الحَمْدُ للهِ، الحَمْدُ للهِ الذي خَلَقَ الإِنْسانَ، وأعطاه العقل والفرقان، نَحْمَدُهُ تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، مَنْ يَهْدِ اللهُ فلا مضل له، ومَنْ يُضلِلْ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ، ونَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ  وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، له الملك وله الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشْهَدُ أَنَّ سَيِّدَنَا ومولانا مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُه وَرَسُولُهُ، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمّة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحقّ، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعَلَى آلِهِ وأَصْحابِهِ ومَنْ تَبِعَهم بإِحْسانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّيْنِ.  أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَيَا عِبَادَ اللهِ اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون، يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا، يُصْلِحْ لَكُم أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا، يا أيها المسلمون اتقوا الله فيما أوصى وأمر، وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. قال الله سبحانه وتعالى في كتابه الكريم: إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

 

Allah says, the translation of which is, “We sent it down as an Arabic Quran so that perhaps you might use your intellects.” And He says,

 

لَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ كِتَابًا فِيهِ ذِكْرُكُمْ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ

 

the translation of which is, “We have sent down a Book to you which contains a reminder for you, so will you not then use your intellects?” And He says,

 

قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمْ الآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

 

the translation of which is, “We have made the Signs clear for you so that perhaps you might use your intellects.”

One of the most common commands and exhortations throughout the Book of Allah is for us to use our intellects. The deen is deeply rational and sets great store in rationality. Everything has its sign and everything has its proof. There is no concept of blind faith – knowledge is the criterion for belief and the criterion for action. The great faqih, Ibn Ashir, says in his great work, al-Murshid al-Mu‘in,

 

أول واجب على من كلفا ممكنا من نظـر أن يعـرفا

الله والرسل بالصفات ممـا عليه نصب الآيـات

 

“The first obligation on those who are responsible for their actions and capable of reflection is to know Allah and the Messengers by their Attributes, attributes for which signposts have been erected [everywhere].” It is the function of the intellect to recognise and decipher these signs. And it is by a person’s capacity to do so that his well-being is determined. If his intellect is faulty and impaired, then he is sick. There are two types of intellectual sickness. The first is the inability to use the intellect at all, and the second is its inversion and misuse. The first is technically referred to as madness, the second as kufr. The first negates accountability, the second acceptability. And, in every way, the second is worse. It is like a blind man and a man whose sight is playing tricks on him. The blind man simply does not know what the world looks like while the man whose sight is playing tricks on him believes it to look completely different to how it actually is. He is further from the truth. Allah says,

 

وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي يَنْعِقُ بِمَا لَا يَسْمَعُ إلا دُعَاءً وَنِدَاءً صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ

 

the translation of which is, “The likeness of [the Prophet and] those who are kafir is that of someone who yells out to someone who cannot hear – [for them] it is nothing but a cry and a call. Deaf – dumb – blind. They do not use their intellect.”

Despite modern society’s claim that it sets great store in rationality, despite the fact that it considers itself a meritocracy, rewarding excellence and intelligence, they do not in reality make proper use of their intellects. They think intelligence is about solving mathematical equations, building and designing more and more elaborate machines, understanding scientific processes, getting high grades. But they are only looking at one aspect of the intellect and allowing all its other aspects, including its main purpose, to atrophy and die. All their focus is on the superficial and the individual components, but they have not stepped back to see the full picture. They are like the blind men in the famous story of the blind men and the elephant. Each one is asked to describe the elephant after touching only one part of it, and of course every description is different – one perceives the elephant to be like a tree trunk, another like a water spout and another like a fan. And they are all incorrect.

So how has this happened? It is because they have moved the seat of the intellect from the heart to the brain, a computer-like organ. They have come to view intelligence as a mechanical function, as pure computational ability and the capacity to absorb information, rather than its intended function as an organ of perception and discrimination, as the vehicle for fiqh, for understanding and making sense of existence, for distinguishing reality from unreality, and what is possible from what is impossible from what is necessary. The capacity to recognise our Lord and know what He wants of us.

When men landed on the moon for the first time, my father was sitting in the zawiya of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib in Meknes with one of the fuqara, a man called Sidi Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, with whom he was discussing this event. At that moment, a man called Zarhouni walked in and prayed two rakats, so Sidi Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab turned to my father and said, “People think the intellect is what enabled man to get to the moon. No, the intellect is what lets Zarhouni know to pray two rakats when he comes into the mosque.”

