What are the parameters of being open-minded?




The idea of an open mind...being that one should listen and discuss anything and everything. We sometimes don't even realize that we take this as an unquestionable golden truth. Nobody wants to be perceived as "rigid" or "closed" or worse, "not courageous enough to listen." But what are the parameters of this concept? When you look around, there are a lot of times when there's ample reason to close the door and stop considering alternatives. In fact, many times, that's the intelligent thing to do.


There's an old saying, that once you've bought a car, stop browsing around. It goes for a lot of things. Once you've accepted a spot in a university, you stop looking at the perks of others schools. How about marriage?? Once you've made your choice, you stop considering all other suitors on the spot. Makes sense?


This is what Imam Malik meant when a man came up to him for a debate. The man said


"Hear me so I can debate you." 


Malik said: And if you win the debate? 


The man said: Then you follow me. 


Malik said: And if I win?


The man: Then I follow you.


Malik: And if a third man comes and defeats us both?


The man: We both follow him.


Malik: Then we will be in constant change, and constant change is not a trait of guidance.

He continued: As for me, I am on a clear path from my Lord, while you seem to be full of doubts. So find another man full of doubts to debate with. 



Malik's companions asked: Shall we debate people? He said, "No. Guidance does not come through debating, but rather, say the truth; it will be either accepted or rejected."


One of Imam Malik's principles was that if you are certain and steadfast upon the truth don't even listen to what you know is false. It's from constantly opening our ears and ingesting bizarre ideas from unknown sources that people end up totally confused and sometimes misguided. "Consider deeply from whom you take your religion" (Abdullah b al-Mubarak). 


For all issues of life and belief, consider the source, and if the source is unknown or dubious, leave it off, close the door, and don't let Shaytan come and trick you with "Be open minded," because this isn't the open mindedness that's a virtue. The virtuous open mindedness is considering someone's words *after* they've been established as trustworthy and upright on the foundations. For a believer, questioning the foundations is a non-starter. If you go there, I'm not even listening. 


When atheists come on here and gab away, I'm telling them: don't waste your time. I know my way al-hamdulillah, may Allah keep us steadfast. If I need to research an issue I'll do that on my own. But just as I don't eat anything I see, I don't open my ears to anyone who writes a blog-post. If they carry on with their "open minded, closed minded, free-market of ideas" rubbish, that's fine; I've already discarded their foundational position about the universe, why should I then care what thy say about me, a mere speck in that universe. If the root is rotten, the fruit will be rotten, so why even bother considering at it.


Advice: review what you understand about 'open mindedness,' because it has parameters. And realize that in some cases, you just have to hit DELETE. 

اللهم ارنا الحق حقا وارزقنا اتباعه وارنا الباطل باطلا وارزقنا اجتنابه

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