Chapter 1   Chapter 12
Chapter 2  Chapter 13
Chapter 3  Chapter 14
Chapter 4  Chapter 15
Chapter 5  Chapter 16
Chapter 6  Chapter 17
Chapter 7  Chapter 18
Chapter 8  Chapter 19
Chapter 9  Chapter 20
Chapter 10  Chapter 21
Chapter 11  Chapter 22
Usool-ul-Kaafi: Book I - The Book of Reason and Ignorance

1. Hazrat Imam Mohammed Baquir A.S. has said, "When Allah created the faculty of Reasoning, He bestowed upon it the power of speech and ordered: "Come forward." It came forward. Then He ordered, "Retrace your steps." It retraced its steps back. Then He proclaimed, "By My power and Majesty, I have not created anything dearer to Me than you and I have not perfected anyone with you except those whom I love. Lo! verily to you My orders will be issued and to you My prohibitions will be announced and for you My chastisements will be inflicted and for you My rewards will be reserved."

2. Amirul Momineen Hazrat Ali A.S. has said, "Jibreel (the Archangel Gabriel) descended to meet Adam A.S. and said, `O Adam, I have been ordered to offer you the choice of one out of three things. THerefore choose one of them and leave the other two.' Adam then asked him, `And what are these three things, O Jibreel?' He replied,`Reason, Modesty, and Religion.' Adam replied, `I choose Reason.' Jibreel then asked Modesty and Religion to depart and leave Reason with Adam. But they both said, `O Jibreel, we hve been ordered to remain with Reason wherever it may be.' Jibreel said, `Lo, that is your status.' Jibreel then ascended to his heavenly abode."

3. Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq A.S. was requested to define `reason'. He replied, "Reason is that by which Allah is worshipped and Paradise is earned." The Imam was then asked, " What did Mu'awiyah have?" The Imam replied, "That was just craftiness which appears like reason while it is not reason."

4. Hazrat Imam Reza A.S. has said, "The best friend of every man is his reasoning faculty and his worst enemy is his ignorance."

6. Hazrat Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq A.S. has said, "One who has wisdom, is blessed with religion and one who is blessed with religion, will enter Paradise."

7. Hazrat Imam Mohammed Baqir A.S. has said, "Without doubt, Allah will subject his servant to reckoning in keeping with the degree of the faculty of reasoning bestowed upon them in their worldly life."

8. Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Dailami, through a reliable chain of narrators said, "I mentioned the devotion, religious acts and piety of a certain individual to Hazrat Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq A.S. The Imam asked, "What about his common sense?" I said, "I have no idea." The Imam said, "The rewards depends upon the degree of his common sense." Then the Imam A.S. exemplified this principle saying, "A descendent of Israeel used to worship Allah in an Island, verdant, full of greenery and blossoming trees and an abundant supply of pure and fresh water. One of the angels happened to pass that way and (being impressed by the sincerity of the devotion of the worshipper) prayed: "O my Lord! show me the reward destined for this servant of Thine." Allah, the Elevated One, showed him that (reward). The angel thought that the reward was less than what the worshipper deserved. Allah, the Elevated One, then inspired the angel to befriend him. The angel approached the worshipper in a human form. The worshipper asked, "Who are you?" He said, "I am also a devoted worshipper. I have been told about your worship and this place of yours in this area. Therefore I have come to you to worship Allah in your company." That day the angel remained with the worshipper. The following morning, the angel addressed the worshipper saying, "This place of yours is excellent and is most suitable for worship." The worshipper remarked, "There is, however, one drawback in this place." The angel asked, "And what is that?" He said, "Our Lord does not have any quadrupeds. If he had a donkey, I would have let him graze in this place because all this grass is just being wasted." The angel then asked him, "So your Lord does not possess a donkey?" He replied, "If he had a donkey, a verdant greenery would not have been wasted." Allah then revealed to the angel by means of inspiration, "I reward (My servants) on the basis of their common sense."

