The Second Point: The same speech differs according to who says it, so just as it may point to the superficiality and ignorance of one person, it may indicate the skill and proficiency of another – although the words are the same. For one of them looks to the source and conclusion of what he says, and its context and what precedes it; he thinks of it in relation to its brothers [the other things said] and places it appropriately. He employs it most aptly and seeks out fertile ground in which to sow it. It is clear from this that he is a singular [speaker] and has mastered the subject about which he is speaking. All the concluding phrases of Qur’anic verses related to the sciences and what they have gleaned, are of the above sort.
The Third Point: Due to the perfecting of ways and means, many things that are now commonplace and even toys for children, two centuries ago were considered marvels. So whatever preserves its youth, freshness, and novelty over these long centuries must surely be extraordinary and unique.
The Fourth Point: Guidance is beneficial only when commensurate with the intellectual capacity of the majority of the people. And the great majority are common people, and the common people are not capable of contemplating the sheer truth; they are accustoming to seeing it clothed only in the dress of their familiar imaginings. Because of this, the Qur’an depicts such truths in allegorical form (mutashābihāt), with metaphors (isti‘āra) and similes (tashbīh), and it protects the mass of people, who have not advanced, from falling into the abyss of error. Thus, it is vague and obscure in matters that they necessarily believe to be contrary to actuality due to their superficial emotional view (bi’l-ḥiss al-ẓāhirī), yet it still makes allusion to and indicates the truth.
If you have grasped these points, now consider this: the Islamic religion and Shari‘a are founded on rational proof, and are the sum and substance of the branches of knowledge that comprise the vital essence of all the basic sciences: the science of refining the spirit, and of training the heart, and of educating the conscience, and the science of physical training, and domestic science, and the science of local government, and that of international relations, and the legal sciences, and the science of human relations, and that of social behaviour, and so on and so forth. Moreover, the Shari‘a explains and elucidates where is necessary or needed, and is concise where this is not necessary or [people’s] minds are not ready or the times do not allow, and lays down principles that can be elaborated, deduced, and expanded through consultation and the exercise of reason.
At the present time, all these sciences or even a third of them after one