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The Acceptance of Iman Intelligence among Islamic Scholars in Malaysia.


The best description of Intelligence is a mental quality for human to acquire new knowledge, adapt to different circumstances, understand and able to manage complicated thoughts, and ability to apply knowledge for solving problems (Jaarsveld and Lachmann, 2017). In the evolution of human intelligence, there were various types of intelligence introduced such as General intelligence, Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Intelligence (Goleman, 2001), Spiritual Intelligence (Amram, 2007), Moral Intelligence (MI) or even Heart Intelligence (HI). In addition, a new form of intelligence was introduced called Iman intelligence, defined as a human capability to process any types of information, in any situation and to react accordingly, which may lead to the expression of an individual ability to make a good decision, demonstrate problems solving skills, behave decisively based on Islamic principle (Shahrul and Zurina, 2016).

Problems Statement

The basis of many intelligence concepts in modern world are on the idea that human used their brain to think. There were many studies conducted to understand better the mechanism of brain in fulfilling the function as center of intelligence for human. Countless arguments given to enhance the perceptions that brain is the most important human organ when it comes to human intellectual.

There was also a theory claimed that actually heart is the authentic human organ which functioned as a key for human intellectual. A great Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC), known as a great classical biologist in Greek point out that the heart is the organ of human intellectual (Tracy, Theodore S.J., 1974; Frampton, 1991; Crivellato and Ribatti, 2007). According to him, messages sent from the brain can influent the heart; it does not necessarily obey it all the time. Furthermore, the heart's "mini-brain" can send its own signals to the brain and exercise its influence on it. Therefore, Muslims need Iman intelligence as a tool to measure their performance in life or a method of purification of heart. The heart can plan a vital role in governing the human in becoming good or evil. The Prophet Muhammad SAW said as narrated by An-Nu'man bin Bashir,

Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.

(Sahih Bukhari, Volume:1 Book :2 Number :49)

This hadith provide an insight about the effort in strengthening and purifying the heart to become excellent Muslims. According to Shodiq (2014), Iman is measurable by using proper method such as scale measurement, observation and other method. The purification of the Iman is necessary in order for Muslims to face the great challenges in this world (Salek, 2016). Thus, the design of the study is to get feedback or perhaps approval and recognition from Islamic scholars and experts regarding the application of Iman as a new form of intelligence, which needs measurement to determine the level of intelligence.

Research Questions

This research organized a pilot study to answer three research questions, which are:

1. Can Iman be measured?

2. Can Iman Intelligence be applied as an auditing tool for Muslims for self-improvement?

Literature Review


Islam that build with strong faith (Iman), comprehends all aspects of human way of life is the most precious element for Muslims (Islam and Islam, 2017). Theologically, Iman can be defined as a belief that exist in the heart (tasdiq), to testify with the tongue and to act with the body

(Abdullah, 2002). According to Kadhim, et. al. (2017), obedience to Allah the almighty and His Messenger, Muhammad SAW commandments are important elements of Iman. From the perspective of Toshihiko Izutsu, Iman act as an important element that has high influence on human and society (Ismah, 2015). Iman raises the spirit of work and willingness to sacrifice their wealth for Islam and to demonstrate good manners and good deeds for the sake of Allah (Salek, 2016).

"And those who believed and did righteous deeds will be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein by permission of their Lord; and their greeting therein will be, "Peace!"

(Quran, 14:23)

According to Ibnu Katsir, Allah promised that for those who has strong Iman (faith) and perform good deeds shall be a reward with Jannah (heaven). Supposedly, this should become our ultimate reason why we need to have a good quality of Iman.


Generally, the definition of intellectual capability or intelligence is the mental ability to learn, to communicate, to think, to rationalize and to interact with the environment. This will initiate the capability of a person in solving problems, generating new ideas and produce innovative creation. A quality human capital must possess the various types of intelligence like cognitive (IQ), emotional (EI) and spiritual (SI), moral and even heart intelligence.

Intelligence can be accurately tested with achieved scores predicting several broad social outcomes such as educational achievement, job performance, health, and longevity (Shanthi, et. al., 2015) and problems solving (Jaarsveld and Lachmann, 2017).

Iman Intelligence

In order to improve the quality of life and to get ahead with the life after death, Muslims must possess the irrepressible intelligence of Iman. Iman intelligence defined as a human capability to process any types of information, in any situation and to react accordingly, which may lead to the expression of an individual ability to make a good decision, demonstrate problems solving skills, behave decisively, think rationally, and communicate effectively with the physical and social environment. In additional, the uniqueness of the definition is that it is for the sake of Allah the Greatest, the Holy Messenger Muhammad SAW and based on the doctrine of Islam

Until today, many types of intelligence introduced but none of it based on Islamic fundamentals that is applicable to improve the quality of Muslims. According to Howard (2009), even though Spiritual intelligence empowers the individual to cope with and resolve life-world issues while demonstrating virtuous behavior such as humility, compassion, gratitude, and wisdom, it did not refer to any specific religious orientation. Even though Islamic Spirituality covered fundamental questions about human existential perspectives, and serve as a guidance for human to live their life in a positive ways, thoughts and emotions (Bensaid et. al., 2014) but it did not apply the fundamental Islamic belief which is Iman. Furthermore, the measurement is different to what Iman intelligence wants to demonstrate. Iman intelligence will be more specific, it will refer and focus on A1-Quran, and Hadiths based on the 77 branches of Iman documented by Imam A1-Bukhari in The Book of Fathul Bari written by Ibnu Hajar (Abdullah, 2002).

Conceptual Framework

The study propose an Iman Intelligence theoretical framework prepared based on the 77 branches of iman from the book of Fathul Bari who the author was Ibnu Hajar al-'Asqalani.

Reported by Abu Hurairah (r.a): Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Iman (faith) has sixty odd or seventy odd branches. The uppermost of all these is the Testimony of Faith: La ilaha illallah' (there is no true god except Allah) while the least of them is the removal of harmful object from the road. And shyness is a branch of Iman."

[Bukhari and Muslim, Book 1:56]

Based on the hadiths, Muslims scholars believe there are about 77 branches of iman. In addition, the branches shall be group accordingly. The study categorized the 77 branches of iman into five components, which are:

1. 'Aqidah (Belief)

2. Ibadah

3. Social relationship

4. Integrity

5. Akhlak

Research Methodology

Research Design

The research conducted a qualitative study to complete it. This pilot study will focus on explaining, interpret Iman intelligence in a best way, and provide new insight about Iman intelligence.


This research used Content analysis method, as this is a detailed and systematic evaluation of the contents for Iman Intelligence.

Data Collection

This research conducted structured interviews for 12 experts (Creswell, 2012) chosen from various Islamic background, according to the criteria as below:

1) Muslims who practiced Islam as Ahli Sunnah wal Jamaah.

2) Performing as an Islamic leader/ lecturer/ researcher at the organization/ society.

3) Well versed in knowledge about Iman.

A set of questions sent to the respective participants a month before the interview, so that the experts will have enough time to prepare the answer for the questions. The interview sessions began with a detailed explanation on the purpose for conducting the study and a brief presentation on Iman and intelligence. The questions developed for the interviews aimed at exploring the concept of Iman intelligence and acceptance level of the experts. The interviews focused on two questions as indicated in Table 2.

Findings and Discussion

The demographic analysis can be referred a as indicated in Table 2. The table shows that majority of the respondents were male (n=9, 75%); age group of 55-59% (n=6, 50%) and education level of Master/ PhD (n=9, 75%).

The structured interviews organized to explore the experts' views related to questions about Iman intelligence. The presentation of the summarized findings, which was according to the feedback by experts (transcribed), pertaining to the research questions:

1. Can Iman be measured?

Most participants do not have any doubt to accept that Iman is measurable. Moreover, dalil from the Noble Quran and hadiths supported their opinions.

As Mufti 1 said:

"Iman can increase and decrease. Therefore, I think yes, Iman is measurable. Nobody tried to develop it. You can refer to dalil from Al-Quran, Surah at-Taubah (124-125) which means Iman can increase and decrease. However, if you wish to develop it, please be careful. The measurement should not reflects the outcome of the particular person (referring to Jannah or Hell as the outcome of the measurement)."

According to Lecturer 4:

"Logically, it sounds impossible to measure Iman. It is not tangible. However, I think yes it is possible with a good and right method. Possible but difficult. Perhaps this verse of Surah Al-Imran can guide us better. (Citing the verse of al-Imran; 173, where it says Iman can increase)."

