The Uncovering of Eleventh Veil
Audition (Al-Sama السمع)
The means of acquiring knowledge are five, hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch. Allah has created these doors for the mind, and all the knowledge is acquired through them. The knowledge of voice and news is attained through hearing, the knowledge of colors and shapes is obtained through sight, the knowledge of sweet and bitter is through taste, the knowledge of odor and stink is through smell and the knowledge of hardness and softness is through touch. Four of the five senses have their own places to reside, but one, namely touch is diffused over the whole body. Ears are for hearing, eyes for seeing, palate to taste and nose is to smell, but the fifth sense is diffused in the whole body. We cannot see without eyes, or cannot hear without ear, or cannot smell without the nose and cannot taste without tongue but the whole body has the capability that it can distinguish between soft or hard and cold and warm. It is possible, however, that the diffusion, which is characteristic of touch, may be shared by any of the other senses as well. The Mutazilites hold that no sense can exist but in a special organ, theory which is contradicted by the fact that the sense of touch has no such organ. Since one of the five senses has no special organ, it follows that, if the sense of touch is generally diffused, the other senses may be capable of the same diffusion. Although it is not my purpose to discuss this question here, I thought of a brief explanation necessary.
Leaving aside sense of hearing, out of rest of the four senses, one sense see, the other smell, the third one taste and the fourth touches. It is incumbent and lawful that after seeing the marvels of the nature, after smelling its pleasant stuff, after tasting its delicious viands and after touching its fine and delicate things, the mind should pursue the way to Allah because it is clear before him that the world is mortal and it is subject to changes and that which accepts changes is a created. Since it is created therefore, there must be its creator which can not be from its genus. He is the creator and the universe is created. He is the Giver of the body and universe is body. The creator of the universe is Eternal and the universe is created. The Creator is infinite and universe is finite. He is the Omnipotent, and the Knower of all. He rules over everything and can do what He wills. He sent Prophets with true evidences, but belief in His Prophets became obligatory only when mankind ascertained the knowledge of Allah by means of hearing. Thus, it is hearing that makes religion obligatory, and for this reason the Sunnis (orthodox Muslims) regard hearing as superior to sight in the domain of religious obligation. If it be said that audition is the station of hearing and sighting is station of seeing, and the vision of Allah is better than hearing His word, I reply that our knowledge of Allah’s vision to the faithful in Paradise is derived from hearing. It is a matter of indifference whether the understanding allows that Allah shall be visible or not, inasmuch as we are assured of the fact by oral tradition. Hence hearing is superior to sight. Moreover, all religious ordinances are based on hearing and could not be established without it. All the prophets on their appearance first spoke in order that those who heard them might believe, then in the second place they showed miracles, which also were confirmed by hearing. What has been said proves that anyone who denies audition denies the entire Shariat and he intentionally hides the ordinances of Shariat.