Wit is the epitaph of an emotion. (Nietzsche)
Intellectualism; in·tel·lec·tu·al –adjective
- devotion to intellectual pursuits.
- the exercise of the intellect.
- excessive emphasis on abstract or intellectual matters, esp. with a lack of proper consideration for emotions.
- the doctrine that knowledge is wholly or chiefly derived from pure reason.
- the belief that reason is the final principle of reality.
So, let me preface this discussion by stating frankly and honestly, that I am your average guy. I am no intellectual; I don't pretend to be one, and I don't desire to be one (at least not the wrong 'type' as I will expound later). My dear intellectual friends usually carry more burden on their poor brains than I will ever care to. Eventually, a good portion of them self-implode, explode on others or simply have their whole life disintegrate around them. So, no thank you, Mr. and Ms. Intellectual, I am just fine being the average guy with an average family, who speaks with average eloquence, and writes the average blog entry. Once or twice, I'll share a new word or two with my readers, just so that they remain fresh with the dictionary… but I absolutely do not require a dictionary as a companion text. No sirree, I am just your average dude on the street.
And sorry to break it to you, my intellectually-endowed friends: most of us are in fact 'average'. And most of us also LIKE being average, and reading average content. Being average means that most of us have indeed heard of Nietzsche, but most of us don't give a hoot as to what he says or what he thinks; and really, do we really need to? The guy's life and fame was built around denying what we hold dearest to ourselves— the belief in the Creator; Nietzsche, who mocks the religious and who exalts egoism (you can start to see how this ideology is becoming contagious):
“After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands”
“Egoism is the very essence of a noble soul.”
I am sure by now, you, my intellectually-equipped friends, must know where I am going with this… Let's just say that I am about fed up with all this intellectual twaddle! Now wait a minute, my regular, average Muhammads and Fatimahs, don't run to the thesaurus! Because that indeed is wherein I found this word, so I'll spare you the effort: Twaddle simply means mumbo-jumbo or nonsense. Now, couldn't our intellectual friends just use 'mumbo-jumbo' instead of twaddle? I mean it gets the message across just fine, doesn't it? But you can bet your life that they would rather use twaddle. And why is that, you may ask? Because by making you run to the dictionary, they have impressed upon you their superiority in language, in other words, they are impressing upon you that 'they know better'. And the impressionable average guy like me is thinking, “wow, this guy really knows what he is talking about” instead of the more realistic “if I had so much time, I could read a zillion novels and learn some SAT vocabulary as well”. But do we really need to, do we really want to?
Don't get me wrong, my intellectually-loaded friends. If Allāh has endowed you with a sharp mind, by all means, employ it. And if you stick to part 1, part 2 and to some extent part 3 of the definition listed above, then Godspeed to you my brother (or sister). Go ahead and read the works of Nietzsche, Husserl, Frege, or even Descartes, Socrates, Hume; but before you do so, equip yourself with the Divine knowledge lest your raw mind is debilitated by the sorcery of words.
On the authority of Ibn `Umar (ra) that the Messenger of Allāh (S) said: “Verily, some eloquence (can be so beautiful); it constitutes sorcery.” (Agreed Upon)
So go forth, be intellectual as you wish, in the likes of such contemporary bloggers as this, this, this, this, this or some others like them. They are simple men like us who have used the philosophers' wisdom to enrich themselves, but not at the expense of stripping themselves of their Islamic identities. And if we are to talk about the great scholars, then follow the footsteps of the great scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, who used philosophy to destroy the philosophers. Ibn Taymiyyah (RH) embodied intellectualism as probably very few other scholars did; yet his intellectualism only strengthened his Islamic resolve, and strengthened the defense of Islam against the enemies of Islam.
But be warned, my intellectually-laden brothers and sisters, do not tread the path of those that fall under definition #4 above. Do not let the arrogance of your intellect, which after all is the creation of the same Lord who created the brain it resides in, take you down a path where aql is your god and god becomes a figment of this aql. Arrogance is where ignorance finds its soul-mate. After all, those who are arrogant are indeed ignorant about what they don't know; because if they knew what they don't know, they would find what they know to be minuscule on the grand scale of knowledge.
