Category Archives: Aqeedah

Conscience – The Natural Guide of the Mu’min

By Mujlisul Ulama

RASULULLAH (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Sin is that which agitates your nafs (conscience), and you dislike  people becoming aware of it.”

The intrinsic capacity of the conscience agitating in human beings in general, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, is a natural guide for steering man along the path of rectitude. This capacity has been eliminated almost in entirety in non-Muslims due to the aberration of kufr. As far as the people of Imaan are concerned, this inherent capacity which enables the Mu’min to distinguish between Haqq and Baatil, vice and virtue, right and wrong, is alive and functioning in different degrees of efficacy. Those who have adopted a kuffaar lifestyle of immorality in total forgetfulness of the purpose of life and the reality of the Aakhirah, suffer very little pangs of conscience when they indulge in haraam and baatil – in fisq and fujoor.

Muslims who have not smothered into extinction their intrinsic conscience with sin and transgression, will always be guided by the  intrinsic spiritual guidance of their conscience. When the Baatin (the soul) is constantly polished with Thikrullaah and obedience, the Mu’min’s conscience is alive, diligent and vibrant. Whenever anything is in conflict with the Shariah, the conscience of the Mu’min immediately recoils, becomes agitated and sends up warning signals. Thus a person says: ‘It bothers my conscience’. This internal agitation is a wonderful bestowal of Allah Ta’ala. By means of this inner warning light which glows when confronted by haraam, mushtabah and baatil, the Mu’min is able to save himself from the calamity of transgression and Allah’s Displeasure.

If the conscience has been kept alive and radiant, then even if a Mu’min is unaware of the mas’alah, whether an act is permissible or not or whether it is doubtful or futile or worthy of abstention or participation, he will be rightly guided by his conscience even if he does not submit the act for rumination. The agitation of the conscience is an automatic reflex action. The Rooh (Soul) is a lofty spiritual substance of the highest worth. If it has not been darkened and corroded with spiritual pollution, it will necessarily agitate at something which is negatory of roohaaniyat (spiritualism), or in conflict with the Shariah or futile and of no benefit.

Now when the conscience agitates and there is no spiritual guide or a true Aalim who could guide one, the agitation of the conscience will be a sufficient yardstick for gaining a fatwa. Hence, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Seek a fatwa from your heart.” A healthy heart adorned with the attributes of Imaan will not fail to transmit the correct fatwa to save one from indulgence in acts which are negatory of Allah’s Pleasure. So if your conscience tells you that an act is haraam or mushtabah, and you are unable to obtain the advice of a true Aalim, then do not extinguish the light of guidance and the fatwa of your heart. If you have no nafsaani agenda to pursue, the fatwa of your heart will always be correct.

Can Mu’jizah (Prophetic Miracles) be Rejected citing the “Laws of Nature” Argument??

By Shaykh Muhammad Yasir al-Hanafi

Rejecting miracles based on the notion that “everything has to be explained via laws of nature” is usually the result of two main reasons:

a) not understanding the reality of a miracle, and
b) lack of comprehension of the power of Allāh.

A miracle in reality is the action of Allāh that *appears* on the hand of a Prophet. To deem it an unmitigated result of a Prophet’s action demonstrates one’s lack of understanding of the basic teachings of the Qur’ān. When the Prophet  (ﺻﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ) threw dust in the eyes of the enemies in the battle of Badr, whereby blinding their vision, as an example, this ostensibly seemed that he  (ﺻﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ) alone initiated this action; however, the Qur’ān categorically states:

“And you threw not, [O Muhammad], when you threw, but it was Allāh who threw” (8:17).

So, this was a clear miracle that appeared on the hand of the Prophet  (ﺻﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ), but the Being who actually made it happen and initiated it was none other than the Almighty Himself. It happened with *His* will and permission.

Moreover, you will find numerous examples in the Qur’ān where the miracle is attributed towards the permission of Allāh and His will; for example, the Qur’ān mentions Īsā (alayhissalām)’s statement:

“Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by *permission of Allāh*. And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – *by permission of Allāh*” (3:49).

Also, “…and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with *My permission*, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with *My permission*; and you healed the blind and the leper with *My permission*; and when you brought forth the dead with *My permission*…” (5:110).

Thus, the Qur’ān is clear that the miracle is done by the permission of Allāh which appears on the hand of a Prophet.

The aforementioned brief explanation, therefore, will refute the notion that “if a Prophet is a role model, then how are we supposed to follow him in miracles?”. Well, the simple answer is that we are not supposed to follow him in miracles and we *can’t* because miracles happen by Allāh, with His permission only. We are supposed to follow the life and teachings of the Prophet (ﺻﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ). He didn’t *teach* miracles. They only happened by the permission of Allāh due to certain circumstances.

In addition, I want to say that to reject miracles, or to terribly misconstrue those verses pertaining to clear miracles, based on the catchphrase “laws of nature” is utterly preposterous, because Allāh is beyond laws. To hold the laws of nature as the criterion of accepting/rejecting miracles is to say that Allāh has become bound by such laws after creating them when, in fact, Allāh, the Almighty, is not subjected to any law. He is the Creator of everything. These laws that some ignoramuses worship are just customs or habits of nature at the most, and Allāh shows miracles to teach people that there is a Being behind this system who controls everything. If He wishes for something to occur outside of the usual habit of nature, He is capable of making it so, He is not bound by laws that He Himself created and sustains. He is not in need of laws, customs or rules. These customs are there but they can be broken by the Creator. And this is the exact definition of a miracle: ‘ﺃﻣﺮ ﺧﺎﺭﻕ ﻟﻠﻌﺎﺩﺓ’, a matter which is against the norm.

This notion of miracles complying with the laws of nature that some of our pseudo-enlightened Muslims have adopted stems from their inferiority complex in the face of the new-atheists. The trend of championing the naturalist philosophy has undoubtedly made Muslims feel ashamed to speak of phenomena that goes beyond natural explanations and they feel the need to explain their religion in the language of the new-atheists who will never accept them until they submit wholesale to the atheist agenda. This desire to rationalise the super-rational is only preparing a future generation that demands an Islām that is void of anything spiritual or metaphysical.

Are Hanbali and Athari Aqeedah the same??

Question: Are Hanbali and Athari Aqida the same?? Was Athari `aqida ever a school like the Maturidi or Ash’ari??

Answer: Inside Islam Athari, Sunni, and Ahl al-Hadith are all synonymous with each other and with each of the Four Sunni Schools in contradistinction with those non-Sunnis that are defined, in Sunni heresiographical discourse, as denying part or all of the Athars (reports) and Hadiths that define the principles and practice of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a.

Inside Sunnism, however, the above terms differ in various ways due to further polemical meanings according to the emphasis desired by the speaker and the guidelines of his own self-definition.

For example, when Ahl al-Hadith define themselves in contradistinction of Ahl al-Raiy then the first term tends to be synonymous with Hanbalis (and Shafi’is) and the second term with Hanafis (and Malikis) although they are all Ahl al-Raiy wal-Hadith in the larger sense since, on the one hand raiy – qualified juridical opinion – is the soul of ijtihad and fiqh without which the Shari’a becomes impaired; and, on the other hand, the source-texts are no less essential to the Shari’a. Hence Imams Abu Hanifa and al-Shafi’is famous saying comparing the muhaddith to the pharmacist and the jurisprudent to the physician.

When defining ‘aqida, the distinctions similarly reflect the self-perceived and self-representating emphases of each school. In this respect the Hanbalis perceive and represent themselves as the most focused of the Sunni Schools on source-texts. In reality, insofar as those Schools are defined by their founding Imams, then all four of them are equally source-text-focused. But most self-definitions of who Ahl al-Sunna are or what Sunna and Jama’a consist in, are actually formulaic responses which are not meant to be all-comprehensive but are part of a timely, practical arsenal to help dispatch deviations to their graves.

For example, Imam Abu Hanifa said: Sunna and Jama’a are defined by loyalty to the Two Shaykhs [Abu Bakr and `Umar as Caliphs], love of the Two Sons-in-Law [`Uthman and `Ali], and [the permissibility of] wiping over leather socks [in ablution]. Yet, elsewhere (as in his Wasiyya and Fiqh al-Akbar) he also made belief in Divine foreordained destiny (qadar) and the un-createdness of the Qur’an as essential, defining articles of Sunni doctrine also. The discrepancy is moot since each definition is dictated by context and the needs of the time in which it was uttered.

Similarly, the emphasis of the Hanbali School on textualism is a legacy of the heroic stand taken by Imam Ahmad in defense of that self-defining principle of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a against Mu’tazilism: We stick to all the authentic reports narrated from the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, and his Companions that define his and their way because this is the Prophet’s own definition of the Saved Group. That legacy became embedded in Hanbali discourse and methodology even though there are, in the `aqidas narrated from the mouth of Imam Ahmad by his students, many Ash’ari and Maturidi truisms. This is the strain that a few Hanbalis embraced in their own positively Ash’ari creeds such as Ibn `Aqil, Ibn al-Jawzi, and al-Saffarini.

Al-Saffarini (d. 1188) notably gave the following definition in his Lawami` al-Anwar: Ahl al-Sunna consist of three groups: the textualists (al-Athariyya), whose Imam is Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Ash`aris, whose Imam is Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari, and the Maturidis, whose Imam is Abu Mansur al-Maturidi. and they are all one sect, the saved sect, and they are Ahl al-Hadith.

Perhaps a more satisfactory expression of the Sunni self-definition of Ahl al-Sunna is given by the great Ash’ari Imam known in absolute terms as the Ustadh: Abu Mansur `Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 429) in his Farq bayn al-Firaq (The Difference between the Sects). This entire book is in fact an elucidation of the hadith of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, of which the central part says: … and my Community shall divide into 73 sects… At the end of the book he defines Ahl al-Sunna thus:

Those that have completely mastered and codified the principles of belief [=Ash`aris and Maturidis], the Mujtahid Scholars of the four Schools of Law and their followers, the Scholars of hadith that steered clear of deviation, the Scholars of Arabic grammar that steered clear of deviation, the Scholars of tafsir that steered clear of deviation, the Sufis, the people making jihad, and the general masses of the Muslims.

Similarly al-Iji (d. 756) in the Mawaqif:

The Saved Group which is excepted from the Prophet’s hadith All of them are in the Fire except one: Those that adhere to what I and my Companions follow – these are the Ash’aris, the Salaf of the scholars of hadith, and [generally speaking] Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a.

While al-Haytami, al-Baydawi, and al-Saharanfuri say: When we use the term Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a, what is meant are the Ash’aris and the Maturidis.

Imam `Abd Allah ibn `Alawi al-Haddad (d. 1132) said:

If you look with a sound understanding into those passages relating to the sciences of faith in the Book, the Sunna, and the sayings of the Salaf… you will know for certain that the truth is with the party called Ash’ari, named after the Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari, Allah have mercy on him, who systematized the foundations of the creed of the people of the truth and recorded its earliest versions, these being the beliefs which the Companions and the best among the Successors agreed upon. The Maturidis are the same as the Ash’aris in the above regard.

Answered by Gibril F. Haddad

Islam – Free from Baseless Superstitions

By Abu Zakariya

Virtually every culture that has ever existed has its own superstitious beliefs and practices, and many are shared across cultures. It is not solely the domain of the religious, as even millions of people in secular societies today indulge in practices such as astrology, tarot, numerology, palm reading, psychics, spiritual mediums and many others. In this article we will see how the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, rejected the baseless superstitious beliefs and practices of the world into which he was born and ultimately transformed humanity.

THE SUPERSTITIONS OF 7TH CENTURY ARABIA

Superstition formed a large part of Arabian society in the 7th century Arabs. Some of these practices included Tatayyur (belief in omens), Tanjeem (astrology), Tabarruk (seeking blessing from idols) and Kahanah (soothsaying). History has recorded a large number of myths and superstitions pertaining to the Arabs. For example, they believed that certain months of the year (such as the month of Safar) brought bad luck [1], and that certain birds were bad omens. When someone died and was buried, an owl (known as ‘Haamah’ in Arabic) was said to hover over the grave of a murdered person whose blood had not been avenged [2]. All such baseless superstitions were rejected by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. He denounced all such beliefs when he said: “There is no bad omen (from birds), nor is there any Haamah, nor is there any bad omen in the month of Safar”[3].

