Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects upon the true meaning of intellect.
To truly possess intellect means to understand the truth that Allah revealed to the Messenger of Truth ﷺ. Whoever does not understand this cannot be described as possessing intellect. Such a person may know how to eat and drink, trade, give and take in this worldly life, but Allah guides even animals to some of these things. He is the One who apportions and guides. He guides animals to fulfil their worldly needs:
Your Lord taught the bee: make your homes on hills, in trees, and in men’s habitations; then eat of all the produce (of the earth) and follow the ways of your Lord made smooth. There issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, in which is healing for people: truly in this is a sign for those who reflect.1
In spite of this amazing divine order and this precious beneficial substance that comes forth from bees, it does not cause the bee to be considered among those who have intellect: those who are chosen to have direct knowledge of Allah. Only those who understand the message that Allah has revealed are the people of intellect:
Give glad tidings to My slaves – those who listen to the word and follow the best of it: those are the ones who Allah has guided, and those are the ones endued with intellect.2
This is why they say that if you know everything but you were not blessed with knowledge of the Creator, in reality you know nothing. What do you know if you do not know the Creator, His names and His attributes? If you knew this you would venerate Him and be in a position to attain His closeness and pleasure.
Extracts from a talk in the mawlid in Dar al-Mustafa 12th Rabi` al-Thani 1434 / 21st February 2013.