Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Admission of Ignorance

Sorry. I really did just avoid my blog for a week. I didn't reply to comments (I have now, by the way, to the last couple comments on the partition post--being sufficiently humbled thanks to one comment-er in particular) or make new posts, or even really read other people's blogs that much.

So I caught up, leaving quite a few comments on some folks' blogs (please forgive me for that!) And now am paying attention to mine again.

In the meantime, I tried out a new webforum. Maybe I was bored with whyislam or curious to see people discussing the issues I was studying (from my class on 'aqeedah)--and I didn't like what I found, to be honest. I didn't realize quite how off-handedly brutal some people can be on the internet regarding 'aqeedah. BrNaeem left a comment recently when I mentioned I was taking the class in the first place about how people like to argue these issues... and I admit: he was right, I was wrong. It can really make your head spin!

So three words I've come to cherish in the last few weeks are simply, "I don't know." Or the emphatic version, "I just don't know." And something I think I'm beginning to believe is that sometimes the answer to a question really doesn't matter, and that "I don't know" actually is a sufficient answer.

Last night I was actually skimming through pages I could find about the 40 Hadith of An-Nawawi, and in so doing recalled or skimmed across the following two, which I think are presently relevant:

Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.

Part of the perfection of one's Islaam is his leaving that which does not concern him.

Now it might seem (as I have read in the explanations of these two) that the first is about halaal and haraam and what is not clear between the two, and the latter about not being a busybody.

But what is on my mind is delving into a realm of theological questions which lacks definitive, clear, precise answers. I find two people, both with tremendous knowledge (from my stance anyway, they seem to have tremendous knowledge) arguing about such minutiae as to give you a headache, both having a different opinion, and both basing it on research and evidence. It's just so confusing, I'd rather not even ask the question. Moreover, the answer would have practically no impact on my faith except to collect me into one group or the other with a leader and a label.

So these issues really don't concern me, to use the wording of the latter hadith, and the answers are doubtful and contradictory. So I don't see a reason to preoccupy myself with them to the exclusion of more relevant issues. Instead, I should probably just focus on improving my own understanding of Islam and applying that to my life.

I know this post was kind of vague and non-specific... but I don't want to open that box of debate inviting someone to explain his take on those kind of issues which are confusing me lately. I'm happy to say when approaching certain questions now, that I just don't know, nor do I find the answer to be of my immediate concern.


alajnabiya said...

Assalaamu 'alaikum,

I completely agree with you! (and it's much more comfortable to do so, lol)

MyHijab said...

salam alaikum Amy

umm i don't really have anything to say about your post. i suppose we have all felt this way at some point.

it is freeing though to admit that you don't know something.

Amy said...

Wa alaikum as-salaam wa Jazakuma allahu khairan to both of you for commenting. :-)

faaz said...

As Salaam walaikum Sis Amy

Great blog, you are certainly a thoughtful writer.

Perhaps you are doing a favour to your own sanity, deep theological arguments are best left for to be dealt by scholars and jurists, it take years & years of study under proper guidence to have an understanding of that, general population only needs to know the basics and what affects them immediately, rest all must be interpreted and dealt by learned men and women.

From Whyislam.

Amy said...

Wa alaikum as-salaam Faaz

Thanks for the comment -- jazak allah khair. I think you're right.