The Faith of Shi'a Islam



1. Doctrine of the necessity for seeking knowledge

We believe that allah has endowed us with the faculty of the intellect ('aql), and that he has ordered us to ponder over his creation, noting with care the signs of his power and his glory throughout the entire universe as well as within ourselves. it is stated in the qur'an:

we shall show them our signs on the horizons and in themselves,
till it is clear to them that it is the truth. (41;53)

allah has shown his disapproval of those who blindly follow the ways of those who were before them:

they say "no, but we will follow such things as we found our father doing."
what! and if their fathers had no understanding of anything. (2;170)

and he has shown his dislike for those who follow nothing but their own personal whims:

they follow naught but an opinion. (6;117)

indeed, our intellect forces us to reflect upon creation so as to know the creator of the universe, just as it makes it necessary for us to examine the claims of someone to prophethood and to consider the truth of his miracles. it is not correct to accept the ideas of someone without criticism, even if that person has the gift of great knowledge or holds an esteemed position.

the reason that the qur'an has urged us to reflect upon creation and to study the natural world and acquire knowledge is so that it may confirm in us mankind's instinctual freedom of thought upon which all sages are in agreement, in order that the power of human understanding and thinking may be so enlightened that it may fulfil the function for which it was created.

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