Big Lesson in One Paragraph
Saying, "I don't know"
Beware of unfounded personal opinion in explaining al-Qur’an and as-Sunnah. That’s when we or someone else explains an ayah or hadith in isolation based on their personal reasoning or by reverse engineering based on their assumptions. Having intelligence is a great gift from Allah, but it is not all that is required to understand or teach Islam. One ayah or hadith is explained in the context of all the others and in the light of the circumstances of the revelation (asbaab an-nozool), etc. Yes, think deeply and use the faculties that Allah has given us. Alhamdulillaah. But read thoroughly and seek the explanations of righteous scholars who have comprehensive knowledge and then arrive at conclusions. And beware accepting the explanations of those who speak too freely, or of being that person when answering those who ask. Don’t be afraid even to tell someone, “Let me research and get back to you,” or simply, "I don't know." Imam Malik, Allah’s mercy on him, referred to the statement “I don’t know” as the shield of the scholar. This is because of the severe punishment for speaking of Allah without sure knowledge and because of the damage of doing so. Giving incorrect da’wah actually makes it even harder for people to receive the message later due to it confirming misunderstandings and sometimes diverting them from Islam. It is much better to postpone answering or to politely deflect than it is to provide half-truths. May Allah forgive us and guide us. Ameen.
Habitual sin & 'aqeedah
A sin done once and repented from is a much different spiritual experience than the habitual sin. It's the habitual sin that drills deep into a person's mind and heart to the point that aqeedah can be affected. As a person repeats the same sin over and over, one tendency is to slacken in repentance and remembrance that Allah sees. Another tendency to start rationalizing and either to forget that it is a sin or even to invent reasons or excuses as if it were not a sin. Even if a person were merely to imagine they could perform a sin without it harming their eeeman, then this is or at least approaches kufr. Abu Darda', may Allah be pleased with him, used to say: "It is from the intelligence of the servant to know whether he is increasing or decreasing, and indeed, it is from the intelligence of the servant to know how, where and when the whispers of Shaytan appear to him." May Allah make us intelligent in this way, ameen, that we would not become unaware of ourselves and what we are doing. A'oothu billaah.
More coming, in shaa' Allaah! Use the "Ask a question" link at the top of the page to submit a requested topic.