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ endeavoured that people should follow truth and not falsehood: Those who follow the Messenger [Muhammad]… who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them… [Qur’an, 7:157]. There is a notable incident recorded that on the same day that the infant son of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ died, there was an eclipse of the Sun and Moon. The people linked the two events together by saying that even the Sun and Moon were saddened by the death of his child. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ personally denounced such beliefs, saying: “The Sun and the Moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth) of someone…”[4] Is there really any reason Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would go against the superstitions of his people, especially when he came from a tribal culture that blindly followed the traditions of their forefa­thers? Had Prophet Muhammad ﷺ been an imposter, then this would have been the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the ignorance of the people, but he did not. The Qur’an also records some of the superstitions of the Arabs relating to the Sun and the Moon which they used to worship: “The night, the day, the Sun, the Moon, are only a few of His signs. Do not bow down in worship to the Sun or the Moon, but bow down to God who created them, if it is truly Him that you worship.” [41:37]

We can see that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ rejected the superstitions that were present in virtually every level of 7th century Arabian society. We should not be surprised by their widespread popularity, it was only natural given the circumstances of the people. Just think about the level of knowledge about the natural world at the time of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, over 1,400 years ago. Mankind lacked the technology we have today and so came to many incorrect conclusions about how the natural world works. Legends and myths were invented because they lacked a means of scientifically explaining the world around them. Of course, some thinkers and philosophers at that time still managed to make some amazing discoveries, such as accurately estimating the circumference of the earth, but for everything they got right, they also got a lot wrong. Lack of education is another issue, we take for granted the ability to read and write but most people in the world at that time lacked these skills. Arabia itself had extremely high rates of illiteracy. It is estimated that the number of literate persons in the region of Western Saudi Arabia, the locality of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, did not exceed seventeen [5]. Taking into account all of these circumstances, unless one has access to the unseen, then it will be very difficult to identify the falsehood of such beliefs and practices. A genuine prophet, though, would easily be able to identify such falsehood and reject it, by virtue of possessing the wisdom and insight that has been granted to them by a higher power. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born and raised in a world that was filled with baseless superstitions, he was subject to the same technological limitations as everyone else, and he could neither read nor write [6]. Yet he was unique, in the sense that he saw through all the falsehood that those around him were indulging in. Prophets are supposed to be beacons of truth, and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ stood for the truth throughout his life, in the face of great danger, and often at great pain and cost to his own personal wellbeing. Let’s look at some other areas where Prophet Muhammad ﷺ rejected superstitions that plagued not only Arabia, but also the rest of the world:

1. DISEASE AND MEDICINE

When it comes to disease and medicine we know that magic and superstition played a very large part in the life of the Arabs [7]. For example, once there was an epidemic of fever in the Arabian oasis of Khaybar, people visiting the place would bray at the gates like donkeys to protect themselves. The reason was that they believed the fever attacked only humans, and by imitating donkeys they hoped to make it think they were not human and so to avoid catching it. In another example, a man could repel an attack of insanity by befouling himself with menstrual cloths and surrounding himself with dead men’s bones. An illness could be expelled by transference to someone else. For example, in a fever, a thread was tied round the arm of the patient. Whoever undid the thread would have the fever transferred to him, and the patient would recover. If someone was bitten by a snake, it was believed he could be cured if he held pieces of women’s jewellery in his hand and rattled them all night [8]. The advent of Islam did away with all of this. There is an incident where a Bedouin approached Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and asked,“O Messenger of God, should we not treat sickness?” Prophet Muhammad ﷺ replied, “Treat sickness, for God has not created any disease except He has also created the cure, except for one disease.” The Bedouin asked, “O Messenger of God, what is it?” Prophet Muhammad ﷺ responded, “Old age.” [9] When it came to contagious diseases, Islam was way ahead of its time as it instituted practices such as isolation and quarantine. Today these are strategies which are implemented by public health authorities. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ commanded his followers not to travel to places known to be afflicted with illness, and he advised those in the contaminated areas not to leave and spread the disease further afield. He ﷺ said: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place” [10]. In fact, entire books have been written on the medicine of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, such as The Prophetic Medicine by the  scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya.

Let’s compare such 7th century teachings of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ on disease, medicine and quarantine control, to the situation in Europe where, as late as the 14th century, it was still widely believed that distant planets caused diseases here on earth. The Bubonic Plague, also known as the Black Death, was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe in the years 1346 – 1353 CE. It spread so quickly through Europe because medical knowledge had stagnated during the Middle Ages [11]. The most authoritative European account at the time of the Black Death came from a medical faculty in Paris. They produced a report in 1345 CE that was sent to the king of France, placing the primary source of the disease on a conjunction of three planets that caused a “great pestilence in the air”:

We say that the distant and first cause of this pestilence was and is the configuration of the heavens. In 1345, at one hour after noon on 20 March, there was a major conjunction of three planets in Aquarius. This conjunction, along with other earlier conjunctions and eclipses, by causing a deadly corruption of the air around us, signifies mortality and famine, and also other things about which we will not speak here because they are not relevant… These effects were intensified because Mars – a malevolent planet, breeding anger and wars – was in the sign of Leo from 6 October 1347 until the end of May this year… [12]

When we look to the writings of Europe’s distant past, we find similar accounts. The Iliad, an ancient Greek epic poem believed to be written c. 1194–1184 BCE, also attributes illness to stars:

Priam was the first to see him sparkling on the plain, bright as that star in autumn rising, whose unclouded rays shine out amid a throng of stars at dusk-the one they call Orion’s dog, most brilliant, yes, but baleful as a sign: it brings great fever to frail men [13]

It seems like 14th European medicine had advanced very little and was still steeped in the superstition of the ancient Greeks over 2,000 years before them. Sadly, a much more sinister explanation for the Black Death was prevalent in other parts of Europe. Here a chronicle by a 14th century Franciscan friar reports that Jewish people were blamed for the cause of the disease:

In 1347 there was such a great pestilence and mortality throughout almost the whole world that in the opinion of well-informed men scarcely a tenth of mankind survived. The victims did not linger long, but died on the second or third day. The plague raged so fiercely that many cities and towns were entirely emptied of people… Some say that it was brought about by the corruption of the air; others that the Jews planned to wipe out all the Christians with poison and had poisoned wells and springs everywhere. And many Jews confessed as much under torture: that they had bred spiders and toads in pots and pans, and had obtained poison from overseas… God, the lord of vengeance, has not suffered the malice of the Jews to go unpunished. Throughout Germany, in all but a few places, they were burnt. For fear of that punishment many accepted baptism and their lives were spared. This action was taken against the Jews in 1349, and it still continues unabated, for in a number of regions many people, noble and humble alike, have laid plans against them and their defenders which they will never abandon until the whole Jewish race has been destroyed [14]

We can see that even as late as the 14th century, Europe was still attributing the causes of disease to astrology as well as conspiracy theories about the Jewish people. Compare all this to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ on disease, its cures and quarantine control over 600 years prior.

2. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Another area where mankind has suffered due to superstition is the criminal justice system. The 7th century Arabs lived by the tribal law of retaliation. According to this custom, when a noble person of a strong and influential tribe was killed, it was not enough to kill the perpetrator, especially if they had not been of equal rank. Therefore, many innocent members of the other tribe used to be killed. If such revenge was not sought then it was believed that the victim’s tribe would be shamed, and the adult males of the tribe would have to abandon wine, perfume and fancy food until they avenged their tribe [15]. To appreciate the extent to which the Arabs could take this practice, there is a famous incident where one tribe killed a camel belonging to another and it led to the start of a terrible war which lasted for 40 years, killing scores of people from both sides [16].

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ condemned such systems of justice as immoral. Collective punishment gave way to individual responsibility, as the Qur’an declares that innocent people are not to be held accountable for the actions of others: “And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another” [35:18]. When it comes to punishing a person who is said to be guilty of a crime, the accused is presumed to be innocent until concrete evidence is brought forward. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ declared: “Had men been believed only according to their allegations, some persons would have claimed the blood and properties belonging to others, but the accuser is bound to present positive proof” [17]. One example of such evidence is multiple, corroborating eyewitness testimony, and each witness must be reliable individuals whose word can be trusted. The testimony of known liars, for example, would be rejected. We can see that Islam did not come with spirituality alone, but it also brought with it very practical approaches to solving our problems and challenges in day to day life. You may be thinking to yourself, is this really so impressive, as this is just the norm in criminal justice systems around the world. Today we take things like presumption of innocence, trials, testimony and evidence for granted. But such legal systems are quite different to the ones that were practised up until only a few centuries ago. Throughout Medieval Europe, justice was heavily influenced by superstition. The most important figure in a court of law was not a judge or jury, in fact they were not human at all. When a person was accused of a crime, they would have to perform a ritual during which God would reveal the guilt or innocence of the accused. People from poorer backgrounds would undergo a trial by ordeal [18]. For example, the accused might have to hold a red-hot iron. The wound would be bandaged and re-examined three days later by a priest, who would pronounce that God had intervened to heal it, in which case they were seen as innocent, or that it was merely festering—in which case the accused would be condemned as guilty. Nobles and people from a rich background would undergo a trial by combat. If a man was accused of a serious crime, he could prove his innocence by fighting his accuser. Fights took place in front of a huge crowd and had the atmosphere of a country fair. The battle would last until one of the men surrendered or was killed. It was still considered divine justice, as God would ensure that the innocent party would always prevail [19]. Eventually, trials by ordeal and combat gave way to trials by jury, but such superstitious justice systems were in place in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, over a thousand years after Islam introduced a system based on evidence and not superstition.

3. RACISM AND THE INEQUALITY OF HUMAN BEINGS

Even racism, one of the great evils of history, has its roots in superstition. The Curse of Ham (also known as Noah’s Curse) refers to an incident in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, regarding Noah and his son Ham. In this story, Noah gets angry with Ham, and places a curse on his descendants (the Canaanites), condemning them to slavery. There is a racist interpretation of this curse that some in the West have taken in order to justify slavery. The explanation that black Africans, as the “sons of Ham”, were cursed, possibly “blackened” by their sins, was advanced during the Middle Ages and became increasingly common during the slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries [20]. Even the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who is considered a shining example of enlightened thinking, considered some human beings to be inherently inferior to others from the moment of their birth: “For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.” Then he concludes, “some men are by nature free, and others slave, and that for these latter slavery is both expedient and right”[21]. Even Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most revered spiritual leaders of the 20th century, expressed racist views. Gandhi spent 21 years living in Colonial South Africa, from 1893 to 1914. He arrived there during a time when the nation was suffering severe political unrest and racial discrimination against black people. In 1895, Gandhi began actively promoting racial segregation in Durban. The Durban post office had two doors: one for whites and the other shared by Indians and black Africans. Being Indian, Gandhi was required to share a door with black South Africans, which deeply offended him. He petitioned the authorities to create separate entrances for Indians and was granted his wish when the authorities provided three separate entrances, one each for black Africans, Indians, and Europeans [22]. In 1903 Gandhi wrote: “We believe also that the white race in South Africa should be the predominating race.” [23]. Gandhi shared many of the discriminatory racial views of his time. He was perhaps a product of the rigid Hindu caste system which divides people into different categories, with anyone falling outside of these categories being classified as “untouchables” and treated as social outcasts.

The Arabs of the 7th century were no better, they wrongly believed that the most superior of people were those who descended from the Arab race and had Arab blood. This is reflected in the widespread and brutal treatment of black slaves before the advent of Islam. Racism is an idea that Islam completely rejects:

O mankind, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognise one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware. [49:13]

Here the Qur’an speaks of human equality in no uncertain terms. Islam rejects the notion that certain individuals or nations are favoured because of their wealth, power or race. God created human beings as equals who are to be distinguished from each other only on the basis of their faith and piety. The life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is a beautiful realisation of this Qur’anic standard. Throughout his Prophethood, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ advised his people to set aside their ignorant and perverse values and to live by the Qur’an. Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ love for humanity, irrespective of race or nationality, is demonstrated in his famous Last Sermon. In perhaps the most noteworthy manifestation of anti-racism of any religious figurehead in recorded history, he challenged an ultra-nationalistic and highly racist society by calling on people to unite under a banner of humanity:

O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today… All of mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white, except by piety and good action.” [24]

Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ anti-racist mentality helped lead his people out of the darkness of nationalism and racism and into the light by guiding them onto the path of racial equality. The fact that Islam spread amongst all the colours and races of the world is testimony to the fact that Islam did not accept these false divisions. Today millions of people across the world, black, white, Asian, African and European are all part of the unique Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood.

Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ anti-racist views were apparent very early on in his Prophetic mission through his friendship with Bilal ibn Rabah, a black slave who rose to a leading position within the Muslim community of 7th century Arabia. He was appointed as the official muadhin of the Prophet, meaning that he was responsible for making the public calls to prayer. In choosing Bilal for this honourable role, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ demonstrated that social exclusion and subordination based upon skin colour was not to be permitted in an Islamic society. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ broke down racial barriers for black believers in a part of the world that had one of the poorest track records for human rights, preceding the Western civil rights movement and Martin Luther King by nearly 1,500 years. It’s no wonder that British historian Professor Arnold J. Toynbee wrote,“The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding moral achievements of Islam, and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue.” [25]

If Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ main motivation was to gain power, as some argue, then why did he go against racism? He had absolutely nothing to gain by uplifting the status and rights of slaves in tribal Arabia. Quite the opposite in fact, as his stance only served to alienate and create enemies of those who were in positions of power over slaves and had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ spoke out against racism, and every evil in tribal Arabia, because the Qur’an commands believers to uphold justice, even if it goes against one’s self-interests: “You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly– if you distort or neglect justice, God is fully aware of what you do.” [4:135]

HOW PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S TEACHINGS TRANSFORMED THE WORLD

Here is the testimony of Ja’far bin Abi Talib, who was a contemporary of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. He informed the king of Abyssinia about the condition of his people and the positive change Islam had brought for them:

O King, we were an uncivilised people, worshipping idols, eating corpses, committing abominations, breaking natural ties, treating guests badly, and our strong devoured our weak. Thus we were until God sent us an apostle whose lineage, truth, trustworthiness, and clemency we know. He summoned us to acknowledge God’s unity and to worship Him and to renounce the stones and images which we and our fathers formerly worshipped. He commanded us to speak the truth, be faithful to our engagements, mindful of the ties of kinship and kindly hospitality, and to refrain from crimes and bloodshed. He forbade us to commit abominations and to speak lies, and to devour the property of orphans, to vilify chaste women. He commanded us to worship God alone and not associate anything with Him, and he gave us orders about prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. We confessed his truth and believed in him, and we followed him in what he had brought from God, and we worshipped God without associating aught with Him. [26]

Prophet Muhammad’s teachings transformed every level of Arabian society. Just to give you an idea of the scale of the challenge that Prophet Muhammad faced, let’s look at an attempt in recent Western history to eradicate just one social ill: alcoholism. In 1920 the United States government passed a nationwide law to ban the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages for moral and medical reasons. This era is commonly known as the Prohibition. Although the consumption of alcohol fell at the beginning of the Prohibition, it subsequently increased and led to other problems such as corruption and organised crime. The law was repealed in 1933. The failure of one of the most powerful governments in the world to tackle just a single social ill should make us reflect on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. His teachings managed to completely reform not only alcoholism but all the social ills of Arabian society in a single generation. It took just 23 years! This was a revolution the likes of which the world has never witnessed.

