“Yeah but that doesn’t apply to today’s world ” a friend of mine commented in response to a statement I made about the prohibition of alcohol in Islam in a heated healthy discussion. Many of you may think this debate is healthy and others may think this friend crossed the line. In any case, this did not come to me as a surprise given that I have heard many such comments from fellow Muslims both religious and non-practicing. I have been increasingly encountering what I call the “I know better” phenomenon in Muslims where people who believe in Allah and the religion argue the validity of Allah’s commands using reason or logic to defend their arguments.
What surprises me is that those who accept Islam also accept it as an entire way of life prescribed by the Creator to His creation. However, these same individuals try to rationalize certain elements in their beliefs that contradict Islam.
Leon Festinger, a famous American Social Psychologist, described this conflict in belief as a cognitive dissonance that requires conscious or subconscious rationalization in order to create a comfortable illusion. This may just be exactly what is happening in the “I know better” phenomenon described above. Instead of spending time discussing what is causing this phenomenon, let’s take a closer look at why prioritizing Allah over Logic is necessary. I believe this can be shown through the following three simple points:
The limited nature of our knowledge is the main reason why using logic over Allah’s commands does not make sense. If logic is defined as valid reasoning based on the principles of what we know and if what we know are solely observations or experiments that explain the environment and society around us, then our logic is significantly inferior to Allah’s command and does not give it the right to disagree with the Creator.
“… of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)”
The Holy Quran (17:85)
Second, Allah knows us better than we know ourselves since He has created us. This directly gives Him the priority over any logic that we can use against His commands when it comes to any issues concerning us. He understands our nature thoroughly. Therefore, He has sent forth guidance to us in accordance to our nature, so that we may follow and prosper or disobey and go astray.
“Should He not know,- He that created? and He is the One that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well-acquainted (with them)”
The Holy Quran (67:14)
Third, Allah has clearly mentioned to the believers that once He has made a decision and commanded the believers to do something, they do not have the liberty to discuss the command (The Holy Quran 33:36). Such is the position of the Almighty in His ultimate perfection not to force his creation out of power but rather to protect them from all harm and guide them to what’s best for them.
“If the Truth had been in accord with their desires, truly the heavens and the earth, and all beings therein would have been in confusion and corruption! Nay, We have sent them their admonition, but they turn away from their admonition.”
The Holy Quran (23:71)
Understanding that our knowledge is limited and only a fraction of the universe’s knowledge has been shared with us, that Allah has created us and therefore He knows us much better than we know ourselves, and that it is not in the benefit of the believer to dispute Allah’s decision, is comprehensive reasoning for why we need to prioritize Allah over our logic. As a result, understanding the above points also dispels any false notion of pride that may exist in any believer’s mind.
Let us not use our shortcomings as an excuse for rationalization or modification of Allah’s commands, Let us make Allah’s will our priority rather than our logic, and let’s be modest and submit to Allah as the testimony we have taken.
” O man, what has beguiled you concerning your Lord, the gracious, Who created you, fashioned you, proportioned you, and put you together in whatever form He pleased”
The Holy Quran (82 : 6-8)
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.