We often ask questions that are not important. Questions that are just small details or exceptions to everyday life. We begin to search and question things that do not come together as we hope so we dig for more details which lead us to confusion, doubt and at times rejection.
We all have questions and we all want answers. Sometimes the answers we get are not always what we like, but, “They are answers!” When it comes to questions about truth, one of the keys for success is in truly wanting answers and not just the answers we personally want. One of the warning signs of the personal approach to questioning is in how we ask the question. We may ask a subjective question leading towards our desires because we have already made up our mind but are seeking validation or we can take the other beneficial approach which is to ask an objective question that we might not like the answer to however we have the simple intention of just wanting a better understanding.
One of the ways to help us with the objective approach to questions in Islam is to remember a few important details for seeking knowledge. Everything we do starts with our intention to please Allah alone without partner. It is not an intention to please our personal desires. Those things we want, but do not really need. After we have checked our intention and made it all about pleasing our Creator we then move on to a reminder that everything in Islam has a base principle that leads to an exception to that principle based on circumstance.
Simply put we need to understand that every rule can be bent and some can even be broken depending on Necessity. Thank you Morpheus!
One extra point before we move on is that we need to understand how things are defined from the teachings of Submission (Islam). We all have definitions in our head that we are personally attached to, but as Muslims we make the choice to reject our personal understanding for a better understanding that was given to us by our Creator since it is He that knows and we do not.
[6:162] Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah , Lord of the worlds.
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
We then can get further insight by knowing the actions of the Prophet and Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).
So lets define Necessity in Islam. Necessity is not based on our own personal comparisons of needs vs wants, and it is not based on how we feel or how we rationalize how we feel. Necessity in Islam is simply defined as a situation of definite harm and even death in which we can approach those things that are forbidden to prevent such undesirable outcomes.
For example the general principle in Islam is that eating flesh of swine is Haraam (forbidden). Now what about circumstance? What if one will die without food and nothing is available except swine? Prevention of death falls within the realm of Necessity so to survive we can break the rule of eating swine to prevent starvation and it is not counted as a sin on our record on the day of Judgement. We have even been given permission to commit the greatest of sins upon our tongue which is to associate partners with Allah (Shirk). This means that if ones life is on the line and the only way out is to reject Islam or face harm and possible death then under the principle of Necessity we can reject Islam, reject the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and even reject Allah Himself.
There is one more very important detail about Necessity that we have to mention to prevent its misuse. Everything we do starts in the heart and when a situation of Necessity arises we start by seeking forgiveness for the act we are about to commit out of “Necessity”. It is very, very, very important not to confuse Necessity with our daily wants and weakness as Muslims. Like the excuses for missing prayer, having rude speech, and our frequent overtly poor behaviour. Did I forget to mention that this is, “Very important!”
Why does this all mean? Well, when a question comes to mind we have a tendency to approach Islam by looking for the exceptions. Those details that will benefit us and conform to our way of thinking. It is an approach that we subconsciously manipulate to fit our needs, but we often fall in the trap of not understanding the foundation of the principles which makes the details strange and incomprehensible. It is this “jump to the end approach” that leads us to confusion, leads us to doubt and leads many of us to the outright rejection of submission (Islam) to our Creator.
So the next time a question comes up we need to make a clear intention to proceed in the best way possible that is pleasing to Allah. We need to make supplication (du’a) that Allah grants us knowledge of benefit and the strength to accept what comes even if we do not like it.
This is a very simple way to look at things and is only intended as a starting point on the topic. It does require way more study than a few Google searches or Facebook comments, but it is an important principle that will help us so much if we understand it.
It was narrated from Umm Salamah that when the Prophet (ﷺ) performed the Subh (morning prayer), while he said the Salam, he would say: ‘Allahumma inni as’aluka ‘ilman nafi’an, wa rizqan tayyiban, wa ‘amalan mutaqabbalan (O Allah, I ask You for beneficial knowledge, goodly provision and acceptable deeds).’”