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The Creed of Ahl al-Sunna wa’l-Jama’a Creed

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The word for creed in Arabic is ‘aqida. Linguist ically, it means t o bind firmly and t ight ly. And in t he t erminology of t he sciences, it is a belief held st rongly and wit h convict ion in t he heart s of humans, whet her it be t rue or false. This st rong belief is a mot ivat or t o act ion, such as is t he case wit h t he belief of a M uslim in t he exist ence of God and t he veracit y of t he Prophet . Hist ory at t est s t o t he fact t hat all peoples at all t imes have had an ideology or

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religious creed t o which t hey assent , which moves t hem t o act ion and which has an impact on t heir behavior and conduct . The Islamic creed consist s of a firm belief t hat God, Lord of t he Worlds, is t he Creat or of t he Heavens and t he Eart h; t hat t here is only one God Who can be charact erized by all perfect ions, Who t ranscends all deficiencies, and Who is unlike any ot her being; t hat M uhammad is his Prophet and M essenger t o t he Worlds, and t hat he fulfilled t his mission in t he most perfect and complet e manner; t hat t he Qur’an is His Book, t rut hful and unt ouched by any falsit y; and t hat what it conveys of mat t ers unseen – for example, angels, ot her prophet s, paradise, and hell – is all t rue. This set of beliefs moves he who possesses t hem t o hold fast t o t he rules of t he shari’a and t he commands and prohibit ions of t he Qur’an and t he Sunna. M onot heism M onot heism (t awhid) is t o belief in t he Oneness of God, worshipping Him alone, and affirming t his belief of His Essence, His Qualit ies, and His Act ions. It is also t o affirm t hat t here is no ent it y which resembles His Indivisible Essence; t hat no qualit ies which resemble t he Divine Qualit ies, in which pluralit y is not possible such t hat one can say t hat God has t wo Wills or Knowledges, for example; and t hat His Act ions do not admit of any associat ion – t here is, t hat is t o say, no act ion ot her t han His, and any act ion of anot her is t o be regarded as acquisit ive (kasb). What has been said by t he t heologians wit h regards t o monot heism can be simplified as follows: It is t he belief t hat God is ot her t han anyt hing t hat can be conceived by t he

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imaginat ion It is t he belief t hat His Essence in no way resembles ot her ent it ies, nor does It compromise his Qualit ies Tawhid is in fact a developed science derived from cert ain and definit ive proofs. It enables one t o est ablish religious beliefs via argument at ion and repelling doubt s. It is concerned wit h t he Essence of God, and what is necessary, impossible, or permissible t o affirm of It . It is also concerned wit h t he messengers, what t hey brought affirming t he exist ence of a Creat or. Finally, it t reat s revelat ory dat a, and t he necessit y t o belive in it . The benefit of t he science of t awhid is t hat it leads t o a knowledge of God t hrough definit ive proofs, and t he at t ainment of et ernal happiness as a result . Because it is connect ed t o t he knowledge of God and His prophet s, it is t he most noble of sciences. As t he Arabic saying goes, t hings are ennobled by t hat which t hey are connect ed t o. Learning t his science is an individual obligat ion for every person, male or female, as est ablished by t he verse which direct s all t o “Know t hat t here is no god but Allah” (al-M uhammad, 19). Technically, t he obligat ion is t o know t he creed in a general way; while a knowledge of t he part iculars and det ails is a communal obligat ion. The science of t awhid discusses t hree mat t ers: Divinit y – t hat which has t o do wit h God

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Prophecy – t hat which has t o do wit h prophet s and messengers Revelat ion – t hat which t reat s mat t ers which cannot be proven except t hrough revelat ory report s Types of Proofs There are t wo t ypes of proofs: Purely rat ional, such as t hat which est ablishes t he exist ence of a Creat or t hrough t he creat ion of t he Heavens, t he Eart h and ourselves. Revelat ory, which is in fact a combinat ion of rat ional and revelat ory premises, because t he veracit y of a report can be est ablished only by reason. These proofs may est ablish definit ive cert aint y in shari’a mat t ers when t hey are masst ransmit t ed or accompanied by empirical evidence. However, in cases where t hey do not accord wit h a reason-based proof, t he lat t er is given priorit y, for t o disregard reason would be t o disregard bot h t ypes of proofs (since t he lat t er is a hybrid). Epist emology and Ont ology The philosophers say t hat t hat which may be known are eit her non-exist ent , exist ent in t he mind, or exist ent in t he world. And t hat which has ext ra-ment al (i.e., worldly) exist ence is eit her necessarily exist ent , i.e., it is impossible t hat it not exist , or it is cont ingent ly exist ent . The t heologians say t hat t he exist ent is t hat which has a realit y in t he world, and it is eit her et ernal or creat ed. The creat ed is furt her divided int o t wo: t he subst ance and t he accident The ‘cont ingent ’ (al-mumkin) is t hat which is necessarily in need of a cause. It
