Text on the Fundamental Beliefs of Islam and
Rejection of False Concept of its Oponents
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- Affirmation of the Companionship of Allah and the meaning of Whisper
- Affirmation of Speech for Allah (subhana wa ta'la)
- The believers will have the vision of Allah in the Hereafter.
- Some General Remarks about the Verses on Attributes
- Description of the Attributes of Allah from Sunnah
- Affirmation of the Foot and the Step for Allah (subhana wa ta'la)
- Some Names and Attributes of Allah approved from Sunnah
- Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah are moderate among all sects of Ummah
- Rising of Allah over the Throne, does not negate His having being with creatures
- To have faith in the Attributes which Allah qualified for Himself
- To have faith in that which has been stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and will take place after death
- Description of the Day of Resurrection and what will happen there
- Description of Haud, Siraat, Intercessions etc.
- Belief in Qadar (Divine Decree)
- Definition of lman (Faith) and its conditions
- The views of Ahlus Sunnah towards the Sahaba (Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him))
- Ahlus Sunnah love the members of the family of the Prophet (peace be upon him)
- Sahaba are the best ones of this Ummah
- Ahlus Sunnah believe in Karamat of Auliya
- Ahlus Sunnah follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him)
- Ahlus-Sunnah follow the basic principles of Shari'ah
Among the very few, whom the world has ever produced as a man of high caliber, status and quality, Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyah was one of them. His exalted personality and dignified status as an Islamic scholar is beyond any introduction. Many great scholars of our times appear to be his gleaners in knowledge. He has contributed a lot to almost all branches and faculties of Islamic learning.
His thoughts, views and judgments have widely affected the different aspects of Islamic life.
Sheikh-ul-Islam had a firm grasp over the concepts and beliefs of different Islamic sects as well as of Christianity. In his works, he has taken a serious notice of all these beliefs and purged out of these the correct and perfect Faith and teachings of Islam.
Sheikh-ul-Islam's book Al-Aqeedat Al-Wasitiyah deals with the perfect and undefiled Islamic Faith and Creed of the As-Salaf-As-Salih (Pious Predecessors) particularly in regards to Allah's Names and Attributes, with solid arguments in brief words and terminologies.
The book is highly appreciated by the scholars for its brevity as well as comprehensiveness; and for its contents produced perfectly in lines with the Qur'an and Sunnah in an appealing and manifest manner.
Various expositions of this book have come into existence but the one by Allamah Khalil Harras stands out of them. He has explained it in a concise and beautiful way along with the clear explanation of the words and their import. Commenting on the book, Sheikh Abdur-Razzaq Afifi states: Out of the several explanations of Al-Aqeedah AI-Wasitia,
this one is the most exquisite in style, clear-cut in interpretation and comprehensive in composition.
Dar-us-Salam Publications has been publishing the Quran, Ahadith, their expositions and other Islamic literature in Arabic, English and different other languages in line with its determination to communicate the Islamic world with pure and perfect Islamic Faith,
and acquaint it with the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah.
Its main objective is to transmit the correct and beneficent ruling of the pure religion contained in the Quran and Ahadith to the learned as well as commoners.
Under this program we are enjoying an extreme pleasure to produce this precious work into English with lucid and eloquent translation.
The book got rendered into English earlier by the Islamic research Dept. of Jamia Salafia, Banaras (India). But the translation contained some shortcomings and many other defects..
We acknowledge our deeply heartfelt gratitude to the authorities of Jamia Salafia Banaras and especially, Dr. Muqtada Hassan Azhari, who have given us leave to reproduce the expurgated edition of the book with additions, alterations and transposition as realized essential to bring the book to the standard of scholarship after its thorough investigation and research.
It would not be out of place to mention here that our research committee has devoted more or less ten months to bring out the book up to the mark. We feel pleasure in expressing our heartfelt thanks to the brothers of the committee who have exerted their best endeavors to present the book in high esteem of the readers, especially Muhammad Tahir As-Salafi who is an authentic scholar and an authority over the Islamic Faith. The publication of this edition of the book owes to his sincere efforts, hard labor and sacrifices of his invaluable time.
We pray to Allah to bless them with the best ability in the faculty of research and scholarship.
Abdul Malik Mujahid
SHEIKH-UL-ISLAM IMAM IBN TAIMIYAHA--BRIEF BIOGRAPHY
Imam Ibn Taimiyah's full name is Taqi ud-Din Ahmad bin 'Abdul-Halim. He was born in Harran on 22 January, 1263 AD (10 Rabi' Al-Awwal, 661 AH). His family had long been renowned for its learning. His father 'Abdul-Halim, uncle Fakhr ud-Din and grandfather Majd ud-Din were great scholars of Hanbalite school of jurisprudence and the authors of many books. His family members were forced to leave their native place in 1269 AD before the approach of the Mongols and to take refuge in Damascus. At that time, Ibn Taimiyah was seven years old. His father 'Abdul-Halim was appointed as Professor and Head of the Sukkariyah Madrasah. Endowed with a penetrating intellect and a wonderful memory, Ibn Taimiyah studied, at an early stage, all the disciplines of jurisprudence, Ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him), commentaries of the Quran, mathematics and philosophy, and in each he was far lead of his contemporaries. Among his teachers, was Shams ud-Din Al-Maqdisi, first Hanbali Chief Justice of Syria following the reform of the judiciary by Baibars. The number of Ibn Taimiyah's teachers exceeds two hundred. Ibn Taimiyah was barely seventeen, when Qadi Al-Maqdisi authorized him to issue Fatwa (legal verdict). Qadi remembered with pride that it was he who had first permitted an intelligent and learned man like Ibn Taimiyah to give Fatwa. At the same age, he started delivering lectures. When he was thirty, he was offered the office of Chief Justice, but refused, as he could not persuade himself to follow the limitations imposed by the authorities.
Imam Ibn Taimiyah's education was essentially that of a Hanbali theologian and jurisconsult. But to his knowledge of early and classical Hanbalism, he added not only that of the other schools of jurisprudence but also that of heresiographical literature, in particular of philosophy and Sufism. He had an extensive knowledge of Quran, Sunnah, Greek philosophy, Islamic history, and religious books of others, as is evident from the variety of the books he wrote. Though he preferred the Hanbali school of jurisprudence, he was never biased in favor of it. In his writings, he frequently quoted the opinions of all four of the well-known schools of jurisprudence, even others. In a number of matters, he himself held opinions different from those of the four schools. In fact, he was an original thinker (Mujtahid) who merely drew upon the wisdom of the four established schools.
In all his reformative efforts, Ibn Taimiyah accepted the Our an and the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him)) as the basic criteria. In matters where there was no clear guidance from the Quran and the Sunnah, he never hesitated to venture into rational thought and took the path of Ijtihad or creative originality an initiative.
The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries AD have a distinguished place in Islamic history. Ibn Al-Atheer described the political and military conditions prevailing in the Muslim world during Ibn Taimiyah's lifetime in the following words:
"Islam and Muslims had during that period been afflicted by such disasters that no other nation had experienced. One such affliction was the invasion by the Tatar. They came from the east and inflicted overwhelming damages. Another was the onset of the Prankish people (the Crusaders) from the West to Mesopotamia and Egypt, they occupied its ports, and nearly subjected all of Egypt to their rule, had it not been from Allah's Mercy and victory over them. But another affliction was that the Muslims themselves had been divided, and their swords lifted up against their fellows.
"In addition to such horrid conditions facing the Muslims on the political and military front, Islam as practiced and preached by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and As-Salaf As-Salih (the righteous predecessors) was being seriously challenged by various deviant sects. The Sufi movement which was spearheaded by the teachings of Al-Ghazali had won over many converts and was exercising a firm hold on the intellect and patterns of thought of many people. Along with this Al-Ash'ari system of creed had been widely accepted by the majority of the scholars of Ibn Taimiyah's day. Al-Ash 'ari system of doctrine was a mixture of the Salafi methodology which is based on revelation centered theology and the Mu'tazilah methodology which is based on a rationalist thought system. Taqleed was practiced widely. Even though information on the Deen, Fiqh, Ahadith, etc., was abundantly available, only a handful of scholars and ordinary people took up the task of investigating the sources of the knowledge and its vehicle. Most people blindly accepted the teaching of their Sheikh or Imam without questioning or investigating the sources from where the knowledge had come."
Imam Ibn Taimiyah's struggles and persecutions
Ibn Taimiyah's life was not confined to the world of books and words. Whenever circumstances demanded, he took part in political and public affairs too, distinguishing himself not only through his writings and speeches but also with the sword as a brave warrior.
Participation in Jihad
1300, the Mongols under their king Ghazan, invaded Syria and defeated the Sultan's army. Ibn Taimiyah, by this time well-known, flung himself into the stream of affairs, while the religious divines and saints were leaving Damascus to take refuge in Egypt. When Mongol threat arose for a second time, Ibn Taimiyah exhorted people to Jihad and encouraged them to confront the Mongols boldly. He toured the cities, called the people to a holy war and fired them with zeal. After a pitched battle at Shaqhab in which Ibn Taimiyah fought bravely, the Syrian-Egyptian army won a glorious victory that turned the tide against the Mongols. This victory, which was to a great extent due to Ibn Taimiyah's efforts and
commitment, stopped the Mongols advance.
Apart from the battle of Shaqhab, he took part in some other expeditions with the Mamluk authorities, and also undertook a few expeditions without them.
Opposition of rival Ulama
Because of his brilliant performance on the battlefield and his radical thinking, Ibn Taimiyah's fame spread throughout the realm, and he became a highly distinguished celebrity. This made a number of jurists jealous. Ibn Kathir has pointed out this fact, saying that: 'A group of jurisprudents were jealous of Ibn Taimiyah, as the people paid heed to him. To enjoin good and forbid evil was his vocation, and because of this he became very popular among the people. His followers were countless. His religious zeal, learning and actions made them jealous of him.' For the complaint of rival Ulama, he was imprisoned several times.
His last imprisonment began on 13 July, 1326 and lasted until his death. His opponents dug up an old Fatwa, related to tomb visits, given by him some seventeen years before, which could be provocatively interpreted. In his treatise on the subject (Risalah Ziyarah Al-Qubur) Ibn Taimiyah had questioned the legality of visiting tombs, even the tomb of the Prophet (peace be upon him). His opponents distorted the sense and context of this Fatwa to make it objectionable in the eyes of the public and the Sultan. A great dispute arose and Ibn Taimiyah was imprisoned in the citadel of Damascus along with some of his pupils including Ibn Al-Qaiyim.
While in prison, Ibn Taimiyah spent all his time teaching and writing. Many of his works were produced in this period. In 1328, he was deprived of all means of writing, his pen and papers were taken away.
But this did not stop him from writing; he wrote many letters and booklets with coal. He never complained to anybody about his persecution. Only when all reading and writing materials were taken away from him, did he say: 'Now they really have put me into prison.' He breathed his last on 26 September, 1328 (20 Dhul-Qa'dah 728 AH) having endured harsh conditions for five months. The whole country mourned. Schools, shops, hotels and markets were closed to mark his death. His burial was attended by the great numbers of Damascans; eyewitnesses confirm that, excepting some invalids, all turned out for his funeral prayer, both those who had been for him and those against. This is a clear testimony of his place among the people, of their appreciation of his sacrifices for public purposes and just cause. Including the two years and three months of his last imprisonment, Ibn Taimiyah spent about five years in different prisons.
A great reformer
In the Islamic perspective, 'reform' is understood quite differently than in Christian terminology. In Islam, 'reform' means purification of the original Islamic teachings, and the removal of UN-Islamic new practices (Bid'at) and misconceptions. In this sense of the word, Ibn Taimiyah was a great reformer.
The main aspects of his reforms
The most important elements of Ibn Taimiyah's reforms were: (a) to bring about a revolution against UN-lslamic practices (Bidht) that had crept into Islam and to emphasize the concept of Tauhid with all its implications; (b) a return to the fundamental priorities of Islam and its original spirit, instead of disputing over secondary and nonfundamental problems.
Attack on philosophy and logic
Another target of Ibn Taimiyah's criticism was Greek philosophy and logic. He knew that unless the crippling falsehood of Greek philosophy was removed, the people would not be able to grasp the Divine truth of Islam. He studied critically all the great Muslim philosophers and their works in this regard, and then he opposed it extremely.
Rejection of Sufism and deniers of Sifat
He abhorred the Sufi ideas of pantheism, gnosticism, and deterministic view of total religious resignation. According to him the implication of these ideas upon the Muslim community were devastating, because they led to political apathy, religious misconceptions, and withdrawal from an active community life. A major portion of his intellectual energies was spent refuting the doctrine of the Sufis.
The Shi 'ah were also subjected to harsh criticism by Ibn Taimiyah because of the many flaws in their doctrines and beliefs. He strongly denounced their falsification of the historical facts and forging of the Sunnah to support their own political views.
Ibn Taimiyah also attacked Al-Jahmiyah and Al-Jabariyah -- the determinists -- who denied the human being's responsibility for any of his actions. He also denounced Al-Mu'tazilah and Al-Qadariyah -- the rationalists -- who held human free will as the basis of human action. He also did doctrinal battle with the followers of Abul-Hasan Al-Ash'ari on various issues including determinism/free will, the Names and Attributes of Allah, and other issues of the Islamic creed.
As a result of his confrontation with the Sufis and the scholasticists, he made many enemies among them. Many of their leaders who exercised political clout used it against him, and as a result, he was once exiled in Alexandria and imprisoned on three different occasions.
Ibn Tamiyah gave himself relentlessly to pointing the way to the knowledge which, in his own words, means: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) shown the fundamentals and applications of religion, its intent as well as its expression, its (intellectual) knowledge and its action. This fact is the foundation of all fundamental knowledge and belief; and he who most adheres to this foundation is most worthy of the truth -- both, to know it and to do it."
Method of teaching
Ibn Taimiyah's method of teaching was both elegant and striking, replete with authentic references, strengthened with rational arguments, and evidence from the Ahadith .For a lecture on any subject, he would refer to verses of the Quran and discuss their meanings with cross references from the Quran. He would also note evidence from Ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and check their authenticity. He would then expound the relevant opinions of the four schools of jurisprudence and of other famous experts in jurisprudence. Having discussed the matter fully in this way, the problem and its solution would become clear in the minds of his listeners. Ibn Taimiyah had a prodigiously good memory which helped him overwhelm his adversaries in polemic.
Style of writing
His style of writing is clear and elegant. His writings are so richly steeped in references to the Quran, to Ahadith, to the sayings of the Companions and their followers, and to opinions of other experts in jurisprudence, that any Muslim reader must feel that he is living in the blessed age. From the literal point of view too, his writings have great merit. Because of their clear expression and choice of idiom, even his technical works seem to be literary ones.
Imam Ibn Taimiyah's disciples spread from Syria to Egypt and Cairo to Alexandria. Some of them scattered to very far-off places. They preached and developed his intellectual heritage, and shared their master's persecutions. One of the most famous of them is Imam Ibn Qaiyim al-Jawziyah (Allah's mercy be upon him) (d. 1350), a great writer in his own right. He so mingled his personality with that of his teacher that we find in his books echoes of Ibn Taimiyah's thought. Among other distinguished disciples were Ibn'Abdul-Hadi (d. 1343), who died at the age of forty but left valuable works. He wrote a biography of his master, Al-'Uqud Al-Durriyah; Ibn Kathir (d.1373), the famous historian and commentator of the Quran, whose book Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah contains a detailed biography of his teacher; Hafiz Dhahabi (d. 1348), the great Islamic historian of traditions; Al-Mizzi(d.l341), another expert on traditions; Muhammad bin Muflih (d.1362), writer of many books; Abu Hafs Al-Bazzar (d. 1349), the author of a biography of Ibn Taimiyah; Ibn Al-Wardi (d.1348), expert in literature, grammar and some of her branches of learning; and Qadi Ibn Fadl-ullah (d. 1349), a famous writer.
Impact of Ibn Taimiyah through the ages
Ibn Taimiyah created a climate of revolutionary thinking both through his ideas and his reformist endeavors whose impact was felt not only in his own time but ever since. In his lifetime people were divided either into those who were strong opponents or strong supporters fully in agreement with him, or uncommitted, those who agreed with some views and disagreed with others. Ibn Taimiyah left behind a large number of books and disciplines. His opponents soon sank into anonymity, while the value of and appreciation for his works has increased.
In his own lifetime, Ibn Taimiyah's fame and influence extended beyond the boundaries of Egypt and Syria. When he was imprisoned for the last time in the citadel of Damascus, many letters came from the inhabitants of Baghdad protesting against his arrest and demanding his release. When he died, funeral prayers in absentia were performed even as far as China.
Almost all historians have recognized his deep impact on the most prominent reformer of eighteenth century, Sheikh Muhammad bin 'Abdul-Wahhab (d. 1792).
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A brief biography of Dr. Mohammad Khalil Harras
Dr. Muhammad Khalil Harras was a great Salafi Aalim and research scholar. He was born in 1916 AD at Tanta in the western region of the Arab Republic of Egypt. He was educated in Al-Azhar University and received the doctorate degree in Islamic subjects from it.
On completion of his studies, he was appointed as a professor in the Faculty of Islamic Fundamentals of Al-Azhar University.
Then he was selected by the Government of Saudi Arabia to serve in Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University at Riyadh for some years. He was again selected as the Head of the Department of Islamic Creed of Ummul-qura University in Makkah Al-Mukarramah.
He then returned back to Egypt and was appointed as First Deputy Chief of "Ansaar As-Sunnah Organization" and then Chief of that Salafi Organization
In 1973, he along with Dr. Abdul Fattah Salaamah founded "Islamic D'awah Committee" in the western region of Egypt and was appointed its first President.
He breathed his last in 1975 at the age of about 60 years.
He was a firm Salafi scholar, much strong in expressing the truth, argumentation and exposition. He dedicated all his life in preaching and propagating the true Islamic faith and creed.
His works and compilations are too many, out of which some best ones are as follow:
1. Research and editing on the book Al-Mughni for Ibn Qudama.
2. Research and compilation of the book At-Tauhid for Ibn Khuzaimah.
3. Al-Amwal for Abi Ubaid Al-Qasim bin Salam.
4. AI-Khasaais Al-Kubra for As-Syooti.
5. As-Seerah An-Nabawiyah for Ibn Hisham.
6. Sharh Al-Qaseedah An-Nooniyah (2Vols.).
7. Ibn Taimiyah and his critisize on philosophers.
8. Sharh Al-Aqeedat-il- Wasitiyah, etc.
Meaning of Bismillah
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
There is a controversy among the Ulama regarding Bismillah as to whether this is an initial verse of each Surah of the Quran or an independent verse on its own, which has been stated to mark the intermediate distances between the Surah, and for blessing. The second opinion is preferred.
The Ulama are agreed that Bismillah is a part of the verse of Surah An-Naml (The Ant) and likewise they are agreed that Bismillah has been left out in the beginning of Surah At-Tauba (The Repentance) for, this and the Surah Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) occurring prior to it are both like one continuous Surah.
The Arabic letter Baa in Bismillah stands for seeking help. From a syntactical point of view it relates to a noun or verb dropped by aphasia. The Quran contains examples of its relationship with both verb and noun. The example of verb is Iqra bism-e-rabbika (Read: "In the Name of your Lord...") and the example of noun is Bismillah-e-majreha (In the Name of Allah will be its moving course).
It is better to regard the word with which Bismillah is related as occurring later, for the Name of Allah deserves priority. By giving priority to the preposition and the word governed by the preposition it is evident that the Name of Allah is particularly meant for blessing.
A noun (Al-Ism) in the Arabic language is defined as a word formed to make a sense definitive or distinct. This word has either been derived from Simatun which means a symbol, or from Sumoo which means height. The second statement is preferred. The letter Hamza occurs in it for providing conjunction. Ism and Musamma are not the same for Ism stands for that word which signifies and Musamma is that sense which has been signified. Likewise Ism and Tasmiya are not the same for Tasmiya is the verb of Musamma.
The word 'Allah' has either been derived from Uloohiat which means worship or from Aalehan which means amazement. The first statement is correct and Ilah means that which is worshipped.
Rahman and Raheem are from amongst the elegant Names of Allah. They show that Allah has the attribute related to His Self. It is not correct to say that Rahmah is meant in its implied sense such as gratitude etc.
Ibn Al-Qaiyim writes that the word Rahman denotes that attribute of Allah which exists along with His Self, and Raheem denotes that the attribute is related to that Self which has been the recipient of Rahmah.
Ibn 'Abbas reports that both these names comprise gentleness and softness. The word Rahman is an attribute of Allah and so it is His Name.
Description of Hamd and Madh
All praise is for Allah Who sent His Messenger with guidance and True Religion so as to give it supremacy over all other religions. And Allah is enough as a witness.
It is narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"A statement that does not begin with praise of Allah and blessing upon me, remains deficient and bereft of blessings." (Abu Daud, 13/184)
The same has been narrated about Bismillah also. That is the reason why the present author has tried to follow both Ahadith and has mentioned both Bismillah and Al-Hamdu lillah.
Hamd means praising orally a grace regardless of being benefited by it, be it a favour or anything else, such as a statement that 'I did Hamd of a certain person in connection with the prize he had been awarded or for his feat of boldness.' Shukr (thanking) is that praise which is done orally or emotionally or by any other organ of the body in lieu of some favour. This shows that the word Hamd is commonly used in one situation and the Shukr in another situation.
Describing the mutual difference between Hamd and Madh (praise) Ibn Al-Qaiyim writes that Hamd denotes stating qualities with love and respect; and Madh denotes only declaration of the quality, it does not necessarily imply love and respect. That is why the connotation of Hamd is of a special nature and that of Madh a general.
In the word Al-Hamdu, the prefix Al has been used comprehensiveness meaning that it includes all forms of Hamd. Some people have described it as a generic noun and have maintained that perfect Hamd is affirmed only for Allah. This word shows that Allah has all the Attributes of perfection and beauty.
