Afzali

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  1. Reason is prior to revealed sources- a simple claim! The verses you have mentioned prove but my point of view. You don't seem to take the logical implications seriously. It is either because of lack of logical awareness or say because not giving importance to such rules. I have said time and again that when we talk of the supremacy reason we talk of it being prior to revelation. Suppose you are in a far flung area. You here a voice, calling to a certain faith. Your sensory perception will take you to the source of voice. Once you are close to you are not supposed to accept the voice, sufficing to what you see and hear. Instead you collect data of all sorts. Once you accomplished the job of collecting data, you will start, relying mainly on your reason, evaluating them. Now if your e the data proved that the data are accurate you will go, again on your reason, following the message the data give. But the data proved to be insufficient, then you will put aside them as unreliable. All this done by dint of reason. How can you overlook all these self-evident truths? How can you make a link between the quoted verses and the claim you have made. It has reminded here that it is such an extremist approach towards religion and religious sources that have, among other factors, have given rise to ISIS and its likes. If we are not mindful we will soon or late fall in such pitfalls!
  2. No hasty judgment please! I think you look very quick and hasty to draw conclusions, rightly or wrongly, from the premises relevant or irrelevant. You put yourself in the position of a judge while you are simply a claimant. Present your arguments and leave the judgement to others. The discussions we present here should try to bring realities to light, no matter what they are. If we reach this goal through our discussion we have done a great job.
  3. Here are some cases! There are numerous cases where reason does not have a say. Take as an example the issue of daily prayer. Does your reason tell you anything about the necessity of daily prayer? Does it tell you anything about the number of the units of daily prayer or the number of prostration or the forms and acts it includes? Does your reason tell you anything about fasting and its numerous complicated details? Does your reason tell you anything about Hajj and its various forms and details? Doses your reason tell you anything about the essence of God and the essence of his qualities? The answer to all these questions is in the negative. In other words, here are the cases where reason does not have a say. In such places you can take recourse to traditional arguments and the successively reported tradition in order to reach some sort of understanding in such areas. There are of course other areas where we can refer to our reason. These areas include proving the existence of God, proving the necessity of prophecy and proving the necessity of resurrection.
  4. Reason proves the roots of religion A sound reason tells you to be a theist, a monotheist and finally a Muslim. You cannot go all this way without the help and assistance of reason. As a strong projector, reason sheds light and it is in the light of reason that you can proceed further and take more steps forward. Once it is proven to you through sound intellectual arguments that Islam is the true religion and Prophet Muhammad (a.s) is the seal of prophets, then you must follow the dictates of Islam whatever they are. Intellectually speaking, after embracing Islam willingly, you don't have any choice other than following its commandments no matter what they are.
  5. Please quote any single verse which mentions this. No understanding no religion The Holy Quran frequently establishes a link between religion and understanding, meaning that religiosity is based on understanding to the extent that if there is no understanding there will be no religiosity. You have asked for a verse to this effect, but there are dozens of verses that lay stress on the said connection. To cite only a few examples read the following verses: 1) Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction (Nisa, 82). 2) Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? (Muhammad, 24) 3) And [in] the alternation of night and day and [in] what Allah sends down from the sky of provision and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and [in His] directing of the winds are signs for a people who reason. (Jathiyah, 5) 4) He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought. (Nahl, 11) Read and reread the above-mentioned verses, reflecting on what they intend to say. Having digested their meanings plus with their implications you will not then doubt to proclaim that religion is based on understanding and reflecting to the extent that lack of understating is indicative of lack of religiosity.
  6. Human dignity Dozens of papers are written on human dignity both by Muslims as well as non-Muslims. There is an overwhelming consensus among Muslim intellectuals regarding the issue of human dignity. All agrees that man is honored and dignified by God not because of his physical qualities or race but because of his rational soul or the reason and intellect he possesses. It is the capacity of reasoning that distinguishes man from other existents putting him on the top. Reason is not a simple element that can be comprehended easily; it is a complicated entity that includes man's various capacities and potentials. This the popular view among Muslim intellectuals. If you are skeptic about it you can refer to the Quranic commentaries by Allama and the philosophical works compiled by philosophers like Ibn Sina and Mulla Sadra.