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may be eit her exist ent or non-exist ent , in equal probabilit y. The ‘cont ingent ’ is always creat ed, never et ernal. The ‘necessary’: The essent ially necessary is God, Who is simple, not compound. This is because t o be compound means t o be cont ingent , creat ed and admit t ing divisibilit y. This also means he does not admit associat ion because t hat would ent ail being compound. God t ranscends comparison and resemblance. His Qualit ies include Life, Knowledge and Power. These Qualit ies are et ernal, and do not compromise his necessit y of being, nor do t hey render him needy of anyt hing, for His Qualit ies are not ot her t han Him. The creat edness of t he world To be creat ed (hudut h) means t o be preceded by non-exist ence (‘adam). The world is everyt hing ot her t han God, t he Exalt ed. The world is made of subst ances (jawahir) and accident s (a’raad). Subst ances are t hose ent it ies t hat are independent of place. Accident s are t hose qualit ies t hat are “connect ed” t o subst ance, such as color, t ast e, smell, life, deat h, will, power, and knowledge. *** The creat edness of t he world is proven as follows: All exist ent s can be classified as eit her et ernal (qadim) or creat ed. The et ernal is t hat which is preceded by not hing else. It is necessary of exist ence. It is impossible for t he et ernal t o not be, for et ernalit y cont radict s non-exist ence. The creat ed is t hat exist ent which is preceded by anot her. It may bot h exist and not exist . So, when it is dist inguished by exist ence rat her t han nonPDFmyURL.com

exist ence, it is in need of somet hing t hat performs t hat dist inguishing for it . This ent it y is a creat or charact erized by volit ion and power. All t hat is not void of creat ed ent it ies is creat ed. No body in t he world is void of creat ed accident s and changeable st at es. The qualit ies of t he bodies change, and t hey move from one st at e t o anot her. The realit y of changeable ent it ies is t hat in fact one st at e is annihilat ed and anot her is creat ed. This is known in t he case of t he new st at e by observat ion, and in t he case of t he old st at e because, if it were et ernal it would not have become non-exist ent . Therefore, it is necessary t o believe firmly t hat t he world, all it s bodies, including all sort s of veget at ion and animals; all act ions; all ut t erances; and all beliefs are creat ed. They came t o exist aft er non-exist ence. The exist ence of t he Creat or Belief in t he exist ence of t he Creat or is t he first pillar of Islamic doct rine. All ot her doct rinal principles are built upon it . And believing in t his exist ence is t he only pat h t o at t aining a correct underst anding of creat ion, and t he meaning of exist ence in t his world. The world t hat we see is cont ingent ly exist ent (mumkin al-wujud), which means t hat t he mind precludes neit her it s exist ence nor non-exist ence. Therefore, t here must be some ext ernal cause which made it exist ence, and dist anced it from non-exist ence. In it s default mode, t he world and it s ent it ies are possible of bot h st at es. And t he Cause t hat made it exist ent (and not non-exist ent ) is what we call God, t he Exalt ed. Every rat ional person, t hrough observat ion, knows necessarily t hat creat ion came int o exist ence aft er non-exist ence, i.e., t hey were creat ed. That which is creat ed is in need of a creat or. An infinit e regression of such creat ors is impossible, as all rat ional people agree. Infinit e regression means t hat a
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creat ed ent it y has a creat or, and t hat creat or has it s own creat or, and on and on wit h no end. This infinit e regression, on whose impossibilit y all rat ional people agree, cannot be avoided except by posit ing an Et ernal Creat or, Who is in need of no ot her. His Exist ence needs No Originat or. This is God, t he Necessarily Exist ent . The Necessary, i.e. God, is not a compound being, nor mult iple. It is t ruly One. If all exist ences were simply cont ingent , and none of t hem were necessary, t his set of cont ingent ly exist ent ent it ies – which encompasses all exist ent ent it ies – would be in need of an originat or. This is because t he set is it self cont ingent , a compound ent it y made of a set