Many religious scholars are confusing the role of human intellect ‘as a tool’ with the role of human intellect ‘as a basis’ to understand Deen. Deen can be understood correctly on the basis of Deen and, of course, through human intellect used as a tool but Deen may not be understood correctly through human intellect used as a basis. The reason is quite simple; human intellect is not infallible ( that is why our Nabi's (s.a.w.w) interpretations of Quran, which we call Hadith, are not product of human intellect; they are product of 'wahi'). If Deen is understood on the basis of conclusions of fallible human intellect, there is every possibility that such understanding may be incorrect because when we use human intellect as a basis to understand Deen, we try to mould provisions of Deen according to conclusions of human intellect, if intellectual conclusions and related provisions of Deen are contradictory or different. But when we use human intellect as a tool to understand Deen, we try to understand Deen by keeping intellectual conclusions according to provisions of Deen; in case of use of human intellect as a tool, we do not mould provisions of Deen according to conclusions of intellect, if both are different or contradictory.
One example of using human intellect as a basis to understand Deen is Mr. Ghamdi. He says because an individual has entered into a social contract with the state- and this social contract obliges individual to obey the state- therefore an individual must not disobey the state because, in Islam, a Muslim is directed to keep his/her contract in all cases. He, in fact, is interpreting religious duties (regarding contract) between individual and state on the basis of Rousseau's philosophy of ‘social contract’. Ghamdi does not believe that our Nabi's (s.a.w.w) interpretations are part of Deen. But he likes making a non-Muslim’s intellectual exertions/philosophy as a basis of understanding Deen. But he does so in such a poor manner that one wonders how he can explain religious duties of a real contract on the basis of Rousseau's fictitious/imaginary ‘social contract’.
It goes without saying nature of contract which Quran/Islam describes and which every Muslim is under obligation to keep at all costs is quite different from the nature of social contract Rousseau is talking about. A contract Islam describes is a real contract between the parties, and this contract has certain elements which make this agreement enforceable under law. There is one party which offers its terms, and a second party which accepts those terms. There is a specified ‘consideration’ which makes basis of agreement. And the most importantly both parties enter into the agreement exercising their ‘free will’. On the other hand, Rousseau’s social contract is not only imaginary but also lacks in all elements mentioned above which make an agreement enforceable under law.
Rousseau’s Theory of Social Contract states "Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains". In the State of Nature men enjoyed equality and freedoms because they could meet their necessities easily due to sufficient resources and small population. With the passage of time, population grew resulting in enhancement of competition among individuals and decrease in resources. Along with it, right of private property was adopted. With the progress of all these factors, men were made more and more subjected to social inequalities and lesser freedoms. It is this sorry state of affairs of which Rousseau presents a solution in the form of Theory of Social Contract. He acknowledges it is not feasible to return to State of Nature to regain the lost equality and freedoms. However keeping with the historical compulsions, the purpose of political system should be to regain maximum equality and freedoms lost during the historical process. According to him, lost equality and freedoms may be regained by submitting individuals’ wills and interests to the collective or ‘general will’ of all individuals. The general will is more than aggregate of wills of all individuals. When individual will is transferred to general will, a sovereign/state/society is born. The sovereign commits to what is good for all individuals which constitute the sovereign; similarly every individual commits to what is good for the sovereign.
We can see that Rousseau’s Social Contract is not a real contract between the parties; it is an artificial/ imaginary contract among the individual and the state. There is no actual party presenting its terms and no second party actually accepting those terms. There is no specified consideration which may be made a basis of agreement. A vague term ‘good of whole’ or ‘good of individual’ has been used which does not convey a clear meaning. There is no free will of both parties entering into the contract. An individual residing permanently into the state is forced to enter into the contract. It means Rousseau’s Social Contract is not only fictitious/ imaginary contract but also lacks in elements which may make such agreement enforceable under law. I wonder how Ghamdi can interpret religious responsibilities under a contract on the basis of Rousseau’s Social Contract (continued).