  7. A Miracle You look as always to create some sort of discrepancy between science on the on hand and the phenomenon of miracle on the other. But this is not the case, for if we take miracle to be a supernatural phenomenon it will lie outside of the realm of sciences (see, http://www.islamportal.net/article/reality-miracle-according-holy-quran). Science can contribute and have a say within the realm of physical events but as soon as things take a supernatural turn science will stop commenting on and contributing to them. The abstinence of science from commenting on supernatural things reveals nothing but the shortcomings of science not the contradiction between science and religion. Science cannot prove a metaphysical event nor can it likewise refute it. The most important point that has to be taken into consideration is that miracle contrary to what many might suggest, does not violate philosophical laws. According to philosophy everything has a cause and the law of causality prevails having no exception. Miracle is not an exception to the law of causality, for in miracle you do not find a only natural cause but as far as a supernatural cause is concerned it is not deniable. That is why scholars are of the view that miracle is not opposed to true scientific laws.
  8. A Strange Claim You have made a very strange claim here while saying "you cannot present any reason other than what is mentioned in scripture". You are likely to suggest that nothing (whether physical, metaphysical, moral or political) can be proven without the help of revelation. Such claim with such a generality cannot be accepted. How can we accept it when it contradicts many realities on the ground? When you say 2+2 = 4, is there any religious justification for this? According to the claim you have made everything needs to be justified religiously and unless it is religiously explained it will not be accepted. Water is a transparent and nearly colorless chemical substance that is the main constituent of Earth's streams, lakes, and oceans, and the fluids of most living organisms. Its chemical formula is H2O, meaning that its molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms, that are connected by covalent bonds. But let me know can you prove on religious grounds?
  9. Majority attains salvation Here you might suggest that from the Islamic point of view most human beings will not attain happiness and prosperity in the hereafter. Instead, they will enter the fires of Hell suffering from various kinds of punishments and chastisements. The theory that tells that most human beings will have a dark future instead of a bright one is however a weak theory, not endorsed by reliable scholars. Philosophers including Avicenna, Suhrawardi and their disciples were opposed to this theory. In his al-Isharat, Avicenna maintains that most human beings will attain salvation in the hereafter. According to him the number of those who attain salvation far exceeds the number of those who face chastisement. Based on Avicenna's theory, the hidden or inner world is like the manifest and outer world. As in the outer world the number of the averages exceeds the number of those who are very beautiful or very ugly, similarly in the inner world the number of the averages exceeds the number of those who are of high or low in spirituality. Thus, as the majority is average in bodily features it is also average in spiritual characteristics. As the extremely beautiful can alone equal the extremely ugly, the average always remains without any rival. Thus, our philosophers, being deeply aware of Islamic teachings, were of the view that the majority of people are good and as a result, they attain salvation. The school that presents a course other than this cannot be accepted for it runs counter to what a profound reading of Islam conveys.
  10. Reviewing a Tradition We know that there are some truths about which no one can doubt except those who are skeptic or, say, mentally ill. The propositions such as 'contradiction is impossible', 'vicious circle is implausible' etc. are among such truths. Anyone who casts doubt on such truth he or she must not be able to live among human beings. He must visit a doctor. This is because when he rejects such truths as above, he rejects all other things no matter what they are. When a person rejects all other things he will not be in a position to maintain relations with them or satisfy his needs. As a result, the edifice of his life will collapse. Thus, the truths mentioned above must be accepted altogether. Once we accept the above principles then we must comply with their implications and requirements and interpret things in manner that is in compliance with them. Being aware of such essential rules, Imam Ali (as) cannot tell us to do what is ending up in vicious circle. If you take the phrase 'know God by God' to mean that we must prove God by God it will lead us to a vicious circle. Since such things are far from Imam Ali therefore when he says the above words he tells us to learn the details of divine qualities (where reason does not have a say) from divine words. Nothing more. Such an understanding from Imam Ali's words will not only break logical rules but will be in complete harmony with them.