of cont ingent ent it ies. However, t he Necessary of Exist ence (God) is independent in His Exist ence. He does not need any ot her ent it y for his exist ence. And He is out side of t his set . So He is t he Creat or. The first obligat ion Cont emplat ing (al-nazar) knowing God is an obligat ion by consensus, whet her it is by revelat ory means as t he Ash’aris say, or by rat ional ones as t he M u’t azilis say. The primary obligat ion is t o know God, and t he means t o achieving it is speculat ion (al-nazar), so it is also an obligat ion. But speculat ion is not possible wit hout an int ent t o engage in it . Therefore, t he int ent ion is also an obligat ion, indeed t he first obligat ion. By al-nazar is meant t he t ools and met hodologies by which knowledge is organized so as t o lead from one piece of informat ion t o anot her. Alt ernat ively,
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it is defined as abst ract ing t he mind away from insignificant mat t ers and orient ing it t o t he object s of reason. When t his is done properly, what result s is necessary knowledge. This is an obligat ion, because in mat t ers of doct rine, following anot her based on his or her aut horit y is a sin for someone who is capable of engaging in t heoret ical and rat ional t hought . If he is not capable of t his, it is not a sin. Abu M ansur al-M at uridi says, “Our companions are agreed t hat t he masses believers and knowers of God, and t hey will populat e Heaven, as we are informed in report s and as is agreed on by scholars. For t heir nat ural st at e leads t hem t o monot heism and belief in t he Creat or’s et ernalit y and t he creat edness of all else, even if t hey are unable t o art iculat e t his in t he t erminology of t he t heologians.” Al-Amidi report ed agreement t hat t hose who at t est t o t he correct doct rine based on aut horit y are not disbelievers. The difference of opinion obt ains when we t urn t o t he judgement in t he Hereaft er. In mat t ers of t his world, t here is no disagreement t hat we are t o judge based on apparent at t est at ions alone. So, he who at t est s t o t he doct rine of Islam is t o be t reat ed as a M uslim, and not pronounced a disbeliever. So, he may marry ot her M uslims; he may lead t he prayer; his slaught ered meat may be consumed; M uslims may inherit from him, and he from t hem; and he is t o be buried in t heir cemet eries. Belief (Iman) Belief (iman) is t o at t est t o all t hat is brought by t he Prophet (peace be upon him) and is known necessarily t o be of t he religion, bot h in generalit ies and part iculars. “That which t he Prophet M uhammad (peace be upon him) brought ” is al-Islam, out side of which t here is no salvat ion. As Allah says, “Say: ‘Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my deat h, are (all) for God, t he
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Cherisher of t he Worlds. No part ner hat h He: t his am I commanded, and I am t he first of t hose who submit (muslimin).” (al-An’am: 162-163). It is necessary t hat one submit t o t his, for t here is no salvat ion in t he eyes of God except by ent ering int o Islam: “Say: ‘We believe in God, and in what has been revealed t o us and what was revealed t o Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and t he Tribes, and in (t he Books) given t o M oses, Jesus, and t he prophet s, from t heir Lord: We make no dist inct ion bet ween one and anot her among t hem, and t o God do we bow our will (in Islam).’ If anyone desires a religion ot her t han Islam (submission t o God), never will it be accept ed of him; and in t he Hereaft er He will be in t he ranks of t hose who have lost (All spirit ual good).” (Aal Imran: 84-85). Islam is t he religion of God wit h which all ot her messengers had been sent : “Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christ ian but he was (an) upright (man), a M uslim, and he was not one of t he polyt heist s.” (Aal Imran: 67) The formula of t est ificat ion is: “I bear wit ness t hat t here is no god but Allah, and I bear wit ness t hat M uhammad is t he M essenger of Allah.” For one who is capable of ut t ering it , it is obligat ory for t he validit y of his fait h. It may be ut t ered in a language ot her t han Arabic, t hough it is bet t er t o use t he Arabic wording. Simply ut t ering t he words is not sufficient if t he speaker does not underst and t he meaning of what he is recit ing. Art iculat ing t he formula of t est ificat ion is a condit ion of one being considered a M uslim in legal mat t ers, such as inherit ance, marriage, leading prayer, being eligible for t he funeral prayer, burial in M uslim cemet eries, and being subject t o t he demand t o pray and pay t he zakat . This is because silent affirmat ion in one’s heart , t hough it const it ut es belief, is hidden, and we are in need of a visible sign of one’s Islam.
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He who at t est s wit h his t ongue, but not his heart , is a hypocrit e. Though he is not a M uslim in t he eyes of God, he is t o be regarded as a M uslim in t his world, provided he does not bet ray any visible indicat ion of his disbelief, such as prost rat ing t o an idol or abusing a copy of t he Qur’an. The “reject er” is one who refuses t o ut t er t he formula of t est ificat ion. He is a disbeliever bot h in t he eyes of God and in t he considerat ion of people in t his world. An affirmat ion of t he heart is of no consequence. He who is confront ed by doubt s must seek t o dispel t hem eit her t hrough rat ional speculat ion or by asking someone of knowledge. He who is confront ed by t empt at ions should seek refuge in Allah, and say “I believe in God and His M essenger.” The children of M uslims are considered believers, and are t o be t reat ed as such in t his world even if t hey never art iculat e t he formula of t est ificat ion t heir whole lives. Divine At t ribut es What may not be at t ribut ed t o God: There are some t hings t hat cannot be affirmed of God. In short , He is t ranscendent , and free of anyt hing t hat indicat es creat edness or deficiency of any sort . Therefore, one may not at t ribut e t o Him accident al at t ribut es like t ast e, color, smell, or pain. Nor is he rest rict ed t o direct ionalit y. Nor can we ascribe t o him adjacency, for he is not bound by area. Neit her t he eart h nor t he heavens surround Him. He has neit her limit s nor measure. Anyt hing t hat is dist inguished by direct ionalit y is rest rict ed a space, and t herefore is capable of being joined t o subst ances and separat e from t hem. Anyt hing t hat admit s such a joining and separat ion wit h subst ance is connect ed
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t o subst ance, and not void of it . Anyt hing t hat is not void of subst ance is creat ed like t he subst ance it is connect ed t o. In cont rast , God t ranscends space, and connect ion t o bodies. We believe t hat t he Creat or of t he world cannot be rest rict ed by space, nor can He have an end. For a t hing may not be so rest rict ed except by somet hing else, nor can he have an endpoint except by imposing a limit at ion on him by anot her ent it y. But t he Creat or is neit her creat ed, nor rest rict ed, nor limit ed in any way. As Allah says, “Do you not see t hat Allah knows what ever is in t he heavens and what ever is in t he eart h? Nowhere is t here a secret counsel bet ween t hree persons but He is t he fourt h of t hem, nor (bet ween) five but He is t he sixt h of t hem, nor less t han t hat nor more but He is wit h t hem wheresoever t hey are; t hen He will inform t hem of what t hey did on t he day of resurrect ion: surely Allah is Cognizant of all t hings.” (al-M ujadala: 7). It is impermissible t o at t ribut e t o God movement or rest , going and coming, being in a place, connect edness and disconnect edness, physical proximit y and dist ance, size, body, form, measure, direct ions, or sides. The At t ribut es of t he Divine Essence: These are t he at t ribut es which subsist in t he Divine Essence. They number seven or eight , t he difference in number being due t o scholarly disagreement . These at t ribut es are et ernal like His Names. If t hey had been creat ed, t his would mean affirming somet hing creat ed of t he Divine Essence. It would also mean t hat God was once wit hout t hem, i.e., before t heir creat ion. Finally, it would indicat e t he need for somet hing t o endow t he Divine Essence wit h t his qualit y, which cont radict s His Absolut e Self-Sufficiency, i.e., His lack of need of anyt hing ot her t han Him. These are in cont rast t o “t he at t ribut es of act ion” which are not et ernal
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according t o t he Ash’aris. The at t ribut es of t he Divine Essence are of neit her t he essence, nor of ot her t han it . The former is obvious, for it is well known t hat t he realit y of t he essence is not t he same as t hat of it s at t ribut es, ot herwise t hey would be ident ical. As for t he lat t er, what is meant is t hat t hey are not of a separable ot her. For t hese at t ribut es are not separable from t he essence, even t hough t heir realit y is not t hat of t he essence it self. Whoever direct s his worship t o t he at t ribut es alone has commit t ed disbelief. And whoever connect s his worship t o t he Essence alone has sinned. The correct pat h is t o worship t he Divine Essence charact erized by It s At t ribut es. These at t ribut es are: Exist ence: This means t he exist ence of His Essence, uncaused by any ot her. It is impossible t hat He did not exist . This sort of perfect exist ence is affirmed only of God. All ot hers part ake in a subordinat e mode of exist ence, bot h preceded and succeeded by non-exist ence. This is an affirmat ive at t ribut e, affirmed of t he Essence it self. Et ernalit y: This is a negat ive at t ribut e, which is t o say t hat it negat es t hat which is not wort hy of God – in t his case, creat edness, and so previous nonexist ence. What is meant is t he et ernalit y of t he Essence – t hat It never “came int o” exist ence. For if It were not et ernal, It would be creat ed, and t hus in need of a creat or, which creat or would it self be in need of a creat or. This would regress infinit ely. As such, He must be Et ernal. We believe t hat God has always been. A report in t he Sahih of Ibn Hibban has it t hat , “There was Allah, and t here was none ot her t han Him.”

