Avoid making assumptions

The Obligation of Seeking 'ilm (knowledge)
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It is likely that all of us, at some point in our lives, have probably made an assumption about something and it has turned out to be false. Perhaps when we made the assumption, we were certain in our minds that we were correct. We must be very careful about making assumptions as not only can this cause us to be sinful, but it can destroy relationships, make us think we are knowledgeable about all matters, as well as result in a closed-minded mentality.

 

Making assumptions can cause us to be sinful, as of course we do not know for sure whether we are correct or not. We read about the dangers of this in a hadith:

 

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and his messenger know best.” The Prophet said, “To mention your brother in a way he dislikes.” It was said, “What do you think if what I said about him is true?” The Prophet said, “If what you say about him is true, it is backbiting. If it is not true, it is slander.” (Muslim)

 

Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an to avoid making negative assumptions. We read:

 

“O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (Qur’an 49:12)

 

Assumptions can also destroy relationships. It may be that we have assumed something that is entirely incorrect, and we have lost contact with a family member or friend as a result of this. We must be very careful about this, as we know the importance of maintaining relationships with family in Islam.

 

We all know that making assumptions, and passing the assumption on to others, can certainly have a negative impact on our relationships and the relationships of others. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in a hadith about the reward for putting things right between people and not doing things that will spoil relationships. He said:

 

“Shall I not inform you of something more excellent in degree than fasting, prayer and almsgiving (sadaqah)? The people replied: Yes, Prophet of Allah! He said: It is putting things right between people, spoiling them is the shaver (destructive).” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

 

Assumptions also make us start to think that there is only one possible explanation for something. This attitude then becomes a habit and we find it difficult to ever have an open mind. The truth is that we do not know everything and there is not always just one explanation for something – there are many sides to stories. Each person has a different mindset and way of thinking. Each person has their own opinion.

 

We cannot allow ourselves to think that we are definitely correct about everything and that we are aware of everything in a given situation. We are not. Only Allah is aware of everything. Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an:

 

“I will turn away from My Ayahs (verses of the Quran) those who behave arrogantly on the earth, without a right, and (even) if they see all the Ayahs (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons signs, revelations, etc.), they will not believe in them…” (Qur’an 7:146)