07 Jul The Benefit of Doubt
The Benefit of Doubt
The Benefit of Doubt
I have answered a few questions over doubt, I have (attempted) to help those overcome their doubts, usually from my perspective as someone who had doubt and returned to Islam because of that doubt, which is why I believe so strongly in Islam.
I have been thinking, and I may have described doubt incorrectly, not in that it is something that one can’t overcome or that we should allow our doubts to consume us, because you can overcome doubt, but rather that I should look at doubt as something that is good.
Allow me to explain.
While I do not contradict anything that I’ve said before, I have come to realize that we look at doubt as some sort of problematic issue, a disease of some sort, and I don’t want people to think of themselves as diseased or deficient.
Doubt based upon a lack of information, which I had before, is problematic and it is wrong for you to have doubts over anything based on a lack of information, whether that’s religion, the character of a person, or the quality of a sports team: any position that is not backed up by evidence, and in religion it must be yourevidence, is not worth anything.
But that is not the sort of doubt that I am describing. Let me illustrate this point, using my (somewhat recent) personal experience:
I had grown confident, and quite happy, that I felt this sort of certainty with my faith. I was in a good place, and I had overcome what had plagued me before, I was able to answer my doubts with ease, and I had the logic and reason of The Qur’an to bolster me, to help me, to aid me. I felt that I was one of the people who God would help guide, because He allowed it to happen, just as described in The Qur’an. I felt great.
I then listened to a Sheikh who spoke about how one could be a believer his entire life, and then, on their death bed, renounce their faith; this was a tangible possibility, and only God could open or close one’s heart to faith and to Him. I listened to this story, and agreed on how perilous one’s faith could be, but then, out of an arrogance, I dismissed that possibility for myself, because, as I said earlier, I was certain I had attained my faith and was no longer in danger of doubt. I did what God told me, I was doing the best I could to others, I was learning about my Faith, I (felt that I) was in His good grace.
Another night, as I went to sleep, I could not sleep. I was filled with terror, I had sudden doubts. They swirled in my head, I found myself doubting things that were evident to be true, simply historically speaking, and I was panicking. The only reason I slept, was because I could no longer keep my eyes open, the next morning.
I woke, and I did not pray immediately. I was scared. I sat there, and thought about what had happened. I thought about what I feared, and worked through them. I thought about what those doubts meant, how could I have them, and I had trouble processing them, their origin, their source. They were not logical, they were from fear, they were from me, and I pushed off from there, studied my doubts, put them to rest, and felt confident again.
It was only later that I realized the purpose of that doubt, and it is why I call it a good thing today:
That doubt humbled me.
I had become arrogant, and I realize that I am still arrogant, and that it was that doubt that has forced me to try and humble myself. I felt that because I thought I was “in with God,” that I was immune to the struggles of the person who denies belief at the end, that because I did what God said, that I was in the clear. It was a reminder of what actually controlled the world, and how I, simply a person, a human being of no significance, had arrogance because I felt that I was “in the clear” because I had overcome my doubts previously.
That doubt was a reminder, to stay humble, to stay hungry, to not look down on those who were not where I was, and to realize that “where I was” was just my perception and that the only real Judge of “where I am” is Almighty God, and that I must never be satisfied with my place, with my piety, with my knowledge, and most importantly: with my actions.
I share this with you because I want to assure those who do have major doubts, to reconsider why you are doubting, and for those who have doubts while they are in a state of belief, to not worry, and to try and make sense of why you are doubting and to approach all matters in this world, whether religion or your area of expertise, with humility and God consciousness (Taqwa), not just so you can be satisfied with your place (which you shouldn’t be), not so you can just believe in God, but, as commanded by God in The Qur’an, so you can act justly as evidence of that belief (in God).
Insha Allah, I pray that we are able to overcome our doubts and misconceptions, and realize that they come from a lack of information, our arrogance, and our forgetfulness of the only source of grace: Almighty God.
Insha Allah, I hope this message reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman.