Investigation Before Belief
Islam discourages following a faith blindly; in the Holy Qur’an, God encourages people to think and reflect, to investigate, and not to believe simply because someone says so. God has granted us brains to contemplate, investigate, research, and then to believe. The existence of God and His greatness can easily be perceived by a free-thinking mind contemplating upon the wonders of creation around us and the existence of the amazing soul inside us. The Prophets throughout history were instructors. They called people to free their minds of cultural traditions and see the logic of God’s message. Here are a few quotes from the Holy Qur’an which demonstrate how important it is to think and then believe:
(3:191) Those who remember God while standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: “Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain!”
(6:50) Say: “Are the blind and the seeing one alike? Do you not then reflect?”
(16:11) He causes to grow for you thereby herbage, and the olives, and the palm trees, and the grapes, and of all the fruits; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect.
(16:44) With clear arguments and scriptures; and We have revealed to you the reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them, and that hopefully they may reflect.
(30:21) And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.
(2:164) Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which profits men, and the water that Allah sends down from the cloud, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between the heaven and the earth, there are signs for a people who understand.
(30:22) And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colors; most surely there are signs in this for the learned.
(30:24) And one of His signs is that He shows you the lightning for fear and for hope, and sends down water from the clouds then gives life therewith to the earth after its death; most surely there are signs in this for a people who understand.
Many verses from the Holy Qur’an encourage people to think and ponder the creation, and they will find clear signs of God’s existence. The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) emphasized making education and learning an obligation on every Muslim, male and female equally. The first word in the first revelation was Iqra, which means “read!”
The level of investigation differs from one subject to another, and within each subject, there might be things that everyone can understand and also things that require more rigorous study to understand them properly. The same is true of religion. There are basic things which everyone can understand easily, as well as concepts that require prerequisite knowledge to raise the level of comprehension.
In Islam, there is no such thing as “you should not ask”, or “you are not allowed to know”, or “just follow without any questions”. These are wrong concepts. When it comes to religion and knowing God, every individual is responsible to do his own basic research, and in order to do know more, he must acquire more background knowledge.
Finally, the more a person keeps his mind open for the logical possibilities and necessities, the more those possibilities might become realities, and the more he will become closer to knowing God. But if he blocks his mind from accepting the logical possibilities and necessities, he will stay in his blindness, surrounded by the curtains of his ego and stubbornness, and the consequences will be deprivation from knowing God.