hundred years. Because the period of Sufyan’s natural study began at the age of reason. His disposition and abilities were slowly prepared and illuminated; they took lessons from everything and became like a match. But his counterpart at the present time, since his thought is submerged in philosophy, his mind plunged in politics, and his heart is giddy at the life of this world, his disposition and abilities have grown distant from interpretation of the law. For sure, they have become distant from interpretation of the Shari’a to the degree they have been preoccupied with the modern sciences, and have remained backward in regard to it to the extent he has become learned in the physical sciences. Therefore, he may not say: “I am as intelligent as him. Why can’t I on a level with him?” He does not have the right to say this, and he cannot be on a level with him.
THE FOURTH: Just as within a body is the inclination to expand, for its growth and development. And, since it is from within, the inclination to expand is a being perfected for the body. Whereas if it is an inclination for expansion from outside it, it is to rip the body’s skin; to destroy it; it is not expansion. In the same way, when the inclination to expand and will to interpret the law were present in those within the sphere of Islam through the door of perfect taqwa and the way of conforming to the essential teachings of Islam, like the righteous early generations, that was a perfection and a being perfected. But if such an inclination and desire come from those who give up the essentials, prefer the life of this world to that of the hereafter, and are tainted with materialist philosophy, it is the means of destroying the body of Islam and casting off the chain of the Shari’a from the neck.
THE FIFTH: Three points of view make interpretation of the law earthly at this time, and prevent it being heavenly. Whereas the Shari’a is heavenly, revealed, and since interpretations of it make known its hidden ordinances, they also are heavenly.
The First: The wisdom of an ordinance is one thing, while the reason for it is something different. Wisdom and benefit are the cause of its choice, not the means of its being necessitated and created. And the reason is the means for its existence. For example, the obligatory prayers are shortened while travelling; two rak’ats are performed. The reason for this permission of the Shari’a is the journey, while its wisdom is the hardship. If there is the journey but no hardship, the prayers are still shortened. For there is the reason. But if there is no journey yet hardship, it may not be the reason for shortening the prayers. Thus, contrary to this fact, the view at this time is to set up the benefit and wisdom in place of the reason, and to make its judgement in accordance with that. Such an interpretation is certainly earthly, not heavenly.
The Second: The view at the present time looks primarily to worldly