The coming of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the 7th century produced one of the most successful civilisations in the history of the world. While Europe was in the Dark Ages it was the Muslims that produced some of the best known scholars. Victor Robinson, a historian of science, eloquently summed up the contrast between medieval Europe and Islamic Spain:

Europe was darkened at sunset, Cordova shone with public lamps; Europe was dirty, Cordova built a thousand baths; Europe was covered with vermin, Cordova changed its undergarments daily; Europe lay in mud, Cordova’s streets were paved; Europe’s palaces had smoke-holes in the ceiling, Cordova’s arabesques were exquisite; Europe’s nobility could not sign its name, Cordova’s children went to school; Europe’s monks could not read the baptismal service, Cordova’s teachers created a library of Alexandrian dimensions. [27]

Some examples of Muslim advances in science are the mathematician al-Khwarizmi, who played a significant role in the development of algebra. He also came up with the concept of algorithms which is why he is called the grandfather of computer science. The physician Az-Zahrawi is considered the greatest medieval surgeon and is described by many as the father of modern surgery. He made pioneering discoveries in surgical procedures and instruments, for example the material he utilised for internal stitching is still used in surgery today. The astronomer Al-Sufi made the earliest recorded observation of the Andromeda Galaxy. This was the first galaxy other than the Milky Way to be observed from Earth. The philosopher Ibn Sina is considered one of the greatest thinkers and scholars in history. He provided the first descriptions of bacterial and viral organisms. He also discovered the contagious nature of infectious diseases and introduced the concept of quarantine to limit the spread of disease. He has been so influential in medicine that he is referred to as the father of modern medicine [28]. You may be surprised to learn that many of the scientific words and terms we use today are taken from the Arabic language; this is a legacy of the discoveries of Muslim scientists. For example, the word “algebra” comes from the Arabic word “al-jabr”, taken from the title of one of the books by the Muslim mathematician al-Khwarizmi. The word “algorithm” is taken from al-Khwarizmi’s name itself. The word “alchemy” comes almost unchanged from the Arabic “al-kimya”. One of the greatest contributions made by Arab scholars was their development of the science of astronomy. If you look at a modern star chart, you’ll find hundreds of stars whose names derive from Arabic: Altair, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Vega, Rigel and Algol, to name a few. Finally, we owe the decimal number system that we use for counting to Arab mathematicians. In fact the most common symbolic representation of numbers in the world today (1, 2, 3 etc.) are actually taken from Arabic numerals.

THE SOURCE OF ENLIGHTENMENT, THE QUR’AN

You may be wondering, what is it about the Qur’an that inspired Muslims to go from the depths of ignorance of the pre-Islamic era to being leaders of the world in the sciences? Many of these scientists were excellent Islamic theologians and it was the Qur’an which drew their attention to inquire into the natural world and showed them the path to knowledge and enlightenment. The 10th century Muslim scholar Ibn al-Haytham is widely regarded as the father of the scientific method and was the first scientist in history to insist that everything be proven through induction, which uses observations and experimentation to challenge previously held theories. Ibn al-Haytham first studied theology, the Qur’an, and he stated that it was the Qur’an that inspired him to study philosophy and science: “I decided to discover what it is that brings us closer to God, what pleases Him most, and what makes us submissive to His ineluctable Will.” [27]

The following verses of the Qur’an were the first to be revealed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. It is interesting that of all the things which the Qur’an could have mentioned, the actions of reading and writing were chosen. Notice how the very first word revealed was a commandment to “read”. Thus the Qur’an attaches great importance to knowledge and education:

Read! In the name of your Lord who created: He created man from a clinging form. Read! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One who taught by [means of] the pen, who taught man what he did not know. [96:1-5]

God created man and provided him with the tools for acquiring knowledge, namely hearing, sight and minds. Thus the Qur’an reminds us that we should be grateful to God for these tools which give us the means to obtain knowledge:

It is God who brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and minds, so that you might be thankful. [16:78]

Here the Qur’an highlights the noble status of the one who has knowledge; they are superior to those who lack knowledge, as one who is knowledgeable has greater understanding. This encourages Muslims to continually seek knowledge:

How can those who know be equal to those who do not know? Only those who have understanding will take heed. [39:9]

The Qur’an draws our attention to many natural phenomena by encouraging us to observe the world around us:

Then do they not look at the camels – how they are created? And at the sky – how it is raised? And at the mountains – how they are erected? And at the earth – how it is spread out? [88:17-20]

Moreover this observation of the world around us should not be aimless but rather we should ponder and reflect on what we see:

There truly are signs in the creation of the heavens and earth, and in the alternation of night and day, for those with understanding, who remember God standing, sitting, and lying down, who reflect on the creation of the heavens and earth… [3:190-191]

The concept of putting ideas to the test is encouraged by the Qur’an. So is the use of witnesses in order to validate conclusions. It must be noted that no other religious text challenges its reader in such ways. The use of falsification tests is unique to the Qur’an:

If you have doubts about the revelation We have sent down to Our servant, then produce a single chapter like it– enlist whatever witnesses you have other than God– if you truly [think you can]. [2:23]

CONCLUSION

We have seen how Prophet Muhammad ﷺ transformed every aspect of Arabian society, and even the world at large. Whether you have read the Qur’an or not, whether you’ve even heard of the Qur’an before reading this article, it has already shaped and influenced your life in ways you cannot imagine. This is exactly the kind of legacy that one would expect, were Prophet Muhammad ﷺ a genuine Prophet of God.

References

1 – Sunan Abi Dawood, Hadith #3914.

2 – T. E. Homerin, “Echoes of a thirsty owl: death and afterlife in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry”, pp. 165-184.

3 – Sahih Bukari, Book 76, Hadith #27.

4 – Sahih Bukhari, Hadith #153.

5 – Al-Baladhuri, Futuh al-Buldan, p. 458.

6 – This is a fact which the Qur’an itself confirms: “Follow the Messenger– the unlettered prophet they find described in the Torah that is with them, and in the Gospel…” [7:157].

7 – M. Ullmann, Islamic Medicine, pp. 2-5.

8 – Richard Tapper and Keith McLachlan, Technology, Tradition and Survival: Aspects of Material Culture in the Middle East and Central Asia, p. 35.

9 – Tirmidhi, 4/383, Hadith #1961.

10 – Sahih Bukhari, Book 76, Hadith #43.

11 – Robert Clifford Ostergren, The Europeans: A Geography of People, Culture, and Environment, p. 88.

12 – Rosemary Horrox, The Black Death, pp. 158 – 159.

13 – Homer, The Iliad, Book 22:21.

14 – J. G. Meuschen, Hermanni Gygantis, ordinis fratrum minorum, Flores Temporum seu Chronicon Universale ab Orbe condito ad annum Christi MCCCXLIX, Leiden, 1750, pp. 138 – 139.

15 – Piotr Blumczynski and John Gillespie, Translating Values: Evaluative Concepts in Translation, p. 109.

16 – G.N Jalbani, Life of the Holy Prophet, 1988, pp. 2 – 3.

17 – Al Baihagi, The 40 Hadith of Imam al Nawawi, No. 33.

18 – Robert Bartlett, The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages, pp. 27 – 28.

19 – Janin Hunt, Medieval Justice: Cases and Laws in France, England, and Germany: 500-1500, p. 17.

20 – Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1482-1800, pp. 210, 247, 259, 312, 329, 585.

21 – Aristotle, Politics, Book I, chp. 5 pp.58-60.

22 –  Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. 1, pp. 367-368.

23 – Jad Adams, Gandhi: The True Man Behind Modern India, Chapoter 4: Challenge and Chastity.

24 – Musnad Ahmad, Hadith #19774.

25 – Civilization On Trial, New York, 1948, p. 205.

26 – The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, translation by A. Guillaume, 2004, pp. 151 – 152.

27 – Victor Robinson, The Story of Medicine, New York, 1936, p. 164.

28 – George Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, Washington, 1927-48, 3 volumes.

29 – Steffens, B., Ibn al-Haytham: first scientist, 2007.

UNDERSTANDING DIVINE DECREE AND HUMAN WILL – ARE WE FORCED OR DO WE HAVE FREE WILL??

Many groups have been misled in their understanding of Qadar (Pre-destination/Divine Decree). From them are the Jahmiyyah and the Jabriyyah who claim that the slave is forced in his actions and he has no control, ability or will. He is like a feather or a leaf which is blown by the wind.

Another group went to the other extreme and declared that every man creates his own actions. Allah has no will or control in the slave’s action. The slave performs his actions by his choice and power that is independent of the Will of Allah. Some of them exaggerated to the extent that they said that Allah does not know the thing before it occurs…

The first group (Jabriyyah) affirmed the Divine Decree and exaggerated (in their affirmation of Allah’s Will) and thus robbed the slave from his will.

The second group (Qadariyyah) exaggerated in (their affirmation of) the slave’s will until they denied the Will and Decree of Allah.

Both these groups are greatly mistaken and misguided.

The Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah is on the middle path – they affirm ability, choice and will for the slave but it is subservient to the Will and Power of Allah and the slave cannot do anything except by the Will of Allah.

This article gives the reader a thorough understanding of how the will, choice and ability of the slave are subservient to the Will and Power of Allah.

Apart from explaining what it means to believe in the Divine Decree, it has been expansively clarified about the important issues related to the subject, like Allah’s Will for the occurrence of Kufr despite His Hatred for it.

Explanation of additional issues like – the sinner’s justification by pre-destination. Is it obligatory upon us to be pleased with what has been decreed? – make the book more comprehensive and beneficial for the reader.

We ask Allah to forgive our mistakes and make us amongst those who are patient and pleased with the Decree of Allah. Aameen.

Faith in the Divine Decree

Iman (faith) in the Divine Decree/Pre-destination is to believe that Allah has decreed everything due to His (Absolute) Knowledge.

The scholars therefore, say that  Iman in the Divine Decree has four stages:

The Knowledge 
The Writing 
The Will 
The Creation 

Level 1: The Knowledge

Allah is the Knower of everything  – in general and in detail.

Allah knows everything concerning His Own Actions like creation, giving life, causing death, sending down rain, etc.

Allah knows everything concerning the actions of His creatures like the sayings and deeds of man. Even actions of the animals are known to Allah.

Everything is known to Allah before it occurs.

The proofs of Allah’s Knowledge are numerous, amongst them are; 
“Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything.”  [Surah al-Ahzab 33: 40] 

“It is Allah, Who has created the seven heavens and the earth the like thereof. His Command descends between them that you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah comprehends all things in (His) Knowledge.” [Surah at-Talaaq 65:12]

“With Him are the keys of the Ghayb (unseen), none knows them but He. He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darknesses of the earth or anything fresh or dry, but is written in a clear record.” [Surah al-An’am 6:59]

Let us discuss (Allah’s Knowledge mentioned in) the above verse,

“He knows whatever there is in the earth and the sea.”  

The word, ‘whatever’ is general. So, Allah knows everything on the earth and in the seas.

“not a leaf falls but He knows it.”

Any leaf in any tree in any place – at the top of a mountain or in the depth of a valley or in a meadow located in any part of the world. All trees shed leaves but Allah knows the leaf (that falls at the given time). (and Allah also knows) every leaf that shoots out  – beforehand.

“There is not a grain in the darknesses of the earth.”  

Allah Knows every grain small or big in the darknesses of the earth.

The word, ‘darknesses’ is plural which indicates that the earth has darknesses; darkness of the night, darkness of the sea, darkness of the sand, darkness of the clouds, darkness of the rain and darkness of the dust. These are six darknesses and there may be more which we are unaware of. However, these darknesses do not change anything between Allah and the grain. Allah knows the grain and sees it.

“nor anything fresh or dry”

Allah knows everything that is fresh or dry.

“but is written in a Clear Record.”

Clear Record means al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh (the Preserved Tablet). Al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh is due to the Knowledge of Allah.

The Knowledge of Allah concerning the actions of man is inscribed in the Book of Allah (i.e., al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh), “Or do they think that We hear not their secrets and their private counsel? (Yes We do) and Our Messengers (i.e., angels in charge of recording man’s deeds) are by them to record.” [Surah az-Zukhruf 43:80]

Allah knows the secret and the private counsel. 
Secret is that which one conceals in his heart and talks about it to himself.
Private counsel is one’s confidential talk with a friend. Both are known to Allah.

This Knowledge of Allah was never preceded by ignorance and is not affected by forgetfulness. Therefore when Fir’awn asked Musa (alayhissalaam), “What about the generations of old?” (Musa) said, “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord, in a Record. My Lord is neither unaware nor He forgets.” [Surah Ta-Ha 20: 51-52]

“unaware” means ignorance

“nor He forgets” means He knows.
Knowledge of man, on the other hand, is surrounded by both -prior ignorance and subsequent forgetfulness, “Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing.” [Surah an-Nahl 16:78]

Level 2: The Writing

Allah recorded the destiny of everything fifty thousand years before creating the heavens and the earth. He recorded everything that will exist or not exist until the establishment of the Hour.

When Allah created the pen, He said to it, “Write.”

The pen asked, “O Lord, what shall I write?”

