The Creation according to Quran, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan III, Imam Jafar As-Sadiq, Al-Kirmani, Al-Sijistani, Nasir Khusraw et al

The first thing created by God was the Intellect (‘aql).

A famous hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Of the Abrahamic faiths, Islam is probably the one that places the greatest emphasis on knowledge. The purpose is to understand God’s creation, and therefore it is a faith which is eminently logical. Islam is a faith of reason.

Aga Khan IV to the German newspaper Spiegel

The Divine Intellect, Aql-i Kull, both transcends and informs the human intellect. It is this Intellect which enables man to strive towards two aims dictated by the faith: that he should reflect upon the environment Allah has given him and that he should know himself. It is the Light of the Intellect which distinguishes the complete human being from the human animal, and developing that intellect requires free inquiry. The man of faith, who fails to pursue intellectual search is likely to have only a limited comprehension of Allah’s creation. Indeed, it is man’s intellect that enables him to expand his vision of that creation.

Aga Khan IV, AKU Convocation Speech,

Karachi, Pakistan, November 11, 1985

God – may He be Glorified and Exalted – created Intellect (‘aql) first among the spiritual entities; He drew it forth from the right of His Throne, making it proceed from His own Light. Then he commanded it to retreat, and it retreated, to advance, and it advanced; then God proclaimed: ‘I created you glorious, and I gave you pre-eminence over all my creatures.’

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq,

(Al-Kulayni, Usul, vol. 1, pp. 23-24)

The Intellect is the substance of (God’s) unity and it is the one (al-wahid), both cause and caused, the act of origination (al-ibda) and the first originated being (al-mubda al-awwal); it is perfection and perfect, eternity and eternal, existence and that which exists all in a single substance.

Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani,

Fatimid Ismaili cosmologist

(Kitab al-Riyad, pp. 221-222)

Then came Hafiz – by far the greatest singer of the soul of man. In him we can find all the strivings, all the sorrow, all the victories and joys, all the hopes and disappointments of each and every one of us. In him we find contact, direct and immediate, with the outer universe interpreted as an infinite reality of matter, as a mirror of an eternal spirit, or indeed (as Spinoza later said) an absolute existence of which matter and spirit alike are but two of infinite modes and facets.

Inaugural Lecture Before the Iran Society

by Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III,

November 9, 1936 London,

United Kingdom on Hafiz,

the renowned Iranian poet.

Kathalika yubayyinu Allahu lakum ayatihi la’allakum ta-‘aqiloona:    Allah thus makes clear to you His Signs that you may intellect.

Holy Quran 2:242

More quotes in sequence at The Link Between Science and Religion

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

6 thoughts

  1. The Intellectual Quest- Rumi

    The intellectual quest is exquisite like pearls and coral,
    But it is not the same as the spiritual quest.
    The spiritual quest is on another level altogether,
    Spiritual wine has a subtler taste.
    The intellect and the senses investigate cause and effect.
    The spiritual seeker surrenders to the wonder.


  2. Material Intelligence and Spiritual Enlightenment

    Quote from the Address at the Platinum Jubilee Ceremony
    Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan
    February 20, 1955 Cairo, Egypt

    “But, as I have explained in my Memoirs for the whole world to understand there are two worlds – the world of material intelligence and the world of spiritual enlightenment. The world of spiritual enlightenment is fundamentally different from the world of material intellectualism and it is the pride of the Ismailis that we firmly believe that the world of spiritual enlightenment has come as a truth from the inception of Islam to this day with the Imamat and carries with it as one of its necessary consequences love, tenderness, kindliness and gentleness towards first, our brother and sister Muslims of all sects and, secondly, to those who live in righteousness, conscience and justice towards their fellow men.”


  3. Those are 2 excellent quotes by Rumi and our 48th Imam and I am in full agreement with them. Rational knowledge about what the Universe is made of and how it operates is great in itself but cannot be the same as the spiritual enlightenment talked about in the above 2 quotes. Rather, they can and do act as stepping stones to facilitate acquisition of the kind of advanced knowledge that the Pirs talk about in their ginans. Our Imams have confirmed this:

    Scientific pursuits, philosophic inquiry and artistic endeavour are all seen as the response of the faithful to the recurring call of the Qur’an to ponder the creation as a way to understand Allah’s benevolent majesty. As Sura al-Baqara proclaims: ‘Wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah'(Aga Khan IV, 19th October 2003, London, U.K.)

    My understanding of spiritual enlightenment is that a recipient of such enlightenment, when he or she looks around, whether inside or outside themselves, all they see and experience is the face of Allah.

    Knowledge about the outer universe, therefore can become a springboard to facilitate the kind of knowledge and enlightenment described in those 2 splendid quotes of yours:

    The famous verse of ‘light’ in the Qur’an, the Ayat al-Nur, whose first line is rendered here in the mural behind me, inspires among Muslims a reflection on the sacred, the transcendent. It hints at a cosmos full of signs and symbols that evoke the perfection of Allah’s creation and mercy(Aga Khan IV, 19th October 2003, London, U.K.)



    Man’s soul has never been left without a specially INSPIRED messenger from the SOUL THAT SUSTAINS, EMBRACES AND IS THE UNIVERSE

    There arose from time to time messengers, ILLUMINED by DIVINE GRACE, for and among those races of the earth which had sufficiently advanced intellectually to comprehend such a message.

    If the HOLY SPIRIT ever present grants us that ENLIGHTENMENT, can, being thus blessed, have the power which Christ had, but that to the overwhelming majority of men this greater love is not a practical possibility.


    JEONG CHUN phuoc

    It is interesting to note that no clear scientific evidences have been submitted in support of the various Islamist Creation Theories.

    This is hard to comprehend when the al-Quran emphasizes the establishment of certain Truths by scientific methodologies, apart from al-Aql or ‘reason’.

    JEONG CHUN phuoc
    A Reader in Ancient Civilisation and an Advocate of Shariah Strategic Intelligence


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