THE PRINCIPLE OF LOVE & DESIRE: The Philosophers' Views Concerning Enjoyment

philosophers views on happiness

Indeed, the philosophers from among the Sabians, the mushrikun, and those who imitate them from the different groups, such as ar-Razi,(1) were mistaken in their theories regarding these pleasures in 

the dunya and the Hereafter, and they even dragged these mistakes into their religion and corrupted their beliefs, worship, and acts of zuhd (abstinence from material things), to the extent that they rejected the truth that Allah informed us of upon the tongues of His messengers concerning the promise and the threat for the Hereafter. Therefore, they became from among those who abandoned the pleasures of the dunyd which benefit them and replaced them with what they perceived to be enjoyment or something that would lead to enjoyment in the dunya, and so:

إن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهْوَى الْأَنفُسُ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَهُم مِّن رَّبِّهِمُ الْهُدَى )

They follow but a guess and that which they themselves desire, even though there has surely come to them the guidance from their Lord! [Surah an-Najm 53:23]


They do not understand the objectives and the ways to achieve them, so they are misguided, seeking something that will benefit them and give them enjoyment, but they don't know where to find it or how to get to it. Many of them become extreme in their pursuit of pleasures that only bring them harm.

The Christians began to resemble them in some aspects when they rejected many of the pleasures that were promised in Jannah, and they became misguided by the acts of worship that they innovated into their religion, as Allah said:

 قُلۡ یٰۤاَهۡلَ الۡکِتٰبِ لَا تَغۡلُوۡا فِیۡ دِیۡنِکُمۡ غَیۡرَ الۡحَقِّ وَ لَا تَتَّبِعُوۡۤا اَهۡوَآءَ قَوۡمٍ قَدۡ ضَلُّوۡا مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَ اَضَلُّوۡا کَثِیۡرًا وَّ ضَلُّوۡا عَنۡ سَوَآءِ السَّبِیۡلِ ﴿۷۷

Say (O Muhammad): "O People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Exceed not the limits in your religion (by believing in something) other than the truth, and do not follow the vain desires of people who went astray in times gone by, and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the Right Path." [Surah al-Ma'idah 5:77]

Thus, many of them are overcome by temptation and desires and this is why they don't forbid themselves from any type of food or drink.

The Jews, on the other hand, are the most knowledgeable of the objective and how to achieve it, but they are relentless enticers, and so they earned Allah's anger.

The misguidance of the philosophers in terms of their views on pleasure is made clear by two things:

1) The first is that they believe that tangible and presumed pleasures are not actually pleasures, but that they are the repulsion of suffering, or perhaps they will phrase it better by saying: "The objective of pleasures is not enjoyment; it is only for the repulsion of suffering, unlike the mental spiritual pleasures, because these are the only real pleasures, and they are the true objective." They reject that the souls experience tangible or presumed pleasures after they leave the dunyd and believe that they only experience spiritual pleasures.

2) The second thing is that they don't know how to attain the mental pleasures that they affirm. In fact, they think that it is only knowing the unrestricted existence with all of its forms and princi- ples. This is plain in their book Al-Ilhayat, in which they speak with speech that contains very little truth and much falsehood. They seek mental pleasure through poisonous nourishment that harms and causes pain, more than they seek it with beneficial nourishment; in fact, they have lost the nourishment without which there can be no nourishment, and that is ikhlas (sincerity) in Allah's religion by worshiping Him alone with no partners, because this is what the soul was specifically created for. The soul cannot be correct without it and it cannot be completely corrupted with its presence. In fact, if a person knows with certainty that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, then he will enter Jannah.

It is authentically reported from many different ahadith on the authority of 'Uthman bin 'Affan, Abu Dharr, Mu'adh bin Jabal, Abū Hurayrah, 'Utban bin Malik, 'Ubadah bin aş-Şămit, and others that the Prophet said that no one from the people of tawhid will remain in the Hellfire forever. Allah will remove those who even have as little as a grain or a mustard seed of iman from the Fire.

Indeed, I have spoken at length about the mistakes of the philoso- phers, including the treatise Al-Mabda' wal-Ma'ad by Abu 'Ali Ibn Sină, which he claims contains the secrets of their philosophies. I clarified the abundant ignorance and disbelief of their beliefs using their own language and the terms that they use. They affirm certain truths from the religion, but they also believe in certain falsehoods that oppose these truths. I clarified the aspects of their belief and disbelief in Islam as is required as a matter of being just and fair.

Indeed, Allah commanded us to establish justice and commanded us to be fair to the different nations, as Allah, the Most High, said to His Messenger:

أُمِرْتُ لِأَعْدِلَ بَيْنَكُمُ 

"I [Muhammad] have been commanded to estab- lish justice among you." [Surah ash-Shura 42:15]

And He, the Most High, said:

انَ النَّاسُ اُمَّۃً وَّاحِدَۃً ۟ فَبَعَثَ اللّٰهُ النَّبِیّٖنَ مُبَشِّرِیۡنَ وَ مُنۡذِرِیۡنَ ۪ وَ اَنۡزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الۡکِتٰبَ بِالۡحَقِّ لِیَحۡکُمَ بَیۡنَ النَّاسِ فِیۡمَا اخۡتَلَفُوۡا فِیۡهِ ؕ وَ مَا اخۡتَلَفَ فِیۡهِ اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوۡهُ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡهُمُ الۡبَیِّنٰتُ بَغۡیًۢا بَیۡنَهُمۡ ۚ فَهَدَی اللّٰهُ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لِمَا اخۡتَلَفُوۡا فِیۡهِ مِنَ الۡحَقِّ بِاِذۡنِهٖ ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ یَهۡدِیۡ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ اِلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ﴿۲۱۳

Mankind were one community and Allah sent prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed. And He, the Most High, said: [Surah al-Baqarah 2:213]

وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ 

And we revealed with them the scripture and the balance (justice) that mankind may establish justice. [Surah al-Hadid 57:25]

(1)Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi wrote a book called Aquam al-Ladhat (The Types of Pleasures).

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