On Difference!

Recently my friend posed some questions pertaining to the difference of opinions amongst the religious sects and the difficulties he faces in making the decision to be with the right people. I felt great respect when he asked me about the minimum set of belief that is needed to escape from the hellfire. While struggling to keep his way of life untainted with the culture he lives in, these differences of opinion inside the religion brought to him a kind of confusion.

Every known school of thought seemed to be biased while claiming that the ultimate truth is with them and every individual is biased to what he think as the Truth.

Should we be afraid of being biased while the truth itself is biased?

Impartiality is important and necessary for one who does not know the truth. Therefore, to find the truth we have to get a stand equally distant from and near to every party involved. But once we achieved the truth we should never lose it.

Thanks to Almighty Allah, The Holy Quran does not allow an honest truth seeker to be confused, In the First Chapter Sura Al Fatiha Vese No 7 , Allah explains clearly the Right Path as the path of the best people.

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ

“The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors, Not [the path] of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray”

If you just look around you and a bit more behind in the history you can easily see that these differences are innovations and The Great personalities of this Religion standing up as Light-houses for the whole humanity. The Holy Quran says:

وَقُلْ جَاء الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا

And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing [thing].

Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 10:22 am  Comments (3)  
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  1. Your friend has raised a really valid point on his confusion about the various sects and the difficulty in choosing the right path. One of the points you mentioned is really good – that the truth is biased.

    I would like comment on it a bit.

    Truth is indeed biased. There are hundreds of formal and informal religion in this world. But – There is only one true religion – Islam.

    The division in sects in Islam is also the same. There is only one group which is on true path. This very fact is also told to us by Prophet(SA) when he said that his ummah will be divided to 73, and the real right path is those of his and his rightful companions.

    So, yes, it is true that the truth is biased, and only one group has it – but the real problem is to find that group.

    A person enters Islam from other belief mainly by 4 reasons.

    1) He reads a few portion of Quran or listen to it, and there is an immediate change within himself. Best example would be Umar (RA).
    Many times, in recent times, we see people reading few lines of Quran, and immediately get convinced that Quran cannot be anything – except from the Lord of the world.

    2) He learn the way of life of a Muslim, and get so much attracted to it – that he says this action can only be performed by a believer of a true religion. Best example, is someone attracted to Islam by seeing the discipline of a room mate in keeping his five times prayer and his personal hygiene.

    3) He learned about Islam and misconceptions and gets clarified. He learns about books written by daai on clarifying misconceptions on Islam and also other book written on Islam.

    4) Use intellect. He uses his intellectual power to see the truth from false hood. An example is a scientist who became Muslim when he read about a verse where Allah says that he can recreate a person even from a finger nail.

    Can a seeker of truth who wants to know the right “group”, use the above methods.

    1) Reading Quran translation – many scholars them self discourage someone to learn Islam just by reading a translation. This is true for an extend – since the quranic verses themself sometime cannot convey a belief – unless taken with sunnah and comments from scholars. Best example is, learning about Ilmul kalam from Quran. It is quite tough for a novice (or even or proficient) to learn about ilmul kalam just by reading Quran translation.

    Also ,the footnotes of many translations usually contain points of belief of the author, and thus same verse will be given different interpretation by different translators.

    2) Learn the way of life by a group of sect and decide. Not sure how much effective. Today is world of branding and labeling. Many words are used to brand a group, and also, nowadays, it is not possible to read any publication or listen to any lectures without the author/speaker telling bad about the other group, and create a negative perception.

    Since we cannot learn unless we approach something without any preconceived notion, it become tough for a person to learn about other sects, unless he clears his mind from the negative branding created about them.

    3) Learning about everything and then accepting :- not sure about this again. One of my scholar friend said to me that if took 12-13 years for the scholars to study all these belief, and it is not possible for someone to learn it within days. And you have to go with the right group. The whole question is about which is the right path.

    Once I took a book on aqida and belief to a teacher of that group and asked him to teach me that book. This book was written for common people to read and understand the beliefs and practices of Muslims. He said to me that it is not possible to learn that book unless you learn Arabic language.

