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The Ark of Salvation

By Abdul-Kareem Hassan and Murad el-Adnany Introduction Islam literally means submission (taslim) and surrender (istislam) to Allah (Allah). It can also mean a person who enters into peace or security (silm), and sincerity of faith (deen) and belief (aqidah) in Allah, From the point of view of the sacred law (shar') Islam is faith (iman). The language usage of the term Islam is evident in Allah's saying, "The nomadic Arabs say, 'We have faith!' 'Say, 'You have not accepted faith, rather say 'We have accepted Islam." [Translation of the meaning of the Quran, al-Hujurat 49:14]. This means the nomadic Arabs had not submitted to Allah's true faith, but had only outwardly submitted sufficient to satisfy the legal requirements. The sacred law (shariah) meaning is evident in the verses "Whosoever desires a faith other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him." [al-Imran 3:85] and "Surely the [true] faith with Allah is Islam." [al-Imran 19] The general definition of Islam is the witness that there is no Allah but Allah, accepting that which Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) came from Allah, which is the true religion of Allah which he promulgated for Himself, and with which He sent all His messengers. The Messenger of Allah said: "Islam is to testify there is no Allah but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and to perform the prayer, give zakat (alms), fast in Ramadan, and perform the pilgrimage to the House (Makkah) if you can." [Sahih Muslim] All the Prophets sent by Allah have shared the same basic message of Islam: "He has established for you the same religion (deen) as that which He enjoined upon Noah, and We revealed to you that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus, namely, that you should remain steadfast in religion and be not divided therein." [ alShura42:13] Concerning the previous Prophets Allah says:"Those are the ones to whom Allah has given guidance, so follow their guidance

(hudahum)." [al-An'am 6:90] The guidance which is common between Islam and the previous religions is tawhid, i.e., the essence of belief in the oneness of Allah. Islam differs from the previous religions in respect of the sacred law revealed by Allah, i.e., the shariah : "For every one of you We have ordained a sacred law (shar') and way of life (minhaj)." [al-Maidah 5:48] Islam is the name given by Allah to the religion revealed to Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family): "This day I have perfected your religion (deen) for you, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." [al-Maidah 5:3] The unity of the Islamic nation is rooted first and foremost in the unity of its creed (aqeeda), which in turn unifies our worship, customs and behaviour. The clarity of the Islamic creed distinguishes Islam from all other religions. The source of it is kalimah tawhid (the word of unity), i.e., la ilaha illa Allah, which means in English 'there is no deity but Allah.' This is the core of our creed, simple and uncomplicated and free from theological hairsplitting. It entails believing that Allah alone is the Creator (al-Khaliq), the Provider (ar-Razzaq), the Distresser (ad-Dar'),and the Propitious (an-Nafi). He alone should be feared, He alone should be worshipped. Because of it Allah established the Balance (miz'an) and the destinations of Paradise and Hell; by it mankind and Jinn are divided into believers and unbelievers, and the swords of jihad are raised. The truth of this kalimah tawhid is based on the knowledge of what Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family, brought is certainly correct and by necessity to be believed in. La ilaha illa Allah is the right of Allah over His slaves, it opens the door between Allah and His slaves, and it is the ark of our salvation. For this reason Imam al-Ghazzali said " Islam is established on the word of unity (tawhid) [i.e., la ilaha illa Allah] and the unity [i.e of the Islamic nation] on the word." In recent years there has arisen a growing trend, from some sections within the Muslim community, to pronounce verdicts excommunicating Muslims from the people of the Qibla.1 Unfortunately it has become the standard response to someone
1

Literally Qibla is the direction Muslims face in prayer, the term is used to signify the whole of the Islamic nation, i.e., shia, sunni, mutazila, murjiah etc

who holds a different point of view in matters of faith or sacred law to accuse that person of having a defect in his creed. Imam alGhazzli warned against this, stating: "You should deter yourself as far as possible from excommunicating the people of qibla (ahlul Qibla) so long as they utter, 'there is no diety but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah' without contradicting it. Contradiction means to think it lawful that the Prophet can tell a lie with or without a reason. Excommunication is singally hazardous while silence has no danger."2 If a Muslim is declared kafir (disbeliever) he becomes eligible for condemnation to death and residing eternally in the Hell-fire." The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "When a man calls his brother an unbeliever, it returns (at least) to one of them." [Muslim] All the groups that have arisen within the body of the Muslim nation have considered themselves to be correct and all others wrong, even heretics. Ahmad bin Hanbal tells us that the Khawarij and Rawafid (rejectors) did not offer their prayers together with the rest of the Muslims in their mosques and considered the majority of Muslims as heretics.3 Thus from at least the second century of the Islamic calander the Muslims have discussed the definition of theIslamic faith and who is, and is not, a believer. The Khawarij, for example, held that a Muslim who committed a grave sin became an unbeliever. Imam al-Ash'ari considered it was an article of faith of the ahlul Sunnah that a Muslim who committed a grave sin was still a believer. Some of the Shii'tes took as an article of faith that Imam Ali had been chosen by the Messenger of Allah as his successor. The ahlul Sunnah have rejected this claim. Naturally every group claims to be correct and has defined the tenets of its faith and has used its definition to excommunicate its opponents. What is correct, according to the ahlul-Sunnah, is that the term millat al-Islam (Islamic community) applies to a person who believes in the temporary existence of the world, oneness of its creator and His eternity, and that He is Just, Judicious, and rejects the anthropomorphism and the negation of divine epithets, and believes in the prophethood of all His prophets and that of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and that he was sent as a Prophet to all andsundry, and that Allah helps His sacred law (shariah), and that his teachings are true, and that the Quran is the source of the Shariah, and that observance of five daily prayers, payment of zakat, fasting during the month of
2 3

al-Ghazzali, al-Tafriqah bayn al-Islam wa'l-zandaqah, quoted by A.Hasan in The Doctrine of Ijma in Islam Ahmad bin Hanbal, al-Risalah al-Saniyyah, p.468

Ramadhan, and hajj pilgrimage are obligatory duties. One who confesses this is a member of the Islamic ummah (nation). If one does not confound one's faith with the evil innovation (bid'ah) leading to unbelief, one is a muwahhid ( a believer in the unity of Allah) and a sunni (moderate) 4 The famous scholar of the Shafii school, Imam Nawawi, 5 says in his explanation of Sahih Muslim6: "Know that the school of thought (mathab) of the people of the way [of the Prophet] (ahlul sunnah) 7, the people of truth (ahlul haq), the people of the pious early generations (ahlul salaf)8, and those that came after them (ahlul khalaf) is that anyone who dies Muwahhid, (believing in the Oneness of Allah), saying la ilaha illa Allah (there is no deity but Allah ), will definitely enter Paradise . Verily, everyone who is free from sins, the mental, and the repenter from associating anything with Allah (shirk) and sins, will, if he refrains from further sins, enter Paradise and not hell. Instead he will pass over Hell on the sirat (bridge) under which is Hell, may Allah save us all from it. However, if someone has sinned and he dies without repentance he is in the Will (mashiyat)of Allah , Allah may forgive him and allow him to enter Paradise, like those we have mentioned, or Allah may punish him with the degree He, the Most High, wishes, and then Allah will allow him to enter Paradise. No one who died upon tawhid (believing in the unity of Allah) will remain in Hell forever, evenif he commited a mulitple of sins. Similarly, no one will enter Paradise if he died a disbeliever (kafir) even if he performed an abundance of good deeds. Upon all this there is an ijma (consensus) of the ummah (Muslim nation) derived from the continuous (tawatur) texts of the Kitab (the Book, i.e, the Quran) and the sunnah. If there is a tradition which appears to contradict by its literal meaning 9 what
4 5 6

Imam al-Baghdadi (died 429), al-Farq bayn al-Feraq, Cairo : Maktbah Nashr al-thaqafah al-Islamiyyah, 1948 pp141-142. Imam Nawawi was born in Syria in 631/1233, he is the author of Riyad al-Salihin, Minhaj al-Talibin, Kitab al-Adhkar and Sharh Sahih Muslim

Sahih Muslim is a famous collection of the Prophet Muhammad's (peace and blessing be upon him and his family) traditions. Imam Nawawi's commentary Sharh Sahih Muslim runs into 18 volumes. Imam Muslim was born in Persia in 204/820. He was a scholar of the Shafii school and a hadith master.
7

The title ahl al-sunnah is usually applied to the people following the established practice of the muslim community (jama'ah) this is in opposition to the ahl al-bidah (people of innovation) and the various sects that broke away from the larger muslim community. An interesting discussion of the title is presented in "The Doctrine of Ijma in Islam", chapter one, by Ahmad Hasan. Imam Ibn Hajar Haytami has defined ahl ul-sunna wa al-Jama'a as "those who follow Abul Hasan Ashari and Abu Mansur Maturdi, the Two Imams of Ahl al Sunna." Imam a-Ash'ari is the imam of Ahl al-Sunna in tenets of faith. He was born in Basra in 270/874. The founders of the four main schools of Islamic jurisprudence: Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafii, and Ahmad bin Hanbal are all ahl al Sunna wa al-jama'a.
8

The people of the salaf are the salaf as-salihin, the pious muslims of the first three generations, they are known as the Companions, the followers of the Companions, and the followers of the followers of the Companions. The people of salaf should not be confused with the people today who frequently use the name of `Salafiyya'; there are no salaf after the first three generations; nor are they followers of the Salaf ! The people of Khalaf are the scholars of the third and fourth centuries of Muslims.
9

Such as the tradition narrated by Bukhari and Muslim which reports the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying: "To curse a muslim is rebellion and to fight him his disbelief (kufr)." and the hadith narrated by Ahmad which says: "The difference between us and them (kuffar i.e.

we have said we must make interpretation (tawil) of it to reconcile between the texts of the sacred law (sharia)." 10 In this book we outline the fundamental pillars of the Islamic creed and touch upon the differences of opinions held by the Muslims in the subsidiaries of the Islamic creed. Chapter 1 defines the meaning of belief and the conditions that Islam has laid down for accepting something as an article of faith. We discuss the nature of vidences dividing them into definite and speculative proofs. This entails a discussion of the revealed texts and the distinction between the Quran, hadith mutawatir, and hadith ahad. Chapter 2 outlines the fundamental tenets of the Islamic creed: the belief in Allah, His angles, his books, His messengers, the Last day and the divine destiny; and their source, i.e., whether they are derived from the mind (aql) or the revealed texts (naql). These tenets of faith are the defining matters of the Islamic creed which determine whether or not the person belongs to the people of the qibla. The subject of Allah's attributes is dealt with in chapter 3, consideration is given to the different positions taken up by the scholars of Islam in explaining references to Allah in the Quran which use terms that are also used to describe human characteristics. In particular we outline the position of the Ash'ari school of thought which represents the main body of Muslims known as ahlul Sunnah wa Jammat. Chapter 4 is concerned with the Quran, the miracle brought by Muhammad, peace be upon him, how it was revealed, its compilation after the death of the prophet, and the arrangement of its verses. Chapter 5 is concerned with the nature of prophethood, the distinction between messenger and prophet, the infallibility of the prophets, and the nature of revelation. The chapter concludes by examining an issue which has been the subject of much debate among the scholars as to whether the Prophet exercised ijtihad, i.e., exertion to derive the rule of the sacred law. In chapter 6 we examine the subject of divine destiny,referred to as al-qada wa al-qadr, arguably the most widely misunderstood matter of the Islamic creed. We set out the positions taken by the schools of Jabriah and Mutazilah, and clarify a subject which has traditionally been presented as a debate between predestination and free will.
unbelievers) is to leave prayer (salah), and whoever leaves it is kafir (unbeliever)."
10

Sharh Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, p.217.

Chapter 7 focuses on the political dimension of the Islamic creed, the relationship between the caliphate and Islam. Allah alone is the Lawgiver and the believer has to submit to Allah's law, known in Arabic as the shariah (the sacred law). The caliphate system is the Islamic ruling system established by the sacred law to fulfil the caliphal succession to prophethood, known as khilafat un-nabuwa. The shi'ites have taken as a pillar of faith the belief that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, appointed Imam Ali, his cousin and husband of his daughter Fatima (may Allah bless her), as his successor in ruling the affairs of the Muslims. We examine the evidences for this claim and conclude by presenting the views of some of the scholars of the ahlaul sunnah. The relationship between faith and action provides the theme of the concluding chapter. We present the views of the khawarij, the Mutazilah, the Murjiah, and the ahlul Sunnah in answer to the question : Are actions a part of faith or something based on faith? Does belief increase and decrease? The book concludes by considering the ways the sacred law has legislated for the believer to approach Allah, known in Arabic as al-Wasilah.

The Book of Belief (kitaab ul-Imaan) The Meaning of Imaan in Arabic Language: Imaan is `attesting to the truth', i.e., Tassdeeq. Imam Tabari in his Tafseer of al-Baqarah, verse 3 says: "Belief (Imaan) for the Arabs is attesting to the truth (Tassdeeq) [of something] : someone who verbally attests to the truth of something is called a believer in it, and someone who attests to the truth of what he says by what he does is called a believer. Hence the words of Allah [in which Jacob's sons fabricate the story of Joseph's disappearance before their father]: "You would never believe us, even if we spoke the truth."[TMQ 12:17], i.e., you would never attest to the truth of what we said." The Definition of Imaan in Shari'ah Terminology: Imaan is the decisive belief, i.e., Tassdeeq jaazim. This is the view of the scholars of ahl al-Sunnah as mentioned by Imam Nawawi in his book Sharh Sahih Muslim: "The people of sunnah, the people of hadith, the scholars, and the people of speech (ilmal kallam) hold that the believers, who are the people of the Qibla (the direction of prayer)and who will not remain in hell forever, are those who believe in Islam definitively with certainty (yaqeen), without speculation or doubt, and who pronounce the shahada (i.e. there is no Allah but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah)"11 Some have argued that Imaan does not require certainty, i.e., Yaqeen, they quote in their support the verse: "Behold ! Abraham said: My Lord! Show me how thou givest life to the dead. He said `Does thou not believe' He said: Yes! But to satisfy my own heart." [TMQ 2:260] They are saying that Abraham's question was an indication of speculation or conjecture, in Arabic known as zann. In this verse Abraham's question does not relate to the power to give life to the dead, because most certainly Abraham's heart was satisfied on this matter. Rather, the question concerns the manner of giving life to the dead, in other words the know-how. This is clear
11

Vol. 1, p149

from the answer Abraham gave to Allah's question: "Does thou not then believe?". He answered yes, he believed. One would be foolish and ignorant to say that Abraham was not 100% convinced that Allah could give life back to the dead. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) said: "We, rather than Abraham, would doubt." [Bukhari, Muslim] In other words, if Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not doubt the power of Allah to bring back the life to the dead then Abraham definitely did not doubt. Concerning this matter Qadi 'Iyad said Ibrahim's words, "Yes! But to satisfy my own heart." do not contradict the clear proof that the Prophets' Tawheed (belief in the unity of Allah), their knowledge of Allah and the attributes of Allah, their belief in Allah, and what was revealed to them is based on clear knowledge and certainty, free of ignorance, doubt or suspicion. "Ibrahim did not doubt what Allah had told him about bringing the dead to life. He wanted to put his heart at peace and to be free of any contentiousness by actually seeing the dead brought to life. He first acquired indirect knowledge of its occurrence and then subsequently he desired knowledge by direct witnessing"12 Faith must be decisive (al-Imaanu Yaqeeni) Allah says in the Quran:"He who worships with Allah a partner for which he has no proof, his reckoning will be with His Lord. Truly the unbelievers will not prosper or have they decided to put Allah beside him. Say bring your proof."[al-Anbiya 21:24] "Do they take another Allah with Allah? Say to them bring your proof if you are telling the truth." [alQasas 28:75 ]. In these verses, and others similar to them in meaning, the word proof (in Arabic burhan) is connected with belief; and the condition for the proof is that it be an irrefutable proof. Belief must be decisive and free from doubt that comes from speculation. The articles of faith cannot be open to interpretation and Ijtihad. Ijtihad is the effort made by a jurist in order to deduce a ruling which is not self-evident in the source. By definition Ijtihad entails speculation. Thus scholars have held that the result of Ijtihad can only ever be described as probably correct, because the possibility of error cannot be excluded. People may differ in their viewpoint on a subject matter for a variety of reasons, but in particular because of differences concerning the authenticity of the textural evidence and/or differences in understanding the meaning of a text.

12

Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad, p280

Evidences Can Be Definitive (Qati) Or Speculative (Zann). In respect of Imaan they must be definitive, because "speculation (zann) can be of no avail against the Truth." [Yunus 10: 36]. Allah in the Quran defames those who follow speculation and conjecture: In surah al Najm verse 23 Allah informs us that the unbelievers claimed that the idols (Lat, `Uzza & Manat) and angels were the daughters of Allah whom they worshipped as intercessors between them and Allah. At the same time they held the female sex in low esteem. Indeed, they slaughtered the new-born females. Thus Allah says: "What! For you the male sex, and for Him, the female?... It is not but names you and your forefathers used for which Allah has not sent authority. They follow nothing but conjecture (zann) and what their souls desire even though there has already come to them guidance." In verses 27 and 28 of the same surah Allah says: "Those who believe not in the Hereafter, name the angels with female names. But they have no knowledge therein. They follow nothing but conjecture (zann); and conjecture avails nothing against truth." There are many other such verses of the Quran relating to the subject matter of belief that conclude with Allah blaming and censuring those who have built their faith on speculation.13 What Is A Definitive Proof (Ad-Dalilu Al-Qaat'i) For Belief ? The scholars of Islam have held that a definitive (qati) proof is one which derives from the Quran or hadith mutawatir (a tradition reported by a group of people related in such a way as to preclude the possibility of their agreement to perpetuate a lie)14 wherein the text is clear and specific; it has only one meaning and admits of no other interpretations.
13

See for example 2:78; 6:116, 148; 10: 66,68; 72:7; 41:22-23.