Allah replied, “Write the decree of what is to happen.”

So everything that is to happen until the Day of Judgment was written. Thus whatever occurs to man could not have missed him and whatever misses him could not have occurred to him.

The proof (that everything was previously recorded) is the Saying of Allah, “Know you not that Allah knows all that is in the heaven and on earth? Verily, it is (all) in the Book (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh). Verily! That is easy for Allah.” [Surah al-Hajj 22:70]

“No calamity befalls the earth or yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh) before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah.” [Surah al-Hadid 57:22]

The people of knowledge saidthat the Writing is of many kinds:

(i) The General Writing which is in al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh (the Preserved Tablet).

(ii) The Writing about the Life of man.

The Writing about the life of man is recorded while one is in the womb of his mother. Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ told us, ‘Every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days then he becomes a clot for another forty days then a piece of flesh for another forty days. Allah then sends an angel to breathe a soul into him. The angel is commanded to write down four decrees – his provision, life-span, deeds and whether he will be doomed or blessed (in the  Hereafter).

By the One besides whom there is no god, one of you may do the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is no more than a cubit between him and it – then the decree overtakes him and he does the actions of the people of Hell and thus enters it.

One of you may do the deeds of the people of Hell until there is no more than a cubit between him and it. The decree then overtakes him and he does the actions of the people of Paradise and thus enters it.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Such is because the first writing (in al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh) is dominant.

While reading the above Hadith, we should not forget the other Ahadith that give glad tidings to man. It is true that this Hadith causes one to be terrified and one might ask, ‘How can one man perform the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is no more than a cubit between him and it and then – we seek refuge from Allah – he commits an act of the people of Hell?

Reply: There are – Alhamdulillah – other texts which relieve the believer from his anguish (concerning this Hadith);

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “There is no one amongst you but Allah has already decreed his place in Paradise or in Hell.”  

They asked, “O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, should we not rely on the Book and leave striving?”

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Strive, for each one will be facilitated to do that for which he is created. Those who are blessed will perform the acts of those who are blessed and those who are the doomed will perform the acts of those who are doomed.”

Then he ﷺ recited the verse, “As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him and believes in al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient…We will make smooth for him the path for evil.” [Surah al-Layl 92: 5-10]

This is a glad tiding from the Prophet ﷺ – if one performs the acts of the blessed people then this is a proof that he is written amongst the blessed people. So let him be pleased.

Imam Bukhari narrated in his Sahih that the Prophet ﷺ was in a battle and there was a brave and courageous man concerning whom the Prophet ﷺ said, “Verily, he is from the people of Hell.” despite his bravery and courage.

This was hard on the Sahabah and so one of them said, “By Allah, I will follow him.” and so he did.

An arrow of the enemy wounded the brave man and so he was angered. He placed his sword on his chest and leaned on it until the sword emerged from his back. The man thus committed suicide.

The Companion returned to the Prophet ﷺ and said, “I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah!”

The Prophet ﷺ asked, “What is the matter?”

The Companion replied, “The man concerning whom you informed us that he was from the people of the Fire, did such and such.”

Then the Prophet ﷺ said, “Verily, a man may perform actions of the people of Paradise as it seems to the people while he is from the people of the Fire.” [See, Sahih al-Bukhari]

I ask Allah to purify my intentions and your intentions because intentions play a major role in one’s orientation. The heart is the chief and it controls man. We must therefore consider the heart, examine it and purify it perhaps, it contains impurities. Man might pretend to perform good deeds through the limbs but there might be in his heart this corrupt impurity that leads one to the fire in the end.

Some of the Salaf said, 
“My soul has not striven for anything – its striving is (only) for Ikhlas (sincerity).” 

That which many of us consider insignificant requires immense striving. If there is any bit of Riya (show-off) in a person, he is not a mukhlis (one who possesses Ikhlas – sincerity). Perhaps, Riya might be in his heart and it becomes a cause of his destruction at the last moment.

Ibn Qayyim mentioned (a story with regards to) the effects of sins and its consequences. A man indulged in Riba (interest – forbidden business) was prompted to recite the Shahadah by his family members at the verge of death. But he would only say ‘ten eleven’ because his heart only contained those prohibited issues that prevailed and overwhelmed it at the last moment. We seek Allah’s Refuge.

When Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) was at the verge of death – and his knowledge, worship and piety are well-known  – whenever he lost consciousness, he would say, “not yet, not yet.’

So he was asked upon regaining his consciousness, “O Abu Abdullah, what was your saying, ‘not yet, not yet?’”

He replied, “I saw Shaytan biting on his fingers and saying, ‘You have passed me. O Ahmad.’ I told him, ‘Not yet, not yet.’ meaning I have not passed you as long as the soul is in the body.

Man is thus in danger and as the Prophet ﷺ said, “…until there is no more than a cubit between him and it (Paradise) then the decree overtakes him and he does the actions of the people of Hell and thus he enters it (Hell).”

(iii) The Annual Writing which is recorded annually during Laylatul-Qadr (The Night of Qadr). (This Writing is) concerning what will happen during the (coming) year.

“We sent it (this Qur’an) down on a blessed night in the month of Ramadhan. Verily, We are ever warning. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments.” [Surah ad-Dukhan 44: 3-4]

‘decreed’ means every issue is clarified and specified in detail.

Allah also says, “Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the night of al-Qadr.” [Surah al-Qadr 97:1]

(iv) The Continuous Daily Writing is the writing of the actions because indeed man does not act except that it is recorded – whether the act was in his favor or against him as Allah says, “Nay! But you deny the recompense. But verily, over you (are appointed angels in charge of mankind) to watch you, Kiraman (honorable) Katibeen writing down (your deeds). They know all that you do.” [Surah al-Infitaar 82: 9-10]

“Indeed We have created man, and We know what his own self whispers to him. We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge). (Remember!) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive, one sitting on the right and the other on the left. Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).” [Surah al-Qaf 50:16-18]

This Continuous Daily Writing is different from the previous writings. The previous writings are concerning what man will do whereas this writing is concerning actions which he has performed and thus he will be recompensed (accounted) for them.

(v) The Writing of the Angels that are present at the doors of the mosques on Friday. They write down (the names of) those who reach the mosque first.

Whoever reaches at the first hour, it is as if he has sacrificed a camel (in Allah’s cause).

Whoever goes in the second hour it is as if he has sacrificed a cow.

Whoever goes in the third hour, it is as if he has sacrificed a horned ram.

Whoever goes in the fourth hour, it is as if he has sacrificed a hen.

Whoever goes in the fifth hour, it is as if he has offered an egg.

When the Imam comes out (i.e. starts delivering the sermon), the angels present themselves to listen to the sermon.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

level 3: The Will

Everything exists or does not exist by the Will of Allah. The Muslims are largely unanimous on this issue and all of them agree, “Whatsoever Allah Wills happens and what He does not Will does not occur.”

Everything occurs by the Will  of  Allah.

The Actions of Allah are without doubt by the Mashee’ah (Will) of Allah like creation, provision, life and death. Similarly actions of the creation are also by the Mashee’ah (Will) of Allah.

The proof from the Qur’an is the Saying of Allah, “If Allah had willed, succeeding generations would not have fought against each other after clear Verses of Allah had come to them but they differed – some of them believed and others disbelieved. If Allah had willed, they would not have fought against one another but Allah does what He likes.”  [Surah al-Baqarah 2: 253]

Fighting is the action of the creation which Allah caused (to occur) by His Mashee’ah (Will).

Allah says, 

“We have appointed enemies for every Prophet, Shayateen among mankind and jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion. If your Lord had so willed, they would not have done it,” [Surah al-An’aam 6:112] 

“If Allah had willed they would not have done so.” [Surah al-An’aam  6: 112] 

“To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight and you will not unless (it be) that Allah wills, the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists).” [Surah at-Takwir 81:29]

Our actions thus occur by the Will of Allah

Rational Proof
(that everything – the good and evil – exists by the Will of Allah)

Question: Is the creation the dominion of Allah?
Reply: Yes.

Question: Can there be anything in the dominion of Allah which Allah does not want?
Reply: No. As long as the thing belongs to Allah, there cannot be anything in His Dominion that Allah does not want.

Thus, everything that is in Allah’s Dominion is by His Will and Decision. There can never be anything in His Dominion that which He does not want.

If there were in His Dominion that which He does not will then His Dominion would be deficient, (because) there would be in His dominion that which would occur without His Knowledge and be beyond His Control.

LEVEL 4: THE CREATION

Faith in the Creation means believing that Allah created everything. The proof is the Saying of Allah,

“He (Allah) has created everything and has measured it exactly according to its due measurements.” [Surah al-Furqan 25:1-2] 

“Allah is the Creator of all things and He is the Wakeel (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian, etc.) over all things.” [Surah az-Zumar 39:62] 

“He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife? He created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything.”  [Surah al-An’am 6:102] 

“Verily, We have created all things with Qadar.” [Surah al-Qamar 54: 49] 

There are numerous verses which clearly mention that everything is a creation of Allah – even actions of mankind are a creation of Allah although they are by the choice and will of man because the actions of man are an outcome of two things:

a) Strong will 
b) Complete strength 

For example, if I were to ask you  to lift a rock weighing 10 kg and you refuse saying, “I don’t want to lift it.”

In this case, you decide to refuse to lift the rock.

I again ask you to lift the rock and you say, “Yes.” So, you try to lift the rock but you are unable to do so.

In this case, you are unable to lift the rock due to lack of strength.

For the third time I ask you to lift and you say, “Yes.” This time you lift it over your head.

In this case, you lifted the rock by your strength and decision.

All our actions are thus an outcome of strong will and complete strength, and the One Who created this will and strength is Allah.

If Allah had caused you to be paralyzed, then you would be incapable.

If Allah had changed your intention of doing that act, then (too) you would not have done it.

A Bedouin was asked, “By what do you know your Lord?”

He replied, “Through revoking of one’s intentions and changing of one’s interest.”

Man sometimes firmly resolves to do something then he changes his mind without any cause. Sometimes one goes out intending to meet a friend but he changes his mind and does not go without a reason. It is Allah, Who caused his heart to change his intention and so he returns.

Therefore, we say, “The actions of man are a creation of Allah because they are an outcome of strong will and complete strength and the Creator of this will and strength is Allah.”

Allah is the Creator of will and strength (of man) because these are the characteristics of the slave and the All-Powerful Who created the slave is Allah. The Creator of the one who possesses the characteristic (i.e., the slave) is (also) the Creator of the creature’s (slave’s) characteristics. It is thus clarified that the actions of man are a creation of Allah.

[Hereunder are discussions concerning the issue of al-Qadar because this subject – as we have mentioned at the beginning of our discussion – is critical, and includes numerous issues].

DISCUSSION 1: Allah has Mashee’ah, Iradah and Mahabbah

Allah says in the Quran, 

“Allah does what He Wills (al-Mashee’ah).” [Surah Ibraheem 14: 27] 

“Allah does what He wants (al-Iradah).” [Surah al-Baqarah 2: 253] 

Question: Are al-Mashee’ah (Will) and al-Iradah (Want/Will) one and the same thing?

Reply: No, they are different.

Question: Are al-Iradah (Want/Will) and al-Mahabbah (Love) one and the same thing? i.e., if Allah Loves something (does it also mean that) He Wills it? and if Allah Wills something (does it also mean that) He loves it?

Reply: Al-Iradah and al-Mahabbah are not the same. So there are three things  –

(i) al-Mashee’ah
(ii) al-Iradah
(iii) al-Mahabbah

All three have different meanings.
Al-Mashee’ah (Will) concerns issues of the universe regardless of whether it is loved by Allah or is detestable to Him. Allah might Will something although He does not love it and He might Will something that He Loves.

Evil is created by the Will of Allah although He does not love it.

Corruption in the earth exists by the Will of Allah although Allah does not love it.

Kufr exists by the Will of Allah although Allah does not love it.

So perhaps Allah might Will an issue concerning the universe that He does not love and He might Will an issue which He Loves.

Al-Mahabbah (Love) is related to issues of the Shari’ah (religious legislations).

Al-Mahabbah includes only those things which Allah has made permissible.

Evil is not loved by Allah but He loves obedience regardless of whether it occurs or does not occur.

Al-Iradah has two aspects;

(a) an aspect which comprises of al-Mashee’ah
(b) an aspect which comprises of al-Mahabbah

The first aspect of al-Iradah which includes al-Mashee’ah is al-Iradah al-Kawniyah (the Universal Will)

The Universal Will necessarily occurs. If Allah wants something to happen with regards to the universe then it occurs without fail regardless of whether Allah loves it or does not love it.

(al-Iradah al-Kawniyyah is mentioned in verses like)

“Allah does what He wants.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2: 253]

“If it is Allah’s Will to keep you astray.” [Surah Hud 11:34]

This verse means, “If Allah Wills to keep you astray” and it does not mean, ‘Allah loves to keep you astray’ because Allah does not love to misguide His slaves.

The second aspect of al-Iradah which includes Love is al-Iradah ash-Shar’iyyah (the Legislative Will).

The Legislative Will may not necessarily occur like the Saying of Allah, “Allah wishes to accept your repentance.” [Surah an-Nisa (4):27]

The Will mentioned in the verse is al-Iradah ash-Shar’iyyah because if it meant al-Mashee’ah (i.e., the universal Will which necessarily occurs) then repentance would have occurred with regard to all mankind but we see that there are people who repent and there are those who do not repent.

It is possible that both the Wills – al-Iradah al-Kawniyyah and al-Iradah ash-Shar’iyyah – agree with each other in one situation like for example, the Iman of Abu Bakr. This is what Allah Willed legislatively and universally.

