Is It Permissible to Take Philosophy Classes?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

My university has made philosophy classes mandatory and the lectures involve content about evolution, other religions etc. I’m not sure what exactly I should do aside from limiting participation. Are there any guidelines I should follow in trying to keep from saying/writing something that might go against Islam? Is it sinful to watch these lectures?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

In the context of your philosophy class, there is no harm in saying or writing something that is contrary to our religious creed provided you do not actually believe or affirm such a belief and express yourself in a manner that merely seeks to describe a particular theory or view.

Thus, for example, you can phrase answers in concern to human evolution as, “many scientists state” or “according to the theory of evolution” and so forth. In this manner, you are not affirming anything of your own belief but simply describing something.

I would also add that individuals should generally be cautious when approaching certain philosophical inquiries. It is important to ensure that you have a good grounding in your Islamic creed and have access to sources/scholars who can tackle any doubts that you might have. Optimally, if you fear negative consequences to your Islamic belief through the study of philosophy, it should not be engaged. But given this course is not optional, you should proceed with a degree of caution and care.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas  graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.

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