|Answer: In my humble opinion, one basic thing needs to be
understood: 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.
Furthermore, no one is guided by divine revelation after
the termination of the institution of Prophethood with the departure of Muhammad
(sws) and it is his or her judgement which must be exercised. Therefore, no one
can be certain whether he has attained the absolute truth or not. He must keep
his eyes and ears open to criticism and cling to whatever he thinks to be the
truth till he has reason to abandon it and accept a new premise as truth.
Moreover, in adopting or forming an opinion in religious matters, the real thing
is sincerity of judgement. As long as a person is sincere in exercising his
judgement, it does not matter what conclusion is reached. As the Prophet of
Allah has put it: a person who strives to form an opinion can reach the right
conclusion and he can also reach the wrong one; if he reaches the right
conclusion he will be rewarded twice in magnitude and if he is lead to the wrong
conclusion he shall still be rewarded though of single magnitude. This shows
that the real thing in this regard is the sincerity of effort put in.