Summary of Prof. Ayyad’s Article “The Mind: Its Status & Its Boundaries in Islam”
Al-Azhar Magazine, (Rabiʻ II- 1443 AH/ November 2021 AD, Vol. 4, Year 95)
Prof. Nazir Muhammad Ayyad, the Secretary General of the Islamic Research Academy (AIRA), opened his article by talking about the blessing of the mind, showing that it is one of Allah’s greatest blessings upon man, since it is the tool of thinking which distinguishes man from other creatures. With the mind, man has dominated the universe, obtained science and arts, had the will and ability to choose, controlled the world and nature and benefited from them.
He also clarified that the mind is the tool of perception, understanding, and a source of balance and distinction between truth and falsehood. It is man’s way of guidance and firm belief in the divine revelation. Furthermore, he indicated that since man is endowed with the mind, man is entrusted with obligations, so the religious discourse is only directed to people of sound minds, whereas the insane are exempt from such obligations.
He cited some Qur’anic verses and Prophetic hadiths to prove that Allah Almighty has called people to use their minds to know Him, His Names and Attributes, His blessings, and to understand His wisdom and purpose. The Almighty also warned against following doubts and called for relying on proofs and evidence as a basis for faith. Moreover, He – Almighty – censured the imitators who do not use their minds, but rather follow traditional rules and customs whether good or bad.
The secretary-General indicated that Allah Almighty has assigned the mind an important function, which is to deduce rulings and examine evidence. He confirmed that there is no conflict or incongruity between reason and sharia, and if there seems to be such contradiction, it is only because of deviant thinking.
Finally, he added that Islam has put limits for the mind. No matter how much it is capable of understanding, it remains helpless in many fields that it cannot comprehend. Even when it realizes through senses that the universe has a Creator, it still cannot figure out the complete truth about the Creator, the soul, and the other transcendental issues. Therefore, the mind should realize its limits, and not go beyond what it was created for.