The ‘aql’ is not reason – it’s consciousness

One of the greatest tragedies befalling the MiMbar today is an egregious mistranslation of the Arabic term العقل (al-aql). It is usually translated as “reason,” the devastating ramifications of which cannot be overstated. This (mis)translation is literally undercutting the foundation of all Islamic spirituality.

What is the Aql?

 

Aql literally means that which binds. However, the best and most direct translation for this term is the Latin term intellectus, which in English is “the intellect.” Unfortunately the modern English rendition of this term no longer carries the historical meaning which can still be found in scholastic Latin.

In Latin, the term intellectus was descriptive of the entirety of conscious experience; that which could be understood by the subject (in this case, you). One way in which you understand things is through rationality, which can range from mathematical truths like 2 + 2 = 4, to the conclusion of a reasoned argument as to the best foreign policy. You also have the ability to make empirical observations or inferences about the world, for example that there are two trees in your front yard or that the earth is round. But does that describe the entirety of your conscious experience? Of course not. Yet in the modern world, being rational and scientifically informed is what it means to be an “intellectual.”

Your conscious experience includes a whole range of important states of being that are not included in the above. For example, you may feel love, hate, jealousy, admiration, humility, arrogance, etc. There are also transcendent values that we hold including justice, goodness, selflessness, mercy, and more. Furthermore, there are many truths that you intuit, that you simply know to be true before the application of any rational or empirical argument; for example, a contradiction cannot be true. In fact, the most important aspects of our conscious experience tend to not be rational or empirical in nature.

In modern times, this side of our consciousness has been clumped together and pejoratively termed “emotional.” It is looked at with disdain. What is held to be supreme is to be “rational” and to believe in Science. This “emotional” side of our consciousness is viewed as entirely obstructive to the attainment of knowledge (which is thought to be purely rational or empirical in nature). Emotions are something to be overcome in order to attain knowledge, not a source of knowledge in and of themselves. I think the irony is lost on most atheists that the foundation of their so-called “rational” worldview is based on metaphysical knowledge that cannot be proven rationally (for example the law of non-contradiction).

The modern view of the intellect is in stark contrast to the traditional Christian view (which all other religious traditions hold in common.) All of the world’s religious traditions, while they acknowledged and made use of rational and empirical truths, did not view them as the end goal. Rather, religions viewed consciousness as having vertical levels such that one could become conscious of more of reality (which exists on higher planes) through spiritual and ethical practice. The rational and empirical levels were viewed as among the lowest levels of consciousness for human beings, such that it was common between almost everyone.

 

The entire religious project was to climb the rungs of consciousness such that one acquires greater and greater knowledge of Reality, whom we call God. What are called “emotions” today were divided and classified in different ways. I will explore this in detail in later posts.

 

The Heart as a Modality of Consciousness

Have you ever felt broken hearted? Has your heart ever yearned for someone or something? Has your heart ever burned when you failed to get what you desired? Has it ever recoiled in disappointment, hatred, or vindictiveness? Have you ever felt awe and wonder in the depths of your heart? Have you ever felt The Transcendent in your heart? Have you ever met someone who was good-hearted? What about a person so cruel you could only describe them as hard-hearted? The origin of these terms are not coincidental.

What I mean when I say that the heart is a modality of consciousness is that it is a mode, or a way, in which we can be conscious of reality. Other examples of modalities of consciousness are sight and hearing. Through your ability to see, you literally have a way of being conscious of reality in a way that a blind person does not. It is a faculty or ability that is inherent within you. You can never explain to a blind person what it is like to see, because it is entirely subjective. Likewise, hearing is a mode or a way in which you are conscious, to which the deaf are not privy. What Islam came to tell us is one of the most important facts of human existence: your heart is like your eyes and your ears, you can use it to gain awareness of reality. But not just any reality. You can use your heart to gain consciousness of the highest levels of reality that will fill your entire being with everlasting joy, knowledge, and Being.