Lexicologically the word Rasool (Messenger) means a person who has been sent with a message. In the technical terms of the Shari'ah, Rasool is that free man to whom Allah's revelations come and he is commanded to convey them to others. If he is commanded to convey to others he is called a Nabi. Thus every Rasool is a Nabi but every Nabi is not a Rasool (Prophet). The word Rasool signifies here the personality of Muhammad (peace be upon him). The meaning of Hidayah is to describe, and to guide. The Quran says:
"And as for Thamud, We showed and made clear to them the Path of Truth (Islamic Monotheism) through our Messenger (i.e. showed them the way of success), but they preferred blindness to guidance." (V. 41:17)
In this Quranic verse Hidayah means to guide. This meaning of Hidayah is common for all. It is in this sense that the Quran and Prophet (peace be upon him) are called Haadi (the guide).
Hidayah also means favour and revelation. In this sense it is specially used for those whom Allah gives Hidayah. Here it means all the true information, right faith, profitable knowledge and good deeds which were brought by the Prophet (peace be upon him).
The word Deen has several meanings such as judgment, as has occurred in the Quran (the Owner of the Day of Judgment); it also means modesty and obedience. The Arabic phrase Daana lahu means submission and meekness.
Deen here means all commandments and laws which were sent to the Prophet (peace be upon him), by Allah, whether they are related to ,belief, statement, or deed. The word Haq means that which is proved and is real; its antonym is Baatil which means a thing which has no reality.
It has been stated in a Quranic verse that Allah will make Islam dominant over all other religions through reasons and arguments. The sentence mentioned in the passage quoted above means that all the Attributes denoting perfection are proved for Allah in the highest degree. Allah is praised on account of those favors which He has bestowed upon mankind and which are beyond our comprehension. His greatest favour is that He sent Muhammad (peace be upon him) with the real religion and made it dominant over other religions on rational grounds. To bear witness in favour of Allah means that He helped His Messenger with His assistance, miracles and various evidences.
Meaning of Shahadah
I bear witness that there is no true God except Allah. He is alone and has no partners. And I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His slave and Messenger. May Allah favour him, his family and his companions with an abundance of Salaam.
Bearing witness means to explain a thing by having a knowledge of it and having a belief regarding its being correct and evident. A witness is reliable only when he has the qualification of affirmation and conviction, and his heart supports the tongue. Since the hypocrites bore witness with the tongue, Allah decreed them as liars.
Laa ilaha illa Allah (There is no God to be worshipped except Allah) is that sentence of Tauhid (Oneness of Allah) about which all Messengers of Allah are unanimous. This is the sum and substance of their mission and Messengership. Every Messenger began his mission with this sentence. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"I am commanded to fight with those people who do not say La ilaha illa Allah." If they say La ilaha illa Allah, their life and property will be safe and then their affairs will lie with Allah." (Al-Bukhari, 3/262).
This sentence negates Divinity of other than Allah in the beginning and affirms the Godhood of Allah Alone in the last part. The sentence means that there is no real being deserving of worship and this sense is reinforced by the phrase that He is One and has no partners. The phrase La ilaha illa Allah provides the basis for it.
By bearing witness in support of the Prophet (peace be upon him) along with bearing witness for Allah, it has been indicated that it is necessary to bear witness for both. One remains pointless without the other. That is the reason why both have been mentioned together in the Adhan (call to prayer) and the Tashahhud (a state of Salat). Some Ulama have stated in the explanation of the Quranic verse Wa rafa 'na laka dhikrak (And We exalted your fame...) that Allah says:
"(O Muhammad) whenever I am mentioned, you too are mentioned". (Abu Y'la, 2/522)
The Kalimah established both the Attributes of Messengership and servitude of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for these two are the most important Attributes of a worshipper of Allah. Worship is the rationale and aim behind the creation of jinns and mankind, and the perfection of creation lies in realizing this aim in practice. When the worshipper goes up higher in servitude, his status is exalted. By establishing the attribute of servitude for the Prophet (peace be upon him) those extremists stand contradicted who raise the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the position of Godhood; such as the practice of the misguided Sufi. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has repeatedly warned:
"You should not deify me in the way as the Christians deified the son of Mary. I am only a slave of Allah and His Messenger". (Al-Bukhari 12/144)
In bearing witness to this, the worshipper admits that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is perfect in servitude and perfect in the Messengership of Allah. This also states that he occupies the highest position in terms of the perfection of Attributes in the entire mankind. This testimony will be completed only when a slave testifies to the ideas transmitted by the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he obeys his commands, and keeps himself dissociated from those things which he has forbidden.
The literal meaning of Salat is prayer. The meaning of 'Salat on the Prophet (peace be upon him)' is explained by the narrative of Abul-'Alia which has been reported by Imam Bukhari as:
"Salat on the Prophet (peace be upon him) means Allah praises him before the angels."
The meaning of Salat pronounced by the angels is that they pray for pardon for the Messenger of Allah; and the meaning of Salat performed by a man is that it is an imploration and invocation.
The word Aal-e-Rasool means those kinsmen of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who are interdicted from accepting Zakat (obligatory charity), i.e., people belonging to Banu Hashim and Banu AlMuttalib. Likewise, the word Aal may also mean the followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Ashaab means all those people who saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the state of having become believers in the Faith and died in the state of believing in the Faith.
Salaam means asking for security from the evil things. This is one of the Names of Allah and means that He is free from all kinds of defects and drawbacks and is safe and secure, or, that He will give security to His faithful slaves in the Hereafter.
Introduction of the Saved Sect and its Faith
After Hamd and Salat, is being announced that this treatise will describe the beliefs of the genuine followers of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah, that is, the saved and the successful sect (Al-Firqatun-Naajiyah Al-Mansoorah) to the Day of Judgement.
The belief is this: To have faith in Allah, His angels, His Scriptures, His Messengers, and in being resurrected after death, and in having a good or bad destiny.
The word Amma ba'd is used to indicate the beginning of the main theme. The Prophet (peace be upon him) would often use this word in the beginning of his Khutbah (sermons) and writings.
The word 'Aqeedah means accepting anything with the heart and conscience and obeying Allah in doing it. The word conveys the resoluteness of the intention and maturity of thought.
Firqah is used to denote a group of people. The author has qualified it with salvation and assistance owing to the fact that one of the Ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) says:
"One group from my Ummah will always hold fast to truth and it will always have the assistance of Allah. No one who dissociated from it will be able to do harm to it up to the Day of Judgement." (Al-Bukhari, 13/293)
In another Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) says:
"This Ummah will get divided into 73 Firqah, and except one Firqah all the others will be destined to Hell. That one Firqah will be such as will follow my way and the way of my Companions." (At-Tirmidhi, 7/397)
In the phrase of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama 'ah, Sunnah means the way and practice followed by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Sahaba. The heretical innovation and different creeds had not come into being till then. The word Jama 'ah stands for the people who assemble. Here it means those Sahaba and the Tabi'een (the generation immediately following the Sahaba) who unanimously accepted the truth proved from the Qur'an and the Hadith and gathered together.
The Six Pillars of Faith
The six things on which, the author says, it is compulsory to have faith are regarded as the pillars of the Faith. Unless one has faith in these six things in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah, his Faith will not acquire perfection. If someone denies even one of these six things or does not believe in it in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunnah, he is a Kafir. All these things have been described in the Hadith known as the Hadith of Jibrael. It is mentioned that Jibrael came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the guise of a Bedouin and put questions to him about Islam, Iman and Ihsan. He said in reply to that:
"Iman means having faith in Allah, angels, heavenly Scriptures, Messengers of Allah, life after death, and good and bad destiny." (Muslim 1/259)
Al-Malaika is plural of Malak. This word is derived from AI-Ulooka, which means Messengership. By Malaika is meant the creatures of Allah whom He has made to inhabit the heavens and has assigned them the affairs of His creatures. He has mentioned them in His Book explaining that they do not disobey Allah and follow whatever they are commanded to do. They continue narrating the glorification of Allah untiringly day and night. It is enjoined upon us to have faith in all the Attributes and actions of the angels described in the Quran and the Hadith, and keep quiet about such as have not been mentioned, for these constitute the affairs of the Unseen which are known to us only to the extent Allah and His Messenger have told us.
Al-Kutub means those Scriptures which Allah has sent down from the heaven upon His Messengers. From amongst these, we have the knowledge of the Books of Abraham, Torah of Moses, Evangels of Jesus, Psalms of David and the Quran The Quran descended as the last Scripture and it stands as the protector and the testifies for all the earlier Scriptures. In addition to these books, it is also necessary to have a general faith in the Scriptures of the other Messengers of Allah.
The word Ar-Rusul means those people who receive revelations from Allah. These revelations contain commandments of the Shari'ah and the Messengers are commanded to preach them. It is necessary for us to have specific faith in the 25 Rasool mentioned by Allah in the Quran. A poet has collected the names in a verse:
"Eighteen have been mentioned in the Quranic verse of "Tilka Hujjatuna; the remaining seven are Idris, Hud, Shu'aib, Saleh, Dhul-Kifl, Adam, and Muhammad (peace be upon him)".
In addition to these Rasool and Nabi, we must have a general faith in other Prophets also, that, we do not have to wrangle about the faith in their Prophethood and Messengership, their names and their numbers, for Allah Alone has this knowledge. He has said:
"And Messengers We have mentioned to you before, and Messengers We have not mentioned to you." (Surah An-Nisa', 4: 164)
It is necessary to have this Faith in connection with these Messengers that they did convey the message to mankind which Allah had commanded them to do, and explained them in a manner that none remains in any doubt. And that they are free from flaws of character like falsehood, betrayals, hiding knowledge and ignorance. The most superior among these are: Muhammad, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Noah. They have been mentioned in the following verse:
"And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (O Muhammad (peace be upon him) and from Nuh, Ibrahim, Mosa and 'Iesa-son of Maryam."
(Sarah Al-Ahzab, 33:7).
And the second verse is:
"He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion (Islam) which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We have inspired in you (O Muhammad (peace be upon him), and that which We ordained for Ibrahim, Mosa 'Iesa saying you should establish religion (i.e. to do what it orders you to do practically), and make no divisions in it (religion) (i.e. various sects in religion)." (Surah Ash-Shura, 42:13).
The meaning of the word Ba'th is to raise and to give motion. In the terminology of Shari'ah it means to raise the dead from their graves alive on the Day of Judgement so that they are judged. Allah will see him who has done an iota of good and him who has done an iota of bad. We must have faith in Ba'th in the same sense in which Allah has mentioned in the Quran, that is, Allah will collect all the organs that are dissolved and revive them again and bring back life in them. The philosophers and the Christians who deny the bodily Ba 'th are Kafir, and those who believe in Ba 'th but hold that Allah will inspire soul into a body different from the body of this world are heretical innovators and corrupt.
Al-Qadar means making an appraisal. In the terminology of Shari 'ah it means that Allah has the knowledge of the quantity and temporality of everything from the beginning of the creation. He created them by His Power and Will and according to His Knowledge, and He recorded them in the Safe Tablet (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz - the Book of Decrees) before creating them. A Hadith says:
"He first created the pen and commanded it to write. The pen asked, 'What should I write?' Allah said, 'Write out all that is destined to happen'"
Allah says in the Quran:
"No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees --(Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz), before We bring it into existence." (Surah Al-Hadid, 57:22).
Meaning of Tahreef, Ta 'teel and Tamtheel
And it forms part of the faith in Allah that we believe in those Attributes with which Allah has qualified Himself and with which the Prophet (peace be upon him) has qualified Allah. Neither should alterations be made nor negations, nor attributing a state of being nor of likeness to creation. The belief should rather be that the Self of Allah is as He has mentioned in the verse: "There is nothing like unto Him and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer."
While explaining the meaning of Faith in detail, the author tells about the Faith of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama 'ah.
Tahreef means changing. Introducing change in a statement means leaving out the meaning understood by it and accepting such a meaning which the words may indicate in a doubtful sense. Of course, if there is a context to justify this sense then one must explain its possibility.
Ta'teel means leaving and vacating. In the present context it means negating the Attributes of Allah and denying them with His Self. The difference between Tahreef and Ta 'teel is that in the latter case that real meaning is denied which is proved by the Quran and the Hadith, while in Tahreef the explanation of the text is done with such meanings that are false and the word does not prove them. So Ta'teel includes Tahreef. Wherever there is Tahreef, Ta'teel is certainly there, but the reverse is not true. If someone tries to prove the false meaning and denies the real meaning, he is committing both Ta 'teel and Tahreef. If someone denies the Attributes proved from the Quran and the Sunnah and maintains that it is not the manifest sense which is meant, and yet he himself does not determine a sense, then it is called Tafweed. It is wrong to say that Tafweed was the creed of the Salaf. It was the Asha'irah1 of the later times who ascribed this thing to the Salaf. The Salaf did not do
Tafweed while trying to find out the meaning of something nor did they read anything whose meaning they did not understand. On the other hand, they understood the meaning of the passages of the Quran and the Sunnah, and proved these meanings in favour of Allah. Albeit, they would submit the knowledge of the reality and state of these meanings to Allah. When Imam Malik was asked about the state of Istiwaa (establishing, rising) of Allah on the heaven (Throne), he said Istiwaa is known but its condition is unknown.
Takyeef means to have faith that the states of the Attributes of Allah are such and such, or putting questions about the state of the Attributes of Allah.
Tamtheel means to believe that the Attributes of Allah are like the Attributes of the creature. The phrase Bi ghair takyeef means that Ahlus Sunnah deny that they have any knowledge of His condition, for Allah Alone knows the state of His Self and Attributes. But this does not mean that they completely deny the states themselves, for it is essential for everything that it has a state.
"There is nothing like unto Him."
It is a clear Quranic verse. This is the code of conduct of the Ahlus Sunnah about negation and affirmation. He has negated the existence of anything like Him but has affirmed the Attributes of hearing and seeing for His Self.
This shows that the correct creed is not that the Attributes are completely denied as is the way of the Mu'attilah2 nor is it to try to completely prove them as is the way of the Mumaththilah3 . The true creed is to make an affirmation of the Attributes without similitudes. In the word Kamithlihi the Arabic letter Kaaf has been added for emphasis as the poet says:
"There is none comparable to Zuhair in nobility."
1. Al-Asha'irah (Ash'arite): They are the followers of Abul Hasan Al-Ash'ari, who was Mu'tazili. Then he left E 'tizaal and adopted a way between E 'tizaal and Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jama 'ah. In his last age, he returned to the creeds of Ahlus Sunnah and followed Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in his theories. But some of his followers still remained on previous belief. They amplify the Attributes of Allah and have belief similar to Al-Murji'ah. They are closest to Ahlus Sunnah among all astrayed sects.
2. AI-Mu'attilah: One group of Mu 'tazilah.
3. Al-Mumaththilah, Al-Mushabbiha or AI-Mujassimah: They are opponent of Al-Jahmiyah in affirmation of Names and Attributes of Allah. They believe that Allah Possesses Hand similar to the hand of creatures, Hearing as hearing of creatures, Sight as sight of creatures etc. Exalted is Allah from that the wrongdoers say about Him. He is High and Great.
Allah could not be measured with His creatures
The Attributes with which He has qualified Himself, those Attributes of His Self are not denied by Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah, nor do they commit Tahreef on the basis of reasoning by different statements, nor do they indulge in wrong Ta'weel (different interpretation of an obvious meaning of a word) of the Names of Allah and His verses, nor do they regard His Attributes as Like the Attributes of the creatures and nor do they describe their states. The reason is that nothing is in the likeness of Allah, nor is anything comparable or partner to Him. Not to follow analogy from amongst His creatures to demonstrate likeness and comparability with Him.
The question of the denial of negation is based on the Faith mentioned above. This means that when they will have faith in Allah in this sense, then they will neither negate His Attributes nor do Tahreef; neither will they describe the state nor will demonstrate likeness.
The word Al-Mawadi ' is the plural of the word Al-Mawdi ' . This implies those meanings on which it is necessary to base statements. The reason is that at the time of using it the statement carries the same meaning; and it is on that ground that the statement is not separated from these meanings.
'Allamah Ibn Al-Qaiyim (Allah's mercy be upon him) states the following regarding not committing Ilhaad in the Names of Allah and His Attributes: "Doing Ilhaad in His Names means turning away from those real meanings of His Names which are proved for them. In this word the sense of Al-Ma 'il is crucial. The word Lahd is derived from it which means that cleavage in side the grave which falls by deviating from the middle. The phrase Mulhid fid-Deen is also derived from it and it denotes the one who deviates from the Truth and who introduces such things in religion which have no bearing on it.
Ilhaad in relation to the Names and the Verses of Allah occurs either by their total negation or by denying their meanings and rejecting them altogether, or due to Tahreef from truth or by doing false Ta 'weel by deviating from the truth, or it may happen by giving some self-coined words to those names just as the Ilhaad of the Ahlul-lttihaad.
The upshot of all this is that the virtuous Salaf had faith in all such things which Allah has stated about His Self in the Quran and in all such things which the Prophet (peace be upon him) has described. This faith is absolutely free from Tahreef, Ta 'teel, Takyeefand Tamtheel. Their statement on the Self of Allah and His Attributes is the same; the statement about the Attributes is an offshoot of the statement about the Self in which the statement regarding Self is perfectly observed. So when the aim to prove the Self is to prove existence and not of the state, then the same is true regarding the Attributes. They interpret this in one of their remarks: 'We will pass them off as exactly as they have been handed down, without Ta 'weel.' Those who do not follow this remark suffer from an illusion that they mean to say that only the word should be read and no controversy should be raised about the meaning, although this is a wrong notion. Negation of Ta 'weel here aims at the reality of meaning, its essence and its state. Imam Ahmad says:
"Allah shall be qualified only with those Attributes with which He has qualified Himself or His Messenger has qualified Him. Nothing should be said beyond the Quran and the Hadith". (AI-Fatawa, 5/26)
Imam Bukhari's teacher, No'aim bin Hammad says:
"Whoever described Allah in the likeness of His creature, he has committed Kufr and if someone denied the Attributes by which Allah qualified Himself, then he also has committed Kufr: The Attributes by which Allah qualified Himself or those that were narrated about Him by His Prophet (peace be upon him) Will not be called Tashbeeh or Tamtheel."
The reason why Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama 'ah do not do Takyeef or Tamtheel is that there is no parallel to the Self of Allah which deserves His Name nor is there anything of such a greatness which equals Him in height. Allah says in Surah Maryam:
"Do you know of any who is similar to Him?"
The meaning of His having no likeness is not that none would be named like His Name, for there are many such names that are common between Him and His creatures. This in fact means that when Allah uses these names for His Self their meanings are specific to Him. No one other than Allah will be a partner to it. Partnership takes place in the total sense of the name and this sense exists only in mind; in the external cases the meaning is only partial and specific. Its position is only relative. If the relation is with the Rabb then it is specific to Him and the slave will not be a partner in it. If the relation is with the slave then the meaning is specific to him, Allah is not a partner to it.
Kufu' means equal and having similar co-status. Allah's Statement is a witness to its negation:
"And there is none coequal or comparable unto Him." (Surah AI-lkhlas, 112:4).
Nidd means equal and of co-status. Allah says:
"Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped)." (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:22).
"Not to follow analogy" means that the use of no other such measure is allowed which may imply an analogy made regarding Allah and that which is the point of analogy, showing equality and similarity.
This analogy is like Tamtheel (likeness) which has been defined by the Ulama of the principles of Fiqh as combining the derived with the original in the precept as a whole e.g., combining Nabeedh with alcohol under the command of interdiction since the reason behind the command, that is, the question of intoxication is common in both. The analogy on the identity of the offshoot and the root is based on the similarity. But this is not permissible that such a thing should be allowed in the case of Allah in relation to the creatures.
In the terminology of the logicians, analogy is like Shamool (inclusion) that is to argue in relation to a part from the standpoint of a whole on the ground that this part is a component of that whole along with some other parts. This analogy is based on the assumption that the elements forming part of the whole are equal to the whole, and therefore what holds true for the whole also holds true for the parts.
And this is known that between Allah, the Revered and the Exalted, and His creature there exists no comparability in any thing. The highest level of analogy is used for Allah, which means that in every quality which is proved for the creature and there is a possibility that Allah is also qualified with it, then in that quality the Creator is certainly superior to the creature. And a defect from which the creature is free, from that defect the Creator is definitely free in the first degree.
Similar is the principle for perfection also. The aim in this case is that when two persons are compared and one of them has the quality of perfection and the other does not, then the first will be regarded as being more perfect. Thus, it is necessary to accept this attribute for Allah also so long as the existence of this quality is a perfection and its absence is a defect.
Affirmation and negation of the Attributes with which Allah glorified Himself or by His Messenger (peace be upon him)
For He knows best His Own Self and the selves of others. What He says is the truest and the best and His Messengers are true. They have been testified as against those who say such things about Allah which they themselves do not know. That is why Allah says: "Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of honor and power! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him! And peace be on the Messengers! And all the praise and thanks are to Allah, Lord of the 'Aalamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)." (Surah As-Saffat,37: 180-182). He stated His Self free from the things with which the opponents of the Messengers of Allah qualified Him, and sent peace unto the Prophets since their statements were free of defects and drawbacks. He also mentioned negation and affirmation of the Attributes with which He qualified Himself.
To have faith in the Attributes of Allah, mentioned in the Quran and the Hadith, is justified on account of the fact that Allah is the Best Knower of His Self and all other things. The best and the truest thing is that which He says; and whatever His Messengers say about Him is always true. They are innocent of telling lies about Allah, nor do they say anything which is against reality. That is why it is necessary to have faith in whatever Allah and His Messengers have said about the Attributes in a negative or positive form. Such things should not be left for believing in the statements of those people who falsify Allah and say such things about Him which they do not know themselves.
The detail behind it is that a defect in the failure of a statement to establish its intended meaning occurs because of one or more of the three factors mentioned below:
1. The speaker is himself ignorant of what he says.
2. He does not have the power of eloquence and the required amount of skill to communicate.
3. He resorts to lies, distortions, and adulteration.
The Quran and the Hadith are in every sense free from these three things. The statements of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) are extremely clear and bright. These are in accordance with the reality and the highest example of truth. These things have emerged after cutting off all external relations. They also include the highest admonition and guidance for the creatures.
In this way all the three elements of narration and understanding are available in the statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) has the highest knowledge of those things which he wants the people to be apprised of. He adopts the best style of narrating them. He is most willing to give admonition and guidance to the creatures. That is why it is not possible that his statements suffer from weakness or defect, while the statements of others in these matters and also in other matters are not free of shortcomings and defects. That is why it is not correct to regard the statements of others and equal to the statement of the Prophet (peace be upon him), let alone having faith in the statements of others compared with the statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This is an extremely shameful thing and leads astray.
That is the reason why Allah described His Own Glorification and sent peace on His Messengers.
Subhaan is the infinitive of Tasbih which means keeping purified and remote from evil. The root of this word is Sabh which means speed, flow, and remoteness. That is why the horse that runs very fast is called Sabooh.
Allah, the Pure, keeps His Self purified from all those things which the polytheists attribute to Him (such as having a wife or a son) and other defects and drawbacks. Then He sends peace on His Messengers. This indicates that just as it is necessary to have faith that Allah the Mighty and the Great is free from defects and drawbacks, so also it is necessary to have faith in the purity of the words and deeds of Prophets, for the Prophets and Messengers of Allah neither tell lies about Allah nor associate partners to Him, nor put their followers in make-believe positions. They never say anything except the truth regarding Allah. The command of Allah is:
"And all the praises and thanks are to Allah, Lord of the 'Aalamin (mankind, jinns and all the exists)."
On account of being in possession of perfection in Attributes, most magnificent qualities and most righteous deeds, the Glorified Allah Himself praises His Self.
Negation and affirmation are included in both general and specific terms in His Names and Attributes. The meaning of generality in negation is that all those defects and drawbacks are denied in the Self of Allah which go against His Perfection. For example:
"There is nothing like unto Him," (Surah Ash-Shura, 42:11);
"Do you know of any who is similar to Him? (Of course none is similar or coequal or comparable to Him, and He has none as partner with Him)" (Surah Maryam, 19:65);
"Glorified is Allah above all that they attribute to Him!" (Surah AI-Mu 'minun, 23:91).
Specificity in negation means negating the allegation that Allah is associated in His Attributes with such defects and drawbacks as father, son, partner, wife, peer, opponent, ignorance, helplessness, misguidance, forgetfulness, drowsiness, sleep, uselessness and falsehood.
The word negation does not stand alone in the Quran and the Hadith, for a mere negation does not denote any attribute; there is rather the affirmation of the perfection of the Greatness of Allah and the Uniqueness in His Attributes as against both the negations. The negation of ignorance stands for the affirmation of His broad and unlimited Knowledge; the negation of injustice is for the affirmation of the perfection of His Justice, the negation of uselessness is for the affirmation of His eternal life and stability. That is the reason why negation has often come in the Quran and the Hadith in a general sense in contrast with affirmation in which there are greater specifications than generalities, for these are intended for His Self.
The generality in affirmation means that absolute perfection, absolute praise, absolute magnificence, etc., are proved. Allah says:
"All the praises and thanks are to A11Zlh, the Lord of the 'Aalamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists) (Surah Fatihah, 1:2);
"And for Allah is the highest description.." (Surah Al-Nahl, 16:60).
The detail in this matter includes all nouns and adjectives mentioned in the Quran and the Sunnah, and it is so frequent that it cannot be counted. Some have been specified by Allah along with His Knowledge as the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said:
"Glorified are You, we cannot enumerate Your praise. You are exactly as You have praised Yourself."
In a Hadith regarding prayer, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said:
"I ask you through every name by which You have named Yourself or You have revealed Your Name or taught someone from amongst Your creatures, or kept it with You in the knowledge of the Unseen".
Description of the Attributes of Allah
Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah do not deviate from those things which have been brought by the Prophets (peace be upon them). The Straight Path is the path of those on whom Allah bestowed His Favor, that is, the path of the Prophets, the truthfulness, the martyrs and the virtuous people. It is in this collection of the Attributes which includes those ones also which Allah has mentioned in Surah al-Ikhlas (the Sincerity) which is equivalent to one-third of the Quran. Allah states: "Say: (O Muhammad (peace be upon him) 'He is Allah, (the) One. (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks. He begets not, nor was He begotten; and there is none coequal or comparable unto Him." (Surah Al-lkhlas, 112).
Whatever the Messengers of Allah brought with them, that alone is real. It is obligatory to obey it and forbidden to deviate from it, for this alone is the Straight Path which has no
The Straight Path is only one and whoever deviates from it, he strays into the wrong path and injustice.
"And verily, this (i.e. Allah's Commandments mentioned in the above two verses 151 and 152) is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path" (Sarah Al-An 'am, 6: 153).
The Straight Path is the path of a just and the best Ummah (nation) which lies between two extremes. That is why Allah has commanded us and taught us to recite in each Rak'ah of the prayer a supplication to Him to guide us on the Straight Path. That is, He should tell us and help us how to obey Him. This is the path of those who were favored by Allah, that is, the Prophets, the truthfulness, the martyrs, and the virtuous peoples; and it is these who are best for keeping company.
Now we are discussing those texts of the Quran and the Hadith which mention these names and Attributes, and to have faith in that is necessary.
It begins from the Surah Al-Ikhlas for the reason that it contains this matter in such a way that other Surah do not have it. The reason why this has been named Surah Al-Ikhlas is that the concept of Tauhid (Oneness of Allah) has been explained in it by separating and purging it from polytheism and idolatry.
Ubai bin Ka'b (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates the context of the revelation of this Surah, as the polytheists said:
'O Muhammad! Tell us the genealogy of your Lord.' Allah thereupon revealed this Surah (Musnad Imam Ahmad).
It is proved from authentic Ahadith that this Surah is equal to one third of the Quran. The Ulama have made several statements in this connection and among these, the statement copied by Sheikhul-lslam from Ibn Abbas, is the most authentic. The substance of this statement is that the Quran consists of three fundamental objectives:
1. Those dos and don'ts which comprise the commandments and the practical ways, and these form the subject matter of the discipline of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and ethics.
2. The tales and the narratives which include the stories of the Messengers of Allah and their communities. Such disasters have also been described which befell those who denied the Messengers of Allah; they also mention the promises, the rewards and the dooms.
3. The knowledge of Tauhid (Islamic Monotheism) and the description of those matters which relate to the Names of Allah and His Attributes and to believe in them is necessary for the worshippers of Allah. This is the most important among all the three.
Surah Al-Ikhlas comprises this third objective and gives a general description of it. It is therefore correct to say that this Surah is equal to one-third of the Quran.
A question is raised regarding how this Surah contains comprehensively the entire knowledge of Tauhid and its principles which form the center of the belief and rationality in one Allah.
The answer to this lies in the fact that Allah's Command (Allah is One) negates partnership with Him in every sense, whether it concerns His Self or His Attributes, or His Deeds. It likewise demonstrates the distinctiveness of Allah in greatness, perfection, magnificence and majesty. That is why the word Ahad will not be used in affirmation for anyone except Allah. This word is more emphatic than Waahid.
Ibn Abbas has done the explanation of this phrase Allah-us-Samad (Allah the Eternal, the Absolute) with his statement which is as follows:
The Master Who is the perfect in His mastery; the Great One Who is the perfect in His greatness; the Tolerant Who is the perfect in His toleration, the Omnipotent Who is the perfect in His omnipotence; the All-Knowing Who is the perfect in His knowledge; the One Who is perfect in all types of nobility and greatness -- that Self is only Allah -- the Most Revered and the Most Powerful. He Alone has these qualities for they do not apply to anyone else except Him. No one is equal to Him, and no one is like Him.
The explanation of As-Samad has also been done as follows: The One Who has no fear; toward Whom all the creatures turn; and Whom they seek after in all their needs and works.
Affirmation of Oneness for Allah includes negation of polytheism and similitude. And the affirmation of all the meanings of Samad includes all the noblest names and the most exalted Attributes. This is called the Tauhid of affirmation.
The other type, that is the Tauhid of purity has been derived from the statement of Allah:
"He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none coequal or comparable unto Him."
Moreover, this interpretation can also be derived in a general sense from 'He is Allah, the One,' that is, nothing came out of Him nor has He come out of anything; and that He has no equal, no likeness and no similarity.
Please see how this Surah denominates the concept of the Oneness of Allah in belief and recognition of Allah; the affirmation of Oneness for the Lord which is absolutely contradictory to polytheism; and His characteristic of being 'Eternal and Absolute', which proves all the Attributes for Him that He cannot suffer from any defect, that negation of the relationship of father and son which is one of the implications that of His being in no need, all is characterized by Samadiyah. Then there is the negation of an equal which includes negation of similarity, resemblance and likeness. This Surah denominates all those matters. A Surah which comprehends all these issues is rightly deserving of being called equal to one-third of the Quran.
The Greatest Verse of the Qur'an
In the greatest verse of the Qur'an, Allah has described His Attributes in this way: "Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber, nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great (Ayat-ul-Kursi). (Surah AI-Baqarah, 2:255)
Muslim has reported in his Sahih on the authority of Ubai bin Ka'b (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him:
"Which verse in the Quran is the greatest?" He replied, "Allah and His Prophet know better." The Prophet (peace be upon him) repeated the question again and again and each time he got the same reply. Then he said, "Ubai! That verse is Ayat-ul-Kursi. " Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) placed his hand on his shoulder and said, "O Abu Mundhir! You must be happy to learn this."
A narration of Ahmad contains that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"I swear in the Name of the One Who holds my soul in His possession, this verse has a tongue and two lips which describe the glorification of Allah near His Throne."
Indeed, this great verse comprises such Names and Attributes of Allah as are not comprised in other verses.
Allah has in this verse given information about His Self that He is Alone in His Godhood and no type of worship and no form of it suits any other one except Him. Then after the matter of Tauhid, He has mentioned those things which bear witness to His Qualities and His Perfect Attributes. He said that He is Alive and has absolute control on life, for life is one of the implications of His Self which is eternal and the perfection of His life is implied in all His personal perfections just as reverence, control, knowledge, information, hearing, seeing, intention, will, etc. So, if any of these is left out, it is due to defect in life. Therefore, perfection in life means perfection in all the Attributes. Then He associated it with His Name Al-Qaiyoom (the Eternal) which means the One Who is established on its own and is absolutely without need from the entire creation. There is not the slightest possibility in it of mixing with want, for He is Allah and the existence of everything is owing to him and they are all dependent on Him. In fact they cannot afford to become independent of Him even for a moment. Only He is the One Who invented the existing things in such a stable way that He looks after their needs and provides them with all that they need for survival, and for reaching that perfection which He determined for these things. In this way, this name includes all the active Attributes. That is why the Hadith mentions that AI-Hayy (the Alive) and Al-Qaiyoom (the Eternal) are the greatest Names of
Allah. When He is asked for anything through these names He awards it, and when He is invoked with these names He responds.
