Asking Questions Vs. Questioning, and Islam:
Asking questions and questioning are not the same. They may look deceptively similar, but they are not. Asking questions represents an intent, a desire to seek, to know, to learn, to seek the right answers, to reach conclusions, to reach the reality, the truth. Questioning on the other hand, has vitally different implications. Questioning comes with preconceived notions, with pre-judgment. Questioning doesn’t seek answers. It seeks affirmation of the questioner’s doubts.
But now unfortunately, the more you question Islam, the more wittingly insulting your tweets, the more conundrum your comments, blogs, articles create on social media [etc.]; the more you are recognized as a seasoned and open-minded individual. An even greater misfortune is that an exceptionally large number of people who are drawn towards Islam, are willing to understand it, are nonetheless beholden to this rhetoric of ‘questioning’ Islam. They seem to be under the impression that those who ‘question’ Islam, turns one into an intelligent and rational human being. Whatever, henceforth, froths at a person’s mouth is ‘wisdom’.
In order to prove their commitment, these ‘well-meaning’ people put their dedication on the platter. They fall head over heels; nay capitulate only to ‘show’ perseverance in being ‘rational’ and ‘open-minded’. They feel a need to prove to their benefactors, who taught them how to ‘think’, that indeed their ‘adoption’ of Islam was a conscious rational decision. It wasn’t through a sermon, it wasn’t through reading and pondering over Qur’an, it wasn’t through seeing the exemplary conduct of the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wassalam), it wasn’t through scholarly tomes and exegesis; it was a logical conclusion of some intellectual gyrations.
It is actually these constructed limits of terminologies, perceptions, thoughts (tasurat ki maar) opinions, perspectives, and the ‘space’ provided in the education institutes, newspapers, media, literature, debates, think tanks, which blindsides people into believing exactly what those who set these ‘limit’s of ‘thinking’ want them to believe in. When followed through a logical progression, the understanding of Islam reached is always flawed, is always one that leaves deeply insidious doubts.
Since this paradigm is already in place, it is used to lay the guilt on Islam. It is always Islam which has to prove its innocence and ‘absolve’ itself. If a Muslim is mired by such a way of thinking, he/she must be cognizant that this attitude has been sternly and unequivocally addressed in the Qur’an:
“Or do you intend to question your Messenger as Moses was questioned before? And whoever exchanges faith for disbelief has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way.” (2:108)
Muslims with doubts and questions need to self-assess whether they are questioning or asking questions? Are they seeking guidance or seeking affirmation of their doubts ?