get the context right to most benifit you

Q: Assalamu alikum wa rahmatUllah Imam, May Allah allow more of His Noor to land in your heart. Ameen.
Imam, I was at a Jummah Khutba today, and what I understood from the Imam is that we are not suppose to second guess the Words of Allah, nor His prophets (peace be upon them all). for instance, arguing the prophets Hadiths and questioning them, questioning Allahs conmmands. a lot of us like to argue to understand something. In Islamic matters; what are the type of questions we can ask? and when are we not suppose to question? Like, I understand that we shouldn’t go around and whine about why Allah commanded us to pray. At the khutba, the Imam mentioned a Hadith that made me cry out of shame, in a meaning of the Hadith, the prophet peace be upon him was asked where was the worst place on earth, and where was the best place on earth, and he said he didn’t know, so the prophet peace be upon him asked Jibrael, and Jibrael said he didn’t know, so the prophet asked him to go and ask Allah. Jibrael (peace be upon him) became so angry that the prophet was going to pass out, Jibrael said to
the prophet that how can he ask Allah when he only delivers knowledge at the right time, right place and right situation.
Also, Imam would it be polite to cut you off in the middle of a lecture to ask you a question? was ever our beloved prophet salla Allahu Alaihee was sallam stopped in the middle of his lecture for questions.
Imam, at the khutba it was also mentioned that we should be patient until we get the right answer, at the right time, and at the appropriate place. Does that mean we have to be more polite with our Duas when we ask Allah for something? Does that mean we should learn and be patient with the knowledge until we get our questions answered while studying, or until Allah allows for our questions to be answered. Is this a patience lesson?
Time: Friday June 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm

A:وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
Not being there for the Khutba myself makes it difficult for me to respond effectively. Khutbas are general topics for a general audience. There is a difference between interrupting a khutba to chat with the imaam versus asking a question in a class like setting for the benefit of all the students. Thus, there are multiple dimensions to that which you are seeking clarity towards.  Here is a short list of simple do’s and dont’s in a very general manner:

  • In seeking knowledge, there should be no shyness (paraphrased hadith.) This means, so long as you are polite and the question is directly related to the subject matter and the question is asked purely to benefit ones imaan, then asking a question would be a blessing.
  • To ask a question merely for the sake of asking, then such a question would be wrong. Seeking knowledge to merely debate with people is also wrong. Likewise, seeking knowledge without seeking to act upon it is also a sin. In Islam, knowledge without action is worthy of punishment.
  • Context and situation does matter: some classes remain informal where the teacher solicits questions to test for the level of student understanding and behavior (adab.) In such a situation, to not ask (or answer) would be wrong, for the teacher may be seeking a response to test for clarity as it relates to ones understanding of the subject/text.
  • Some discussions function as an extension to ones understanding of a given text/topic/discussion (hadith, quran, etc.) The teacher does research and presents all the data to student. The student can only question after having done research to that which the teacher has made mention off prior to asking.
  • One should not ask a question to debate as often seen in some schooling system.
  • When asking, use a gentle tone, do not stare the teacher in the face, sit in a polite manner, if one cannot understand the response, ask at another time. If the answer given is wrong, politely correct the teacher.

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

One response to “get the context right to most benifit you

  1. As-salaam-alaikum. I really like these questions who have asked in regards to proper Islamic manners. We often forget our manners when we passionate about learning. I find it annoying when someone is asking the Imam a question of this Imam only to pit him against another scholar’s advice which is not proper, in my opinion. Those people are just looking for the “right” answer that suits them and look for the scholar who gives that answer. I personally know people like this. I am pleased that our Imam is very patient and explains things so we can better understand and keeps in mind that we don’t always know the proper way to ask. Thank you Imam. We are forever students of Islam and Allah (swt) knows are true intentions.