2. Can Iman Intelligence be applied as an auditing tool for Muslims for self-improvement?

The question focus on how Iman intelligence can act as self-auditing tool for Muslims used for improving the quality of Muslims.

Mufti 2 highlighted that if there is a measurement, it must be simple and clear to be usable by Muslims. As Mufti 2 mentioned during the interview:

"Well this is a good effort to provide Muslims with some type of Iman measurement. Just make sure the measurement will not burden the users to apply. If you want to use the branches of Iman as the measurement, that is good. If possible, you may reduce to minimum questions.

In addition, Lecturer 3 and Lecturer 5 encourage the study to come out with a simple but applicable measurement that is usable by Muslims as a tool for Muhasabah (self-evaluation)

Lecturer 3 said:

"So far we don't have a proper tool that can be used to measure Iman or even to use for self-evaluation. If you can develop it, than it can contribute something to the knowledge of Islam."

Moreover, comment from Lecturer 5, said:

"Yes, of course it can. What I can tell you is, Iman is so important for Muslims. With or without measurement tools, Iman should be something all of us need to have. Moreover, it is good if we can know which part of ourselves that needed to be improved. Importantly to improve and sustain our strength (referring to Iman).


This pilot study attempt to introduce and suggest a new form of intelligence called Iman intelligence. In order to answer the main question on the consideration to whether Iman intelligence as an intelligence, the answer is YES. To become high quality Muslims, we need to provide them with inferiority of knowledge and skills. At the same time, it is important to realize the essentials of their intelligences, including Iman intelligence for the benefits of organizations and nation. The main challenge for Iman intelligence is the wide acceptance by Islamic researchers and scholars. Hence, there is a need to conduct more research and discussions regarding the Iman intelligence as it will contribute to the body of knowledge in the world of Islam, especially for the benefits of about 2 billion Muslims worldwide.


Abdullah, S.A.A. (2002). Fathul Bari Syarah Shahih Al-Bukhari by Ibnu Hajar Al-'Asqalani. Jilid 1. Jakarta-Pustaka Azzam. ISBN 979 3002-03-4.

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Shahrul Suhaimi Ab Shokor (*)

College of Business and Accounting, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Malaysia


Mohd. Shukri Hanapi

Centre for Islamic Development Management Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Azreen Hamiza Abdul Aziz

Centre for Islamic Development Management Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Zurina Ismail

College of Business and Accounting, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Malaysia

(*) Corresponding Author
Table 1: The List of Respondents in The Structured Interview.

Respondents                             Status

Mufti 1                            State Government
Mufti 2                            State Government
Mufti 3                            State Government
Lecturer 1 (UM)              Higher Education Institution
Lecturer 2 (USM)             Higher Education Institution
Lecturer 3 (UNISZA)          Higher Education Institution
Lecturer 4 (USM)             Higher Education Institution
Lecturer 5 (UMP)             Higher Education Institution
Director/ Lecturer 1 (USIM)  Higher Education Institution
Dean/ Lecturer 2 (KUIPSAS)   Higher Education Institution
Imam 1                                 Society
Jakim 1                           Federal Government

Respondents                  Work Experiences

Mufti 1                           4 years
Mufti 2                          32 years
Mufti 3                           4 years
Lecturer 1 (UM)                  19 years
Lecturer 2 (USM)                 10 years
Lecturer 3 (UNISZA)               8 years
Lecturer 4 (USM)                 12 years
Lecturer 5 (UMP)                 12 years
Director/ Lecturer 1 (USIM)       3 years
Dean/ Lecturer 2 (KUIPSAS)        6 years
Imam 1                            5 years
Jakim 1                           5 years

Table 2: Questions Asked During the Interviews

1.  Can Iman be measured?
2.  Can Iman Intelligence be applied as an auditing tool for Muslims
    for self-improvement?

Table 1: Demographic Analysis of Participants

Criteria         Category       Number  Percentage

Gender           Male             9        75%
                 Female           3        25%
Age Group        40-44            1         8%
                 45-49            2        17%

                 55-59            6        50%
                 60 and above     1         8%
Education Level  Undergraduate    2        17%
                 Master/ PhD      9        75%
                 Others           1         8%
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Article Details
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Author:Shokor, Shahrul Suhaimi Ab; Hanapi, Mohd. Shukri; Aziz, Azreen Hamiza Abdul; Ismail, Zurina
Publication:Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:Apr 1, 2018
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