That is its purpose and that is why our Lord gave it to us, for us to find Him and come to know Him and His design for us. Allah says,

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالاِنسَ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُونِ

 

the translation of which is, “I have not created Jinn nor men except to worship Me.” The purpose of our existence is to know our Lord and everything He has placed around us is there to point out the way. Allah says,

 

وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آَيَاتٌ لِلْمُوقِنِينَ وَفِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ

 

the translation of which is, “And on the Earth there are signs for those who have certainty, and in yourselves. so will you not then see.” Intellect and intelligence in the modern sense of the word may not necessarily be considered the same thing, but someone who is given all the pieces of the puzzle and sign after sign, guide after guide, and yet still gets lost and fails to find the way can be considered neither intelligent nor rational. It is like you are in a burning building and there are neon signs on the floor and on the ceiling and on all the walls with arrows and words pointing to the way out, and yet you go in the opposite direction and disregard every sign. Who have you to blame for your destruction other than yourself?

The intellect is a gift beyond compare – the key to our salvation and well-being. The Messenger of Allah said,

 

ما اكتسب رجل مثل فضل عقل يهدي صاحبه إلى هدى ويرده عن ردى وما تم إيمان عبد ولا استقام دينه حتى يكمل عقله

 

“No man has received a blessing like that of the intellect – it guides those who have it to right guidance, and staves off ruin and destruction. No slave’s belief can be considered complete nor his deen fully formed until his intellect is made whole.” It is the axis around which our entire affair revolves, and so we must always make sure to keep it polished and well-maintained. We must exercise it and keep it in use. We must engage in reflection, we must seek knowledge and we must remind and listen and heed reminders. And we must allow the intellect to hold sway over the rest of the body and the rest of the senses and not let them hold sway over it. That is the path to blindness, dumbness, deafness and disaster.

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.

 

Despite how it may appear, the intellect is not an abstract thing. Its fruits and its signs are very much tangible. There are signs by which those who are in command of the fullness of their intellects, those who have a lubb, a pure and functioning core, can be recognised. These are indicated both in the Quran and the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah. Allah says,

 

إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ، الَّذِينَ يُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ وَلَا يَنْقُضُونَ الْمِيثَاقَ، وَالَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَنْ يُوصَلَ وَيَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ وَيَخَافُونَ سُوءَ الْحِسَابِ، وَالَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ رَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنْفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً وَيَدْرَءُونَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ السَّيِّئَةَ أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عُقْبَى الدَّارِ

 

the translation of which is, “It is only people of lubb, people of intelligence who pay heed: those who fulfil Allah’s contract and do not break their agreement; those who join what Allah has commanded to be joined and are afraid of their Lord and fear an evil Reckoning; those who are steadfast in seeking the face of their Lord, and establish salat and give from the provision We have given them, secretly and openly, and stave off evil with good, it is they who will have the Ultimate Abode.”

And Khadija said to the Messenger of Allah in order to reassure him that his intellect was whole and intact,

 

كلا والله ما يخزيك الله أبدا إنك لتصل الرحم وتحمل الكل وتكسب المعدوم وتقري الضيف وتعين على نوائب الحق

 

“No! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist those upon whom calamity has struck.”

These are some of the signs that a person’s intellect is functioning properly. Belief in Allah and fulfilment of what He has commanded and prohibited, generosity with what Allah has given you, whether that be your wealth, your time, your wisdom and knowledge, or your physical skills and capabilities, and the acceptance of good and rejection of wrong, not just in the heart but also with the tongue and limbs where possible.

Any society that lacks these qualities is deeply blind and irrational, no matter how clever and technologically-advanced it may appear. It is on a path to destruction, since it is wandering about in dangerous terrain without any idea of where it is going. It may stumble along in seeming safety and success for a while, but it will inevitably crash and burn. And as long as we live in such societies, the only way we can be safe is to be in shelters and lifeboats, to find the safe haven that our Lord has established for us. Allah says,

 

أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا جَعَلْنَا حَرَمًا آَمِنًا وَيُتَخَطَّفُ النَّاسُ مِنْ حَوْلِهِمْ

 

the translation of which is, “Do they not see that We have established a safe haven while people all round them are violently dispossessed?” That safe haven lies in Allah and in His deen. Allah says,

لَا مَلْجَأَ مِنَ اللَّهِ إِلَّا إِلَيْهِ

 

the translation of which is, “There is no refuge from Allah except in Him.” That safe haven lies with the people of lubb, the people whose intellects are whole and functioning, those who see the world for what it is and know how to conduct themselves in it. It is their company we must seek and their example we must follow. We know their signs. And when we have found them, we must hold fast to their coat tails and not let go. And we must become like them so that others too can find their ways to safety and salvation to us. And so that haven can become a nation, a healthy and rational society wherein reside people of intellect and understanding, a people who love Allah and His Messenger and recognise their role and their responsibility in existence.

We ask Allah to illuminate our intellects and give us hearts which yafqah, which see existence for what it is and understand our place and purpose in it. And we ask that He keep us always in the company of the people of true knowledge and understanding.

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.

رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.

إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.