Quora Answer: Are There Laws in Islam That Govern Our Hearts, Thoughts, Ideas, or Beliefs?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ 

The following is my answer to a Quora question: “Islam has many laws that govern behaviour.  Are there any laws in Islam that govern our hearts, our thoughts, our ideas, or our beliefs? 

There are two types of jurisprudence in Islam, from which legal rulings are derived: fiqh al-’ibadah, and fiqh al-mu’amalah.  Fiqh al-’ibadah, the jurisprudence of worship, pertains to our relationship with the Creator.  In this everything is haram, forbidden, unless it can be proven to be halal, permissible.  This is a mercy.  It prevents people from adding to the rituals of worship and making it incumbent upon others, making Islam burdensome and onerous.  Fiqh al-mu’amalah, the jurisprudence of transactions, pertains to our relationship with Creation, which is transactional in nature.  Here, everything is halal, permissible, unless you can prove it is not.  Thus, everything that we do and experience is permissible unless we can prove it otherwise.  Nowadays, Muslims have it backwards and drown themselves in the minutiae of whether this or that food is permissible for consumption, or whether their finances are halal.  It is this sort of impious paranoia that makes Islam inaccessible to others. 

Nothing in the above addresses our thoughts, and our intent.  This falls under the ghayb, the unseen, and is the secret between the individual and Allah (s.w.t.), Who Knows All.  The field of the religious science that addresses this is called taswawwuf, ihsan, or ‘irfan.  It is about the purity of intent, and the sincerity of the act.  Since no man knows the depths of the heart of another, no man may judge it.  There is no jurisprudence on the intent.  This Judgement is Reserved for Allah (s.w.t.), and it is Made Manifest to all on the Day of Judgement.


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