Preliminary Notes from the book ‘Bahr al-Kalaam’

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

From the book ‘بحر الكلام’ [Original book can be accessed from here ]


o    Allah is evident through His Attributes, concealed in His Dhat

o    The Hanafis called Ma’rifah – when considered from the viewpoint of the Usool of Deen- as the Fiqh al-Akbar, since it is the great cognizance and higher knowledge.

o    We do not stick to strict literalism without paying attention to the mind, but we also do not let the mind wander free without being corralled by the Shariah.

o    Some say that mental analysis of the proofs is misguidance and innovation. We say that this was the road taken by Ibrahim (Alayhi Salaam) in his argument against Nimrud.

o    Tawhid and belief in general, is a light that is placed into a believer’s heart. This is why rational argumentation may be necessary with the opponents, but it only gets them to the door of Islam. But to enter, there has to be the help of Allah and His Guidance. This is also why the ‘Ulama say that ‘Ilm of Kalam is most suited to the repelling of doubts among the Muslims, not the bringing of new people into the fold of Islam – and the reason is clear, since the Muslim has the light of Iman in his heart and needs help to mentally understand some things, while the non-believer has no light of Iman, and mental proofs will probably not be enough in such cases. Yes, we can say that Islam is the submission of the heart to what the mind has identified as truth, but both are necessary.

o    Two types of knowledge come from the ‘Aql: Dharuri and Kasabi. Dharuri is that which is reached without deep consideration. Kasabi needs reflection and conclusive analysis. It is of two types: That which is connected to the ‘Uqool, and that which is connected with reported information. Now, that which is connected to the ‘Uqool has two more types: That which is deduced through the necessities of the mind, and that which is deduced through the evidences of the mind. 

o    That which is Dharurah of the ‘Aql is that which cannot be other than what it is, like Tawhid. It necessitates it (being called) Ilm Dharuri, even though its conclusion was through the Dharurah of the ‘Aql.

o    That which is Daleel al-‘Aql is that which can be (hypothetically only) other than what it is, such as the call of Prophethood. It necessitates ‘Ilm Istidlal (i.e. through evidences), and not ‘Ilm Idhtirar (intrinsically necessary realities), since it comes from the Daleel of the minds not from the necessities.

o    Scholars have said that with respect to the knowledge of Allah, it is Dharurah (i.e. the mind knows it without any outside empirical information), and others said it is through conclusion (i.e. it is derived by studying the observable world. One of the ways to combine these two sayings is that it is Dharuriyah when we look at it from the mind alone and Nathariyah when we consider it from the viewpoint of senses. The Ayah is Surah 30:30 and the Hadith which says that everyone is born on Fitrah would seem to indicate that it is Dharuri.

o     Be it as it may, the scholars of Usool have taken the Nathari route to proving the existence of Allah, in order to stop any objections that may come to the people

o    In fact, Allah’s Existence is ‘located’ in the minds of the people, due to the covenant we gave in the world of Spirits. (Of course, here we do not mean directional location, but that their knowledge that He exists is located within them.)

o    Getting down to the absolute certain proof of everything is in fact impossible, which is why we need to rid ourselves of our spiritual problems and then open our hearts in order that they may accept the truth. In connection with this matter, note that whenever the disbeliever starts trying to come up with arguments against proofs which reach the level of certainty, what we see from him is either the saying of things which are nonsense (for example, saying that mutual contradictories are possible, something that he would never say or act upon in reality) and/or the adoption of an arrogant attitude (such as asking ‘loaded questions’ to see if we know the different branches of logic, logical fallacies, and so forth)…this last part has everything to do with spirituality, since perhaps the person has become mentally convinced of the proofs one is giving him, but he still wants to argue due to arrogance. We need to be reminded in here of what Allah says about Fir’awn, that he fought against the proofs of Allah even though he was internally convinced of their veracity.

o    Maturidis says there is wisdom behind the actions of Allah, and there is an ultimate goal whose benefit is for the slaves. But we should remember that this is not from the viewpoint of obligation upon Allah, since this is impossible.

o    Note that something which the Wajib needs in order for us to reach it is also Wajib (this means that – in this context- we can know the obligations of the religion only after our minds have understood what the texts are saying. So using our minds and intellect is obligatory. Also Ijma’ is placed on our necks only after we know our Creator- in here it probably means that we first have to know that Allah exists and He sent the revelation to Muhammad , then from this we can come to know with certainty what is allowed and disallowed).

History of ‘Ilm al-Kalam and its evolution

o    Ilm al-Kalam can be said to have started with the Abbasid Khalifa Ma’mun. As part of the Jizya the Muslims appropriated some of the philosophy books of Greece, which had a detrimental effect on certain people.

o    There is some difference between the methodologies of Maturidi and Ash’ari, but they are relatively simple things, and in many cases they are only linguistic differences.

o    If we consider the wisdom of the mind (limited) and the wisdom of Allah the Exalted (which cannot be described), then we obviously have to subjugate our minds to the revelation.

o    Consider that for the Greeks, the ultimate judge was their mind, not the law or constitution. But if there was a discrepancy between their rational conclusions, they would go back to the law or constitution. But this law or constitution was made by their reasoning. [So we see an unsolvable contradiction, that should they rely on the constitution or on the mind?]

o    Thus matter accepts nothing other than matter, and there is no room for Divine revelation or spirituality.

o    But the Mu’taliza philosophers, how can the situation be the same, when we are talking about an era where the Qur’an has been revealed to the end of all times, so this Qur’an should be the criteria for judging everything else, not the Greek logicians.

o    So this argument is still ongoing today, which is why there are still groups which say that if Allah does not act in a certain manner, then this would be Injustice from Him! How can someone say this, and recite Ayah 2:216 of the Qur’an, where Allah tells us (as per the interpretation) that perhaps some of the rules of Islam are not known to us, since Allah knows and we know not! Also, in Surah Al-Qasas, Allah says that He creates and chooses what He wills, so how can anyone say something to the contrary while calling himself a Muslim! (Of course, we do have other more rationally based explanations for the fact that Allah acts as He wills, but here the author is talking about those who say they are Muslims and then seem to discard the message of the Ayahs.)

o     The Sunnis gave the Naql and the ‘Aql its respective position, but at the end of the day, the Naql has its priority. That is why they do not dwell on the Mutashabih Ayahs, nor do they discuss the Dhat or Sifat of Allah beyond what is necessary.

Introductory Comments on the Explanations

o    Not every argumentation is equivalent (or will lead to) rational examination.

o    Part of the things necessary when discussion Kalam sciences is deep knowledge of Quranic Ayahs, its context, rank, its general and specific, its Mutlaq and contained (something like Muhkam and Mutashabih, some Ayahs serve as the general rules and other Ayahs have to be interpreted based on the former Ayahs).

o    What is Kalam? It is the knowledge of the religious beliefs through conclusive proofs. There is no room for speculative proofs in matters of belief. This is why even though sometimes Kalam may refer to practical Shariah matters as well, we should understand the difference between the levels of evidence.

o    Some of the Salaf may have talked against the learning of Kalam, but this was within the context of guarding those who were new to the religion (since they would be unable to grasp intricate details), and also to aver any fanaticism in the religion (since if one does not correlate the rational sciences with the revelation, then one may go into extreme rationalism, and also become stubbornly radical in that respect, which is not allowed).

o    But also consider that many of the matters taken up by Kalam sciences are necessary (Or at least permissible) from the point of view of revelation, such as contemplation of the Universe, understanding that it is not eternal, that it changes and that it is composed of different elements, and so forth. (This is just to refute those who say that such studies are taken from the Greeks, while we in fact oppose the philosophers, pantheists and naturalists who say that the Universe is eternal, and their other impermissible sayings)

Author’s Introduction

o    I’tiqad is the connection of the heart to a thing in that it has a certain quality, and this connection is nothing other than that (means the connection or I’tiqad is true). It also could mean Certitude which is concomitant with reality

o    We cannot talk of a Naw’ (genus) for Allah the Exalted, since he does not belong to a type or genus.

o    Istawa means Ghalaba (overpower, subdue)

o    Mashi’a (Loosely translated as Will):  That attribute which compels the specification of one of the contingents to occur at a certain time, while Qudra (Loosely translated as Power) is equal with respect to all contingents. [Apparently, with respect to the time they will come into being.]

o    We have no vision of Allah in this world, and no comprehension (of His Dhat) either in this world or in the Next.

o    When we complain that the opponents are talking certain words ‘Ala Thahiriha’ (in their literal sense), we mean that they are talking it to be what it would mean for bodies- this is unacceptable. If they simply say that (i.e.) Ar-Rahman ‘Ala Al-‘Arshi  Astawa, then that is it- but do not try to explain what it means, since one will probably fall in either Ta’til or Tashbih. If someone says that no, we are only saying that Istawa means Istiqrar ‘ala al-‘Arsh, we say this is exactly Tashbih, and the main problem since there is not supposed to be any speculative explanation concerning Mutashabihat.

o    Note that Surah al-Ikhlas refutes all the foundations of disbelief concerning Allah:  Multiplicity is refuted with ‘Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad’. Limitation, weakness, and paucity with ‘Allah Samad’. Being subject to material cause and effect with ‘Lam Yalid Wa Lam Yulad’. Having Companions and Equals with ‘Wa Lam Yakun Lahu Kufuan Ahad’.

o    Of course, these points of disbelief are held by different religions of the world: E.g. Buddhism and Atheism hold that reality is governed only by material cause and effect, Zoroastrians hold that there are two ‘gods’ one that creates evil and the other that creates good, Christians hold that God has a ‘Son’. Even when we get into the details of such beliefs, we see that such false beliefs are a combination of simpler heretic ideas.