14

. Hadith Mutawatir is of two types: Mutawatir bi'l-lafz (verbal mutawatir) and Mutawatir bi'l-ma'na (conceptual mutawatir). Verbal mutawatir is when all the reports are identical on the exact wording of the hadith, such as the hadith : "Whoever lies about me deliberately must prepare himself for a place in Hell-fire." This form of mutawatir is rare. Conceptual mutawatir is when you have a large number of solitary hadith which differ in the wording but have a common meaning, in such a case the meaning is considered to be mutawatir. For example, if a person narrated that Hatim gave a camel, and someone else narrated that he gave a horse, another narrated that he gave a sheep, a dress, money etc., the common purport is that Hatim was generous. Examples of this type of mutawatir are the wiping of the socks, which have been narrated by more than seventy companions, and the prophet raising his hands in supplication, which has been narrated by more than one hundred solitary hadith. The scholars have differed in their opinions about what matters have been established as conceptual meaning. Imam Shawkani for example has stated that the questioning in the grave and the return of Jesus to this earth are proven by conceptual mutawatir. Other scholars have differed on these points. The essential requirement is the attainment of certainty. Qadi 'Iyad commenting on the miracles of the Prophet in his book ash-Shifa says, "The miracles of the Prophet fall into two categories. One category is of those that are well-known and have been transmitted to us through many channels - like the Quran. There is no dispute that the Prophet brought it and it appeared from him and that he used it as a proof...One of our Imams said: `This principle applies generally to the signs and the breaking of norms that occurred at the hands of the Prophet, for if no single one of them on its own is absolutely fixed and decisive, all of them together reach the level of indisputability....It is well known that these sort of things happened in the case of our prophet just as it indisputably follows that Hatim was generous, 'Antara was brave and al-Ahnaf was forbearing since the reports transmitted about them all agree that the first was generous, the second brave and the third forbearing. However each separate report would not in itself necessitate coming to that conclusion nor would it constitute decisive validation. The second category consists of those things that do not reach the level of certainty." [p138-139]

Both Quran and hadith mutawatir engenders certainty (Yaqeen) and `positive knowledge'. The authenticity of the Quran and the hadith mutawatir are not open to doubt, they are decisive in their authenticity. The entire text of the Quran has come down to us through continuous testimony (tawatur) and therefore there exists no disagreement over the authenticity of the contents of the Quran. Imam as-Suyuti says in his book "al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Quran" (The Precision in the Sciences of the Quran): "There is no dispute that everything taken from the Quran is mutawatir in its source and parts, as well as in its classification, placement and position." Hadith Ahad, A Speculative Proof (Ad-Dalilu Athani). Disagreement amongst the Muslims has tended to occur over the Sunnah transmitted in the form of singularly narrated reports (hadith ahad). Imam al-Nawawi states in Sharh Sahih Muslim, "The individual report is a report that does not fulfil the conditions of the mutawatir report, regardless of whether the narrator was a single person or more. It is the kind of report that generates dispute over its ruling. The overwhelming majority of Muslims, ranging from the Companions, Successors of the Companions, and the following generation of narrators of tradition (muhaditheen), jurists (fuqaha), scholars of usul (foundations of jurisprudence) agree to take the individual report as evidence in the sacred law relating to actions, but they do in fact entail speculation and not certainty." 15. The solitary tradition, known as hadith ahad, does not impart positive knowledge, it engenders speculative knowledge. Accordingly, differences have arisen over questions of authenticity as well as interpretation. Consequently, "Ahad may not, according to the majority of the ulema, be relied upon as the basis of belief (Aqeedah). For matters of belief must be founded in certainty even if a conjecture (zann) may at times seem preferable." 16 Imam al-Shatibi in his book al-Muwafaqat states, "The Lawgiver allowed singularly narrated traditions which engender speculation only in matters concerning actions which are in the branches (furu') but not the foundation (usul) of the deen."
15

al-Muwafaqat pp130-131

16

. Mohammad Hasim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence,1991, p72; see alsoImam al-Nawawi's Sharh Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, pp 130-131; Imam al-Surkhusi's Usul al-Surkhusi, Vol.1, p.112, p.329; Sheikh Mohammad Jamal Uddin al-Qasmi, The Foundation of Narration, pp.147-148; Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Shalabi, Usul al Fiqh, Vol.1, p.132; Abdul-Rahman al-Juzairi, al-Fiqh alal Mazhib al-Arb'ah, Vol.5, pp.391-392; Imam al-Kasani, Badae'ul Sanae' fi tarteebul Shara'e, Vol.1, p.14; Imam Suyouti, al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Quran, Vol.1 p.77.

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In respect of the sacred law the majority of scholars have held that singularly narrated traditions are to be taken as evidences for actions and can establish a legal ruling. However the Hanafi jurists have held that if a hadith ahad conveys a demand to do something it is not compulsory (fard), but wajib. In Arabic wajib and fard have the same meaning and the other scholars have used the terms interchangeably, however, Abu Hanifah has drawn a distinction between the terms based on whether the text is speculative, such as hadith ahad, or not. The consequence of this is that the person who refuses to believe in the binding nature of a fard becomes an unbeliever, whereas if he denies the wajib he becomes a transgressor, .i.e., sinful, and not an infidel. Likewise the Hanafi jurists have held that a prohibition contained in a hadith ahad produces makruh tahrimi (abominable) and not haram (prohibition). For example they have held that the wearing of gold and silk by men is makruh tahrimi as opposed to haram, because they are forbidden by solitary hadith. Other scholars have not recognised this distinction.17 It should therefore be apparent that the Hanafi jurists do not consider that a singularly narrated tradition is devoid of doubt, in other words, it is not a definitive proof. Imam Malik has also held that a hadith ahad does not constitute a definitive proof. Imam Malik would rely on a ahad report on condition that it did not contradict the practice of the people of Madinah ('amal ahl alMadinah).18 Imam Shafi'i acknowledged the difference between the knowledge that comes from texts that are decisive in their authenticity, and texts that are speculative in their authenticity in his famous work al-Risala, he says: "Legal knowledge is of two kinds: one is for the general public, and no sober and mature person should be ignorant of it...For example, that the daily prayers are five, that men owe it to Allah to fast the month of Ramadan, to make the pilgrimage to the [sacred] House whenever they are able, and to [pay] the legal alms in their estate; that He [Allah] has prohibited usury, adultery, homicide, theft [the drinking of] wine, and [everything] of that sort which He has obligated men to comprehend, to perform, to pay in their property, and to abstain from [because] He has forbidden it to them.
17

For a full discussion of this point see Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, M.H.Kamali See Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, p76.

18

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This kind of knowledge may be found textually in the Book of Allah, or may be found generally among the people of Islam. The public relates it from the preceding public and ascribes it to the Messenger of Allah, nobody ever questions its ascription or its binding force upon them. It is the kind of knowledge which admits of error neither in its narrative nor in its interpretation; it is not permissible to question it." In reply to the question `What is the second kind?' Shafi'i replies: "It consists of the detailed duties and rules obligatory on men, concerning which there exists neither a text in the Book of Allah, nor regarding most of them, a Sunnah (tradition). Whenever a Sunnah exists, it is of the kind related by few authorities, not by the public, and is subject to different interpretations arrived at by analogy."19 Imam Shafi'i makes the distinction between legal knowledge which he describes as 'ilm al-ammah which is transmitted from the people at large to the people at large, and knowledge which comes from a Sunnah related by a few authorities, i.e., ahad reports. Ilm alammah was later termed tawatur. The knowledge acquired through tawatur is certain (qati).20 The minority of scholars that hold the view that the singularly narrated tradition engenders positive knowledge as opposed to speculative knowledge, such as Ibn Taymiyyah, cite in their support the extensive evidences put forward by Imam Shafi'i in his Risala as proof for the authentication of the singularly narrated traditions; such as the Prophet, (peace and blessings be upon him), sending twelve messengers simultaneously to twelve rulers inviting them to Islam, and sending a messenger to the men of Qubba to inform them that the direction to face in prayer had been changed from Jerusalem to Makkah; and sending Muadth bin Jabal to Yemen, and other governors to other regions. Shafi'is treatise on the foundations of Islamic jurisprudence was important in that he emphasised the authority of the hadith from the Prophet in preference to the opinion of the community, the Companions and the Successors. His work was directed against the prevailing practice among the jurists of his time (he died 204 AH /820 AD)who gave preference to the practice of the community and the decisions
19 20

al-Shafi'i's Risala translated by Majid Khadduri,pp81-82 Ahmad Hasan, The Doctrine of Ijma, p.61

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of the Companions over the hadith.21. The fact that Imam Shafi'i had to argue the case for the acceptance of singularly narrated traditions in the sacred law is a clear proof in itself that that the contemporary jurists of Shafi'i, like Malik and Shaybani, did not consider that singularly narrated hadith established positive knowledge required for belief. The subject matter of Shafi'i's essay on the singularly narrated traditions is the proof of it being binding in matters of the divine law, thus Shafi'i reports at length the scholars, transmitters and notables who all accepted the singularly narrated traditions as the basis for fatwas.22 The Distinction Between Mutawatir And Ahad Reports. The distinction between the ahad reports and the mutawatir reports is based on the manner in which the tradition has been communicated from the Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him), to us. The large number of people involved in reporting the mutawatir report produces certainty that the report is without doubt the hadith of the Messenger of Allah. Ahad reports are those where the number of people who have related the report are less than the number required to produce this certainty. When the Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings be upon him), sent individuals to communicate Islam, the people receiving the message could verify the authenticity of the report if they were in any doubt. Shafi'i states: "On one occasion [the Prophet] sent twelve messengers simultaneously to twelve rulers, inviting them to accept Islam. Those [messengers] were sent only [to people] who either had already received the summons to Islam and who had been confronted with its arguments, or who had and received [from the Prophet] letters indicating to those to whom the messengers had been sent that the letters were from the Prophet. He [the Prophet] was careful to choose well-known men both as his messengers and as his commanders. For example, he sent Dihya [b.Khalifa al-Kalbi] to the region in which he was known. For if [the person] to whom the messenger was sent had not known him, he first would have had to ascertain that he had been sent by the Prophet so as to rid himself of any doubt as to whether it was the Prophet's message, thus obliging the messenger to wait until his
21

. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, Kamali, p48; and Hadith Literature, its Origin, Development & Special Features, Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi,

Islamic Texts Society, 1993, pp. 112-113.


22

p276-277

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identity had been certified....The Prophet sent only messengers who were known as truthful to those to whom they were sent, and whose veracity could be certified by those on the spot. In case the recipient suspected that the letter carried by the messenger had been altered, or found that there were circumstances giving rise to a suspicion that the messenger who brought the communication had been forgetful, it was his duty to seek enlightenment regarding that which he suspected so that he could carry out the orders of the Prophet after they had been confirmed to his satisfaction."23 Thus whilst the Prophet, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), was alive people could verify the authenticity of a singularly narrated report. Umar bin al-Khattab narrates that during the lifetime of the Prophet, (peace be upon him), he heard Hisham bin Hakim reciting surah al-Furqan in a different way from what he had been taught, and so he verified Hisham's recitation with the Prophet, (peace be upon him).24[14] After the death of the Prophet, (peace and blessings be upon him), doubt could not be removed by verification. Hence, the scholars have agreed that nothing less than mutawatir is accept in evidence to establish the authenticity of the variant readings of the Quran. Thus the variant reading of some words in a few verses attributed to Abdullah bin Masud, for example is not a part of the Quran. In the context of penance (kaffarah) of false oath, for example, the Quran provides this is to be three days of fasting. But Ibn Masud's version has it as three consecutive days of fasting. Since the additional element (i.e. consecutive) in the relevant verse in surah al-Ma'idah [5:92] is not established by tawatur, but only by ahad it is not part of the Quran and has no effect. This also applies to two other instances of variant readings attributed to Abdullah bin Masud concerning the punishment of theft in al-Maidah 5:38, and the form of divorce known as al ila' in al-Baqarah 2:226.25 Imam al-Suyuti in volume two of his book "The Precision in the Sciences of the Quran", comments in the chapter entitled `The Single and Odd Readings' that ahad reports , even if the narration is authentic, cannot be taken as an evidence in the matter of belief, or in the foundations of the deen (i.e. Islam); as the Quran is the source of the sources and is concerned with the creed, obliging belief in it, then tawatur becomes a condition for confirming it. Hence solitary reports will not be taken as evidence.
23

al-Risala, pp.259-260 al-Bukhari, Vol.6, p482 of Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan's translation Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, Kamali, p.17

24

25

14

An analogy for accepting different degrees of verification can be drawn from the rules of testimony where two male witnesses, or one male and two females witnesses, are required in cases involving property, two witnesses are required for cases of murder, and four witnesses are required in cases of adultery. In cases of adultery if there are three or less witnesses testifying they are scourged; in other cases if the number of witnesses are less than the minimum required they are not scourged. Different conditions have been laid down to verify testimony according to the case involved. The creed is the foundation of our deen and must be decisive. Given the rules of testimony one could rationally argue that singularly narrated traditions should not be accepted even in the sacred law, because the sacred law does not accept the testimony of one witness. This is what Sheikh Muhammad Jamal ud-Din al-Qasami means when he states in his book `The Foundation of Narration': "The consensus of the Muslim community of the Companions and those who followed them, and scholars and narrators who followed, as well as scholars who established their own foundations, all agreed that the single trusted account is an evidence in sacred law which obliges to be taken in action but not in belief because it contains doubt. This is all undoubtedly true. Although rationally a single account should not be taken in action, the sacred law made it mandatory to be taken in actions."26 For the avoidance of doubt in this matter it should be stressed that all the scholars of ahl al-Sunnah are unanimous that while hadith ahad cannot be relied upon as the basis for belief, acting upon hadith ahad is obligatory in the sacred law. There is no inconsistency in arguing that singularly narrated traditions can be relied upon for the purpose of deducing sacred law but not for establishing belief. The Prophet, (peace be upon him), said: "When a judge exercises ijtihad and gives a right judgement, he will have two rewards, but if he errs in his judgement, he will still have earned one reward." [Abu Dawud].The Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him), in this tradition states that the judge will be rewarded even for an erroneous ijtihad; to have more than one opinion in the Shari'ah (sacred law) is therefore not forbidden,
26

2nd Edition, pp.147-148

15

because Allah would not reward a forbidden action. Moreover, after the death of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who can say which ijtihad is the correct one. All that can be said is the opinion is most convincing, probably correct but possibly be wrong. Hence, speculative opinions based on speculative proofs are permitted in the Shari'ah. However, the subject of creed is all together a different matter, because the result of an erroneous creed is not reward, as in the case of ijtihad in Shari'ah, but Hellfire. As Muslims we are not allowed to have different faiths, Allah says: "Be not like those who separated and disputed after the clear proofs had come unto them: For such there is an awful doom."[alImran 3:105]; "As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou has no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did." [al_An'am 6:159]; "... be not ye among those who join Allahs with Allah, Those who split up their religion, and become (mere) sects, each party rejoicing in that which is with itself." [al-Rum 30:32]. It Is Not Permitted To Deny Matters From Hadith Ahad: Although one must not take matters relating to belief from hadith ahad, a Muslim is not allowed to deny them either, because to deny something as belief also requires a definitive evidence. Those people who deny those matters, of the nature of belief, that have been transmitted through hadith ahad, such as the Mutazilah who denied punishment in the grave (`adhab al-qabr), and the visual sighting of Allah on the Day of Reckoning are fasiq (sinners), but not infidels. Al-Miruzi said in his Musnad that Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said: "the punishment of the grave can only be denied by a dhaal (deviant) or mudhil (deviator)". Not taking matters of the nature of belief derived from hadith ahad or speculative meanings of the Quran into ones creed, means people are not labelled as believers or infidels on account of affirming or denying them. The Tranquil Belief (Al Imaanu Al-Muttma'en): Notwithstanding what has already been said, Imam al-Surkhusi states in his book Usul al-Surkhusi: "Some reports could be confirmed by individuals if the content were to serve as information only, such as reports about the punishment of the grave, Munkir wa Nakeer (angels who question the dead in the grave), and the visual sighting of Allah on the Day of Reckoning; thus in such cases, and others similar, we could say that the individual report entails

16

conviction. However, it is as if the narrator has failed to differentiate between peace of mind and tranquillity of the heart, and absolute certainty; the possibility of lying in the narration of the fallible cannot be ignored. Therefore, with this possibility and the residue of suspicion, the absolute certainty cannot be established for that entails peace of mind and tranquillity of the heart." Al-Surkhusi is describing something called al Imaanu al-muttma'en, i.e., tranquil belief, which is described by Sheikh Shalabi in his book "Usul alFiqh" as "belief with some reservations that it is not free from doubt, mistake or lying, but because it inclines to be trustworthy the hearts are filled with satisfaction. Accordingly it is called the tranquil belief because it appears authentic but does not confirm definite belief."27 Matters such as the punishment in the grave because of the way they have reached us, i.e., through hadith ahad, do not produce certainty. Thus, although some classical scholars like al-Tahawi and al-Ghazali have clearly stated that we must believe in the trial of the grave, we cannot exclude the people like the Mutazila, who have denied the trial of the grave, from the body of Muslims. Differences In Understanding: The meaning of creed (Aqeedah) is "what the heart is knotted upon". If the articles of faith can be disputed or are open to different interpretations the Aqeedah cannot be certain and the Muslims will differ in their creed; a matter which is forbidden: "And verily this nation of yours is a single nation and I am your Lord, so keep your duty unto Me. But they have broken their religion among them into sects, each sect rejoicing in its tenets." [al-Mu'minun 23:52-53]. The main reason for the Muslims having different convictions in creed matters is interpretation of the texts. Allah says in surah alImran: "He it is who sent down the Book to you. In it are verses clear and decisive (muhkam) - they are the mother of the Book and others multivalent(mutashabih)." [3:7]. Commenting on this verse Sayyid Qutb states in Fi Zilal al-Quran: "...As for the precise fundamentals of the creed (Aqeedah) and the sacred law (Shari'ah), they are easily understood, decisive in their meaning, and their purport can be readily grasped. These verses are the essence of this book." The obscure verses are such that their meaning cannot be known with certainty and have been the source of the
27

Vol.1, p.132.

