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In the Name of God بسم الله

To Read Books Of Other Religions Or Phylosophies?

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  • Advanced Member

Salam aleikum wa ra7matullah

Dear brothers and sisters I was wondering if when the Pophet (sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wa salam) says "Go in quest of knowledge even unto China" ,as it is narrated in the ahadiht books, also implies the knowledge of other religions or phylosophies (Buddhism, vedas, krishnamurthi,Confucius, zoroastrism, Lao, judaism, reading about western philosophers as Nietzche, Sartre, Ortega y gasset..etc...etc).

Which are the criteria I must follow if Islam allows me to do so and if not, why?

Thank you very much!

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^ You're asking a very controversial question, in which there is no consensus regarding either among classical or contemporary scholarship. You have those who support the study of philosophy (sometimes referred to as hikmah, wisdom). They seek the inner reality and nature of things through reflection upon the Divine Speech (Qur'an) and Prophetic sayings (either through the Prophet [sawa] himself or his heirs, the Imams [as]). Then you have those who are against the study of philosophy, as they see it as something extrinsic to the tradition. Some go as far as to say that the encouragement of mostly Greek philosophy during the early Islamic period was part of a greater plan to suppress the noble teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt [as]. Regardless, you have here disagreement regarding the origins of philosophy, it's relevance to the tradition, and the extent to which it can be employed. As far as simply studying these religions and philosophies for non-religious purposes, more so as an interest, most would say that's not objectionable. Others would say it is. And, yet still, there are those who would not be opposed to it, but would encourage a believer to focus on their own religious tradition rather than wasting time on others.

(wasalam)

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Lets just say that this world would be a much better place if we all studied philosophy, more importantly, if we just bothered to philosophize more about the important questions and issues relevant to our lives. It is not that we are lacking terribly in knowledge or ideology, in fact there is a bit too much of that to go around, it is in wisdom, even on an elementary level. Anyone who suggests that we should not pursue these methods is just insecure about their own adopted doctrine.

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  • Advanced Member

Salam aleikum wa ra7matullah

Dear brothers and sisters I was wondering if when the Pophet (sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wa salam) says "Go in quest of knowledge even unto China" ,as it is narrated in the ahadiht books, also implies the knowledge of other religions or phylosophies (Buddhism, vedas, krishnamurthi,Confucius, zoroastrism, Lao, judaism, reading about western philosophers as Nietzche, Sartre, Ortega y gasset..etc...etc).

Which are the criteria I must follow if Islam allows me to do so and if not, why?

Thank you very much!

In the Asr dua, we recite, "allahuma inni audubika min ilm laa yanfaa" (O God, I seek Your protection from a knowledge which is of no benefit).

The Prophet (S) asked us to seek (beneficial) knowledge even if we have to go to China. The opposite of benefit is harm.

What is beneficial and what is harmful to us in this world and the hereafter?

What benefits us alone is tawhid: the affirmation or acknowledgement of a Unifying Principle.

What harms us alone is shirk: the affirmation or acknowledgment of what disperses.

Beneficial knowledge is not a knowledge which disperses the soul and scatters it. Beneficial knowledge is a knowledge which unifies the soul. Beneficial knowledge makes the soul in harmony with the One.

Or, put another way, beneficial knowledge is knowledge which is seen in light of tawhid. And harmful knowledge is knowledge not seen in light of tawhid but rather it's opposite.

The hallmark of Scientism and Rationalism is the acquisition of harmful and non-beneficial knowledge.

The point here is that only you alone can tell whether the knowledge you are acquiring for yourself is harmful or beneficial based on the effect it has upon your soul. Do you feel like your soul is being dispersed in so many directions, do you feel your soul is not in harmony with the One because of the effect of the knowledge you are acquiring? If you answer yes then it is harmful knowledge. If you answer no, then it is beneficial knowledge.

Even to study Fiqh can possibly be harmful to the soul. Even studying Aqeeda can be harmful. What matters is the effect these things have on your soul.

Edited by eThErEaL
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(salam)

I love reading holy books of other religions. I have read the Bible, part of the Granth Sahib, part of the Kathaupanishad, and the Gita. That's about it, though. I do love studying most religions, though :) The thing to remember is, some people MAY try to convert you. So stand on guard and be well grounded in your deen.

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