One of the most important recurring themes in the Quran is that of awakening the heart. It talks in depth about “intellecting” with the heart (yes, that used to be a verb in Latin, to intellect. Certain traditionalists are trying to revive its use.) To intellect basically means to direct one’s consciousness through a particular modality such that you discover or realize truth. We are familiar with this process when it comes to rational thought (another modality of consciousness), but it seems alien when it comes to the heart. Just think of it like “thinking” with your heart such that you become conscious of new realities through your heart. Another way to understand it, is that it is like squinting with your eyes to see something, or like physically moving closer to an object in order to see it properly. Here are some ayaat to back up the claims I have made:

The Heart Is Like Your Eyes And Ears

أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَا أَوْ آذَانٌ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا ۖ فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَٰكِن تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ

So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to intellect (ta’aqul) and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the chests. (22:46)

وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ ۖ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لَّا يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ

And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not gain deep understanding (tafaquh) they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless. (7:179)

The Heart Is The Means Through Which Faith Is Experienced

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۖ وَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

The bedouins say, “We have believed.” Say, “You have not [yet] believed; but say [instead], ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts. And if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not deprive you from your deeds of anything. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (49:14)

إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۚ فَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مُّنكِرَةٌ وَهُم مُّسْتَكْبِرُونَ

Your god is one God. But those who do not believe in the Hereafter – their hearts are obstinate, and they are arrogant. (16:22)

The Heart Is A Means Of Divine Guidance

مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

No affliction comes about but by Allah’s permission; and whoever believes in Allah, He guides aright his heart; and Allah is Knowing of all things. (64:11)

Conclusion

I could literally go on and on here, the Quran has dozens of verses talking about the heart. It is in fact the most important subject of the Quran, one which I will, inshaAllah, explore in future articles. The take away from this article is to simply connect with heart with consciousness. Right now, you can do a very simple exercise: focus the center of your consciousness on your heart. If you have not made serious and informed attempts to heal your heart from the degenerate filth of sin, you will no doubt feel a kind of pain that is centered in your heart. This is normal.

 

source

 

"Aut-ib, the Hieroglyph for JOY ( Jug and Neckless )"

"when the heart goes open ( Phtha )"

"when the heart expands"

"the heart goes wide"  

"JOY"

 

  • Psalm 57:7

    7 My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.

§ David Bowie Let's Dance - Ben Liebrand Remix §

 

" Words of Truth that have the power to express the Truth are like flourishing trees whose roots, or direct meanings, are established deep in the earth of the heart, and whose branches, or subtle meanings, reach high into the sky of mystical knowledge." Quran (14:24-27)

 

§ Creative Source - Hwy is he and what is he to yHw §

Luke 13:19

 

"It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and THE BIRDS OF THE AIR NESTED IN ITS BRANCHES."

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  • Shams-i-Tabrizi ~ 40 Rules of Love

     

    Rule 2

    The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs (self/psyche/soul) with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.

     

    Rule 3

    You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.

     

    • 1 Corinthians 13:13
       
       
       And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    4417bb3b15bc4a7c8c14f2d0392fd1d0.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710x

    Shams-i-Tabrizi ~ 40 Rules of Love
    Rule 1 How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear an…
  • Sūrat Ibrāhīm (Arabic: سورة إبراهيم‎, "Abraham") is the 14th sura of the Qur'an with 52 ayat. It is a Makkan sura.

    The sura emphasizes that only God knows what goes on inside a man's heart, implying we must accept each other's words in good faith.(14:38)

     

     

    There are three central ideas in Sufi Islamic psychology, which are the Nafs (self, ego or psyche), the Qalb (heart) and the Ruh (spirit).

     

    Nafs (نَفْس) is an Arabic word (cognate of the Hebrew word nefesh נפש) occurring in the Qur'an and means self, psyche[1] ego or soul. In the Quran, the word is used in both the individualistic (e.g. verse 2:48) and collective sense (verse 4:1), indicating that although humanity is united in possessing the qualities of a "soul/nafs/consciousness" they are individually responsible for exercising the agencies of their "free will" that it provides them. 

