Focusing on the little things in the religion is something that my husband and I talk about all the time. We disagree about it all the time to be more accurate. I think that there is a time for the little things, and I believe the little things piece together to become the bigger things.
Now follow my logic here. If we say forget the little things where will the structure we need to practice Islam be? It may seem like focusing on how the prayer is performed is getting into micromanaging people’s faith, but I think that it gives us the freedom to focus on worship. You want to pray? Here is how and you just focus on the remembering Allah(swt).
And the same thing applies when you are thinking about all of the things Islam specifies about our daily affairs. Death, divorce, birth, marriage… It is all there in the religion. This (in my opinion) is a mercy from Allah(swt).
Unfortunately, I think that what my husband sees (and I see it too) is that this has led us to a bizarre dependence on the scholars of Islam. We want a fatwa about everything. And some people are hesitant to act unless they have every little issue clarified by a scholar. We are so busy with the little things, and reading what scholars have to say about them that we are stuck only doing that. I don’t think we were meant to use the religion this way. I would argue that we are responsible for learning enough to act on our own knowledge most of the time.
Why have we stopped doing this? Why have we stopped learning the religion for ourselves? Have we let the structure that could be giving us freedom to think of other things become our focus?
I think the danger of this is that we are susceptible to the interpretation of other people, and we will never know the difference. I feel it in my own life all the time. I will be engaged in a discussion about something and I will want to tell them a relevant hadith, but I don’t know it exactly, and I can’t say for sure the chain of narration and its strength so I am weak in my argument.
I am setting a goal for myself of memorizing one hadith a week, complete with its narration. I think if we could all do that it would be impossible for someone to give us a twisted answer to something because we would know better. Even better yet we would have the answers without going to scholars for every little thing.