17

disagreements between the various schools of thought. The scholars of Islam have not agreed on what verses are the multivalent verses, thus Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi in his al-Tafseer al-Kabir says: "The adherent of every sect or school of thought considers the verses which agree with his school to be clear and decisive, and those which support the view of his opponents to be multivalent. Thus a Mutazili would consider the verse `Let him who so wishes have faith, and let him who so wishes reject faith.'[18:29] to be muhkam, and Allah's saying: `Yet you shall not will unless Allah wills, the Lord of all beings' [81:29] to be mutashabih. A Sunni Muslim, however, would reverse the matter." This reflects the Mutazili view of absolute free will. An illustration of Razi's view is given by Zamakhshari, the Mutazili scholar, in his Tafseer, who cites the verse: "Sight cannot encompass Him" [6:103] as a muhkam verse; and the verse: "There shall be radiant faces on that day, gazing at their Lord." [75:22-23] as a mutashabih verse. This reflects the Mutazili view that rejects the visual sighting of Allah on the Day of Judgement. Although the scholars of Islam have differed on what verses are mutashabih, the general view is that the mutashabih is that whose literal meaning cannot be discerned without linking it to other verses which would clarify its meaning. Verses can be understood literally (haqiqi or lafdi), such as: "Kill not (la Taqtulu) the life which Allah has made sacrosanct." ; or metaphorically (majazi), such as: "Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth." [al-Nur 24:35]. Scholars have differed as to which verses are to be understood literally. The Mutazilah have held that the verses referring to Allah's attributes, such as: "The hand of Allah is over their hands."[al-Fath 48:10], and: "Build a ship under Our eyes and Our inspiration." [Hud 11:37] are to be understood metaphorically. Ibn Taymiyya insisted that they have to be understood literally. Others have held that such verses should not be given a definitive interpretation and should not be discussed, the knowledge of them should be left to Allah, Most High. The potential for disagreement is therefore considerable. Imam Razi says: "Among the errors of the Christians is their insistence on the literal meaning of some of the verses which refer to Jesus, such as that he is the spirit of Allah and His Word (al-Nisa 4:171]". A further reason for different opinions arises because the Arabic word used in the text is inherently ambiguous, the ambiguity can only be removed by ijtihad. For example Allah says in surah alImran verse 55: "Remember when Allah said, `O Jesus, I will surely

18

mutawaffik (receive you or cause you to die) and raise you up to me. I shall purify you of those who have rejected faith. I will set those who have followed you above those who have rejected faith till the Day of Resurrection. Then will you all return to me, and I shall judge you concerning all that in which you were in disagreement." The scholars have differed as to the meaning of mutawaffik. The Shiite commentator Tabarsi observes that the lexical meaning of the word is "I will cause you to die." Ibn Kathir asserts that most commentators of the Quran interpret mutawaffik to mean "I will cause you to sleep". Ibn Abbas and Wahb bin Munabbah said, "Allah caused Jesus to die for three hours of the day, during which He raised him up to Him." Hasan al Basri said that Jesus did not die, but will return before the Day of Resurrection. Imam Tabari understands the word to mean I will receive you, because of the many hadith of the Prophet (saw) which assert that Jesus will descend, he will kill the one-eyed deceiver (al-Dajjal), he will live on earth for a time and will die and the Muslims will pray over him and bury him. If Allah caused Jesus to die once, He would not cause him to die yet another time, so that he would die two deaths: "Allah it is who creates you, then provisions you. He then causes you to die, then will He revive you." [ar-Rum 30:40]. The mystic Abu Bakr al-Wasiti interpreted the phrase as "I will cause you to die to your desires and the worldly attainments of your soul." Thus, when Isa (son of Marry) was taken to heaven he became like the angels, free from lust, anger, and other unworthy characteristics. Imam Razi presents another view which is "I will cause you to be like one who is dead", because when Jesus was taken up to heaven he had no further relation with the earth. 28 Another example of this is the Prophet's (saw) "Night Journey" (Isra) from Makkah to Jerusalem, Allah says: "Limitless in His glory is He who transported His servant by night from the Inviolable House of worship (at Makkah) to the Remote House of Worship (at Jerusalem) - the environs of which We had blessed." [al-Isra 17:1] That the Prophet (peace be upon him) made the Night Journey is definite (qati); but whether he made this journey in body and soul, or just by soul (bi-ruh) is speculative (zann). The Mother of the Believers Ayshah said "he was transported only in his spirit, while his body did not leave its place." [Tabari, Zamakhshari and Ibn Kathir in their Tafseers of 17:1]. Muawiyah, and al Hassan al Basri held the same view. However the great majority of the Companions were of the view that the Prophet made the Night Journey bodily, for Allah says:
28

See M.M.Ayoub, The Quran and its Interpreters Vol.2, pp.169-182

19

"He transported His servant by night (asra bi-abdihi)" [17:1] The word "abd" meaning servant denotes a living being in its entirety. A word or text, which is inherently unclear and open to different interpretations, must not be taken as a line to distinguish between the believer and infidel. The disagreement and presence of different interpretations means that the knowledge engendered can only be speculative. Many of the subsidiary matters of belief belong to multivalent verses, wherein those who indulge in discussing them end up in uncertainty and unnecessary confusion and complexity without reaching any assurance of a truth or contentment of the heart. The tenets of our faith are established by a definitive evidence and definitive meaning. The Night Journey is proven by a definite text, i.e., the Quran, and definite meaning, but the manner of the Prophet's (saw) journey is speculative and does not form an article of faith. The belief in the Night Journey is from the subsidiaries of the foundation of Islam, known as furu' al-usool. Whilst disagreement in the subsidiaries (furu') can be accepted, disagreement in the usul cannot, because to deny an established part of the Muslim faith is disbelief.

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The Book of Creed (kitaab ul-Aqeedah) The Definition of Aqeedah in Juristic Terminology: Generally defined the creed provides a comprehensive thought about man, life and the universe, and the relationship of this life with what proceeded it and what will follow it. For the Muslim, the creed (Aqeedah) of Islam holds that man, life and the universe are created by the Creator; that this Creator is Eternal, He existed before this life of the world and He will exist after this life has come to an end. The relationship of this thought with the life of the world is that man will be held accountable on a Day of Reckoning for actions performed in this life. This is the concept of creeds generally, but specifically in relation to Islam the fundamentals of the Muslim creed are explained in the following tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family): In answer to the question what is faith, he said "It is to believe in Allah ( Allah ), His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny, both the good and the evil thereof." [Muslim] The creed of Islam also includes the believe in paradise and hell-fire, devils and jinn etc., because they are proven to be believed by definitive ( qat'i ) authenticity and definitive meaning. The subject matter of the Muslim Creed can either come from the mind or the revealed text, which is definitive ( qat'i ) in its authenticity( thobut ) and meaning ( dalalah ). Belief In Allah (Al Imanu Billah): The belief in the existence of a creator is derived from the intellect whose source is the mind ( aql ) as opposed to the texts ( naql ). Every human being of sound mind is capable of using his intellect to arrive at the belief in a creator from considering himself, life and the universe in which he lives. We observe that everything in the universe has a finite duration and that the universe, and all that it contains, is contingent and dependent upon something other than itself for its existence. The totallity of contingent or perishable things must depend on something that is imperishable and necessary, and which exists by its own nature and is not dependent upon something else. That which exists by its own nature and is imperishable is eternal and the creator of heaven and earth. "Say:`Shall I take for my protector any other than Allah, the Maker
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of the heavens and the earth? And He it is that feedeth but is not fed." [ al-An'am 6:14] "Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators?" [at-Tur 52:35] Angels (Al-Malaa'eka): The evidence for the belief in the angels [ malaa'eka ] is textural [ naql ], Allah says in the Quran: "As do the men of faith, each one of them believeth in Allah, His angles, His books, and His messengers." [al-Baqarah 2:285] and again in surah al-Baqarah "It is not righteous that ye turn your faces to the East and to the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the scriptures and the prophets." [al-Baqarah 2:178]. The person who denies the existence of angels is a disbeliever: "Anyone who rejects Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Last Day has gone very far astray." [an-Nisa 4:136]. Without reference in the texts the mind cannot be used to arrive at the belief in angels. The number of angels is unknown except to Allah: "None knows the hosts of your Lord except Him." [al-Muddaththir 74:31]. The Quran mentions by name the angels Gabriel ( Jibraeel ) and Michael ( Mekaeel ) , "Whosoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His Messengers, and Gabriel, and Michael - surely Allah is an enemy to the unbelievers." [alBaqarah 2:98] .29 The angels are not described on the basis of gender as male or females: "Those who do not believe in the Next World name the angels with the names of females. They do not have any knowledge of it. They only follow conjecture, and conjecture is of no avail at all against the truth." [an-Najm53:27, see also az-Zukhruf 43:19]. They are capable of changing form to assume various appearances: "Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary...She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them: Then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects." [Maryam 19:19], "And the guests of Ibrahim were angels who appeared as human beings." [Hud 11:69]. Allah informs us in surah al-Fatir that they have wings: "Praise belongs to Allah, the bringer-into-being of the heavens and the earth, the Maker of the angels into messengers, possessing wings - two, three and four. He adds to creation in any way He wills. Allah has power over all things." [35:1].

29

Other angels mentioned in the singularly narrated traditions include Israfil, `Azra'il, Munkar, Nakir, Ridwan, and Malik.

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The angels do not disobey Allah and they were created before human beings: "And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a vice-regent on earth, they said, Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy Holy (name)? He said, Surely I know that which you know not." [al-Baqarah 2:30]. The angels were created for total obedience to Allah: "O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded." [at-Talaq 66:6] Allah has created the angels to perform certain tasks and has grouped them according to their degree of servitude: " Not one of us (angels) but has a place appointed; And we are verily ranged in ranks (for service)," [as-Saffat 37:164]. Gabriel conveys the revelation: "The Faithful Spirit brought it down upon your heart for you to be one of the Warners in a clear Arabic tongue." [ash-Shu'araa 26:193-195]: "Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel - for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will..." [al-Baqarah 2:97]. Angels are responsible for the comfort of those in Paradise: "And those who were fearful of their Lord will be driven to the Garden in companies and then, will they arrive there finding its gates open, its custodians will say to them, `Peace be upon you! You have done well so enter it timelessly forever." [az-Zumar 39:73] 30 The angels are charged with the task of inflicting punishment on those who are in Hell: "O you who believe, safeguard yourselves and your families against a Fire whose fuel is men and stones, and over which are harsh, terrible angels who do not disobey Allah in anything He commands them and they do what they are commanded." [at-Tahrim 66:6, see also al-Mumin 40:49-50;and alMuddaththir 74:27-31]; the overseer of the custodians of Hell is Malik: "They will call out, `O Malik, let your Lord finish us off!' He will say, `You will remain.'" [az-Zukhruf 43:77].

30

See also al-Rad 13:23 . The hadiths state that the overseer of the angels who are the custodians of Paradise is Ridwan.

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Angels are assigned the work of recording the deeds of man: "Or do they reckon that We do not hear their secrets and private conversation? Indeed, Our messengers are with them writing it down." [az-Zukhruf 43:80]; "Yet there are over you noble watchers, writers who know whatever you do." [al-Infitar 82:10-11]; "When the two angels meet together, sitting one on the right, and one on the left, not a word he utters, but by him is an observer ready at hand." [Qaf 50:17]. The angels are entrusted with taking the souls of people: "How will it be when the angels take them, beating their faces and their backs." [Muhammad 47:27], "Say: `The Angel of Death will take you back, who has been given charge of you. Then you will be returned unto your Lord." [as-Sajda 32:11].31 The angels pray for those who fight in Allah's path [al-Ahzab 33:43]and infuse courage and fortitude in the mujahid (one who figths in Allah's way) [al-Anfal 8:12]. They witness the dawn prayers with the believers [al-Isra 17:78] and at the hour of departure from this life of the world they bring tidings to the believers and they reproach the disbelievers [Fussilat 41:30, an-Nisa 4:97]; and angels will carry the throne: "Upon that day eight shall bear above them the Throne of your Lord." [al-Haqqa 69:17].32 The Jinn: Allah has also informed us of a another species of beings called the Jinn who, like the angels, cannot be seen by us but in whom we Must believe. Allah informs us the jinn were created from fire and for the reason of worshipping Him: "We created the jinn before from the fire of hot wind." [al-Hijr 15:27]: "He created the jinn from smokeless fire." [ar-Rahman 55:15]: "I only created the jinn and men to worship Me." [az-Zariyat 51:56]. The jinn were created before man [15:26] and they can see us but we are unable to see them: "Surely he (Satan) sees you, he and his tribe, from where you see them not." [al-A'raf 7:27]. They are called jinn because they cannot be seen, i.e., they are concealed (ijtinan), thus most
31

Some ahadith call the Angel of Death `Azra'il. Much more detail concerning the angels has been provided in the singularly narrated ahadith of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah

32

be upon him and his family, some of these inform us that the angels were created from light; they neither eat nor drink, they do not marry nor have children; they do not enter houses in which there is a dog or an image; they are distressed by actions that disobey Allah; and angels known as Munkir and Nakir are in charge of the trial of the grave; for a full discussion of this subject in English see The World of the Angels by Shiekh Abdul-Hamid Kishk, Dar al Taqwa Ltd, 1994.

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translations of the meaning of the Quran translate the name jinn as `invisible beings'. The jinn will be held accountable for their actions like human beins and they are liable for reward or punishment and Hell will be full of both humans and jinn. Allah informs us in surah al-Jinn that the jinn said: "Some of us are righteous, and some of us are otherwise: we are parties differing." [72:11], and "Some of us have surrendered and some of us have deviated. Those who have surrendered sought right guidance. As for those who have deviated, they have become firewood for Hell." [al-Jinn 72:14-15]; "For such as fear the Station of his Lord, for them shall be two gardens- O which of your Lord's bounties will you two deny." [ar-Rahman 55-4647]: "The Fire will be a lodging for them." [Fussilat 41:24]; "I will fill Hell with jinns and men all together." [Hud 11:119]. The jinn were challenged, along with human beings, to produce the like of the Quran [al-Isra 17:88]. A group of the jinn heard the Quran and believed in it : "...a company of the jinn gave ear. They said, `We have indeed heard a wonderful Quran, guiding to right action. We believe in it, and will not associate anyone with our Lord.'" [al-Jinn 72:1-2, see also al-Ahqaf 46:29-32]. The jinn used to be inquisitive regarding what is happening in the heavens, they tried to pick up information through the angels, but they were prevented from doing so after the advent of Islam: "And we used to sit on places (high) therein to listen. But he who listeneth now findeth a flame in wait for him." [al-Jinn 72:9] The Devil (ashaytan): We are informed in the Quran that Iblis (in English Satan or the Devil) was one of the jinn: "Iblis was one of the jinn and deviated from the command of his Lord." [al-Kahf 18:50]. However, some of the companions and scholars of Islam have held that Iblis was an angel based on Allah's words: " And when We said to the angels: `Prostrate before Adam'; so they prostrated, save Iblis; he refused and waxed proud, and so he became one of the unbelievers." [alBaqarah 2:34]; this is the view of Ibn Abbas, Qatada, and Tabari. This verse appears to include Iblis as one of the angels. However, many other scholars have held the view that this is not a definitive proof because there is a possibility that the exception of Iblis may be disconnected from reference to the angels. Furthermore, Iblis was created from the fire of Samum (15:27) and a smokeless fire (55:15), whereas the ahadith of the Prophet, (peace be upon him), state that the angels were created from light: "The angels were created from light and the jinn were created from smokless fire and

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Adam was created from what has been described to you." [Muslim]. Ibn Zaid said that Iblis is the father of the jinn, as Adam is the father of mankind. Hasan al-Basri said that Allah has refered to Iblis' genealogical origins in the verse "What, and do you take him and his seed to be your friends, apart from Me, and they are an enemy to you? How evil is that exchange for the evildoers!" 18:50], in other words the jinn reproduce like mankind reproduce. [Tabari's tafsir of 2:34]. Angels do not marry nor have children [Ibn Hajar]. Finally, Allah informs us in the Quran that angels do not disobey Allah [at-Tahrim 66:6]. The most convincing point of view is that Iblis was a jinn and not an angel; but whatever the viewpoint one accepts it is not definite by text or indication and therefore not an article of faith to distinguish between the believer and infidel. Iblis and his off-spring (devils) are the enemy of mankind [al-Kahf 18:50]. His sole aim is to lead the children of Adam to disbelief and evil acts so that they will enter the Hellfire: "Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents. That they may become companions of the Blazing Fire." [al-Fatir 35:6]: "He only commands you to evil and outrage and that you should say things against Allah that you do not know." [alBaqarah 2:169]: "The Evil One threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly." [al-Baqarah 2:268]. Although the devil is a predominant source of evil influence on mankind, Allah has not granted him the power to cause neither good or harm; nor has Allah granted him such power that he cannot be suppressed: "...but he had no authority over them." [Saba 34:21]: "...feeble indeed is the cunning of satan." [an-Nisa 4:76]: "And Satan saith, when the matter hath been decided: Lo! Allah promised you a promise of truth; and I promised you, then failed you. And I had no power over you save that I called unto you and ye obeyed me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can ye help me. " [Ibrahim 14:22]. When Iblis pleaded to his Lord to grant him respite until the Day of Resurrection, and his Lord agreed, Iblis said: "My Lord! Because Thou hast sent me astray, I verily shall adorn the path of error for them in the earth, and shall mislead them." Allah said, "Over My servants no authority shall thou have, except such as put themselves in the wrong and follow thee." [al-Hijr 15:3942].Satan whispers in the breats of men : " Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and cherisher of mankind,...from the mischief of the Whisperer (of evil), who withdraws (after his wispers), who wispers into the hearts of mankind, among jinns and among men." [an-Nas 114:4-6, see also al-A'raf 7:20, TaHa 20:120] and he will repudiate

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their service at the last [Ibrahim 14:22]. Allah commands every believer to seek refuge in Him from the devils: "And say `O my Lord! I seek refuge with Thee from the suggestions of the Satans (shaytans)." [ al-Muminun 23:97]; and when reading the Quran: "When you recite the Quran, seek refuge from the accursed Satan. He has no power over those who believe and trust in their Lord." [al-Nahl 16:98-99]. The Quran: The evidence for the belief in the Quran is the mind (aql), because the Quran is a living miracle that can be sensed by the mind. The prophets proved their prophethood by producing miracles, i.e, demonstrating something the like of which no creature is able to produce. Part of Muhammad's (peace be upon him) proof for the truth of what he brought is the eloquence (bayan) of the Quran. Allah sent down the Quran in the Arabic language, and there is no doubt that the speech of the Arabs is like it in the sense of it being Arabic. But Allah vindicated His Prophet to the Arabs through the Quran, since the inability of the Arabs of time to produce a chapter (surah) from its likeness in eloquence was evident. "And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed to our servant, then produce a surah like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers if there are any besides Allah, if your doubts are true. But if ye cannot and of surety ye cannot, then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones." [al-Baqarah 2:23-24] If the Quran had been the speech of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) or if he had fabricated it then surely the Arabs, if they would come together and help each other to produce the like of its surahs, would be able to do the same; especially as they would constitute a group while he was on his own. The fact that the Arabs were unable to produce the like of one surah of the Quran in eloquence is proof that neither Muhammad (peace be upon him), nor any single person could produce it. "Say: `If men and jinn banded together to produce the like of this Quran, they would never produce its like, even though they backed one another." [Bani Israil 17:88] The miracle of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is therefore a living miracle that can be sensed by the mind . The evidence for the belief in Allah's books mentioned in the Quran that are no longer existant in their revealed form is textural (naql):

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"To thee We sent the scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety." [al-Maidah 5:51] There were many books revealed to the Messengers, we do not know the number thereof; some scholars have said they number 104 but only Allah knows. The Quran mentions the Torah (turaah) revealed to the Prophet Moses (Musa), the Psalms (zaboor) revealed to the Prophet David ( Dawood ), and the Gospel ( Injeel ) revealed to the Prophet Jesus ( Isa ) (peace and blessing be upon them). The Messengers (ar-rusul): The evidence for the belief in the prophethood of Muhammad (saw) is the mind, i.e. aql, for the reason outlined in the preceding paragraphs, viz, that the proof of prophethood is miracles; and the miracle of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is the Quran, a living miracle that can be verified today as it was when it was sent down to Muhammad (peace be upon him). Given that no one but prophets bring miracles, Muhammad (peace be upon him), by definition must be a prophet. The proof for the prophethood of all other prophets, i.e their miracles, is no longer with us, so we cannot verify their claim of prophethood without reference to a textural evidence. The proof for their prophethood is the Quran : "Say: `We believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes and in the Books given to Moses, Jesus and the prophets from their Lord : We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will in Islam." [al-Imran 3: 84] Twenty five prophets have been mentioned in the Quran : Adam, Idris (Enoch), Nuh (Noah), Hud, Salih, Lut (Lot), Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'il (Ishmal), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), Shu'ayb, Harun (Aaron), Musa (Moses), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Soloman), Ayyub (Job), Dhul Kifl (Ezekiel), Yunus (Jonah), Ilyas (Elias), al-Yasa (Elisha), Zakariyya (Zacharias), Yahya (John), Isa (Jesus), and Muhammad (Allah bless them all and give them peace). The Day of Judgement (yawmul al-qiyamah): The evidence for the belief in the Day of Judgement is textural as opposed to the mind, because the mind cannot sense or conceive, independent of a textural authority, the Day of Judgement. The existence of a Judgement Day is taken from the Quran : "And who

