How can I be a truly practicing Muslim? And who is right?
Summary of what you’re going to read:
To be a truly practicing Muslim with a correct creed you should:
1) Follow Quran + sunnah, understanding them like the companions of the prophet understood them
2) Follow those who are following the companions and seek knowledge from them
3) occupy yourself with tools that will help you understand the evidence of the Quran and sunnah
Firstly, what should come to your mind whenever a doubt/question raises is Quran/Sunnah. What did Allah say on this topic? How did Prophet Muhammad reply to that question? If you can search by yourself using authentic sources then go ahead. Otherwise, ask a trusted scholar.
Signs of trusted Islam scholars/knowledgable men:
– They confirm their words by evidence from Quran or authentic hadiths from the sunnah
– They explain these evidence in accordance with the understanding of the prophet’s companions or scholars who were following their footsteps
– They accept to be corrected if they fell into a mistake
– Their outer appearance looks like the prophet Muhammad
– They are people of good reputation amongst righteous Muslims
Secondly, not only should you rely on asking people, but you also have to start occupying yourself with some tools to guide you in your journey. For instance, learning the Arabic language.. this is a core to seeking Islamic knowledge since Quran is revealed in Arabic, prophet Muhammad and his companions were eloquent Arabs as well as most of the famous scholars. Thus, in brief, Islamic knowledge is perfectly understood by understanding Arabic in the first place. This takes us to shed the light on memorizing Quran; since learning Arabic amazingly helps you in reading and memorizing the Holy Quran. Nevertheless, you don’t have to wait till you complete a full level in the Arabic language to start memorizing Quran, rather you can take them both in parallel, putting your trust in Allah and seeking his guidance you will soon reach your destination, not to mention keeping this verse always in your heart and mind:
“And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?”
Don’t think twice, just start, and Allah -Insha’ Allah- pulls you closer and closer to Him. Memorizing Quran is counted from the tools of Islamic knowledge since it makes the evidence and proofs -for any issue- clear in your mind as well as keeping the person steadfast on the religion when going through any difficulty by reminding them by the glorified verses of the Quran.
– Feeling the ache of your heart, worried and your tears are unstoppable, remember:
“…and he (i.e the prophet) said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” [At-Tawbah: 40]
– No one is there for you, remember:
“[He is] the Lord of the East and the West; there is no deity except Him, so take Him as Disposer of [your] affairs.” [Al Muzzamil: 9]
“And rely upon Allah, and sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” [Al Ahzab: 3]
– Feeling the blessed, remember:
“….he [Solomon] said, “This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous.” [An Naml: 40]
And many other situations and feelings that need to be supported by divine quranic verses . . how will these verses cross our minds if the Quran is not memorized or at least read through the week?
Finally, let’s introduce the vital step: “seeking Islamic knowledge in an academic way”. In other words, to gain the fruit of learning, organized steps must be followed and that is achieved by joining a course with a tutor/institute that sets a clear syllabus in a specified period of time to be done. This helps you evaluate your current level to then enroll in the higher one.
“..Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” [Al Mujadala: 11]