9. The Holy Prophet S.A. said, "Whenever you hear about the absorbing devotion of a man in worship, then pay attention to the degree of his reasonableness. He will be rewarded according to his reasoning capacity."

11. The Holy Prophet (SAW) said, "Allah has not distributed among His servants anything better than the reasoning faculty. The slumber of a man of reason is better than the wakefulness of an ignorant one and the journey of a wise man is better than the pilgrimage of an ignorant one. Allah has not raised any prophet or apostle unless He perfected his wisdom so that it became superior to that of all members of his community. The wisdom which is treasured in the mental repository of a prophet is far superior to the jurisprudence of the religious scholars (and those who strive for knowledge). No bondman (servant) of Allah can discharge his duties assigned to him by Allah unless he comprehends their significance. No worshippers, even collectively, can reach the height of excellence in their devotion to Allah as an intellectual can. And it is about the intellectuals with enlightened minds that Allah has said, `And none takes heed save those gifted with understanding.' (Holy Quran 3:08)"

12. Hazrat Imam Moosa al-Kazim (AS) advised Hisham saying, "O Hisham! Allah, the Glorious, the Elevated One has given good news to the people of reason and intellect in His Holy Book, saying, `So you convey the glad tidings to My servants that those who hearken unto the word and follow the best of it are the ones whom Allah has guided and they are the people with intellect.' (Quran 39:17-18)"

The Imam (AS) further said, "O Hisham, Allah, the Glorious and the Elevated One, perfected the proofs of His existence for men on the basis of their reasoning. He helped His messengers and apostles by bestowing on them the gift of eloquence and guided them to realize His Overlordship through His Portents and said in His Holy Book, `Your God is one God. There is no God but He, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Lo! in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day, and in the vessels that sail in the seas carrying that which profits people, and in the water that Allah sends down from the clouds and therewigth actrivates the earth after its deathliness and scatters therein all kinds of beasts, and in the circulation of the windws, and in the conditioning of the clouds between the heaven and the earth, are indeed signs for the people who understand. (Holy Quran 2:164-165)'

After dwelling on this sublime subject in detail, the Imam (AS) addressed Hisham saying, "O Hisham! Then He has advised the intellectuals and has invoked their attention towards the Hereafter and has said in His Holy Book, `And what is this worldly life but play and vain sport? Certainly the abode of the Hereafter is the best (and perpetual) for those who guard themselves against evil. Do you not then understand?' (Holy Quran 6:32)"

The Imam (AS), continuing his sermon, said, "O Hisham, then Allah has put the fear of His chastisement in the hearts of those who do not ponder. He says, `Then We utterly annihilated the others. And verily, you pass by them (their ruins) in the morning and by night. Do you not then understand?' (Holy Quran 37:137-138) And He also said, `We are about to inflict upon the people of this city a chastisement from heaven because of their disobedience. We have left a clear sign thereof for a people who would understand.' Holy Quran 29:34-35)" Then the Imam (AS) said somoething worth remembering. He said, "O Hisham! Wisdom is interlocked with knowledge. And Allah says, `These are similtudes that we set forth for people, but none comprehend them except those who possess knowledge.' (Holy Quran 29:43)"

The Imam(AS), continuing this extraordinary sermon, further said, "O Hisham! Then Allah has further censured those who do not put their reason to good use, saying, `And when it is said to them: `Follow that which Allah has sent down', they say: `Nay, but we shall only follow in the way of our fathers.'But what if their fathers had no sense and did not follow the right path? The similitude of those who disbelieve is like that of one who calls out to an animal which pays no heed only to the sound of the voice without comprehending its meaning. Deaf, dumb, and blind they are, and therefore, are not capable of understanding.'" (Holy Quran 2:170-171)

