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Moral Intelligence Is More Important Than Emotional Intelligence - Moral Intelligence Part 1

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

We Need Moral Intelligence to Survive

It's moral intelligence that prevents me from ending my life. I just didn't have this term to coin before. I learned this interesting lingo from Shaykh Mikaeel Ahmed Smith in his book "With the Heart in Mind - The Moral and Emotional Intelligence of the Prophet. I've been following his work for years and am struck by how relevant his work is in our social media driven world. We seem to be ever so connected but are moving further and further away from real meaningful relationships.

Prophetic Intelligence

I finished reading his book "With the Heart in Mind" and am now rereading it so I can do a podcast series on it inshaAllah. In this month's episode, I go over the Introduction which in itself is replete with deep and insightful knowledge.

In my view, the most important takeaway from this book is this notion of "Prophetic Intelligence." Shaykh Mikaeel states that Prophetic Intelligence consists of three main things:

Social Intelligence

  1. Emotional Intelligence

  2. Moral Intelligence

To my knowledge and in my readings, I've only learned about social and emotional intelligence. So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon or rather Allah guided me to this new - at least to me - term called "Moral Intelligence."

My Antidote to Suicidal Thoughts: Revelation

Alhumdulillah, for decades, I was motivated by Revelation to stay away from suicide. I didn't know that I was actually practicing moral intelligence. We live in a world where "shoulds" and "oughts" are unpopular terms. People who follow religious dogma are deemed "unintelligent."

Well, I love rules and religious dogma thus Shaykh Smith's words and views really resonated with me. I'm a stickler for rules because they give to the mental chaos we live in. Rules, and especially those relating to morality, help me keep my mind in check.

In a world, where everyone is told to "live your truth," Truth itself has become and extinct species. When everyone is doing "what they feel like" and what "makes them feel good," chaos ensues. Why?

Rules are Meant to be Broken?

Well, if every driver on the road makes up their own rules and drive as they feel like, then accidents ensue. My views in this post might not resonate with everyone reading this but that's okay. I'm used to saying things that are unpopular.

Before reading "With the Heart in Mind," I was very conscious of being a visible Muslim. I felt like a stranger. Now I know I am a stranger because I've accepted that reality.

Narrated Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood: “Indeed, Islam began as something strange, and it will return to being strange just as it began, so glad tidings of paradise be for the strangers.”

Reference : Sunan Ibn Majah 3986

A Moral Compass

Our modern discourse is becoming more and more devoid of a moral compass. When everyone lives their truth, then Truth itself becomes blurred. We make demigods out of our feelings and they guide us to everything, for better or worse.

Divine Revelation as Our Guidance

I believe that following Allah's Divine Guidance as lived by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is crucial for our mental fitness not that we obey Allah for that reason. At the same time, following the Quran and Sunnah pleases our Lord and is actually good for us.

Moreover for the purposes of this blog, I focus on the mental wellness implications of living a life that is guided, and dare I say dictated, by the Quran brings us mental peace. And in a world grappling with confusion and chaos, we could all use a little serenity.


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