Rafed English

Intellect and Lust as Measures for Prosperity or Misery

Intellect is the force that aids in understanding and accepting facts, planning for health and prosperity and designing beneficial affairs in man's life. This precious pearl has been interpreted as the inner Prophet in traditions from the Holy Household of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). [Usul al-Kafy, Chapter on the Intellect]

Lust is a natural God-given instinct which can be used to derive pleasure from life, and provides for a motivation to strive for the life of this world and also, at times for the Hereafter. If it is bound using one's intellect, life will be good, and God's Mercy will be bestowed upon it. Man's existence would then exemplify human traits and his worth would be higher than that of the angels.

But if our intellect is enslaved by lust, it will not be able to guide us. Then unbounded lust and numerous desires will govern our lives. Once man follows lust he will not be able to see anything but material affairs. His criteria in life will be based on food and lust. All signs of humanity will vanish in him, and he will become worse than the beasts.

It is narrated that Abdullah, the son of Sanan, asked Imam Sadiq (Pbuh) whether men or angels were superior to each other. He responded that the Commander of the Faithful Ali (Pbuh) said:

God the Glorious and the Almighty has given angels intellect with no lust; the animals have lust without intellect; and man has both intellect and lust. Whoever can govern his lust with his intellect is superior to the angels, and whoever loses control of his intellect or his lust is inferior to the animals. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.57, p.299]

This is true for both men and women. A women can also be nobler than the angels should this be manifested in her. But if she ignores intellectual foresight, the inner light and the prophet within, and strives for jewelry and ornaments for lustful seduction of others, then she will be worse than animals, just like infidels, and corrupt men.

Adopted from the book: "The Islamic Family Structure" by: "Husayn Ansarian"

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