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Rationality of the Qur’ān
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

It is generally believed in our religious circles that the teachings and directives of Islam only appeal to our emotions and sentiments; they do not address our intellect and as such they have to be accepted and obeyed without being inquisitive about the logic and philosophy behind them. Asharites, the largest school of Muslim scholastics, is also based on this view point.

In our consideration, this view is not correct. The Qur’ān explicitly states that all Islamic beliefs and directives have sound reasons behind their inception and that they conform to the highest possible standard of rationality. Consequently, whenever the Qur’ān urges man to accept certain dogmas, it cites arguments to substantiate  its claims. It warns those who evade and ignore its calls to use their faculty of reasoning instead of being a slave to emotions like hate and prejudice. In fact, a little deliberation shows that it obligates us to obey certain religious commandments just because the Almighty has blessed us with the faculty of reasoning. Thus a perfectly healthy person who is insane has been relieved from all religious responsibilities by Islam. Inspite of being fit and healthy in all other respects he has not been asked to say his prayers or keep fasts, nor is he liable for punishment for any crime which he may commit.

An important point which must be understood in this regard is that we are required to accept certain realities without observing them because their existence can be logically deduced. For example we are not able to see God; the Day of Judyement too is as yet concealed from our eyes, nor have we witnessed Gabriel revealing the Divine Message on the Prophet (sws). Yet, we believe in all these because present in the Qur’ān, in our own intuition and every phenomenon of nature are signs which testify that these realities are rationally proven facts. It is highly irrational on the part of man to demand a visual display of realities which though cannot be seen but can be rationally understood. It is his misfortune that on one hand when he delves deep in the domains of science he accepts certain realities which cannot be observed but their existence can be proven by other means, and on the other hand he adopts a completely different attitude when he comes across certain metaphysical realities of life.

We believe that the realities upon which the Qur’ān asks us to believe are certainly beyond the perception of senses but not beyond the perception of reason. Just as footsteps on sand testify beyond doubt that some one has gone past, likewise writ large on every created matter of this universe is that someone else also has just gone past and left an indelible expression of his own existence.

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