By Sheikh Salah Al-Budair - 30 Rabiul Awwal 1435
His Eminence Sheikh Salah Al-Budair, may Allah preserve him, delivered the Friday khutbah entitled, “The Characteristics of the Wise and the Foolish”, in which he talked about the mind as the realm of thinking and reasoning, reminding the audience of the characteristics of the sensible people and warning them against the traits of the foolish and the ignorant.
Praise be to Allah, Who has honoured and bestowed upon whomever He wills the blessing of the mind. I thank Him for whatever favours He has bestowed and lavished on us. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, Who has no partners, a testimony that leads to the straightest path. I also bear witness that our prophet and master Muhammad is His servant and messenger, who was favoured with the gifts of magnificent wisdom and concise speech that carries the widest meanings, and with the treasures of knowledge, forbearance, and munificence. May Allah bestow His peace and blessings upon him, his family, and his Companions.
Fear Allah, for fear of Allah is the best of all gains and obedience to Him is the most honourable source of pride.
"O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam [as Muslims (with complete submission to Allah)]." (Al ‘Imran: 102)
The mind is the realm of thinking and reasoning. It is the basis of moral accountability and the sign of honour. In the Arabic language, the word for ‘mind’ and ‘reason’ is “‘aql”, meaning ‘holding’ or ‘fastening’, because it is the mind that prevents one from getting involved in perilous situations, restrains one from engaging in distasteful words and deeds, and precludes one from falling into inappropriate conduct. The best gift ever cherished by man is a mind that leads him to guidance or protects him from destruction.
A man’s character is judged by his reason; his true esteem lies in his faith and his true nobility lies in his good manners. It has been said that reason is the best that a man should seek and that foolishness is the deadliest enemy that a man can ever have. It has also been said that reason is the best natural endowment and that foolishness and ignorance are the worst afflictions.
The sign of reason is quick understanding. Its energy is knowledge; its fuel is long experience; its sound foundation is the laws of the Revelation; and its light is religion. Indeed, reason and the Revelation are indispensible to each other, for reason can only be guided with the laws of the Revelation, while the goals of such laws can only be grasped and understood by reason. As the poet said,
Reason cannot dispense with the guidance
Of the Revelation, both in principles and in specific matters.
If you cannot see the light of the Prophet’s guidance,
Reason will never lead you anywhere.
The light of Prophethood is like the sun to the seeing eye,
So let it be your guidance.
Blocked are the paths to guidance,
Except to those who follow the Revelation.
If you willingly swerve from the right path,
Know then that you do not intend to reach your destination.
O you who seek guidance with reason alone, doing without the Revelation!
You will by no means find any guidance with that alone.
Many before you sought it,
But lived in confusion and ignorance all their life.
Uncertainties and doubts kept assailing their hearts,
Until they lay dead in their midst.
Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah, may Allah have mercy on his soul, said, “A sensible person is not one who knows good and evil; rather, he is one who knows good and follows it and knows evil and avoids it.” A man who reached 120 years of age was once asked, “What is reason?” He replied, “It is when your forbearance overcomes your ignorance and desires.” A Bedouin was also asked, “What is the greatest virtue of reason?” He replied, “Abstaining from sins.” Abu Hatim said, “The judicious people with the best ranks [in the sight of Allah] are those who most often bring themselves to account.”
Those who enjoy a mature mind, impeccable understanding, and acute discernment will certainly obey their Lord and turn to Him in repentance. The more sense they have, the more they will obey and worship their Lord. Allah, Majesty be to Him in His Loftiness, says:
"... And none receive admonition except men of understanding." (Al ‘Imran: 7)
Allah, Great be His praise, informs us here that admonitions and reminders will benefit only those who possess reason and who are endowed with understanding and wisdom. The disbelievers and polytheists have the lowest degree of reason, perception, and insight because they have rejected what gives them true life and looked down upon what brings them salvation. The group of disbelievers and polytheists to be thrown in Hellfire will sorrowfully and regretfully talk to the keepers of Hell:
"And they will say: “Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we would not have been among the dwellers of the blazing Fire!” Then they will confess their sin. So, away with the dwellers of the blazing Fire!" (Al-Mulk: 10-11)
Explaining the meaning of this verse, Abdullah ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said, “This means, ‘Had we but listened to the guidance or used our reason by pondering on it’; that is, ‘had we listened thoughtfully and sensibly or used our reason discerningly and wisely, we would not be among the dwellers of the blazing Fire.’” This shows that the disbelievers are devoid of all reason.
It was said to a man who once described a Christian as being sensible, “Stop it! A truly sensible person is someone who testifies to the Oneness of Allah and obeys Him.” Allah, Exalted be He, says:
"Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind." (Al-Hajj: 46)
Commenting on this verse, Ibn Kathir, may Allah have mercy on his soul, said, “Blindness is not lack of eyesight, but rather it is lack of insight; for even if the faculty of sight is sound, it cannot go beyond the surface and draw lessons and morals, nor can it realize the truth of things.”
Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on his soul, said, “All people have immature minds with the exception of those who rise to the level of the sensible and wise and realise the truth in terms of understanding, action, and knowledge.”
A truly wise and sensible man is one who worships Allah alone without associating partners with him; who keeps away from whims and desires; who avoids to sink to the level of the immoral, the foolish, and the reckless and safeguards himself against the stigma of ignorance, sinfulness, and disobedience to Allah; and who seeks to draw nearer to his Lord, asks for His forgiveness, and turns to Him in repentance.
"... those are (the ones) whom Allah has guided and those are men of understanding." (Az-Zumar: 18)
O Allah! Inspire us with the right guidance. O Allah! Inspire us with the right guidance, and protect us from the evil within ourselves and from the evil of Satan, the outcast, O Most Generous! O Most Great! O Most Merciful!