Limit of Knowledge

o    Ma’rifah is to know Allah in His Oneness. Islam is to worship Allah upon His Oneness.

o    Different levels in terms of knowledge: If conviction of something which is true then it is knowledge, if it is not firm conviction then it is emulation, if it is a conviction of something which is false then it is ‘Jahl Murakkab’ (compound ignorance), if there is no preference for one over the other it is ‘Shak’ (doubt), if there is preference, then the preferred one is ‘Than’ (ظن) and the other one is Wahm. [This part seems to be still subsumed under false beliefs and ideas.]

o    Allah is not described with having ‘Ma’rifah’, but rather total and full encompassment of Knowledge about how things really are; since His Knowledge is timeless and perfect, and does not change.

o    That which does not exist is not a ‘thing’. Should also consider that what cannot exist is not a ‘thing’ at all, so when the Qur’an says that ‘Allah is able over all things’, it cannot be asked (for example): ‘Why can’t Allah make a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it, and if He cannot then He is not capable of doing all things’. This is rationally wrong, since the premise ‘a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it’ is not a ‘thing’. What the opponent could be thinking about are a number of things: One, that Allah physically lifts rocks and so forth, and this is wrong, since Allah is not a body to interact with other bodies in a physical manner (and this is definitely what they are thinking, since they are framing the question in terms of ‘heaviness’ versus ‘lightness’, that is, they think that it while it is easy for Allah to lift a certain ‘heavy’ rock, if it becomes ‘too heavy’ then Allah would not be able to lift it due to its great size and weight in comparison to Him, may Allah save us from their disbelief). Or, the opponent could be thinking about whether Allah’s Power can be disassociated from a particular heavy rock in opposition to the common norm of His Power being associated with everything; if that is what they mean, then they could be thinking that Allah’s Power and its connection with contingent things is something that comes and goes, in which case what the Being they are referring to is not Allah, but some figment of their imaginations (since in this case it would be in need of an external specificier which controls when and how this ‘Power’ is to be used). If they mean that can Allah disassociate His Own Power from the lifting of a certain heavy rock, then in this case, we say that Allah’s Power is linked with that which is possible, not with that which is intrinsically necessary or intrinsically impossible- and since Allah’s Power being linked with every contingent object is intrinsically necessary, then this question does not arise (it can also be expressed ‘negatively’ by saying that the existence of such a rock is intrinsically impossible, since every rock that can possibly ever exist is necessarily connected with His Power).

o    Mu’tazila say that Allah created the things by His saying: ‘Kun Fawakun’, but we say it is by ‘San’’ [This term could be loosely translated as ‘direct creation’. In any case, it points to the ‘Kun’ being allegorical, not literally real, and especially not in the sense of one letter (ن) following the other letter (ك).]

o    We say that Allah Knows by His Knowledge, not By His Essence.

o    Imam al-Ashari is the descendant of the Sahabi Abi Musa al-Ash’ari (Radhia Allahu Anhu), and there was an incident when Amru bin al-As (Radhia Allahu Anhu) asked him whether it would be proper for Allah to predestine something for someone and then punish him for it, and Abi Musa’s answer was that yes it was proper, because Allah would not have been unjust to you (This is the exact Madhab of Imam Abul Hasan al-Ash’ari).

Characteristics of faith and its conditions

o    We (Maturidis) say with respect to Iman, that from the servant there is saying by the tongue and conviction in the heart, and from Allah there is guidance and putting us on the straight way. Ash-Shafi’i says that working with the limbs is also part of Iman.

o     Jabris are the ones who (apparently) say that even the figurative action of the slave is directly attributed to Allah, and this is false.  Also, they say that the slave does not even have ineffectual, figurative power (of course, effectual and real Power is only with Allah). But the one who says that effective created Power is there for the slaves is not a Jabri.  Mu’tazilas believe that Effective created power has a real connection with the origination of things and actions (and this is the ugliest of disbeliefs, since it leads to the saying that the created beings really truly create things and accidents from themselves, as if Allah is creating demiurges, may Allah save us from this disbelief).

o    The question arises, is Iman from Allah to the slave or from the slave to Allah. The Jabris say it is wholly from Allah to the slave, while the Qadariyya says it is wholly from the slave to Allah (they say that the slave can attain Kasb by his own efforts without help from Allah the Exalted).

o    But the fact is that Iman is the act of the slave through the guidance of Allah. Cognizance and recognition is from the slave, guidance and specification is from Allah. Being guided and seeking guidance is from the slave, while guiding to success is from Allah. Seriousness in the path is from the slave, while generosity and giving is from Allah. In short whatever is from Allah is not created while whatever is from the slave is created; and this is obvious, since Allah and His Attributes are not created, while the human and his attributes are all created.

o    Interesting thing mentioned about the Mafrughiyya group, that they were a group from the Jabriyya who said that Allah has already created everything and there is no creation going on now. It is (sadly) interesting because even though they tried to give Allah total omnipotence, they in fact fell into anthropomorphism by saying that Allah creates things in successions of time.

o    Consider that Takwin (the act of creating) is not the same thing as the Mukawwan (that which is created). Likewise with Tarziq and Marzuq, and so on and so forth.

o    We say the Abd is Mukhayyar Mustati’ (choosing and capable). [Do always note that even though the Maturidis are giving the created human beings the ‘choice’ and ‘capability’ this is always in terms of acquisition, not in terms of total independence (which is impossible).]

o    We say that the Qada’ of Allah does not force anyone to do evil, like knowledge (does not force anyone to do evil). Qadha is the attribute of the Qadhi, just like the Attribute does not compel anyone to commit a deed. As a further example, take the case of knowing how to sew or do carpentry work, none of these two forces the person to do sewing or carpentry work.

o    Allah the Exalted is the One who specifies the actions of the slave, do you not see that He creates the tools for fornication, but we do not attribute fornication to Him (Allah be Exalted above such lies!). [If you say, well, that was very stupid and full of idiotishness, we say yes of course it is, but there are people (such as the ancient Greeks, perhaps Christians, and especially modern-day Hindus, with their concepts of panentheism combined with their erotic stories) who hold on to such abhorrent nonsense. If someone says, well that was ‘legal intercourse’ we say, Subhan Allah on their idiotishness. ]

o    In any case, Allah creates movement in the bodies of the creation, but we do not attribute movement to Him. [Because it is an action of Allah originated in the bodies of His Creation, not something which is attributable to His Essence. From this we get the discussion on Takwin and the like.]

o    If someone does say that Allah does not decree or will evil into existence, but that it is the human himself who does this, then it is disbelief. The reason for this is that they have accepted that evil exists and is originated, but they attribute origination to other than Allah. If they say that there is greater good beyond this evil that we see, then we are not discussing about this right now, but rather about who created and originated this evil. If they say that evil has no ontological reality but is only apparently real (that is, they accept that what we normally call ‘evil’ is originated, but that such a ‘thing’ or ‘action’ is not really evil), as far as I know, the answer then would be from the Qur’an, since logically we would not agree to the premises.

o    ‘Ali (Radhia Allahu Anhu) is considered absolutely the first person to enter Islam according to the opinion of many of the scholars.

o    A Wise man said: (Oh Allah) Whatever You Will happens even if I do not want it/ while what I want will not happen except if You will. (If someone asks then how can there be two wills contradicting each other – even after we consider that one of them is created and the other is not), we say that the problem of our opponent is that he thinks that a created ‘will’ is the same as ‘Divine Will’, while the only thing that they share is the coincidence of terminology, and their reality is totally different. Whatever Allah Wills (His Takwini Will) necessarily comes to pass, and cannot be anything other than that, while the human’s will is just a created thought and hope in the mind and heart which may or may not correspond to subsequent events as they play out in the world.

o    Also, if someone were to say that Allah did not Will the Kufr of Iblis or Fir’awn, then His Will would be contradictory to His Knowledge, and this is impossible. Only Ignorance would have remained, and this is impossible (Why is this so? Because in such a ‘case’, the being they have falsely called Allah would not have known that attempts to bring Iblis and Fir’awn to the right path would be ineffectual, and there would be two weaknesses and ineffectualities, one connected with will and the other connected to knowledge. This is the explanation I could understand, but need to ask about this later.)

o    The Will is different from the Amr, since Allah does not Order to wrong (Wrong in this case is that which leads one to be punished for that action or belief- here we come to the discussion of Iradah Tash’ri’iyyah versus Iradah Takwiniya, which will be discussed at a later junction in another article- the author seems to say that Takwini Iradah is Mashia, while Tash’rii’ Iradah is Amr).

o    So this means that there are times when Allah orders something but does not will it to be done (that is, He Wills for the servant to do the opposite of what He has ordered Him).

Choosing of faith and disbelief

o    The author says that whatever we answered on the Day of Mithaq (Alast), that will be our final end. Someone may ask, what can this possibly have to do with that, especially since we do not even remember what we said? We say that there is no contradiction, since Allah can make the heart of the person lean towards something which he had said at an earlier time. There is no need to establish such a direct lineage, to the point of asking why we do not remember the Mithaq, and other similar questions. It is also said that even though such a Mithaq was forgotten by us, yet the sending of the Messengers and Books is enough of a proof on us. So the issue of why we forgot does not come up.

(Created) Qudra (power) and Istita’ah (ability)

o     One accident/incident (‘Arad) cannot remain for two moments. Thus, every incident occurs in a separate space of time. This is important, so that we know that Istita’ah is an incident (‘Arad) given to the slave at the time of the action, when the determination of the slave and the presence of the tools for performing the action are present (not before the action, as some people say).

o    Abu Hanifah (Rahimahu Allah) said (loosely translated): The Qudrah of the slave becomes serviceable or usable to the slave for two contradictory things (such as good or bad). Abu Hanifah (Rahimahu Allah) said that if such were not the case, then it would be possible for Allah to order the disbeliever to do that which is beyond his capacity (i.e. belief. He said it would be beyond the disbeliever’s capacity because the disbeliever would only have the capacity to disbelieve and not the opposite latent capacity of belief). However, it has been reported that Imams al-Ash’ari and al-Maturidi (Rahimahu Allah) held that it was not serviceable for two contradictory things – even if such a view leads to ‘compulsion’ (i.e. even if it is said that such a view leads to our saying that people are forced to do good or evil. Will need to ask about this).

o    The punishment and reward become ‘correct’ due to the action itself, even though it is brought into origination by Allah the Exalted.

Happiness and Distress (in the Afterlife)

o    Then there is a question on whether there is changed in (absolute) happiness and sadness. The answer is yes there is, but there is no change in ‘Is’ad’ (making happy) or ‘Ish’qa’ (making sad), since these are from the Takwin of Allah the Exalted. So there is no change in the Knoweldge or other attributes of Allah, while that which is created changes (also in this respect, it is said that there can be a change in the Lawh al-Mahfudh as to who is Sa’eed or Shaqii.

Ruling on the one who does not receive the message

o    Abu Hanifah (Radhia Allahu Anhu) said that the person is responsible to know his Lord, so even if no Messenger has reached a person, he will still be judged as to whether he recognized his Lord. Now, the Qur’anic Daleel for this is the Ayah in Surah 17:36, which says: And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned. So if the Messenger has come then all three of these are engaged (since one has to have a mind in order to process what one sees and hears). But even if there is no Messenger, Imam Abu Hanifah says that the heart (mind) can still process the information and deduce the existence of Allah, and it has to do so based on the wording of this Ayah. The Ash’aris say no, based on the apparent wording of Ayah 17:15. So with respect to say a man who lives in isolation and never hears about Islam, some say he is excused, but others say no. They say that the performance of deeds is related to the soundness of mind (not to the message reaching him), and yes he is excused with respect to matters which carry possibility of abrogation and nullification, but belief in Allah is not like that (since all Messengers came with this  basic message, even if the Sharai’ were distinct and time-bound). They say that the obligation of performance is built on its being legislated with respect to the (potential) performer. [Need to ask about this point,since it does not seem to be taking into consideration that the message may not have reached him while he did acknowledge the existence of Allah.]

Origination of the Universe 

o     If it is asked what is the proof of Allah’s Existence, we say that the differences in the characteristics of the things seen on the Earth, even though nature is one, is proof that Allah exists. If it were all due to nature, then there would be no differentiation. (The deeper reason is that ‘nature’ has neither life, nor will, knowledge, nor power. So it cannot bring about anything, nor – crucially- can it ‘choose’ which specification to give prominence to over the other for any given fruit or element. On another level, we can say that had ‘nature’ been the one really ‘creating’ then this would be a contradiction in terms, since an ‘infinite regress’ would have ensued. And if there had been no preferer at all, then there would have been no change whatsoever, and the previous state would have remained as it is). We can call this the ‘element-based’ argument, though there is in Islam- and even in the Qur’an itself – the ‘movement-based’ argument, which relies on changes. But we would personally think that the element based argument is intertwined with the movement based argument, since movement cannot be observed except in a body, and the ‘element-based’ argument also is a type of movement from state to state. At the end of the day what we require from the other side is that he accepts that changes do occur, that there are different states, and that there is some Being other than the ‘thing itself’ which gives rise to these changes and differences in state. [Need to ask about whether the Ayah could also be taken as referring to the changes themselves (that is, have any of the ‘Ulama taken it as meaning such?)]

The Attributes of Allah are Eternal

o    The attributes of Allah (or the names of the Attributes of Allah) are divided into the Attributes of the Essence, and the Attributes of Action.

o    Attributes of Essence are Life, Power, Seeing, Hearing, Knowledge, Speech, Mashia and Iradah. The commentary said that they (the last two Attributes, are one with respect to Allah, but they are divergent with respect to the Creation. (in the case of creation, Mashia is decisive, while Iradah may be derived from hesitation)

o    Attributes of Action are Takhliq (creating), Tarziq (giving provisions), Ifdhal (giving virtues to some over others), In’am (giving bounties), Ihsaan (giving favor to the Creatures), Mercy and Forgiveness.

o    It is mentioned that the Attributes of Allah are not Him nor other than Him. An example is given of how one is not ten nor other than ten. But it is obvious that this example is faulty, since it deals with numbers which are created. It would be better to say that in the same way that it cannot be said that Allah is either still nor moving (not still) since this dichotomy is unfounded in relation to Allah, then we also say that the Attributes of Allah are not in a relation of dichotomy with His Essence (that is, it is not so simple to say that the Attributes are either ontologically Himself, or that they are ontologically other than Himself, since problems would arise in both cases and grave errors would ensue in both cases. Thus, it is our way of saying that we are unaware about the exact ‘relationship’ between the Essence of Allah and His Attributes, and we leave it at that).

o    If someone were to say that the Attributes of Allah are the same as Allah, it would lead to multiple ‘gods’ and this is disbelief.

o     [From what I understand of what this author is saying, this would be the case since Power, Knowledge, Will, etc. are separate Attributes, and if we were to say that they are the Essence of Allah, then we would say that there are multiple ‘Essences’ called Allah, and this is obviously wrong. This would be so, because they would be saying that Power is an Essence, Knowledge is an Essence, Will is an Essence, and so forth.

o     Another reason which seems stronger is that by saying such a thing, the opponents would be positing a Divine Essence without Attributes, which is impossible. Note that we do not say that Attributes are Essences, in which case our opponents would be correct in saying that we have taken a Christian-like approach. But there is no hypostatization in this case at all. Or it can be argued that their position is that Allah is Knowledgeable without having Knowledge (rather what they say is that Allah is Knowledgeable and He is Knowledge – this view of theirs is difficult to sustain since again they are claiming that Allah is an Essence denuded from all Attributes).  Now if the opponent says that we are only calling them ‘Power’, ‘Will’ and ‘Knowledge’ but in reality they are all ‘His Essence’ (that is, that they are only names without a corresponding referrer other than ‘His Essence’), then we say that in such a case it would be no problem to say that ‘Weakness’, ‘Ignorance’ etc., are attributes of Allah also, since they have no real referrer other than ‘His Essence’. But of course, the opponent would say that this is wrong since Allah is to be described by attributes of Perfection. To this we say then, that the attributes are meanings of what is eternally true about Allah. [Need to ask about this, since there are some new things in here being forwarded.]

o    Now, the Shias and others may say that we are making a baseless comparison between human beings and Allah (their cue is from the following example:  Suppose I have knowledge of some things, and when I enter a room, people would not say that ‘Knowledge has entered the room’ but rather ‘Mr. X has entered the room’- so in here knowledge is something other than me). But in here, what is different is that my knowledge can go away from me while I remain as an entity, while we also say that Allah’s Knowledge is not other than Him, because it is not subject to change].

o    If someone were to say that the Attributes of Allah are other than Allah, then it would mean that such Attributes are emergent and created, and this is impossible.

o    The Ash’aris say that since the Attributes of Action are Emergent, that Allah was not the Creator for as long as He did not Create the Creation. But we (the Maturidis) say that it is allowed to call Allah as the Creator even before the created the Creation. (I had noted the comment in another article that for al-Ash’ari, “Takwin is a description of the effective linkage of power by noting its effect. Thus, Takwin and all attributes of action are contingent and do not subsist in Allah’s Being”. I will need to ask about this in more depth later.)

o    If someone were to say that Allah is a Creator through His Power (Bil-Quwwa), there would be a big problem. The problem would be that it would be said that Allah’s Creating is a possibility (since only possibilities are under Allah’s Power). But Allah is the Creator even before He created the Creation (as per what is stated in At-Tahawi’s Aqeedah).

o    The Derived name (such as Khaaliq when describing Allah the Exalted) is realized from the Ma’na (meaning) in whom this meaning subsists, such as ‘Mutaharik’ in whom the quality of ‘Harakah’ (movement) subsists.

The Eternal and the Emergent

o    With respect to created things, we say that Qadeem refers to that which precedes something else in existence. Qadeem also is more specific than Azali, because Azali is that which has no beginning to it, whether it is the Necessary Existent, or something impossible to exist (and it remains so in Azal). But Qadeem is that Existent which has no beginning at all (i.e. Allah the Exalted).

o    Allah exists without beginning, for if it was otherwise, then it would entail either circularity or infinite regress. And Circularity is that of two things whose existence depends on the other one. And Infinite Regress is that whose existence depends on that which has no end (to its sequence).

Oneness (of Allah)

o    The Essential Attribute of Allah called ‘Wahdaniyyah’ concerns three matters: (1) His Oneness in Essence, meaning it does not allow for partitioning (2) His Oneness in Attributes, which means the impossibility of partners and likeness in every one of His Attributes (3) Oneness in His Actions, which means all the Creation of things in the Universe is from Him alone, and there is no effective power for anything in the Universe in terms of creating things.

o    When we talk about ‘Wahdaniyya’, the following multiplicities (Kumum [كموم], plural of Kam [كم]) are precluded: (1) Multiplicity connected to His Dhat, i.e., composition from parts. (2) Multiplicity connected to His Attributes, and that is multiplicity in His Attributes from one genus, like “two” or more “Powers”. (3) Multiplicity separated in His Attributes, and that is that there be for some Being other than Allah Divine Attributes (4) Multiplicity separated from His Actions, and that is that any Being other than Allah could Create something (5) With respect to multiplicity connected to His Actions, this is established and cannot be denied, since He creates many instances of Creation, Sustaining, Giving Life, Causing Death, and so forth. This is with respect to the saying of Imam Al-Ash’ari who says that the Active Attributes are emergent. As for the Maturidi position that the Active Attributes are all Eternal and are all included within the attribute of Takwin, so both of them together are precluded. (Need to ask if I have understood this properly)

o    Allah is One, but obviously not in the sense of numbers, since if that was the case, His being broken into pieces would have been a possibility, and this would contradict His Divinity. (Also, each “part” would have been a “Creator”, “Sustainer”, etc., and this is impossible).

Calling Allah a “Shay’”

o    It is allowed to call Allah “Shay’” since this is what has come to us in the Qur’an. This, even if it is not mentioned among the ninety nine names in the Ahadith which mention Allah’s Beautiful Names.

Attributing the title ‘Nafs’ to Allah

o    It is permissible to attribute a ‘Nafs’ to Allah, since it occurs in the Qur’an and in the Sunnah. It is taken to mean the same as ‘Dhat’ (Essence)

o    The Mujassimah have said many different ridiculous sayings concerning the nature of (what they call) Allah; some of them said that He has a form without a body, others that He has a body without a form; others that He has bones, flesh, blood, organs, etc.

o    Some may say that if we say ‘Nafs’ we have said there is ‘Jism’. We say no, ‘Jism’ is an indication pointing to a ‘compound Being’ (that is, a being who is made up of parts brought together), while ‘Nafs’ is an indication of the Essence; ‘Jism’ is not from among its necessary connotations.

o    Someone might say: “Well then, just as you say that Allah is a Shay’ unlike other Ashya’, we say that he is a ‘Jism’ unlike other ‘Ajsam’ , so were is the problem?” We say that when you say ‘Jism’ you are indicating a ‘Kayf’ (modality), due to the intrinsic limitations of a ‘Jism’.

Attributing the title ‘Nur’ to Allah

o    The Mushabihah say that it is permissible to call Allah as ‘Nur’, we say that it is not allowed, since He is the Creator of Light and the One who give Light is light, (and we also cannot call Allah ‘Nur’) since Light has a color. With respect to the Ayah saying that Allah is the ‘Nur’ of the Heavens and the Earth, it is related from Ibn ‘Abbas that he said this means that Allah is the One ho gives Light to the Heavens and the Earth. It was also said that it means He guides the creatures of the Heavens and the Earth. (This was said so as to counter excessive anthropomorphism which may occur in the minds of certain people)

The issue of ‘Yad’ and ‘Qadam’ (‘Qidam’)

o    We say ‘Yad’ and its meaning is whatever Allah intends for it to mean. Imam Malik said: Istiwa is Ghayr Majhool, and the Kayf is Ghair Ma’qool.

o    Muhy ad-Deen bin Arabi said that Istiwa could mean Istiqrar, Qasd, and Istiila. As far Istiqrar is concerned this is from the attributes of creatures and is not to be attributed to Allah. Qasd is akin to Will and is of the Attributes of Perfection (so this could be- but not in a certain way, and Tafwidh is always best- what this word means in this Ayah).

o    The Mu’tazila say ‘Yad’ means Bestowal of Favors, Power and Strength, as in the Ayah 5:64 (but we say it is a hyperbole, describing His generosity and His bestowal of blessings)

o    One of the main reasons we cannot say it is ‘His Power’ is because in that Ayah it says ‘Yadaahu’ (literally ‘two hands’), and if that were so, it would be ‘Two Powers’, and this is not acceptable, since Allah’s Attributes do not increase/decrease, nor are they divisible, since they are not accidents which can be susceptible to such fluctuations. This is also the case with His Kalam (Nafsi), in that it is One, and His Kalam Nafsi is not divisible.

o    There are different “types” of ‘Yad’ in the Quran, such as that in Surah al-Mulk (67:1), which designated Ownership (of the Universe). As it is said in the language, that such a village is in the ‘Yad’ of such and such person, means in his dominion. Also it appears with the meaning of grace and favor. Also it means in one case disobedience. It also means the limbs, but Allah is exalted from this possibility applying to Him.

o    The Mushbihah say that Allah has a form, and literal hands, fingers and a leg. But when Allah says that He will (as the literal translation would say) “grasp” the Earth, it means He will grasp it in His Kingdom and in His Power.

o    The definition of a Heart in some texts is more towards the spiritual “Latifa-like” definition, saying that it has a connection with the physical heart, but it is not exactly the same thing.

o    “Saq” in the Ayah means a grave, terrible matter.  Al-Asma’i said that “Isba’” (literally finger) in here means ‘Athar’ (influence, etc.), and these are Tawfiq and Khadhalan. With respect to the ‘Qadam Hadith’ is it said that it is actually ‘Qidam’ not ‘Qadam’, that is, whoever Allah knew in preeternity would enter the Hellfire (if someone asks, well isn’t everyone known to Allah from the beginning, it could be that here it is referring to a certain group of disbelievers)

The issue of coming, going, and descending

o    One is not to attribute movement, coming, and going to Allah the Exalted. Do you not see how Ibrahim (Alayhi Salaam) concluded that the things which move and diminish are not the Lord, when he said ‘I love not that which disappears’. And the meaning of ‘And your Lord and the angels will come in rows’ means the Command of your Lord. With respect to the Ayah: ‘And Allah came to them from where they did not perceive’ this refers to the coming Allah’s Punishment, and it has been said that it refers to the Jew Ka’b al-Ashraf who was ordered to be killed by the Prophet for the anti-Islamic poetry and other anti-Islamic activities he carried out against the Muslim community. With respect to the Ayah: ‘Allah “came to their buildings from their base”’ this means that Allah destroyed and uprooted them.

o     With respect to the Verse: ‘Do they wait until Allah comes to them in shadows of clouds…”, this means that how can they wait for this once it has been clear to them that Allah is not attributed with movement, coming, going, etc.

o    With respect to the Hadith of Nuzul, the meaning is that Allah’s Nuzul here is His being acquainted and accepting His servant, that it He looks at His servant with Mercy. Just like in Ayah 15:9, Nazalna in here means We have taught it and made it understandable (to the people).

o     Saying that Allah is a body is terrible, since it means that He would be composed of parts, and this would negate His Divinity.

o    The term ‘Wahid’ when applied to Allah normally eliminates the ‘Other’, the partner and equal. The term ‘Ahad’ is more appropriate for eliminating multiplicity within ‘One’ entity (that is, the elimination of a single compound body, a one composed of many parts).

o    With respect to the Hadith ‘I saw my Rabb in the best of forms’, it means Jibril (Alayhi Salaam). With respect to the Hadith that Allah will appear to the people on the Day of Judgment in a ‘Sura’ they do not know, then in a ‘Sura’ they know, this means that when Allah causes all the disasters of the Day of Judgment  they will say that they did not know Allah like this, but when He shows them His Mercy and Forgiveness they will say now we know you (with these qualities).

The meaning of ‘Istawa’

o    The Karramiya were the ones who used Ayah 20:5 to say that Istiwa means Istiqrar. But in reality, Istiwa can have many meanings, some of which are not to be attributed to Allah the Exalted, such as Istiqrar, ‘Sa`ada’. The linguists have said that one can attach the meaning of ‘I’tidaal’ and ‘Istiqaama’ if it is not connected with ‘Ila’ (i.e. made transitive), and if it is made transitive, then it takes a more literal meaning connected with physical objects.

o    Some of the acceptable possibilities include (1) ‘He turned decisively to the Creation of the ‘Arsh’, (2) ‘Ghalaba’ (literally ‘overcame’, in this context it could mean He decisively set up His Power over the ‘Arsh) or (3) ‘I’tadala’ which in this case would mean that He ‘set up justice for the ‘Arsh’. But here too one has to be careful, so that no one says that it means ‘I’tidaal’ in the sense of righting a physical crookedness. All in all, the proper approach is just to say what the Ayah says and not try to find a meaning behind it (beyond saying what it cannot mean), since this Ayah is from the Mutashabihat, and we are not endowed with the knowledge of what it really means.

o    One cannot ask a question of ‘Where was Allah before He created the creation?”, because ‘where was?’ is a question about place, while Allah existed before there was place and time, and He remains as He always was.

o    Allah is not “from something”, or “in something”, or “on top of something” since all of them imply anthropomorphism.

o     In conclusion, the anthropomorphist sticks to the outward of certain Ayahs and Ahadith which are Mutashabih. But of course, our position with respect to such texts is that e believe them and we do not occupy ourselves in trying to find out which exact meaning is suitable for such words and phrases, other than saying that Allah is unlike His Creation.

