Please note: The answers on Hawramani.com constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

Skepticism and critical thinking in Islam

Salaam. Brother, as a young person in her mid 20's, I wanted to ask for your advice. I've grown up in a way that my parents never taught me lessons about life and I got to experience it myself at first-hand. It made me a quiet person, but observant. Somewhere at my early 20's, I got to experience depression due to my past life away from home. I came back a different person. I used to held a strong personal value, but now I feel like I need to see each and every side of things to understand the bigger picture of what's going on. At first, it was frustrating, but as time goes by and I'm slowly healing from my depression, I'm starting to understand why, but have so little grasp of what is exactly true or false. Is this what you called growing up? And if I see many sides of things, which side should I take or which one should I take to be held as my personal value? Thank you very much for taking your time reading and answering my question. I need a grown-up to understand my situation and I can't count on my parents, for they are not the right people for me to talk about this and because I have grown apart from them since childhood.

I am glad that you are recovering from your depression. It is a sign of maturity and intelligence that you are seeing things from multiple sides and questioning things. I myself am what I call a consummate skeptic and I never take any authority’s words for granted. I always try to do my own research and come to my own conclusions. So the best way forward for you is to seek knowledge. Read as many books as you can and in this way you will be able to start distinguishing right from wrong.

I strongly recommend reading the Quran daily. This should be the foundation of your thought and behavior. If you hold tight to it and always seek God’s guidance, inshaAllah He will give you a guided and blessed life.

I also recommend reading my book The Way of the Spiritual Muslim. This book can provide with a beautiful spiritual foundation for you to build upon. I will send the ebook version of this book for free to anyone who asks for it, so just send me an email at contact@hawramani.com if you are interested.

For ideas about books to read, please check out the page The Modern Islamic Studies Curriculum. These are books that I have read (or am reading) and I strongly recommend all of them to all growing Muslim intellectuals.

If you are interested in taking your learning to the next level, please consider joining us at the Hawramani Institute. I and other members will give you all the support you need to become the most capable Muslim thinker you can be inshaAllah.

Best wishes.

And God knows best.

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