Islam has placed great emphasis on constantly seeking the ultimate truth living through the transient journey of life. For those who wish to acquire guidance, reflecting upon the stars and all His creations is too a source of knowledge. But what happens once we inherit the legacy of being a Muslim? Does the quest for knowledge end?
Years of embedded generational knowledge becomes the periphery beyond which any knowledge is “foreign” or at times even “sinful.” Does not inheriting Islam as our faith positions us to take more responsibility for the knowledge we possess than merely internalizing the jargon presented to us that apparently only we are capable of interpreting?
This is not to suggest that whatever knowledge is shared with us in our families is flawed but to point out that knowledge could be incomplete and/or erroneous. To err is to be human; and no matter what we claim to know; in one capacity or the other we are all sinners. The believers are sinners who repent which is why understanding the Quran in different contexts with respect to its audience, is a lifelong endeavour as the Quran contains within itself an ocean of knowledge unbounded by the limitations of human thought. Therefore, even the elated authority of scholars does not completely extricate them from the inevitability of human error.
Thus, the quest for knowledge is an interconnected journey that every individual must take. A collaborative rather than a competing approach is required to understand and apply the message of our Deen in communities whilst preserving its essence.
But more than anything else; it requires each one of us to ask the right questions. Where is the knowledge coming from and how authentic is it? Does it even resonate with the code of our Deen or is it something enshrined with the trappings of human perception and biases? How do we warrant forceful marriages or construction of obligatory norms in the name of religion when the reality is far from it? Questioning knowledge should be the norm that everyone warrants. Conclusively, moving closer to our Deen requires willingness to revoke our own biases and demarcation of actions/teachings that are the product of societal construct and those that truly adhere to the message of Islam.
By Anam Mashood