Questions are the spark that leads to acquiring more knowledge! We all have problems and queries that we need assistance with, whether in religious matters, school, work, home or even relationships. While we all have questions, we often fail to ask for help!
There is an array of reasons why we hold back our questions. Fear of how we will be perceived by the one we ask and thinking that our question is pointless are among those reasons. However, by withholding our questions we also hold ourselves back from a great deal of success.
Our deen promotes acquiring correct and complete knowledge about anything, be it in deen or dunya matters. It is by seeking knowledge that we can continue to grow as Muslim individuals and as a Muslim ummah. It is no surprise then, that many of the ahadith relayed to us are actually the Prophet’s response to his righteous companions’ questions. They never stopped asking because they were always thirsty for knowledge, and that is something we should learn from.
Asking questions can be with the intention of sharing an idea, expressing an opinion or acquiring more information about a certain issue. In addition to the intention, a person should strive to maintain the etiquette of a Muslim while asking; being patient, respectful, thankful and considerate towards the person answering the question are some of those manners.
Additionally, a Muslim should keep in mind when it is appropriate to ask a question and when it is not. If asking will lead us to fall into the depths of gossiping and backbiting, we should refrain from asking. The beauty of asking is only when the knowledge or information you gain is beneficial to you and those around you.
To look further at the benefits of asking questions, here are five aspects you can look forward to gaining by asking questions.
1. Strengthen your worship
The fundamental need for asking questions is learning further about acts of worship. Prophet Muhammad’s life is a blueprint of how a believer should live; however, in order for us to follow in his footsteps we must educate ourselves. From the hadith of Aisha , we learn the importance of asking on matters that you are unsure of:
An Ansari woman asked the Prophet how to take a bath after finishing from the menses. He replied, “Take a piece of cloth perfumed with musk and clean the private parts with it thrice.” The Prophet felt shy and turned his face. So I pulled her to me and told her what the Prophet meant. [Sahih Bukhari]
Though the matter of menses is a sensitive topic, the woman still asked because she did not know the appropriate way of bathing, which was needed in order for her to cleanse herself and pray. Had she not asked, the consequences would have been great. This teaches us not to hesitate when asking questions, even if the topic is embarrassing or off-limits. In this case, asking questions when you are confused about a topic leads to removal of errors, increase in knowledge and beautification of worship.
2. Increase your confidence
By being brave and pushing yourself to ask questions or admit to needing help, an individual slowly gains confidence. Though it can be daunting at first to ask your boss for clarification on a certain task or your teacher to explain a concept again, you benefit by overcoming the monster that holds you back each time you do so. The more you put yourself out there, the less frightening it becomes. As a result, you will not necessarily lose anything, but you will gain an answer, as well as confidence!
3. Learn new things
Nobody is born with knowledge of everything. By pondering over a question, we highlight a gap in our knowledge. In order to obtain the information to fill this gap, questions should be asked. Through asking in class, at a relevant lecture, checking trustworthy online resources or seeking a specialist; knowledge and knowledgeable persons can be found and accessed easily in our present-day. In the past, people used to travel for long days and nights just to ask a question. We have no excuse!
Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
“Then ask those who possess the message (ahl al dhikr) if you do not know [Qur’an: Chapter 21, Verse 7]”
Every person has different skills and strengths. This verse guides us to take advantage of those who possess knowledge and benefit from them. By doing so, you are given the opportunity to learn about new things.
4. Form new relationships
Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
“O mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. [Qur’an: Chapter 49, Verse 13]”
Living in a culturally diverse world, a person can easily become confused, judgmental or have lack of understanding of other people. The Muslim ummah alone is is a mosaic of many different nationalities, colors, backgrounds and cultures, yet we all worship The Only One worthy of worship, Allah . The same applies to non-Muslim countries and societies. We should take time to get to know the people in our mosques, communities, universities and/or workplace. Asking questions is a great tool to form new connections and bonds with people and also clear misconceptions. By having an inquisitive mind, we are able to develop strong relationships and appreciate different traditions and cultures.
5. Save time
In the world of being a Productive Muslim, it is important to always seek out ways in which we can be more efficient with our time. By holding back and never asking your teacher to explain a new topic or your colleague what the best filing system is, you spend more time figuring these things out for yourself, causing a setback for yourself. Often, there has been someone in your position before and by turning to those who have experience, you can save yourself the time and hassle. While it is good to be dependent on yourself in certain issues, there is no harm when asking for help in completing a task. Save time, ask questions now.
Next time you find yourself hesitant to ask a question, think about these benefits. I am sure that you wouldn’t want to be the one standing in the way of your success. Put yourself out there…with humility, integrity and patience!
If you have any personal tips to encourage others to ask questions, please comment below. Don’t forget, sharing knowledge is a sunnah!