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believe in the revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time and in their hearts have the assurance of the hereafter." [al-Baqarah 2:4]: "The trumpet shall be sounded. When behold! From the sepulchres men will rush forth to their Lord!" [Ya Seen 36: 51]: "That Day shall ye be brought to judgement: not an act of yours that ye hide will be hidden." [al-Haqqa 69:18] Belief in the Day of Judgement entails belief in the Resurrection (al-Hashr), the Reckoning (al-Hisaab), the Scales of Justice (al-Meezaan), the Traverse over Hell (as-Siraat), Paradise (Jannah) Hell (Jahannam) and (Shafa'ah) the Intercession of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). The Day of Judgement is when Allah will give life to dead bones and bring back bodies as they were in this life, i.e. flesh and bones. "And he makes comparisons for us, and forgets his own origin: he says `Who can give life to dry bones and decomposed ones at that?' Say, `He will give them life who created them for the first time! For He is well-versed in every kind of creation!' " [YaSeen 36:78-79]. This will occur after this life of the world: "It is He who gives life to the dead, and it is He who has power over all things. And verily the Hour will come: there can be no doubt about it or about the fact that Allah will raise up all who are in the graves." [alHajj 22:5-6] On that Day of Reckoning "Whoever has done an atom's weight of good shall see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil shall see it!": [al-Zilzal 99:7-8]: "He that doeth good shall have ten times as much to his credit: he that doeth evil shall only be recompensed according to his evil: no wrong shall be done unto them." [al-An`am 6:160] The successful will be given their book of deeds in their right hand, the sinful will receive their books from behind their backs, and the disbelievers will be given their books in their left hand: "Then he who is given his record in his right hand soon his account will be taken by an easy reckoning, and he will turn to his people rejoicing ! But he who is given his record behind his back, soon will he cry for perdition, and he will enter a blazing fire." [al-Inshiqaq 84:7-12] "And he that will be given his book in his left hand, will say: 'Ah! would that my record had not been given to me!' " [al-Haqqa 69:25-37] The Scales of Justice will be set up and "Those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy, they will be successful. But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in Hell will they abide. The fire will burn their faces, and they will therein grin, with their lips displaced." [alMuminun 23:102-104] Following the scales and the books and scrolls containing the good and evil deeds, mankind shall be driven

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to the Traverse over Hell "Lead them to the Traverse (sirat ) of the Blaze. And stay them, for they shall be questioned." [as-Saffat 37:23-24] Paradise and Hell will have a reality: with Paradise being an abode of enjoyment where the inmates will be: "On couches encrusted (with gold and precious stones), reclining on them, facing each other. Round about them will (serve) youths of perpetual (freshness), with goblets, beakers, and cups (filled) out of clearflowing fountains: no after ache will they receive there from, nor will they suffer intoxication: and with fruits, any that they may select; and the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire. And there will be companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes, - like unto pearls well-guarded. A reward for the deeds of their past (life)." [alWaqi`a 56:15-24]: The dwellers of the Hell-Fire will be " in the midst of a fierce Blast of Fire and in boiling water, and in the shades of Black Smoke: neither cool or refreshing." [al-Waqi`a 56:42-44] Imam Taqi ud-Din Subki states in his book, `al-Rasa'il al-Subkiyya': "The faith of Muslims is that paradise and hell do not perish, Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm having transmitted scholarly consensus ( ijma ) on this point and on the fact that whoever denies it is an unbeliever by scholarly consensus. And there is no doubt of this, for it is necessarily known as part of the religion of Islam, and proof after proof bears it out. Allah Most High says: "Nay, but whoever earns a wicked deed and is encompassed by his error, those are the inhabitants of hell, abiding therein forever." [al-Baqarah 2:81]: "Verily those who disbelieve and die as unbelievers; the curse of Allah, the angels, and the people, one after all is upon them, abiding therein forever; the torment shall not be lightened from them, nor shall they be respited." [al-Baqarah 2:161]: "Whoever of you leaves his religion and dies as an unbeliever, those are they whose works have failed in this world and the next, and those are the inhabitants of hell, abiding therein forever." [al-Baqarah 2:217]....And there is the like of the above evidence concerning paradise, as Allah the Most High says: "Those who believe and do good works, they are the dwellers of paradise, abiding therein forever." [al-Baqarah 2:82]. "Whoever obeys Allah and His messenger, He will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. That is the mighty triumph." [al-Nisa 4:13]" [p196]. Imam Abdul-Qaahir Baghdadi states in his book `Usul al-Din': "The scholars of ahl al-Sunnah and all the previous righteous of the Muslim Community are in unanimous agreement ( ijma ) that

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paradise and hell are eternal, and the bliss of the inhabitants of paradise and the torment of unbelievers in hell will endure forever." [p238] Belief in the Day of Judgement is a tenet of faith, a subsidiary of it entails a belief that Allah will grant to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) intercession on behalf of those of his nation that have committed sins. In surah al-Isra Allah says to the Prophet Muhammad, (peace and blessings be upon him): "Perhaps your Lord will raise you up to a praiseworthy station." [17:79]. Abu Hurayra said that the Messenger of Allah was asked about this verse and he said it means intercession [ibn Hanbal and alBayhaqi]33. In a famous hadith the prophet, (peace be upon him), said: "Every Prophet has a supplication which he makes. I have reserved my supplication for intercession for my community on the Day of Rising." [Muslim and al-Bukhari]. Qadi 'Iyad states in his ashShifa:" The general import of the different ahadith is that the intercession of the Prophet and his Praiseworty Station extends from the first intercession to the last. When the people are gathered for the Gathering, and their throats are constricted and they are sweating in the sun, standing all the while before the final reckoning, he intercedes to allow people relief from the standing. Then when the Sirat is set up and people are judged, he intercedes to hasten to the Garden those among his community who have no reckoning, then he intercedes for those who are to be punished and go to the Fire, and then he intercedes for those who say, "There is no Allah but Allah". None except the Prophet, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), can do this."[p118]. Intercession will also be granted to other prophets, believers and angels. The people of the sunnah believe that no one who believes in tawhid (the unity of Allah), i.e. by confessing there is no Allah but Allah, will remain in Hell forever. Intercession is granted by Allah and without His permission no one can intercede. "Who is there that can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? " [alBaqarah 2:255] "How many-so-ever be the angels in the heavens, their intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He pleases and that he is acceptable to Him." [anNajm 53:26]

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Similar reports have been related from ibn Umar [al-Bukhari], Abu Musa al-Ash'ari [Ibn Majah], Umm habiba [al-Hakim and al-Bayhaqi] and are

detailed at length by Qadi 'Iyad in his Ash-Shifa, pp114-115.

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These five things: the belief in Allah, His angels, His books, His prophets and Day of Judgement constitute the five essential pillars of the Muslim creed, they are proven by definitive authenticity (qati thobut)and defintive by meaning (qati dalalah) and contain no doubt. One cannot be a Muslim and disbelieve in any one of these articles of faith. The famous ( mash-hoor ) hadith of Gabriel narrated by Muslim adds to these five articles of faith "to believe in the divine destiny, the good and the evil thereof." This hadith is a solitary tradition (hadith ahad) and the meaning of the divine destiny (al Qadr) is the knowledge of Allah and not `fate and destiny'. Al-Ghazali in his "Ihya 'Ulum al-Din" states the belief entails the knowledge that Allah is the source of good and evil, benefit and harm, belief and unbelief, knowledge and ignorance, success and failure, obedience and disobedience. There is none that supplements His decrees. He leads astray whom He wishes and guides whom He wishes. "He shall not be asked for His doing, but they shall be asked." [al-Anbiyaa 21:23].There exists no definitive text which mentions `fate and destiny'. The people who coined the phrase `fate and destiny' (qada wa qadr) were the ilm al kallam (the people of speech) who came after the pious early generations. The early Muslims ( as-salaf ) used to answer whoever asked about divine destiny by saying, "It is knowing that what hits you was not going to miss, and what misses you was not going to hit."

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The Book of The Messengers (kitaab ul-Rusol) Although the terms "Prophet" (nabi) and "Messenger" (rasoul) are used almost as if there is no distinction between the terms, they do, in fact, convey a different meaning. Al-Qadi al-Baydawi in his commentary (tafsir) on [al Haj 22: 52] "Never did We send a messenger or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire..." says : "The messenger is one sent by Allah with a new law (Shari'ah) to convey to his people, while the prophet is one sent by Allah to enjoin an existing Shari'ah." Thus, although the Shari'ah is common to both terms and every messenger is a prophet, not all prophets are messengers. Moses ( in Arabic Musa - peace be upon him) was a messenger and prophet, because like all prophets he received revelation and like all messengers he was given a new Shari'ah. Aaron (Harun - peace be upon him), on the other hand, received revelation but conveyed and enjoined the Shari'ah of Musa; so Harun is a prophet and not a messenger. Adam, The First Messenger: The first of Allah's Messengers was Adam (peace be upon him), the father of mankind. Concerning his Messengerhood, Allah says in the Quran: "Thus did Adam disobey His Lord, and fell into error. But his Lord chose him (For his grace): He turned to him, and gave him guidance." [Ta Ha 20: 121-122]. Allah also said in the Quran "Allah did chose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above all people" [ Al-Imran 3:33]. In this context chosing means Messengerhood. The Quran informs us that Adam was given commands and prohibitions: "We said:`O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the beautiful things therein, as (where and when) ye will; but approach not this tree."[al-Baqarah 2:35]. Commands and prohibitions constitute a law, i.e., a Shari'ah. Evidently there was no Messenger with him at this time, therefore to Adam was sent the revelation (wahy). Adam's Messengerhood has also been established by the sunnah, i.e., the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). Al-Tirmithi has narrated on the authority of Abi Sayeed al Khudri that the Messenger of Allah said: "I am the master of the sons of Adam on the Day of Judgement, and it is no boast, in my hands will be the flag of praise, and it is no boast, and every prophet there from
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Adam onwards will be under my flag." There was also a consensus among the companions of Muhammed (peace be upon him and may Allah be pleased with them) that Adam was a Messenger i.e. Prophet. The Last Messenger (Khatimul Al-Anbiyaa): The final Prophet and Messenger is Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). The Quran is explicit on this point. The Quran tells us: "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah, and the seal of the Prophets (khatam-unNabiyyin). " [al-Ahzab 33:40]. Ibn Kathir in his tafsir al-Quran alAzim, states: "This Quranic verse is an unequivocally decisive primary text establishing that there will be no prophet after him. And since there will be no prophet, it follows a fortori that there will be no prophetic messenger (rasoul). The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: `Messengerhood and prophethood have ceased. There will be no messenger or prophet after me.'; `My likeness among the prophets is as a man who, having built a house and put the finishing touches on it and made it seemly, yet left one place without a brick. When anyone entered it and saw this, he would exclaim, `How excellent it is, but for the place of this brick.' Now, I am the place of that brick: through me the line of the prophets has been brought to completion.' `I have been favoured above the prophets in six things: I have been endowed with consummate succinctness of speech, made triumphant through dread, war booty has been made lawful for me, the whole earth has been made a purified place of worship for me, I have been sent to all created beings, and succession of prophets has been completed in me.'. Allah, Most Blessed and Exalted has stated in His Book, as has His messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) in ahadith of numerous channels of transmission (mutawatir) that there will be no prophet after him, so that everyone may know that whoever claims this rank is a lying pretender, misled and misleading, even if he should stage miracles and exhibit all kinds of magic, talismans, and spells." The Number of Prophets: The total number of prophets sent by Allah between the two (Adam and Muhammad peace be upon them) is unknown; Allah said to His Messenger in the Quran: "We did aforetime send messengers before thee: of them there are some whose story We have related

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to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee." [alGaafir 40:78]. Although there are traditions that give a figure of 124,000 they engender speculative knowledge, i.e., Zann, and should not be relied upon as the basis of belief. In the hadith of Abu Dharr, it says that there were 124,000 Prophets of whom 313 were Messengers. The first of them was Adam. [Ibn Hanbal, ibn Hibban,al Hakim] In his book entitled "The Book of Iman" Ibn Taymiyyah quotes Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal as saying: "It is compulsory to believe in the prophets in general and there is no authentic tradition (hadith sahih) mentioning their number." The prophets mentioned in the the Quran include: Noah (Nuh), Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses (Musa), David (Daud),and Jesus (Isa). The Infallibility of the Prophets: The belief in the prophets includes the belief that all the prophets were infallible in conveying the revelation from Allah and free from committing sinful acts. This is known as the `Issmah of the prophets. It is central to the belief in prophethood and constitutes an article of faith. The concept of 'Issmah is built on the mind as opposed to textural evidence; although there are many verses of Quran, such as "Nor does he speak out of vain desire." that lend support to the concept of `Issmah. If the prophets are fallible and make sins and errors in communicating the revelation of Allah they cannot be examples for us to follow; or at least we would have the choice to follow them, but we have been ordered to follow them. Disobeying the prophets will be punished by hell fire. Infallibility means the prophets do not error in the matters relating to the creed, worship, and legislation. From the viewpoint of the sacred law all action fall within one of five categories of the divine rules, namely: obligatory actions (in Arabic wajib), recommended actions (Mandoub), permissible actions (mubah), and disliked actions (makruh) and forbidden actions (haram). `Issmah means that the prophets never omitted to do an obligatory action or committed a forbidden action. It is possible that a prophet could commit a forbidden action before he was appointed to prophethood, because `Issmah is connected to the revelation. A prophet is not ma`sum, i.e. protected until he has received the revelation (al wahy). It is possible that a prophet could omit to do a recommended action in preference for a permissible action, enact a disliked action, or chose a good action as opposed to the best action in a given situation; such as when Muhammad (peace be

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upon him and his family) chose to invite the leaders of Quraysh to Islam instead of teaching one of the believers who, at that instant, had demanded his attention. Allah communicated in His Book that His Messenger had not chosen the best course of action. 34 None of these things implies sin or goes against the concept of `Issmah and the nature of prophethood. The traditions concerning the prophets that imply that they made sins are all singularly narrated traditions. They are rejected as they contradict the infallibility of the prophets and because singularly narrated traditions are left out in matters concerning the faith.35 Therefore, `Issmah means that the prophets and messengers are infallible in committing actions that contradict the orders or prohibitions of Allah, and they cannot make major or minor sins. We know that the Prophets actions are followed absolutely. It is known that the Companions of the Prophet followed and imitated his actions absolutely, so they threw away their signet-rings when he threw his away and they discarded their sandals when he discarded his. If the Prophets could make minor sins it would not be possible to follow them in their actions since the intention of each of their actions would not necessarily be known. It would not be possible to know whether an individual action would bring nearness to Allah, whether it was permissible, forbidden or an act of rebellion. As for the verses of the Quran which appear to suggest that the Prophets can commit wrong actions, such as the stories related about Adam, Musa, Yunis and Daud, they are misunderstood by most. It has been said by some that Adam made a sin by eating from the tree that had been forbidden to him and Eve (Hawwa). The verse cited is "Adam rebelled against his Lord and erred." [20:121]. This is not a proof against the protection of the Prophets. It is well known that if someone forgets something one is not held accountable for that action. Ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Allah will not hold anyone of this nation responsible for what is done in error, forgetfulness or under coercion." [Ibn Majah,at-Tabarani, al Hakim]. Concerning Adam's action Allah says: "We took a contract with Adam before, and he forgot." [20:115]. So Adam forgot, moreover it occurred before Adam was appointed to Prophethood, Allah says,
34

See Surah `Abasa, 80.

35

Sayyid Qutb,In the Shade of Quran, Vol.30, p.361.

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"Adam rebelled against his Lord and erred. Then his Lord chose him and He turned to him and guided him." [20:122]. Adam's election, i.e., his Prophethood, and his guidance followed his rebellion. It is also possible that the meaning of Adam's error was that he was unaware that the tree was the one which had been forbidden to him. It is possible that Adam interpreted Allah's prohibition as referring to a particular tree and not to an entire species of tree. In other words, Adam did not know that it was that particular tree that had been forbidden to him. Concerning Yunus, some people say that Allah took revenge on him because he was too weak to bear the burden of the message, that he promised his people punishment and when Allah pardoned the people he feared to face them as a liar. Actually there is nothing in the story of Yunus to suggest wrong action on his part. For Yunus supplicated to Allah for the destruction of his people, He said "May the punishment come to you in the morning at such-and-such a time.", but "the people of Yunus believed, so We removed the punishment of humiliation from them." [10:98]. The decision of Allah not to punish the people did not make Yunus a liar. Yunus never promised them destruction, rather he supplicated to Allah to punish them. Noah also called for the destruction of his people and was not punished by Allah. As for the story of Musa and the man he killed, the Quran indicates all this took place before Musa was a Prophet. Moreover, Qatada said that Musa struck the man with his staff without intending to kill him so there was no act of rebellion involved. Musa said "I have wronged myself, so forgive me" [28:15] because he did not have leave to kill until commanded to do so. It would be wrong to deduce from the references to the Prophets repenting that they were guilty of sin. Their asking of forgiveness means their turning to Allah. "Allah loves those who turn in repentance and He loves those who purify themselves." [al Baqarah 2:222]. "Glorify the praise of your Lord and ask His forgiveness. He is ever-turning." [110:3]. As for the stories of Daud, all the accusations of wrong doing originate from the People of the Book and their texts, all of which have been altered. We have no texts that suggest any wrong doing on the part of Daud.