    You know that to learn Arabic to read Arabic without “harkath” and understand them, it takes easily 3 years minimum. So, does it mean that he has to wait till 3 years to start learning his belief. So, till that time, what should he believe. Can he stay away from it telling “la adree” – i just dont know. Since he really don’t know about it.

    4) Using intellect. YES/No. Yes – because, it is possible to defend an argument using intellect. NO – because, it is also possible to bring a counter argument using the same intellect.

    So, we see a big problem here. I discussed the above points to look at some of the dilemma being faced by a seeker of truth. Even if he is a true seeker, and genuinely interested in finding the right path – it is very easy for him to get confused and distracted from his search.

    Talking about the search for truth, if a member of a group listens to a lecture or reads of publication of an opposite group, he is looked with suspicion and a frowning look. On top of this, there is scholarly opinion that you should not listen or read others publication.
    So, it means – as far you are believing it – good. Else, you are going on wrong path.

    If you don’t perform an action or practice, , because you are not sure, someone who knows him – will brand him – “…” (you know what i meant). This person was not sure about the action and thus decide to stay away. But now, you see how the people look at him, and this adds up to his dilemma.

    What I like to know is what is the proper etiquette or steps, which a seeker has to follow to learn about the right group and the true aqida/practices. It is not fair to ask him to join the Islamic school and learn the topic for 10 years, before can he can find the truth.
    Or is it just that, leave a seeker to wonder in blindness, in the hope that one day – hopefully he will find the truth.

    Everyone wants to know the truth. When we sacrifice something for Islam, we also want that sacrifice to be complete – that is both our beliefs and actions are in synch with those of the right path. But looking at the topsy turvy path in front of him, he just say to Allah “Oh Allah, guide us in the straight. Path of those whom you blessed, and not of those who are astray”.

    And sincerely hope that Allah accepts his humble dua and guide him to the straight path.

  2. I would like to write on the candid comment posted by Truth Seeker. He thinks that the confusion of my friend that I referred in the post ‘on difference’ is quite sensible and explains the reason. He cited four ‘reasons’ or ‘methods’ of people to come to the Truth/Islam and counted Using intellect being one of them.

    For me, this ‘classification of reasons’ has some serious errors. It conveys a wrong notion that the first 3 classes don’t use intellect at all!

    Islam includes scores of values and principles, so nobody can swallow them all at once. However, basic principles about the Almighty God and The Beloved Messenger should not be overlooked or misunderstood, Also there are undisputed articles of the religion that everybody must accept. Later on, every Muslim is expected and instructed by the religion itself to increase his/her knowledge of Islam as much as possible.

    The prophet said that the only one among 73 groups is the right group. However, he clearly defines them as those who follow THE PROPHET AND HIS COMPANIONS.

    There is no room for confusion. You can look the traditions, look out for the activities of the concerned groups, and find out the right group. That is all.

    In my experience when I see the right group as visible as the daylight without any kind of confusion. I cannot help being affiliated with those people. Here, I do not care at all to be branded or to be laughed at, since I have the real conviction.

    Still I listen carefully and with due respect to the argument of other groups trying to strengthen my own belief and to help them find the truth. If any body thinks that I missed the truth and is kind enough to share the truth, he conceives, I humbly do request him to come on with the facts so that finally we both can share the one and only Truth.

  3. DEAR FRIENDS AND USTHADS ,

    One thing is accepted by all Islamic groups that the truth is very obvious as Allah almighty said قد تبين الرشد …………………..)( ) a man of keen thirst to find the truth may not be misguided. That is what we understood from the above verse of Quran. There is no chance for missing truth if the seeker use his intellect in seeking the history of the all parties who claims who are the holder of the truth. The truth seeker must use the yard stick of warah(ورع )in checking the history of all parties. In my inspection I can understand that any wrong and false holder cannot hold his fancy dress too long. You may see the schoalars like ibin theemiyah even though the have very powerful scholarly fancy dress to cover their false hood the cant hold it too long before that the scholars who have warah(ورع) in their life uncover that fancy dress by critiquing them severely. So another thing to find out the truth is the criticism of scholars who have ورع ,so that just opposite we can see the truth. So what we want is to guide all truthseekers to the presence of pious scholars. There will be all solutions.


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