It is the Legislative Will of Allah because Allah loves it.

It is the Universal Will of Allah because it occurred.

An example of al-Iradah al-Kawniyyah (Universal Will) which is different from al-Iradah ash-Shar’iyyah (Legislative Will) is the Kufr (disbelief) of Abu Lahab. Their Kufr falls under al-Iradah al-Kawniyyah because Kufr is the opposite of Shari’ah and Allah does not love the disbelievers.

An example of al-Iradah ash-Shar’iyyah (Legislative Will) which is different from al-Iradah al-Kawniyyah (Universal Will) is the Iman of Fir’awn. It is the Shar’iyyah Will because Allah sent Musa (alayhissalaam) to him. Musa (alayhissalaam) called him (to faith) but Allah did not Will it to occur due to al-Iradah al-Kawniyyah and therefore, it did not occur and Fir’awn did not accept Iman.

DISCUSSION 2: Allah’s WILL for the occurrence of KUFR Despite his hatred for it

Question: If Allah hates Kufr (disbelief) then how is it that He Wills it to occur although no one can force Allah?

Reply: Murad (cause/motive) is of two kinds;

a) Murad (cause/motive) which is (loved) for oneself. The thing that is beloved is wanted for one’s own self, like Iman. So Iman is the Murad of Allah universally and legislatively because it is intended for Himself.

b) Murad (cause/motive) for (the well-being of) someone else meaning Allah Wills it to occur not because He loves it but when He arranges the well-being (of His creation, He Wills it to occur) for the benefit of others. This can also include those issues which are due to Wisdom and not due to being forced.

Example

Kufr is detestable to Allah but Allah Wills it to occur for His slaves because

If there was no Kufr, the believer would not have been distinguished from the disbeliever and he would not deserve praise since everybody would be a Mu’min (believer).

If there was no Kufr, there would have been no struggling. Who would fight the believers?

If there was no Kufr, the Mu’min (believer) would not have valued the blessing of Islam.

If Kufr did not occur and all of mankind was Muslim then Islam would not have been a merit.

If Kufr did not occur, the creation of Hell-Fire would be futile whereas Allah has mentioned, “If your Lord had so willed, He could surely have made mankind one nation (all following the religion of Islam) but they will not cease to disagree except him on whom your Lord has bestowed His Mercy and for that did He create them. The Word of your Lord has been fulfilled, “Surely, I shall fill Hell with jinn and men all together.’” [Surah Hud 11: 118-119]

It is thus clear that the universal will – which might be detestable to Allah – could be intended for (the well-being of) others.

Example

A father immensely loves his son. If a spark of fire was to fall on the son, it would hurt the father’s heart as though the spark fell on him due to his love for the son.

The son falls sick and is taken to the doctor, who prescribes that the son be treated with cauterization (treatment by fire) in order to regain his health. The father agrees to the treatment.

This (decision of the father) is for the sake of the son and not for his ownself. It is for (the well-being of) someone other than himself.

You thus find that the father, with full calmness, comfort and contentment decides that his son be cauterized with fire although if a spark of fire was to fall on his son, it was as if it fell on the father’s heart.

It is thus known that something hateful can occur – not for one’s ownself but for (the well-being of) someone else. It is also known that something detestable might be done – not for one’s own self but for the sake of someone else. Such is also the case of Kufr, sin and corruption. Allah Wills it when it assures well-being – thus Kufr is willed by Allah for the sake of others and not for His Own-Self.

DISCUSSION 3: Allah’s DECREE  and the Slave’s Pleasure with it

It is obligatory upon us to believe in the Decree of Allah whatever it might be and be pleased with it (i.e., the Decreeing of Allah) but is it obligatory upon us to be pleased with what has been decreed?

What has been decreed is of two types;

1. The Legislative Decree (or the religious decree)

2. The Universal Decree

It is obligatory upon us to be pleased with the legislative decree like:

Allah has prescribed the five daily prayers. We have to believe in its obligation and accept it.

Allah has decreed the prohibition of adultery. It is obligatory upon us to believe in its prohibition.

Allah has decreed the legitimacy of trade. It is obligatory upon us to believe that trade is halaal (permissible) and be pleased with it.

Allah has decreed the prohibition of Riba (usury). It is obligatory upon us to believe and accept its prohibition.

The bottom line of this issue is that it is obligatory to be pleased with the Shar’iah (Legislative) Decree and accept it because, “Whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers.”  [Surah al-Ma’idah 5:44]

The Universal Decree is that which Allah decrees concerning the universe. If this decree is loved by one and is in accordance with one’s nature then pleasure with it is from the natural instinct of man.

For example, If Allah decrees for the slave to be knowledgeable then he is pleased with it.

If Allah decrees for the slave to be wealthy then he is pleased with it.
If Allah decrees that the slave has children then he will be pleased with the Decree of Allah.

If the decree is not favorable to man and does not agree with his nature like sickness, poverty, ignorance, loss of children, etc. then the scholars have disagreed concerning it. Some said that it is obligatory to be pleased with it while others said that it is Mustahabb (recommended) to be pleased with it. The correct opinion is that pleasure with the unfavorable universal decree of Allah is Mustahab (recommended).

Man can be in four conditions when the decree is unfavorable and does not agree with his nature,

a) Dissatisfaction 
b) Patience 
c) Pleasure 
d) Thankfulness 

1) Dissatisfaction is prohibited.

(for example) If one is afflicted with hardship concerning his wealth, then he is dissatisfied with the Decree and Will of Allah. He starts scratching his face and tearing his clothes. He finds in himself hatred for Allah’s arrangement of affairs. This is prohibited and therefore Allah’s Messenger ﷺ cursed the one, who wails and the one who listens to it, “He is not from us, who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes, and calls the call of ignorance.”  

Does this prohibited action, which is a major sin, decrease the hardship of the calamity?

No, never does it ever decrease the hardship of the calamity, rather it increases it. Man becomes dissatisfied and grief-stricken. He does not gain any benefit from it. The Decree of Allah will surely occur no matter what. You have no power over it (it is not such that) if you had not done that then this would not have happened. This thinking is a delusion from Shaytan. The decree will surely take place therefore Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Whatever occurred to you could not have missed you, and what missed you could not have occurred to you,”  

Without doubt the decree has to occur as Allah Willed it, Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “…if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say, “If I had not done that, it would not have happened such and such,’ but say, Allah did what He had ordained and your ‘if’ opens the gate for Shaytan.” [Sahih Muslim 6441]

If one drives in a car and has an accident and so he pitifully says, “If I had not come out for this ride, then my car would not have been destroyed.”

Will this benefit him? No. It will never benefit because this accident was decreed and the matter is carried out just as it is decreed no matter what.

2. Sabr (Patience)

Man suffers greatly from hardship and is saddened but he practices patience and does not utter with his tongue (anything that is displeasing to Allah), nor (does any act that is displeasing to Allah) through his limbs. He takes control of his heart and says,

image

“O Allah, recompense me for my hardship and give me that which is better than it. Verily, we belong to Allah and to him we shall return.” [See, Sahih Muslim]

The ruling of patience here is that of obligation.

It is obligatory on man to be patient during hardship and not utter anything that is prohibited nor do anything that is prohibited.

3. Ridaa (Pleasure) 

Being pleased with the Decree of Allah despite being afflicted by a calamity

The difference between Sabr (patience) and Ridaa (pleasure) is that the heart of the Radi (one who is pleased) is never hurt, it goes along with the Decree.

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “…If he (the believer) is granted ease of living, he is thankful and this is best for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres and this is best for him.” [Sahih Muslim]

i.e., both the situations are the same for him as far as accepting the decree of Allah is concerned. He is pleased whether he is in difficulty or in ease.

Some of the scholars say that this (state of affair) is obligatory while the majority of the people of knowledge are of the opinion that it is not obligatory – rather it is Mustahab (recommended).

Ridaa (pleasure) is without doubt a more complete state than Sabr (patience) but as for making it obligatory upon the people and saying that it is obligatory upon you to be in the same state during calamity and in its absence is difficult and no one can handle it. Man can practice patience but he is incapable of being pleased at all times.

4. Shukr (Thankfulness)

One might find this strange. How can one be afflicted with calamity and thank Allah? Isn’t this contrary to the nature of man?

Man would be thankful to Allah if he were to know the rewards of a calamity that is endured with patience. Allah says, “Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full, without reckoning.” [Surah az-Zumar 39: 10]

and He said,

“give glad tidings to as-Sabireen (the patient ones, etc.) who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly to Him we shall return. They are those on whom are the Salawaat (blessings) from their Lord and His Mercy…” [Surah al-Baqarah (2):155-157]

One says, “How trivial and worthless is this world in my eyes! If I were to gain from this calamity – which I bear with patience – such blessings, mercy of Allah and rewards without reckoning.” – then one will thank Allah for this blessing.

He will then see that this is a blessing from Allah because the whole world is transient whereas the rewards, blessings and mercy are forever – so he thanks Allah for this calamity.

Thankfulness upon calamity is Mustahab (recommended) and not obligatory because it is of a higher level than pleasure – however, thankfulness upon blessings is obligatory.

So, these are the states of man with respect to what is decreed universally and that which are against nature and not favorable to him.

Question: What do you say about being pleased with regards to what man does (against) the religious rulings like adultery and robbery. Are you pleased with his adultery and robbery?

Reply: There are two aspects to this:

First: Allah decreed it and originated it and therefore it is a universal decree. We have to be pleased with it in this regard and we do not say, ‘Why Allah caused the adulterer to commit adultery? Or why He caused the robber to commit robbery?’ We cannot raise objections.

Second: We are not pleased with the action of the slave. We establish the Hadd (punishment) on him, “The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment.” [Surah an-Nur 24:2]

Concerning the robber, Allah said, “Cut off the hand of the thief, male or female, as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.” [Surah al-Maidah 5:38]

It is known that flogging and cutting of hand is displeasing. If one were to be pleased with them, then we would not have inflicted it as a punishment upon them.

DISCUSSION 4: The Sinner’s Justification by the Divine Decree

We have mentioned that everything is recorded, everything occurs by the Will of Allah and everything is a creation of Allah.

So does this belief give the sinner an excuse for his sins?

If we were to catch a man disobeying Allah and ask him, “Why do you commit disobedience?”

He replies, “This is by the Will and Decree of Allah.”

This statement is correct but if one uses this statement to justify his sins then this is what we say in reply,

“This is a false argument. There is no justification for your sin in predestination. The proof is the Saying of Allah, “Those who took partners with Allah will say, “If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners with Him nor would our fathers…” Likewise, belied those who were before them till they tasted of Our Wrath.” [Surah al-An’am 6:148]

So, Allah did not accept their excuse and the proof that He did not accept their argument are the  words, ’till they tasted of Our Wrath.’

If they had an excuse in the Divine Decree then Allah would not have made them taste the Wrath.

But those who are against what we have mentioned will come up with this argument,

How do you assert that Allah falsified the argument of those who said, “If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners with Him…” [Surah al-An’am 6: 148] whereas Allah said to His Messenger ﷺ, “Follow what has been inspired to you (O Muhammad ﷺ) from your Lord, ‘none has the right to be worshipped but He’ and turn aside from those who associate partners with Allah. Had Allah willed, they would not have taken others besides Him in worship. We have not made you a watcher over them nor are you set over them to dispose of their affairs.”   [Surah al-An’am 6:106-107]

This is a consolation for the Messenger ﷺ, Allah is explaining to him that their Shirk is occurring by the Will of Allah – in order to calm the Prophet ﷺ down. Allah is teaching the Prophet ﷺ that if it is the Will of Allah then it will surely occur and one should be pleased with it.

As for the second verse, “If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him…” [Surah al-An’am 6: 148]

Verily, Allah falsified their argument because they wanted to justify their Shirk and sin by the Divine Decree. If they had presented the Divine Decree in order to submit to the Decree along with rectification of the situation, then we would have accepted it from them, like if they had committed Shirk and then said, “this occurred by the Will of Allah, but we seek forgiveness and we repent from it.’ Then we say, ‘you are correct.’ But if they say when we forbid them from Shirk, ‘If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him…” [Surah al-An’am 6:148] then this is not acceptable from them at all.

Secondly: The falsity of the argument of the sinner by predestination is also proven by the Saying of Allah, “Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the Messengers.” [Surah an-Nisa 4:  165]

The proof in this verse is that if sending the Messenger cuts out all the excuses of the sinner then it means that the Decree was never an excuse for the sinner because if Decree was an excuse for the sinner then it should have been cut off by the sending of the messengers but the Decree still stands.

Thirdly: Another proof of the falsity of using the Divine Decree as an excuse is to say to those who use predestination as an excuse-before you are two ways – a good way and an evil way. Before entering the evil path, does he know that Allah has decreed for him to enter the path of evil?

Surely he does not know. If he does not know then why does he not expect that Allah has decreed for him the path of goodness?

Man does not know what Allah has decreed except after it occurs because the Will of Allah, as some scholars said, is a concealed secret. It is not known until after it occurs and we witness it.

So we say to the sinner, ‘You preceded yourself to the evil while you were unaware that Allah had decreed it for you. So if you were unaware then why did you not expect that Allah had decreed for you the good and take the door to good?!’

Fourthly: If the sinner (who seeks to use al-Qadar as an excuse) is asked, “What do you choose for your worldly affairs; good or evil?’
He will reply: the good.

We say: Then why do you not choose the good with regards to the affairs of the hereafter?

Similarly if we ask the sinner, “When you travel to a city and there are two ways; the left way is not flat, has a dead end and has great dangers while the right way is flat and safe. So through which path will you travel?”

