What are the reasons of the difference in views about Islamic issues?
Wherever is human there is disagreement, because this is part of the characteristics of human. Even twins of a family raised in the same culture, under the same material and spiritual circumstances, and instructed by the same teachers may disagree in some issues. This being the case, people growing up in different environments will show differences. Besides the factor of creation, the other factors having effect in this matter are shortly as follow:
The fact that the issues that are open to disagreement are actually unclear:
The example of Plato clarifies this issue very well: Plato says:
People cannot be far from the truth, as well as they cannot express it to the full. Every person penetrates into an aspect of the truth. The example is: Some blind reach the place of an elephant. Each one grabs an organ of the elephant and tries to imagine what it is. The one who grabs one of its legs says that this is a long and round animal similar to a trunk of a tree. The one who reaches to its back says that this is a creature like high hills. The one who grabs its ear says that it is a flat and thin creature that can be folded up. As is seen, each of them understood just one part of the truth, declared their friends wrong, and claimed that they are mistaken in the understanding of the truth. Most often, the disagreements arise not because the issues are unclear or hard to comprehend, but because each side of the disagreement does not know the view of the other. For this reason, Socrates says, If the thing upon which disagreement exits is known, every disagreement stops.1
When looked from the perspectives of Islamic sects, the people that failed to see the Koran as a whole came to false conclusions. For example, while it is mentioned in the Koran about the free will of the human, it is also stated that all kinds of will and power are peculiar to God. Therefore; while there are verses supporting the Mutazile who says that people create their own deeds and that God has no intervention in the deeds of His slaves; there are also verses supporting the Cebriyye who says that people have no will and that they are like leaves in the wind against the will of God. If looked into as a whole, not separately, the truth will be better understood. If I may put it this way, as it is better to look at the elephant and depict it as a whole; it is also better to look at the verses of the Koran as a whole. Otherwise, it may be thought that everyone says the truth at the first glance; but in reality the conclusion they reach is defective and lacking. For this reason, the matter will be better understood if all the verses about the issue are looked into. So, Man wills and God creates. In the things man wills he cannot escape responsibility. Thus the issue which is seen as two sided is understood and it is seen that they do not contradict one another.2
The difference of desires, interests, and dispositions: Disagreements arise because everyone has different desires, interests, and dispositions. About this issue, Spinoza says, What shows us the matter beautiful is our desires and tendencies.3
The difference of branches: There are very different groups of jobs. And these groups have principles and measures of their own. So, each group of job will proceed in accordance with their principles. And in the end, their conclusions will be different in the same issues. For example, there are differences in the way the scholars of fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) and theology view the Quran.
Imitation: One of the reasons of the disagreement is the imitation of the old; because imitation causes blind and faulty conviction. Wherever there is blind conviction, it is just natural that excessive disagreements exist, because the mentality of imitation kills the objective reasoning and causes the minds to become dim. So everyone takes the statements of the one he imitates as the truth; thus, the disagreements in history continue without changing.
The difference in the capacity of understanding and insight: Abu Zahra says that in the letters of the institution Ihvanussafa these are related about this issue: There are lots of people whose capacity of understanding is high, evaluation precise, and reflection keen. In addition, there are the ones who are stupid, whose hearts are blind and confused. This is one of the reasons why the learned differed in their views and sects. As their understanding and capacities differ, their views and beliefs differ likewise.4
The desire for leadership and wish to dominate over others: This kind of a desire leads someone to the conviction that what he says is the ultimate truth and the opposite views are absolutely wrong. So, even if they are wrong, he insists on his views. Thus, disagreements strengthen.
1- Muhammed Ebû Zehra, İslamda Siyasi İtikadi ve Fıkhi Mezhepler Tarihi, trc. Hasan Karakaya, Kerim Aytekin, İstanbul ts., s. 10.
2- Geniş bilgi için bkz. Sayın Dalkıran, İbn-i Kemal ve Düşünce Tarihimiz, İstanbul 1997, s. 71-73, 155-176; a. mlf. Osmanlı Devletinde Ehl-i Sünnetin Şii Akidesini Tenkidleri, İstanbul 2000, s. 83-132, 237-252.
3- Ebû Zehra, Mezhepler Tarihi, s.10.
4- Ebû Zehra, Mezhepler Tarihi, 12.
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