The Qur’an: An Awakening of Reason

Understanding, meditation, observation, reasoning, are words reiterated many times in the Qur’an in the context of criticizing the disbelievers’ insistence on blind imitation of their wrong traditions and refusal of the truth.

For example, Allah Almighty says, [And when it is said unto them: Follow that which Allah hath revealed, they say: We follow that wherein we found our fathers. What! Even though their fathers were wholly unintelligent and had no guidance?] (Al-Baqarah 2:170).

Allah Almighty also says, [Will they then not meditate on the Qur’an, or are there locks on the hearts?] (Muhammad 47:24).

In this verse, Allah Almighty calls the disbelievers to reflect on the verses of the Qur’an and try to get the message they imply. Likewise, the Qur’an calls people to meditate deeply upon Allah’s creation.

He Almighty, for instance, says, [Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and (in) the difference of night and day are tokens (of His sovereignty) for men of understanding] (Aal `Imran 3:190).

The Qur’an also awakens people to reflect upon Allah’s creation and the truth of their being by posing rhetorical questions in this respect. Allah Almighty says, for example, [Have they not observed all thing that Allah hath created] (An-Nahl 16:48).

He Most High also says, [Will they not regard the camels, how they are created?] (Al-Ghashiyah 88:17).

There are also many verses in the Qur’an that wind up with impressive questions in this regard, such as, [Will they not then heed?] (As-Sajdah 32:26), [Will they not then see?] (As-Sajdah 32:27), [Have ye then no sense?] (Ya-Sin 36:68).

The importance of the role of reason in understanding, and thus believing, the message of Islam is further emphasized by considering the person’s capacity of understanding and reasoning as the basis of his or her being held legally responsible in Islam. That is why Almighty Allah forbids all things that may cause harm to man’s intellect and make him intoxicated.

Hence, He Almighty says, [O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed] (Al-Ma’idah 5:90).

The Qur’an also stresses that having sound knowledge is the means for developing one’s intellectual faculties; this is implied in Almighty Allah’s words [And such are the parables We set forth for mankind, but only those understand them who have knowledge] (Al-`Ankabut 29:43).

Contemplating the above sample verses, it is emphasized that the Qur’an awakens people to realize the truth of their existence and calls them to give up the blind imitation of wrong traditions and the fanatic attitudes they hold in this respect.

This is because Islam considers sound human reason as the source of man’s honor and the basis that gives humankind true guidance and leads to a genuinely enlightened civilization.Hence, it is high time now for Muslims all over the world to free their reasons from the shackles of blind imitation so as to assume their correct Islamic role of enlightenment in this world. They should give up all ways of [old-fashioned] idle reception of the process of education and replace them with critical and scientific thinking, so as to be able to progress and resume their pioneering roles in various fields of knowledge.

To fulfil this objective, it is not enough to memorize the Qur’an by heart; Muslims must also meditate upon its meaning and message and inculcate in their children’s minds that the Qur’an teaches them the way to lead positive and enlightened lives.Theses are points for all reasonable people to consider, and exceptionally truthful are Almighty Allah’s words [But none remember except men of understanding] (Al-Baqarah 2:269).

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