Table of Contents

The Intellect

The Intellect1 العَقلُ

The Intellect

قِيمَةُ العَقلِ

1ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): قِوامُ المَرءِ عَقلُهُ ، ولا دِينَ لِمَن لا عَقلَ لَهُ.

1– The Prophet (S) said, ‘The very basis of man is his intellect, and the man devoid of intellect has no religion.’ [Rawdhat al-Wa’aizin, p. 9]

2ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ما استَودَعَ اللّه‏ُ امرَأً عَقلاً إلّا استَنقَذَهُ بِهِ يَوماً ما.

2– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Allah has only assigned man with an intellect so that it may one day deliver him.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 407]

3ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ أقوى أساسٍ .

3– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect is the strongest foundation.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 475]

4ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ مُنَزِّهٌ عَنِ المُنكَرِ آمِرٌ بِالمَعروفِ.

4– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect is immune from wrong and commands good-doing.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 1250]

5ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ مُصلِحُ كُلِّ أمرٍ .

5– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect sets right all matters.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 404]

6ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ رُقِيٌّ إلى عِلِّيِّينَ .

6– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect is a ladder upwards towards the ‘AeIlliyyin [the loftiest heavens].’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 1325]

7ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ رَسولُ الحَقِّ.

7– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect is the messenger of the truth.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 272]

8ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنَّ أغنَى الغِنَى العَقلُ.

8– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Verily the most sufficient of riches is the intellect.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 38]

9ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ خَليلُ المَرءِ.

9– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect is the friend of the believer.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 203]

10ـ الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): لا مُصيبَةَ كَعَدَمِ العَقلِ.

10– Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, ‘There is no affliction worse than a lack of intellect.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 286]

11ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنَّ اللّه‏َ جلَّ ثَناؤهُ خَلَقَ العَقلَ، وهُوَ أوَّلُ خَلقٍ خَلَقَهُ مِنَ الرُّوحانيّينَ عَن يَمينِ العَرشِ مِن نورِهِ.

11– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Verily Allah, exalted be His praise, created the intellect, and it is the very first thing He created amongst all the spiritual beings from the right hand side of His Throne out of His Light.’[al-Khisal, p. 589, no. 13]

12ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): خَلَقَ اللّه‏ُ تَعالى العَقلَ مِن أربَعَةِ أشياءَ: مِنَ العِلمِ ، والقُدرَةِ ، والنّورِ ، والمَشيئَةِ بِالأمرِ ، فجَعَلَهُ قائماً بِالعِلمِ ، دائماً في المَلَكوتِ .

12– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Allah created the intellect out of four things from knowledge, power, light and volition. Then He caused it to subsist through knowledge and be eternal in the divine Dominion.’[al-Ikhtisas, p. 244]

13ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): لا غِنى أخصَبُ مِنَ العَقلِ ، ولا فَقرَ أحَطُّ مِنَ الحُمقِ .

13– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘There is no wealth more productive than the intellect and no poverty lower than stupidity.’[al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 29, no. 34]

14ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): لا مالَ أعوَدُ مِنَ العَقلِ .

14– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘There is no wealth more profiting than the intellect.’[al-Ikhtisas, no. 244]

15ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ دَليلُ المُؤمِنِ .

15– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect is the authoritative proof of the believer.’[al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 25, no. 24]

16ـ الإمامُ الكاظمُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ في وَصِيَّتِهِ لِهِشامِ ابنِ الحَكَمِ ـ: يا هِشامُ ، ما قُسِّمَ بَينَ العِبادِ أفضَلُ مِنَ العَقلِ ؛ نَومُ العاقِلِ أفضَلُ مِن سَهَرِ الجاهِلِ ، وما بَعَثَ اللّه‏ُ نَبِيّاً إلّا عاقِلاً حَتّى يَكونَ عَقلُهُ أفضَلَ مِن جَميعِ جَهدِ المُجتَهِدينَ ، وما أدَّى العَبدُ فَريضَةً مِن فَرائضِ اللّه‏ِ حَتّى عَقَلَ عَنهُ .

16– Imam al-Kazim (a.s.), in his advice to Hisham b. al-?akam, said, ‘O Hisham, nothing has been bestowed upon the servants better than the intellect. The sleep of a man of intellect is better than the night vigil of an ignorant man. Every single prophet that Allah has sent down has been a man of intellect, whose intellect supercedes the labour of all diligent workers. The servant is not considered as having fulfilled an obligatory act from among the acts made incumbent by Allah until he understands it.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 397]

17ـ الإمامُ الرِّضا (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): صَديقُ كُلِّ امرِئٍ عَقلُهُ وعَدُوُّهُ جَهلُهُ .

17– Imam Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, ‘The friend of every man is his intellect and his enemy is his ignorance.’[al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 11, no. 4]

The Role of the Intellect in Chastisement and Reward

دَورُ العَقلِ فِي العِقابِ وَالثَّوابِ

18ـ مجمع البيان: أثنى قومٌ على رجُلٍ عندَ رَسولِ اللّه‏ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ) فقالَ رسولُ اللّه‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): كَيفَ عَقلُ الرَّجُلِ ؟ قالوا: يا رَسولَ‏اللّه‏ِ، نُخبِرُكَ عَنِ اجتِهادِهِ في العِبادَةِ وأصنافِ الخَيرِ ، وتَسألُنا عَن عَقلِهِ ؟ ! فقالَ: إنَّ الأحمَقَ يُصيبُ بِحُمقِهِ أعظَمَ مِن فُجورِ الفاجِرِ، وإنَّما يَرتَفِعُ العِبادُ غَداً في الدَّرَجاتِ ويَنالونَ الزُّلفى مِن رَبِّهِم عَلى قَدرِ عُقولِهِم.

18– The Prophet (S) asked a group of people who were praising a man, ‘How is the man’s intellect’ to which they replied, ‘O Prophet of Allah, we are telling you about his endeavours at worship and other good acts, and you are asking us about his intellect!’ So he replied, ‘Verily the stupid person suffers as a result of his stupidity worse than the licentiousness of an immoral person. The servants will rise up in rank in the Hereafter and will receive great rewards from their Lord in proportion to their intellects.’[Majma’a al-Bayan, v. 1, p. 487]

19ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): إنَّما يُدرَكُ الخَيرُ كُلُّهُ بِالعَقلِ ، ولا دِينَ لِمَن لا عَقلَ لَهُ.

19– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Verily all good is grasped through the intellect, and the man devoid of intellect has no religion.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 54]

20ـ الإمامُ الحسنُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): بِالعَقلِ تُدرَكُ الدّارانِ جَميعاً، ومَن حُرِمَ مِنَ العَقلِ حُرِمَهُما جَميعاً.

20– Imam al-Hasan (a.s.) said, ‘Both the abodes [of the world and the Hereafter] are grasped by the intellect, and whoever is deprived of the intellect is deprived of them both.’[Kashf al-Ghamma, v. 3, p. 197]

21ـ الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): لَمّا خَلَقَ اللّه‏ُ العَقلَ قالَ لَهُ: أقبِلْ فَأقبَلَ ، ثُمَّ قالَ لَهُ: أدبِرْ فَأدبَرَ ، فقالَ: وعِزَّتي وجَلالي ما خَلَقتُ خَلقا أحسَنَ مِنكَ، إيّاكَ آمُرُ وإيّاكَ أنهى ، وإيّاكَ اُثيبُ وإيّاكَ اُعاقِبُ .

21– Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, ‘When Allah created the intellect He said to it, ‘Come forward’ so it came forward, then commanded it, ‘Go back’ and it went back. Then He said to it, ‘By my Honour and Exaltedness, I have not created anything better than you. It is you that I command, and you that I prohibit from things, and you that I punish and you that I reward.’[al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 26, no. 26]

22ـ الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ مِمّا اُوحِيَ إلى موسى (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ: أنا اُؤاخِذُ عِبادي عَلى قَدرِ ما أعطَيتُهُم مِنَ العَقلِ .

22– Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) narrated, ‘Among what was revealed to Moses (a.s.) was, ‘I take My servants to account according to the level of intellect that I have given them.’[al-Mahasin, v. 1, p. 308, no. 608]

23ـ الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): وَجَدتُ في الكِتابِ [يَعني كِتاباً لِعَلِيٍّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ] أنَّ قيمَةَ كُلِّ امرِئٍ وقَدرَهُ مَعرِفَتُهُ ، إنَّ اللّه‏َ تَبارَكَ وتَعالى يُحاسِبُ النّاسَ عَلى قَدرِ ما آتاهُم مِنَ العُقولِ في دارِ الدّنيا .

23– Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, ‘I found written in the Book [i.e. the Book ascribed to Imam Ali (a.s.)] that the worth and value of every man is his knowledge. Verily Allah, Blessed and most High, will take people to account according to the intellects that He has given them in this world’s life.’[Ma’ani al-Akhbar, p. 1, no. 2]

24ـ الإمامُ الكاظمُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن أرادَ الغِنى بِلا مالٍ ، وراحَةَ القَلبِ مِنَ الحَسَدِ ، والسَّلامَةَ في الدِّينِ ، فَلْيَتَضَرَّعْ إلَى اللّه‏ِ عَزَّوجلَّ في مَسألَتِهِ بِأن يُكمِلَ عَقلَهُ .

24– Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) said, ‘He who wants wealth without the need for riches, and comfort of the heart free from jealousy, and security in his faith should implore Allah, Mighty and Exalted, in his plea for Him to perfect his intellect.’[al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 18, no. 12]

The Authoritativeness of the Intellect

حُجِّيَّةُ العَقلِ

25ـ الإمامُ الكاظمُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنَّ للّه‏ِِ عَلَى النّاسِ حُجَّتَينِ: حُجَّةً ظاهِرَةً ، وحُجَّةً باطِنَةً ، فأمّا الظّاهِرَةُ فَالرُّسُلُ والأنبِياءُ والأئمَّةُ ^ ، وأمّا الباطِنَةُ فَالعُقولُ.

25– Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) said, ‘Verily Allah has two authoritative proofs over people a manifest proof and an inward proof. The manifest proof is represented by the prophets and messengers and Imams (a.s.), and the inward proof is represented by the intellects.’ [al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 16, no. 12]

26ـ الإمامُ الكاظمُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ في وَصِيَّتِهِ لِهِشامِ بنِ الحَكَمِ ـ: ما بَعَثَ اللّه‏ُ أنبِياءَهُ ورُسُلَهُ إلى عِبادِهِ إلّا لِيَعقِلوا عَنِ اللّه‏ِ ، فأحسَنُهُمُ استِجابَةً أحسَنُهُم مَعرِفَةً ، وأعلَمُهُم بِأمرِ اللّه‏ِ أحسَنُهُم عَقلاً ، وأكمَلُهُم عَقلاً أرفَعُهُم دَرَجَةً في الدّنيا والآخِرَةِ.

26– Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) in his advice to Hisham b. al-Hakam, said, ‘Allah has only sent His prophets and messengers to His servants in order that they may come to an understanding of Allah, so the ones who best heed their call are those who have the best inner knowledge, and the ones who know Allah’s command the best are those that have the best intellects, and those that have the most perfect intellects will be the ones with the highest status in this world and in the Hereafter.’[al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 16, no. 12]

The Explanation of Intellect

تَفسيرُ العَقلِ

27ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): إنَّ العَقلَ عِقالٌ مِنَ‏الجَهلِ، والنَّفسَ مِثلُ أخبَثِ الدَّوابِّ ، فإن لَم تُعقَلْ حارَت.

27– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Verily the intellect is a lasso used to restrain ignorance, and the carnal soul is like the vilest of beasts which if left unrestrained will go wild.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 15]

28ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): العَقلُ نورٌ خَلَقَهُ اللّه‏ُ لِلإنسانِ ، وجَعَلَهُ يُضيءُ عَلَى القَلبِ ؛ لِيَعرِفَ بِهِ الفَرقَ بَينَ المُشاهَداتِ مِنَ المُغَيَّباتِ.

28– The Prophet (S) said, ‘The intellect is a light that Allah has created for mankind and which He has ordained to illuminate the heart, in order that with it, he may know the difference between the visually manifest things and the unseen things.’[‘Aawali al-La’ ali, v. 1, p. 248, no. 4]

29ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ أن تَقولَ ما تَعـرِفُ ، وتَعمَلَ بِما تَنطِقُ بِهِ .

29– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘[To be a man of] intellect is that you say only that which you know and act upon what you say.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 2141]

30ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ حِفظُ التَّجارِبِ ، وخَيرُ ما جَرَّبتَ ما وَعَظَكَ .

30– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘[To be a man of] intellect is to preserve your experiences, and the best of all that you have experienced is that which has taught you a lesson.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 31]

31ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ عَقلانِ: عَقلُ الطَّبعِ وعَقلُ التَّجرِبَةِ ، وكِلاهُما يُؤَدّي المَنفَعَةَ .

31– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘There are two divisions of intellect the natural intellect and the intellect of experience, and both of them produce benefit.’[Masalib al-Sa’ ul, p. 49]

32ـ الإمامُ الحسنُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لَمّا سُئلَ عَنِ العَقلِ ـ: التَّجَرُّعُ لِلغُصَّةِ حَتّى تَنالَ الفُرصَةَ .

32– Imam al-Hasan (a.s.) when asked about the intellect, said, ‘To suppress one’s annoyance until the opportunity arises.’[Ma’ani al-Akhbar, p. 240, no. 1]

33ـ الإمامُ الحسنُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لَمّا سَألَهُ أبوهُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) عَنِ العَقلِ ـ: حِفظُ قَلبِكَ ما استَودَعتَهُ .

33– Imam al-Hasan (a.s.), when his father asked him regarding the intellect, said, ‘It is for the heart to safeguard what you have deposited therein.’[Ma’ani al-Akhbar, p. 401, no. 62]

The Attributes of a Man of Intellect

صِفاتُ العاقِلِ

34ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): صِفَةُ العاقِلِ أن يَحلُمَ عَمَّن جَهِلَ عَلَيهِ ، ويَتَجاوَزَ عَمَّن ظَلَمَهُ ، ويَتَواضَعَ لِمَن هُوَ دونَهُ ، ويُسابِقَ مَن فَوقَهُ في طَلَبِ البِرِّ ، وإذا أرادَ أن يَتَكَلَّمَ تَدَبَّرَ ؛ فإنْ كانَ خَيراً تَكَلَّمَ فغَنِمَ ، وإن كانَ شَرّاً سَكَتَ فسَلِمَ ، وإذا عَرَضَت لَهُ فِتنَةٌ استَعصَمَ بِاللّه‏ِ وأمسَكَ يَدَهُ ولِسانَهُ ، وإذا رَأى فَضيلَةً انتَهَزَ بِها ، لا يُفارِقُه الحَياءُ ، ولا يَبدو مِنهُ الحِرصُ ، فتِلكَ عَشرُ خِصالٍ يُعرَفُ بِها العاقِلُ.

34– The Prophet (S) said, ‘The attribute of a man of intellect is that he is clement towards one who behaves rashly with him, overlooks the fault of one who wrongs him, is humble even towards one who is lower than him in rank, tries to get ahead of those above him in his quest for good. Whenever he wishes to speak, he contemplates if what he wants to say is good, he says it and benefits as a result, and if it is bad, then he keeps quiet and remains safe as a result. When a temptation arises before him, he holds fast to Allah and guards his hand and his tongue if he sees virtue in it, he seizes it, neither losing his modesty thereat nor displaying any greed. These are ten qualities by which a man of intellect may be known.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 28]

35ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): أعقَلُ النّاسِ أشَدُّهُم مُداراةً لِلنّاسِ.

35– The Prophet (S) said, ‘The most intelligent of people is he who is best at dealing with people.’[Amali al-Saduq, p. 28, no. 4]

36ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): صَدرُ العاقِلِ صُندوقُ سِرِّهِ.

36– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The chest of a man of intellect is the strongbox of his secret.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 6]

37ـ نهج البلاغة: قيل له [الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ]: صِف لنا العاقل ، فقال: هُوَ الّذي يَضَعُ الشَّيءَ مَواضِعَهُ . فقيلَ: فَصِفْ لَنا الجاهِلَ ، فقالَ: قَد فَعَلتُ.

