Allah has given human beings the power to think using a clear and unsullied reason. However, when people follow the promptings of their earthly desires they may be negatively affected by events that can pollute their thoughts and prevent them thinking in a healthy manner. One such factor that can affect people’s ability to think soundly and can pollute their thoughts is ‘doubt.’
Doubt is a state opposed to human nature. The human soul is predisposed to peace, calm, happiness and joy. But doubt eliminates all these. It damages the passivity in the soul, impairs its internal peace and prevents people being happy. It gives rise to unhappiness instead of joy, tension instead of calm. The human mind has also been created to think clearly and transparently. People can only be happy when they live with such a mind. They can only take the kind of decisions Allah wants when they make full use of their consciences. In several verses of the Qur’an, Allah reveals that believers are “people of intelligence.” We are told in verse 190 of Surah Al-Imran that, “In the creation of the heavens and the Earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for people with intelligence”, in verse 19 of Surat ar-Ra‘d that “it is only people of intelligence who pay heed,” and in verse 18 of Surat az-Zumar that, “Those who listen well to what is said and follow the best of it, they are the ones whom Allah has guided, they are the people of intelligence.”
“Those who listen well to what is said and follow the best of it, they are ... the people of intelligence,” we are told. In order to be “people of intelligence,” one of the basic characteristics of Muslims, one must avoid doubt and all sorts of perspectives that might prepare the way for doubt.
Because when a person falls into doubt on a matter, it does not end there. Doubt gives birth to doubt, and it grows with new whisperings and new thoughts. With the state of mind that results, it is impossible to think soundly or to evaluate events in a sound manner with the perspective shown by the Qur’an. What people therefore need to do in order to avoid doubt is never to forget the Qur’anic perspective in anything that happens, to think positively, to see the wisdom behind events and what is auspicious in them, and always to be hopeful. A person should approach the words and deeds of Muslims who fear Allah, who are honest and possess proper moral values always with submission and trust. For one to fall into doubt in word or deed of sincere Muslims who fear Allah and have good morals or to be skeptical about these will harm himself and prevent him thinking rationally and with good conscience.
That Muslims fear Allah, abide by the Qur’an and live for Allah’s approval are sufficient for one to look at their words and deeds positively. These must be the measures by which one evaluates other people. People should treat any warning or criticism from Muslims or any word or deed of theirs on any subject with trust and submission.
A person with a skeptic view always wants things to be proved or documented or to be given further details. But if based on the moral values set out in the Qur’an, a Muslim’s word is more important than any proof or evidence. It is enough to know that one is dealing with someone who fears Allah and has a healthy conscience. One must always think that the words and deeds of someone with taqwa (awe or fear of Allah, which inspires a person to be on guard against wrong action and eager for actions which please Him) are wise for the best. One must always trust and look positively at Muslims’ words or deeds and be confident that these are the product of their conscience. One must not look for hidden meanings in what they say or do. One must trust the other party’s conscience and not expect proofs.
The alternative is a way of thinking frequently observed in the society of the ignorant. And that way of thinking always leads to trouble and unhappiness. When people are skeptical of one another, even positive behavior becomes a cause for doubt. For example, they become suspicious when a friend complements them on a matter and try to work out the hidden significance behind it. When they encounter pleasant words or behavior in someone else they again become suspicious, because the moral values of the society of the ignorant are based on self-interest, and any disinterested good deed or complement becomes grounds for suspicion.
With Muslims it is very different, however. Muslims base all their behavior on honesty and the Qur’an. Since everything they do is based on Allah’s approval, moral virtue and honesty, this eliminates all possible grounds for doubt or suspicion. People must believe in what Muslims say and have complete trust in its veracity. They must believe that Muslims want the best for them and place their trust in Allah. They must always look favorably and positively on Muslims’ words and behavior. For example, when a Muslim tells them something they must always say, ‘He is saying this in complete truth and honesty.’ Or when a Muslim does anything they must say, ‘He is doing this in my own interests and for my own good.’ Suspicion, such as thinking , ‘I wonder if he is telling the truth, if his words are true and if he really is well-intentioned?’ are very tiring, both for the party harboring such ideas and for the person they are directed toward. Only with such a perspective can Muslims be calm and at peace. Any other state of mind leads to spiritual fatigue. It makes people unable to think properly and to see what is for the best in things. The human mind is not well suited to confusion and negativity from all directions. It is impossible to think healthily but live with doubts. Skepticism totally eliminates healthy thinking. What one therefore needs to do is to completely eliminate doubt and to think in line with the Qur’an, fearing Allah and making the best use of one’s conscience.
Doubt is of absolutely no benefit to a person’s soul, characters, moral development or body. On the contrary, it damages all these in a variety of ways. It prevents one thinking well and healthily and reduces the efficacy of what one does. It takes up valuable time that should be spent on drawing closer to Allah and profound reflection and causes one to waste it on empty and ridiculous concerns. It prevents one having a healthy mind, and is a source of constant worry and concern.
Muslims must place their trust in Allah, keep a clear mind by using their free will and always thinking in line with the Qur’an, avoid all skepticism and be aware that all things are created full of beauty and for the best.