Inspiration for Joining the Ifta Course

As we open our eyes for the first time, we begin our journey in life with simple observances

of our surroundings. Once our minds have matured enough, we do not suffice with simply

experiencing life, but rather, we exhaust our efforts in attempt to comprehend the purpose of

how the things around us behave the way they do and why they happen to exist at all. This

curiosity is a beautiful characteristic given to us by Allah and, historically, it served as the

driving force behind humanity’s gradual technological progression. Curiosity would motivate

an individual to seek knowledge. This knowledge would then be preserved for the next

generation such that the culmination of one generation’s discoveries served as the basis by

which the next generation progressed. This process continued from generation to generation,

each progression compounding on the former until certain milestones were reached, which

served as a catalyst for further advancement.

The Agricultural and Industrial Eras are examples of catalytic periods of human history by

which the momentum of technological progress began to shift from gradual to exponential.

These eras were truly milestones because their arrival ushered in a momentous change in the

way humans structured their lives. Along with lifestyle changes, humanity began to shed off

fallacious superstitions and began understanding the laws that govern our observable existence.

This flourishment of rational scientific reasoning set the stage for revolutions in diverse

scientific fields leading to the technological marvels we take for granted today. The point to

keep in mind, however, is that these advancements and revolutions are all in reply to the

question posed by our adolescent minds as to the reality of how the things around us behave the

way they do. Since the answer to this question of how is to some extent comprehendible by our

intellect, we continued to build upon the understanding of our predecessors and gradually

proceed to unravel more insights into our word.

The second fundamental question in respects to why anything exists at all and the purpose we

are all meant to serve in the grand scheme of things is of a completely different nature from the

former. This is a question that transcends the bounds of rationale, therefore, any attempt to

unravel this mystery would serve nothing short of conjecture. For example, though we may

carefully observe the gears of a watch meticulous turning and discern exactly how the watch

functions, we would still be at a loss to explain why in reality this particular watch was created.

The only way to know would be by the watchmaker himself informing us of his intention

behind its creation. Similarly, though the reality of our world’s transitory nature may be

deduced by sound logical reasoning, it would be senseless for one to conjecture in regard to the

purpose of it all or the reality of what lies beyond it. This inadequacy of the human mind is

irrespective of how exponentially we increase in technological advancement.

As we know, throughout this history of technological progression, Allah continuously

showered humanity with His mercy in the form of enlightened messengers. These messengers

were inspired to guide the masses with knowledge that would have otherwise been inaccessible

due to it transcending our human capabilities of deduction. Our own blessed Prophet

Muhammad informed us that we as human beings are meant to serve a higher existential

purpose and taught us right from wrong in every aspect of our lives. Being the final prophet for

all of mankind, our beloved Prophet not only equipped us with a higher moral code but,

along with that, he mentioned many fundamental principles which we may utilize in differentiating

between right from wrong.

The advent of humanity’s most recent technological milestone, the Information Era, brought

with it technologies that are revolutionizing our daily lives. Be it regarding Stem cell research

or quantum computing, the mapping of our genome or the rise of machine learning, the world is

progressing in new and exciting ways and it is still unsure whether these breakthroughs will

ultimately lead to prosperity or dystopia. Islam in no way hampers or dissuades technological

advancements as long as they are in line with divine injunctions. The question, however, is how

one may be able to discern whether these modern situations fall in line with the divine guidance

given to us by our Creator.

Allah was well aware of the adversities we would face in the 21st century and beyond.

Thus, He, with his infinite mercy, did not simply give guidelines restricted in their applicability

to 7th century Arabia. The laws of Islamic Jurisprudence are at times clear and absolute and at

times dynamic, subject to evolve in respect to the situation its applied to. However, to discern

the nuances in how to accurately apply the divine guidance and principles in uniquely new

situations requires a mastery not afforded to most. It is typically after one spends many years

under the tutelage of prestigious scholars that such a mastery is attained.

The Muslims of our generation are in a dire need for luminaries that have not only achieved

mastery of Islamic Jurisprudence along with all its subtle nuances but also possess a deep

understanding of the modern context in which they are being applied. The divine guidance and

principles we have been equipped with are in no way inadequate or irrelevant. They are, in their

perfection, tools present along with instructions on how to utilize them. It is now left for those

seeking to fulfil this vital service to the Ummah, to exhaust their efforts in hope that Allah

will accept them. Indeed, this is a path to be tread upon carefully since any amount of

insincerity or negligence would be coupled with far reaching consequences for generations to

come.