     

    In Sufi psychology the heart refers to the spiritual heart or qalb, not the physical organ. It is this spiritual heart that contains the deeper intelligence and wisdom. It holds the Divine spark or spirit and is the place of gnosis and deep spiritual knowledge. In Sufism, the goal is to develop a heart that is sincere, loving and compassionate, and to develop the heart's intelligence, which is deeper, and more grounded than the rational, abstract intelligence of the mind. Just as the physical heart supplies blood to the body, the spiritual heart nourishes the soul with wisdom and spiritual light, and it also purifies the gross personality traits. According to Sufic psychology emotions are from the self or nafs, not from the heart. The qalb mediates between the Nafs and spirit. Its task is control the nafs and direct the man toward the spirit.

     

     

    § Funkadelic - Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts §

     

    Travel like a king
    Listen to the inner voice
    A higher wisdom is at work for you
    Conqering the stumbling blocks come easier
    When the conqueror is in tune with the infinite
    Every ending is a new beginning
    Life is an endless unfoldment
    Change your mind, and you change your relation to time
    You can find the answer
    The solution lies within the problem
    The answer is in every question
    Dig it?
    An attitude is all you need to rise and walk away
    Inspire yourself
    Your life is yours
    It fits you like your skin

    The oak sleeps in the acorn
    The giant sequoia tree sleeps in its tiny seed
    The bird waits in the egg
    God waits for his unfoldment in man
    Fly on, children
    Play on
    You gravitate to that which you secretly love most
    You meet in life the exact reproduction of your own thoughts
    There is no chance, coincidence or accident
    In a world ruled by law and divine order
    You rise as high as your dominant aspiration
    You descend to the level of your lowest concept of your self
    Free your mind and your ass will follow
    The infinite intelligence within you knows the answers
    Its nature is to respond to your thoughts
    Be careful of the thought-seeds you plant in the garden of your mind
    For seeds grow after their kind
    Play on, children
    Every thought felt as true
    Or allowed to be accepted as true by your conscious mind
    Take roots in your subconscious
    Blossoms sooner or later into an act
    And bears its own fruit
    Good thoughts bring forth good fruit
    Bullshit thoughts rot your meat
    Think right, and you can fly
    The kingdom of heaven is within
    Free your mind, and your ass will follow

    48493071?profile=RESIZE_710x


    Play on, children
    Sing on, lady

    Arabic
    Arabic (Arabic: العَرَبِيَّة‎) al-ʻarabiyyah [ʔalʕaraˈbijːah] ( listen) or (Arabic: عَرَبِيّ‎) ʻarabī [ˈʕarabiː] ( listen) or [ʕaraˈbij]) is a Centra…
    • Funny I was thinking the past couple of days around this area and including this comment of yours I have had several inputs....

      one yesterday listening to this video and at 8.38 minutes a person asks a very interesting question about a verse from the Koran and I enjoyed the answers

       

      and today at 41.16 in this one, Peterson expresses it as ''respect for the manifestation of the Logos'' (presumably in the other who is expressing themselves)

       

      Maybe not exactly in the area you are touching but in the general vicinity I thought..

      • what Peterson is saying is similar to :

         

        We can only learn and advance with contradictions. The faithful inside should meet the doubtful. The doubtful should meet the faithful. Human slowly advances and becomes mature when he accepts his contradictions.”

        Shams Tabrizi -

         

        *as within so without

         

      • Surah Al-Ma'idah 5

         

        • And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. (48)
         
         
         
        • How many paths are there to God? There are as many paths to God as there are souls on the Earth. – Rumi

         

         

        if you prefer , in the words of § Funkadelic I Got A Thing, You Got A Thing, Everybody's Got A Thing §

         

        I got a thing, you got a thing
        Everybody's got a thing
        When we get together, doin' our thing
        In order to help each other
        In order to help your brother

        [Verse]
        You don't drink what I drink
        You don't smoke what I smoke
        You don't think like I think
        You don't joke like I joke

        ;)

         

        Strong's Greek: 1510. εἰμί (eimi) -- I exist, I am
        • tenor.gif

          :)

          • “Scholars should endeavour to spread knowledge and provide education to people who have been deprived of it. For, where knowledge is hidden it disappears.”

