When assessing one’s intelligence in the scope of Islam, do you know the benchmarks which have been applied by the early Muslim scholars? In this world there are those who are academically brilliant, but spiritually and in matters of his personality, are actually stunted. So what are the determining factors under Islam?
The intelligent possesses goodness and manners, and these qualities will permeate to those around him. The company of the intelligent one benefits us because he gives and shares his goodness. He will support us in need. He is forgiving. His just manner protects us. If we are good to him, he will reciprocate, often with something better.
The fool is neither good to himself nor to others, and his company is harmful. The fool is astray and will lead others astray. There is no pleasing him. Closeness to him will increase his arrogance, but distancing ourselves from him will upset him. Conversations with him neither benefit us nor make us better persons. The fool will break his commitments and will repeatedly let others down. Time spent with him will lead to a miserable ending.
It is possible to win an argument with the intelligent, because he is guided by the truth, and will admit it if he is mistaken. Arguing with a fool is fruitless, because in his arrogance and stubbornness, being right is more important than doing the correct thing.
A fool will manipulate the facts such that nothing beneficial can be gained from any conversation. The closer we get to him, the more he will blind us from the truth. He can poison an environment by his presence and is oblivious to the toxic situation he creates. Have you ever been in a gathering, where just one person’s attendance can make the whole atmosphere poisonous, even if he doesn’t say a word?
Think of the people in your life – relatives, friends or even spouses. Do they cause more hardship than benefit when you spend time in their company? Do conversations with them lack direction or benefit, and are ultimately exhausting and time wasting? Be careful. If you spend too much time entertaining them and talking nonsense with them, they will suck you into their own web of ignorance and foolishness.
The fool generates wretchedness to himself and to others, whereas the intelligent generates calm and peace. The intelligent continues to seek knowledge, while the fool assumes he knows everything and refuses to learn. The intelligent is guided by facts and principles, whereas the fool is propelled by conjectures and emotions. The fool will complain about others, but never assess him own shortcomings. The intelligent is always self -analytical, because he knows that this is the key to self-development.
It’s easy enough to profile the people around us. But if someone were to profile us, which category would we fall under? What principles are we guided by? Are we generating calm or conflict? Are our minds still open for improvement and suggestions? No one wants to be a fool, but are we behaving foolishly without realising it? So many of us chase our degrees and credentials, but do these make us better persons in the eyes of Allah? If not, what’s it worth to us in the long run?