Misinterpretation of verse 57:14
Fatwa No: 354892

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. I was just wondering; there are loads of verses which encourage to question and not to be blind followers and such, but verse 57:14 makes it sound as if once you are Muslim or already were Muslim, you are not allowed to question anymore or it is wrong to question. Verse 57:14 makes it sound as if if you question, you have become a hypocrite, so I am confused by these verses. May Allah reward you. Like, for example, it says in 57:14 that the hypocrites fell into doubt because they put themselves into doubt, and that makes it sound as if we are not allowed to question, like we are not allowed to study science or philosophy etc. because they get you too question things, which is why I am confused by this verse. It sound as if you cannot go into science or philosophy etc. because they make you question things.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Allah says (what means): {The hypocrites will call to the believers, "Were we not with you?" They will say, "Yes, but you afflicted yourselves and awaited [misfortune for us] and doubted, and wishful thinking deluded you until there came the command of Allah. And the deceiver deceived you concerning Allah.} [Quran 57:14]

We do not know how you understood from the above verse that it means following blindly without insight and that it is not permissible for a person to question or to learn. Rather, it means that it mourns the hypocrites for not using their minds and for being engaged in doubt and falling prey to the devil and to their desires and lusts.

Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said about the interpretation of the above verse, "The meaning here is that the believers will answer the hypocrites by saying, 'You were with us in bodies which were heartless and devoid of intentions. You were cast in doubt and suspicion. You were showing off to people and remembered Allah little.'

Therefore, the verse calls for the use of the blessing of the mind by pondering and thinking so that the person will be guided to the truth and follow his religion and his faith with insight. There are many verses in the Quran in this regard. For example, Allah says (what means): {Indeed in that are signs for a people who use reason.} [Quran 30:24]

Allah also says (what means): {As guidance and a reminder for those of understanding.} [Quran 40:54]

The same applies to gaining useful knowledge, which includes the sciences of religion and the sciences of this worldly life. Allah says (what means): {He has produced you from the earth and settled you in it.} [Quran 11:61]

Among the most important means of settling therein is knowledge.

Your mentioning philosophy as if it is a praiseworthy knowledge is wrong; rather, it involves much evil. Philosophy is not a science that calls to guidance. Rather, it advocates confusion and doubt, and even worse than this, it calls to falling into disbelief and denying the unseen and the prophecies and other serious matters. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 301360

All of this does not mean a call to refrain from using the mind, as we have already mentioned above; however, using one’s mind should be established on a sound basis and in the light of revelation. This is because no matter how brilliant and excellent the minds are, they are still unable to understand many matters; unlike revelation, it came down from the One Whose knowledge encompasses everything. Allah says (what means): {Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Indeed that, for Allah, is easy.} [Quran 22:70]

Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that we have noticed your interest in these kinds of questions. This is not right; rather, it is more appropriate for you to be preoccupied with asking questions that lead to doing good deeds, as this is better and more pious to Allah.

Allah knows best.

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