Taking Care in Thinking…

“Taking Care in ones Thinking…”


Imam al-Ghazali quotes Imam al-Shafi`i (Allah’s mercy be on them both) as poetically saying: ‘correctly investigating matters delivers you from delusional understanding…’[1]

صحة النظر في الأمور نجاة من الغرور


  • When we study matters, we should study them in a deep way, i.e. we should seek to understand the matters in a comprehensive way or penetrative way beyond a superficial or basic one. This of course is no easy task. The dangers of superficiality include:

[1] partial knowledge of something and not complete or greater knowledge.

[2] error and mistake.

[3] lack of depth and nuance.

[4] understanding only what is apparent and not beyond that.

  • Non-penetrative study is a major failing especially when seeking an Islamic ruling (hukm) for a particular reality. In the science of Islamic Jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh) this topic is known as tahqiq al-manat (ascertaining the reality behind a ruling). If a person misunderstands the reality h/she is seeking a ruling for, the ruling subsequently derived would be mistaken. This has consequences on important issues that Muslims are faced with such as:

[1] voting for secular political parties.

[2] civic participation, i.e. within the political system.

[3] serving the British army as an soldier.

[4] working with certain government initiatives (PVE, etc.).

[5] incorrectly aligning Muslim interests because of misunderstood realities.

  • Getting assessments and analyses wrong on these realities, therefore, is something very costly for Muslims. It could led them into incorrect actions or dangerous associations or involvements. Thus, thinking deeply in issues and realities is crucial for correct/accurate derivations of rulings.


[1] al-Ghazali, Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, 4:425.


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