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Perplexity and Doubt

Another disease which may afflict the Power of the Intellect is the vice of doubt and perplexity, which makes man incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. This disease is usually caused by appearance of numerous contradictory pieces of evidence, which confuse him, and make him incapable of reaching a definite conclusion.

In order to cure this disease, the individual must first consider the axiomatic principles of logic, such as the law of contradiction, the principle that the whole is always bigger than any one of its parts, the law of identity, etc., and base all his subsequent reasoning on them, realizing that truth is one and except the true one all other conclusions are false. In this manner he can cut through the web of contradictory thoughts that bewilder him.

The opposite of ignorance, perplexity, and doubt is certainty, which is none other than lasting, certain conviction; which being in accordance with reality, cannot be shaken by any doubts however strong. This is specially important in regard to theology and its various branches. In other words, belief in the existence of God, His affirmative and negative Attributes, prophethood, resurrection, and whatever relates to them, should be so strong as not to be shaken by any doubts. The state of certainty is one of the highest states possible for man, and is attained by very few human beings. There is a tradition attributed to the Prophet that says:

Certainty is complete belief.

Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (A) is reported to have said:

God, the Supreme, in His supreme justice, has associated happiness and comfort with certainty and contentment [that is, resignation to God's will], and coupled sorrow and pain with doubt and resentment [with respect to Divine will].

Adapted from: "Jami' al-Sa'adat" by: "Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi"

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