Cognitive Thinking in the Paradise

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

By the Name of Allah, Who acts upon His Mercy, and Who is Most Merciful

     I always have thought that conversing with people of different approaches to life can enrich you both culturally and cognitively. No matter what a person says, there is always an idea behind it. There is always a way of reasoning that lies behind the words they say. It can be fallacious. But it can also be useful and insightful. You might be able to strengthen the idea or go against the idea to find something more powerful. But all ideas are interesting– sure, some are more interesting than others. Before I talk about the idea that appears in the title, I want to justify my analysis and discuss what I mean by incomplete thought.

     There are many issues that can be found in how people think and reason. Sometimes, they don’t examine their thoughts; sometimes they stop half way thorough. It is been said that, “what is worse than ignorance is incomplete knowledge.” That’s true; false knowledge might cause you to act in unfavorable way and lead you astray. I find it interesting that “incomplete thoughts” are as dangerous–may be even worse. But what do I mean by an “incomplete thought”? I mean by that a thought that involves the analysis of an observation or a basic set of information, but where the thinker stops analyzing the idea just at the point when his original view is the most compatible candidate for the result. I know I am making it look complicated, but it is very simple idea. When think about an observation, we try some how to find the essence of a phenomenon or an observation, and try to understand the basic principle that drives this phenomenon to occur. So, simply, an incomplete thought is a thought where a person fails to further his ideas and examine them.

     I don’t require that a person does nothing but analyze his idea, but I think it is important to examine the idea whenever he finds a new thing that can be related to it. I require the person not to be dogmatic and to enjoy the thoughts of other people; but not necessarily embracing them. I believe examining an idea over a long period of time is essential and very beneficial for the thinker and the people who are in contact with him. He can bequeath self-discipline them, as well respect of the notion of thought.

     An example of a thought that is incomplete, is the idea that “every existent thing was brought into existence by something else.” This concept was falsified by many philosophers, thinkers, and scholars. Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy on him, happened to be one of them. This false concept resulted because of the mix up between what you observe, and what the rest of the world should be. It is a problem of extrapolation, if you will.  We cannot extend our observations in this world to the unobservable world. Although it might aid sometimes, it is illogical do so without enough tools to make the transition. It is true that every existent thing that we observe came to existence by means another thing. Okay, what is the principle that drives this observation? It is that “every action has an actor.” Yes it is as simple as this, but it is not simplistic as many people think. This concept encompasses the observation that we are sure of. As explained by ibn Taymiyyah and others, the transition from nonexistence to existence is, itself, an action. This action has to have an actor, but the actor cannot be the object itself since a thing has to exist in order for it to act. Thus, there is another thing that brought this object into existence, and it is not the thing itself. Which implies that every existent thing that we observe came to existence by means of another thing.

     I should note that the falsified concept, that we mentioned earlier, was not achieved because of the stupidity of the thinker. It was a result of ending the thought before it is fully examined; they stopped because it provides them with what they want. It is also worth to note that we might do this thing unintentionally; we might do it because we genuinely think that we are done. This is less problematic than being dogmatic and unwilling to seek the truth, which is the worst forms of oppression a person could do to himself.

What Happened in the Paradise?

     Going to the title, which is I find an. Somewhere on YouTube, few years ago, I read a comment from a person saying something on the lines of “God restricted human’s freedom of thinking; and satan gave us cognitive thinking, by trying to make Adam and Eve think about the consequence of eating from the tree.” This idea excited me, when I saw the comment. It is really interesting to see how this person was able to eliminate the usual ideas and discussions that surround the story of Adam and Eve, and run behind one concept that he holds dear, and so do I. However, the implication is merely based on the need to attack the heavenly faiths and the Believers in Allah. By the way, if you don’t know, Allah is God–Allah is the God. Allah is the God of Moses (Mosa), the God of Jesus (E’isa or Isa), and the God of Muhammad, may Allah praise them all and grant them peace. Anyways, the guy’s idea is not very meaningful as it is.

