Ilm Notes

Who Makes the Rules?

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If we were to ask any Muslim, practising or not practising, if they thought they were more knowledgeable, wiser or more morally upright than Allah, we would be immediately greeted by shock, horror and disbelief. No one would directly and openly believe such a thing or make any such statements.

Yet, through our actions, this is exactly what some of us believe though we remain unaware. We decide for ourselves what is correct and incorrect, moral and immoral, proper and improper, which ends up shaping how we live our lives. It even goes as far as clouding our judgement and knowledge on what the Quran and Sunnah say such that we either openly oppose an Islamic way of life or make up our own version of Islam. Now take a step back, and think about the magnitude of this: every day, Muslims are in a constant battle against their own Creator.

Too many times we use our own intellect and reasoning to make decisions instead of following what Allah has commanded us to do. Whether it is financial decisions, organisational decisions or even personal decisions, we do what we think is correct based on our own experiences and knowledge, ignoring that of the One who knows all that there is to know.

Islam encourages personal development and education but at the same time also lays out certain rules and frameworks in order to live our lives. These have either been explicitly stated in either the Quran and ahadith or extrapolated by the hundreds of shuyukh since the time of our Messenger (saw). Yet, we arrogantly reject this by going with what we think to be correct.

We say that Islam has no place in bureaucracy and should remain within the masajid yet Islam is not a religion but a holistic way of life that incorporates management into its system with direct guidance on how to govern, whether that be for large or small organisations.

We make administrative decisions using corrupt and defunct worldly systems and ignoring the practices of our Prophets.

We split our inheritance according to what we think our children deserve and not according to what Allah has ordered.

We take part in other religious ceremonies out of courtesy and fear of being questioned but ignore the dangers of falling into shirk and being questioned by Allah.

We think placing our earnings in a riba-ridden system is a necessity to have a good life but lack the trust that Allah will look after us if we do what is right.

It is without debate that Allah is the All-Wise and the Most Knowledgeable. When asked directly, no one would deny that it is He, and only He, Who is far superior than us in every way and Whose laws would be the best for every time, not just for 1400 years ago. Otherwise, this discrepancy would have been made apparent. As servants of Allah, it is our duty to obey His laws over all else.

We know this. But our actions suggest that we assume our intellect, structures and understanding of what is correct and incorrect are superior than those of Allah’s.

If we don’t use the guidance of the One who created us then not only will we be held accountable and consequently punished, but also be the biggest losers. Why would you not take advice that you know is the best advice possible and will always, without fail, lead you to success?

More often than not, this behaviour seems to stem from an inner desire to have our personal understanding of what is correct be the only truth. So why then do we not only go against His laws but also deem our own reasoning to be better? Could it be due to the disassociation of the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad (s) from our lives? Not truly realising we will be held accountable for our actions? Wanting to live life on our terms or more commonly and dangerously, a lack of sincerity in this belief that Allah is the best and should be followed in every regard?

For everyone who falls into this trap, the reason why we succumb to our nafs and shaytan, will differ. But the important step to then take is recognition of whether or not the rationale behind our choices is pure. If we are not using His guidance to dictate our actions then we must figure out why this is the case. Once we have worked that out, we can strive to perfect our intentions by pondering over the purpose of our existence and the consequences of our actions. It will be a constant struggle between our desires and following an Islamic lifestyle that never ends, but the key is to keep coming back and strive to be better.

There will be times when some of the laws don’t make sense to us, but it is important to firstly read up and understand them fully but also, to recognise that the flaw is not in them, but in us for not understanding them. With this mindset, we will truly appreciate our status and incapability of self-reliance.

We will taste the sweetness of faith and begin to understand the reasoning that will undoubtedly increase our love for Allah and realign our desires with His commands, insha’Allah.

We haven’t been given laws and direction to just ponder over, but to implement in our lives. If we want to be successful in this life and the next then let us not fall into the trap of thinking our way is better than Allah’s. We should abide by these laws not just out of fear of punishment or hope for reward, but for a greater purpose, for the pleasure of our Lord, out of love, respect and honour.

Otherwise, we may continue to wrongfully say with our actions that we are wiser and more knowledgeable than our Lord.

Muhammad Aamir Shamsi is currently an Emergency Medicine Doctor in London. He joined MYM in the summer of 2010 to develop his writing skills, to provide an insight into the incidents that have occurred in his life, and to explore his thoughts that have arisen from such occurrences. He hopes he can develop as a Muslim and become a better person in the process insha'Allah.


  1. Fatimah Waseem Reply

    It’s a scary thought what our actions spell into words. Thanks for the reminder.

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