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What Are the Limits in Asking Religious Questions?

09 October, 2016
Q Is it okay to ask religion related questions about the matters that we don't understand? I just want to know my limits, what to do and what not to do when it comes to asking questions.


Assalamu Alaykum Dear Sister,

Thank you so much and may Allah reward you for asking this question and for the beautiful humility you demonstrate in the way you ask your question.

To answer you, of course you can ask questions, the companions of the Prophet used to ask him (peace and blessings upon him) about all matters that concerned them so that they would learn and teach others.

When we ask, we learn more. But the key point here is to remember the intention: why exactly do you want to ask about a particular issue? Honestly, sometimes we keep questioning a certain matter because we want to find a way out from doing the right thing, or because there is something wrong we’re doing and we feel guilty and instead of bettering ourselves or asking how to better ourselves, we keep arguing and asking many questions not with the purpose of seeking knowledge but to escape from the right thing and argue against it.

So we need to be absolutely honest with ourselves and if our true and sincere desire is to ask questions for the sake of knowing more about Allah and to come closer to Him -which is our purpose in life – then this is most definitely encouraged and one will in fact continue to find answers that satisfy the mind and heart.

Remember here Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) when he asked Allah the following:

“And [mention] when Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead.” [Allah] said, “Have you not believed?” He said, “Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied.”[Allah] said, “Take four birds and commit them to yourself. Then [after slaughtering them] put on each hill a portion of them; then call them – they will come [flying] to you in haste. And know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Quran 2: 260)

Note here that Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was already very knowledgeable, very critical and very intellectual. We see in the passage before this verse how Ibrahim was arguing with his people against the false gods that they had and how it doesn’t make sense to worship powerless creations and neglect their powerful Creator.

So he already is a firm believer. But when he asked, he asked with humility and with love and with faith and with a desire to be even more in love and more in awe with His Creator. And Allah knew that and He showed us in this verse that asking was not a matter of weak faith because Ibrahim is already a firm believer who knows without a shred of  doubt that there is no god but Allah, but his heart craved to see a bit more beauty and more power of Allah.

And Allah showed him and Ibrahim’s heart was pleased. So if you ask because you want to increase in faith and awe and closeness to the Creator, then He will most definitely facilitate for you receiving answers that satisfy your mind and heart.

But if you are asking because you are already tempted towards disobedience and because you’re in doubt and you are pleased with this doubt and want to break ties with The Creator, then this is what you will get as well. Just like He said:

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“Indeed, Allah is not timid to present an example – that of a mosquito or what is smaller than it. And those who have believed know that it is the truth from their Lord. But as for those who disbelieve, they say, “What did Allah intend by this as an example?” He misleads many thereby and guides many thereby. And He misleads not except the defiantly disobedient.” (Quran 2: 26)

So think about our situation, why do we ask? Do we ask because we believe but we want to be more certain and more firm and more in love and more in touch with Allah? If that’s the case, Allah will most certainly show us and teach us and educate us and open doors and means for our hearts and minds to learn from. Allah said:

“We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?” (Quran 41: 53)

So Allah will continue to show us and teach us His signs in the universe and within ourselves until we know for a fact that He is The Truth.

And also remember that when Allah first created Adam (peace be upon him) -and we see this story in  Surat Al Baqarah- we find that Allah said about His relationship with Adam:

“And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.” (2:31)

So ‘teaching’ is a major part of our relationship with Allah. He will continue to teach us until our last breath. He will teach us about the meaning of life, about Him, about ourselves….He will put us in many situations and will teach us deep values that we were created to learn. So this is all part of our human experience.

But the most important point to remember here in addition to your own intention is your own perception of Allah. Remember Allah’s Names, remember that Allah is The Most Merciful The Source of Mercy, remember that Allah is The All Knowing The Source of Knowledge, remember that He is The All Wise, The Just, The Source of Beauty and Purity.

Remember all of that when you are asking a question. Sometimes our questions reflect lack of knowledge of Allah, for example we ask a question that reflects that deep down we attribute acts of injustice to Allah glorified and exalted!

But when our standing point is that we know that Allah is The Kindest, Most Merciful, Most Wise, Most Knowing….etc, we will be able to understand many realities about life. We have faith that Allah is The Source of goodness and everything He says or asks of us is good for us even if we fail to comprehend that fully at the moment with our limited capabilities.

This standing point will help you have faith and humility in your pursuit of knowledge, and with faith and humility, Allah’s doors of knowledge, wisdom and understanding will be open for you.

I hope this answers your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

About Dina Mohamed Basiony
Dina Mohamed Basiony is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She specializes in Islam and spirituality. Dina holds an MA and BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo.