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What is Aql (reason) in Islam and its importance in forming Islamic Law


What is Aql in Islam

The term Aql is commonly used by the scholars of Shia Muslim community. Shia' community attaches great importance to the principle of 'Aql (reasoning) for a number of reasons. The Holy Quran urges the Believers to strive to develop an understanding of religion as well as worldly matters. The Quran mentions itself as a Book of Wisdom at many places. For example:

These are the verses of the Book of Wisdom (10:1).

Then, the Holy Quran invites mankind to develop wisdom by closely observing various objects and phenomena of Nature. It says:

Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom (22:46).

According to Shia' belief, the Mujtahid al 'Asr (scholarly authority of the time) is authorised to exert consistently and continuously in order to solve problems of modern times and face challenges of a rapidly changing world. For example, they have allowed the revival of the institute of Muta'a (contractual marriage for a pre-determined time period) under special circumstances. For the same reason, the Shia' community attaches great importance to Imam Ali's masterpiece of writing, Nahj al Balaaghah, as it is full of wisdom and rationality.

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For the Shia' Mujtahid, every new and challenging situation should be analysed and examined in a rational manner. Thus, use of wisdom, reasoning or 'Aql occupies important place in the legal thinking of Shia' community.

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