The Imam (AS) said, "O Hisham, then Allah has praised the minority with the words: `Few of My bondmen are thankful.' (Holy Quran 34:13) And has said, "And they are just a few." (Holy Quran 38:24) Then Allah has said, "Then said a man, a believer from among the people of Pharaoh, who concealed his faith, `Will you slay a man simply because he says, `Allah is My Lord.' (Holy Quran 40:28) Then He said, `And those who believed, but believed not with him but a few.' (Holy Quran 11:40) And He also said, `But most of them have no knowledge.' (Holy Quran 6:37) And He has also said, `But most of them lack wisdom.' (Holy Quran 5:103) And then Allah has also said, `But most of them are ungrateful.' (Holy Quran 10:60)

The Imam continued saying, "O Hisham, then Allah has mentioned the men of reason in good words and has praised whtm with fine comments and said, `He gives the wisdom to whosoever He wills and the one who is given wisdom, has been given much good and none retain in their memory except men of understanding.' (Holy Quran 2:269) And He has also said, `And those firmly rooted in knowledge say: `We have faith in it. It is all from our Loord', yet none remembers, but men of reason.' (Holy Quran 3:07) Allah has also said, `Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for men of intellect.' (Holy Quran 3:190) He also said, `Is he who knows what is sent down to you from your Lord is the truth, like him who is blind (to the sisn)? Only intellectuals remember (13:19). Allah has also said, `He who is prayerful during the hours of the night, prostrating in obedience and standing, he being sure of the world to come and hoping for the mercy of his Lord! Say `Are they equal?' Those who know and those who do not? Only those possessed with reason remember.' (Holy Quran 39:09) He also said, `O Mohammed, We have sent a book down to you, blessed, that men possessed of reason may ponder over the signs in it and remember.' (Holy Quran 38:29) Allah has also said, `We also gave Moosa the guidance and We bequeathed upon the children of Israel the book for a guidance and for a reminder to men of intellect.' (Holy Quran 40:53-54) Allah has also said, `And remind, the reminder without fail profits the believers.' (holy Quran 51:55)

The Imam (AS), continuing his sermon, said, "O Hisham, Allah in His Holy Book says, `Therein is verily a reminder for him who has a comprehending heart.' (Holy Quran 50:37) And Allah also said, `And indeed we endowed Luqman with wisdom.' (Holy Quran 31:12)

The Imam elaborated his sermon saying, `O Hisham! Luqman while advising his son, said, `Be submissive in the presence of Truth and you will be the wisest among men who treat themselves as of little account before the Absolute Truth. O my son, this world is like a deep ocean in which many a creation had drowned. Let, therefore, the fear of Allah be your boat in this ocean and let your firm conviction be the main plank of your boat. Let your complete reliance of Allah be its sail and let your wisdom be its motive force and let your knowledge be its direction-finder, and let your patience be its navigator.' O Hisham, for everything there is a pointer and the pointer towards wisdom is prudential reasoning and the pointer towards prudential reasoning is silent contemplation. Also for everything there is a climax and the climax of wisdom is humility, and to to what is prohibited by Allah is sufficient proof of your ignorance. O Hisham, Allah has sent His prophets and apostles for His servants to realize the existence of Allah on the basis of reasoning. Those who respond most favorably are the foremost in their God-consciousness, and the most aware of the Commandments of Allah are the most wise, and the most perfect in wisdom among them rank highest in this world and the Hereafter. O Hisham, Allah has provided His servants with two irrefutable proofs: the explicit and the implicit. The explicit ones are the messengers and the apostles and the implicit one is the reasoning and observation faculty. O Hisham, a man of reason does not neglect thanking Allah for his lawful gains and (in adversity) his patience does not yield to the temptation for prohibited means. O Hisham, one who lets three specific drawbacks supercede three of his specific commendable qualities, deteriorates his wisdom. One who darkens the enlightenment of his reason by high unwarranted ambitions and tarnishes his wisdom by unnecessary talks and extinguishes the light of his inhibitions by his pleasure-seeking desires, verily it is as if his desires have conspired in the impairment of his reason and one whose reason is impaired, his life and faith are both destroyed. O Hisham, how could your conduct be immaculate in the eyes of Allah when you have turned your heart from Allah and His Commandments and when you have followed your worldly desires that have dominated your reason."

