studies the Arabic language and knows its styles and tools used for the sake of confinement can discern these styles.
If natural sciences says that there are stones and celestial bodies scattered in space, that these bodies form groups and every group falls in the range of the gravity of a certain planet and that these stones deviate from the range of the gravity of a certain planet and approach the gravity of another planet, they will quickly fall. If it says that the friction between the surface of this meteor and other objects generates a firing flame and that this phenomena is called a shooting star. It does not contradict the texts of Islamic Shari’ah that only inform us about shooting devils with meteors of these stars. It is possible that this phenomena springs from these two things. Natural sciences do not confine meteors to what falls from planets. Moreover, there is no confinement in Shari’ah texts for meteors to what falls from planets for the sake of stoning devils.
As for the falling stars that were mentioned by the questioner, they are considered falling stars by geographers when they fall to the surface of the earth. They do not burn or turn into ashes. Therefore, they are not a type of flaming fire. They are falling stars.
The questioner should be sure of his information and understand the affairs of his religion and that of the world.
May Allah’s Mercy be upon a person who evaluates themself well and does not deal with issues that are higher than their level. May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!
Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ headed by Shaykh Ibn Bazrahimahullah.
Giving precedence to ‘Aql over Naql
Q: What is your reply to philosophers who give reason preference over religious texts?
A: The function of reason with regard to the Noble Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah is to understand and accept them. Reason has no role in religion except for this. There are a lot of religious texts that make it obligatory for Muslims to follow the Noble Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah. Also, such texts warn Muslims against offering any opinions or suggestions that may oppose what is mentioned in the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah.
Allah (may He be Exalted) says,(Surah Al-Hujurat, 49: 1) O you who believe! Make not (a decision) in advance before Allýh and His Messenger (peace be upon him), and fear Allýh. Verily, Allýh is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
He (may He be Praised) says,(Surah Al-A`raf, 7: 3) Follow what has been sent down to you from your Lord (the Qurýýn and Prophet Muhammadýs Sunnah), and follow not any Auliyý (protectors and helpers who order you to associate partners in worship with Allýh), besides Him (Allýh). Little do you remember!
Also, Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) says,(Surah Al-`Imran, 3: 31) Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him to mankind): ýIf you (really) love Allýh then follow me (i.e. accept Islýmic Monotheism, follow the Qurýýn and the Sunnah), Allýh will love you and forgive you your sins.”
He (may He be Glorified and Exalted) says,(Surah Al-An`am, 6: 153) And verily, this (i.e. Allýhýs Commandments) is My Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqýn (the pious).
Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) also says,(Surah Al-Nisa’, 4: 59) And if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allýh and His Messenger (peace be upon him) if you believe in Allýh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.
He (may He be Exalted) says,(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 170) When it is said to them: ýFollow what Allýh has sent down.ý They say: ýNay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.ý (Would they do that!) even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided?
There are other Qur’anic Ayahs that order Muslims to follow the revelation sent down from Allah (may He be Exalted) and warn against following one’s personal desires and all that is dictated by reason deviating from the right path.
Thus, it is not permissible for a person to be fooled by his reason whatever comprehensive understanding and thought he might have; that he takes his reason as a fundamental and the transmitted texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah as a branch, accepting what is in agreement with reason and rejecting or distorting all that is in disagreement with it. This implies an accusation of the Divine Shari`ah (Law). Also, it undermines the fundamentals and pillars of the Shari`ah, as there are different reasons, natures, and thoughts, and people hardly agree on anything with the exception of necessities and the things that are perceptible through the senses. If the reality is as mentioned, which of all these reasons can be adopted as a fundamental to which people refer when differing on a case and to understand the transmitted texts of the Shari`ah?
What a wise opinion was said by Shaykh-ul-Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be Merciful with him), “People should know that nothing related to direct reason or the authentic transmitted texts makes it obligatory to oppose the method of the Salaf (righteous predecessors). Those who oppose the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah and the Salaf of this Ummah (nation based on one creed) are in a confused state in which they can not differentiate between right and wrong. Anyone who denies Ru’yah (seeing Allah), claims that reason regards such an act as impossible. Thus, he needs to have another Ta’wil (allegorical interpretation) for the word “Ru’yah”. Also, those who regard it as impossible for Allah (may He be Exalted) to have Knowledge and Might and to have uncreated speech, say that reason regards such matters as impossible, so they resort to Ta’wil. Moreover, those who deny the resurrection of bodies and real eating and drinking in Paradise claim that reason regards such matters as impossible, so they resort to Ta’wil. Also, those who claim that Allah (may He be Exalted) is not seated on the Throne, claim that reason regards it as impossible, thus, they resort to Ta’wil.
The evidence on the corruption of opinions offered by those people is that none of them has a fixed rule regarding what is considered impossible by reason. Some of them claim that reason regards as permissible or obligatory what is regarded as impossible by others. So, which of these can be adopted in terms of considering the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah? As said by Imam Malik Ibn Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), “How foolish we are to abandon what is revealed to Muhammad (may peace be upon him) through Jibril (Gabriel) (peace be upon him) when a person excels others in argument comes to us!”
May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!