As we repose faith in the Lord, our immediate desire is to be what our Lord wants us to be. Awed by His Mercy and Grandeur, we surrender before the religion He has revealed. With veritable sincerity of heart, we wish that this religion must govern our life such that no aspect of it should escape the religious directives. Encapsulated thus within the confines of religion, this life should exude unmistakable conformity with these directives and even more so with the spirit underlying them.

This is only true a reflection of our sincere faith since to disregard the spirit is actually to throw the directive back in the face of the Master. Any act performed to the exclusion of the spirit is liable to attract Divine wrath instead of gaining favor. As we prostrate before the Lord, our heart should also prostrate, and as we give away money in charity, we should also truly acknowledge the right of the recipients in our hard earned wealth. As much as there is need to observe the form of the directive, there is need to comply with its substance. Without substance, any duty performed is a mere physical exercise that may bring worldly benefit with no share in the reward of the Hereafter. For the express directives, therefore, the right and true approach is to follow them in letter and spirit.

As for the spheres of human activity where we have not been given any express directive, this sincere faith again goads us on to carefully decide a definite course of action. Once decided, it insists that we should abide by it. To take our religious decisions, which we sometimes make, lightly has also been condemned by the Almighty (the Qur’an, 2:187). To contravene what we feel is God’s wish is no less in severity than disregard the explicit directives of God. Besides, it is the obvious requirement of our faith in Allah that we endeavor to find the right path in activities not directly addressed by religion, and stick to it at all cost. Without reflection, the wrong path chosen may cripple and incapacitate us to follow even the explicit directives of religion.  A little mistake here may precipitate circumstances of profoundly undesirable consequences. Each step should be trekked with caution and care.

The knowledge of the entire religion should come to our aid to make the befitting decision in such situations. The Islamic scholars, who have expertise in religious sciences, should be resorted to in this regard though their help in understanding the explicit directives is equally warranted. The fact that they spend day and night in understanding the word of God confers on them the privilege to guide the masses both about the explicit directives, and the issues not directly touched upon. They keenly observe the spirit present in the specific directives of the Shari‘ah while giving their humble verdict. With a vision sharpened by the revelation, they are better placed to help us choose the right path whenever we stand in confusion on the crossroads.

(Jhangeer Hanif)

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