We must learn to think critically



The first verses of the Holy Qur’an revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were those in Surat Al-Alaq: “Read with the name of your Lord Who created (every thing), He created man from a clot of blood. Read, and your Lord is the most gracious, Who imparted knowledge by means of the pen. He taught man what he did not know.” (96:1-5)

If we think about these words, we understand how deep they are. There is no doubt that continuous writing and reading result in many benefits for both the individual and society. Writing and reading are the means for critical thinking. They force the human brain to analyze, develop and understand, especially if the reader is reading from reliable sources based on specific academic criteria.

I do not think that our problem is a lack of books or that there are only a limited number of readers. However, I believe that we are afraid to share our voices. We are afraid to write without restrictions and so we end up writing things that we do not really believe in, mentioning things we do not really want to mention and complimenting people we do not really want to compliment. We might do all that just to insure that no one stops us from writing and spreading our words.

When we read a book or an article written by one of us, we find it strange that the words used seem to be restricted to the extent that they seem to want to break free. We feel as if the words that are written are about to scream and announce the actual meaning, and so we end up writing articles and books that do not reflect who we really are.

The justification by some rational thinkers when it comes to reading some specific books is unbelievable. They say that reading such books might affect the beliefs and ideas of the reader. This is illogical, especially when the audience consists of free and rational adult readers. It is unacceptable for us as humans who are blessed with brains not to think critically. Sometimes, we are not allowed to ask critical questions.

Questions arise at the beginning of enlightenment. They are the reason we start looking for and discovering the truth. Questions are what theories are built on. If we look at Newton, one of the world’s most influential scientists, we see that his well-known theory of gravity started from a question: “Why does an apple fall on the ground while the moon does not fall from the sky?” Although this question may sound ridiculous, his discovery led to an eruption of scientific discovery. Many inventions came from Newton’s famous theory.

We should never underestimate an idea until we have completely analyzed it. We should not block our brains from thinking until we discover the reason. We should always ask questions that will make us think critically and logically to find the answers.

The societies that grew and developed in so many fields did not develop due to exceptional mental abilities. They developed because they knew the benefits of freeing their brains. They knew that criticizing and giving opinions reflect positively on society as a whole.

In my opinion, if we look at the Middle or the Dark Ages of Europe around the 14th century, we will understand a lot. During that period, ignorance was widespread, extremism was everywhere, and the Church was responsible for almost everything. Europe at that time was fighting science and scientists were against the Church’s way of ruling the country. Many scientists were exiled or killed because they criticized the Church. Europe did not truly develop until freedom of speech was allowed.

In conclusion, I would like to say that we need to break free from these restrictions. The buried ideas in our minds should be revived. If we really want to become a developed society, we need to be more critical and knowledgeable in everything we do.