  11. Quran and existence of God I said before that the Holy Quran does not aim at proving the existence of God, but this does not and should not imply that this is a trivial issue, having no high importance. The question of the existence of God is, no doubt, of high significance, having a direct or indirect impact on every aspect of our life. And it is because of this that the Holy Quran has taken the issue of the existence of God for granted, when it says: "And if you asked them, "Who created the heavens and the earth?" they would surely say, "Allah." Say, "Then have you considered what you invoke besides Allah? If Allah intended me harm, are they removers of His harm; or if He intended me mercy, are they withholders of His mercy?" Say, "Sufficient for me is Allah ; upon Him [alone] rely the [wise] reliers." (Zumar, 38). In other words, the polytheists and the disbelievers already know through their reasons and intellects that it is God who has created all things and therefore it is useless to prove to them what is already proven.
  12. Let's respect reason I agree with you saying that the Holy Prophet (as) is part of revelation. But what does it imply? And what messages does it convey? Does the fact that the Holy Prophet (a.s) is part of revelation indicate that we need to cancel our reasons? You seem to make such a suggestion. Though I see eye to eye with you in regard with the first part of your words, I cannot agree with you saying the latter part of it. This is, for we are sure if we cancel our reason we will not be able to take a single step forward. It is by dint of reason that we are distinguished from cattle and it is thanks to reason that God has prescribed certain obligations for us. If we did not have the needed reason we were entitled to bear certain responsibilities. When God refers us to our reasons when he says "if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy" we must make sure He actually honors our reasons dignifying our souls. Thus we must hold reason in esteem.
  13. Some religions like Christianity may be in conflict with science, for according to science two plus two is equal to four whereas according to some religions it may be equal to five. One and the same thing cannot be one and three at the same time, but there are religions that may make such claims. As far as Shia Islam is concerned it is a religion that is not opposed to science or scientific achievements. There is no real conflict between Shia Islamic teachings on the one hand and proven scientific theories on the other. There might be, prima facie, some disagreements between the two but investigation reveals that no real conflict between the two is plausible. This is because the God of religion is the same as the God of nature. The very one who has authored the book of nature has similarly authored the book of religion. A good author, especially if he is wise and intelligent, does never produce self-contradictory and paradoxical statements. Given this, Shias are of the view that a proven religious statement cannot contradict a proven scientific theory. If there is potential discrepancy between the two it has reviewed and understood in a manner that does contain any contradiction.
  14. A necessary clarification It seems as if there is some sort of confusion with you in regard with the domains of reason and revelation. According to Shia scholars the domain of reason is somewhat different from that of revelation. Reason deals with fundamental issues such as proving the existence of God and bringing to light the necessity of resurrection. In areas like these revelation cannot intervene except inasmuch as giving some sorts of hints. Revelation on the other hand tackles with secondary issues (furu'at) such as the necessity of offering a two-unit prayer in the morning. In such places reason cannot interfere and if it happens to interfere its interference will be limited to understanding such things – nothing more. If one looks at the issue of reason and revelation from this angle, many of the difficulties which otherwise arise, will be solved if not dissolved. We all agree that both Quran and the Holy Prophet as well as his progeny are not separable from one another, but this does not mean that reason is invalid. Reason is valid in its own specific domain whereas revelation is valid in its own particular sphere.
  15. Two unacceptable deductions You may have here alluded to some Quranic verses that condemn certain people not considering them as human beings. Reflection shows you have made two deductions here both of which are somewhat problematic. The first deduction you have made from the said verses is that 'most human beings are condemned by the Holy Quran'. The second deduction is that this shows that 'reason is not valid in Islam'. As for your first deduction it has to be pointed out that your deduction is incorrect, for scholars of Quran have mentioned that these verses do not refer to most of the human beings. They instead refer to most of the members of the tribes of certain prophets. It goes without any saying that there is a big difference between most of human beings and most of the people of certain prophets. Same is the case with your second deduction. The condemnation of certain people because of doing certain things does not imply the condemnation of people acting in accordance with reason. Acting in accordance with reason is not condemnable at all; it is instead recommendable.