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