A small collection of 82 reliable narrations concerning Intellect and Knowledge translated into English with annotated footnotes.
This is an UNSECURED version to aid copy and paste.
The first book of the first volume is the book of Intellect and Knowledge. Some short words on the Islamic conception of both is in order.
Aql is the vehicle through which the initial queries about the reality of life and nature of the world is made. It is also an essential component towards the Ma’rifa [recognition] of Allah. Thus it becomes the preliminary ‘inner prophet’ which can lead to ‘outward’ guidance and consequently obedience of Allah. It has been attributed to al-Sadiq that he said when asked to define Aql:
ما عبد به الرحمن واكتسب به الجنان
That by which the Rahman [Most Merciful] is worshipped and by which the Gardens are acquired
Aql is what will be held accountable. The more perfect the Aql of the one doing the deed the more complete it becomes and vice versa. The messenger of Allah is supposed to have said:
إذا رأيتم الرجل كثير الصلاة كثير الصيام فلا تباهوا به حتى تنظروا كيف عقله؟
If you see a man who prays a lot and fasts a lot then do not be overly impressed with him until you observe how his Aql is
Knowledge and its pursuit has been given such importance in Islam that a Western Scholar like Rosenthal could speak of the ‘Empire of Reason’. Knowledge is of many types, but the one which has been obligated is acquiring the knowledge which will make one succeed in this world and hereafter i.e. knowledge of the creator and one’s obligations towards Him.
It is not enough to gain knowledge in theoretical terms, in fact the very definition of knowledge is the one which is put into practise. This is best summed up in a narration attributed to the Commander of the Faithful:
حسبك من العلم أن تخشى الله، وحسبك من الجهل أن تعجب بعلمك
It is enough to be considered knowledge that you be in awe of Allah, and it is enough to be considered ignorance that you feel proud with that which you know