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Everlast ingness: This is also a negat ive at t ribut e int ended t o exclude nonexist ence from His Essence. Just as we may not cont emplat e a cause for t he generat ion of t he Necessary Exist ent , we may not admit a cause for It s dest ruct ion. If we were t o admit such a cause, t here would be no Necessary Exist ent . The proof t hat God’s exist ence has no end is t hat It would t hen not be Et ernal, because et ernalit y cont radict s non-exist ence. The exist ence of all ot her creat ion has bot h a beginning and end, except for Paradise and Hell, which had a beginning but no end. We know t his t hrough revelat ion and not reason. Opposit ion t o all Creat ed Things: This is also a negat ive at t ribut e indicat ing a lack of resemblance bet ween God and creat ion. For He is neit her a body nor an accident , neit her a universal nor a part icular. He similarly t ranscends all st at es and at t ribut ions t hat , for example, can be said of humans and ot her ent it ies, such as sleep, heedlessness, hunger, t hirst , and need. The proof of t his at t ribut e is t hat if God were not opposed t o all creat ed t hings in all qualit ies, He would resemble t hem in t heir creat edness, or t hey would resemble Him in His et ernalit y. That is impossible. We believe t hat God cannot be charact erized by t hose qualit ies which charact erize creat ion. These lat t er are t he essence of creat edness, such as being rest rict ed t o a place or t ime, having bodily or ment al needs, or weakness or incapacit y. God is complet ely Transcendent . Not hing even remot ely resembles him. He has neit her ancest ors nor descendant s. Nor does he have friends and enemies in t he manner commonly spoken of, t hough we may use t hese words t o mean sincere devot ees, on t he one hand, and t hose who t ransgress his commands, on t he ot her. However, it is t rue t hat we may describe humanit y by some qualit ies we at t ribut e t o God, such as knowledge, power, will, and percept ion. But we
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dist inguish by saying t hat t hese are essent ial at t ribut es of God, but not essent ial at t ribut es of humans. In t he case of t he lat t er, t hey are divine blessings. Subsist ence in Himself: This means t hat he has no need for ot her. We believe t hat God subsist s in Himself. He has no need for an ent it y t o generat e Him, nor for a space t o encompass him. He has been God since before t he generat ion of anyt hing else, and before t he generat ion of t ime and space it self. Nor does he have direct ionalit y, t hough some ant hropomorphist s have said t hat He is charact erized by “aboveness.” This is invalid. As Qadi ‘Iyad has said, “There is no disagreement among t he M uslim jurist s, hadit h scholars, t heologians, t hinkers, and lay people t hat t he apparent meaning of verses t hat ment ion God being in t he Heavens, such as ‘Do ye feel secure t hat He Who is in heaven will not cause you t o be swallowed up by t he eart h when it shakes (as in an eart hquake)?’ are not t o be t aken lit erally, but rat her are t o be int erpret ed.” Oneness: This is also a negat ive at t ribut e in t hat it denies somet hing t hat is not appropriat e t o at t ribut e t o God, t hat is, mult iplicit y or quant it y. God is neit her composed of part s, nor made up of part iculars (subsumed under a universal). He does not have t wo knowledges or wills t hat complement one anot her, nor does He have a knowledge or will t hat part akes in t he knowledge or will of ot hers. Power: This is an et ernal at t ribut e of t he Divine Essence, t hrough which all t hings come t o be and come t o an end in accordance wit h His Will. What is necessary for every M uslim t o know and believe is t hat God is capable of all t hings. The proof t hat God is charact erized by power is t hat if He were not AllPowerful, He would be charact erized by incapacit y. This is impossible. Will: This is also an et ernal at t ribut e of t he Divine Essence, which has t o do
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wit h realizing some of t he pot ent ialit ies of cont ingent beings. God’s Will is one. It originat es and annihilat es some t hings. Ot her Et ernal At t ribut es: There are also ot her at t ribut es. These include Knowledge, Life, Speech, Hearing, and Sight . The Beaut iful Names of God: Allah says, “The most beaut iful names belong t o God: so call on Him by t hem” (al-A’raaf: 180). The names of God are et ernal like His essent ial at t ribut es. This et ernalit y is t aken t o mean t hat eit her t hat t hey were suit able of God from pre-et ernalit y, or t hat t hey always indicat ed t he meaning of t hose names. Some like Ibn ‘Arabi t ook t hem t o be equal in t hat t hey all pert ain t o one essence (God’s), even t hough t hey may differ in t he world. Ot hers t ook t hem t o be of varying degrees of import ance. “Allah” is it self t he Great est Name, above all ot hers. Ninet y-nine have been enumerat ed in a hadit h in Tirmidhi on t he aut horit y of Abu Hurayra, but alNawawi has said t hat t he scholars have agreed t hat t he names list ed t here do not exhaust t he names of God. The posit ion of ahl al-sunna is t hat His Names and At t ribut es are t aught t o us, for t his is what indicat es God’s permission. This may t ake t he form of eit her being in t he Qur’an and sunna, or it may be est ablished by consensus of use, such as t he Fabricat or, t he Exist ent , t he Necessary, t he Et ernal. Prophecy In Arabic, t he word “prophet ” (nabi) is t aken from t he word for “news, or report ” for he report s about God. He is also t he one who is report ed t o, in t he first inst ance, since Gabriel brings him news. Terminologically, t he word “prophet ” refers t o a pure human who is inspired by a revelat ory code of conduct on which he himself act s, even t hough he may not
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be called on t o propagat e it . If he is in fact called upon t o propagat e, he is a “messenger” (rasul). All messengers are prophet s, but not all prophet s are messengers. The sending of messengers is a great bount y from God. It is a rat ional possibilit y, but He is under no obligat ion t o send messengers. Allah has named 25 prophet s in t he Qur’an. Their prophet hood must be believed in. It is not permissible for a M uslim t o be ignorant of t hem. There are yet ot hers not ment ioned by name or in det ail in t he Qur’an. We know of t hem only generally, and so must believe in t hem in t hat general manner. That is t o say, we must believe t hat God sent many prophet s and messengers, t o every nat ion and group, in a variet y of places and t imes. It is ignorant t o t hink t hat God specified only t he Arabian peninsula and it s surrounding areas for prophecy. There are five necessary requirement s for prophet hood: Prophet s only arise among humans, not among jinns or angels. Prophet s must be charact erized by t rust wort hiness and honest y, and innocence from sin. This is so t hat t heir t est imony may be believed, and held t o a high st andard. Prophet s must upright ness. be charact erized by a perfect rat ionalit y, precision, and

They must have propagat ed t o t he people everyt hing t hey had been ordered t o propagat e. They did not conceal anyt hing. There is disagreement on whet her a prophet must be male. Those who said he must be a male rely on t he verse, “And We did not send before you any but men t o whom We sent revelat ion, so ask t he followers of t he reminder if you do not ” (al-Anbiya: 7). Those who say it is not a condit ion t hat a prophet be made point t o verses which say t hat t he mot her of M oses was “inspired” (al-Qasas: 7) and
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t hat M ary, t he mot her of Jesus, was list ed in a cont ext where many ot her prophet s were list ed (M aryam : 58). The great est of Prophet s is t he final Prophet , M uhammad (peace be upon him). M uslims are dut y bound t o love him, as we learn from a number of hadit h. M iracles M iracles are act ions of God in which t he convent ional laws of nat ure are broken at t he hands of his messengers, so t hat t he messenger’s t rut hfulness, and t he veracit y of his message, may be affirmed. It may be speech, like t he Qur’an; or an act ion, such as t he gushing fort h of wat er bet ween his fingers; or an absence, such as t he inabilit y of t he fire t o burn Abraham. The condit ions for a miracle are t hat : 1) It be from God himself. 2) It be a breaking of t he convent ional laws of nat ure. 3) It be inexplicable. 4) It be at t he hands of someone who claims prophecy, so t hat his prophet hood may be est ablished. 5) It be in accordance wit h what is being claimed. 6) What is claimed not be disproven by t he miracle it self. 7) It not precede t he claim, but be made in conjunct ion wit h it .

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Therefore, Prophet Jesus’s speech in his infancy, wet dat es falling on lady M ary from a dry palm t ree, cut t ing t he chest of Prophet M uhammad and washing his heart , clouds forming a shadow over him t o prot ect him from t he sun along wit h t he peace greet ings t hat he used t o hear from st ones before his prophecy are considered miracles. The Prophet ’s great est miracle was t he Qur’an it self. He also had mat erial sensible miracles, such as t he split t ing of t he moon, t he greet ings offered t o him by st ones, t rees speaking t o him, t he gushing fort h of wat er bet ween his noble fingers, and ot hers. Causalit y and Int ermediaries It is obligat ory for a M uslim t o believe firmly t hat t here is no Cause in t he world ot her t han God, and t hat all t he apparent causes we see in t he world of phenomena are deput ized by God Himself. There is however no harm in using language t hat indicat es causalit y of t hings ot her t han God if one’s beliefs are sound on t his mat t er. For example, one might say, “This medicine was of benefit t o me,” or “This doct or cured me,” or “The rain t his year caused t here t o be a good crop.” This is why t here is no harm in a M uslim seeking int ercession wit h God via t he relics of prophet s, as long as he believes t hat t he only Cause is Allah. This fit s wit h t he language used wit h respect t o t he apparent causalit y of t he world. The most obvious inst ance of such is t he Qur’anic verse, “We have not sent you (O M essenger) except as a mercy t o t he worlds.” If Allah has said of t he Prophet (peace be upon him) t hat he is t he cause of mercy t o his servant s, t here is no harm in invoking t his honor He has grant ed t he Prophet . There is also no difference bet ween invoking him during his life and aft er his
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deat h. This is because his bodily life was never t he reason for invoking him in t his manner, such t hat we may say t his is no longer possible.

Revelat ion The word used here, sam’iyyat , refers t o all t hat which can be known only t hrough report s t hat part ake in cert aint y. One may not be a believer in Allah in his heart , mind and soul wit hout believing in bot h t he seen and t he unseen. The unseen we believe in is t hat which is not visible, which may not be perceived purely t hrough rat ionalit y. Believing in t he unseen is t he first pillar of piet y. This means believing in God; t he realit y of angels; divine script ures and messengers, and t hat t hey are from God; t he Last Day, and t hat it will undoubt edly come; in Fat e, good and bad; and t hat t here is not hing in t he world except it was willed by God. The unseen includes also jinns, whose exist ence is proven by definit ive t ext s. God says in t he Quran “And He creat ed t he jinn from a smokeless flame of fire”. 55:15. So t he jinns are creat ed from fire and are asked t o worship God Almight y and follow t he prophet s and messengers as God says “And I did not creat e t he jinn and mankind except t o worship M e”. 51:56. Also t he jinns are divided int o believers and non believers as God says in t he Quran “And among us are M uslims [in submission t o Allah ], and among us are t he unjust . And whoever has become M uslim - t hose have sought out t he right course.” 72:41 Sat an is one of t he jinns but was expelled away from God’s mercy and earned God’s wrat h on him because of his disobedience of God’s direct command t o prost rat e t o Adam as was narrat ed in t he Quran “And [ment ion] when We said t o t he angels,
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"Prost rat e t o Adam," and t hey prost rat ed, except for Iblees. He was of t he jinn and depart ed from t he command of his Lord. …” 18:50. God’s et ernal wrat h on Sat an deems him t o ent er hellfire but his punishment is post poned t ill Judgment Day where he will be sent enced t o excruciat ing pain along wit h t hose who were seduced by Sat an and followed his pat h of evil. The jinns are inhabit ant s of eart h and are able t o see humans unlike humans who are unable t o see jinn as God explained in t he Quran saying “Indeed, he sees you, he and his t ribe, from where you do not see t hem..” 7:27

The Throne, which is t he great est of creat ion, and where Allah will present Himself on t he Day of Judgment . This t hrone will be carried by eight angels in t he Day of Judgment but we are unable t o at t ribut e any sort of a defined or det ailed descript ion of t his t hrone due t o a lack of knowledge about it . We also believe in t he divine st ool but similarly we have no available dat e describing it . What we know for sure t hough is t hat neit her t he t hrone nor t he st ool are dwellings of God. in ot her words, God did not creat e t he t hrone out of need for elevat ion or superiorit y and did not creat e t he st ool out of a need for sit t ing down. Same goes for creat ing t he pen, He did not creat e it for writ ing a non previously known knowledge nor asked angels t o writ e down and document t he deeds of humans out of fear of forget fulness. Paradise and Hell, which are t wo creat ed ent it ies, t he first an et ernal abode of reward, and t he lat t er an et ernal abode of punishment and fire. They are of levels, and each person will occupy t he level in accordance wit h his deeds. Some people might assume t hat t he et ernalit y of heaven and hell comes in opposit ion t o God’s saying in t he Quran “Everyt hing will be dest royed except His Face. His is t he judgement , and t o Him you will be ret urned”. 28:88 but t he correct int erpret at ion of t his verse is t hat everyt hing in it s own right amount s t o not hingness (‘adam) because of it s inabilit y of independent self exist ence.