The issue of ‘Place’ and ‘Togetherness’

o    The Jahmis say that Allah is in every location. But the response to the Ayahs they bring forth is that they about: His Decree and His Planning over the Creation, or that His Power is visible in the Heavens, and the Ma’iyah is depending on the situation: either in Knowledge (with the normal believers), Protection (with the Awliya), or Help (with the Prophets)

The Beatific Vision of Allah

o    The Mu’tazila say that the Vision of Allah is impossible due to the apparent meaning of Ayahs 7:143 and 6:103, along with Ayesha’s (Radhia Allahu Anhu) Hadith where the Prophet (Salla Alahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said he did not see his Lord on the Night of Mi’raj. But our proof is that Musa (Alayhi Salaam) would be protected from asking something which is intrinsically impossible, so it means that it is only contingently impossible, and this impossibility is restricted to this world. Also, whoever takes the opposing view would be saying that he knows something which Musa (Alayhi Salaam) did not know about, and this is also an ugly position to take. Moreover, Allah tied Musa (Alayhi Salaam) seeing him with the mountain remaining in its place, which is something intrinsically possible, even though the mountain’s staying in its place did not come to pass. Also notice that Allah ‘Tajjala’ to the mountain, which means that the mountain was indeed given life, knowledge, and sight (even though it was not able to bear the greatness of the Tajalli). Also, the Hadith about seeing our Lord as we see the full moon was narrated by 21 of the great and knowledgeable Sahabah, and it cannot be denied outright, since it constitutes a Mash-hor report.  Also, we have Ayah 10:22, were Ziyadah is interpreted as the vision of Allah, due to Ahadith on this matter.

o     The difference of opinion among the Sahabah regarding whether the Prophet (Salla Alahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) saw Allah on the Night of Mi’raj is an evidence that seeing Allah is possible, since the learned disagree about what is possible, not about what is intrinsically impossible.

o    With respect to the Ayah 7:143, ‘Lan’ in the Ayah means the elimination of the necessity of seeing Allah, not the elimination of the permissibility of seeing Allah. Also, even if we take the ‘Lan’ as an absolute negation, then this is concerning this world, not concerning the Hereafter.

o    But anyway, ‘Lan’ is not for ‘eternal negation’, but rather to certify the truth of the matter and to restrict the time of its occurrence. (Example is given of Ayah 62:7 in comparison with Ayah 43:77, and of Ayah 19:26).  With respect to Ayah 6:103, what is impossible is ‘Idrak’, which is mental comprehension, not the seeing with the eyes. (If someone asks that the Verse says the eyes will not do ‘Idrak’, we say there are different types of seeing, some which are all-encompassing so that the seer can really comprehend what is seen, and others which are only connected to the eyes, but which the mind cannot fully comprehend. As an example in this world, one sees the sun but it unable to fully grasp it just by this seeing).

o    If someone says that direction is definitely necessary in order to see something, we say this would then contradict the Verses where it is mentioned that Allah is the ‘Seer’, since would mean that He is in seeing us from a relational direction. But this is impossible with the case of Allah seeing us, so we say likewise it is impossible (for there to be a direction) when we see Allah in the Hereafter. Another rational reason is that Allah is eternal (and existent) and it is possible to see that which exists.

The Qur’an is Allah’s Eternal Speech

o    What Jibril (Alayhi Salaam) revealed to the Prophet (Salla Alahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was the inspiration and message, not sounds and letters. Thus, the Qur’an is the Speech of Allah in a literal sense, not metaphorically. (But, we have to distinguish between the Kalaam Nafsi which is the attribute of Allah which is not made up of words, sounds, letters, etc., and the articulation of this Kalaam Nafsi in words and letters, which is the recited Qur’an [Kalaam Lafdhi]. The confusion arises sometimes because some cannot understand that the recited Qur’an are words and letters which point to (Dalla ‘Ala) the Kalaam Nafsi [or we can say it is an ‘Ibaarah (pointer towards) the Kalaam Qadeem (eternal Speech)], and both are called the Qur’an. The same is the case with the Taurah and the Injeel, in that they are the articulation of the Kalaam Nafsi revealed to Musa and ‘Isa (Alayhima Salaam) respectively).

o    The Qur’an is recited on the tongues, preserved in the hearts, but does not “find its place” in the Masahif. As an analogy, Allah is mentioned by the tongues, remembered in the hearts, and worshipped in Masjids (which are places on Earth) but Allah Himself is not in locations and hearts. Another analogy is when Allah says that Muhammad is found written in the Tawrah and the Injeel, but this does not mean that he (Salla Alahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) is literally written in the Tawrah and the Injeel, but only his description and characteristics, not his essence.

o    Allah spoke to Jibril, Musa, Muhammad, and Adam (Alayhi Salaam) from behind a veil.

o    The Najjariyah, Mu’tazila, Mutaqashifa, and Jahmiyya say that the Qur’an is created (since in the case of the Mu’tazila at least, they do not accept that there is a Kalaam Qadeem). They also said that the Qur’an “speaks” on the Night of Power and not before that.

o    (Based on what I understood of what the book says) the Najjariya said that Allah will not be seen, but that the power of the heart for Ma’rifa may be transferred to the heart, and this will constitute the “seeing of Allah”. Also it is reported that an-Najjar said that Allah is literally in every location.

o    The founder of the Jahmi sect, Jahm bin Safwan said that Allah could not be described linguistically by what the creation was (also) described. Thus, he said that Allah could not be described as Alive (Hayy’), Knowing (‘Aaliman’), but one could say that he was Powerful (Qaadiran), Active (Fa’ilan), Creator (Khaaliqan). He also agreed with the Mu’tazila regarding the impossibility of the Ru’yah, the Creation of the Qur’an, and the undisputable knowledge of the legislation before its revelation.

o     They also say that the Qur’an commands and prohibits, and it is against rationality that a non-existent commands and prohibits.

o    But the Sunnis say that creation of the Qur’an (i.e. without there being a Kalam Nafsi it points back to) is impossible. If we say it is outside the Essence of Allah, then everything that is spoken by Allah in the Qur’an (such as when Allah addressed Musa (Alayhi Salaam) saying: “Verily, I am Allah there is no God but Me, so worship Me”) would be attributed directly (in this case) to the tree and not to Allah. And if someone says that it is inside the Essence of Allah, then this means that words and letters have a location inside Allah, which means that according to them, Allah is a locus for originated things, but this is also not possible.

o    With respect to the objection that non-existent things cannot command and prohibit, we say that Allah tells things which do not exist to come into existence at such and such time. Also, consider that it is not necessary for the things to exist in eternality in order for Allah to see, hear, and know about them. What we mean is that Allah hears with His Eternal Hearing which subsists in His Essence from Pre-Eternity whenever the hearable thing comes into existence (This seems somewhat confusing. What it means in summary is simply that Allah with His Essence and Attributes is not tied to a dimension of time, so it cannot be said that such-and-such thing did not exist before (say) 2012, so how could Allah have heard it before that? We say that time does not delimit Allah, so the question was flawed to begin with). 

o     Some other objections are raised. We say with respect to the objection that the Qur’an is “newly brought”, this refers to the bringing of Jibril (Alayhi Salaam) of the Qur’an. Or that the “Dhikr” was mentioned and the Dhaakir (the one who mentions) is intended, in here being Muhammad

o    With respect to ‘Ja’ala’, it refers to ‘Khalq’ (presumably the creation of the Arabic letters and words). Or it could refer to the description of the Qur’an (Wasf), analogous to Ayah 43:15.

o    The Qur’an has been elucidated in the Arabic language; it was revealed in the Arabic language, similar to how every book was revealed in the language of its Prophet and his people. It is not permissible to describe the Qadeem (i.e. Eternally Existent) with emergent (attributes, qualities, etc.)

o    With respect to ‘Hifdh’, it refers to protecting it from Shaytan so that there is no addition or deletion from it. And about ‘Dhahab’ it means it is possible for Allah to make the hearts forget it, not that the Qur’an will move.

o    The Ash’aris say that the Qur’an (i.e. the Eternal Speech of Allah) is heard, and their proof is Ayah 9:6. One of their rational proofs is that just as whatever existent can be seen, it can also b heard. But the Maturidis say that since the Speech of Allah is  eternally “with” the Essence of Allah, then it comes under the “Ru’yah” not under “Sam’”, and the only thing that comes under hearing are sounds and letters.

