Why so much Difference of Opinion among Muslims?
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

In the light of the recent tragedy in the US, I keep hearing different ‘Muslim’ views. I read one Muslim view which states that what happened in the US was evil and against the way of Islam. I read another Muslim view which quotes from the same Holy Book that what happened is pleasing to God. The Christian church has an official view of the teachings of Christ. They might differ slightly in terms of theology and academics, however, everyone recognizes the official belief that Christianity is about unconditional love for your neighbour and doing good deeds. The so called Christians, such as the Orange Order and IRA are condemned as abusing their faith. Why is it so difficult to find the official view of Islam, which unites Muslims? Every Muslim community seems to have its own version of Islam, with  their own self-appointed leaders. Please explain. I am genuinely trying to understand in order that I may live in peace.

Answer: class="Paragraph">In my humble opinion, one basic thing needs to be understood: Religious scriptures are one thing and deriving directives from them another. While the former are divine, the process of deriving directives from scriptures is a human endeavour. Human intellect, you would agree, has its own limitations. It can falter and err and of course be different in different scholars. Hence the different interpretations of certain directives of Islam are but a natural outcome of this premise. In this regard, the real thing is the arguments which are presented in support of a viewpoint. A person is required to weigh these arguments in the scales of sense and reason and decide which one appeals to his intellect the most. He should adopt that particular viewpoint, since he would be held accountable according to his own understanding of religion. As long as he is sincere in his search for the truth, it does not matter even if he seemingly adopts a wrong viewpoint. He would be rewarded by God for his sincerity.

Allow me to say that such differences do also exist in Christianity, Judaism as well as other religions. The examples you have given are of a very broad nature. There is no difference in opinion in Islam also if broader areas are considered. For example, no one disagrees among the Muslims that each person is going to be held accountable in the Hereafter for his deeds.

So I would say that one should not get worried from this state of affairs. As long as this world exists, difference in opinion would exist in areas which are prone to human interpretation. What is important is that one should be a true seeker of the truth and that this quest for the truth should be his most cherished goal.

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