     I have never seen a mathematical theory that has no conditions. Our ability to think is tightly connected to having restrictions. Whether they were moral restrictions, or mere intellectual restrictions. Of course, having too many restrictions, as having too much from anything, is going to harm us. That’s why Allah orders us not to ask too many questions about the laws of Islam. That’s why the Prophet, peace be upon him, tells is that Allah neglected putting some laws on some detailed aspects of life as mercy from Him, not because He is ignorant about them–And He is free from all shortcomings. On the other hand, having too little restrictions is harmful as well. In fact, some people say that they have no restrictions, which I found is equivalent having absolute restriction on everything. To say that everything is right, would not deliver the message that everything is right. It actually says that everything is wrong. At the point people will say, “if everything is wrong, then I shall choose the path I desire the most.” They will not choose the most beneficial and sound path, because it is also going to be wrong. This is a discussion for another blog, in shaa Allah (God wills).

     Anyways, to return from the digression, I should say that having the proper amount of restrictions allows us to think about cases and details of different settings. That shows why Allah tells us that the Muslim nation is made to be a middle and balanced nation. Having these ideas in mind, I realize that it is not the Satan who gave us the cognitive thinking. It is Allah who facilitated that by putting the prohibition on from the tree. He, the All-Wise, understands that humans will be able to think provided they have restrictions. Allah, indeed, says in the Qura’an in Suratul Baqarah, as a response to the angels’ questioning of creating humans, “إنّي أعلم ما لاتعلمون”. It means “I know what you do not know” or “I know things that I do not know.” Allah did not tell humans everything He knows–obviously. So, one of the benefits of the prohibition of eating from that tree happened to be cognitive thinking and perhaps there are more. I don’t know them all. The fact that Allah knows how envious the Shaytan (Satan) is of humans is enough for us to understand that Allah is not in need to force humans to think about the reason they were not allowed to eat from the tree. He, the All-Wise, facilitates the means, and shows us that the Shaytan is indeed our enemy.

     It is funny how the Shaytan reasoning, when he says (as Allah mentions in the Qura’an), “مَا نَهَاكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنْ هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةِ إِلَّا أَن تَكُونَا مَلَكَيْنِ أَوْ تَكُونَا مِنَ الْخَالِدِينَ”. It means that “your Lord did not prohibit you from eating from this tree, except because it will make you angels or it would make you live for ever”. After the ate from the tree, that was not the out come. He was lying to them. He just hate them, and wants them to fail. Nevertheless, some people will come (as similar things happened before) and comment on this by saying, “God should have did it differently.” But they fail to give any logical and comprehensive reason for why Allah should have done it differently, except by founding the argument on the notion that Allah should follow their own desires. Well, it is absurd for Allah is the God, and not them. How would they know that their approach is going to succeed? Allah says in the Qura’an, “ولو اتّبع الحقّ أهواءهم لفسدت السموات والأرض ومن فهين”, which means “if the truth followed their desires, then the heavens (skies) and the lands (earth) will be ruined, as well as everybody who lives in them.”

     It is note worthy that the first reasoning humans had was based on consequential reasoning. It is compatible with the idea that we should worship Allah because we want to be saved from the Hell fire and that we want the Paradise. This is for another blog, too, if Allah wills.

     To close, I want to say that, when we think, we should examine if our thoughts are compatible with reality or not. Yes, we imagine, we wish, we hope, and we think, and that makes us creative, but we should know that we need to adjust our ideas to be realistic and practical; there is no meaning for thoughts if it doesn’t give you insight on how you should approach the world. Also, idea of cognitive reasoning in paradise was based on a great observation from the man, but was against his argument. May Allah guide us all, and grant us success.

All thanks and praise are due to Allah.
AlhamduliEllah, in this life and the hereafter.

-Mutaz