Addressing Hisham, the Imam (AS) further said, "Patience in solitude is a sign of the power of reason. One who gains inspiration from Allah becomes independent of the people of the world and from those who are obsessed with worldly pleasures and turns his attention towards Allah. Allah becomes his solace in his moments of depression and an escort in his solitude and his affluence in his adversity and his prestige without any social backing."

The Imam (AS) also said, "Truth depends on the obedience to Allah and there is no salvation without obedience and obedience depends on knowledge and knowledge is gained by learning and learning is based on intellect and there is no knowledge except through divine religious scholars and the recognition of knowledge is through intelligence. O Hisham, a little virtuous act of a learned man is acceptable to Allah at its multiplied value and virtuous conduct of a greedy and ignorant person is totally rejected."

Again the Imam (AS) said, "O Hisham, wise people avoid worldly affluence (and abundance of worldly material)then how can they indulge in sins? Avoiding vain worldly pleasures is excellence while avoiding sins is obligatory."

The Imam (AS) further said, "O Hisham, the wise man looked at the world and its people and deduced that its pleasures could not be gained without hard struggle. Then he considered the Hereafter and concluded that its joys also shall not available withotu hard struggle, therefre he decided to strive for the everlasting (bliss of the Hereafter)...

The Imam (AS) continued his discourse saying, "Ameerul Momineen Hazrat Ali (AS) used to say, `Allah was never worshipped better than on the basis of deductive reasoning and the reasoning faculty of a man cannot achieve perfection without certain characteristics in him: immunity from disbelief and evil, expectation of guidance and virtue, charity of everything in excess of the bare necessities of life, abstinance from vain gossip, availing worldly goods just sufficient for subsistence, insatiable craving for knowledge, preference of humiliation before Allah over vain glory before fellow beings, preference of the love of meekness over pride, thinking ordinary favors of others as great and his own great favors to others as mere trifles, regarding all others better than himself and thinking his own self as much inferior to others, and thse are the last words on this subject.'"

Another priceless maxim of the Holy Imam (AS) runs as follows: "O Hisham, a wise man never tells a lie inspite of extreme temptation." The Imam (AS) also said, "O Hisham, he who has no courtesy, has no religion, and he who has no reason has no courtesy. The greatest man is he who never considers himself equal in value to the worldly life. Your bodies cannot be sold except in exchange for Paradise, therefore, do not sell for anything less than Paradise."

Again the Holy Imam (AS) said, "Ameerul Momineen (Leader of the Believers) Hazrat Ali (AS) used to say, `The sign of a wise man is that he has three characteristics: he replies whenever he is queried, speaks with confidence when all others are at a loss to say anything and imparts advice which is good for his people. And anyone who does not possess these three characteristics is stupid.' Hazrat Ali (AS) further said, `One who does not possess all these three qualities or at least one of them should not occupy the president's chair in a meeting and if one who does not have any of these qualifications sits in that chair, he is stupid.'"

The Imam (AS) quoted Imam Hasan ibn Ali (AS) as saying, "Whenever you want your needs to be fulfilled, ask them from those who are capable of the same." He was asked, "O son of the Prophet of Allah, who are the capable ones?" He replied, "Those whom Allah has mentioned in His Holy Book and has described them and said, `It is only those gifted with understanding who take heed' (Holy Quran 13:19) and they are the people who possess wisdom."

Then the Imam (AS) quoted Imam Ali ibnul Husain (AS) saying, "The company of the pious leads to reformation, and to draw inspiration from the ettiquette of the learned men enhances wisdom, and to obey those who rule with justice is the height of power and prestige, and investment of wealth in virtuous deeds is the climax of generosity and guiding the seekers of advice properly is discharging obligations concerning the bounties of Allah and total abstinence from inflicting pains on others is the apex of wisdom. In this lies happiness, sooner or later."