Lest you fall down yonder, lest you become like those ignorant, intellectually-warped souls treading down the road of arrogance… protect yourself! Indeed, this road leads only to the house of mockery. And the house of mockery includes the following:
- reliance on, a near-obsession with 'famous quotes' of people most of us have never heard of;
- derision, near-repulsion of anything that is from the Qurʾān or hadith;
- disdain of scholarly statements, considering them as couth only if they are not 'philosophical' or 'intellectual' in flavor.
So, how many times have you quoted Qurʾān or hadith and have been slapped with “please take your hidayah books and your memorized quotes from so and so website or book somewhere else, been there and done that”. Been there and done that? Done what? Done Islam? Is it outdated now? Do we need to find replacements for the eloquence of our Lord and our Prophet and our Companions and our Scholars? By Allāh, if we go looking for what amounts to an ounce of truth, wisdom and acumen relative to the Speech of Allāh or the speech of His Messenger; we will come short. So, don't even waste your time.
If we do not cease, and if we enter the house of mockery, everything becomes, as they say, 'kosher'. The nations before us brought the respect and love of religion out of peoples' lives by engaging in jokes and satire about their deen. We have all heard jokes about
“You will follow the wrong ways, of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of a lizard, you too will go there.” We [the Companions] said, “O Allāh's Apostle! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?” He replied, “Whom else?” (Bukhāri)
So, then it becomes okay to joke about the symbols of our faith, it becomes okay to joke about our scholars (here comes the 'mullah'— a religious man in Urdu… to the point that the word 'mullah' has taken on a pejorative sense), it becomes okay to talk derogatorily about hijab or about our Imams or even about our Prophet (S). If they [the nations preceding us] are drawing caricatures about Jesus unabatedly, then why should we, the enlightened ones, be left behind and not do the same about our Prophets? It is all okay my friends… all in the spirit of freedom of expression.
To those who have entered and now reside in the house of mockery, I say: Yes, we live in free countries, so yes, from a legal point of view, it is okay. But then DON'T pretend to be an authority on Islamic or Muslim matters. Stay on one side of the aisle, so that from a distance, we can recognize for what you are.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet; said, “A slave (of Allāh) may utter a word which pleases Allāh without giving it much importance, and because of that Allāh will raise him to degrees (of reward); a slave (of Allāh) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allāh without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-Fire.” (Bukhāri)
Beautified is the life of the world for those who disbelieve; they make a jest of the believers. But those who keep their duty to Allāh will be above them on the Day of Resurrection. Allāh gives without stint to whom He will. (Qur'an: 2:212)
Yes, this last verse is talking about disbelievers and hypocrites. But it contains a warning to the all of the Muslims, because to engage in an act that resembles a hypocrite is not far from the act that ends up taking one into that sphere. It is indeed a serious offense to ridicule and mock the pious believers.
So, next time you see someone mocking Islam, next time you witness a satire about Islam or the Prophet of Islam or about the symbols of Islam, do one of two things: (1) Take action with your words to refute or to advice the person (esp. if professing to be Muslim) or (2) Find it blameworthy in your heart and leave the conversation (online, in person or wherever). The second part represents the LEAST of your faith, beyond which your heart is devoid of īmān. So, Just DO IT, for Islam if it means anything to you.
Before I conclude my ramblings (forgive the length), let me share with you a couple of gems that are unmatched by Nietzsche or a thousand like him:
Indeed, those that committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed (Qurʾān Al-Mutaffifin 83/29-30)
Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (ra) used to say, as narrated by Ibn Abee 'Aasim, “By Allāh whom there is no God but He, there is nothing more worthy of a prolonged incarceration than one's tongue.” (Saying of the Companions)
So, my intellectually-adept friends, those with an extra degree or two, you may be wondering why did I in fact choose to begin this post with a quote from our atheist friend, Nietzsche? I am sorry to disappoint you but I really had no intellectual reason to do so, except to inject a little spin into it. Since you 'intellectuals' like to begin and end your god forsaken posts and articles with quotes from him and others like him, I hoped then, that perhaps by matching your style, I may attract a couple of you to come over here and read this average guy's ramblings. And so as not to disappoint you further, I end with another one:
To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity (Nietzsche)