The Way (5-a)

The Way requires aql – عقل – .
I prefer to translate aql in this case as “maturity in the use of reason”.
Hence, the Way requires maturity in the use of reason.

The Arabic word aql – عقل – is usually translated as:
brain, intellect, intelligence, mentality, mind, reason, sense, understanding etc.
All depends on the context.

Various scholars attempted to define aql.
However, it proved difficult to define its essence.
Hence for practical reasons defining clear symptoms of aql was the way forward.
Thus in the dictionaries, it is defined as that which stops a person from saying or doing anything offensive, contemptible etc.
Aql is built-in within human beings.
It allows us to see that which is beyond our senses.
For example: a straight stick deeped in water may look bent. Aql corrects that sight’s input.
It also allows us to see that which is beyond the letters of the text.
For example: during a conversation, you might say :”I drank a cup”. Aql fills in the missing info and it becomes “I drank a cup of water.”

Moreover, it allows us to think of that which is beyond matter and form.

The praise given to aql in the Quran is obvious and very nocticeable.
For example, in the quran “أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ” which means “will you not reason?” was related thirteen times.
However, its lack in the tradition of hadith is alarming.
Hence do not be surprised if you meet a Muslim who is of the view that logic, philosophy etc. must be studied.
Also, do not be surprised if you meet a Muslim who is of the view that logic, philosophy etc. is unlawful.

There are human activities that strengthen aql and its use in a positive way.
We can clearly highlight some of them using the Quranic text:

  1. Not to associate anything with Allah
  2. To treat parents with kindliness
  3. Not to kill children out of poverty
  4. Not to approach immoralities
  5. Not to kill a person which Allah has forbidden to be killed except by legal right.

It can be read in the following quote from the Quran:

قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُم مِّنْ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ (151)

“Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you.
[He commands] that you do not associate anything with Him, and to treat parents with the best treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill ‘the soul’ which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.””
Quran 6:151

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