The ‘Name’ and the ‘Thing Named’

o    ‘Ism’ and ‘Musamma’ are one thing according to the Ahl us Sunnah. Allah with all His Names is One. However, others say that the name of Allah is other than Allah the Exalted, and it is created. (need to ask about this in more depth)

o    However, we say that if that were so, then those Verses were we are told to worship “Allah” would entail worshipping of the name (i.e. the letters Alif, Lam, Haa), not of the named (Allah the Exalted Himself). Also, when one marries, he says I have married (for example) Ayesha, if the two were different, he would only be married to the name not to the woman.

o    If someone says that there are 99 names of Allah, if what you say were true there would be 99 gods, we say this is a matter of Tasmiya. Thus, Ism is distinct from Tasmiya. An example of this is if someone asks: ‘What is your name?’ and the man answers ‘Muhammad’, this is an answer to the question. (It seems to be then that we have the name (Ism), the thing named (Musamma), and the act of naming (Tasmiyah)- note that the Ash’aris have a different opinion as to whether ‘Ism’ and ‘Musamma’ are one ).

o    Note that the objections as to what happens when one says ‘Fire’ (why isn’t fire burning our mouths) and if the name of Allah is written on a paper which becomes dirty are refuted by saying that it is Tasmiya (the act of naming the ‘Fire’ and ‘Allah’), not the essence of the thing named. (Need to ask about this, since the presentation here is rather brief)

o    The Mu’tazilas say that whatever is not in accordance with Allah’s Pleasure is not Decreed by Him.


o    We say that the medicine, the acquisition of money, and clothes are (apparent) causes, but the Healer, the Provider, and the One Who repels heat and cold is Allah the Exalted, and to consider such medicine, clothes, etc. as real effective causes is disbelief, since it is taking a “god” other than Allah as a partner with Him, and saying there are two “Effective Creators”.

Compulsion and Choice

o    Again, Istita’ah is the conglomeration of what the servant can do of an action when it is coupled with his volition which can be used on two opposites. It is also said that Istita’ah is the preparedness for the execution of an action through the will of the person without any constraints. Wasa’ (وسع) is that which (a person) is able to do without any difficulty. And Taqah (capacity, power) is the attainment of the limit of difficulty (مشقة). There is also a Tawfiqi type of Istita’ah which consists of physical and monetary ability. The Istita’ah of the conditions is the power to do the actions and it is called Taklifiyya.

o    All in all, the servant is what we call Mukhayyar Mustati’ (مخير مستطيع) [has ability and capacity to carry out works, either good or bad, and he will be rewarded or punished based on how we coupled this potentiality with either of the two possibilities]. If we were to say that Allah forces them to do evil and then punishes them for it, this would be injustice from Allah (Need to ask about this matter, since someone might define “forcing people” as creating the deed and like the Mu’tazila say that thus it is proven that Allah does not create the actions of his slaves. Of course the author (Imam An-Nasafi) goes on to immediately say that all actions of the servants are created by Allah, but I just need to ask about how the quote in this paragraph can be articulated in the best way)

The Actions of the Creation

o    The Mu’tazila say that the people create their own action through a power that is theirs before the carrying out of the deed, and that since they have this pre-action power they do not need any power or capacity to be given to them by Allah at the time of carrying out the act. Our proof is the Ayah 37:96, and that the ‘Ma’ along with the action in the phrase ‘Wa Allahu Khalaqakum Wa Ma Ta’malun’ goes back to the ‘Masdar’ (the verbal noun), which means that Allah creates both the people and what they do. It is not possible to say that this ‘What they do’ referred only to their idols of stone and wood, since everyone knew that Allah was their creator.

o    As a support to this, we see that Ayah 36:54 says: “And you will not be recompensed except for that which you do (Ta’malun)”. It is clear in here that their carving of idols is not the only thing they will be recompensed for, but it rather refers to each and everything they do.

o    We also have the Qur’anic Ayahs 25:2 and 39:62- consider that the actions of the servant is a thing (a “Shay’”). Even if we were to look at it rationally only, if someone were to say that the people create their own actions, this would be a call to polytheism, since they are giving ‘Khaliqiyya’ to a being other than Allah, and this is disbelief.

Iman (Faith)

o    Karramiya said that Iman is only the saying in the tongue regardless of whether one believes it or not. They use the apparent wording of the Hadith: “Whoever says La ilaha illa Allah will enter Paradise”. The Shafi’is use the apparent wording of the Ayah 2:177 in saying that actions are part of faith.

o    Most of the Sunni scholars say that Iman has five conditions: to believe in Allah and his Messenger, the day of Judgment, the angels, books, and prophets.

o    There is a difference of opinion between the ‘Ahl ar-Ray’ and ‘Ahl al-Hadith’ as to what one should say if asked are you a believer?. The first group says one should say: I am a believer without a doubt, and the second says: I am a believer Insha Allah. The position of Abu Hanifah (Rahimahu Allah) is that one has to be certain about this, since bringing in an exception nullifies all earthly contracts and oaths such as divorce, freeing of slaves, and selling/buying of merchandise, so likewise it would nullify Iman. What this means is that clear words do not need intention [so we should just say that we believe in Allah and we are believers, point and final].

o    Also, one is asking whether you are a believer right now, and whatever has occurred in the past or the present does not need one to say ‘Insha Allah’, since we know that Allah’s Will has already decreed such and such to happen (as an analogy if one were to say that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah “Insha Allah”, that person has disbelieved, since the Decree and Will of Allah concerning the Messengership of Muhammad has already been made clear). But with respect to the future, of course we do not know what will happen, and exceptions are valid for future occurrences, but this is not applicable to the question at hand.

o    And another answer is that if we are believers right now we will not become disbelievers except if one of the conditions of disbelief becomes manifest in us (may Allah save us from that). [It would seem to be that the position of the Ahl al-Hadith is based on extreme bashfulness and shyness towards Allah the Exalted, as was the case of Hanzala (Radhia Allahu Anhu) who said he had become a hypocrite even though the Prophet corrected this view. But what the Ahl al-Hadith seem to be saying is that we cannot be so certain that we have removed all traces of arrogance, showing off and hypocrisy from our hearts, which is why they say that “Insha Allah we are believers”, not that “We are certainly believers”. Thus the latter answer is of the people of Fiqh and the former one is of the people of extreme spirituality; I will need to ask about this, and Allah knows best].

The Increase and Decrease in Belief

o    The Shafi’is say that Iman increases and decreases, but we (the Hanafi Maturidis) say no. We say there is a difference between someone being called a Mu’min (Mutlaq al-Imaan ‘Alayh) and saying he has Imaan Mutlaq (complete Imaan). So complete Imaan prevents one from entering the Fire, while “Mutlaq al-Imaan” prevents one from remaining there forever. And Allah knows best.

o    Regarding their saying that the recitation of the Qur’an made them (the believers) increase in faith, we say this is only for the Sahabah, since this was while the Qur’an was being revealed, and new information was being received by the Sahabah from their listening to the Qur’an. But for us, it cannot be like that, since the revelation has finished.

o    Also, consider that the addition of Iman means the certainty of the Iman, not the essence of Iman.

o    With respect to the Hadith, we say in some wordings it is “faith like a strand of hair” (which does not convey equality in size).

Perpetrator of Enomities

o    A Kabira is anything which the Shariah has prescribed a punishment for doing it, such as adultery, drinking wine, stealing, etc.

o    The Khawarij said that whoever commits and enormity has disbelieved. They said that Ali (Radhia Allahu Anhu) disbelieved by his fighting against the rebels. (Consider how the Twelver Shias have a Khawarij-like mindset with respect to the Companions in general, in that they show their sins (small or big) as proofs of their disbelief. Of course, this is because so many of them are confused as to what exactly constitutes disbelief, or there is a disjunction between their belief that disobeying Ali (Radhia Allahu Anhu) and their ‘Infallible Imams’ is disbelief, and what they read of the alleged misdeeds of the Sahaba – thus they cannot understand why their scholars would bring up these misdeeds unless if such sins were disbelief in and of themselves.)

o    But we say that Allah orders us to make Tawba, and Tawbah is for the enormities (while the Qur’an is still addressing us as believers); it is actually for all sins, small sins and big sins, but here they are emphasizing that Tawba also covers the big sins- if what the opponents had said was true, then there would be no way that Allah would have told “believers” to make Tawba.

o    With respect to the Ayah “If you obey them, you will be polytheists”, this is with respect to obeying the polytheists in their Shirk (not merely by the action of eating the disallowed meat, since sins do not wipe out Iman unless one believes the forbidden thing one is doing is in fact allowed).

o    With respect to the Hadith that no adulterer commits adultery while he is Mu’min, we say this is in terms of giving a severe warning against committing adultery, since the overwhelming custom of the Muslims in his time was to not commit adultery, so he likened the performance of adultery to leaving the circle of Iman, even though in reality (if he does not consider adultery as Halaal) he has not left Islam.

o    With respect to the narration that whoever leaves the prayer has destroyed (his) religion, this is again in terms of believing that it is not obligatory, not if it is discontinued due to laziness.

