Becoming a Muslim Thinker
What is the goal of a Muslim leader?
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
“The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”
How can Muslims today benefit others without having a clear understanding of their faith?
So becoming a critical thinker is fundamental.
Muslims are not supposed to follow blindly the leaders.
Otherwise, they are just imitators who don’t understand what they are doing.
As Albert Einstein said:
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
Muslim critical thinkers have four characteristics:
- Thinking by using mind and heart
- Careful to know the source of knowledge – Is it divine or human?
- Questioning and understanding
- Looking for purpose behind everything
Thinking from a Quranic Perspective
The Quran is an invitation to think.
From cover to cover, Allah is reminding people to think for themselves.
The Quraysh, the first audience of the Prophet Muhammad, wasn’t a knowledgeable audience.
Compared to the Jewish tribes of that time, the Romans or the Persians, they were behind.
And yet, Allah invites them to think, reflect, and ponder.
Knowledge is not a prerequisite for thinking.
“Have they not reflected upon their own being? Allah only created the heavens and the earth and everything in between for a purpose and an appointed term. Yet most people are truly in denial of the meeting with their Lord!” [Qur’an 30: 8]
“It is these who commemorate God while standing, sitting, or resting on their sides and who think about the creation of the heavens and the earth and say, “Lord, you have not created all this without reason. Glory be to you. Lord, save us from the torment of the fire”. [Qur’an 3: 191]
Thinking is supposed to inspire a quest for beneficial knowledge.
By the way, seeking knowledge is a command of God that every Muslim should pursue.
It started with the first word of the revelation: Read.
You can pursue any type of knowledge, as long as it benefits benefit people.
Thinking Using Mind & Heart
The Quran insists on thinking for a reason.
Unless we change the way we think, our behaviors won’t change.
The singularity in Islam, though, is that thinking is an intellectual and spiritual exercise.
We think with our minds and hearts.
The mind and heart are interrelated.
When combined, thinking becomes a way to get closer to God.
“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction”. [Qur’an 4: 82]
“Do they not then reflect on the Quran? or are there locks on the hearts?” [Qur’an 47: 24]
“They have hearts but do not understand, eyes but do not see. They have ears but do not hear. They are worse than lost cattle. These are the heedless ones.” [Qur’an 7: 179]
Sometimes, I think about the first Muslims.
They had bites of the Quran – it took 23 years to reveal the whole book.
Sciences were not as developed as today.
And yet, their faith was strong.
Why? Because they were independent thinkers first.
They used their natural gifts of mind and heart to derive conclusions about God. Knowledge came second.
Article posted: 22 April 2020
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