             

            Sura 5:68 (Al-Maida) - "Say: 'People of the Book, you stand for nothing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which is revealed to you from your Lord."

             

            "THE LIPS OF WISDOM ARE CLOSED, EXCEPT TO THE EARS OF UNDERSTANDING"  The KybaLion

             

            "Ears that hear and eyes that see-- the LORD has made them both"   Proverbs 20:12

             

            The word L OR D in Hebrew gives 86 as numerical value, just as the word Elohim: phe, aleph, he, giving 86 = 80+1+5

            = pythagoreans reductio 8+1+5

             

            "This mystical passage gives the essence of Sufism, and conceals the nature of the cognition of the extra dimensions of the human consciousness which comes beyond the intellect. It is the subject of the great Ghazali's Niche for Lights, a Sufi classic."

             

            Idries Shah, The Way of the Sufi

            reading right now :

             

            The King ( Lord ) of the World (Rene Guenon Works):

             

            quote :

            "

            If the term 'Lord of the World' were to be interpreted in a restrictive sense, in

            accordance with an understanding only of the terrestrial world, it would prove

            inadequate;
            it would be more accurate, in certain respects, to name Brahatma
            'King of the three worlds'

            scales and sword Hieroglyphically two characters to form 
            the Arabic and Hebrew root Haq that denotes both 'Justice' and 'Truth '
            and which served for many ancient races also to denote royalty . 22
            'Haq' is the enabling power of Justice, the equilibrium symbolized by the scales,
            whereas power is symbolized by the sword ,
            23 and it is that which truly characterizes royal power. In a spiritual sense
            Haq signifies the power of Truth.
             

             

            interestingly

            In Egypt, KNeph ( kneph ) the Creative Mind was sometimes
            addressed as "Thrice unknown darkness transcend-
            ing all intellectual perception,"

             

            also we have

            1) This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ( Haq )

            13) It is for this reason that I am called Hermes Trismegistus; for I possess the three essentials of the philosophy of the universe.

            3028599?profile=RESIZE_180x180 Quran ascribes to Sol O Mon a great level of wisdom, knowledge and power Quran 27/15–17 According to Islamic holy scripture, he knew the "language of the birds" (Mantiq al-tayr mdw N tjr )

            The Qalb mediates between the Nafs and Spirit

            § Ike & Tina Turner - Game of Love (Dj XS Funk Soul Sister Edit) §

             

            Al-Ma'ida
            Surat al-Māʼida (Arabic: سورة المائدة‎, "The Table" or "The Table Spread with Food", likely a word of Ethiopic origin) is the fifth chapter of the Qu…
            • From search results, M, I found this mention you made of Guenon's Lord of the World. I have just finished reading it (yes, it took me months to get round to it as I have a lot of unread books on my Kindle!), absolutely loved it, what a thrilling book, just want to recommend it to others - because of the links it traces between different cultures  and peoples and places and especially SYMBOLS.  It is short. One has to become accustomed to Guenon's quite dense way of writing but the content carries one along easily in this particular book of his. I think I will do a short documentary summary video on it over the next few weeks, just to capture it in images perhaps. Just flowting with the idea at the moment, as I am also feeling lazy! :)

            • Roh-kay, that's another book I have been forced to download to my Kindle! :) It looks really interesting. The Guenon one. 

  • Very nice post, M. And strangely I was just speaking this weekend with someone who said the word ''intellectus'' to connect to the older, more expanded, philosophical meaning suggested here - much more than mere scientism and rationality. And the source article shows an image of Thomas Aquinas, of whom we also spoke, so it is very current in my mind stream. 

     

    I will come back and read it again later to absorb more.

This reply was deleted.