Question: Some people assert, Those who do not obtain īmān through investigation (īmān-i tahqīqī) believe blindly; they are not sure about their īmān. However, those who have obtained īmān through investigation by reading books that rationally explain īmān know the proofs of their faith. Shouldnt īmān be in the ghayb? Do we have to have īmān through seeing and proofs?
The mind or books that explain the ghayb do not strengthen ones īmān, but rather they may raise doubts and cause one to lose ones īmān. For example, a scholar named Ibni Sakkā used to place a high value on reasoning and strive to prove everything through his mind. He would prove the existence and oneness of Allah by adducing 99 proofs. In the course of time, when faced with the matters beyond his comprehension, he began to be plagued by ever-increasing doubts. Once, he asked Hadrat Yūsuf-i Hamadānī a question, but he said, A smell of disbelief is emanating from your words. As a matter of fact, when Ibni Sakka went to Istanbul as an envoy, he converted to Christianity. After becoming a Christian, this time, he began to prove the Trinity by adducing 100 proofs. For this reason, the mind alone is not a standard. The purport of two hadīth-i sharīfs is as follows:
(There is no one more corruptive than the one who measures the Dīn with his mind.) [Tabarānī]
(When different beliefs appear in the time period close to Doomsday, believe as old women do.) [Daylamī]
This hadīth-i sharīf does not mean that we must slavishly believe in baseless things like an old woman, but rather it means that we have to believe in the things communicated by Allah and His Messenger without measuring them with our minds and without looking for their proofs. Paradise, Hell, the Sirat Bridge, or the events pertaining to the Hereafter cannot be substantiated by the mind or reason. The Mutazila group, for example, have denied the Sirat Bridge, Mirāj, and such like. Furthermore, those who investigate cannot be freed from doubts. For instance, it is not possible to explain the exact nature of the Sirat Bridge through the mind. When faced with this impossibility, the investigators have no choice but to disbelieve it. They cannot say, If he (Hadrat Muhammad) says, it is true, as Hadrat Abū Bakr said. If they can say, It is true, they do not think it necessary to investigate anyway. Therefore, the investigators are in great danger.
When polytheists took on the same mentality as investigators and so rejected the Mirāj of our master the Prophet, Hadrat Abū Bakr, disregarding his mind, stated, If he says, it is true. By saying so, he reached the summit of īmān and was awarded the title of Siddīq (the one who always speaks the truth, the testifier of Rasūlullah). Because he brushed aside his mind and believed in Rasūlullahs ascension in a moment to the heavens, his īmān shone like the sun. Our master the Prophet declared, Were the īmān of Abū Bakr weighed against the īmān of my entire Ummat, Abū Bakrs īmān would prove heavier. His being promoted to this rank is not due to investigation but due to confirmation.
The tenets of belief (īmān) cannot be investigated. Īmān is to believe in the ghayb. It cannot be based on proofs. As a matter of fact, the pious people are praised in the Qurān al-karīm as follows, Those muttaqīs believe in the ghayb (Sūrat-ul-Baqara, 3). [That means to say that believing in the ghayb is an attribute of the pious.]
Hadrat Sayyid Abdulhakīm Arwāsī defines īmān as follows:
Īmān itself is, without consulting mind, experience or philosophy, to confirm, to believe the facts which Hadrat Muhammad communicated as the Prophet. If one confirms them because they are reasonable, one has confirmed mind, not the Messenger. Or one has confirmed mind and the Messenger together, in which case the Prophet has not been trusted completely. When confidence is incomplete, there is not īmān. (Endless Bliss)