He will surely reply, “From the right.”

We say, “Why do you go to the right way which has good and success with regards to the issues of the world? Why do you not go to the left path in which there is a dead end and is not flat and then say, ‘this is decreed for me?!”

He will reply, “I do not know the decree but I choose for myself the better option.”

So we say, “Why do you not choose the best with regards to the Hereafter (too)?!”

Another example:

We catch any man and begin to violently beat him. Whenever he screams we tell him, ‘This is the Decree of Allah.’

Will he accept this justification?

Surely he will not accept it whereas whenever he disobeys Allah, he says, ‘this is the Decree of Allah’ but if we disobey Allah concerning an issue that pertains to him, he will not accept when we tell him, ‘this is the Decree of Allah’ rather he will say, ‘this is your action.’ Is this not a proof against him?

A thief was brought before Ameerul-Mumineen Umar Ibn Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) who ordered that the thief’s hands be cut because such is (prescribed in the Shari’ah).

So the thief said, “Wait, O Ameerul-Mu’mineen, By Allah, I did not steal except by Allah’s Will and Decree.

The thief was truthful in his statement but before him was Umar ibn Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu), who said, “We are not cutting your hands except with the Will and Decree of Allah.” Then he ordered the cutting by the Decree of Allah. So Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) used the same argument against him which the thief used as a proof.

If someone argues that Allah’s Messenger approved of using the Divine Decree as an excuse in the Hadith which mentions that Adam (alayhissalaam) used the Divine Decree as an excuse. When Musa (alayhissalaam) said, “you are our father, you caused us and yourself to be expelled from Paradise.” So, Adam (alayhissalaam) said, “Do you blame me for that which Allah had written for me before He created me? So the Messenger said, ‘So, Adam overpowered Musa.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

i.e., Adam (alayhissalaam) won the argument, although Adam (alayhissalaam) based upon the Will of Allah and his Decree.

Doesn’t this Hadith approve using Divine Decree as an excuse?

Reply: This is not an excuse by the Will and Decree of Allah for the action of the slave or his sin. It is an excuse by the Divine Decree for the calamity that resulted from the action. It is an excuse by the Divine Decree for the affliction and not the sins, and therefore he said, ‘you caused yourself and us to be expelled from Paradise.’ And he did not say, ‘you disobeyed your Lord and caused us to be expelled from Paradise.’

No. What happened to him was merely the Will and Decree of Allah.

Therefore, Adam (alayhissalaam)’s excuse by the Decree for the calamity that occurred is a sound argument and therefore Allah’s Messenger said, “Adam over-powered Musa.”

Another example, what would you say concerning a man who committed sins, regretted and then repented for?

One of his brothers came to him and asked, ‘How did this happen to you?’

He replies, ‘This is the Will of Allah and His Decree.’

Is his excuse correct?

Yes, it is correct because he repented. He did not use the Divine Decree as an excuse to continue his sin rather he is regretful.

An example of this is the following incident.

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ entered upon Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatima (radhiyallahu anhum) and found them sleeping, and it was as if the Messenger ﷺ blamed them for not waking up (for prayers) So, Ali ibn Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “O Messenger of Allah, verily our souls are in the Hands of Allah. If He Wishes, He ceases them, and when he wishes He sends them. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ left while saying, “But, man is ever more quarrel-some than anything.” [Surah al-Kahf 18: 54]

So, did the Prophet ﷺ accept the excuse? No, rather the Prophet ﷺ explained that this is arguing because the Prophet ﷺ knows that the souls are in the Hands of Allah but man has to be determined and make sure that he wakes up for prayers.

In conclusion, it is clear to us that using the Divine Decree as an excuse for calamities is permissible. Similarly, using the Divine Decree as an excuse for sin after repentance is permissible. As for using the Divine Decree as an excuse for sinning in order to become guilt-free and persist in sin is not permissible.

DISCUSSION 4:  Does Man have Freedom of Choice?

The following statement has become widespread amongst people in today’s times;

‘Does man have freedom of choice or is he bound (by the Decree of Allah)?’ 

If the actions which man performs are those concerning which he has a choice then man has freedom of choice like his being able to eat and drink. Therefore, when the call to Fajr prayer is heard, some people proceed towards water. This is by their choice.

Similarly, when man feels sleepy he goes to bed by his choice.

When he hears the call for the Maghrib prayer he eats by his choice.

Similarly you will find that man has freedom of choice in all actions.

If it was not so then the punishment of the sinner would be injustice. How can man be punished for something over which he has no control?

If it was not so then how could man be rewarded for something over which he has no control? Are punishments and rewards futile?

So, man has choice but he does not perform any action except that it is Decreed by Allah because there is an authority over his authority, but Allah does not force man. Man has choice and he acts by his choice.

Therefore, when an act occurs without the man’s intention, then it is not attributed to him. Allah said about the people of the Kahf, “We turned them on their right and on their left sides.” [Surah al-Kahf 18:18]

So the act of turning is attributed to Allah, because they were sleeping and they had no power over themselves, Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “He, who forgetfully eats or drinks in the state of fasting, then his fasting is complete because verily, Allah feeds him and…”  

So, the feeding and drinking is attributed to Allah because the man did not do it by choice. He did not choose to ruin his fast by eating and drinking.

Consequently, I have not seen this statement in books of the Sahabah or the Taba’een, and those who followed them, nor in the statements of the scholars, not even in the writings of the philosophers. Rather, this has come up in later times and people have started to think about it, “Is man in control or is he controlled?”

We know that we perform actions by our choice and decision. We do not feel that anybody is compelling us or forcing us to do it. Rather we are the ones who want to do something, then we do it and if we want to abandon it, we abandon it.

But as we said earlier in the levels of the Divine Decree that our actions are a result of strong will and complete strength and these are two characteristics in ourselves, and we are a creation of Allah, and the creator of the bark is the creator of the branches also.

Benefits of the faith in the DIVINE decree

1. Completion of faith in Allah because Qadar is the Power of Allah, so Iman in it is the completion of one’s Faith in Allah.
2. Completion of the pillars of Iman because Allah’s Messenger ﷺ mentioned it under Iman in the Hadith of Jibra’eel.

3. Man stays content because he knows that everything is from Allah, he is pleased with it and content. He knows that what has occurred to him could not have missed him and what missed him could not have occurred to him.

We have already mentioned that what has occurred can never be changed, so do not attempt, think or say ‘If,’ because that which has occurred cannot be changed or altered.

4. Completion of Faith in Allah’s Lordship. This resembles the first benefit because if man become pleased with Allah as his Lord, then he submits to his Decision and Decree and relies upon Him.

5. Faith in the Divine Decree truly exposes man to the Wisdom of Allah concerning His Decree of good and evil. Man knows that behind his thinking and imagination, there is the One, Who is Greater and more Knowledgeable. Therefore, many a time we do a thing or something happens and we hate it while it is good for us.

Sometimes, man perceives that Allah restricted him from doing something he wants, then later when things takes place, he understands that the good was in not doing it.

How many times do we hear that  someone reserves a seat in a certain airline for a trip, then when he reaches (the airport), he finds that he has missed the flight and the trip – and then the plane meets an accident.

So, before when he had arrived to board the flight and found that it had taken off, he was saddened but when the accident occurred, he knows that it was good (on his part) and therefore, Allah says, “Struggling is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it. It may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2: 216]

READ ALSO: FATE AND DESTINY (AL-QADAA WA AL-QADAR)

Falsity of Dividing Tawheed into Three Parts

          By Dr. Omar Abdullah Kaamil

Introduction

Dividing tawheed into Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah and Al-Ruboobiyyah and Al-Asmaa Wa Al-Sifaat was not known prior to Ibn Taymiyyah. The Messenger of Allah did not tell someone who wanted to enter Islam that there are two types of tawheed (i.e. of Lordship and of Divinity) and one won’t become Muslim unless and until he acknowledges both. Nor did the Prophet ﷺ imply the multiplicity of tawheed in any way nor was it reported from any of the righteous predecessors until the seventh century where Ibn Taymiyyah divided tawheed into three parts:

1. Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah: Ibn Taymiyyah claimed that Muslims and polytheists alike acknowledge this type of tawheed. Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah, according to Ibn Taymiyyah, means that one has to believe that Allah is the sole creator, sustainer and disposer of affairs in the universe.

2. Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah: This means worshipping Allah alone. Ibn Taymiyyah states: “The true God is the one who deserves to be worshipped … and the tawheed means that you worship Him alone without associating any partners.” [Al-Tadmeeriyyah, p. 106]

3. Al-Asmaa Wa Al-Sifaat: It means, according to Ibn Taymiyyah, believing in the attributes of Allah according to the apparent literal meaning.

Ibn Taymiyyah says in his Minhaj al-Sunnah talking about the Muslims, Scholars of the Islamic Creed of Ash’aris and others:

“They took out from tawheed what is part and partial of it such as Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah and believing in the Attributes of Allah according to the apparent literal meaning. The only thing left in tawheed for them is Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah which is to believe that Allah is the Creator of all things and their Lord. This last type of tawheed is even acknowledged by the polytheists. Allah Ta’ala says about them:

“If you ask them, who is it that created the heavens and the earth. They will certainly say: “Allah”. Say: “Praise be to Allah.” But most of them understand not.” [Surah Luqman: 25]

“Say, who is it in whose hands is the governance of all things, who protects (all), but is not protected (of any)? (say) if ye know, They will say, “(It belongs) to Allah.” Say: “Then how are ye deluded.” [Surah al-Mu’minoon: 86 & 87]

“And most of them believe them not in Allah without associating (others as partners) with Him!.” [Surah Yusuf: 106]

Some of the righteous predecessors said that when the polytheists were asked as to who created the heavens and the earth, they would respond: “Allah,” yet they used to worship idols. The tawheed that Allah demands of his slaves is Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah which contains Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah and it means that only Allah is worshipped without any partners…” [Minhaaj al-Sunnah, Pages 2 & 6]

He said in his article called “Ahl al-Sunna”:

“Tawheed Al-Ruboobiyyah alone is not sufficient and does not guarantee that one is not a disbeliever.”

Ibn Abdul Wahhab said in his book called “Kashf al-Subhohaat”:

“The last of the Messengers, Muhammad, who destroyed the statues of these righteous people, was sent to a people, who used to worship, perform Hajj, give charity and remember Allah often. However, they used to take some of the creation as intermediaries between them and Allah. They used to say, “We want them to get us closer to Allah and we want their intercession for us with Allah.” Their intercessors include those of the angels, Jesus and Mary and other righteous people.” [Kashf al-Subhohaat: Pages 3-4]

He also says:

“These polytheists accept and acknowledge that Allah is the sole Creator without any partner, He is the sole Sustainer, He is the sole giver of life and taker of life, He is the sole disposer of affairs in the universe, and that all seven heavens and the earth and their inhabitants are all His slaves and worshippers He does with as He pleases and when He pleases.”

Then he quoted a few verses from the Holy Qur’an to prove that the polytheists are as he just described them and he added:

“When it is established that the Messenger of Allah fought them so that only Allah is called upon, vow is made to Him, sacrifices made only for His sake, only His aid is sought after and all for of worship is dedicated to Allah alone, then you must realize that their acknowledging the Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah did not make them enter into the circle of Islam and the fact that they turn towards the Angels, the Prophets, the Saints seeking their intercession to get closer to Allah is what made their blood and their wealth permissible. It should now be clear that the tawheed to which the Messengers called is the Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah and that is exactly what the polytheists refused.”

How could the Messenger of Allah ﷺ stay quiet about a matter such as this? How was it possible that all the scholars of the Ummah missed this point for seven centuries until the coming of Ibn Taymiyyah? Or was it that the generations before Ibn Taymiyyah were not on the creed of the Ahlus Sunnah Wa al-Jama’ah and that the Ahlus Sunnah Wa al-Jama’ah are those who follow this division of tawheed?

This division of tawheed into three is illogical. The true God is at the same time the true Lord and vice versa. These two words are inseparable in that when (the word) ‘God’ is used ‘Lord’ is implied and when ‘Lord’ is used ‘God’ is also implied. We find that they are used interchangeably in the Qur’an, in hadith and in the statements of the scholars alike.

The Holy Qur’an and Prophetic tradition indicates the unrepeatability of Tawheed al-Uloohiyya and Ruboobiyyah. Allah Ta’ala says:

“(Kept them away from the Path), that they should not worship Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what ye hide and what ye reveal.” [Surah al-Naml: 25]

These verse establishes that none deserves to be prostrated to except the Omnipotent and Omniscient.

Allah Ta’ala says,

“And neither would he enjoin you that you should take the angels and the prophets for lords…” [Surah Aal Imran: 80]

This verse clearly states that the polytheists worshipped multiple lords. Despite this Divine injunction, the proponents of the bid’ah of trinity of tawheed say: The polytheists believed in the Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah and they only have one Lord. They became polytheists because they associated partners with Allah in the Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah!!!.

Look at what the polytheists will say on the Day of Judgement:

“By Allah!, we were truly in an error manifest. When we held you (idols) as equals with the Lord of the Worlds.” [Surah al-Shura’a: 97-98]

That is to say that the polytheists held their idols as lords equal with Allah Ta’ala.

Allah Ta’ala says:

“Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)? They said: “Yeah, we do testify!”   [Surah al-A’raaf: 172]

If acknowledging the Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah was not enough, then it would not have been enough to take the covenant with just the Lordship (Am I not your Lord?) Nor would it be correct for them to say:

“Surely, we were heedless of this.”

