Understanding Islam

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Who is Right & Who is Wrong


Question
Every religious denomination knows the consequences of prayer, fast & pilgrimage etc. These Muslim Scholars have a great knowledge of sharia & they have read hundred books of different sects & they know that what is right or wrong, but on different issues they have different views e.g., let say, issue of intercession, coming of Isa, etc. One says that intercession is lawful & the other says that this is unlawful in Islam according to their perception. But please bear in mind that these scholars have no stubbornness & are utmost sincere to attain the most comprehensive understanding & education regarding Islam & they have full faith in God, have believe on the day of resurrection & hell or paradise, & they believe that we shall be thrown in to hell fire if we fall in to transgression. Please tell me in the light of Quran & Sunnah that who is right & who is wrong in the sight of Allah, although both scholars are sincere to Islam according to their mental approach.

Thank you very much

M. Aslam Saqi
Pakistan



Question from Pakistan
Answer
Before I come to answer your specific question, I'd like to say that we - the believers - must always keep in mind the principle that Allah has devised for Himself and has explained it at scores of places in the Holy Qur'an. To quote some verses:

And guard yourself against a day in which you will be brought back to Allah. Then every soul will be paid in full that which it has earned and THEY WILL NOT BE WRONGED. (2:281)

How (will it be with them) when we have brought them all together to a Day of which there is no doubt, when every soul will be paid in full what it has earned, and THEY WILL NOT BE WRONGED. (3:25)

And Allah has created the heavens and the earth with truth, that every soul may be repaid what it has earned. And THEY WILL NOT BE WRONGED. (45:22)

All these verses proclaim that Allah is Absolutely Just. He will not do anything unjust in the minutest sense. It is the principle, which He Himself has devised and will undoubtedly adhere to it. This is what we must appreciate and bear deeply in our minds.

Now, coming to your specific questions. After delineating various differences of opinion prevailing among the Muslim scholars, you write:

But please bear in mind that these scholars have no stubbornness & are utmost sincere to attain the most comprehensive understanding & education regarding Islam & they have full faith in God, have believe on the day of resurrection & hell or paradise, & they believe that we shall be thrown in to hell fire if we fall in to transgression.

Firstly, this is indeed a conviction described as a matter of fact that the Muslim scholars though have different opinions regarding some issues, they do profess faith in the established facts of the Islamic faith and develop their understanding regarding other issues with utmost sincerity. Secondly, we - humans - have no criteria to judge any person's sincerity or otherwise. We can only accept or differ with a scholar's opinion on the basis of his reasoning1.

Do you think that it would be justified to punish anyone who ended up concluding some inappropriate viewpoint even when he tried his level best very sincerely? Obviously not, because this is against the established norms of justice. Therefore, I assert that a human should only be held responsible for using his faculties and resources very sincerely. It is beyond his capacity to always arrive at an opinion in the purely accurate manner because the very mode of knowing the truth is in itself not always clear of errors. We come to know the truth by using our reasoning faculty and the information available to us. Ironically, both are susceptible to errors and mistakes. However much we ponder and meditate over an issue, it does not preclude the possibility of our going wrong since the very items on which we base our decisions are not always perfect.  Thus, it is very likely that while trying to arrive at the right conclusion we may end up forming a wrong one. The only thing we can guarantee is the sincerity of heart with which we embark upon the journey to know the truth. Since Allah has promised that He would never wrong any soul, I am fully confident that everyone who sets out in order to find the truth with a sincere heart shall be forgiven for his honest mistakes and be allowed to enter God's Paradise.

You ask:

Please tell me in the light of Quran & Sunnah that who is right & who is wrong in the sight of Allah.

Obviously, only that person will be absolutely 'right' in the sight of Allah, who has succeeded, by the Grace of the Almighty, to arrive at the right decisions. As for us, we will still weigh the decisions of every scholar in the scales of sense and reason because this is the only criterion that is available to human beings. However, we will only know who has been completely right in the sight of Allah in the Hereafter. However, as I explained earlier, every sincere seeker of the truth will be rewarded accordingly since it is what the Lord has promised to us.

Jhangeer Hanif
June 12, 2003


1 Edited by Moiz Amjad




Answer published by Jhangeer Hanif