37– Imam Ali (a.s.) was asked to describe a man of intellect, to which he replied, ‘He is the one who puts things in their place.’ The he was asked, ‘So describe to us the ignorant man’, to which he replied, ‘I have already done so.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 245]

38ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): لا يُلسَعُ العاقِلُ مِن جُحرٍ مَرَّتَينِ .

38– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘The man of intellect is never stung twice from the same hive.’[al-Ikhtisas, p. 245]

39ـ الكافي عن بَعضِ أصحابِنا رَفَعَهُ إلَى الإمامِ الصّادقِ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): قلتُ لهُ: مَا العقلُ؟ قالَ: ما عُبِدَ بِهِ الرَّحمنُ وَاكتُسِبَ بِهِ الجِنانُ . قالَ: قُلتُ: فَالّذي كانَ في مُعاوِيَةَ ؟ فقالَ: تِلكَ النَّكراءُ ، تِلكَ الشَّيطَنَةُ ، وهِيَ شَبيهَةٌ بِالعَقلِ ولَيسَت بِالعَقلِ .

39– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked what the intellect was, to which he replied, ‘It is that with which The Beneficent God is worshipped and with which Paradise is attained.’ So the man asked, ‘So what about that which even Muawiya possessed’ He replied, ‘That is a vicious thing, that is devilry, and resembles intellect, though it is not intellect.’[al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 11, no. 3]

40ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): عَلَى العاقِلِ أن يَكونَ عارِفا بِزَمانِهِ ، مُقبِلاً عَلى شَأنِهِ ، حافِظا لِلِسانِهِ.

40– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘The man of intellect must be well aware of the times he lives in, attentive of his affairs and guarding of his tongue.’[al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 116, no. 20]

41ـ الإمامُ الكاظمُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنَّ العاقِلَ لا يُحَدِّثُ مَن يَخافُ تَكذيبَهُ ، ولا يَسألُ مَن يَخافُ مَنعَهُ ، ولا يَعِدُ ما لا يَقدِرُ عَلَيهِ ، ولا يَرجو ما يُعَنَّفُ بِرَجائهِ ، ولا يَتَقَدَّمُ عَلى ما يَخافُ العَجزَ عَنهُ .

41– Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) said, ‘Verily the man of intellect never talks to one whom he fears will belie him, nor asks of one whom he fears will deny him, nor promises that which he is not able to fulfil, nor hopes for that which will dash his hopes, nor attempts to advance towards that which he fears he will be incapable of reaching.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 390]

42ـ الإمامُ الكاظمُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنَّ العاقِلَ رَضِـيَ بِالدُّونِ مِنَ الدّنيا مَعَ الحِكمَةِ ، ولَم يَرضَ بِالدُّونِ مِنَ الحِكمَةِ مَعَ الدّنيا ؛ فَلِذلكَ رَبِحَت تِجارَتُهُم.

42– Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) said, ‘Verily the man of intellect contents himself with less worldly things when accompanied with wisdom, and does not content himself with less wisdom and more worldly things, and this is why their trade [of the transient for the permanent] profits them.’[al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 17, no. 12]

That Which Increases the Intellect

ما يَزيدُ العَقلَ

43ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ غَريزَةٌ تَزيدُ بِالعِلمِ والتَّجارِبِ.

43– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect is an intrinsic thing that increases with knowledge and experiences.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 1717]

44ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): بِتَركِ ما لا يَعنيكَ يَتِمُّ لَكَ العَقلُ.

44– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘By abandoning that which does not concern you, your intellect will be completed.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 4291]

45ـ الإمامُ الحسينُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لَمّا تَذاكَروا العَقلَ عِندَ مُعاوِيَةَ ـ: لا يَكمُلُ العَقلُ إلّا بِاتِّباعِ الحَقِّ ، فقالَ مُعاوِيَةُ: ما في صُدورِكُم إلّا شَيءٌ واحِدٌ.

45– Imam al-Husayn (a.s.), when he reminded Muawiya of [the use of] his intellect, said, ‘The intellect is only perfected through following the truth’, to which Muawiya replied, ‘There is only one thing in your chests [i.e. you attribute everything to the truth].’[A’alam al-Din, p. 298]

46ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): كَثرَةُ النَّظَرِ في العِلمِ يَفتَحُ العَقلَ .

46– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Frequent study of matters of knowledge opens the intellect.’[al-Da’aawat, p. 221, no. 603]

47ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): كَثرَةُ النَّظَرِ في الحِكمَةِ تَلقَحُ العَقلَ .

47– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Frequent study of matters of wisdom fertilizes the intellect.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 364]

48ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): كَمالُ العَقلِ في ثَلاثَةٍ: التَّواضُعِ للّه‏ِِ، وحُسنِ اليَقينِ، والصَّمتِ إلّا مِن خَيرٍ.

48– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘The perfection of the intellect lies in three things humility before Allah, strong conviction, and silence except when speaking good.’[al-Ikhtisas, p. 244]

What is regarded as Intellect

ما يُعتَبَرُ بِهِ العَقلُ

49ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): ألا وإنَّ مِن عَلاماتِ العَقلِ التَّجافي عَن دارِ الغُرورِ ، والإنابَةُ إلى دارِ الخُلودِ ، والتَّزَوُّدُ لِسُكنَى القُبورِ ، والتَّأهُّبُ لِيَومِ النُّشورِ .

49– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Indeed among the signs of intellect are withdrawal from the Abode of Delusion [i.e. this worldly life] and frequenting instead the Abode of Eternity, making provisions for the sojourn in the graves and preparation for the Day of Resurrection.’[A’alam al-Din, p. 333]

50ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): يُستَدَلُّ عَلى عَقلِ كُلِّ امرِئٍ بِما يَجري عَلى لِسانِهِ .

50– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect of every man can be determined by the words that flow on his tongue.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 10957]

51ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): رَسولُكَ تَرجُمانُ عَقلِكَ ، وكِتابُكَ أبلَغُ ما يَنطِقُ عَنكَ.

51– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Your messenger is the interpreter of your intellect, and your letter is more eloquent at expressing your true self.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 301]

52ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): سِتَّةٌ تُختَبَرُ بِها عُقولُ النَّاسِ: الحِلمُ عِندَ الغَضَبِ ، والصَّبرُ عِندَ الرَّهَبِ ، والقَصدُ عِندَ الرَّغَبِ ، وتَقوى اللّه‏ِ في كُلِّ حالٍ ، وحُسنُ المُداراةِ ، وقِلَّةُ المُماراةِ.

52– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘There are six things by which people’s intellects may be tested clemency at the time of anger, patience at the time of fear, calculation when faced with a desire, Godwariness at all times, amicableness, and minimal engagement in disputation.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5608]

53ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): سِتَّـةٌ تُختَبَرُ بِها عُقولُ الرِّجالِ: المُصاحَبَةُ ، والمُعامَلَةُ ، والوِلايَةُ ، والعَزلُ ، والغِنى ، والفَقرُ.

53– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘There are six things by which men’s intellects may be tested the company they keep, their dealings, where their allegiance lies, their disassociation from people, their wealth and their poverty.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5600]

54ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): عِندَ بَديهَةِ‏المَقالِ تُختَبَرُ عُقولُ الرِّجالِ.

54– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘People’s intellects can be tested when they speak impulsively.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 6221]

55ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): رَأيُ الرَّجُلِ ميزانُ عَقلِهِ .

55– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘A man’s opinion is the measure of his intellect.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5422]

56ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): كَثرَةُ الصَّوابِ تُنبِئُ عَن وُفورِ العَقلِ.

56– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The abundance of reason is an indication of flourishing intellect.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 7091]

57ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إذا تَمَّ العَقلُ نَقَصَ الكَلامُ .

57– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘When intellect is complete speech decreases.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 71]

58ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن كَمُلَ عَقلُهُ استَهانَ بِالشَّـهَواتِ .

58– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘He whose intellect is perfected regards carnal desires with disdain.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 8226]

That Which Weakens the Intellect

ما يُضعِفُ العَقلَ

59ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ذَهابُ العَقلِ بَينَ الهَوى والشَّهوَةِ .

59– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect disappears between the whims and the carnal desires.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5180]

60ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ضَياعُ العُقولِ في طَلَبِ الفُضولِ .

60– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The loss of the intellect occurs in the quest for all that is superfluous.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5901]

61ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إعجابُ المَرءِ بِنَفسِهِ دَليلٌ عَلى ضَعفِ عَقلِهِ.

61– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Man’s admiration and satisfaction with himself is a proof of his weak intellect.’[Kanz al-Fawa’ id li al-Karajiki, v. 1, p. 200]

62ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن صَحِبَ جاهِلاً نَقَصَ مِن عَقلِهِ.

62– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Whoever keeps the company of an ignorant man incurs a loss in his intellect.’[Kanz al-Fawa’ id li al-Karajiki, v. 1, p. 199]

63ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ما مَزَحَ امرُؤٌ مَزحَةً إلّا مَجَّ مِنَ عَقلِه مَجَّةً.

63– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Whenever a man cracks a joke, a part of his intellect trickles away.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 450]

64ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن تَرَكَ الاستِماعَ مِن ذَوي العُقولِ ماتَ عَقلُهُ.

64– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘He who abandons listening to intellectual people, his own intellect dies.’[Kanz al-Fawa’ id li al-Karajiki, v. 1, p. 199]

65ـ الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ما دَخَلَ قَلبَ امرِئٍ شَيءٌ مِنَ الكِبرِ إلّا نَقَصَ مِن عَقلِهِ .

65– Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, ‘No sooner does an iota of pride enter a man’s heart than he incurs a loss in his intellect.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 768, p. 186, no. 16]

Evidence of Weak Intellect

ما يَدُلُّ عَلى ضَعفِ العَقلِ

66ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إذا قَلَّتِ العُقولُ كَثُرَ الفُضـولُ .

66– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘When intellect is little, superfluity thrives.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 4043]

67ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن قَلَّ عَقلُهُ ساءَ خِطابُهُ .

67– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘He whose intellect is weak has bad oratory.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 7985]

68ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مِن عَدَمِ العَقلِ مُصاحَبَةُ ذَوي الجَهلِ .

68– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Evidence of lack of intellect is keeping company with ignorant people.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 9299]

69ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): كَثرَةُ الأماني مِن فَسادِ العَقلِ .

69– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Overly high aspirations are a result of a corrupt intellect.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 7093]

The Fruit of the Intellect

ثَمَرَةُ العَقلِ

70ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ثَمَرَةُ العَقلِ الاستِقامَةُ .

70– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The fruit of the intellect is steadfastness.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 4589]

71ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ثَمَرَةُ العَقلِ لُزومُ الحَقِّ.

71– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The fruit of the intellect is adherence to the truth.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 4602]

72ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ثَمَرَةُ العَقلِ مَقتُ الدّنيا ، وقَمعُ الهَوى.

72– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The fruit of the intellect is contempt for this worldly life and repression of one’s whims.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 4654]

73ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَقلُ شَجَرَةٌ ، ثَمَرُها السَّخاءُ والحَياءُ.

73– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The intellect is a tree the fruit of which is generosity and modesty.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 1254]

The Intellect’s Adversary

عَدُوُّ العَقلِ

74ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الهَوى عَدُوُّ العَقلِ.

74– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The caprice is the intellect’s adversary.’[Masalib al-Sa’ ul, p. 56]

75ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): كَم مِن عَقلٍ أسيرٍ تَحتَ هَوى أميرٍ!

75– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Many a slavish mind is subservient to an overpowering caprice!’[Nahjul Balaghah, no. 211]

76ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): فَرَضَ اللّه‏ُ... تَركَ شُربِ الخَمرِ تَحصيناً لِلعَقلِ .

76– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Allah has imposed … the abandonment of drinking alcohol in order to safeguard the intellect.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 252]

77ـ الإمامُ عليٌ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): اِعلَموا أنَّ الأمَلَ يُسهي العَقلَ ، ويُنسي الذِّكرَ .

77– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Know that entertaining high hopes distracts the intellect and causes one to forget their remembrance [of Allah].’[Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 86]

78ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الهَوى يَقظانٌ والعَقلُ نائمٌ.

78– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘The caprice is awake while the intellect is asleep.’[al-Durra al-Bahira, p. 31]

  • 1. In this chapter the Arabic word ‘aql has been translated as ‘intellect’ to denote one’s mental ability to think, reason and understand (ed.)