Introduction to the course
This section presents an overview of the course including the objectives, prerequisites and intended learning outcomes.
Before embarking upon dealing with doubts, one needs to understand the “lens” by which they perceive reality. This section introduces students to the concept of Worldviews and how they shape our opinions and thoughts.
Components of a worldview
What makes up a Worldview? We study the components of a Worldview such as ontology (what exists?), epistemology (how do I know what I know?), teleology (what is the purpose?) and more.
The Islamic vs. The Modern Worldview
After a thorough understanding of the concept of worldviews and its components, we compare the Islamic worldview with the Modern worldview.
In this section we analyse the basis of worldviews. We observe that all worldviews have unprovable starting points or assumptions which go by a variety of names such as “first principles”, “basic beliefs”, “axioms” and so on.
Definition of The Fitrah: “Original”
The Islamic worldview's first principle is called the Fitrah. A working definition of the word ‘Fitrah’ is “Original Normative Disposition”. This section places a spotlight on the term “Original” in our working definition and highlights the primordial nature of the human being.
Definition of The Fitrah: “Normative”
This section looks at the second term in our working definition (i.e. “normative”). We juxtapose the term with something that may be “descriptive” and show that the Fitrah refers to how the human being “should be” or “ought to be” as opposed to simply describing the human being.
Definition of The Fitrah: “Disposition”
The final term in our working definition is “disposition”. Here we will present two views on the Fitrah: It has inborn knowledge of God, the worship of God and certain basic morals orIt is an inclination towards truth, God and the worship of God.This section also introduces the ways to “uncloud” the fitrah such as rational arguments, spiritual experiences, and revelation.
The Nature of the Heart
Following the discussion on the Fitrah, we discuss the central role of the heart. Destructive doubts attack the heart and thus, an understanding of the nature of the heart is of paramount importance when dealing with destructive doubts.
The Heart’s Main Fitan
The heart goes through fitan (trials, tribulations, etc.) In this section we look at two of the main ones: Shahawāt (desires) & Shubuhāt (destructive doubts).
Dealing with Your and Other People’s doubts: 10 Strategies
We begin a deep study of the 10 strategies to deal with doubts. Some strategies will need to be implemented before the doubt enters the heart, some strategies will need to be employed afterward and some can be used before or after. This overview will present the proper timing and implementation of these strategies.
Awareness of the dangers of doubts and their destructive nature is the one of the first steps in dealing with doubts.
Strategy #2: No Attention
Once one is aware of the destructive nature of doubts, they need to avoid paying attention to them. Note: this section does not imply that Islam does not have answers to doubts but that protection of ones heart takes precedence.
Strategy #3: Make The Distinction
Is it really a destructive doubt or a valid question? This section outlines how to make the distinction between waswasa’s (whisperings), valid questions and destructive doubts.
Strategy #4: Your Environment: Spiritual Health Of The Heart
The effects of the environment upon the heart are discussed in this section.
Strategy #4: Your Environment: Social conformity
We look at experiments from social psychology that elucidate the human willingness to conform in certain social situations.
Strategy #4: Your Environment: What do the Qur’an & Sunnah say?
The Qur’an and Sunnah preceded social psychology experiments and offer deep insights to human behaviour especially regarding social conformity. This section looks at some of those insights.
Strategy #4: Your Environment: How do we help others?
General advice on how to help others who find themselves in an environment not conducive to certainty about Islam.
Strategy #5: Study Islam Etymology of the Term “Shubuhat”
In this section we break down the Arabic word for “doubts” (Shubuhāt) to gain an understanding of their frail nature.
Strategy #5: Study Islam Light as a Parable
Light is used as a powerful metaphor in the Qur’an to signify clarity. In this section we study this metaphor to gain a deeper understanding of the weak nature of doubts.
Strategy #5: Study Islam: Studying Islam vs. Studying…
Studying Islam is unlike studying other subjects. In this section we analyze some of those differences and understand why studying Islam specifically is effective in dealing with doubts.
Strategy #5: Study Islam: The Spiritual Prerequisite
In the previous section, we compared studying Islam with just merely studying. This section expounds upon the most important prerequisite to studying Islam: Spirituality.
Strategy #5: Study Islam: Case Study: Women’s Inheritance
Our first case study will investigate the claim that women inherit less than men.
Strategy #5: Study Islam Case Study: Age of Consent
Our second case study will investigate the claim that Islam facilitates child abuse.
Strategy #6: Critical Thinking: Introduction
An introduction to Critical Thinking and its importance in dealing with destructive doubts.
Strategy #6: Critical Thinking: Critical Thinking Defined
A look at good and bad arguments and our need to be able to identify them.
Strategy #6: Critical Thinking: Logical Fallacies
What makes an argument fallacious? In this section we study formal and informal fallacies.
Strategy #6: Critical Thinking: Quranic Encouragement to Think Critically
In this section we take some examples from the Qur’an of how fallacious arguments are presented and their responses.
Strategy #6: Critical Thinking: Awakening the Truth Within
We revisit the Fitrah and learn how critical thinking can be a means to ‘uncloud’ the Fitrah.
Strategy #6: Critical Thinking: Philosophical Doubts
In this section, we use critical thinking to deconstruct and analyze the question, “If the universe needs a creator, then who created God?”
Strategy #6: Critical Thinking: Scientific Doubts
“Science leads to atheism”. In this section, we analyze this claim and apply what we have learned about critical thinking to investigate the assumptions upon which this claim is based.
Strategy #6: Critical Thinking: Moral / Ethical Doubts
“Islam requires blind obedience to God and is therefore, backward.” In this section, we analyze this notion and apply what we have learned about critical thinking to investigate the assumptions upon which this statement is based.
Strategy #7: Find a Specialist
Sometimes doubts arise because we may have questions that we cannot answer. However, just because we cannot answer the question does not mean an answer does not exist. In this section, we look at our epistemic limitations and study how those limitations can be overcome by way of knowledge from specialists.
Strategy #8: Dealing with Trauma: Trauma Defined
Every human experiences some form of trauma. In this section we define the term ‘Trauma’.
Strategy #8: Dealing with Trauma: Suffering & Meaning
In this section we look at how trauma is linked to doubts by way of the meaning we attach to the trauma.
Strategy #8: Dealing with Trauma: Alternate Meanings to Suffering
If indeed the meaning we attach to trauma facilities doubts, then what could be alternate meanings to our trauma that negate doubts?
Strategy #8: Dealing with Trauma: Another Glance at Worldviews
Competing meanings to our trauma are based upon our worldview. We revisit worldviews to understand the Islamic worldview in relation to suffering.
Strategy #9: Focus on the Heart: The Connection between Doubts & Spirituality
What is the connection between doubts and spirituality? In this section we explore the ontology of the human soul and how doubts affect us.
Strategy #9: Focus on the Heart: Spiritual Diseases
Having elucidated on how doubts affect us spiritually, we now look at specific spiritual diseases that facilitate destructive doubts.
Strategy #9: Focus on the Heart: Means to Purify the Heart
In this section, we move on to the solution to spiritual diseases and expound upon means to purify the heart.
Strategy #9: Focus on the Heart: Means to Purify the Heart (con’t)
Con't of the previous lesson.
All of the efforts in dealing with doubts would be ineffective if not for the will of Allah. Dua plays a powerful part in dealing with doubts, and is the most important and effective strategy among the 10 strategies presented in the course. In this section we study specific duas related to the heart and have a brief discussion on the causes of duas being answered.