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One should know that the Prophets are taken to task for oversight and forgetfulness because of their position; this does not mean sin or rebellion. They are not punished as others are punished. They are tested by adversity in this life so as to elevate them. The Revelation : The creed of Islam demands the belief in the revelation (al wahy). The evidence for the revelation is not from the mind (aql), but from text (naql); because the revelation cannot be sensed by the mind. Allah Almighty has informed us in the Quran that Muhammed, His Messenger (peace be upon him), received revelation "We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him" [Surah al Nisa 4:163]. "Your companion is neither astray nor being mislead.Nor does he say of his own desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him." [Surah an Najm 53:2-4]. The revelation which was sent down to Muhammad (peace be upon him), and all previous prophets, was of three types as stated in the Quran: "It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil or by sending of a messenger to reveal, with Allah's permission, what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise." [Surah Shura 42:51]. The first form of revelation, namely internal revelation (wahy batin) or inspiration, has been mentioned by the Prophet himself. Al Harith ibn Hisham once asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): "How does the revelation come to you O messenger of Allah? The Prophet replied: "Sometimes it comes to me like the ringing of a bell and it is most intense, then it leaves me and I understand from it." Imam Bukhari reports a tradition from Aysha, the Mother of the Believers, that in the beginning of the revelation the Prophet used to see a vision (ru'yaa) in his sleep and it came like the breaking of the dawn." Allah also inspired him while he was awake, like when the Prophet said: " This is the Messenger of the Lord of the Worlds, angel Gabriel, who spat out (nafatha) my fear that no soul will die until his provisions (rizq) has finished. So fear Allah and seek the good." This variety of divine inspiration (ilham) is where the angel implants a concept which the prophet latter conveys in his own words or by silence (al `ata`a). These are all varieties of the first form of revelation.

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The second form of revelation is the communication from Allah to the Prophet Muhammad conveyed by the angel Gabriel. Allah says in the Quran: "With it came down the Spirit of Faith and Truth to thy heart and mind that thou mayest admonish in the perspicous Arabic tongue." [Surah ash-Shu`araa 26:193-195] The Spirit of Faith is the angel Gabriel. Allah sent Gabriel and he spoke to the Prophet and the Prophet heard and memorised from him. Muslim relates on the authority of Umar ibn al Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him): "One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet (peace be upon him). Resting his knees against his and placing his palms of his hands on his thighs, he said: O Muhammad, tell me about Islam. The Messenger of Allah said: Islam is to testify that there is no Allah but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the zakat (alms-tax), to fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House [the Ka'ba in Makkah] if you are able to do so. He said: You have spoken rightly, and we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly. He said: then tell me about iman (belief). He (saw) said: It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day (Day of Judgement), and to believe in divine destiny, both the evil and good thereof. He said: You have spoken rightly. He said: Then tell me about ihsan. He (saw) said: it is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not truly He sees you. He said: Then tell me about the Hour. He (saw) said: The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner. He said: Then tell me about its signs. He (saw) said: That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute herdsmen competing in constructing lofty buildings. Then he took himself off and I stayed for a time. Then he (saw) said: O Umar, do you know who the questioner was? I said: Allah and His Messenger knows best. He (saw) said: It was Gabriel, who came to you to teach you your religion." In this form of revelation Gabriel coveys the divine meanings to the Prophet (peace be upon him) through speech. When the divine meaning is conveyed in the very words of Allah that revelation comprises the Quran. Accordingly, the Quran is the communication from Allah to the Prophet Muhammad, conveyed by the angel Gabriel, in the very words of Allah. The traditions (ahadith) consist

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of the divine meaning conveyed to us by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his own words, actions or tacit approval conveyed by his silence. Hadith Qudsi is variety of the traditions in which the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) narrates a concept directly from Allah as opposed to the angel Gabriel. The words of the Hadith Qudsi are those of the Prophet, and most certainly not the words of Allah. The Hadith Qudsi differs from the other traditions in form only. The words of Allah can only be found in the Quran, and it is the language of the Quran, which is its miracle! The third form of revelation "...from behind a veil." [42:51] occurred with Moses (peace be upon him), when he heared the Voice but saw no form. It also happened when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) went on the night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and heaven, known as Isra and Miraj. This has been narrated in authentic traditions (sahih hadith) and is implied in the following verses of surah an-Najm: "He was taught by one Mighty in Power, endued with Wisdom: for he appeared (in stately form) while he was in the highest part of the horizon: then he approached and came closer, and was at a distance of but two bow-legthens or even nearer; so did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant (Conveyed) what He meant to convey." [54: 5-10] Other than what happened during Isra and Miraj, the revelation which descended upon the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) comprised inspiration (ilham) and the communication from angel Gabriel. All these forms of revelation: The speech of Allah to his prophet, communication from Gabriel by speech or by sign, the inspiration while awake and the vision during sleep are all conclusive evidences. Revelation and Ijtihad: Ijtihad literally means exertion, but technically, in Shari'ah terminology, it is the total expenditure of effort made by a jurist in order to infer, with a degree of probability, the rules of Shari'ah from their detailed evidences in the sources. The jurist who makes ijtihad is called a mujtahid. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not a mujtahid. He warned us and communicated the Shari'ah to us through revelation: "Say, `I do but warn you according to revelation.'..." [al-Anbiyaa 21:45]: and "Nor does he say (aught) of his own desire, it is no less than inspiration (wahy) sent down to him." [an-Najm 53:3-4]. The latter verse, "Nor does he

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say of his own desire" is a general statement which includes both the Quran and the Sunnah and is not limited. Therefore, whatever the Prophet communicates concerning legislative matters must be from revelation (wahy). Ijtihad is not the same as revelation. ijtihad derives its validity from the divine revelation. The Prophet's statements constitute a source of sacred law, and not the product of ijtihad. Thus no one can put the opinion of the great jurists, such as Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafii, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Jaffar, on an equal footing with the traditions of the Prophet. Ijtihad contains an element of speculation, which implies that the result of the Ijtihad is probably correct, while the possibility of the Ijtihad being wrong cannot be ruled out. If the Prophet practiced Ijtihad then disagreeing with his views would be permissible, because Ijtihad by its nature allows disagreement and opposition. The Prophet said: If the judge made Ijtihad and he was correct, then he will be rewarded twice. However, if he was wrong, he will be rewarded once." The reward for a wrong Ijtihad is an evidence that it is permissible to have different opinions. Opposing the prophet, however, is forbidden. (see al Nisa 4:14 and 58). Moreover, all prophets are infallible in communicating the divine law, they are protected from making mistakes in what they communicate to people of the Shari'ah. If the Prophet was susceptible to error in delivering the divine law then he would no longer be infallible (masum). The `Issmah of the prophets is a principle of the Islamic creed. Those people who contend that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) made Ijtihad, claim that at times the prophet erred and was reprimanded by Allah in the Quran. They quote for example the verse "It is not proper for the Prophet to take prisoners (of war) until he has subdued everyone in the earth." This verse was revealed concerning the captives of the Battle of Badr. It is reported that seventy people from the enemy were taken prisoner in the Battle. The Prophet consulted Abu bakr who suggested that they should be released against a ransom, whereas Umar al Khattab held the view that they should be killed. The Prophet approved of Abu Bakr's view but then the verse was revealed which disapproved of them taking ransom form the captives. The truth of the matter is that no ijtihad was involved. The verse that followed verse 67 makes it very clear that a previous revelation had permitted the taking of prisoners of war: "Had it not been for a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe punishment

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would have reached you for the (ransom) that you took." [al Anfal 8:68]. The previous ordainment was verse 4 of surah Muhammad "Therefore, when ye meet the unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind (the captives) firmly: therefore (is the time for) either generosity or ransom." The prophet, therefore, erred not in ijtihad as some claim, but erred in his understanding of what was meant by "subduing the enemy." Muhammad (peace be upon him) was of the view that he had subdued the enemy and therefore should ransom, whereas in reality he had not subdued the enemy in the sense that Allah intended. Ijtihad is the process of extracting a rule (hukm); in this case the rule was known, i.e., it was allowed to kill or ransom depending on whether the enemy had been subdued. Thus, contrary to what some claim the prophet was acting in pursuance of a divine command and he did not make ijtihad. Also cited are the verses: "(The Prophet) frowned and turned away, because there came to him the blind man (interrupting). But what could tell thee but that perchance he might grow in purity? Or that he might receive admonition, and the reminder might profit him?..." [Abasa: 80: 1-4] These verses do not indicate that Muhammad (peace be upon him) made ijtihad. The Prophet had been ordered to convey the Islamic call, i.e. dawa, to all mankind and to teach the muslims Islam; and both commands had to be carried out by the Prophet. The verses of Abasa deal with an event concerning Abdullah ibn Ummi-Muktum, a blind muslim, who came to Muhammad (peace be upon him) while he was busy inviting the leaders of Quraish to Islam. Ibn Ummi-Muktum asked the Prophet to teach him, unaware that he was engaged in conveying the call to Utba, Umaya ibn Khalaf, al Waleed ibn al Mughera, Shaiba, Abu Jahl ibn Hashim, and the sons of Rabiya. The Prophet disliked this interruption, he frowned and turned away. There was no question of Ijtihad here. The Prophet chose between to duties, to convey the Islamic call to non-muslims or to teach Islam to a muslim. Allah revealed that Muhammad (peace be upon him) should have taught the blind man rather than continue with the call to Islam. This is a case of leaving the good action for a better action (tarku-al-awlaa), as opposed to making erroneous Ijtihad. Although all the Prophet's rulings are divinely inspired by revelation, it is true that in temporal affairs, such as military matters, the Prophet exercised his own opinion. By temporal affairs it is meant those actions which fall within the area of al mubah , i.e. those

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action which the texts indicate are permitted to do or not. For instance, during the Battle of Badr Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) told the army to camp behind the Wells of Badr, a companion, Habbab ibn al- Mundhir, who was a military man asked the Prophet "Is this a revelation from Allah, or your opinion of strategy and tactics?" Muhammad (peace be upon him) replied: "My opinion, strategy and tactics."[Muslim, Bukhari]. The Prophet (saw) changed the position of the army on the companions advice. When the Companions were unsure whether the statement of the Prophet (saw) was from revelation or his own opinion, they would ask. Sometimes they were confused, such as when the prophet told them it would be better not to pollinate the date trees of Madina. When they followed his advice and the subsequent harvest was low, the Prophet (saw) told them "You know more about your life affairs than I.".36 If they were told it was revelation they would say nothing more, in accordance with "Take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourself that which he withhold from you." [al Hashr 59: 7]; if they were informed it was Muhammad's opinion they would discuss the matter in consultation, i.e. shura. If Muhammad (peace be upon him) spoke on shar'i matters through ijtihad, then he would never have waited for revelation in response to questions raised by the Companions, but would have given an immediate ruling based on his ijtihad. Having given an opinion from ijtihad, the Companions would have been entitled to argue the point, because ijtihad contains an element of speculation. This was never done, because he did not make ijtihad. The Prophet's (saw) speech, actions and silence, i.e tacit approval, was but revelation "I follow but that which is revealed to me by revelation." [al Ahqaf 46:9]

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Rafi ibn Khadij said that the Messenger of Allah came to Madina while they were pollinating the dates and asked, "What are you doing?" They told him and he said, "Perhaps it would be better not to do it." So they left it and there were less dates. They mentioned that to him and he said, "I am a man. If I command you to do something in your deen, then do it. If I tell you something from opinion, I am but a man." [Muslim from Talha] Anas added, "You know better the affairs of you world." See Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad pp348-349, translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley. The whole of Ash-Shifa deals with the subject of Prophethood and their being protected from imperfection; it is the best reference available in English on the matters dealt with in this chapter.

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The Book of The Divine Destiny (kitaab ul-Qadr)

The Divine Destiny The meaning of the belief in al-qada wa al-qadr, i.e., divine destiny, has been the subject of great debate between Muslims scholars over the centuries. There is no universally accepted meaning of the statement. The reason for disagreement has centred on how scholars have reconciled between texts that state personal responsibility for one's actions and texts that appear to support, based on Allah's absolute omnipotence and omniscience, a view of predestination. Traditionally, therefore, the subject of divine destiny has been presented as a debate between predestination and free will. The Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) understood the belief in destiny, its good and evil, in a clear manner free from the theological hair splitting arguments of the scholars that came later. The Companions understood that the subject of divine destiny had nothing to do with an individuals responsibility for his actions. The Companions accepted as part of their belief that man will be held accountable on the day of Judgement for his actions. "Say: `Shall We tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works?' They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter); vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgement, give them any weight. That is their reward Hell; because they rejected (the right way of Allah), and took My signs and My Messengers by way of jest. As to those who believe and work righteous deeds, they have, for their entertainment, the Gardens of Paradise" [Kahf 18: 103-107]. The doctrine of personal responsibility is emphasised over and over again in the Quran, for example in surah Zumar, we read: "And to every soul will be paid in full (the fruit) of its deeds; and (Allah) knows best all that they do." [39:70]; in surah An'am: " Every soul draws the meed of its acts on no one but itself; no bearer of burdens can bear the burdens of another." [6:164]; and in surah Mu'min: "That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned; no
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injustice will there be that Day, for Allah is swift in taking account." [40:17]. Many more verses make manifestly clear that each individual will receive what it has earned in this life and none will be dealt with unjustly. Thus reward and punishment in the hereafter is dependent upon the individual exercising his own free will and his own judgement in accepting or rejecting the Way of Allah. This doctrine of free will and personal responsibility for actions resulting from exercising this free-will has nothing to do with divine destiny (al-qada' wa al-qadr). The Jabriah And Mutazilah View Points: The starting point for understanding the doctrine of divine destiny is to understand the limits of man's control over his actions. The Jabriah school, founded by Jahm ibn Safwan, held that neither action nor the ability to act belonged in any sense to man. Man is not responsible for any of his actions, which proceed entirely from Allah; nor does man possess the capacity of free will, he is compelled (jabr). In simple words, man is powerless and everything is predestined and determined by the Decree of fate. The Mutazilah school withdrew (i'tazahu) from this extreme position of compulsion, calling themselves "people of justice and unity" (ashab al-adl wa't-tawhid) they said that man is the creator of his actions, good and bad, and gets reward or punishment in the hereafter on the merit of what he does, thus man had complete free will. The reality of the matter is that man is neither completely compelled nor completely free. This has been simply illustrated by Imam Ali (ra) when questioned by one of the believers about divine destiny, the Imam asked the believers to lift up one leg. When he had done so, he asked him to lift up his other leg, which he obviously could not do. Then Ali (ra) explained to him that this showed what was meant by having a limit to his ability. One can do certain things of one's own free will up to a certain limit but one cannot extend one's power and ability to do anything beyond that limit. The difference between voluntary actions and the involuntary reflexes, such as nervous twitches, are noticed by everyone. Divine destiny is concerned with those actions which man has no control over, such as the limits imposed by Allah's universal laws as illustrated in the example by Imam Ali (ra). We are restrained by exterior causes in the form of Allah's universal laws so that man neither creates his form nor can he alter his physical capabilities to enable him to fly or walk on water etc. In like manner, causes

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outside of us impact on us directly, without any choice in the matter, such as so called accidents or unintentioned happenings. A man falls from a high building and lands on someone walking on the footpath, and by so doing killing him. This kind of event is usually described as an accident; was it the result of the dead persons free will or was he compelled? Clearly the pedestrian had no knowledge of the matter and therefore cannot be said to have exercised free will in the action; he was compelled without choice. Actions and events such as these, i.e. the limits imposed by Allah's universal laws and those actions which man cannot reject, that restrain him by exterior causes, all these are termed qada' because Allah alone has decreed them. Man is not accountable for such actions whether they are deemed good (khayr)or evil (sharr). Indeed man cannot know whether such things are good or evil. Good And Evil (Al-Khair Wa Al-Shar): The measure of good and evil is the sacred law. The basic premise being that good is what the Lawgiver (Allah or His Messenger) has indicated is good by permitting it or asking it to be done. Bad is what the Lawgiver has indicated is bad by asking it not to be done. The mind alone, unaided by the sacred law, cannot know the good or evil of something. The use of the terms good or evil therefore to the area of al qada' is inappropriate. Instead the believer accepts whatever occurs in this sphere of his life whether apparently good or evil. The people of the sunnah believe that good and evil, benefit and harm, are of the knowledge of Allah (qadr) and by His decision (qada'); and nothing can happen except by His will (mashiyat). Ibn Abbas has narrated that the Messenger (saw) said: "If the whole nation gathered to help you with something, they cannot help you except with something already written for you by Allah, and if the whole nation gathered to harm you with something, they cannot except with something already written for you by Allah." [Tirmizi, Ahmad]. And Allah says in surah Yunus: "If Allah do touch thee with hurt, there is none can remove it but He: If He do design some benefit for thee, there is none can keep back His favour." [10:107]. Thus in respect of the above example the believer does not say that the man falling onto the pedestrian is evil. Clearly the relatives of the dead man will grieve but they are incapable of judging whether the actions were good or evil. Only Allah knows whether such actions are good or evil. An illustration of this is what al-Ghazali has narrated from Said Wahb ibn Munabbih: "The Angel of Death once took away the spirit of a great tyrant, the likes of whom had never

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been seen on the face of the earth before. When [the Angel] had ascended up to heaven again, the other angels asked him, `Of all those whose spirits you have taken, to whom did you show the most mercy?' `I once was commanded', he replied, `to take the soul of a woman in a desert place. When I came to her she had just given birth to a son, and I dealt with her mercifully on account of her remoteness from her homeland, and with her son because of his young age and his presence in the desert where there was none who might care for him.' And the angels said,` The tyrant whose soul you just took away was that same child to whom you showed mercy.' And the Angel of Death declared, `Glory be to Him Who shows kindness as He will!" Similar lessons of our inability to understand the wisdom of divine destiny is contained in the Quranic narration of Musa and Khider in surah al-Kahf. Khider had a special knowledge of the inner meanings and mystery of events which Musa did not understand and made him impatient. Our job as believers is not to pass judgement on matters of al Qada' as good or evil but to believe the destiny good and evil is from Allah.But we do not attribute to Allah that He intends evil, for example we do not say `O Creator of evil', even though Allah is the Creator and the Maker. The Prophet, peace be upon him) would supplicate: "Praise be to thee, the Exalted one, the good is in your hands and evil does not belong to you." 37 The Prophet Ibrahim, (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "And when I am ill, it is He who cures me." [ashShu'araa 26:80]. Ibrahim attributed illness to himself and the cure to Allah, despite the fact that both are from Allah. In like manner alKhider apportioned the desire to render damage to himself in the statement: "As for the boat, it belonged to certain men in dire want: they plied on the water: But I wished to render it unserviceable." [al-Kahf 18:79]; but when al-Khider mentioned good and mercy he attributed it to Allah: "So thy Lord desired that they should attain their age of full strength and get out their treasure, a mercy and favour from thy Lord." [18:82]. Allah, All Knowing (Allahu Al-A'leem): Believe in the divine destiny also obliges the acknowledgement that Allah knows all things knowable, encompassing all that takes place from the depths of the earth to the highest heaven. He knows without an atom's weight in the earth or heavens escaping His knowledge. "Whether you hide your word or make it known, He certainly has (full) knowledge, of the secrets of (all)hearts. Should
37

Ahmad, Muslim, Nassa'i, Abu Dawud, Darmy

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He not know,- He that created? And He is The Subtle, The Aware." [ al-Mulk 67:13-14]. Whatever happens in the universe is known to Him before it occurs. Abdullah bin Umar has reported the Prophet, (peace and blessings be upon him), as saying: "Verily Allah wrote the predestination of all creatures some 50,000 years before he created the skies and earth." [Sahih Muslim]. The writing of Allah is an expression of His knowledge of things before they happen. Abdullah bin Abbas said: "Allah created the creatures, He knew what they were going to do, He then said to His knowledge "Be a book" then it was."[Ibn Taymiah, al Iman, p199] "Knowest thou not that Allah knows all that is in heaven and on earth? Indeed it is all in a record, and that it is easy for Allah."[al-Haj 22:70]. However, Allah's knowledge does not compel individuals to act in a given way. Imam Abu Hanifah said: "If anyone tells you that man has no free will and is coerced and compelled by destiny, then find a rod and raise it over his head as if to strike him. Tell him Don't move away this is your destiny!" Imam Khattabi said "Many will think that divine destiny is compelling people to perform what Allah has already decided for them. But destiny means the knowledge of Allah concerning the action of His slaves and their acquiring of deeds. So there is no justification for anything, and they should be blamed for intentional deeds performed with choice. Therefore divine destiny is the knowledge of Allah concerning the action of his slave, and what he is going to do; and it is not the knowledge of Allah which forces anyone to do an action."38 Abiy Tharr has reported the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, as saying: "Allah will say on the Day of Judgement: `O my slaves! This is surely your deeds, I counted for you, then I gave them to you. If anyone finds good let him praise Allah, and if you find other than that you only have yourself to blame."[Sahih Muslim]. As a Muslim we can never justify our deeds by the excuse of destiny. It happened that one day the Companions brought a thief to Umar alKhattab, may Allah be pleased with him. Umar asked the thief why he had stolen. The thief replied, `Because the destiny decreed so.' Umar said, `Then shall cut off your hand with the destiny.' So no one can use divine destiny as an excuse for committing sin. Allah did not create man in chains with hands tied under duress. Allah created in man the attributes of hearing and seeing, and a discerning mind. If man neglects these blessings from Allah he has only himself to blame. "And We had endowed them with faculties of hearing, seeing, heart and intellect, but of no profit to them were

38

Quoted by al Khazin in his tafsir, and Ibn Taymyyah in Minhaj al Sunnah.

