Ibn Sina whilst conveying the impression that he is a man believing in the Islamic Belief of Jannat and Jahannam in a manner accepted and believed by the general body of Muslims, argued the superiority of the philosopher’s conception of heaven and hell. Whilst admitting the validity of physical pleasure and pain of the Life Hereafter, he lays greater stress on the abstract theory of heaven and hell – the conception of the Greek philosophers that Jannat and Jahannam are mere spiritual states or ‘experiences’.
According to this theory of kufr expounded by Avicenna, the souls of men at the time of death could be classified into four categories.
1. Those souls who have become aware while still in the material body, of that spiritual perfection which is the object of its love, but have not attained it, though still yearning after it. This soul then is affected by pain at the loss of its cherished object. This then is the misery and the torment far exceeding the bodily pain and physical anguish of burning and freezing.
2. If, however, the intellectual faculty has achieved a high degree of perfection in the soul, then the latter is able to realize that full spiritual perfection, which lies within the purview of its power. But the pleasure enjoyed by this soul at that moment is not the sensual kind. This then, according to Avicenna, is the destiny of the soul, which has become conscious in the physical body of the nature of intellectual perfection.
3. The Foolish Souls which have not acquired a yearning for perfection, yet leave the physical body without having acquired any vicious or evil bodily disposition. These ‘Foolish Souls’ pass to the wide Mercy of God and attain a kind of ease.
4. If, however, these souls have acquired some evil disposition, and have no other condition but this vicious propensity, then they (the souls) will continue to yearn for the physical body, which is regarded by them (the vicious souls) as an absolute necessity. The souls in this category are acutely tormented by the loss of the physical body and its requirements without being able to attain the object of their desire (which is subsistence in the physical body).
Avicenna interprets the Islamic concept of Jahannam and Jannat propounded by the Ambiyaa as a possibility. In other words he holds the view that the Shari’ah view of Jannat and Jahannam (i.e. the material existence of these two abodes) may also be true to certain extent regarding physical pleasure and pain. However, while conceding this possibility he interprets away the Islamic Jannat and Jahannam as ‘states’ (not real physical places) of physical pleasure and pain engineered by the imagination of man, which in turn is effected by some celestial body. Thus he says that pure souls whilst still in the physical body having fixed their gaze firmly on such beliefs (physical Paradise and Hell), after leaving the body may actually experience those ‘states’ of physical pain and pleasure. This is so, he argues, since these souls (i.e. the Ambiyaa and the general body of Muslims) lack the force to draw supreme spiritual happiness. The baser souls (those who subscribe to the Islamic Doctrines of Reality) experience such low and baser sorts of celestial happiness while the ‘blessed souls’ (of the Greek philosophers and those ‘Muslims’ philosophers who subscribe to these theories of kufr), being perfect, are united to the ESSENCE of Allah. This is Avicenna’s theory Nauzubillah min thaalik.
In his treatise, ‘Ar-Risaalatul Azhaawiyah fi amril Ma’aad.’ Avicenna argues that it would have been an exercise in futility if the Ambiyaa preached the doctrine of a spiritual resurrection to the masses since they are able to conceive only of physical pleasure and pain. He opposes the Islamic Doctrine of the physical resurrection of the body and soul. After death it is only the soul which will experience either everlasting pain or everlasting pleasure. The sum total of this Neo-Platonic doctrine of the Hereafter is that happiness in the world to come, when the soul has been stripped of the physical body and of physical impressions, is the intellectual contemplation of the Essence of God, and misery in the Hereafter is the opposite of that.
The doctrine of Avicenna is essentially a theory of disbelief in the Truth preached by all the Ambiyaa (Alayhimussalaam). Islam rejects the theory as baseless and false. There is no sanction in the Qur’an and Ahadith for this abstract theory which is nothing but a figment of the imagination of men who suffered from oblique knowledge, men who have been misled by shaitaan, men who laboured under the satanic notion that the Deen was revealed for the ignorant masses, they themselves by virtue of their ‘special intelligence’ being exempted from the ambit of the Shari’ah.
Imaam Al-Ghazali’s Refutation Of Avicenna’s Conception Of Kufr
Imaam Al-Ghazali (Rahmatullah alay) categorically refutes the view propounded by Ibn Sina as being in direct conflict with the Beliefs of Islam. He rejects the philosopher’s denial of the physical resurrection of the body and the soul; their denial of the existence of a physical Paradise and Hell, as well as their assertion that the Islamic description of these entities are mere parables coined for the common people, designed to actually connote a spiritual reward and retribution. Imaam Ghazaali (Rahmatullah alayh) takes his stand on the basis of Wahi (revelation) and rejects Avicenna’s reliance on reason. He asks:
“Why should the two sorts of happiness and misery not be combined the spiritual and the bodily?”
In answer to the philosopher’s view that the description of the Life Hereafter occuring in the Holy Qur’an is to be taken as parables for the rank and file of mankind, in the same way as the anthropomorphic passages relating to Allah , Imaam Ghazaali (Rahmatullah alayh) claims that this argument is fallacious. It fails for the elementary reason that the parallel drawn is not a true parallel. In accordance with Arab usage of the metaphor, the anthropomorphic passages in the Holy Qur’an can be interpreted metaphorically and esoterically whereas the descriptions of Paradise and Hell transcend the limit of legitimate allegorisation. To regard them (Paradise and Hell) as mere symbols is to suggest that Rasoolullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and all the Ambiyaa (alayhimussalaam) deliberately falsified the Truth for the benefit of mankind. The lofty office of Nubuwwat (Prophethood) is far too sacred to resort to such falsification of the Truth. The clinching proof in this matter is the irrefutable fact that Allah Azza wa Jal is Almighty and All-Powerful, hence it lies clearly within His Power to effect a physical resurrection wherein there will be the reunification of the body and the soul to receive retribution pleasure and pain in physical abodes.
Rasoolullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) and the entire body of the Ahle Sunna wal Jamma’ throughout the history of Islam have held the firm belief that Jannat and Jahannam are physical abodes which have alread been created. It is therefore, a belief of kufr to entertain the Neo-Platonic theory of Avicenna. Even today some modernist Muslims operating from a variety of platforms universities, the media, discussion groups, etc. are disseminating this belief of kufr among the Muslim youth. Yet, these so-called intelligentsia lack the courage to declare their beliefs. Since the majority of these modernist kufr propounders are men deficient in faith, morals and good actions, they operate under cover of dishonesty and very cunningly attempt to ensnare unwary Muslims especially among the youth into their beliefs of eternal perdition. Muslim students who study under such ‘professors’ have to be doubly on their guard and not permit any contamination of their Imaan by acceptance of theories of kufr cunningly expounded by their lecturers.
Those who propagate theories of kufr among Muslims must know that Allah will most certainly expose them. They will be disgraced here on earth in the community of Muslims as well as in the Aakhirah.