Allah has very unflattering words for those who do not think: –
Truly, the worst of all creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf, the dumb, those who do not use their reason. Qur’an 8:22
And they (those in hell) will say, “If only we had listened or reasoned, we would not be among the companions of the Blaze.” Qur’an 67:10
There can be no excuse for giving up your right to think for yourself. The consequences of switching off your critical faculties are absolutely terrifying, not just in the next world, but in this world.
What to Think About?
And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the mind, one will be questioned about all these. Qur’an 17:36
The simple answer is that you should think about anything that is a guiding element in your life. What you work at, what set of beliefs you hold on to, any movements you join and so on. There are consequences in all such things, not just for you, but for others. So you do not know, you do not follow.
But in terms of specifics, the Qur’an is greatly deserving of deep consideration.
Then do they not consider the Qur’an, or are there locks on [their] minds? Quran 47:24
Then do they not consider the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. Qur’an 4:82
We must read and consider the Qur’an, with enough depth to allow us to find contradictions. There are none, however, we must consider it with such depth so that if there were any, we would find them. The Qur’an is a detailed text, and in reading and considering it, it must be analysed in detail.
If We had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear of Allah. And these examples We present to the people that perhaps they will think. Qur’an 59:21
[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. Qur’an 38:29
In many places in the Qur’an we are reminded to think, consider and reflect on the Qur’an as well as the physical universe. These are not just ‘by the way’ recommendations; they are important guidance from Allah. There are severe consequences to not taking the time to consider the Qur’an, this is because if you do not read and think on its contents, then the Qur’an no longer acts as guidance, it is no longer the criterion in your life, rather, it becomes merely a book to be looked at and respected. It’s guidance cannot then properly reach your heart and soul through the conduit of your mind. All you are left with is following what others tell you about it…
Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting. ~Edmund Burke
Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.
Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.
Our Lord, indeed whoever You admit to the Fire – You have disgraced him, and for the wrongdoers there are no helpers. Qur’an 3:190-192
Do they not contemplate within themselves? Allah has not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them except in truth and for a specified term. And indeed, many of the people, in [the matter of] the meeting with their Lord, are disbelievers. Qur’an 30:8
Thinking about the creation of Allah is extremely important, as in the analysis of its intricacy and design are the signs pointing to its creator. Just ignoring this study and taking things for granted allows for irrational thoughts on the origin of the universe and of humanity to develop in the minds of unthinking Muslims. Namely, ideas of cosmological and biological evolution. These ideas, which by their very nature and purpose are designed to deny Allah have negative implications in both the practical and spiritual aspects of those misguided by these ideas.
Perhaps the greatest reason that people switch off their minds, is that they give away their responsibility to think to others, whether out of fear, laziness, conformance or profit. The reality is this, if something is important, and your soul and its eternal destination is quite possibly the most important thing you can imagine, then you must take the responsibility to think deeply about what it is you are living by. If you give that responsibility to someone else, that means that you trust that person or people with your eternal soul. Is there anyone you trust that much?
And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they say, “Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing.” Even though their fathers did not think, nor were they guided? Qur’an 2:170
And similarly, We did not send before you any warner into a city except that its affluent said, “Indeed, we found our fathers upon a religion, and we are following in their footsteps.” Qur’an 43:21-23
It is made clear here that this trend of ‘following our forefathers’ is a massive obstacle to true guidance. It is the obstacle that all messengers had to deal with.
And to be clear, this is not just an issue of “such and such who is respected says I should do this so I am doing it”, it is a case of being misled into believing that what you are being told to do and believe is actually the guidance of Allah.
And when they committing evil, they say, “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has ordered us to do it.” Say, “Indeed, Allah does not order immorality. Do you say about Allah that which you do not know?” Qur’an 7:28
We should aim to make it a foundational point in our lives to know what Allah has said, first hand, and to thereby know when a falsehood is attributed to Allah.
‘Following our fathers footsteps’ as a concept can be rephrased for the many specific cases that fall in this category. I was only: –
Following my parents
Following the way of my community
Following my Priest
Following my Rabbi
Following my Imam, Sheikh and Scholar
Following the leaders of my community
Whatever way you phrase it, it all ends up the same. You are following (blindly or not) and you have willingly given up your responsibility to think and consider for yourself. We have a specific and important example in this regard from the Qur’an: –
They (Jews and Christians) have taken their religious scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. Qur’an 9:31
How were the religious scholars and monks taken as lords beside Allah? We know they are not and were not worshipped as God by the Jews and Christians, we however also know that the church/priests and Rabbis fashioned themselves as the interpreters and explainers of the revelation. And from the Qur’an, we know this was a task they failed for selfish reasons.
Do you know any other major religious group that willingly gives away its right to consider and think about its religion and its guidance to figures of authority?
And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah. They follow not except assumption, and they do nothing but conjecture. Qur’an 6:116
What the majority think is rarely the best criteria by which to judge the truth of something, especially when it comes to the guidance of Allah.
The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds. ~Will Durant
There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant. He has enumerated them and counted them a [full] counting. And all of them are coming to Him on the Day of Resurrection alone. Qur’an 19:93-95
But when there comes the Deafening Blast On the Day a man will flee from his brother And his mother and his father And his wife and his children, For every man, that Day, will be a matter to occupy him. Qur’an 80:33-37
On the day of judgement, you will be alone before your lord. Your scholars and Imams, your lecturers and family and whoever else will not be there to answer for you, they will be busy answering for themselves. Ask yourselves, have you studied and thought for the greatest test that is the day of Judgement.