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their faculties of hearing, sight and heart, and intellect, when they went on rejecting the signs of Allah." [al-A'hqaf 46:26] . The divine destiny should not be used as an excuse not to do something or not to aim for something; neither should it be relied upon in the sense of doing nothing towards the task in hand. The Prophet, peace be upon him, would take medicine when ill and protect himself with a coat of mail and shield in war. In the words of Umar al-Khattab, he would employ destiny against destiny. When Umar was informed that there was plague in Syria he decided not to enter the country, instead he returned with his companions to Madina. Abu Ubayda told him, `You are running away from the destiny of Allah.' Umar replied:`Yes I am. We are running away from the destiny of Allah to another destiny.' We should take precautions in our life affairs "O you who believe! Take your precautions." [anNisa' 4:71]. During the Battle of Uhud, when the Companions disobeyed the Prophet and left their position on the mountain the disbelievers killed 70 of the Companions. Concerning this incident Allah says: "What! When a single disaster smites you although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, Do you say? `Whence is this?' Say (to them): `It is from yourselves'." [al-Imran 3:165]. The Companions had come to think of themselves as being unbeatable because of the presence of the Prophet, and some of them paid no heed to the Messenger of Allah's (peace be upon him) instruction to hold their position as a deterrent against the enemies cavalry. The consequence was defeat. We must employ lifes means instead of relying on destiny. "Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power." al-Anfal 8:60]. Ali bin Abi Talib (ra) has reported the Prophet, (peace and blessings be upon him), as saying: "`Everyone of you has had written for him his seat in Paradise or his seat in Hell.' The people asked: `O Prophet of Allah, can we then just rely on what has been written for us and do nothing?' The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) replied: `Work, everyone is guided to what is created for him.'" [al-Bukhari, Muslim]. This tradition makes it abundantly clear that Allah knows about our actions before we perform them, but He does not deprive us from exercising choice and working to save ourselves. It has been narrated that Allah effaces the destiny with the destiny. Umar al-Khattab used to supplicate to Allah with the words; "O Allah! If you have written for me in the Mother of the Book (umm al-kitab) misery, efface it and make me fortunate. Verily, you efface what you want and keep what you want". Allah says: "Allah doth blot out or confirm what He pleaseth, with him is

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the Mother of the Book." [ar-Ra'd 13: 39]. Umm al kitab is the original foundation of all revelation, the essence of Allah's will. Thus Allah blots out one destiny with another. Thawban has narrated that the Prophet of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said "What turns away the destiny is the supplication (du'a)." [ibn Hayan and al Hakim]. Allah's Will (Mashiyat): The meaning of Allah's will (mashiyat) according to the people of the sunnah is that no one believes in Allah except with His Will, and no one disbelieves in Allah except with His Will, and if Allah Willed He could make all people one nation. "If it had been thy Lord's will they all have believed all who are on earth!" [Yunus 10:99]. "He Most High wills all that exists and directs all events. Nothing occurs in the physical or spiritual world, be it meagre or much, little or great, good or evil, of benefit or detriment, faith or unbelief, knowledge or ignorance, triumph or ruin, increase or decrease, obedience or sin; save through His ordinance, apportionment, wisdom, and decision. What He wills is, and what He does not will is not."39 If Allah willed no one to sin He would not have created the devil (shaytan), the disbelief of the infidel, the belief of the believers, the obedience of the submitters and the sin of the evil doers, all with His judgment (al qada') and His knowledge (al qadr), His will (mashiyat) and command. He is pleased with iman and obedience and displeased with disbelief and sin: "If you reject (Allah) truly Allah hath no need of you; but He liketh not ingratitude from His servants: if you are grateful, He is pleased with you." [azZumar 39:7]. If it should then be asked, `How does Allah forbid what He has willed and enjoin what He does not will?' Imam Ghazali has answered this question by stating that that the question is not that of will (iradah). He provides an example to clarify the matter. "If a master strikes his slave and is accordingly reprimanded by the ruler, the master justifies his action by the rebellion of the slave against him. So the master attempts to prove his point by ordering the slave to do something which the slave would refuse in the presence of the ruler. Therefore he tells the slave to saddle a mount. Now the master ordered the slave to do something the fulfilment of which he did not really desire. If he had not given his order, he would not have been able to justify himself; and if he had really desired its fulfilment he would have desired destruction for himself, which thing is impossible." 40. The will of Allah does not
39 40

Ghazali, ihya' 'ulum al-Din. Ghazali, Ihya 'ulum al-Din

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compel man to carry out an action. Its meaning is that nothing can take place in Allah's custody without His will, i.e., nothing in existence can happen independent of Him. Thus if man carried out an action and Allah did not compel him or prevent him from doing the action, but instead left him to act freely, then man has acted according to the will of Allah. The action of the man was undertaken by himself and by his choice, and the will of Allah did not force him to carryout the action.41 Al Qada' wa Al Qadr (divine fate and destiny) relates to the actions of man in the domain that dominates him, i.e., outside man's control, and the particular attributes that Allah has given to things, such as the strength of steel and the burning of fire. The meaning of `divine destiny, the good and evil, being from Allah' is to believe that the actions of man which happen to him without choice cannot be avoided, it is to know what hits you was not going to miss you, and what misses you was not going to hit you. It is also to know that the attributes in things were assigned to them by Allah and not man. The actions man performs with free will are not connected to the subject of al qada wa al qadr. Allah has blessed man with a mind, which can distinguish between things, and Allah gives man the choice to do an action or not. For this reason Allah rewards those who adhere to His law and way and punishes those who disobey and transgress His laws: "Then, on that Day not a soul will be wronged in the least. And you shall be repaid the meeds of your past deeds." [ya Sin 36: 54]. Related to the subject of divine destiny is the knowledge that Allah alone takes life, Allah alone who provides our provisions (rizq), and Allah alone who provides guidance (huda). The Appointed Time (Al-Ajal): Allah has decreed an appointed time (ajal) for everyone, "We have decreed death to be your common lot." [al-Waqi'a 56:60], and no soul will depart without the permission of Allah when that time has expired: "To every people is a term appointed : When their term is reached, not an hour can they cause delay, nor an hour can they advance it (in anticipation)." [al-A'raf 7:34]; and in surah al Imran "Nor can a soul die except by Allah's leave the term being fixed as by writing." [3:145]. Thus the Muslim believes that the expiration of the appointed time is the cause of death. However intellectually it
41

Shiekh Taqi ud-din Nebahani, The Islamic System, p10

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appears that the cause of death is that which is recorded on the Death Certificate, i.e., heart attack, cancer, natural causes, etc. Actually these apparent causes are only the forms in which the ajal expired; circumstances as opposed to the cause of death. It is "He who created death and life." [al-Mulk 67:2]. The texts which inform us of this fact are definite in authenticity and meaning and must be believed in: "Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high!" [an-Nisaa 4:78] Our Provisions (Al-Rizq): Allah has decreed our life-span and our provisions (rizq) and He is the source of both: "There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance dependeth on Allah." [Hud 11:6]. "Verily thy Lord doth provide sustenance in abundance for whom He pleaseth and He provideth in a just measure." [al-Israa 17: 30]. And in surah al Baqarah "O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah." [2:172]. Imam Ali (ra) was asked, "How did you know Allah?" He replied: "When I desired something a barrier stood between me and my desire. And when I planned for income, the fate and destiny crossed my plan. Then I knew that the provider of rizq is someone other than me and He is Allah, the Creator, the Sustainer." "And who gives you sustenance from heaven and earth? Can there be another Allah besides Allah?" [an-Naml 27:64] Our sustenance is given to us by Allah, but our means of acquiring it can be both lawful (halal) and unlawful (haram) according to the viewpoint of the sacred law. We are held accountable for the way we have acquired our rizq.42. Allah is Self-Subsisting, all creatures are responsible to Him, there is no being to whom He is responsible, :"He cannot be questioned for His acts, but they will be questioned for theirs." [al-Anbiyaa 21:23], and He is dependent on no one or anything: "Is it not His to create and to govern? Blessed be Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds." [al-A'raf 7:54]. Abdullah bin Masud has narrated that the Messeneger of Allah, (peace and blessings be upon him), said: "The creation of one of you is assembled in the womb of his mother forty days as a sperm, then he becomes clot for a similar period (i.e.,
42

The people of Sunnah believe that rizq encompasses provisions earned lawfully and unlawfully. The Mutazilah believe that unlawful provisions are not of the rizq . They hold that Allah does not provide rizq from haram (prohibited), if a boy was brought up by a thief until he became a man, they maintain the boy becomes a thief and Allah has not provided him with rizq . This is wrong because if rizq is only what you earn then the implication is that the baby and the animals are not provided by rizq from Allah, but Allah says: "Is there a creator other than Allah to give you sustenance from heaven or earth?" [Fatir 35:3]. Imam Qurtobi said: "Our scholars derive from the verse "Eat of the sustenance (provided) by your Lord, and be grateful to Him: a territory fair and happy and a Lord oft-forgiving!" [saba 34:15] that the mention of Allah forgiving after saying `eat' means that rizq can be haram and halal ." Tafsir al-Qurtobi.

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forty days), then he becomes a lump for a similar period (forty days), then Allah sends to him an angel with four words: his provisions, his deeds, his appoined time, and whether he will be miserable or favoured. By Him who holds my soul is in His hand, one of you may do the work of people of paradise until between him and Paradise is the distance of an arms length, then will reach him what has been written for him in the Book, then he will do the work of the people of Hell and he will enter it. And one of you may do the work of the people of Hell until only the distance of an arm span stands between him and Hell, then will reach him what has been written for him in the Book and he will do the work of the people of Paradise and will enter it. "43 Some verses of the Quran state that some people will never be guided to the Way of Allah: "The same is it to them whether thou admonish them or thou do not admonish them : they will not believe." [Ya Sin 36:10]. This verse and others similar in meaning inform us that there are specific people who will never believe whether you warn them or not, and this is in the knowledge of Allah. But every human being as the capacity to believe. The Prophet of Allah, and those who carried the invitation to Islam after him, was ordered to call everyone to belief. It is not in our knowledge to know who will believe or not. Until the person takes his or her last breath we convey to them the invitation to believe. Guidance (Al-Huda): We believe that Allah guides whom He pleases to His religion, and He misguides whom He pleases, and no one has an excuse if Allah misguides him: "Say: `With Allah is the argument that reaches home: If it had been His will, He could indeed have guided you all.' " [al-An'am 6:149], "If We had so willed, We certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: But the word from me will come true `I will fill Hell with jinn and men all together.' " [as-Sajda 32:13], and in surah A'raf: "Many are the jinn and men We have made for Hell." [7:179]. Men and jinn will enter Paradise or Hell justly based on their deeds. Those people who are rebellious, evil doers, sinners, oppressors and disbelievers have characteristics not compatible with guidance. Allah does not guide those who have such characteristics "For Allah guides not those who are rebellious transgressors." [ as-Saff 6:5], "And Allah guides not those who do wrong." [6:7]. The key to salvation is to acquire the qualities that
43

al Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, ad-Darmy, Abdul Razaq, Tayalissi

53

leads to guidance and success: "Thee do we worship, and thine aid we seek, show us the straight way, the way of those on whom thou has bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray." [al Fatiha 1:5-7].

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The Book of Allah's Attributes (kitaab us-Sefaat ul-Allah) The Unity of Allah (Tawheed) entails worshipping Allah alone, without any association, and this is called Tawheed by intention and action. The Unity of Allah is also demanded in knowledge and speech: "Say: He is Allah, the One; Allah, the eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him." [al'Ikhlas 112: 1-4] The concept of Tawheed demands that the Muslim affirm Allah's qualities and attributes that He has revealed to us, without depicting Him in a specific form (takief); or comparing Him to the human being, known as anthropomorphism (tamtheel); or negating the attributes of Allah (tahreef); or rendering Him useless (ta`teel), i.e whilst affirming Allah's attributes and rejecting His resemblance to His creatures, we do not render Allah useless by saying He has no mercy, He has no speech, He has no likes or dislike etc., because this reduces Allah to the state of non-living matter. Tawheed also demands that we reject, by the evidences that He has revealed, those attributes that Allah Himself has rejected. This has to be done without committing apostasy in His names and verses, because Allah curses those who commit apostasy in His names and verses: "The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on him by them; but shun such men as distort His names: for what they do, they will soon be requited." [alAraf 7: 180] Allah's attributes are known from the Quran, His qualities can only be taken from the revealed texts because they are of the knowledge of Allah: "Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth." [al Baqarah 2: 255] : "What He hath sent unto thee He hath sent from His own knowledge." [anNisaa 4: 166]. The Quran tells us that "there is nothing like Him." [al-Shura 42:11] Therefore although Allah has named many of His attributes in terms similar to His creatures we reject any comparison to human beings and any resemblance to Him. The Companions and the early generations of the Muslims, known as the al-salaf al-salih , and the imams limited themselves to this, i.e affirming the names and characteristics of Allah without rendering Allah useless or making resemblance to the characteristics of created beings: "Glory to thy Lord, the Lord of
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Honour and Power! He is free from what they ascribe to Him" [asSaffat 37: 180] . This was the case up until the advent of the theologians, known in Arabic as ilm al kallam , and the philosophers who elaborated on the subject of Allah's attributes (sifaat-ullah). The Ahlul Sunnah represented by the Ash'ari school of thought permitted allegorical interpretation in respect of the attributes of Allah. The Mutazilah went further; they explained away the possibility of seeing Allah and His being posed of hearing and sight; the philosophers went further still, explaining everything that has reached us about the after-life as being metaphorical; denying the bodily resurrection and judgement. 44 The different positions taken up by the scholars of Islam occured as a consequence of the language of the Quran. Terms that are used to describe Allah are the same terms which are used in ordinary speech to describe human beings. Allah calls Himself the Living (al Hai): "Allah! There is no Allah but He, the Living" [al Baqarah 2:255] Allah called some of His slaves the living " It is He who brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living." [ar-Rum 30: 19] Definitely the living of Allah is not like the living of His slaves! Allah calls Himself the Knower (al Aleem) and the Forbearer ( al Haleem ), and Allah described Ishaq as one with knowledge "And they gave him glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge." [az-Zariyat 51:28]. And of Ismail one who is endowed with forbearance "So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear." [as-saffat 37:101]. The knowledge of Allah and His forbearance are not like anyone! Allah is the Hearer (as Samiu) and Seer (al Baseer) : "For Allah is He who heareth and seeth all things." [an-Nisaa : 58] and Allah has decribed His slaves with these faculties: " So We gave him (the gifts) of hearing and sight." al-Insan 76 : 2]. The hearing and sight of Allah are not like His creatures! He is the Sovereign [ al Mulk ] : "Allah is He, than whom there is no other Allah; the Sovereign, the Holy One." [al Hashr 59 : 23]. Allah calls some of His slaves king: "So the king said: Bring ye him unto me." [Yusuf : 12 : 50] Indeed, the Kingdom of Allah is not like His slaves!

44

See al-Ghazzali on Divine Predicates and Their Properties in Ihya Ulum al-Din

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Allah describes Himself as speaking to Moses : "And to Moses Allah spoke direct." [al-Nisa 4:164] In surah Yusuf He describes His slave with speaking "Therefore when he had spoken to him he said `Be assured this day, thou art, before our own Presence, with rank firmly established." [Yusuf 12:54] Likewise in many other verses Allah describes Himself with `teaching' [ar-Rahman 55:1-4], `anger' [al-Fatiha 1:6], being `pleased' [al-Maidah 5:122],` making' [Yasin 36:71], etc., and in all cases, although Allah has described His slaves with similar expressions.45 The Quran also uses anthromorphical terms such as eye, hand, face etc: "the hand of Allah is over their hands." [al-Fath 48:10]: "build a ship under Our eyes and Our inspiration" [Hud 11:37]: "and the face of your Lord will abide forever." [al-Rahman 55:27]. Once the probem had been taken up in theological debate some of the Muslim thinkers found a solution in ta'wil (allegorical interpretation); those that relied most heavily on allegorical interpretation were the Mutazilah. In opposition to this allegorical treatment of the verses other Muslim scholars stressed the need to take the verses literally; the most extreme of whom were labelled Mushabbihah , i.e., the likeners, and Mujassimah , i.e., the corporealists.

45

See al-Maidah 5: 5, al-Imran 3: 150, al-Maidah 5:122, as-Sajada 32:17

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The Literalists (Az-Zaahiriyyah): Those that forbid the allegorical interpretation say that Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal forbade ta'wil of all but three traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): "The Black Stone (alHajar al Aswad) is the right hand of Allah in the earth."; and ,"The heart of the believer lies bewteen two of the fingers of the Merciful."; and "Verily I shall find the soul of the Merciful [coming] from the direction of al-Yaman." Imam al-Ghazzali said Imam Ahmed forbade ta'wil for the good and welfare of people,"since whenever it is allowed matters become worse and go out of control, overstepping the limits of moderation. Things which go beyond the limits of moderation are beyond control. Therefore there is no harm done by such a prohibition which is also attested by the lives of the al-salaf who used to say, Take them literally as they have been revealed and handed down."46 In recent times the literal approach to understanding Allah's attributes has experienced a revival due to the propagation of the madhab known as "Salafiyya". It has become common to hear their followers accuse people of having a deficient creed on the basis of the hadith narrated by Imam Muslim, which states that Muawiyah bin al-Hakam once had a young slave girl who tended his sheep and he found that she had allowed some of them to be lost so he slapped her in her face. On doing so, he immediately realised that he had sinned, for the Prophet, (peace be upon him), had forbidden striking anyone, person or animal, in the face. So he went to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and asked whether or not he could free her as a means of atonement. The Prophet, (peace be upon him), told him to bring the girl. When she came, the Prophet, (peace be upon him), asked where Allah was and she replied, `above the heavens.' the he asked her who he was and she replied, `You are the messenger of Allah.' he then turned to Muawiyah and told him, `Free her because she is a believer.' From this hadith they conclude that one has to testify that Allah is literally above His throne. In other words to specify Allah in terms of position and location; this is a dangerous matter. Imam Muslim has narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "O Allah! You are the First ( al-Awal ), nothing is before You; You are the Last ( al-Ahkir ),
46

al-Ghazzali, The Foundations of the Articles of Faith, in Ihya 'Ulum al-Din, translated by Abdu-R-Rahman Abu Zayd,

p.51 .

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nothing is after You, You are the Manifest ( al-Zahir ), nothing is above You, and You are the Hidden ( al-Batin ), and nothing is below You; save us from debt and save us from poverty." Imam Bayhaqi says in his book "al-Asma wal Sifat": "From this hadith the ahlul Sunnat wa al-Jamaat reject position being ascribed to Allah, which means He is neither above, nor below. He is not in a place. If it has been mentioned that Allah is above the thrown it is by the meaning of His dominance, because `above' means dominance not location. The Messenger of Allah said in a hadith narrated by al Bukhari: "Allah was and nothing was with Him." which means He is the One who made positions and directions." Something similar has been written by Imam Qurtubi in his tafsir "al-Jami'li ahkam al-Quran", he writes: "Allah, Most High says, `Do you feel secure that He who is in the heavens will not make the earth swallow you while it quakes?' [al-Mulk 67:16], which may mean, `Do you feel secure that He who is the Creator of whomever is in the heavens will not make the earth swallow you, as He did Korah?' The more exacting hold that it signifies, `Do you feel secure from Him who is over the heavens, ' just as Allah says, `Journey in the earth. ' [at-Tauba 9:2], meaning over it; not over it by way of physical contact or spatialization, but by way of omnipotent power and control. Another position is that it means, `Do you feel secure from Him who is over ( 'ala ) the heavens,' i.e. just as it is said, `So and so is over Iraq and Hijaz,' meaning that he is the governor and commander of them. The hadiths on this subject are numerous, rigorously authenticated ( sahih ), and widely known, and indicate the exaltedness of Allah, being undeniable by anyone save an atheist or obstinate ignoramus. Their meaning is to dignify Allah and exalt Him above what is base and low, to characterise Him by exaltedness and grandeur, not by being in places, particular directions, or within limits, for these are the qualities of physical bodies. The hands are only raised skyward when one supplicates because the sky is from whence divine revelation descends and rains fall, the place of purity and the wellspring of the purified ones of the angels, and the servants' works are raised to it and over it are the Throne and His paradise - just as Allah made the Kaaba the direction of supplication and the prayer. He created all places and has no need of them. He was without space or time in his beginningless eternality before creating space and time, and is now as He ever has been." Imam al-Bagdadi says: " Ahlul Sunnat wa Jamaat agree that limitation cannot be attributed to the One who made this universe, contrary to what the Corporealists ( Mujassimah ) say. Imam Subki

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said, `How can Allah, the Most High be described with limitation and position when there is nothing in the Quran and the Sunnah to support it and Allah says: `There is nothing like Him. "47 .Allama Mullah Ali Qari Hanafi, in his explanation to al-Mishkat Vol.2, p.137, says: "Imam Subki said: `There is consensus of the Salaf and the Khalaf that anybody who believes Go is in a place or direction he is an unbeliever. This is what our imams Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafii, Abu Hassan (al Ash'ari) and al-Baqalani have said." It is also wrong to say that Allah is everywhere. If it is meant that Allah knows everything then the meaning is correct but it is expressed incorrectly. Rather one should say that Allah knows everything everywhere. Imam Ali said: Allah was, without a place, and He is now like he was." 48 The statement that Allah is everywhere can lead on to the concept of divine indwelling ( hulul ), i.e Allah incarnate in a human being, and union with Allah ( ittihad ) both of which take the person out of the fold of Islam. On the whole most of the scholars of the Ahlul Sunnah have been guided by the answer given by Imam Malik when questioned about the verse "The Beneficient is firmly established on the throne."[TaHa 20:5]; He said: "The act of rising on the throne is not unknown, but `how' is unknown, to believe in it is obligatory, to question about it is an innovation ( bida )."

47 48

Qaida fi al Jariwa ta'deel, p.30. al Bagdadi, al Farqu bayna al Firaq, p.333.

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Tawil: The scholars of Islam have at times felt it necessary to provide a ta`wil (allegorical type of interpretation) for many of the expressions related to Allah's attributes. Imam Khatabi commenting on the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari in al-Tarikh, which reports that a bedouin came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked where is Allah? To which the Prophet replied "Verily, Allah is above His throne and His throne is above His sky.", said If this narration is taken literally ( zahir ) it will contain some know-how, and as Imam Malik said the know-how of Allah is unknown . The Prophet meant by this answer that Allah is above the throne in His Greatness and Majesty." [Ma`alim as-sunan ala sunan, Ibn Dawd] Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal used to criticize those who made ta'wil of the verses that twisted the meaning of the word away from its literal meaning ( haqiqi ), but he did not negate ta'wil totally.49 The scholars of Ahlul Sunnah have stated appropriate metaphorical meanings for verses to avoid portraying Allah in human like form. Imam al-Tahawi of the Hanafi school said "Anyone who describes Allah as being in any way the same as a human being has become an unbeliever." 50 Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in Fatha' al Bari51 , and al-Bagwi, in his tafsir of surah Ta-Ha verse 5, both relate from Abdullah ibn Abbas that ` istowa ', i.e. "established on the throne" means He raised higher. Ibn Hajar also narrates from Ibn Battal that istowa means high nobility and eminence; he further adds this is the opinion of Ahlul Sunnah . There are many other examples of the ta'wil of the scholars of Ahlul Sunnah regarding the attributes of Allah in the tafseer of Tabari, al-Bagwi, al-Bayhaqi, al-Khatabi etc. Ibn Taymiyyah commenting on "Everything will perish except His face." [al-Qasas 28:88] says `face' in this verse means `in the path of Allah, i.e jihad .52; Ibn Taymiyyah reports Jaffar Sadiq as saying `face' in this verse means religion ( deen ); al-Dahhak , the famous mufassar (explainer) of Quran, said it means Allah's throne, paradise, hell, and Allah's Being. Al-Bayhaqi reports al Shafi`i as saying the expression "To Allah belongs the East and the West: withersoever ye turn there is the face of Allah." [ al-Baqarah 2:115]
49

See al-Tirmizi, p112 al-Aqeedah at- Tahaweeah, article 34, translated by I. A. A`zam. Fatha al-Bari pp313-315 Muhamwat Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah, Vol 2. p428

50

51

52

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as "the face to which Allah directed you all and Allah knows best." Mujahid said the face means the " qibla " (the dirction one faces in prayer) 53. al-Bayhaqi also quotes Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal as interpreting "And the Lord cometh and His Angels rank upon rank." [al-Fajr 89:22] as Allah's command, because in surah al-Nahl [16:33] Allah says, "Do the (unAllahly) wait but for the angels to come to them, or there comes the Command of thy Lord (for their doom)?" 54. Zamakhshari in his tafsir of "Would they expect that Allah Himself should come to them on canopies of white cloud with angels? Yet it is a thing decreed, and to Allah shall all things return." [al-Baqarah 2:210] says "The coming of Allah means the coming of His command and His power." Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi says in relation to the same verse "Wise men have agreed that Allah is free from such actions as coming and going." And "Allah is not a body occupying a specific locus and therefore coming and going cannot be ascribed to Him.". 55 Al-Bukhari explained the word `smile' in the following tradition as Allah's `mercy': "The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Ayoub al Ansary and his wife, after they had entertained the Prophet offering him their food while they stayed the night hungry `Allah has smiled last night regarding what you did."[Ibn Hajjar, Fat`a al Bari,Vol.7, p82; Bayhaqi, p470]. Those who deny the use of ta'wil in seeking to understand the meaning of such verses as al Maidah 5:67, al Rahman 55:27, al Fath 48:10 and Hud 11:37 cite al Imran 3:7 in their support: "He it is who has sent down to you the Book. Some of it consist of Muhkamat (perspicous meaning), which are the Mother of the Book, while others are Mutashabihat (not clear in meaning). Those who have swerving in their hearts, in their quest for sedition, follow the Mutashabihat and search for its hidden meanings. But no one knows those meanings except Allah, and those firmly grounded in knowledge say: We believe in it, the whole is from our Lord. But only people of inner understanding really heed." The scholars have differed in their understanding as to whether the verse should read "But no one knows those meaning except Allah, and those firmly grounded in knowledge say:" or "But no one knows those meanings except Allah and those firmly grounded in knowledge. Say". The most widely read recitation of this verse follows the official Egyptian printing which ends "But no one knows those meanings except
53

al-Bayhaqi, al- Isma' wa Sefat, p309. al-Bayhaqi, p292 . See M.M. Ayoub, The Quran and its Interpreters Volume One, pp 211-215

54

55

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Allah." Ibn Kathir said in his tafsir that most of the reciters of the Quran and the explainers of Quran and the people of jurisprudence end the verse after "those firmly grounded in knowledge. Say" . He narrates that Abdullah ibn Abbas said "I am from those firmly grounded in knowledge who know the ta'wil of the Quran." Mujahid, al-Rabi' ibn Anas, and Imam Shafii held the same view. The Prophet (peace be upon him) made a supplication for Abdullah ibn Abbas saying "May Allah make him knowledgeable in religion and teach him the ta`wil ." Ibn Kathir says there are scholars who distinguish between two meanings of ta'wil in the Quran. The first is that ta'wil means the truth about something and its final outcome. An example of which is the attributes of Allah, the knowledge of which only Allah knows. The second type of ta'wil is the interpretation and elucidation (tafsir ), as in "Inform us of its ta'wil" [Yusuf 12:36] which those grounded in knowledge will know. Al-Amidi said in his book al-Ahkam:" Whoever says that there is no ta'wil in the Quran, he is simply saying that most of the Quran has no meaning; and that will contradict the verses which prove that the Quran is fully explained to the Prophet (peace be upon him) "And We have sent down unto thee the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them." [an-Nahl 16:44]and "We have sent down to thee clear verses (ayat )." [al-Baqarah 2:99]. Still further proof for what we have said is that the Companions and their Successors all agreed on the need to interpret the whole Quran. We have no evidences that they stopped at certain verses saying `this verse is mutashabih , and no one knows its meaning except Allah'." 56 Tuqi udeen an-Nebahani says in his book, Islamic Personality Volume 3: "We must say two things: firstly, that nothing in the Quran and Sunnah consists of incomprehensible words; and secondly, Allah does not intend a meaning contrary to its literal meaning without explanation. Indeed, in verse 7 of al-Imran Allah has used the phrase"grounded in Knowledge" as an adjective for knowledge, such a description is only applicable when we refer to something we know as opposed to the unknown. Consequently, those grounded in knowledge know the ta`wil of the Quran. Furthermore, the verese of Quran testify that the Quran is easy to understand: "And We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember."[ al-Qamar 54:17], "Nay, here are
56

al-Amidi, al-Ahkam, Vol.1,p240.

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verses self evident in the hearts of those endowed with knowledge." [al-Ankabut 29:49]" Accordingly one cannot blame those scholars, like those of the Ash'ari school, who have made ta`wil for certain verses so as not to impute to Allah human actions or description, for example: "the hand of Allah is over their hands." [al-Fath 48:10] they have drawn a metaphoric or figurative ( majazi ) meaning to say `hand' is `power' or `ability'. Likewise, with the verse "both His hands are widely outstretched." [al-Maidah 5:67] they have departed from the literal ( haqiqi ) meaning in favour of the metaphorical meaning of `generosity'. The scholars of the Ash'ari school have supported their position by the argument that since words such as hand must be either figurative or literal, and since the literal meaning of hand is a bodily limb, an attribute that is unbelief to ascribe to Allah, the only other possibility is that it is figurative. The Quran contains many examples of figures of speech, such as, "Whoever was blind in this life shall be blind in the hereafter, and even further astray" [Bani Israil 17:72] which does not refer to the physically blind in this life, but rather to those who are blind to the signs of Allah. Similarly the verse "Today We forget yo, as you have forgotten this day of yours." [al-Jathiya 45:34], Allah's forgetting cannot be literally interpreted, for Allah forgets nothing. 57 However, we must accept that such metaphorical descriptions are no more than conjecture. The human being can only conceive of descriptions by comparison, but with Allah we are incapable of knowing the subject of our comparison. The prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said "Whatever comes to your mind about Allah, He is different from that." The reality of the names and attributes of Allah is that only Allah knows the knowledge of them "Knowest thou of any who is worthy of the same Name as He?" [Maryam 19:65], "there is nothing like Him." [al-Shura 42:11] and Allah knows best.

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The Ash'ari school includes some of the most outstanding scholars of Islam such as Imam Nawawi, 'Asqalani, Baqillani, al-Fakhr al-Din al-Razi,

Haytami, Qurtubi, Ibn Juzayy, Shirbini, and Zakariyya Ansari. See The Reliance of the Traveller, Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, pp1008-1011; and alAlbani Unveiled, Ahmed ibn Muhammad pp93-97. The latter reference is particularly useful for its comparison of the "Salafiah" schools treatment of the subject.

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The Book of Belief And Action (kitaab ul-Imaan Wal A'mal)

Disagreement among the scholars of Islam has centred on whether action is part of Imaan or something based on Imaan. Some of the scholars of Islam have held the view that belief is simply an inward adherence (`aqd bi'l-qalb ) and verbal confession ( shahadah bi'llisan ). Other scholars, such as Abu Talib al-Makki in Qut-al-Qulub , have maintained that action is a part of belief and Imaan is incomplete without works according to the pillars of Islam. Imam al Ghazzali in "The Foundations of the Articles of Faith" says there is no disagreement at all that anyone who combines in himself all three, i.e., inward adherence, verbal confession and works according to the pillars of Islam, will have his final abode in Paradise. Disagreement has occurred as to whether inward adherence and verbal confession is sufficient to bring men forth from Hell and prevent them from remaining there forever, in accordance with the hadith: "Whoever hath in his heart the weight of an atom of belief will be brought forth from Hell-Fire."[al-Bukhari, al-Tirmidhi] The Khawarij: Those that say action is a part of Imaan contend that the person who does not perform the action, like prayer, is a disbeliever. For this reason the Khawarij sect considered a person who did not perform an obligatory duty (wajib) or who performed a forbidden action ( haram ) as a disbeliever. In arriving at this opinion they made ta`wil (allegorical type of interpretation) of the verse of Quran "He who kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein forever" [al Nisa` 4:93] and the authentic tradition of the Prophet: "A fornicator is not a believer when he does it, a drinker is not a believer when he drinks." [Muslim]. These evidences appear to support the view that committing a sin makes one a disbeliever. This opinion has been rejected by the scholars of Ahlal Sunnah. The verse quoted was revealed, according to Imam alGhazzali, for the particular situation of a person killing a believer because of his belief. As for the tradition, Ibn al Qayim al-Jawziya quotes Imam Ahmad as saying the subject of the tradition is that
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the person in committing the sinful act is no longer a believer, but he is still a Muslim. It does not mean a disbelief that takes a person out of the community of muslims. It is not like believing in part of the revelation and disbelieving in another part of it; this is real disbelief, about which there is no doubt in anyone's mind. The Mutazilah: The Mutazilah school of thought said that the person who commits a major sin (kaba'ir), but performs some works according to the pillars of Islam, departs from true belief but does not become an unbeliever. He becomes a fasiq (reprobate), neither a believer nor an unbeliever, and will reside in Hell forever. The Mutazilahs opinion has been rejected by the scholars of Ahlal Sunnah on the grounds that they failed to understand the real meaning of the verses of Allah, such as "Surely I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them." [Ta-Ha 20:82]; and "And for such as will rebel against Allah and His Messenger for him is the fire of Hell, he shall dwell therein forever." [al-Jinn 72:23] These verses, and others wherein Allah couples good works with belief, are general statements, which also include specification, as proven by the verse: "Verily! Allah forgives not setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom he pleases other sins than that." [anNisa 4:116]. Thus freedom to forgive men sins, other than shirk (setting up partners with Allah), must be left to Allah. This is proven by the tradition: "Whoever hath in his heart the weight of an atom of belief will be brought forth from Hell fire.", and the verse : "As to those who believe and do righteous deeds, verily! We shall not suffer to be lost the reward of anyone who do a righteous deed." [al-Kahf 18:30] In the context of this verse how would Allah suffer the reward, not only of good deeds, but the belief itself because of one sin? The Murjiah: The Murjiah considered the sinner to be full of Imaan , making ta`wil (allegorical type of interpretation) of such verses as: "And whoever believeth in his Lord, need not fear either loss or wrong." [al-Jinn 72:13]; and "And they who believed in Allah and His Messenger are the men of truth, and the witnesses in the presence of the Lord; they shall have their reward and their Light; but as for the disbelievers and those who give the lie to Our signs, these shall

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be the inmates of Hell." [al-Hadid 57:19] they said that no believer would enter Hell fire, although he might commit every possible sin. Their fundamental doctrine consisted of the suspension ( irja' ) of judgement against believers who committed sin. For the Murjiah the sinner was a sinner because of his major sin, and the believer a believer because of his Imaan . The opinion of the Murjiah has been completely rejected by the scholars of Ahlul Sunnah. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever hath in his heart the weight of an atom of belief will be brought from Hell fire." How could anyone be brought forth from Hell fire if he had not first entered therein? The People of Sunnah (Ahlul Sunnah): The people of the sunnah and the majority of the muslims consider that action is a fruit of the belief and the person who commits a sin is not a disbeliever unless the sin is in the creed itself, i.e., it contradicts the faith such as the worship of idols, ridiculing the Quran, denying prayer or fasting, or permits adultery or usury etc. The person who does not pray is a sinner, the person who denies the duty of prayer is a disbeliever 58 . In other words, there is a distinction between conviction and action. Imam al Nawawi says in his introduction to Sahih Muslim, "The school of thought of the true believers is that no one from the people of the Qibla becomes a disbeliever through a sin or innovation ( bida ) or through following a desire. Only if he denies what is known by Islam of necessity does he at that time become an apostate and disbeliever, unless that is he is new to Islam." Sheikh Ali al-Tantawi in his book "The Faith" says: "Scholars of Ahlul Sunnah are unanimous in their opinion that a person who commits a forbidden act without denouncing its prohibition or a person who neglects to do a duty but does not deny that it is a duty and expresses no contempt for it will no doubt be punished in the other

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A Muslim who holds the prayer to be obligatory but through lack of concern neglects to perform it until its proper time is over has not committed unbelief; the Hanafis, Malikis, and Shafiis all hold this to be the case. Imam Nawawi says: "This is what the vast majority of early and later scholars have held. [al-Majmu]. The Hanbali scholars have held two views: the first being that such a person becomes an unbeliever while the second view is that he does not become an unbeliever, and this is what Ibn Qudama, in al-Mughni, has declared to be the soundest opinion. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, said: "Allah has made five prayers obligatory: whoever performs their ablution well and prays them in their time, completing the bowing, the humility, and the awe that is due to them, has entered a solemn pact with Allah to forgive him. And whosoever does not, has no pact with Allah: should He want, He will forgive him, and should He want, He will torment him." [Abu Dawud, Malik]. It is necessarily established that unbelievers will be tormented and enter Hell, yet the hadith indicates that Allah may chose not to punish the person who does not pray, a clear indication that someone who neglects to pray is not a disbeliever. The Muslims from the earliest times have considered the person who misses the prayer to be entitled to inherit by way of estate division and be inherited from, and washed and prayed over on death; this would not be the case for an unbeliever. [Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, The Reliance of the Traveller, pp.881-884].