If the Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah were not included in the Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah, then the wording of the covenant would not be enough and the mankind would have to have been asked to acknowledge also the Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah as part of the covenant. The fact that Allah Ta’ala asked for the acknowledgement of His Lordship means that Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah is already included in Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah.

As for evidence from the Sunnah [that the tawheed is inseparable], there is the questioning of the two Angels of an individual right after the burial – only about his Lord. They only say, “Who is your Lord?” This is because the angels do not distinguish between Lord and God. According to the view of the proponents of trinity of tawheed, the angels would have to ask: Who is your God not Who is your Lord? Or, they would have to ask both questions.

Thus, limiting the tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah to ‘tawheed of creation’ is a mistake and a dubious statement. This is because Lordship is not limited to creation only, as we have shown previously, but it also includes the administration of the universe as well as disposing of its affairs. Not all the polytheists and disbelievers were in agreement regarding the Lordship nor did they all believe in the Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah as the proponents of the trinity of tawheed claim.

Some of the disbelievers at the time of the Prophet ﷺ were atheists and disbelieved in resurrection and life after death. Some of them were polytheists who associated partners with Allah Ta’ala and claimed that their idols were partaking in the creation as well as in controlling some of the matters of the universe. There were people of the book who believed in multiple gods. Yet Ibn Taymiyyah and his followers speak of the disbelievers as if they were one group having the same belief.

After all this, how can someone describe the word ‘Lord’ as just the Creator and the Originator?

Let us now examine the usage of the word ‘Allah’ in the Qur’an.

Use of the word ‘ilaah’ (a god) in the Qur’an

Upon beholding the Qur’an, we see that the word ‘god’ is a general term that is used for the same meeting as His exalted name ‘Allah’ but the latter is the clearest of all names that can refer to Him. We find that the understanding from these two words are one and the same to the extent that the word ‘Allah’ is used in place of “God” as a description, not as a proper noun in this verse:

“And He is Allah in the heavens and on earth. He knoweth what ye hide, and what ye reveal, and He knoweth the (recompense) which ye earn by your deeds.”   [Surah al-An’aam, 3]

This verse is a parallel of the following verse [where the word ‘God’ instead of ‘Allah’]:

“It is He Who is God in heaven and God on earth; and He is full of Wisdom and Knowledge.”   [Surah al-Zukhruf, 84]

The use of His exalted name “Allah” in this verse and the like is a synonym for “the God (al-ilaah)” That is to say: “He is the God Who is…”

Whoever studies the verses in which the word “the God (al-ilaah)” is mentioned, finds that this word is used to mean “He who does what the lord must do — either all of it or some of it — from creation, to managing, to having full control over all affairs in the universe, etc. In addition, He is the only One deserving to be worshipped since He possess the above qualities. Examples of such verses include:

1. “If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allah, there would have been confusion in both! But glory to Allah, the Lord of the Throne: (High is He) above what they attribute to Him!” [Surah al-Anbiya: 22]

The confusion in heavens and on earth won’t happen by the mere fact of multiplicity of gods unless and until we take the words “the God (al-ilaah)” in this verse to mean the disposer of affairs and the manager of the matters of the Universe.

2. “No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah. (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him!” [Surah al-Mu’minoon: 91]

In this verse, “the God (al-ilaah)”, is described as the Creator,  Disposer of affairs, Victor over all things.

3. “Say: if there had been other (gods) with Him, as they say, behold, they would certainly have sort out a way to the Lord of the Throne!” [Surah al-Isra’: 42]

Seeking out a way to the Lord of the Throne would necessitate multiple creators, disposer of affairs, victors who control the universe.

Use of the word rabb (a lord) in the Qur’an

The word “Lord (rabb)” is used in the Nobel Qur’an, as in the language, with various shades of meanings:
1. Upbringing (al-tarbiya)
2. Mending and caring (al-islaah wa al-ria’aya)
3. Governance and politics (al-hukooma wa al-siyaasa)
4. Owner (al-maalik)
5. Possessor (al-Saahib) as in the saying of Allah Ta’ala in Surah Quraysh: (3): “Let them adore the Lord of this House.”

The original meaning of this word “Lord (rabb)” is He in Whose Hands is the power of administration, managing and bringing about what is necessary. This is the general meaning of the term and being a creator is not among its meanings as some claim.

The Falsity of Dividing Tawheed into Three Parts

Allah Ta’ala says:

“Behold! Verily to Allah belong all who dwell in the heavens and on earth. Those who follow [alleged] partners apart from Allah follow nothing but conjecture. They do nothing but lie.” [Surah Yunus: 66]

“He merges Night into Day, and He merges Day into Night, and He had subjected the sun and the moon (to His Laws); each one runs its course for a term appointed. Such is Allah your Lord: to Him belongs all Dominion. All those whom ye invoke besides Him have not the least power.” [Surah Faatir: 13]

These two verses indicate that the polytheists believed that the lords they were worshipping had a share in the dominion (mulk) and that they had influence on the Divine plan of Allah. The verses conclude by saying that what they believe is only conjecture. The lords or the idols had no influence over the Divine plan nor can they create anything.

Allah Ta’ala also says:

“Say: Do ye see what it is ye invoke besides Allah. Show me what it is they have created on earth, or have they a share in the heavens? Bring me a book (revealed) before this, or any remnant of knowledge (ye may have), if ye are telling the truth!”   [Surah al-Ahqaaf: 4]

This verse proclaims that the polytheists believed that their lords had a share in the lordship (ruboobiyyah) of Allah and that is why Allah Ta’ala demanded them to bring forth their evidence if they were speaking the truth.

How then can Ibn Taymiyyah and his followers claim that the polytheists were believing in Allah and were monotheists as far as the oneness of His Lordship (Uloohiyyah), despite the fact that Allah Ta’ala describes them as the violators of His Covenant!?

“Those who break Allah’s Covenant after it is ratified.”   [Surah Baqarah, 27]

What is the covenant that is mentioned in this verse? Isn’t it the first covenant that Allah took from mankind as described in the following verse?

“When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam – from their lions – their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): “Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)? – They said, “Yeah! We do testify!” (This) lest ye should say on the Day of Judgement “Of this we were never mindful.” [Surah al-A’raf: 172]

Did Allah Ta’ala take the covenant by saying “Am I not your God” Did not Allah Ta’ala say:

“In the case of those who say, “Our Lord is Allah, and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): “Fear ye not! (they suggest), Nor grieve! But receive the Glad tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), that which ye were promised.” [Surah Fussilat: 30]

Why would the polytheists then end up in hellfire after having believed in the Lordship of Allah?

Didn’t Fir’awn say:

“I am your Lord, the Most High.”   [Surah al-Naaziaat: 24]

Where is the Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah of Fir’awn and his followers?

Didn’t the Prophet ﷺ inform us that the two angels ask everyone in the grave who his Lord is not who his God is?

The truth is that the word god (ilaah) and lord (rabb) are used interchangeably in the Qur’an as synonyms. The evidence is that “the God” and “the Lord” are one and the same thing in the Qur’anic and prophetic usage and are also found in the Qur’an itself and in the tradition of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.

Allah relates the words of Yusuf (alayhissalaam) in Surah Yusuf: 39:

“O my two companions of the prison! (I ask you), are many lords differing among themselves better, or the One Allah, Supreme and Irresistible?”

He said thereafter:

“If not Him, ye worship nothing but names which ye have named, – ye and your fathers, – for which Allah hath sent down no authority. The command is for none but Allah. He hath commanded that ye worship none but Him, that is the right religion, but most men understand not.”   [Surah Yusuf, 40]

The “many lords” referred to in the above verse were being worshipped (not just taken as intermediaries or intercessors).

Allah Ta’ala said regarding ‘Eesa (alayhissalaam):

“Nor would he instruct you to take angels and prophets for Lords and patrons.” [Surah Aal Imran: 80]

He said regarding the same subject in another place:

“And behold! Allah will say: “O ‘Eesa the son of Maryam! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation to Allah?” [Surah Ma’idah: 116]

Read the following verse again:

“Nor would he instruct you to take angels and prophets for Lords and patrons.” [Surah Aal Imran: 80]

This was the religion of some of the polytheists of the Arabs. They took the angels as lords as did the tribe of Bani Maleeh from Khuzaa’ah. They used to worship Jinn and claimed that jinn appeared to them. They further believed that they were angels and daughters of Allah (Astaghfirullah). The fact that they claim that their lords were angels, it is as if they worshipped angels and that is why the angels will renounce the misdeeds of these polytheists as recorded in the Qur’an:

“One day He will gather them all together, and say to the angels, “Was it you that these men use to worship?” They will say,”Glory to Thee! Our (tie) is with Thee – as Protector – not with them. Nay! But they worshipped the Jinns: most of them believed in them (Jinns).” [Surah Saba 40 & 41]

Then Allah Ta’ala says regarding the angels:

“If any one of them should say, “I am a god besides Him,” such a one We should reward with Hell. Thus do We reward those who do wrong.” [Surah al-Anbiya: 29]

SUMMARY

“The Lord” and “The God” are two terms that the Qur’an uses as synonyms meaning one and the same thing. The polytheists, therefore, who worships the false gods, not Allah, will automatically violate the Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah. The evidence for this is that the formula “La ilaha illa Allah (There is none worthy of worship except Allah)” encompasses the Tawheed of both Al-Uloohiyyah and Al-Ruboobiyyah. If it weren’t so, tawheed of Al-Ruboobiyyah would be expressed with a formula other than “La ilaha illa Allah” and this does not exist. Those who claim otherwise, we would refer them to the following verse:

“Say: produce your proof if ye are truthful.” [Surah al-Baqarah:111]

Al-Sanusi mentions that the formula “La ilaha illa Allah”  contains both tawheeds and that “The God” is in fact “The Lord” who is worshipped. And as was related already the two terms are inseparable.

Allah Ta’ala says:

“But (I think) for my part that He is Allah, My Lord, and none shall I associate with my Lord.” [Surah al-Kahf: 38]

The disbeliever will say, after having tasted punishment of Allah, in the hereafter:

“…and he could only say, ‘Woe to me! Would that I had never ascribed partners to my Lord and Cherisher.” [Surah al-Kahf:42]

The usage of these terms in the Sunnah is the same as in the Qur’an. For example, Al-Haakim narrates in his “Al-Mustadrak” on the authority of Qurra bin Iyadh (radhiyallahu anhu) who said:

“In the Day of Battle of Qadisiyyah…a Zoroastrian said to Mughira bin Shu’ba (radhiyallahu anhu): “I know exactly what brought you Arabs to us. You don’t find enough food in your country to eat until you are full. Here, we will give you  of the food that you need…” Al-Mughira said to him: “By Allah, we did not come for that. We are a people who worshipped the rocks and idols. When we saw a rock better than the one we worshipped, we would throw the former and start worshipping the latter. We did not know what a Lord is until Allah Ta’ala sent us a Messenger from among us who invited us to Islam and we followed him…(to the end of the hadith)” [Al-Musradrak, Hadith 5901, 3/510]

Al-Mughira (radhiyallahu anhu) states clearly in this hadith that they did not know what a Lord (rabb) was yet Ibn Taymiyyah says that they acknowledged the Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah!.

Al-Haakim said this hadith has an authentic chain even though neither of the Sahihs contains it. Al-Dhahabi agreed with Al-Haakim in his “Talkhees al-Khabeer.”

Perhaps the clearest evidence that the polytheists disbelieved in both Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah and Al-Uloohiyyah is that when the angels ask the person in the grave who his Lord is, the disbeliever will say: “I do not know.”

[From the Book: The Bid’ah and Perils of Trinity of Tawheed]

Ibn Taymiyyah & The Conundrum Of Deobandi Praise

INTRODUCTION 

Some of our Akaabir Ulama of Deoband have lauded praise on Ibn Taimiyyah, and this created much obfuscation for laymen who have to contend with severe criticism of Ibn Taimiyyah by many other Ulama of Deoband. 

To dispel this confusion, we reproduce in this brief article a question and its answer which appeared in Hadhrat Thanvi’s Views – Some Ishkals (Doubts) From the Ibaraat of Malfuzaat Hakim ul-Ummat & Its Answers

A Deeni Student in U.K. wrote an Addendum which further clarifies the conundrum of the praise of Ibn Taimiyyah by some Akaabir Ulama of Deoband. We reproduce the Addendum as well. 

_Mujlisul Ulama of S.A. 

QUESTION
Hadhrat Thanvi praised Imaam ibn Taymiyyah and Imaam ibn al-Qayyim, saying they were `Aarifeen, and he referred to Imaam ibn Taymiyyah with the title of Allaamah.  

ANSWER
In India there was at that time a great dearth of the kutub of Ibn Taimiyyah and Ibn Qayyim, hence   most of our Akaabir of that era were unaware of the views of Ibn Taimiyyah. They were therefore justified to speak highly of Ibn Taimiyyah on the basis of the paucity of their awareness of his deviation. If you read some of our own publication of 40 years ago, you will find praise for Ibn Taimiyyah. That was due to our ignorance of his views. It was years later when Hadhrat Husain Ahmad Madani (Rahmatullah alayh) came from Madinah to teach Hadith in Deoband, that he began to apprize our Ulama of the reality of Ibn Taimiyyah. We are under no obligation to follow Hadhrat Thanvi’s view on this issue – a view based on insufficient information.

Such ‘taqleed’ is in fact jumood (fossilization of the brains) which is condemned by the Fuqaha.

Consider the example of stock market shares. Since our Akaabir were unaware of the true meaning of this concept, and since it was erroneously explained to them by some traders and by the one who posed the question, they understood that it was a valid shirkat, hence they issued their fatwa of permissibility. However, those who are aware of this concept, understand its hurmat to be clearer than the sun’s light at mid-day. Now making ‘taqleed’ of such an error of the Akaabir is satanic jumood (intellectual fossilization).

ADDENDUM BY A U.K. STUDENT OF THE DEEN

The authentic and only correct position regarding Ibn Taymiyyah as conveyed by a Deobandi authority who had had the opportunity to study many of Ibn Taymiyyah’s books which were not available in India to most of the Akaabir of Deoband, is represented by the explicit statements below of Shaykh-ul-Islam Maulana Husayn Ahmad Madani (rahmatullahi alayh), the Principal of Deoband for around 30 years.

Expressing conviction on the Tajseem (anthropomorphism) of Ibn Taymiyyah, Shaykhul Islam states:

“I am certain, having read his unpublished treatises, that he was guilty of innovation in beliefs, Tajseem and so on.” [Anwaar ul-Baari]

Shaykh-ul-Islam acquired this conviction only after having gained access to Ibn Taymiyyah’s unpublished treatises and books in Madeenah which were not accessible in India:

“While I was staying in Madeenah Munawwarah, I saw [Ibn  Taymiyyah’s] writings and treatises. I even saw some books which are probably not found in any of the libraries of Hindustan. Having read all of them, I came to the conclusion – upon insight – that there was an open deviation and departure from the path of Ahlus Sunnah found in him.” [Anwaar ul-Baari] 

Now that in this day and age the mass-publication and mass-propagation worldwide of Ibn Taymiyyah’s books have made his anthropomorphism as clear as daylight (see explicit statements below), and virulent sects are fervently propagating such anthropomorphic beliefs, it would be moronic and an aid for Baatil for someone to dig up some earlier Malfooz (statement) of Maulana Husayn Ahmad Madani in praise of Ibn Taymiyyah while he was still in a state of ignorance or uncertainty regarding Ibn Taymiyyah’s Tajseem.

It would be similarly moronic and an aid for Baatil for someone to translate and propagate some Malfoozaat of Allamah Taaj ud Deen as-Subki, Allamah Abu Hayyaan al-Andalusi, Allamah Salah ud Deen al-Alaai, Allamah Quwnawi, Allamah Zamlakani, and numerous others, in profuse praise of Ibn Taymiyyah, when the very same scholars turned extremely harshly against him later on, only after his Tajseem or his numerous other deviations became clear to them.

While the Salafis, Halafis (Salafis masquerading as Hanafis), and their like-minded breeds used to insinuate that the countless Fuqaha (jurists) throughout the ages who had carried out extremely harsh “Jarh Mufassar” (detailed criticism) on Ibn Taymiyyah, were all liars, fabricators, guilty of extreme bias, or part of a massive freemasonic-like conspiracy, in light of the mass-publication of Ibn Taymiyyah’s works in this age and the absolute vindication of such “Jarh Mufassar”, the Salafis are no longer able to maintain such irrational insinuations which tarnish the judgement and integrity of hundreds of upright scholars for the sake of their dear Mujaddid. “Hazrat-worship” (turning a blind eye to the flagrant evil of one’s dear Mujaddid) has never been more evident than in the attitude of the salafi-like breeds towards the deviances of Ibn Taymiyyah.

Furthermore, the status of the Salafis as Ahlul Hawaa (people of  desires), their hypocrisy, and their double-standards, are most manifest in their indiscriminate  application of the principle of  “Jarh Mufassar takes precedence over Ta’deel” (i.e. detailed criticism overrides praise), and the sudden and absolute suspension of this principle in regards to Ibn Taymiyyah and his student Ibnul Qayyim. We shall elaborate more on this principle and the Nafsaani-based application of it by the Ahlul  Hawaa such as the Salafis in a future article inshaAllah.

Consider the following explicit transmission of Mullah Ali al-Qaari that the Salafus-Saaliheen would regard as Kaafir the one who attributes a direction to Allah:

“A group from them (Salaf-us-Saaliheen) and the Khalaf said, ‘The one who believes in a direction [for Allah] is a Kaafir’, as explicitly stated by al-Iraaqi. He said, ‘This is the statement of Abu Hanifah, Maalik, Shafi’i, al-Ash’ari, and al-Baqillaani’”  [Mirqaat ul-Mafaateeh]

image

Now that in this age it is manifestly clear without the slightest doubt that Ibn Taymiyyah regarded Allah to be in a specific direction, with countless Salafi sects today propagating such a belief openly and shamelessly, it would be moronic and a complete disservice to the teachings of Mullah Ali al-Qaari himself, to dig out some Malfoozaat of his in praise of Ibn Taymiyyah, while he was obviously ignorant of the fact that Ibn Taymiyyah firmly affirmed a belief that would warrant a Takfeer according to the Salaf whom Mullah Ali al-Qaari himself approvingly quoted. Yet, the Mudaahins (psychophants) of this age do exactly this, thus advertising thoroughly their stupidity.

Perhaps a group of Deobandi Mudaahin Muftis, Maulanas and Shaykhs who have nothing better to do, should embark on the urgent task of digging out Malfoozaat of the Akaabir of Deoband in profuse praise of Maududi, the evil denigrator of the Ambiya (alayhis salaam) and the Sahabah (radhiyallahuanhum). Hadhrat Ilyas Khandelwi, for example, before passing away, paid glowing tribute to Maududi, indicating that Maududi’s movement was far more important and valuable than the Tableegh Jama’at. It is obvious that many of the deviate beliefs of Maududi were yet hidden from Hadhrat Ilyas Khandelwi and other Akaabir who had praised him. And, even if some Akaabir did praise Maududi while cognizant of his denigration of the Ambiya (alayhis salaam) and Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhu), we are obliged to regard it as a lapse on their part, now that there no longer exists any ambiguity over Maududi’s deviance.

While it is possible for righteous authorities of the past to have committed errors in Furoo’ (e.g. certain fiqhi matters), without such errors impinging on their authority and integrity, to grant the same latitude for errors in Usool (e.g. Sifaat of Allah) is to spell the destruction of the Deen. Kufr shall always remain Kufr, regardless of the Nooraniyat shining from the perpetrator’s face, or his monumental textual knowledge, or the length of his beard, or the extent of his Zuhd and Jihaad, or the numbers attending his Urs (death anniversary). 

If we were to tolerate such evil as  the anthropomorphism of Ibn Taymiyyah as vividly apparent in the explicit statements to come below, then justice and consistency would demand that we also tolerate the Baatil of all other deviate sects today. Exhibiting leniency towards such beliefs as Allah having a direction, body, size, Allah being able to sit upon the back of a mosquito, Hell-fire ending for even the Kuffaar, the beginninglessness of the Arsh etc. would entail tolerating all the deviances of the Barelwi grave-worshippers, modernists, feminists, progressives, etc. Perhaps even some of the more ‘moderate’ Shiah sects will then have to be shoved back into the Ummah.

Furthermore, in authentic Ahadith and narrations from the Salaf, it is clearly indicated that Mudaahanah (tolerating evil) is THE primary cause of Allah’s punishment which often takes the form of brutal Kuffaar armies such as those which are ravaging the Ummah today. According to the Shar’iah, deviations in Aqeedah of the degree of anthropomorphism are worse than adultery and murder. Knowingly propagating and aiding the cause of the leaders of anthropomorphism are worse than propagating adultery and murder.

Thus, the Mudaahin Maulanas, Muftis and Shaykhs of this age should understand that their praise and aid in service of Baatil are not trivial issues that can simply be consigned as Kuffaar-style “academia”. They should reflect on their true intention of propagating such Malfoozaat of the Akaabir in praise of deviates which were obviously made in ignorance. Perhaps in the freelancing deviances of Ibn Taymiyyah there exists a uniquely wide scope for justification for the Tafarrudaat (abominations/ anomalies) of their own Hazrats.

A detailed treatise will be compiled elaborating on the beliefs of Ibn Taymiyyah regarding which the Salafi-lovers and the proponents of Mudaahanah bury themselves head-first, deep under the sand. Such is the explicit nature and unambiguous anthropomorphism in the statements of Ibn Taymiyyah which have only been recently published that even many of the most fanatic Salafi breeds have been constrained to adopt a stance of deafening silence regarding them.  

For now, for the edification of the sincere Mudaahins who may consider rectifying their Mudahaanah, below is a small sample of explicit quotes straight from the books of Ibn Taymiyyah, whose existence is easily verifiable today, which lift the veil of ambiguity that may have shrouded for many centuries Ibn  Taymiyyah’s true beliefs which elicited the severe and now completely vindicated “Jarh Mufassar” of hundreds of Fuqaha throughout the ages.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s fork-tongued and taqiyyah-like statements elsewhere in other books, in a fashion typical of Ahlul Hawaa, which successfully duped many a scholar, cannot render into non-existence the monstrosities cited below and many other statements of the same category of depravity, which are all absolutely irreconcilable with the true Aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah.

Let us begin with Ibn Taymiyyah’s explicit, non-taqiyyah affirmation of body (jism) and direction (jihat) for Allah. In one of his many refutations of the Ash’aris, Ibn Taymiyyah employs some typically perverse Salafi Kalaam to “prove” that it is necessary for Allah to have a body and direction, according to how these terms are defined by the Ulama of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah:

“It is known that the vision [of Allah in the afterlife] which the Lawgiver has told [us] about cannot be affirmed while negating [for Allah] what they regard as a ‘body’. Rather, affirming it [i.e. vision] necessitates [affirming for Allah] what they regard as a ‘body’ and ‘direction’. It is clear that whoever tries to combine these two [i.e. affirmation of vision and negation of ‘body’ and ‘direction’] is stubbornly refusing what is established by reason and by the senses.” [Bayaan Talbees al-Jahmiyyah]

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While asserting ‘Jism‘ for Allah in the statement above, Ibn Taymiyyah was, no doubt, well aware of how his opponents defined ‘Jism‘ i.e. “what they regard as a body“. This clearcut definition of ‘Jism’ of the Ulama of Ahlus Sunnah which Ibn Taymiyyah emphatically and shamelessly affirmed for Allah Ta’ala is: 

“[Something with spatial] measurement of length, breadth and depth, which prevents something else from being present where it is, unless it moves from that place.”

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Ibn Taymiyyah employs more stupid Salafi Kalaam here to “prove” that it is impossible for Allah (azza wa jal) not to have a size:

“As for a thing not be described with increase and decrease, nor the absence of that, and it is existent without having a size, then that is inconceivable.”   [Bayaan Talbees al-Jahmiyyah]

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Ibn Taymiyyah explicitly affirms limits for Allah and the “Kufr” of denying limits for Allah:

“Allah, exalted is He, has a limit which nobody but Him knows. It is not permitted for anybody to imagine himself a demarcation to his limit, and rather he must believe in it and consign the knowledge of it to Allah. Allah’s place also has a limit, namely [His place] on the Throne above His heavens; so that means two limits.…[Here he cited a number of texts from the Qur’an which in his opinion show that Allah has a physical limit then he says:] This and what is like it are proofs that all show that [Allah has a] limit and whoever does not profess that has disbelieved in the revelation and denied the verses of Allah.” [Muwaafaqah, vol. 2, p. 29]

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In his Bayaan Talbees al-Jahmiyyah, while gently refuting another Mujassim (anthropomorphist) who restricts Allah to only one limit, Ibn Taymiyyah makes clear that he believes Allah to have more limits from various sides.

Finally to end this short sample, Ibn Taymiyyah states that Allah is actually able to mount on the back of a mosquito, hence this is stupid Salafi Kalaamic “proof” that Allah is actually mounted on the throne:

“If He wanted He could board/get on the back of a mosquito and it would hold Him up/carry Him by His power and the gracefulness of His Lordship; so what about a great throne greater than the seven heavens and the seven earths?” [Bayaan Talbees al-Jahmiyyah]

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Observe the violent and irreconcilable conflict between Ibn Taymiyyah’s explicit affirmation of body (tajseem), direction, size, limits for Allah, etc. with the pure Aqeedah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhu), and the Salafus-Saaliheen, as transmitted here by Imam Abu Ja’far Tahaawi (rahmatullah alayh) whom even the Salafis are constrained to accept as an authentic and uprighteous transmitter of the Aqeedah of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen:

“He (Allah Ta’ala) is transcendent beyond limits and boundaries, parts, limbs and instruments. The six directions do not contain Him like (the six directions contain) all created entities.” [Aqeedat-ut-Tahaawiyyah]

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Furthermore, Imam Tahaawi transmits from the Salaf-us-Saaliheen the ruling of Kufr (disbelief) for the one who describes Allah with such attributes that can apply only to created entities which self-evidently includes direction, body, size, limits, ability to sit on the back of a mosquito, and other descriptions with which the Mujassimah such as Ibn Taymiyyah describe Allah Ta’ala:

“Whoever describes Allah with a meaning (or property) from the meanings (or properties) of man, he has committed Kufr (disbelief).” [Aqeedatut Tahaawiyyah]

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For the sincere seekers of truth, the “Malfoozaat” (statements) above will more than suffice in providing a glimpse into the abundant reasons due to which Ibn Taymiyyah was severely and rightfully disparaged (Jarh Mufassar) by innumerable righteous scholars in every age, and which thoroughly overrides any praise (Ta’deel) he received from others who had clearly not come across all his abominations in their full gory detail which include literally dozens of contraventions of Ijma’ (consensus) in both the spheres of Aqeedah and Fiqh. The future article will highlight and examine many of those abominations in detail insha Allah.

ALSO READ:- The Kufr and Shirkiyyah Philosophy of Ibn Taymiyyah