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Imam Khomeini through his theological works explained that the soul is not corporeal and physical in nature. Since the properties, effects and activities of the soul are opposed to the properties, effects and activities of the purely corporeal organs.
Imam through his theological works has explained this matter of great significance as following:
It is also improper to say that the faculty of intellect also declines with age, because, firstly, none of the physical faculties grows strong till middle age, so that it may be said that a certain organ of the body has been the centre of intellectual perception that grows in strength till middle age and then becomes weaker, thus rendering weak the faculty of intellect as well.
Secondly, the weakness which continues into middle age is associated with rational thought, which is either a faculty present in the body or is dependent on the physical faculties.
The purely intellectual and higher faculties continue to become stronger than ever before during middle age, although their expression and outward manifestation may be lesser. In short, the strength of the faculty of intellectual perception at the age of forty or fifty years is enough for proving our contention.
Moreover, every such faculty which is nearer to the physical and corporeal domain is inclined to deteriorate and decay more rapidly, and that which is more removed from it weakens more latterly. But the powers belonging to the world of the transcendent and the celestial become stronger and their vitality increases.
This proves that the soul is not corporeal and physical in nature. Since the properties, effects and activities of the soul are opposed to the properties, effects and activities of the purely corporeal organs, it proves that the soul is not corporeal in nature. For instance, through prior knowledge we know that a body does not accept more than one form.
If it is to receive another form, it will have to part with the form it earlier had.
For example, if a picture is drawn on a paper, another picture cannot be painted on that page as long as the first picture is not erased completely.
This principle is applicable to all bodies; but for the soul, while one form is impressed on it, other totally different forms can also be stamped on it without the first form being wiped out. Every corporeal body can receive only finite forms, whereas the soul can receive infinite forms, and it is for this reason that it can posit infinity.
Also, every corporeal body, if it loses one form, that form cannot be restored to it without a renewed cause; but in the case of the soul, any form, after having left it, may return to it without any resumption of the cause.
This shows that the soul is opposed to all corporeal bodies regarding properties, effects and action. Hence it has a non-corporeal existence of its own and does not belong to the category of bodies and physical objects.
Anything that is non-corporeal is not subject to decay - as has been demonstrated in its own place - because decay cannot occur without matter, and the non-corporeal is independent of matter, Imam further explains.
Matter is the precondition of corporeal bodies; therefore, decay is not possible for the soul. Hence we come to the conclusion that the soul does not weaken and decay or is destroyed with the weakening, decay or destruction of the body, or after separating from it. It remains in another world and there is no death and extinction for it; this is a spiritual resurrection for the souls, prior to the Day of Resurrection, when they are united with the bodies by the will of God.
Now we reach the point of absolute affirmation of Resurrection, and stand opposed to those who negate it absolutely. From these preliminaries it should be clear that there is health and disease, reform and corruption, knowledge and wretchedness for souls, and to discover their source and to know the secrets of their corruption and welfare is not possible for anyone except the Holy Essence of the Almighty.
In the perfect system of the cosmos, which is the best of possible systems ordered by the Absolutely Wise and the Omniscient, it is impossible that there should be any negligence regarding the education of mankind as to the ways of its felicity and wretchedness, its guidance towards the causes of spiritual soundness and corruption, and the prescription of remedies for curing the soul.
This is because such negligence would imply a defect either in God’s knowledge or His power, either His generosity or His justice, whereas it is known that His Holy Being is free from all these defects. He is absolutely perfect and absolutely generous.
Any neglect providing guidance pointing out the paths of knowledge and wretchedness will imply a great defect in Divine wisdom, which would lead to cosmic disorder and chaos.
Therefore, the perfect system necessitates the declaration of the paths of felicity and the road to guidance. This explanation leads to two clear conclusions.
One is that the Shari’ah is the prescription for spiritual maladies and is known to none except the Sacred Being of the Almighty.
The other is that it is necessary for God to bring it to the knowledge of man. It is obvious that such a momentous, perfect and precise knowledge, whose apprehension is not possible through the intellectual faculties of men - none of which can grasp either the relationships between tile corporeal and transcendental worlds or the effects of the transcendental forms on the inner depths of the soul - can only be accessible through the agency of wahy or revelation, that is, by means of Divine teaching.
It is clear that every human individual is not worthy of this office and does not have the capability of occupying this station and performing this duty.
It is only once in several centuries that one such individual is to be found who is worthy of performing this task and who can undertake such a great mission. God Almighty assigns to him the task of expounding the paths of felicity and wretchedness to humanity, to make them aware of that wherein lies their welfare.
This is general prophethood (al-nubuwwat al-’ammah). Now that we have arrived at this point in our discussion, we may explain a further point which should be considered as one of self-evident truths.