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world. But he will not be accused of blasphemy nor will he be condemned to the eternal fire of hell."59 The Fruit of Belief : Those that say that action is neither a pillar of Imaan nor a part of it, but rather a fruit of Imaan, they also acknowledge that sometimes action is a part of Imaan; Imam Qurtubi in his explanation of : "Surely the (true) faith with Allah is Islam." [al Imran 3:19] quotes, for example, the Prophet having said, "Faith consists of seventy-odd aspects, the lowest of which is removing an obstacle (off the road), and the highest the profession that `There is no Allah but Allah.' and modesty is an aspect of faith."[Bukhari, Muslim] In this regard Qurtubi also quotes the hadith concerning the Abd al Qays delegation. This delegation came to the Prophet from the Island of Bahrain during the conquest of Makkah. They represented the tribe of Rabi'ah. The Prophet enjoined that they have faith in Allah alone. He then asked them, `Do you know what faith is?' They answered, `Allah and His Messenger knows best.' He said, `It is the witness that there is no Allah but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, observing the regular worship, giving the obligatory alms, and observing the fast of Ramadan. It is also that you give in alms the fifth of the booty." Imam al-Ghazzali says: "It is not unlikely that good works be considered a part of belief, because they perfect and complete it, just as it is said that the head and hands are part of man. it is evident that a person will cease to be human if his head no longer exists; but he will not cease to be a human being if one of his hands is lost through amputation. Similarly both the magnificent ( takbir ) and the praise (tasbih ) [at the beginning of prayer] are considered a part of prayer, although it is not annulled with their omission. Therefore acceptance with the mind stands in relation to belief as does the head in relation to the existence of man [in this life], since the one depends for its existence upon the other and ceases to exist when the other no longer is. The remaining good works are like the limbs of the body, some are more important than the others. The Messenger said, `A believer is no longer a believer when he commits fornication.' Furthermore the Companions held the same opinion as the Mutazilah concerning the fact that a person ceases to be a believer when he commits the sin of fornication. What this really means is that such a person is no longer a real
59

Tantawi, The Faith, p.69.

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believer possessing a complete and perfect belief, just as the deformed individual whose limbs have been amputated is described as being no longer a human being; in other words he lacks that perfection which is beyond actual humanity."60 Does Belief Increase and Decrease? Accordingly, if we look deeply into the texts it is apparent that actions are the fruit of the belief, i.e. the result of Imaan. When we say actions are a part of Imaan we mean it in the figurative sense because, unlike the Khawarij, those scholars who have said that actions are a part of Imaan never called sinners disbelievers. As actions are the fruit of Imaan so too is obedience, thus the scholars have described Imaan as going up and down; meaning that if the obedience increases Imaan increases and if obedience decreases Imaan decreases. Imam Nawawi in his introduction to Sahih Muslim quotes al Bagwi al Shafii as saying " Imaan from the point of view of the language means the belief, and by this meaning it neither increases or decreases, but according to the sacred law ( shar' ) Imaan is the belief with the heart and actions of the limbs; when it is explained this way Imaan increases and decreases and this is the opinion of the people of sunnah." Nawawi quotes Ibn Battal (an Imaan of the Maliki school) as saying " The school of thought of the people of sunnah, from the early and later generations, is that Imaan in speech and actions increases and decreases, the evidence for which is : "For Believers are those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and when they hear His revelation rehearsed, find their faith increased and strengthened." [al Anfal 8:2] Also Allah said: "Whenever there comes down a surah (chapter of Quran), some of them say: `Which of you has had his faith increased by it?' Yea, those who believe their faith is increased and they do rejoice." [at Tauba 9: 124] Imam Malik said: "If anyone has plenty of good deeds and strong obedience to Allah he is full of Imaan, and anyone who is short of obedience, who commits plenty of sins and is heedless in remembering Allah, his Imaan is diminished."61 . Even the Companions found this matter in themselves until they began to consider this hypocrisy. Ibn -abiMulaykah said, "I have known one hundred and thirty of the Companions of the Prophet, all of whom feared hypocrisy. "A certain person told Hudhayfah, "Verily I fear I am a hypocrite." To which
60

al Ghazzali, Ihya Ulum al-Din, The Foundations of the Articles of Faith, Translated by Nabih Amin Faris, pp115-116. . al Aajeri, p131.

61

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Hudhayfah replied, "Fear not. If you were a hypocrite you would not have feared hypocrisy. Verily hypocrisy does not fear hypocrisy." 62. Imam Ahmed, Tirmizi and Ibn Hibban have reported Abu Huraira as saying "We said O Messenger of Allah: Why is it when we are with you our heart is soft, our Imaan is increased, and we are from the people of the Hereafter. But as soon as we leave your company and see our wives and smell our children we deny ourselves? The Prophet said, "If you were to leave me and continued as if you were in my company the angels would visit you in your places and in your ways. If you did not commit sins Allah would bring other people to replace you with them , because they would sin and ask His forgiveness; and Allah would forgive them." Ibn Battal said: "When the good work of the muslim decreases his Imaan is little, but when it increases his Imaan is full. But the belief in Allah and His Prophet (saw) does not decrease nor increase. Imam Malik did not accept this on account that if the belief decreased it would become mere conjecture and doubt, and the man would cease to be muslim." Thus Imam Malik, and others of the scholars, have made it clear that Imaan increases with obedience, which is the fruit of belief. But the Imaan in Allah, His Books, His Prophets, and the Day of Judgement must be complete, definitive, and certain (i.e. with yaqeen ) otherwise the Imaan would become doubtful and speculative. The Companions and the early generations of the Muslims, known as al-salaf al-salih agreed that belief is subject to increase and depreciation - increasing with obedience and good works, and decreasing with disobedience and sin. The meaning of this, according to Al-Ghazzali, is "It proves that good works are not an integral part of belief nor a basic thing for its existence. Rather they are a superaddition ( mazid ) which augments belief. Both the surplus and the deficit exist, but nothing increases in itself....belief as such does exist, and that once it exists, it may vary, subject to increase and depreciation."63 . Actions performed with sincerity of the heart are the fruits of belief.

62 63

al-Ghazzali, The Foundations of the Articles of Faith, pp129-130 al-Ghazzali, The Foundations of the Articles of Faith, pp.116-117

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Those actions which strengthen our faith and are a means to approaching Allah, known in Arabic as al-Wasila 64, include the following: Belief (Imaan): We can approach Allah directly through our belief and to ask Him to grant us a good position in Paradise and to save us from Hell, such as: "Our Lord! We have heard the call of one calling (us) to faith, `Believe ye in the Lord,' and we have believed. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, blot out from us our iniquities, and take to Thyself our souls in the company of the righteous." [al-Imran 3:193] " `Our Lord! we have indeed believed: forgive us, then, our sins, and save us from the agony of the Fire." [al-Imran 3:16-17]

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Al Wasila according to the sacred law is an action or deed performed by a believer as a means to achieving an aim or purpose. Al Wasila is to approach Allah with a good deed and to ask Him to grant us a good position in the hereafter, as in the verse: "O you who believe! Do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach (wasila) unto Him, and strive in His cause: that you may prosper." [al-Maida 5:35]. Al-Wasila has three pillars: a) Al Mutawasil ilay - the one you are asking wasila from, i.e., Allah, the one who grants reward and forgiveness; b) Al Mutawasil - the one who is asking the wasila, i.e., the servant of Allah, the needy who is seeking to approach Allah, seeking salvation or the fulfilment of a desire; c) Al Mutawasilbihi - the means being used as a wasila.

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Prayer (Salah): Allah says: "Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers." [al-Muminun 1-2] " And who pay heed to their prayers. These are the heirs who will inherit Paradise. There will they abide." [al-Muminun 9-11]. Abu Umamah narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Allah does not listen to anything from His slave as He does to the two rak'at (units of prayer) that he offers. Mercy descends over the servant's head as long as he remains in prayer." [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi]. Malik narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "...the best of your deeds in the prayer ( salah )." [al-Muwatta]. Fasting (as-Siyam): Abu Umamah reported: "I came to the Messenger of Allah and said: `Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.' He (saw) said: `Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it." [Ahmad, an-Nisa'i, al-Hakim]. Abu Said al Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face." [Bukhari, Muslim]. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "Three peoples supplication cannot be rejected, the fasting man until he breaks his fast, the just man and the oppressed." [at-Tirmidhi, Ahmad]. Abdullah ibn Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "The fast and the Quran are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: `O Lord I prevented him from his food and desires during the day, let me intercede for him.' The Quran will say: "I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted." [Ahmad]. Sadaqat and Zakat : Sadaqah - is a gift offered to someone from one's rightfully owned wealth given with a sincere intention for the pleasure of Allah. Zakat - is an obligatory alms tax and constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. "And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, they perform prayer and pay the zakah, and they obey Allah and His Messenger. Upon them, Allah will have mercy." [at-Taubah 9:71]. "Take sadaqah from their property in order to purify and

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sanctify them." [at-Tauba 9:103] Mu'adh ibn Jabal reported that the Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said: "...as-Sadaqa extinguishes the sins as water extinguishes the fire." [Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi]. Allah says: "And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be successful." [al-Hashr 59:9] Abu Huraira has reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "When a person is dead, his deeds are ceased except three: Deeds of continuous sadaqah, e.g., an orphan home or a well for giving water to drink; knowledge which mankind gets benefit; a righteous, pious son who begs Allah to forgive his parents." [Muslim].

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Hajj and Umrah (Pilgrimage): Hajj is the once-in-a-lifetime obligation of pilgrimage to the holy Ka'bah in Makkah. Umrah is a pilgrimage to the Ka'bah performed at any time. Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "He who makes hajj and he who makes umrah are guests of Allah. If they invoke Him, He responds to them; and if they beg forgiveness of Him, He forgives them." [Ibn Majah]. Abdullah ibn Masud reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "Make hajj and umrah follow one after another, because they both remove poverty and sins, just as a hammer removes rusts of iron, gold and silver; there is no reward except paradise." [at-Tirmidhi, Nisai', Ahmad] Jihad (Fighting In The Way Of Allah): "Verily, Allah will help those who help His (cause). Truly, Allah is AllStrong, All-Mighty." [al-Hajj 22:40]. Abu Sayeed reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whosoever is pleased with Allah as Sustainer and with Islam as religion and with Muhammad as a Messenger, Paradise becomes sure for him. Abu Sayeed was astonished at this and said; O Messenger of Allah repeat it to me. So he repeated it to him. Afterwards he said: `And there is another thing for which Allah raises up a servant to one hundred ranks in Paradise. The difference between two ranks is as the difference between heaven and earth.' He asked: O Messenger of Allah! What is it? 'He said: `Jihad in the way of Allah, Jihad in the way of Allah, Jihad in the way of Allah." [Muslim]. Fuzalah bin Obaid reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "A seal is put over the actions of every dead man except one who dies guarding in the way of Allah, and verily his actions will increase for him upto the Resurrection Day, and he is safe from the punishment of the grave." [at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud]. Abdullah bin Amr reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "Fighting in the way of Allah atones for everything except debt." [Muslim] Salman reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "Guarding for a day and a night in the way of Allah is better than fasting for a month and praying it." [Muslim]. Khuraim bin Fatek reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whoso incurs an expenditure in the way of Allah, there is written for him 700 merits." [at-Tirmidhi] Reciting the Quran (Tilawat ul-Quran):

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Abu Umamah reported that he heard the prophet say: " Keep reading the Quran for it will intercede for its readers on the Day of Judgement." [Muslim]. Ayesha has reported the Prophet (saw) as saying: "He who recites the Quran fluently will be in the company of the noble and virtuous; and he who recites the Quran with difficulty will have a double reward." [Bukhari, Muslim]. Ibn Masud reported the Prophet (saw) saying: "When a person recites one letter from the Book of Allah that is one good deed equal to ten good deeds the like of it. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Meem is a letter, but A is a letter, L is a letter and M is a letter." [at-Tirmidhi]

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Dhikr: Remembering, Glorifying and Praising Allah (SWT): Dhikr is to remember Allah i.e., glorifying and praising Him. In surah al Ahzab Allah says: "O you who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do so often; and glorify Him morning and evening." [33:41], and in surah al-Baqarah Allah says: "Remember Me, I shall remember you." 2:152]. In a hadith qudsi, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him narrated: "Allah says: `I am to my servant as he expects of Me, I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him to Myself, and if he remembers Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly better than his, and if he draws near to Me a hand's span, I draw nearer to him an arm's length, and if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw nearer to him a fathom length, and if he comes to Me walking, I rush to him at (great ) speed." [Bukhari, Muslim]. Muadh reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "No other act of man is a more effective means for his deliverance from the chastisement of Allah than the remembrance of Allah." [Ahmad] Doing Good And Asking For Forgiveness (Istighfar): "...For Allah loves those who do good: And those who, having done an act of indecency or wronged their own souls, remember Allah and ask for forgiveness for their sins." [al-Imran 3:135] " As to the righteous, they will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs, taking joy in the things which their Lord gives them, because, before then, they have done good deeds. They were in the habit of sleeping but little by night, and in the hours of early dawn, they were praying for forgiveness." [az-Zariyat 51:18] Anas reported that he heard the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, saying that Allah says, "O son of Adam, whatever you asked Me and expect from Me I forgave - respecting that which you owed to Me - and I don't care [how great this was]. O son of Adam, even if your sins pile up to the sky and then you seek My forgiveness I will forgive you, and O son of Adam, even if you have an earthful of sins but you meet Me without associating any other thing with Me I will forgive you." [at-Tirmidhi] Supplication (Dua'):

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Nu'man bin Bashir reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, said ,"Verily supplication is worship." Then he recited the Quranic verse, `And your Lord says, `Call on Me. I will answer your prayer, but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves humiliated in Hell!'" [Ahmad, the verse is 40:60] Allah says in surah al Baqarah "When My servants ask you (O, Muhammad) concerning Me, I am indeed close to them. I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls upon Me."[2:186]

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Tawassul (Supplication Through An Intermediary): Tawassul is to supplicate Allah through an intermediary, there are three types of tawassul : 1.Tawassul of someone to Allah through His names and attributes; "The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on Him by them." [al-A'raf 7:180]. Buraidah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heard a man saying, "O Allah, I ask You, I bear witness that there is no Allah but You, the One, the Eternal, Besought of all, Who begets not, nor is begotten; and there is none like unto Him." The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "You have asked Allah By His Greatest Name. When one asks Him by this name, He gives, what one desires, and when supplicating by this name He answers."[ at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud]. Mu'adh bin Jabal reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, heard a man saying, "O Lord of Majesty and Honour!" At this the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Your supplication will be heard, so ask for what you want to ask." [atTirmidhi] 2. Tawassul through The messenger Muhammad: Tirmidhi relates from Uthman ibn Hunayf that a blind man came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said, "I've been afflicted in my eyesight, so please pray to Allah for me." The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: "Go make ablution, perform two rakat of prayer, and then say: "O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through my prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy; O Muhammad, I seek your intercession with my Lord for the return of my eyesight [and in another version, `for my need, that it may be fulfilled. O Allah, grant him intercession for me." This hadith proves the legal validity of tawassul through The Messenger person. to supplicate to Allah asking him wasila through the positive meaning attached to the Messenger (saw).65 3. Tawassul of a person through his own good deeds, as in the hadith of the three people trapped in a cave by a great stone. A hadith related by Imam Bukhari. Invoking Allah's Blessings Upon The Prophet (As-Salatu A'lan-Nabie):
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It is not acceptable for someone to believe that those called upon can cause effects, benefit or harm. If someone makes tawassul thinking that the absent or dead religious person can benefit or harm him as Allah does, then such a person has made shirk, i.e., to associate a partner with Allah.

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"Allah says: "Allah and His angels send blessings to the Prophet, O you who believe! send blessings to him, salute him with all respect." [al-Ahzab 33:56] Abdullah bin Amr al-As reported that the Prophet, (peace and blessings be upon him), said: "If anyone invokes blessings upon me once, Allah will bestow blessings upon him ten times over."[Muslim] For any action to be accepted by Allah as a wasila it must observe the following conditions: 1. The person performing the wasila must be a practising Muslim; 2. The action must be one permitted by the sacred law as a wasila, i.e., it must not be an innovation (bida) 66 or forbidden action (haram). All actions in Islam are governed by the sacred law and illegal means cannot be used to achieve desirable aims. For example, it would be forbidden for someone seeking wealth to take a life so as to benefit from inheritance; ["Whoever intentionally kills a believer, his recompense shall be hell." an-Nisa 4:93]; or for a person to go to a person skilled in magic to request that a spell be placed on a women whom he wishes to marry: ["...But the devils disbelieved, teaching people sorcery." al-Baqarah 2:102]; or for someone to visit the grave of a religious man to ask that the dead man to cure a sick relative ["Verily, Allah makes whom He will hear, but you cannot make hear those who are in graves." al-Fatir 35:22] . The action should accord with what the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, performed as a wasila. The wasila is recommended to be performed at all times and everywhere and can concern the hereafter or this life of the world.

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. Linguistically the word bida' means to come up with something that does not have a precedence, i.e. an innovation. The Prophet, peace be upon him said: "Every innovation is bida' and every bida' is a misguidance (dalalah) and every misguidance is in hell fire." [Muslim]. The sacred law meaning is defined by Imam Shatibi, in his book `al-Itisam', p.37, as being: "a made up method in the matters of the deen (religion) in order to match the sacred law [method]. The purpose of this innovated method is to accomplish the same as what the sacred law method accomplished."

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