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The reservoir from which t he Prophet will serve t he believers of his nat ion in t he hereaft er and we believe t hat whoever drinks from it will not be subject ed t o t hirst . The Hour and it s signs: t here are some obvious signs like t he appearance of Gog and M agog, t he emergence of t he Beast , t he rising of t he sun from t he west and t he appearance of smoke. These signs- especially t he ones t hat are backed by definit ive proofs from t he Quran- whoever denies it s veracit y deemed t o be a liar and a disbeliever. These signs are part of revelat ion which t he mind does not have much say in as t hey are believed in t hrough revelat ory report s. For example, God says in t he Quran “Unt il when [t he dam of] Gog and M agog has been opened and t hey, from every elevat ion, descend 21:96. The quest ioning in t he grave is aut hent icat ed by numerous prophet ic report s. It is believed t hat t he soul ret urns back t o t he body wit h all it s five senses int act and it s int ellect ual abilit y persevered t o be quest ioned in t he grave and receives it s due punishment or enjoy it s grace. Aft er t he burial of t he dead and t he dismissal of people at t ending his or her funeral, t wo angels called M unkar and Nakir are responsible for asking t he deceased t hree quest ions wit h t he language t hat is comprehendible t o t he deceased. The angels ask t he dead about t he t wo part s of t he t est imony of fait h namely t he oneness of God and t he prophecy of Prophet M uhammad. Prophet s are exempt ed from t hese quest ions as well as mart yrs who died for t he sake of God along wit h children because t hey were not eligible t o underst and commands and prohibit ions ordained by God. God t he Almight y has t he power t o gat her back t he scat t ered part icles and at oms of t he body resided in a grave or spread in a desert or kept in t he belly of an animal and form t he human body again t o be asked about his or her life on eart h. The scholars of t he Ash’arit e t heology reached a consensus
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t hat bot h t he body and t he soul combined eit her suffer from t he ailment s or enjoy t he grace in t he grave. The ret urn of t he body t o t he spirit on t he Day of Judgment is believed in as all t he part icles of t he body is gat hered again t o ret urn it t o it s original st at e t o form t he full human body. God Almight possesses t he abilit y t o reorganize t hese part icles because of his unlimit ed power and divine knowledge. The resurrect ion of t he dead and t aking t hem out of t heir graves for t he Reckoning. In t his day all human beings, jinns, angels are resurrect ed along wit h beast s and animals. The Reckoning The Int ercession of t he Prophet . The belief in t he int ercession of Prophet M uhammad t o all people in t he day of Judgement is obligat ory and t his noble st at us of waseelah is t he supplicat ion or prayer which t he Prophet saved for his people unt il Dooms Day. The meaning of int ercession ent ails forgiveness for whoever at t est ed t o t he Oneness of God and t he prophecy of Prophet M uhammad even if t his person commit t ed grave sins. Prophet s as well have an int ercession in t he Day of Judgement along wit h t he angels, t he Gnost ics and t he mart yrs. The first int ercessor among all t hese is Prophet M uhammad. As for t he int ercession of ot hers, it occurs only aft er reckoning and punishment over small and grave sins which were not forgiven by God. The import ance of int ercession lies in honouring t he int ercessor in t his day and showing his great posit ion in t he sight of God. Therefore, t he forgiveness of sins ot her t han polyt heism is possible bot h t hrough logic and revelat ion as int ercession deems forgiveness possible. As for polyt heism is it deemed impossible t hrough revelat ion for a polyt heist t o be forgiven.
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The Ash’arit e creed refuses t o make a judgement of disbelief on any sinful believer in t his world and it is similarly impermissible t o pass a verdict of his or her et ernal st ay in hellfire for sins whet her minor or major. The correct approach is t o delegat e t he whole issue t o God. The Judgment of all t he deeds of people’s lives The crossing of t he pat h t hat st ret ches over Hell. All will have t o pass over it as a t est and among t he passers are t he prophet s, t he Gnost ics and t hose who ent er paradise wit hout previous subject ion t o reckoning and judgement over t heir deeds. The descript ion of t he pat h is t hat it is t hinner t han a hair and sharper t han a blade. Whoever is deemed t o ent er paradise will succeed in crossing his way over t o heaven and whoever is deemed t o ent er Hell will fall over t he bridge st raight down t o Hell.

©Ali Gomaa - Grand Mufti of Egypt - 2013

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