Friday, June 12, 2015

Merits of Consultation

People in their daily lives, find difficult to decide whether to proceed or not in any of the matters undertaken; in such dilemma, two methods prescribed
1)      Consultation
2)      Seeking guidance of the creator

When Abraham (PBUH) was ordered by his Lord to slaughter Ishmael (PBUH) in his dreams, Quran interprets the consultation of Abraham (PBUH) with Ishmael (PBUH)
يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَى فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانْظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى قَالَ يَا

أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ
"O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think." He said, "O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast." (Quran 37:102).

The rest is history, as God saved Ishmael (PBUH) by sending a goat to slaughter. This is to test their belief & patience in which they won. 

God mentions about the importance of Consultation behind the success of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) actions

. وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرَ
Allah ordains Mohammad (SAW) to consult or seek advice from them (his companions) for all the matters

Quran mentions about the Safa Princess consultation with her ministers about Solomon (PBUH)

"يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَفْتُونِي فِي أَمْرِي مَا كُنْتُ قَاطِعَةً أَمْراً حَتَّى تَشْهَدُونِ"
She said, "O eminent ones, advise me in my affair. I would not decide a matter until you witness [for] me." (Quran 27:32)

The ministers replied to her the following –

"قَالُوا نَحْنُ أُولُو قُوَّةٍ وَأُولُو بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ وَالْأَمْرُ إِلَيْكِ فَانْظُرِي مَاذَا تَأْمُرِينَ"
They said, "We are men of strength and of great military might, but the command is yours, so see what you will command." (Quran 27:33)

When the counsel didn’t make her happy, said the following –

"قَالَتْ إِنَّ الْمُلُوكَ إِذَا دَخَلُوا قَرْيَةً أَفْسَدُوهَا وَجَعَلُوا أَعِزَّةَ أَهْلِهَا أَذِلَّةً وَكَذَلِكَ يَفْعَلُونَ"
She said, "Indeed kings - when they enter a city, they ruin it and render the honored of its people humbled. And thus do they do.” (Quran 27:34)

Consultation or seeking counsel is one form of uniqueness in Islam. The difference between Democracy and Islamic way of electing a government is this consultation.

Whereas in democracy, the first preference given to the Majority. Whereas in consultation or seeking expert advice, knowledge stands first

Characteristics of consultation:
1)      The first aspect of consultation or seeking advice is that it should be with subject matter experts. Consult about medical with a doctor and religion with a religious scholar.
The person with whom we consult should be qualified to give advice

2)      For the matters those are mandatory (in which there aren’t any second thought), then those need not have to be consulted. Like those of obeying parents, worshipping the creator etc.,

3)      The person with whom we consult, should be a reliable source. The discussed matters are a form of trust, so it shouldn’t be disclosed to others

4)      The person should give right guidance, keeping in mind the goodness of the other

5)      For seeking guidance or advise, age or knowledge shouldn’t restrict anyone

6)      Its upto that particular person, to take a decision based on the suggestions received. He shouldn’t be compelled to choose any particular opinion provided

In addition to consulting with others, one who seeks 

guidance from his Lord through prayers, will never end on 

the losing side;

Arabic Translation Centre (ATC)

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