Bosch or Kenwood? Samsung or Apple? Mercedes or Audi?

Throughout our lives we are faced with situations where we have to make a choice. The amount of pre-consideration and precaution that we engage in before the choice is proportionate to the cost of the choice and its impact on our lives.

For example, if a person is choosing between two kitchen appliances that cost approximately R3000, then one will read the various reviews and speak to people who have the appliance before making a choice.

When purchasing a car, however, then the cost and the impact is much more. Hence, one will conduct thorough research into the features of the car, the service plan, warranty and backup-service before making the purchase. In the case where the vehicle is second-hand, one will make additional enquiries to ensure that the vehicle was not previously involved in an accident, etc.

From all the various situations though, the greatest amount of pre-consideration and precaution is generally shown when dealing with one’s life itself. If a person is suffering from a life-threatening illness such as a heart condition, and he urgently requires medical intervention, then at that critical moment, he will not wish to place his life in the hands of just any person bearing the title ‘doctor’. Rather, he will scrutinize the doctor before selecting him, ensuring that he has an unblemished record in his practice and impeccable reputation among his peers. Only then will he feel confident and comfortable to place his life in the doctor’s hands.

Nevertheless, the reality is that the decisions and choices which have the greatest cost and bear the highest price in our lives are the decisions which relate to our Deen. If we make the wrong choice in our Deen, then the steep price will have to be paid in the Hereafter, and our incorrect choice will impact directly on our admittance to Jannah or sentencing to Jahannam.

Therefore, the greatest amount of pre-consideration and precaution must be shown when making choices that relate to Deen, as the repercussions and consequences of these choices will remain long beyond the grave.

Hence, in the blessed hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) taught us that if a person has any doubts or reservations regarding something being permissible or impermissible, then he should exercise caution and refrain, as this is safer for both his Deen and dunya. (Saheeh Bukhaari #52)

These choices will present themselves at different times and in different forms. At times, it may be that we wish to purchase food from a certain place, but there is a doubt regarding the food being halaal. It may be that we wish to attend a certain function, but we know that there is a great likelihood of sins such as music, photography, intermingling, etc. being perpetrated there. In many instances, the choice revolves around the smartphone. We wish to go onto Instagram or Facebook, but we know, in the back of our minds, that it will lead to us to viewing impermissible pictures and falling into other sins. Finally, it may be that we wish to follow a certain scholar, but the pious and senior ‘Ulama have expressed reservations regarding him and have disapproved of his views.

In all these cases, the lesson of Islam is simple – it is safer and better to tread on the path of caution. It is far better that we miss out on some trivial, insignificant enjoyment of this world than be made to pay the unaffordable price in the Hereafter. Remember – our admission into Jannah is even more valuable than our life itself, so we should never ever gamble with it.

May Allah Ta‘ala bless us all with the taufeeq (Divine ability) to exercise caution in Deen, aameen.