This is a series of articles featuring snippets from the Quranology FB stream.
Q: What is the significance of Salatul Istikhara in the light of the Qur’an?
A: Contrary to popular practice and belief there is no special ceremonial prayer ordained by God through which we are to seek counsel from God for all our life’s decisions. God has already given us the faculty of reasoning and along with it he has given us his book of guidance; which is the core unit through which we make life’s decisions that God has already approved.
Of course, turning to God with a true heart in all our decisions and life issues is indeed a sign of a true believer, however, this is accomplished through seeking appropriate guidance on a given life issue by studying the Qur’an itself. After spending some time deciphering God’s injunction on a given matter, to the best of our ability, and once our heart is settled and at peace with the correct understanding of the guidance, then we should maintain complete trust in God’s love and kindness and proceed diligently, as fallible humans we still do not have sure knowledge of the final outcome and consequences of our decisions.
Conversely, the popular practice of making a special ritualistic prayer and then awaiting a special sign of approval from God in the form of a metaphysical dream or feeling et al, is tantamount to neglecting the function of the Qur’an in our lives and also sharply indicates that we are regulating our lives in occultism rather than being factual.
Dolls Equal Idolatry?!
Is the faith of Muslims so flimsy that it could be so easily renounced to idolatry by the mere sight of a little doll, that it should be avoided?! Or has the hadith literatures confused the matter, just as it has done on countless other issues!
The Qur’an on the other hand articulates clearly that it is not the making of a figurine in itself which is forbidden, but it is the intended purpose that will determine whether it will be forbidden or not. If the intended purpose is for worship then it will be forbidden, otherwise it is not. In-fact, it even states that the prophet Sulaiman built statues to decorate his kingdom. Though some Hadith-centric clerics do try to counter this, and even try to justify the plain contradiction from the Hadith literatures, by asserting that God had different law regarding this during Sulaiman’s era. This is nothing but mental acrobatics that our clerics often perform when it comes to defending the hadith literatures!
A recent sad story from Pakistan
When you bury a healthy young fellow who died under mysterious circumstances, and after awhile you hear muffled noises and bangs emanating from this grave, you don’t think he is being ‘punished in the grave’ or that the ‘trials of the grave’ has started etc… a normal thinking society whose minds are not poisoned by religious/superstitious mumbo-jumbo, their first thought would be that the dude must have somehow regained consciousness and is alive, and they would make every quick and appropriate action to get him out!