Between Revelations/Proposition And Intellect
Islam is very concerned with human reason. In many verses Allah often ends His verse with a sentence, do you not know, do you not think, do you not contemplate, do you not take lessons and so on. So Islam invites us to always think and use our intellect to carry out Islamic law. But sometimes there is a Shari’a which seems unreasonable if this is the case then which one takes precedence?
There is a story in the Qur’an when Allah finished creating Adam, then Allah ordered the angels to prostrate to Adam, but the devil refused and was arrogant. When asked why the devil did not want to bow down, he replied because he felt better than Adam. He thinks he was better than Adam because he was created by God from fire while Adam was created by God from the land. Even though there was no explanation that fire is better than land. But the devil uses his intellect to fight God’s commands.
The next story is about Isra ‘and mi’raj prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam. A very famous story of how in one night the Prophet Muhammad traveled from the Holy Mosque in Mecca to the Aqsa Mosque in Palestine, then proceeded up to the seventh heaven to receive the revelation of prayer from Allah, then went down again and returned to Mecca. The incident lasted only one night. We will definitely say the incident was an impossible thing, it makes no sense. Abu Jahal, a high ranking official of the Quraish, when he heard this story laughed at the Prophet Muhammad because according to him the incident was impossible. Abu Jahal then told the Prophet Muhammad to tell the incident to the Quraysh community. Most of them said the incident did not make sense, even some Muslims said so. But when the incident was told to Abu Bakr, he then said, even if there was a more impossible event experienced by the Prophet Muhammad he would believe it. Such was the faith of Abu Bakr. He prioritizes Allah and the Prophet Muhammad rather than his intellect. So where is our position? Follow Abu Jahal or Abu Bakr?
Even in Islamic Sharia, there are some things that don’t make sense. For example, when we pray then fart, then our prayer is canceled. All we have to do is perform ablution. If we follow reason, of course, what should be washed is the part that emits wind, in fact, all members of ablutions that are washed. Another example, a woman who experiences menstruation when fasting for Ramadan, she has the obligation to change her fast at a later time. But it was not ordered to replace the prayer, even though the position of prayer was more important than fasting. But that is the Shari’a, the basis is revelation/proposition, not intellect. So as a Muslim when we are ruled by Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, what we do is we listen and we obey. There is no need to think about what are the benefits behind the order. Likewise, when we are prohibited from doing something, we stay away without our need to find out the danger from the prohibition.