One of the big challenges for the human mind is to think outside of itself.
We like to assume that whatever that we think we know about something or someone is the whole truth, even if in reality it is only an assumption we made based on a limited amount of information which may or may not cover all the many aspects of that something or someone.
I read a saying once, “Don’t judge me till you walk a mile in my shoes or live a day in my life.”
I agree with the saying, but it sounds like a lot of work. Doesn’t it? Wouldn’t be easier to just assume?
When someone cuts you off in a highway, it is easier to just assume that he is a reckless driver, rather than to entertain the possibility that he might have a wife who is in labour and he needs to get to the hospital ASAP.
When a young, attractive woman married an old man, it is easier to assume that she is a gold-digger, rather than to entertain the possibility that she might actually love the guy.
When someone gets 4.0 GPA and wears geeky glasses, it is easier to assume that he or she is bad at sports, rather than to entertain the possibility that the person might be a gold medalist.
When you see someone driving poorly on the road, it is easier to assume that the person driving is a lady, rather than to entertain the possibility that the driver could be a man.
When you meet someone who is cold and distant, it is easier to assume that he or she is a weirdo or a bad person, rather than to entertain the possibility that it is not actually the person’s real personality – the person might be traumatized from being abused as a child.
It is easier to be egocentric (self-centered) and to assume that everything you think you know is the reality. But we are Allah-centric. He is our center. He knows the reality as the reality, so we ask Him to grant us that knowledge.
It is easier to deploy our heuristics (mental shortcuts) so that we don’t have to spend our energy to think. But we are not that arrogant and we are not that lazy, or at least we shouldn’t be.
The truth is, it is hard to know what is absolutely true about something or someone.
It is a good thing that Allah doesn’t expect us to know everything about everything. But He expects us to do our best. He expects us to fully exercise the gift of the human mind that He has honoured us with.
The best that we can do is investigate: to exhaust all possibilities that we can think of, and to make an attempt at understanding a situation or a person with all the nuances and complexities.
If we can’t even make an attempt to investigate, then we shouldn’t open our mouths at all – or in the case of our modern social media lifestyle, we shouldn’t type on our keyboard or click on our mouse at all.
A baseless assumption is a sign of laziness – too lazy to think, too lazy to investigate, too lazy to care.
If we don’t want to investigate and want to assume instead, then assume what is positive – even if it is difficult.
But even after doing our best, we still can’t know everything there is to know about something or someone.
Hence the reason why I think the phrase Allahua’lam (Allah knows best) is very profound and powerful. It shows us how how limited our understanding of the world is.
The phrase “Allah knows best” puts us in our rightful place as the slave, and He as our Master, so that we may crush our ego and beautify ourselves with even the least amount of humility.
The variables that exist to create any given situation are too much for a person to fully grasp and understand. We can attempt to cover all the different variables, but there will still be something that escaped our limited perception.
For example, a judge in any court will determine a ruling based on all the evidence presented to him. But even with all the available evidence, there will still be something missing.
But the judge is doing the best he can possibly do. So when a judge makes a ruling, he exercised all his expertise based on all the evidence presented.
Even if the judge ends up to be wrong, we can’t blame it on him because he had done the best that he could do (provided that no corruption has taken place).
At that point, we say “Allah knows best” and we believe that He will even out the score at the very end. Justice will be served, eventually.
Indeed, Allah knows best. Who else has the power or the ability to know everything about everything other than the All-Knowing?
Do we have that ability or that power? We don’t even know when we have something stuck between our teeth.
So humble ourselves and say “Allah knows best.”