The chapter Al-Zumar (Crowds) of the Qur’an gives a criterion by which we can recognize those who are endowed with understanding. The translation of the relevant verse is as follows: Who listens to what is said and follows what is best in it. These are the ones God has guided; these are the people endowed with understanding. (39:18)
A statement, whether religious or secular, has different aspects to it. You can see it from different angles. No statement about the human condition is ever as simple as ‘two plus two equals to four’. So, every statement can be interpreted in different ways. Although each statement has only one real meaning, everyone has the freedom to put a right or a wrong interpretation upon it. Whether the statement will be taken in its true sense or otherwise is determined not by the wording of the statement itself but by the mind of the listener. If the listener is objective, he knows, taking the statement point by point, how to sort out what is valid and what is invalid. He has the ability to assess and analyze things. Moreover, if he is an honest person, he will take the statement in the right way, without allowing misunderstandings to arise. The sign of a man of reason is that he has the ability to take the statement from its right perspective. He is free of biased thinking and can take things as they are without going astray.
Anyone who has any claim to being a man of logic and reason must develop this kind of understanding. He must train his mind in such a way that he can understand things in their correct perspective. This is a very great asset for both men and women. If you want to be the right thinker, you have to train yourself and develop this quality. The first condition of right thinking is that you should be objective and be free of all kinds of bias and prejudices. You must have the ability to analyze things on a logical basis. You must know the difference between what is relevant and what is irrelevant. The sign of a man of reason is that he has the ability to take the statement from its right perspective. He is free of biased thinking and can take things as they are without going astray.
Moreover, if you are to take things from the correct angle, you must be an intellectually honest person and also possess the quality of modesty. When one fails to understand things in a proper manner, it is not simply a failure of understanding, it is more than that, it is a missed opportunity. If you take things in the right way, you develop your intellect and your personality. Do not miss the opportunity to do so. Make yourself a complex-free person and then you will be able to understand things without any difficulty. Make yourself free from arrogance, bias, and hatred, and then, according to the above definition, you will become a person who can be described as a man of understanding. It is evident that people of understanding are not born: they are trained. Train yourself and you will become a man of understanding.