The Imam (AS) also said, "O Hisham, if a wise man fears of being falsified by someone he does not speak in his presence and if he fears rejection from someone he does not ask any favor from him and does not promise what he cannot fulfill and never aspires for anything which he fears will be reprimanded for and never takes an initiative in a task if he is afraid of failure due to his disability."

13. Hazrat Ali (AS) has said, "Wisdom is a covering curtain and accomplishment is a glory, therefore cover the flaws of your being with your accomplishments and eliminate your evil desires with your sound reasoning. This will earn popularity for you and will make the love of people for you manifest."

15. Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (AS) has said, "The Prophet of Allah never talked to people on the basis of his own supreme intellect and he used to say, `We the group of Prophets have been ordered to speak to the people at the level of their intelligence.'"

16. Hazrat Ali (AS) has said, "The hearts of rustics are driven recklessly by lusts and are mortgaged by their cravings and are entrapped by delusions."

22. Hazrat Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (AS) has said, "A prophet is the proof of the existence of Allah for His servants and the proof which exists between Allah and His servants is sound reasoning."

24. Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (AS) has said, "Wisdom is the beacon of light for the believer."

25. The Prophet of Allah (SAW) has said, "No poverty is more harmful than ignorance and no wealth is more profitable than the reasoning faculty."

27. Ishaq ibne Ammar reports that he asked Hazrat Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (AS), "How is it that I approach a person and speak to him just a little and he grasps the whole purport of my subject and there is another to whom I speak at length and he comprehends thoroughly, memorizes and repeats to me exactly as and what I had stated, and there is yet another to whom I speak and he says, `Please repeat to me what you have just said.'" The Imam (AS) said, "O Ishaq, do you not know why it is so?" He replied in the negative. The Imam said, "The one to whom you speak a little and he grasps your meaning fully is the one whose intellect is intermingled with his genes and the one to whom you speak and he fully comprehends and repeats your statement is the one whose intellect has been imbibed in him in the womb of his mother, and the one to whom you speak and he says, `Please repeat what you have just said' is the one whose reasoning faculty has developed after he has grown up."

28. The Prophet of Allah (SAW) has said, "If you find a man deeply engrossed in prayers and fasting, do not start extolling his piety until you mark the level of his intelligence."

29.Addressing Mufazzal bin Umar, Hazrat Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (AS) has said, "O Mufazzal, one who does not have intellect will not achieve success and one who has no knowledge will have no intellect. One who has understanding will attain grace and excellence and one who is tolerant will surely reach his goal. Knowledge is a shield (against evil), truthfulness is honor, ignorance is disgrace, understanding is glory, generosity is salvation, and good manners attract love and respect...."

30. Hazrat Ali (AS) has said, "If I find someone credited with one virtue from among many virtues, I will accept him in my fold and I will forgive his lack of other virtues but I shall never forgive the lack of wisdom and faith because want of faith (religion) is want of peace (and security). Without doubt, life in fear is unpleasant and lack of wisdom is equivalent to lack of life itself and a person devoid of wisdom cannot be conceived except as a dead body."

31. Hazrat Ali (AS) has said, "Self-conceit is a proof of unsound mind."

33. Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (AS) has said, "There is nothing between faith and infidelity except paucity of reasoning faculty." He was asked, "And how is that, O son of the Prophet." He said, "Man turns to others for the fulfillment of his desires. If he directs his attention towards Allah with due sincerity, He will give him what he wants sooner or otherwise."

34. Hazrat Ali (AS) has said, "Depths of wisdom are probed and discovered by means of wisdom, and excellence of supervision brings about social propriety." The Imam (AS) also said, "Sound reasoning is the life of the vigilant heart, like a man walking in the darkness, with the illumination of immaculate sincere guarding against dangers with minimum efforts."

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