One’s attention may easily be distracted from a particular subject by other things. While thinking about an important matter, one may find oneself distracted by the ordinary things one intends to do the following day, or even by the pen one is holding in one’s hand. Such distractedness hinders one from profound thinking.
Besides this, if a person does not have sufficient knowledge about a subject, the results of his thinking can only go so far. However, this need not represent a permanent obstacle to profound thinking. So long as one knows where to look and how one should go about it, one can always enhance one’s knowledge if necessary.
Certainly one of the most significant barriers to proper thinking is over-familiarity with things and looking at things from a fixed perspective. A person who has constantly seen certain things happening since the day he was born will regard all these events as nothing unusual if he does not reflect on them thoroughly. Since he is used to seeing them everyday, he will be unable to appreciate the exceptional signs of creation in living things. He will not think about the ant, for instance, who easily carries 200-300 times its own weight for many metres, which means that he will never reflect on who has given the ant this physical mechanism which enables it to perform such hard work. By the same token, it will never dawn on him even for a single instant, that he could never achieve a comparable feat of strength. Another example might be the fine details in the structure of a bird’s wing. He does not realise that the wing mechanism of the bird is an eminently unique work of creation. On the other hand, a person who is capable of thinking deeply can arrive at far reaching conclusions by taking up and examining even a single feather. He may even discover many significant new details ranging from the order in the feather, to the structure of the material that the feather is made of. His examination of this single feather can reveal to him the evidence of Allah’s creation.
Yet it should be noted that one does not necessarily need to have great knowledge in order to break free from the common, habitual way of thinking. It would be sufficient to take a careful look at the living things one is surrounded by, the sky or one’s own body. Allah draws attention to this point in the Qur’an with an example as follows: