Inviting humanity to live a conscious and accountable lifestyle is the main purpose of the Qur’an being custom-made for their own benefit. In conducting the art of living, the Qur’an calls for human intelligence to become alive and active.

Without breaking with the tradition of the revealed texts, throughout human history, the Qur’an argues that: “We have also sent down the reminder ie the Qur’an to you (O’ Muhammad (s)) that you may clearly explain to the people (the true value of) what has been revealed unto them. (Do so,) in such a way that this may provoke their thought and contemplation” (لعلهم يتفكرونYatafakkaroon)[2].

The key terms in this verse, are (Azzikr الذكر) i.e. the reminder and (Yatafakkaroon يتفكرون) ie that they may contemplate. The Qur’an invites the human intelligence and logic to argue, explore and reason with the objective of reaching a conviction.

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By implication, however, it has to be achieved within the limits of human ability and experience. Constructed to its true value, this would probably be judged as the most compelling aspect of the Qur’an’s call to reform. The most outstanding feature of human beings is the ability to employ logic and act accordingly. Inviting the humans to use this logic for their own good, was thus, the best that could have been done.

For humans, however, not to live up to their own standard, is a choice open to all individuals. But given the misuse of the free-will, this will not be without the consequences [4]. Negligence with one’s duty of care, in a social setting, is a criminal offence, in our own judgement. Why shouldn’t the same logic be called upon, when we fail to care for our own conscience and logic? So the prime test is, ‘be the human first’!

The usage of the Qur’an while calling for the employment of human intelligence (Alaql العقل), has always been in the form of an active verb. In many ways, it is fascinating. It implies the duty of engaging intelligence constantly, during life and living it, as an art. Acting according to the dictates of human intelligence will only consolidate the human instinct of upholding the universal “moral law” to which all humans respond, regardless of one’s belief in a faith or otherwise[6].

Inviting the humans to decipher God’s art and skill in creating the heavens and the earth (Inna fi khalqis samate wal ard ان في خلق السموات والأرض), the Qur’an engages human intelligence as follows:

The benefits of night sequencing the day, utilising the means of maritime transport (Wal fulkallati fil bahr  والفلك التي تجري في البحر), for human good (Bima yanfannas بما ينفع الناس), the effects of rainfalls on making life on earth vibrant, and after all, manipulating the directions of wind and cloud to enhance life, provide abundant signs of God, to those who use their intelligence effectively  (لآيات لقوم يعقلون Laayatil leqaumiy yaqiloon[8]. 

The Champion of Self-Censoring!

The statistics will show that against the forty-nine (49) instances, where the human intelligence has been invoked into action and made alive, not in a single instance, it was referred to in a neutral sense, using a noun.

Instead of nominal usage of terms, such as ‘Aql عقل’ ie ‘logic’ and ‘Fkr فكر’ ie ‘thought’, the pattern has always been in the verbal usage, such as ‘Yaqiloon يعقلون’, ie those who employ logic, ‘Yataffakaroon يتفكًرون’ i.e. those who put their thought into practice. It is a prime example that the Qur’an never commends the knowledge for its own sake. Rather, knowledge is to be procured, with an aim to engage it for carrying out the reform of individual selves and the society, beyond[10].

The Qur’an, therefore will be found determined to place the human being in the position of honour, responsibility and decision making. For humans thus, losing the accountability to their own conscience would represent the loss of purpose and identity.

Before anything else, the invitation of the Qur’an to ponder upon the signs of God represents respect for human intelligence. The recognition of human faculty towards rational thinking sets the policy of the Qur’an in dealing with humanity in general.

One’s ability to judge the ‘right’ from the ‘wrong’, (Wahadainahunnajdain وهديناه النجدين), is more poignant a benefit from the Creator, than the benefit of physical organs (Alam najalallahun ainain wa lisanau washaftain  ألم نجعل له عينين، ولسانا وشفتين)[12].

First of all, it fits with the universal call of the Qur’an aimed at humanity at large. It also sets the Qur’an’s relationship with those opting to employ this faculty, within the margin of freedom to choose and making a responsible choice.

The conclusion as above, cannot be narrated any better than: “Despite the excuses, he may choose to throw around at times, human being is the best witness unto himself” (Balil insano ala nafsihi baseerah walau ulqi maazeera بل الانسان علي نفسه بصيرة ولو ألقي معاذيره)[14]. In censoring one’s conscience thus, nothing could be more compelling, touchy and poignant!

In guaranteeing all this, there can be no better statement than the categorical denial of applying force or coercion on issues of faith and religion. To others it may be a civil right or agreed public duty to other fellow humans who are bound by urge and the convention of co-habitation.

But to a believer in the Qur’an however, affording the religious neutrality represents an article of religious faith inscribed in the Qur’an itself. Without the commitment to grant freedom to choose one’s own belief, dogma or action path will make a Muslim breach his own religion.

As to the Qur’an however, inculcating this freedom as a religious belief, however, stands for a much superior value and commitment, compared with true democratic governments today!

Indeed, the mission of the Qur’an is to help humans distinguish between what constitutes guidance and aberration from its path. As a concept, this institution compares with ‘freedom of information and choice’ in modern context.

After this, the individuals are set free to make a choice that is both just and responsible in their own judgment[15].


[1]

The Qur’an 16:44

[2]

The Qur’an 16:44

[3]

The Qur’an 50:37, 39:21, 50:08 & 87:07.

[4]

The Qur’an 50:37, 39:21, 50:08 & 87:07.

[5]

Collins Francis, The Language of God, (Pocket Book), Simon and Schuster UK Ltd. London 2007, p. 24.

[6]

Collins Francis, The Language of God, (Pocket Book), Simon and Schuster UK Ltd. London 2007, p. 24.

[7]

The Qur’an 02:164.

[8]

The Qur’an 02:164.

[9]

Refer exhaustively, all the verbs utilised in the Qur’an under: عقلوه, تعقلون، نعقل، يعقل، ، يتدبًرون، يفقهون، and.يعقلون.

[10]

Refer exhaustively, all the verbs utilised in the Qur’an under: عقلوه, تعقلون، نعقل، يعقل، ، يتدبًرون، يفقهون، and.يعقلون.

[11]

 The Qur’an 90:08-10.

[12]

 The Qur’an 90:08-10.

[13]

The Qur’an 75:14-15.

[14]

The Qur’an 75:14-15.

[15]

The Qur’an 02:256, 18:29 & 109:01-06.