In the Name of Allah, the Most Kind, the Most Merciful
Jum’a Khutba 1/2/2019 – watch video here.
‘Where do I go for my knowledge? Whom do I trust when there are so many opinions out there?’
Part 1: Presenting the Problem
In a world with so many opinions vying for your attention and belief, how do you know what is true and what is false? To whom do you go to get your knowledge and how do you know whom to trust?
Take the issue of Brexit. A spectrum of politicians, experts, panel guests, radio and tv hosts all claim to know what they are talking about and know what is in your best interest. Or take the number of scholars and speakers each with varying opinions on the same topic. It can become confusing and difficult to navigate. How do I know whom to listen to and who is truthful?
Our topic over these forthcoming Friday Khutba’s will be to review what the Qur’an and Ahadith instruct us about where to place our trust when there are so many multiple voices God-willing.
The Qur’an mentions to us the story of Prophet Shu’ayb (a) and his dialogue with the people of Medyan. “He said, ‘O my people, have you considered: if I am upon clear evidence from my Lord’” (Qur’an 11:88).
All the prophet’s (a) have similar dialogues. Usually the prophet is rejected because he doesn’t have the elite following him or their lives are comfortable so they see no need to change their practises, such as the people of Hud (a) who had the greatest technological advancements of time.
Place yourself in the shoes of the community of Prophet Shu’ayb (a). If he came to you and said, ‘Believe in me. Because I am on clear evidence from my Lord’, a legitimate question would be raised, ‘Would someone saying to you, ‘I am on evidence of truth’ be enough to convince you?’ (We will discuss this verse more in the coming weeks).
This issue of whom to trust was mentioned by Imam Ameer al-Mo’mineen Ali (a) in Sermon 32 of Nahj al-Balaghah when he stated, “O people! We have been born in such a wrongful and thankless period wherein the virtuous is deemed vicious and the oppressor goes on advancing in his excess.”
When reputations and qualities of people are mixed up, it becomes even more difficult to know whom to trust for sound opinions. In fact this is a challenge particularly emphasised at the End of Time. In a famous narration the holy Prophet Muhammad (s) mentions signs for the Last Days saying
يَا ابْنَ مَسْعُودٍ إِنَّ مِنْ أَعْلَامِ السَّاعَةِ وَأَشْرَاطِهَا أَنْ يَكُونَ الْمُؤْمِنُ فِي الْقَبِيلَةِ أَذَلَّ مِنَ النَّقَدِ
“O Ibn Mas’ood, from amongst the signs and conditions [of the last days] is the Believer will be humiliated worse than the ugly goat.”
ابْنَ مَسْعُودٍ ، إِنَّ مِنْ أَعْلَامِ السَّاعَةِ وَأَشْرَاطِهَا أَنْ يُؤْتَمَنَ الْخَائِنُ ، وَأَنْ يُخَوَّنَ الْأَمِينُ. و ان يُصدِّق الكاذب و ان يُكذِب الصادق
O Ibn Mas’ood, from amongst the signs and conditions will be that people will trust treacherous people and consider trustworthy people treacherous and the truthful one called a liar and one telling lie will be considered truthful.
An example of this is a true story about Donald Trump. Recently he was visited by Disney who have animatronic figures of all the past Presidents. They wanted to record something so that as visitors came they would hear what President Trump had to say. Usually recordings are something grand, inspiration, like the Gettysburg Address. Trump however, wanted his recording to say, “Americans invented the Skyscraper.”
This is not true at all. Skyscrapers are just taller buildings than those before. The Qur’an mentions the people of Hud (a) as being the first to build talk buildings! He outright lied! And why?! Because he owns Trump Towers and so wanted to be associated to a historical achievement – so he decided to just make one up!
This is our dire situation today and so our series addresses where to get knowledge and whom to trust.