View of Islam on “Asking Questions”

Question: What is the Islamic view on “questioning”?

Every human being is faced with a multitude of problems and questions about himself and others, and the key to solve these problems is often to ask knowledgeable thinkers. In this regard, Imam Ali (AS):No one should ever be ashamed in learning and asking questions about the unknown.”

The Prophet of God (PBUH) also said: “Knowledge is a treasury and the keys to it are questions. May God have mercy on you, always ask.

Detailed answer:
Every human being is faced with a multitude of Problems and questions about himself and others, which are sometimes related to material or spiritual issues, and the key to solving them is often seek the help from knowledgeable people. For this reason, God has opened the doors of question to man in the world of creation and legislation. Islam always commands to ask, “The Holy Qur’an” says in two verses:
: «فَاسْئَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَاتَعْلَمُونَ
(Ask the informed if you do not know).

Amir al-Mu’minin says in “Nahj al-Balaghah”
: «وَ لَا يَسْتَحِيَنَّ أَحَدٌ إِذَا لَمْ يَعْلَمِ الشَّيْ‏ءَ أَنْ يَتَعَلَّمَهُ
No one should ever be ashamed of learning and questioning the unknown). Asking questions is not a problem. The disadvantage is that man does not ask questions and remains in ignorance.

Interestingly, in Sermon 162, Amir al-Mu’minin(A.S) mentioned questioning as a right for everyone, and this meaning is very important for young people and adolescents; Because they have many questions in terms of creation. God has also instilled a sense of curiosity and search in human nature. Man always wants to ask and know what he does not know.

This feeling is more intense in young people and adolescents. They sometimes question their parents so much that they shout; While it should be noted that it is the duty of the parents to respond positively with love and patience. Some people think that if they ask questions about the principles of beliefs, it is a sign of disbelief which is absolutely wrong. One should ask question as it would strengthen their beliefs.

Scholars especially religious scholars, have a duty to declare their readiness to answer the questions in any case and in any situation, and they should greet the questioners with love and respect. They should never forget that according to the narration of the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (as) they have such a duty to answer the questions of the people. “Allah is not going to hold ignorants responsible for not learning knowledge unless He has held the scholars responsible for disseminating the knowledge to the ignorants/ illiterate.”

«إِنَّ اللهَ لَمْ يَأْخُذْ عَلَى الْجُهَّالِ عَهْداً بِطَلَبِ الْعِلْمِ حَتَّى أَخَذَ عَلَى الْعُلَمَاءِ عَهْداً بِبَذْلِ الْعِلْمِ لِلْجُهَّالِ
Lets include some hadeeths:

  1. Imam Sadiq (AS) encouraged one of his companions named “Hamran Ibn Ain” to ask a question and said: “: «إِنَّمَا يَهْلِكُ النَّاسُ لِأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْأَلُونَ
    (People perish because they do not ask questions).
  2. Imam Ali (as) says: : «الْقُلُوبُ أَقْفَالٌ وَ مَفَاتِحُهَا السُّؤَال‏ٌ
    (Hearts are locked and the key is the question).
  3. It has been narrated from the Messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace) that:
    : «الْعِلْمُ خَزَائِنُ وَ مَفَاتِيحُهُ السُّؤَالُ فَاسْأَلُوا يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ فَإِنَّهُ يُوجَرُ فِيهِ أَرْبَعَةٌ: السَّائِلُ وَ الْمُعَلِّمُ وَ الْمُسْتَمِعُ وَ الْمُحِبُّ لَهُمْ
    (Knowledge is a treasury and the keys are the question. May God have mercy on you, always ask, ).

It is stated in history that: “On the day of the Battle of Jaml, an Arab man said to the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali(A.S): O Commander of the Faithful! You say God is one? [What is the meaning of this unity? People attacked him from all sides.
They said: O Arab man, do you not see that all the thoughts of the Amir al-Mu’minin (A.S) are focused on war? [Every word has a place and every point has a place!] The Imam said: Leave him. What this Arab man wants is what we want from these people we are fighting war [we also want monotheism from this group, and the war is to learn these sacred teachings.

Islam encourages rationality and reasoning,.Islam praises knowledge, how can knowledge be gained without asking questions?The essence of Faith is to challenge and verify your ideas.

Translator:Salma Syeda

Keywords: Learning, Asking Questions,Islam, Monotheism, Battle of Jaml,Nahjul Balagah ,Imam Ali,Prophet Muhammad,Islamic Teachings, Quran