Does Islam Need Explanation?

A young man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: “O Messenger of Allah, give me permission to commit zina (fornication).”

The people turned to him to rebuke him, telling him to be quiet. But the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Leave him alone.” Then he came closer to him and told him to sit down. He said: “Would you like that for your mother?” He said: “No, by Allah, may Allah make me your ransom.” He said: “No, and the people do not like it for their mothers either.” Then he said: “Would you like it for your daughter?” He said: “No, by Allah, may Allah make me your ransom.” He said: “No, and the people do not like it for their daughters either.” He said: Would you like it for your sister?” He said: “No, by Allah, may Allah make me your ransom.” He said: “No, and the people do not like it for their sisters either.” He said: “Would you like it for your paternal aunt?” He said: “No, by Allah, may Allah make me your ransom.” He said: “No, and the people do not like it for their paternal aunts either.” He said: “Would you like it for your maternal aunt?” He said: “No, by Allah, may Allah make me your ransom.” He said: “No, and the people do not like it for their maternal aunts either.”

Then he placed his hand on him and said: “O Allah, forgive his sins and cleanse his heart, and protect his chastity.” And after that the young man never thought of any such thing again. (Musnad Ahmad)

The Prophet’s response to this bold youth is very telling. He did not tell the youth that he should simply hear and obey (which is not to say that the concept of hearing/obeying is not important). He did not tell the youth that he should just become a better Muslim, work on his iman, and that will help him accept that zina is a sin (which is not to say that becoming a better Muslim and working on one’s iman are not important in terms of accepting Allah’s commands). Rather, the Prophet ﷺ gave him an explanation, or some words to convince him that the path he wanted to pursue was a bad idea.

Sometimes the right explanation makes all the difference.