no such as thing as ‘i think.’ Either you know or you dont, its simple as that

Q:Salam Alaikum,

It can become a little tricky in Halaqas when it comes to tafseer and hadeeth. Some end up saying: “I think…” while talking about a quranic ayah or a hadeeth. Should there be a scholar present in the Halaqa so some of us unqualified individuals do not start interpreting the quran according to our gut feelings?  How should we discuss the quran and hadeeth without falling into error? Should we just stick to reading an interpretation of the ayahs/hadeeth from a credable source? What would be a credable source?
What should we focus on in Halaqas?

Jazakumullah khairan for taking the time to answer my questions.

Time: Tuesday February 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm

A: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

To say even that which is correct without proof is a sin in Islam. Islam is not a religion that shares the sentiments of making random claims, ideas and ‘feelings.’ One must know what they are saying and say what they intend to say from verifiable tafseer/hadith sources prior to saying them.
Just as one cannot say: i think i am a lawyer, doctor or teacher and thus i am entitled to work in these professions; likewise if one has the zeal of wanting to impart religious knowledge, then in such an instance, the one choosing to do so must acquire the necessary skills in order to do justice to what they intend to impart. Thus,  to outline certain matters of religion without proof is to assist oneself in attaining a place in hell. (as derived from hadith)

So what do we focus on:

In halaqas wherein non-qualified persons exist, group members should best focus on matters that would make a person better people, not delve upon technical aspects of religion. It is like a kindergartner reading a book on cell biology and thinking his/her heart resembles the pretty picture in the text. This is exactly what halaqas have turned out to be in modern times.

Topic ideas for halaqas:

Halaqas are supposed to be practical, it is to make a person a better at dealing with aspects of reality. here are things to think about more often: How to be  better human, dealing with argumentative spouses, dealing with misbehaviors of children, how to deal with the elderly, working with the sick, coping with a physically challenged child, dealing with anger/abuse/selfish husband/wife/father/mother, cooking skills, cooking for a cancer patient/diabetic, character in situations that promote immorality, respect for adults, love of Allah, sunnah, fard, attaining closeness to Allah while doing good deeds. You may view all most of these ideas as vain, yet, this is because either you have studied these subjects or chose to have your thinking on vacation.

These above is being addressed in college classrooms on a daily bases. Muslims must learn to continually adapt and share there knowledge to other halaqa members for greater understanding of religion and the various sciences. These are the exact topics that would make you a better person, make you more successful in your life skills. Muslim woman of the past did just this.

If the above is to complicated, make your life easy, read the works of Imaam Ghazali at each meeting, trust me, after the first volume you shall see changes. If not, chances are you are there for the wrong reason.

At the end of each halaqa session, try to always learn and share a short prayer (dua), have a goal to learn and share a suraha t each meeting, always make zikr for about 15 to 20 minutes, spend time reflecting on the Greatness of Allah (SWT). Once the meeting is over, never say a word more, depart with Peace. Never gossip, talk ill, always be task oriented to the best of your ability. To not make these session a hang out place. have a note-taker that records your groups success. This requires halaqas to have a focus and goals put in place.

Have your group success critically evaluated by a senior (religious) parent of the group. For socializing, be at another location. Young minds need not be trained for success and not wasted on trivialities of life.

I appreciate your question and concern. May Allah (SWT) bless each of our halaqas in becoming places of spirituality and total goodness, Ameen.

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

One response to “no such as thing as ‘i think.’ Either you know or you dont, its simple as that

  1. worried mother

    As-salaam-alaikum. I think it would be great if in a halaqa that one person is assigned an ayah or topic and comes back with research to discuss the topic with the others. This is what has been done in the past and we all learn a lot this way, also this establishes a means to study Islam and get information from other scholars which is a great way for individuals to learn on their own to get proper answers. I suppose they could consult with the local imam and verify what they have learned but, if they have valid sources, it should be fine, in my opinion. No one in a halaqa should be “teaching” Islam because they are not a scholar no matter how much knowledge they claim to have because people do interpret things according to their lives for instance, one that does not prayer Sunnah prayers will be against discussing it rather than realizing that their are 3 Madhabs. I have always benefitted from others way of practicing Islam and discussion and if they have valid proof of their practice that makes it even better. I do not, however, take their information as total fact because as Muslims we are supposed to learn for ourselves and always seek knowledge. This is just my opinion, I also feel that just attending a halaqa is a good step forward to learning.