After this, that thing has been mentioned which argues for the perfection of His Hayat (Life) and Qaiyoomiyah (Eternality). Thus He said:
"Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him" etc.
For this is contrary to eternality; sleep is a form of death and that is why the inhabitants of Paradise do not sleep. Then He mentioned the expanse of His territory which includes all the worlds above and all the worlds below and all are under His sway. Thus He said:
"Unto Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth ..."
And thereafter He mentioned that attribute which constitutes a proof of His kingdom, that is, He Alone has the right to intercede; no one can recommend to Him unless He has allowed him. These include two commandments-negation and exception:
1. Affirmation of correct intercession, that is, this intercession can be taken up only by the Command of Allah by a person with whose words and deeds Allah is pleased.
2. Refutation of the polytheistic intercession: The polytheists had faith in their idols that these could intercede with Allah without His Permission and Will.
Then He has mentioned His breadth and comprehensiveness of His Knowledge that nothing yet to happen and nothing that has already happened is unknown to Him. But the creatures cannot bring within bounds His Knowledge except that which Allah Himself wants to teach them through His Prophets or through discussion, insight, investigation and analysis.
Then He mentioned that which forms a proof for the breadth of His kingdom and for His greatness. Thus he said that His Kursi has been encompassing all the heavens and the earth.
The correct meaning of the Kursi is that it is separate from the Throne and it signifies the place lying beneath both the Steps. This is in comparison to the Throne as a ring in a desert. And what Ibn Kathir has mentioned in the interpretation of the Kursi with reference to Ibn 'Abbas saying that it means knowledge, is not correct. This implies repetition in the verse.
After this Allah has mentioned His great control and perfect power and said:
"And He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them."
He is not tired of protecting the earth and the heavens. Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyah (Allah's mercy be upon him) has done the explanation of Ya 'ooduhu from Yuthqilahu which means that He is not bored.
Later Allah has at the end of this blessed verse qualified Himself with two great Attributes, that is, height and greatness, an absolute height in every sense. Ali is that which possesses all forms of absolute, and the height of Self is that, while Allah is established over the Throne, He is above all creatures. 'Uloo-ul-Qadar is that for Him all Attributes are evident in perfect form and He has the highest and the greatest level of all of them. 'Uloo-ul-Qahr is that He is dominant over all his slaves and is the Wise and the Knower.
Al-Azeem means the One Who has the attribute of such a greatness that nothing is superior to Him, nothing is higher and greater. In the hearts of the Prophets, angels and the virtuous ones, perfect reverence is only for Allah.
Some Attributes of Allah and their meanings
And Allah said: "He is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him), and the Most High (nothing is above Him) and the Most Near (nothing is nearer than Him). And He is the Al-Knower of everything." (Surah Al-Hadid, 57:3) And Allah said: "And put your trust (O Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the Ever Living One Who dies not." (Surah Al-Furqan, 25:58); And said, "He is the All-Knower, the All-Wise" (Surah At-Tahrim, 66:2); "The All-Wise., the All-Aware." (Surah Saba ', 34:1).
The Statement of Allah: "He is the First and the Last, and the Most High and the Most Near; and He is All-Knower of everything," is for the recognition of both the sides. This verse shows that all these four names are specific for the Exalted Allah, and their meanings are particularized for Him on account of His Grace and Grandeur. For this reason nothing can be proved for anything other than Him. There occurs inconsistency in the writings of the theologians in the explanation of these names. However, in the presence of the explanation done by the infallible Prophet (peace be upon him), we stand in no need of any other explanation. It is reported in Sahih Muslim with the ascription of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would Often say while lying in the bed:
"O Allah! The Lord of all the seven heavens, and the Lord of the earth, and the Lord of everything, the splitter of the seed and the seed stones, Revealer of the Torah, the Evangels, and the Quran, I seek Your refuge from the mischief of every mischievous being, for You are the First, there is nothing earlier than You. You are the Last there is nothing after You. You are the Most High nothing is over You, You are the Most Near, there is nothing nearer than You! Repay my debts and save me from wants."
This is a clear exegesis which provides proof for the perfect greatness of Allah He has been encompassing everything in every sense. The First and the Last are the indicators of the temporal limits and the High and the Near are the indicators of the special limits. Moreover, the name High reveals that He is above the entire creation nothing is above Him.
The entire basis of these four names lies on His encompassing. The fact that He is the First and the Last has encompassed the beginning and the end, and His being the High, the Near has encompassed all the far and the near things. The name First proves that Allah is the ancient most and the name Last proves His being the Perpetual and the Eternal. His farness is the proof of His height and greatness and His nearness is the proof of His closeness and companionship. Then the verse ends with the sentence which shows that His Knowledge encompasses all the events of the past, present and future. Not an iota of anything of the earth and the heavens is beyond His Knowledge. In this way, this verse describes that the Grace of Allah encompasses all the existence of all the creatures. The whole universe lies in His Grip in such a manner as a mustard seed lies in the grip of a man. Nothing lies beyond His reach. In between these Attributes only the word 'and' has occurred although all these are the Attributes of the same One Who has been praised. This has happened only for emphasis and firmness, because 'and' comes to render the first attribute as proven and firm. Its utility becomes greater on account of the fact that it has occurred between Attributes that are in contrast to each other. It is inconceivable that to be qualified with these Attributes is doubtful; apparently the "firstness" negates to "lastness" and so also "farness" "nearness." That is why the illusion of denial has been removed by the emphasis of 'and'.
"And put your trust (O Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the Ever Living One Who dies not." (25:58).
This verse is for the affirmation of some names and Attributes. It includes affirmation of His Name 'Living,' and negation of death, which is in contradiction of life. We have already described that Allah is living with life and this is an indispensable quality of His Self. It is for this reason that there is no death or decline for Him. His Life is the most perfect and for this reason the proof of His life is of the highest order whose negation is the contradiction of the perfection of life. The rest of the verses mention His Attribute of knowledge and affirm its derivatives such as His being the Knower or that He knows or that He encompasses everything by knowledge, etc.
Knowledge is the Attribute of Allah the Exalted and the Magnificent. Through this He knows the realities of all that is to be known. Nothing is obscure to Him.
The word Al-Hakeem is derived from Al-Hikmah. This signifies the One from Whom only correct acts are performed by the words and deeds. No useless and false move takes place by Him. On the other hand whatever He creates or orders, remains under His obedience. It has also been said that He is 'One Who makes things firm.' That is why there is found no variation and deficiency in whatever He creates, nor is there any disturbance and shakiness in His Plan.
The word Al-Khabeer is derived from Al-Khibrah which means perfect knowledge, certain and detailed encompassing of things and the access of His Knowledge to the obscure and minute experiences and meanings of things.
Allah's Knowledge encompasses all things
Allah said: "He knows that which goes into the earth and that which comes forth from it, and that which descends from the heaven and that which ascends to it." (Surah Saba', 34:1, 2); He said: "And with Him are the Keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And he knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record". (Surah AI-An'am, 6:59) And Allah said: "And no female conceives or gives birth, but with His Knowledge." (Surah Al-Fatir, 35:11) And He says: "That you may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah surrounds (comprehends) all things in (His) Knowledge." (Surah At-Talaq, 65: 12); And He says, "Verily, Allah is the ALI-Provider, Owner of Power, --the Most Strong." (Surah Adh-Dhariyat, 51:58).
Allah has mentioned some such things in these Quranic verses which relate to His Knowledge. He aims at imparting information that His Knowledge is so perfect and encompassing that no creature can approach it. Thus He said that He knows all about grain, seed, water, insects and minerals that lie in the earth. Likewise the crops, the trees, the flowing streams, and useful minerals which come out of the earth, are all known to Him. Similarly Allah knows all about the snow, hail, rains, lightning, and the angels who descend, and the human acts which go up, and the flying birds that soar in the sky. He has also mentioned that the keys of the Unseen are with Him about which no one knows except Him. The word Mafaatihul-Ghaib (Keys to the Unseen) has been explained to its treasures and it has also been said that this signifies its means and media which approach to Him.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has explained it like this:
"The Keys of the Unseen are five in number which no one knows except Allah". After that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited the following: "Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware (of things)." (Surah Luqman, 31:34)
The last two Quranic verses show that Allah is the Owner of such a knowledge which is His Attribute and exists with His Self. The Mu 'tazilah1 have a difference of opinion in this matter and deny His Attributes. Some of them say that He is the Knower and the Able by virtue of His Self and some have done explanation from the negative meanings of His Names. They say that 'Aleem (Knower) means that He is not unaware of anything and Qadeer (Able) means that He is not helpless from doing anything.
These Quranic verses constitute a decisive argument against the Mu 'tazilah. Allah has said in these verses that His Knowledge is all-encompassing even to the extent of knowing every female's pregnancy and the time of birth, abortion as to when and how. He has also stated that His general authority is related to everything that is possible and His Knowledge encompasses all things. Imam Abdul Aziz Al-Makki has aptly remarked in his book Al-Heyada while discussing with Mu'tazili Bishr Al-Mareesi on the issue of knowledge that:
"Allah the Revered and Magnificent has not praised any angel close to Him, any Prophet sent by Him, and any real believer in a way that He negates being ignorant, and in a way that it proves His Knowledge. But He has rather praised them by proving that they have knowledge and this negates ignorance of them. Thus one who proved knowledge, negates ignorance; but one who negated ignorance did not prove knowledge." (Al-Heyada, p. 30)
A rational argument in favour of the Knowledge of Allah is that it is impossible to invent things out of ignorance, for, in the invention of things His intention plays a part and intention is indispensable for the desired knowledge. That is why Allah said:
"Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves), All-Aware (of everything)." (Surah Al-Mulk, 67:14).
And also for the fact that the creatures have such remarkable skill, maturity and minutiae that it provides an argument in favour of the knowledge of the Creator, for without knowledge it is impossible to have its Sudoor (emergence).
And also because among creatures there are people who are learned; and knowledge is a perfect attribute, so if Allah is not the Knower then many among the creatures will become greater knowers than Him.
And every kind of knowledge of the creature is derived from the Creator, and one who gives this talent is entitled to be in possession of it. How can one give a thing to anyone which he does not possess himself? The philosophers have denied the knowledge of Allah about parts. They say that He knows the things in their totality in a positive manner. The essence of their statement is that He does not know anything, for whatever exists in the external form is all partial. The extremists of the Qadariyah2 sect deny that Allah knows the acts of His slaves before they are performed. They have done so, because according to them, such a knowledge of Allah leads to fatalism. But such a statement of these people is false from the standpoint of every religion.
Allah says, "Verily, Allah is the A1I-Provider...". In this verse Allah's Name has been mentioned as the Provider. The word in Arabic is Razzaq formed by the word Rizq. Ar-Raariq means One Who gives His slaves livelihood constantly and in abundance. Whatever gainful thing reaches them from Allah is Rizq whether it is lawful or unlawful, in as much as He has made it a livelihood and provision for his slaves. Allah says:
"And tall date-palms, with ranged clusters. A provision for (Allah's) slaves." (Surah Qaf, 50:10,11).
He also says:
"And in the heaven is your provision, and that which you are promised." (Surah Adh-Dhririyat, 51:22).
But if there is permission for its use it, will be regarded as lawful, otherwise prohibited. However, all is livelihood. The fact that the noun clause has been employed with a proper noun and there is the conjunction of Huwa (He) between both the clauses of the sentence, means to explain that to provide livelihood to the slaves is specific to Allah.
It is narrated by Ibn Mas'ud:
"The Prophet (peace be upon him) de told me Allah says (in a Hadith Qudsi - a Hadith received by the Prophet (peace be upon him) directly from Allah): 'I Alone am the Razzaq (Provider) and Owner of stable power'."
Dhul Quwwa means Powerful in the sense of noun 'Qawi', but this sense is in the superlative degree which shows that in the Power of Allah there is no flaw or defect.
Al-Mateen is the Name of Allah which has been derived from Mataanah. Ibn Abbas has explained it in the sense of in tense, i.e., strong.
1. AMh'tazilah: They deny the Attributes of Allah like Jahmiyah, and believe in Qadar (destiny) that acts of slaves have been created already for them, same as Qadariyah say. They deny the Vision of Allah on the Day of Judgment. They make obligatory for Allah to give reward of punishment. They prefer discernment against the traditions. They are the followers of Wasil bin 'Ala who separated from the companionship of Hasan Al-Basri. There are 20 groups of Al-Mu'tazilah. Their original creeds are still found these days.
2. Al-Qadariyah: They area Al-Mu 'tazilah and all those who agreed with them. Their belief is that Allah the Exalted has enjoined the slaves to do good and forbided them from evil. He doesn't know His obedient slaves from among disobedients but after committing the good or bad deeds. They are opponent of Al-Jabariyah.
Affirmation of Hearing, Seeing and Intention for Allah
Allah says, "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Ail-Hearer, the All-Seer." (Surah Ash-Shura, 42:11) and says, "Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer." (Surah An-Nisa', 4:58) and says, "It was better for you to say when you entered your garden: 'That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allah'." (Surah Al-Kahf, 18:39), "If Allah had willed, they would not have fought against one another, but Allah does what He likes." (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:253)
The Statement of Allah "There is nothing like unto Him and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer" negates the resemblance of all other things to Allah and then mentions two of His Attributes-Hearing and Seeing. But the negation of likeness does not mean negation of the Attributes as is claimed by the Mu 'attilah and argued falsely by them. It rather means proving the Attributes of Allah by negating their likeness with those of the creatures. Allamah Ibn Al-Qaiyim says:
"In the Quranic verse 'There is nothing like unto Him', Allah wants to negate that anything is His partner, or a god, or deserving of worship and reverence as is done by the polytheists. Nor does He mean the negation of His Perfect Attributes, nor negating to His creatures the heights of the perfection of Scriptures, communications with His Messengers and seeing Him clearly by the faithful with the inward eye. Just as you see the sun and moon while in the waking state."
As-Samee' means the One Who hears all the sounds however hidden they are. He hears the secrets and the whispers also. Allah's Attribute of Hearing is not similar to the hearing of the creatures.
Al-Baseer as an attribute of Allah meaning that He sees all persons, colours and all tangible things however fine and remote they are. No curtain or impediment can obstruct His Vision. This word proves the attribute of sight for Allah in the most befitting manner for Him. Abu Daud contains a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him):
"When the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited the Quranic verse: "Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer" he put his thumb on his ears and the fingers close to the thumb on his eyes."
The Hadith means that Allah hears through His Ears and sees through His Eyes. This Hadith is an argument against those Ashari who explain the Hearing of Allah in terms of the knowledge of what is heard, and purport to mean by seeing the knowledge of what is to be seen. This is a wrong explanation. A blind man is certain of the existence of the sky but he does not see it; the deaf knows about the existence of sound but does not hear it.
Allah says, "It was better for you to say..." These verses prove two Attributes of Allah--Intention and Will. There are a large number of texts about them. Ash 'ari prove an eternal intention which is related to all the events that were to take place in the beginning of the eternity. In this way it implies that will comes after intention. But Muth-zilah while keeping within the confines of their creed deny the attribute of intention also, and say that Allah makes a fresh intention which does not imply an occasion. This implies that the attribute exists by itself. But this is the falsest notion.
The Ahlul Haqq say that intention is of two types:
1. Intention related to do and create. This is synonymous to will. Both these are related to whatever Allah wants to do or create. Whenever He intended for any thing and wanted it to happen, it came into being after His Intention; as Allah says,
"Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, 'Be!' and it is!" (Surah As-Saffat, 36:82).
It has been stated in an authentic Hadith:
"Whatever Allah wills, that takes place; and whatever He does not will, that does not take place."
2. Intention related to Shari'ah: This is about those commands of Allah which He gives to His slaves according to His Will and Pleasure, as He Says:
"Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you." (Surah Baqarah, 2:185).
Both types of intentions are not dependent on each other. Rather, each of them sometimes relates to such issues with which the other has nothing to do. Among both these, there exists a casual relationship regarding their being general or specific. One intention, related to do and create, is general in respect of the fact that it relates to such matters that He does not like or it is not agreeable to Him such as Kufr and sin, and is specific in respect of the fact that it does not relate to the Faith of the Kafir and the obedience of the corrupt.
The intention related to Shari'ah is general because it is lined to all the precepts laid down whether they are followed or not followed. They are particular from the standpoint that the happening of any would-be intention is sometimes not commanded.
In sum, both the intentions are sometimes together such as the Faith of the Mumin and the obedience of the obedient, but the would-be intention gets separated such as the Kufr of the Kafir and the sinfulness of the sinful. And the Shari'ah intention gets separated such as the Faith of the Kafir and the obedience of the sinful.
"It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden: 'That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allah' (Surah Al-Kahf; 18:39).
This Statement of Allah related to the conversation of a Mu'min man with his Kafir companion who had two orchards. The Ma 'min companion exhorts him that he should thank Allah for His favours and leave them to the Will of Allah, and feel afraid of the Power and Might of Allah, for the power lies in the Hands of Allah.
Allah says, "And if Allah had willed..." This relates to the dissensions between the followers of the Messengers of Allah that took place out of jealousies and hostilities. This was according to the Will of the Mighty and the Magnificent Allah. If He had not willed so, such things would not have happened. But He willed and such things happened.
The Attributes of Love and Justice
Allah says: "Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you (therein), game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram for Hajj or 'Umrah (pilgrimage). Verily, Allah commands that which He wills". (Surah Al-Ma'idah, 5:1) "And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islam, and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky." (Surah AL An'am, 6:125) "And do good, Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers)." (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:195) "... and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable."(Surah AI-Hujurat, 49:9); "So long, as they are true to you, stand true to them, Verily Allah loves Al-Muitaqeen (the Pious and righteous)". (Surah At-Taubah, 9:7) "Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves." (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:222);"Say (0 Muhammad (peace be upon him) 'If you (really) love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you."' (Surah Al-Imran, 3:31); "Allah will bring the people whom He will love and they will love Him." (Surah Al-Ma'idah, 5:54); "Verily, Allah Loves those who fight in His cause ill rows (ranks) as if they were a solid structure." (Surah As-Saff, 61:4); "And He is Oft-Forgiving, full of love (towards the pious who are real true believers of Islamic Monotheism)." (Surah Al-Buruj, 85:14).
Allah says: "And whomsoever.., up to the sky." This verse shows that providing guidance and leaving strayed are the volitions of Allah and whomsoever He wishes to give guidance, that is, wants to bestow him with revelations and assistance, He opens up his heart for revelation and fills it up with radiance which keeps it open, as has been stated in the Hadith. And those whom Allah wants to leave strayed and humiliated, He turns their breast extremely narrow and the light of Faith cannot penetrate into it. Such a man has been likened to one who is ascending into the heaven. These verses contain the affirmation of those acts of Allah which take place from His Attribute of love. The love of Allah for some people, some acts and some manners is an Attribute established with His Self. These are active voluntary Attributes which are related to His Will.
Out of His powerful Will, He likes certain things as against certain other things. The Ash'ari and the Mu 'tazilah deny the attribute of love. Their contention is that it creates an illusion of shortcoming, for among the creatures, love indicates an inclination towards the person who is the object of love or derives pleasure from that person. The Ash 'ari turn the attribute of love into the attribute of intention and say that the love of Allah with His slaves is nothing more than the fact that He intends to give them respect and reward.
They hold similar views about the Attributes of agreement, wrath and aversion, etc. According to them all these are in the sense of reward and retribution.
The Mu'tazilah do not accept that the Attributes of intentions are established with the Self of Allah. They do the explanations of love in the sense of the spirit of virtue which is due on Allah in favour of such worshippers. Its basis for them lies in the belief that to reward the obedient and to punish the sinful is due on Allah.
Ahlul-Haqq prove that the love, worthy of Allah is a real attribute of Him. According to them there is no place in it for defect and similitude. Ahlul-Haqq prove that Allah has intention of rewarding the beloved worshipper and giving him respect by way of an implication of being His beloved worshippers. What answer will the deniers of love give to that Hadith which has been narrated by Abu Hurairah in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"Indeed when the Mighty and Magnificent Allah loves a slave, He tells Gabriel: 'I love that particular person, You should also love him.' Then Gabriel says to the inhabitants of the heaven, 'Your Lord loves that particular person and so all of you love him.' Then the inhabitants of the heaven also love him, and he is given recognition on the earth. And when Allah keeps animus with someone then the same thing happens in this case also."
This Hadith has been reported both in Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Allah says "And do good..." He has commanded here for goodness in general, particularly in connection with providing the sanctioned livelihood. Goodness in Nafaqah (livelihood) takes place in spending wealth and by preventing hoarding, or following the middle path between spending and hoarding. This is an important command stated by Allah in Surah Al-Furqan (the Criterion) (25:67)
Muslim has reported in his Sahih a narrative from Shaddad bin Aus (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"Allah has made it compulsory to do good for everything. When you have to behead a person do it in a good manner, and when you slaughter an animal do it well. You must keep your knife sharpened and the animal to be slaughtered must have been kept comfortably."
Allah says, "Indeed Allah loves the good-doers". This command for doing good is causative, for, when people will come to know that goodness is the cause of the love of Allah they will try to obey Him.
In another verse Allah says, "...and be equitable" which means doing justice at the time of settling disputes between two hostile groups of the believers. The word is derived from Qist which means apportioning equally. One of the Names of Allah is Al-Muqsit also. In the noble verse, justice has been raised above nobility and this is a means of inviting the love of Allah.
Allah says, "So long as they are true to you, stand true to them..." which means that when there is a covenant between you and some other persons such as those with whom you made a treaty near the Inviolable House of worship then you remain firm on your promise till the time they remain firm in relation to you. Allah has again stated the nature of this command in the verse: "Verily, Allah loves Al-Muttaqeen (pious and righteous persons)" i.e. are afraid of Him in everything, and one of these is not to violate promises.
Allah says, "Truly, Allah loves those ..." In this verse Allah gives the tidings of His love for those slaves who are of the following two kinds:
1. Repentant: Those people who repent a great deal and turn to Allah with abundance of penitence, and because of which they become purged and purified of open and secret sins.
2. Purified: Those people who overstress their efforts in achieving purity, that is, by performing Wudu to obtain cleanliness or by bathing to remove pollutions. It has also been said that the better among the purified are those who avoid having coitus with their
wives during their menstruation period or avoid having anal sex with them. It is better to lay down this word as a general rule.
Allah says, "If you (really) love Allah..." The context of this verse is "narrated as follows: Some people claimed that they loved Allah. Allah sent this verse for their trial. In this verse Allah laid down the obedience of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as a pre-condition, for this love could be attained of his obedience only by accepting his guidance and the grace of his obedience.
Allah says, "And He is Oft-Forgiving, full of love." This verse mentions two Names of Allah which are included among the best names. i.e. AI-Ghafoor and Al- Wadood.
Al-Ghafoor is derived from the root Ghafr which means the One Who connives at His wrongdoing worshipper and is lenient in seizing them. The real meaning of Ghafr is to cover. As is Mighfar for covering the head.
Al-Wadood is derived from the root Wudd which means pure love and refinement. This word either means One Who has enormous love for those who are obedient to Him and He remains close to them through His help and cooperation, or, it means that His obligation is so great that His creature is bound to love Him, worship Him and recite hymns in His praise.
The Attributes of Mercy, Pleasure, Wrath, Curse, Coming, etc.
And He said, "In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful." (Surah Al-Fatihah, 1:1); "Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge," (Surah Ghafir, 40:7); "And He is Most Merciful to the believers." (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:43); "And My mercy embraces all things." (Surah AI-A 'raf, 7:156); 'Your Lord has written Mercy for Himself." (Suralt Al-An'am, 6:54); "He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful." (Surah Yunus,10:107); "But Allah is the Best to guard, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy." (Surah Yusuf, 12:64); and He said, "Allah well-pleased with them, and they with Him." (Surah AI-Baiyinah, 98:8); "And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him," (Surah An-Nisa, 4:93); and Allah said, "That is because they followed that which angered Allah, and hated that which pleased Him." (Surah Muhammad, 47:28); "So when they angered Us, We punished them " (Surah Az-Zukhruf, 43:55) and He said, "But Allah was averse to their being sent forth, so He made them lag behind," (Surah At-Tauba, 9:46); and He said, "Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do." (Surah As-Saff, 61:3); and He said, "Do they then wait for anything other than that Allah should come to them in the shadows of the clouds and the angels? (Then) the case would be already judged." (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:210); "Do they then wait for anything other than that the angels should come to them, or that your Lord should come, or that some of the Signs of your Lord should come (i.e. portents of the Hour e.g., arising of the sun from the west)!" (Surah AI-An'am, 6:158); "Nay! When the earth is ground to powder, and your Lord comes with the angels in rows." (Surah Al-Fajr, 89:21, 22); "And (remember) the Day when the heaven shall be rent asunder with clouds, and the angels will be sent down, with a grand descending." (Surah Al-Furqan, 25:25).
In Allah's saying, "Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem" and also in the verses that follow it, two Names of Allah, Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem, have been affirmed. They also affirm the Attributes of Mercy and Knowledge.
Ar-Rahman argues for the attribute of the Self of Allah and Ar-Raheem for His active attribute. The Asha 'irah and Mu 'tazilah deny the attribute of Mercy. They claim that this shows emaciation and weakness in the creature, and the one who is the object of mercy feels a sense of sorrow. However, this is the worst ignorance, Mercy is from the strong on the weak. Thus emaciation and weakness are not inevitable. It rather happens sometimes during a state of extreme domination and control--a strong man is merciful on his small child as also on his aged parents and infirm people. Emaciation and weakness have no bearing on mercy when these are condemned Attributes while Allah has Himself qualified His Self with mercy, and praised His friends who are qualified with it, and commanded them also to go on leaving a testament in favour of it for the next generations.
Allah says, "Our Rabb (Lord)! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge" (Surah Ghafir, 40:7). This is a description of the statements made of the Throne bearers and of the angels around it who seek Allah's support for the faithful through their prayers to the Ruboobiyah (Lordship) of Allah, the extent of His Knowledge and His Mercy. This is from amongst those best means through which one can expect the prayer to be granted. The real sentence will be like this: Your Mercy and Your Knowledge are predominant over everything. The mercy of the sacred Allah is common to every one in the world be he a believer, or unbeliever, a pious man or a wicked man. On the Day of Judgement it will be special for those who ward-off evil, as Allah says:
"I shall ordain for those who are the Muttaqun and give Zakat (obligatory charity)"
(Surah A 'raf, 7:156).
And Allah says, "Your Lord has written Mercy for Himself" (Surah Al-An 'am, 6:54). He has made it compulsory for Himself by way of generosity and obligation; none other has enjoined it upon Him.
It is transmitted from Abu Hurairah in the Sahihain:
"When Allah created the universe, He wrote a book which He keeps with Him on the Throne that His Mercy takes precedence on His Wrath."
Allah says, "But Allah is the Best to guard," (Surah Yusuf; 12:64)· The words Haafiz and Hafeez are derived from the root Hifz. Its meaning is protection. The One Who protects His worshippers in a general way, provides them with livelihood, protects them from the causes of distress and destruction. He also protects their actions and keeps count of their statements. He takes special care of His friends. He saves them from being involved in sins and keeps them safe from the intrigues of Satan. In other words, He guards them from all that harms them in all the affairs of the world and religion."
Allah says, "Allah well-pleased with them…" These verses prove some of the active Attributes of Allah such such as pleasure, wrath, condemnation, aversion, regret, etc.
According to the Ahlul-Haqq, these are the real Attributes of Allah in the manner that suits His Majesty and are free from similitude of His creatures. These do not imply those things that are implied in the case of the creature. Thus the Asha'irah and the Mu'tazilah have no proof for their negation. Their notion is that if Allah is qualified with these attributes, it will be required that He has these Attributes exactly as they are in His creatures. By entertaining this notion for their Lord, they were thrown into the quagmire of denial and negation. The Asha'irah associate these Attributes to intention. According to them Ridaa means the intention to reward, and the wrath etc. And Sukht means intention to inflict doom.
Punishment itself divert these Attributes towards the reward and Allah says, "Allah well-pleased with them and they with Him." This verse mentions the relationship of love and pleasure that exists between Allah and His friends. The pleasure of Allah with the Auliya' (friends) is the greatest among all the favours that He has bestowed. He says:
"And the pleasure of Allah is the greatest thing."
And the pleasure of the slaves with Allah is that each one keeps himself agreed with Him according to his station in life: and he remains so pleased with his station that he believes that the amount of goodness with which he has been favoured is such that no one has been favoured with that amount of goodness. And this will take place in Paradise.
Allah says, "And whoever kills a believer intentionally..." By saying "believer', He excepted the killing of the Kafir; and by intentionally, He means deliberately. In other words such a killing has been excepted in which one kills a person whom one regards innocent and which creates the notion that the death of the person took place through him. Killing by mistake has been excepted by this.
"Forever" means one that lives forever. It has also been maintained that Khulood means staying too long; and La 'n means cursing and keeping away from the favours of Allah The cursed is that man on whom curse has been proved or one on whom cursing has been invoked. The Ulama differ regarding these verses and thus they marshal arguments that the repentance of the one who has committed a murder intentionally will not be accepted and he will always remain in Hell. And this goes against the Statement of Allah:
"Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases" (Surah An-Nisa ', 4:48).
The Ulama have given various explanations for it.
1. This retribution is for that person who considers the intentional murder of a believer justified.
2. This retribution is for that person who is deserving of it with the possibility that he will not receive the retribution, and that he does righteous deeds and is deserving of rewards. Even then if he gets the retribution his bad deed will be given preference.
3. This verse was revealed by way of warning and rebuke and on account of the gravity of the matter.
4. Khulood means staying for a long time.
The statement of Ibn Abbas and some others is that the repentance of the man who commits murder deliberately is not accepted. So much so that Ibn Abbas says that this verse is the last verse which has not been canceled by any other verse. The real thing is that a murderer has to meet three claims: (1) the Right of Allah, (2) the right of the successors of the victim, and (3) the right of the victim. The Right of Allah is dropped by repentance. The right of the successors is dropped by paying them the blood-money in the world or by obtaining forgiveness. Albeit the right of the murdered person is not dropped until he meets the murderer on the Day of Judgement, and placing his head in the hand of the murderer does not say, 'O Allah! Ask him about why did he murder me?'
Allah says: "So when they angered Us..." Asf means severe sadness and severe wrath, while revenge means punishment derived from Naqma-- indignation, grudge etc.
Allah says, "Do they then wait..." These verses have descended to confirm two active Attributes of Allah, that is, the Attribute of Ityaan and the attribute of Maji', in other words the Attributes of Allah about His coming on the Day of Judgement. The Faith of the Ahlus Sunnah in these Attributes is based on the fact that they are real and are remote from such amplifications as are essentially Ilhaad and Ta'teel.
It appears appropriate that we present here the statement of the exponent of Tajahhum and Ta 'teel of this time. We mean Zahid Al-Kauthari . He writes on the footnotes of the Kitab-ul-Asma was-Sifat by Al-Baihaqi,
"Az-Zamakhshari said that Allah wil1 bring doom through clouds from which people will expect mercy. This doom will be tremendously horrendous and exciting." Imam Fakhruddin Ar-Razi says, "They will receive the command of Allah."
The statement that Al-Kauthari has quoted from his preceding Ulama who believed in Ta'teel suffers from a great deal of looseness in Ta 'weel and Tashreeh. However, the verses are lucid on their subjects in which there is no scope for these interpretations. The first verse gives information to those who insist on Kufr and follow the path of animus and Satan that they have only to wait for Allah Who will come in the clouds to judge between them. This will happen on the Day of Judgement. That is why He says after it that the issues will be judged. The second verse is also perfectly clear. The amplification of the word 'to come' in the sense of command or doom, only on the ground that the word ltyaan has been used in some other verses for the coming of the angels or of others, is not possible.
Allah says, "And your Lord comes with the angels in rows." It is not possible to construe this verse in the sense of coming of doom for it means the coming of Allah on the Day of Judgement to judge the issues. At that time the angels will be standing lines up in respect and awe of Allah. At the time of His arrival, the sky will be rent with the clouds as is revealed from the last verse. Allah will come, will descend, and will be close. He rose over His Throne and separated from the creatures. These are the real acts of Allah, and to claim that these are appearances, tantamount to denying Allah's Power over action. To believe that this coming will be like the coming of the creature, and this is metaphorical, leads to denial and negation.