Can a wall accept the prophethood of prophet Muhammad(PBUH)?
No. It has no wisdom.
Is there any merit to someone who just follows others into accepting prophet Muhammad?
Yes. But there is far more merit to someone who intellects, asks questions, challenges the prophet and then accepts the prophet. That is done using intellection. Wisdom and the prophet both point to the same thing.
Usul al-Kafi Vol. 1 Pg. 10, Narration 12:
« عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ الْحَكَمِ قَالَ قَالَ لِي أَبُو الْحَسَنِ مُوسَى
بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ ع...يَا هِشَامُ مَا بَعَثَ اللَّهُ أَنْبِيَاءَهُ وَ
رُسُلَهُ إِلَى عِبَادِهِ إِلَّا لِيَعْقِلُوا عَنِ اللَّهِ
فَأَحْسَنُهُمُ اسْتِجَابَةً أَحْسَنُهُمْ مَعْرِفَةً وَ أَعْلَمُهُمْ
بِأَمْرِ اللَّهِ أَحْسَنُهُمْ عَقْلًا وَ أَكْمَلُهُمْ عَقْلًا
أَرْفَعُهُمْ دَرَجَةً فِي الدُّنْيَا وَ الْآخِرَةِ يَا هِشَامُ إِنَّ
لِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حُجَّتَيْنِ حُجَّةً ظَاهِرَةً وَ حُجَّةً
بَاطِنَةً فَأَمَّا الظَّاهِرَةُ فَالرُّسُلُ وَ الْأَنْبِيَاءُ وَ
الْأَئِمَّةُ ع وَ أَمَّا الْبَاطِنَةُ فَالْعُقُولُ... » (الكافي،ج 1،
كتاب العقل و الجهل، ح 12، ص 10).
Oh Hisham, Allah has not sent his messengers and prophets to his
servents but to intellect about God. Because people who have
better insight/recognition of God respond better to the call of the
prophets and those who have better knowledge of Allah's affairs have
healthier wisdoms and whoever has a more complete wisdom has a higher
place in this world and the next.
Oh Hisham, There are two proofs/touchstones for people. An internal proof and an external proof. External proofs are the prophets,
messengers, Imams and the internal proof are the wisdoms
What does proof (حجت) mean? It means something that has absolute logical authority over you. Whatever the prophet says is always correct. Similarly whatever our wisdom says is also always correct ie God has not given us a malfunctioning measure. It is us the users of this measure that use it in an incorrect way.
You can damage your wisdom:
An iPhone is wired to connect to the WiFi, take photos, etc. Now imagine if you bashed this iPhone into the ground and still expected it to work the same. Well it doesn't! If you throw into hot water or put dust in its lens...it will no longer be able to take pictures with its original quality. A person who sins will no longer be able to use his wisdom in the same way.
Your wisdom has a certain reach:
Similarly you can't use an iPhone to make 100% accurate financial predictions. It's beyond it's reach. It can tell what it thinks but that would be using a probability. Trusting your iPhone on something it doesn't know of is not a wise decision. Similarly trusting yourself and your wisdom for something your wisdom is mute or can't be 100% accurate is not wise. Our wisdom is mute on what happens in our after-life. It's mute on many theological or judicial stuff. It's not mute on that we need to pray, but it's mute on its number of times or when it needs to be prayed. Yet once its told it makes absolute sense of it.
Some other instances where we use our wisdom:
- How do you accept Qur'an?
- How do you accept prophet Muhammad?
- How do you accept the caliphate after prophet Muhammad?
- How do differentiate between the right and wrong narrations?
- How do you even up come up with criterions to identify right from wrong? I mean you can't say because that scholar said such and such.
- What do when there are things that there are no mention in the Islamic history? e.g. insurance
To Shias the universal aql which functions the same way among humans (unless it sins too much, or reaches beyond its limit) is a source of truth itself. It's a gift bestowed to us by Allah. It's actually his greatest gift. It separates us from the rest of the creation.
To precisely answer the question:
- I don't think any other way is actually possible. Every minute, every action we make is by using our intellection to some extent. Sometimes we use it 1% sometimes we use 100% of it and it's still not enough.
- It's been heavily instructed in the quran to intellect, reflect on the parables, previous nations, stories
- It's been defined by our Imams as God's greatest gift helping us to get to the heavens. Also our most important book the Usul al-Kafi begins with the chapter of intellection, pointing out to its significance.
- And by constant reflection and you can filter right from wrong more frequently
PS: This comes at a cost. I've seen some Shias deeming themselves as intellectuals and saying that commandment that narration no longer applies or the prophet's intellection was weak etc. In Shia Islam you're instructed to question everything but still you must stay within the boundaries of Islam. You can question why one has to go 7 times back and forth in Mecca. If you don't find an answer you still have to do it. Only if you find an answer that is actually against intellection you're allowed to not do it. Why? Because intellection itself is a proof, just like the prophet and Qur'an. It's only difference is that we're sinners we can damage our wisdom just like one can damage an iPhone.