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The Art of Deduction​

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On the surface, all they saw was a footprint. However, to the trained eye, it represented far more. The tracker squatted next to the footprint and began his deductions, “This is the spoor (trail) of a kudu. These prints are quite fresh – not even two hours old. It will be at least three years old and its front right leg is injured.”

What seemed to be ‘magic’ was actually the art of deduction. Scrutinizing the depth of the footprints and hardness and moisture of the soil, the distance between the prints, the size of the prints and other similar factors, the tracker was able to deduce the information that he required.

Likewise, an archaeologist finds a fossilized animal skull. While the layman sees nothing more than a lump of bone, the archaeologist employs his skills of deduction and extracts the information that he seeks. The age of the animal, its diet, intelligence, etc., are all pieces of information that he is able to accurately deduce.

While the work of a tracker and an archaeologist is an example of advanced deduction which requires extensive training and practise, each and every person also employs his power of deduction in other more common situations, e.g. grey clouds indicating imminent rainfall.

Allah Ta‘ala repeatedly exhorts us in the Quraan Majeed to ponder over His creation in order to recognize Him and discover His greatness through ‘deduction’. For this, a person does not require advanced education or training. Rather, simple common sense and intelligence is sufficient.

A bedouin once recited the following couplet:

اَلْبَعْرَةُ تَدُلُّ عَلٰى الْبَعِيْرْ         وَآثَارُ الْأَقْدَامِ عَلٰى الْمَسِيْرْ

فَسَمَاءٌ ذَاتُ أَبْرَاجٍ وَأَرْضٌ ذَاتُ فِجَاجْ        كَيْفَ لَا تَدُلُّ عَلٰى اللَّطِيْفِ الْخَبِيْرْ

“When a lump of dung indicates that a camel had passed by and footsteps indicate that a person had passed by, then how could a sky filled with constellations and an earth crossed with paths not indicate the existence of the Creator Who is Most-Gracious and All-Aware?” (Noorul Anwaar pg. 173)

The signs of Allah Ta‘ala are around us, for one and all to behold. For example, a business cannot function and operate without the management. In fact, even with the management, there are problems and challenges. Hence, we should then ponder that when a simple business cannot operate without a manager, then how is it that the entire system of the earth and the planets continues flawlessly, with them all orbiting the sun, never once colliding with one another or deviating from their path? It can only be Allah Ta‘ala who designed it so perfectly and continues to oversee it all!

Similarly, doctors often give up, stating that the patient cannot be helped and will soon pass away. Then, the patient makes a ‘miraculous’ recovery, against all odds, leaving the doctors completely astounded. Who else could have cured the patient but Allah Ta‘ala?

Likewise, even the greatest of intellectuals and academics would struggle to memorise a book of 800 plus-pages, cover to cover and word for word, in a foreign language. Yet, Muslim males and females across the globe, of all races, ages, intellects and genders, memorise the Quraan Majeed. It can only be Allah Ta‘ala who enables them to learn His Quraan Majeed!

Pondering in this manner, to acquire the recognition of Allah Ta‘ala, is an act of ‘ibaadah and a means of strengthening our imaan.

May Allah Ta‘ala grant us all the ‘eyes’ to behold His signs in everything around and within us, aameen.