“The critical habit of thought, if usual in society, will pervade all its mores, because it is a way of taking up the problems of life. Men educated in it cannot be stampeded by stump orators … They are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain. They can wait for evidence and weigh evidence, uninfluenced by the emphasis or confidence with which assertions are made on one side or the other. They can resist appeals to their dearest prejudices and all kinds of cajolery. Education in the critical faculty is the only education of which it can be truly said that it makes good citizens.” -William Graham Sumner
This quote perfectly sums up the art and science of critical thinking. It comes from a book I was reading as part of my professional development as a business analyst at the corporate office of a large healthcare company.
You might wonder, how does critical thinking relate to Islam?
The Islamic sciences are rooted in critical thinking. As Muslims we should develop our critical faculties, so that we are not interpreting Islam according to our own whims but rather according to the rigorous, evidence-based models established by scholars throughout the centuries.
Nowadays we are quick to use logic and reasoning to dismiss long-held traditional interpretations of Islam. Why not use reason to uphold them instead?