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.

What to do if certain Quranic verses and hadith narrations sound harsh or illogical to you

Hi! i'm trying to read the quran in my language to understand and apply to my life. but it comes harsh to me. i don't want to be disrespectful to Quran but some things even look ridiculous. same goes for the hadidths and so. the more I try to learn I get distanced. I already believe and I wanna keep believing Allah fully. But I feel like I'm tricking myself to believe because sometimes I'm not persuaded with explanations I find. But I still accept them afraiding that I'm gonna lose my Imaan.

pt.2: and this feels like I’m not a true believer. I act as one on the outside. But I can’t make good decisions according to my Islamic knowledge. I feel so lost. What can I do for understanding and loving Islam more. Without getting distanced?

It is true that some verses sound ridiculous in some Quran translations. Some translations are better than others. Since you speak English, I recommend that you check out Abdel Haleem’s translation which is better than many others. You can also check out the translation at ClearQuran.net, I use this most of the time when I need to quote verses in English because it is simple and modern.

As for hadith narrations, they should be treated with caution. If they say something that sounds illogical or that seems to go against the Quran, then most of the time you can safely ignore them even if they are supposed to be authentic. There is an authentic narration that says women are a “bad omen”. There is another authentic narration in which Aisha (may God be pleased with her) refutes this hadith and says the Prophet was actually saying that the pre-Islamic Arabs used to believe that women are a bad omen. You should never take a hadith at face value without researching further.

So I understand the difficulty of trying to remain a good Muslim when there is so much that sounds ridiculous and absurd that is attributed to Islam. In reality once you understand the verses and hadiths in context, then everything makes sense. The Islamic world’s solution to this problem is simple: find intelligent and reasonable scholars and listen to their opinions and read their books. They do the hard work of reading the original sources and making sense of them. A person who speaks Arabic has a great range of intelligent and sensible scholars to choose from, people like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Muhammad al-Ghazali, Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda and many others.

Unfortunately most of their works are not available in English, and the English-speaking Muslim intellectuals have not yet created a definitive set of works that we can comfortably point people to. But there are still many good books out there which you can check out, by people like Timothy Winter (also known as Shaykh Abd al-Hakeem Murad) and Jonathan Brown. You can also check out lectures on YouTube by Timothy Winter, Hamza Yusuf and Yasir Qadhi. The more you learn about Islam from the available modern sources, the more you will be able to make sense of it.

Start by trying to understand the Quran as best as you can, then use its philosophy to judge everything else that you hear about Islam. If you hear something that sounds ridiculous and that is not in the Quran, you can be skeptical toward it and ignore it even if you cannot say with certainty that it is false.

And remember that Islam is merely a tool that helps us know the best way to understand God and worship Him. The point is God, not Islam. So even if something in Islam does not seem to make sense, this should not affect your relationship with God. You should hold onto God and the Quran and when you hear something that is strange or unsettling, wait patiently until you learn more and can make sense of it.

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