Repentance from Sins

o    Tawba is obligatory from every evil and sin. It has three conditions, remorse for what was done, immediately desisting from committing that act, and firm resolve not to return to that sin. If it is in the right of someone else, the sinner should return the money or property, or if it was slander should ask for forgiveness, and for backbiting should replace it with good sayings about the person he spoke bad about.

o    With respect to Tawbah for severe sins (even like adultery, sodomy, lying, backbiting) this remains between the sinner and his Lord as long as the news of this evil does not reach the person affected. But if it reaches the person affected (such as the husband of a women with whom someone had intercourse), then exculpation for that sin is also necessary. Also in terms of prayer and fasting, they are not forgiven by mere repentance, and the person has to make up his missed prayers, fasts, etc.

Allah’s taking someone to account for what he intends

o    There are a number of thoughts that come to a person: as-Saanij, al-Khaatir, al-Fikr, al-Iraadah, al-Hamm, and al-‘Azm. This ‘Azm is the only one that Allah judges the people, and it is the determination to carry out a certain task. It is also referred to as Qasd, and it has support in Ayah 2:284, where it is mentioned that Allah will recompense the people whether what the firmly intend is carried out or not. (Need to ask about this)

o    Al-Khatir is a type of thought that has the attribute of becoming preponderant in the heart, but most of the ‘Ulama said it is different from Qasd (firm intention) and at a lower level (as we see in the paragraph above).

Cognizance and Faith

o    The Sunnis say there is no Iman if there is no Ma’rifah in the heart accompanied by confirmation by the tongue. This is opposed to the saying of the Jahmiyya. Thus, Imaan is Tasdiq (confirmation) while Ma’rifa is simply the senses finding out that something is such-and-such without the necessary confirmation

o    Note that Tasdiq is a pointer of the connection of the heart towards the truth of the information he has received through the senses, and this is an acquired matter which is acquired through the choice of the person.

The Wisdom behind creating the creation

o    The (reprehensible) Murjia said that Allah created people and let them free, and did not order them or prohibit them from doing things, but only gave recommendations. We say that if the matter is not followed by any punishment then yes, it is a sort of recommendation, but this cannot be said about matters where a threat is attached to them, such as as-Salaah or Zakaah.

The Punishment of the People of Hellfire

o    The Murjiah say that the people of Hellfire will not suffer, but will not have pleasure either. This is false as shown through Ayah 35:37 and other Ayahs.

Burdening someone with what is beyond his capacity

o    The Jabriyya say we are forced to do obedience and disobedience. As evidence, they say that Ayah 4:129 says that we cannot be just to women (i.e. multiple wives) and in spite of that Allah orders us to be just to multiple wives (note that even the Jabriyya did not take the extremely wrong view that this Ayah cancels the Ayah where limited polygyny is legislated, and this wrong view is in fact totally unknown in Islamic history.) Also similar to this according to their view is Ayah 2:31, where Allah ordered the angels to inform Him of the names of all things, even though He knew they would be unable to do so.

o    But with respect to Ayah 4:129, this is a matter of the equality in the heart, and it is not related to the command to spend equally on all wives. With respect to Ayah 2:31, this was only to show the angels that they were indeed unable to name the names of everything, but there was no punishment associated with it (since it is in the Heavens, and they are angels, to whom punishment does not apply).

o    With respect to Ayah 68:42, their inability to do Sujood in the Akhira is directly tied to their unwillingness to do so in the earthly life. With respect to Ayah 2:286 it is a Dua for protection against being physically burdened with what is beyond one’s capacity, not that one will be recompensed or punished on account of that.

The Children of the disbelievers

o    The Ahl us Sunnah say that the children of the disbelievers will be the servants of the people of Paradise. But note that Abu Hanifah said he did not know if they were in the Fire or in Paradise (it could be because their individual case is with Allah, and also due to the conflicting narrations in this respect). Note that for Abu Hanifa, if there was absolutely no way to reconcile the narrations, or to show preference to one over the other, he took the position of silence since it was the safest thing to do in this case according to his method of derivation.

Who are addressed to believe

o    Those who are addressed to believe fall into four categories: Angels, Sons of Adam, Jinn, and the Shayatin. (This books says that) The angels who disbelieve and/or do sins are punished with Hellfire, and those who do good are in Paradise, but there is no reward for them (the author seems to have taken Iblis, Harut and Marut as angels). With respect to Iblis, this inclusion of him among the angels was done most likely as a method of Taghlib (in the language based on Ayah 2:34), not that the author believed that Iblis was actually an angel – since the punishment of angels is a view contrary to the agreement of the Muslim scholars. With respect to Harut and Marut, it is mentioned that the reason for their coming down was to help the people learn the magic that would repel the evil magic that had become prevalent in that time. It is also said that these two (Harut and Marut) were in fact to pious people who were called ‘angels’ due to their piety. This is corroborated by reading the word (ملكين) with a Kasrah.

o    Consider this interesting point: Abu Hanifah (Rahimahu Allah) said that the Jinn (like the angels) do not have any reward even if they are good and die on belief. (This shows that reward and punishment are not mechanical-like obligations that Allah has to provide people, but that rather He gives whatever He Wills to His servants, and restrains provisions, reward, and felicity to whoever He wants). But Imams Muhammad, Abu Yusuf, and ash-Shafi’I  (Rahimahu Allah) said that they will receive reward.

o    Abu Yusuf (Rahimahu Allah) was the first one to expand the school of Abu Hanifa (Rahimahu Allah) and the first one to write books on the Usool of the Hanafi Madhab, and he was also the first Judge of all Judges, and he was also called the Judge of all Judges in the world.

o    Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahimahu Allah) reached this position regarding the Afterlife and the Jinn through Qiyas. He said that no one at all “deserves” any reward for what he does, just as a slave does not have any right to money for what he does for his master. But the humans have been explicitly promised the Paradise in the Hereafter, while such is not the case with the Jinn. But note that the Jinn will be forgiven their sins and the punishment will be prevented from reaching them.

o    The opposing side said that just as there is punishment for them if they sin so there is reward if they carry out the proper worship, except that they will not eat and drink but only smell (pleasant things- perhaps the food) and this is their “food”. And they also have offspring like the children of Adam.

o    With respect to the enjoyment of the angels, it was said by one of the ‘Ulama that just as we have enjoyment in eating and drinking, the angels have their enjoyment only in smelling the fine foods and so forth – and also in the spiritual benefit of obeying Allah. But this view is wrong, since there will be in Paradise for the human beings degrees of proximity and knowledge, and enjoyment through making Dhikr and giving Shukr that will surpass anything the humans may have experienced of sensual and personal enjoyments.

o    Some said that Jinn only get enjoyment through smelling, not chewing and swallowing (food). But this is wrong, since we have the Hadith where the Shaytan was eating along with the man until he said Bismillah, and as soon as he said it, Shaytan vomited whatever was in his stomach.

o    It should be noted that Jinns also have sexual intercourse and children. Their lightness (due to being made from fire) does not stop them from having children, since their children are also light.

On the offspring of the Shayatin

o    There are different reports concerning the exact way in which the Shayatin reproduce. It is said that they lay eggs, or that they have both organs and join them together, etc. The author also said that the Shayatin can hug and kiss the human, but this is the limit of their effect on humans from this angle. [However, the editor says this is not necessarily correct: There is the Hadith were if someone does not say Bismillah, then the Shaytan comes in between the couple and sleeps with the wife. Also Ibn Abbas said that hermaphrodites are children of the Jinn (from the above mentioned situation). Also the Prophet forbade marrying the Jinn. It should be noted that the legal forbiddance does not mean it cannot physically happen – same as the case with Zoroastrian or idolater women, the forbiddance is there even though physically one could marry them and have intercourse with them – thus, the prohibition is either of this nature, or simply because the natures of the two (Jinns and humans) simply cannot match at all, either is total physicality or in what is necessary for intercourse.

o    Note that Shayatin were created from fire, but it could be that it refers to the first one among them (that is, Iblis), but it does not follow that all of them are also literally from fire. This is analogous to how Adam (Alayhi Salaam) was created from dust, but it does not follow that all humans are also literally created from dust. (Also consider the Hadith were the Prophet said he could feel the cold of Iblis’ tongue, so this means that they can change from their original state, so it is not out of this world to think that perhaps they could transform into a form that would allow them to have intercourse with human beings).

o    Also consider that just because there cannot be physicality between people and Jinn it does not mean that marriage is hypothetically forbidden. For consider that the very old and very young people cannot have sexual intercourse, and yet marriage with these people is valid.

o    Some people say that Sulayman’s (Alayhi Salaam) kingdom was taken away from him for forty days and during that period the Shayatin had intercourse with his wives and slave-girls, and from this the Kurds came out. We say this is a fabrication, since the Prophets are protected from such evils (that Shayatin would overpower them and almost destroy their kingdoms, and that the Shayatin would be with their wives, etc.)

Richness and Poverty

o    Many of the ‘Ulama say that being rich is better than being poor. They say that in the Qur’an Allah is telling Muhammad that he saw him poor and enriched him. Had poverty been better than richness, it would have had no meaning for the Ayah to say that his becoming rich was a blessing. Also, many of the Prophets were well-of and from among the Sahabah we have examples, such as Uthman (Radhia Allahu Anhu) and Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf (Radhia Allahu Anhu). His wife’s Mahr was 32 thousand or 320 thousand Mahr (and after they got back he paid her a fourth of the original Mahr. This was at a time that having 25 Dirhams was a huge deal).

o    The Hadith: ‘Poverty is very close to being Kufr’ is very weak. But what is a good chained Hadith is his saying that he was offered the keys to the world but he chose to remain hungry or two days and eat one day. Also his Dua to live, die, and be raised as a poor person [but this is a Ghareeb Hadith].

o    It says that there is a report saying that forty Prophets died from hunger and “Qaml” which means lice, vermin, etc. Need to ask about whether this is a correct report, since Prophets are never afflicted with something which would turn people away from them. Indeed, the editor mentions that such a narration (with seventy instead of forty) is not found in the books of Ahadith.

o    Consider also though that many prophets were poor, such as Zakariyya, ‘Isa, Ilyas, and Khidr (Alayhi Salaam). [About Khidr of course, there is a difference of opinion about him being a Prophet, but there is no need to get into this matter right now].

o    With respect to the mention of richness in the Quran and Ahadith, these refer to the richness of knowledge and of satisfaction with what the Prophets were given, since they never relied on the money they had even if it was a huge amount, but rather they always worked and ate from that. Also when it is said that poverty may become Kufr (or words to that effect), this means the poverty of knowledge and patience, or it could be that the greatness of being poor in the next world is hidden under the extreme hardship people have to go through in this world.

Working (for food, etc.)

o    The Qadariyya say that working for food and other necessities is absolutely necessary. The Karramiya and Mutaqashifa say it is Haram. But we say that it depends: If the man has enough resources or enough money then it is permissible, but it is not obligatory. But if he has family and kids and no other way to give them food and shelter, then he has to work.

o    Regarding what is said that working negates trust on Allah, we say that trust is a matter of the heart, and is not necessarily tied to whether one works or not. But yes, if the person sees ‘Rizq’ (provision) as coming from his work and not from Allah, then this is disbelief.

o    The Prophet used to store food for his wives for one year. (Of course, this was simple food, like dates, and in any case, seeing how generous the Prophet was with everyone, many times his wives (Radhia Allahu Anhu) would also give away in charity).

o    Also note that Allah ordered us to give in Zakah and Sadaqah from what we have ‘Kasab’ (i.e. from what we have earned). Had earning been forbidden this Ayah would not have been revealed.

o    Also we have to remember that the Prophets worked. Adam (Alayhi Salaam) was a farmer, Idris (Alayhi Salaam) was a tailor, Shuayb (Alayhi Salaam) was a shepherd, and Muhammad was a warrior, so much so that he said he was sent under the swords, and his living is under (tied to) his spear. [Some non-Muslim people may say that such a narration shows that Islam is nothing but an attempt to gain the goods of people through a clever claim to revelation. We say that such a claim is utter falsehood, since for most of the Prophetic period there was no fighting as such, and while in Makkah the situation of the Muslims was getting worse and worse, not better. Even in Madinah, the situation was very precarious until latter events, such as the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya and the takeover of the Khaybar fort, things which happened after the bulk of the Prophetic mission had transpired- and to be honest, the riches did not start pouring into the Islamic government’s coffers until the conquest of Persia, which happened in the caliphate of ‘Umar (Radhia Allahu Anhu), many years after the Prophet passed from the earthly abode. In any case, I will need to ask about this to gain the total picture of how this narration is interpreted].

o    Imam al-Ghazalli said that earning is better than the normal acts of worship, except that one but remember Allah during his work, even if it is with one’s heart. And note that Muhammad spoke a lot about the virtues of earning a living, such as saying that it was an obligation after the (other) obligations, that there are sins that are not wiped out except through the earning of Halaal, that earning is a type of Jihad in the path of Allah, that there are ten portions of worship and nine of them are in earning a livelihood.

Those who will not be asked nor punished in the grave

o    Note that neither the Prophets (Alayhi Salaam), nor the Ten Promised Paradise (Radhia Allahu Anhu), nor the children of believers (Rahimahu Allah) have to give any “account of disputation”, nor will they be punished in the grave, nor will there be any punishment for them in the Hereafter. There will be however an account of showing, in that Allah will say to them, you did so-and-so and I have forgiven you. But the “account of disputation” is that Allah asks: Why did you do so-and-so?

Allah right now is the Creator

o    Certain of the people of falsehood said that everything has already been created, even the fruits on the trees have already been created, and they are ramifications of the previous created things – it is only that we are unable to perceive this, but they are created already.

o    The Sunnis says that Allah has decreed everything from pre-eternity past, but He has not (strictly speaking) created it.

o    The Pen that Allah created does not have life, but Allah made it speak just as He made living things speak. If someone says it is irrational to say that the Pen wrote all that would occur until the Day of Judgment while He knows everything, we say that this was done precisely so that every doubter would know that Allah is the Knower of every single thing that is manifest and hidden.

o    The Pen is the first specific Creation of Allah in the realm of specified observable creation; it has a general existence in the Throne and a detailed appearance in the Kursi, and it “paints” according to what is in the Lawh (al-Mahfudh). This is analogous to how the mind of the person “paints” what is in his soul. So the ‘Aql (reason, mind) is analogous to the Pen, and the soul is analogous to the Lawh. The thoughts which animate the soul in accordance with rational laws are like the existential pictures drawn in the Lawh. This is why the Prophet said that the Pen was the first created thing by Allah, since it is the first mind, but recall that it is still a creation of Allah (as a way to refute the emanationists who say that there was an “Overarching Principle” and from that the “First Mind” emanated like the rays of the sun emanate from the Sun).

o    The Lawh al-Mahfudh is defined as a “Divine Light” in which the existent things had their original impression. Thus, it is the root of all material substances; the material substances do not require a form except that it is in the Lawh al-Mahfudh. Thus, whatever the Pen wrote that had to exist is in the Lawh, and nothing of the forms of the world came into existence except by the material constraints that are imposed upon it [and these in turn have their apparent material root in the Lawh al-Mahfudh]. (It is obvious that the “Divine Light” mentioned here is not to be taken literally since the Lawh al-Mahfudh is after all one of the creations of Allah, and a material substance).

o    Wondrous works at the hands of the Awliyaa (Friends of Allah)

o    Karaamaat are supernatural acts which occur at the hands of a Wali of Allah. The Wali is a man who is outwardly pious, virtuous, staying away from sins, etc. The ‘Ulama say that what is a miracle of a Prophet could be a Karaama of a Wali (of course, in terms of the Qur’an and its style this is impossible for anyone, since the miracle is everlasting. But in terms of visual miracles, it is possible for a Wali to bring the dead back to life, and so forth).Imam Umar an-Nasafi said that he did not find fault with a Wali who said that the Ka’bah comes to him every week and he makes Tawaaf around it. Note that a Karaama is not necessary for a Wali. Nor is it connected with a challenge, since challenges have to do only with miracles of Prophets. Also, note that being steadfast on the Sharia is a Karaama in and of itself (so one cannot ask a big Wali that why have I not seen big feats from you, the biggest “feat” is for the Wali to be on the path of the Prophet ). Also note that the reports about the Karaamaat are numerous, to the point that they reached Tawaatur and cannot be denied by the Muslim, even though the details may come from solitary reports.

o    When the miracles are made visible through the hands of any Prophet, it is as if the Prophet (AS) is asking Allah: “If you are truthful in saying that I am your Messenger, then make such a thing happen”. So this miracle is in the place of Allah saying: “I have spoken the truth” (Need to ask about this, since this wording seems problematic)

o    Another difference between a Mu’jiza and a Karaama is that a Mu’jiza is seen by all, be they Muslims or non-Muslims, the worshipper and the criminal, and so forth; but the Karaama is seen only by a Wali like himself, and the corrupt people do not see it. (Need to ask about this)

o    Another difference is that whenever the Prophet or Messenger asks for the actualization of a Mu’jiza, it comes to pass, but in the case of a Karaama, Allah makes it appear only in specific times, as a means for him to become closer to obeying Allah the Exalted.

o    Yet another difference is that the Mu’jiza of the Prophet is acknowledged and known by him, and he tells the people that it is a Mu’jiza occurring at his hands because of Allah the Exalted. But in the case of a Karaama, the Wali does not say it is his Karaama, but rather that it is the Karaama of the believers as a whole, or of someone else (this is because he thinking bad about himself [due to his extreme humility], not that he does not recognize the sensory information that is in front of him).

o    In the case of the Istidraj (in here it is called Mukhada’at [deceivements]) of the enemies of Allah, we know that Shayatin can become any shape they want, due to the permission granted to them by Allah for such a thing to occur.

o    In conclusion, the stories of the People of the Cave, and of Asif the minister of Sulayman (AS) show that Karaamaat  are possible according to the Qur’an, and that it is possible for this Ummah due to the Prophet [as the apparent cause, due to us being connected to him in obedience].

o    The “power” of the Shayatin (devils) over mankind

o    The Shayatin undoubtedly do Waswasa on the people. And a Waswasa is s small sound and movement that is generally not felt (in order that we may guard against it), so the Waswas is a soft suggestion placed on the heart of a given person.

o    So the Shaytan does the Waswasa and this is his “inner way” of influencing people. But the “outer way” is through beatifying the deeds so that people will commit sins, and this is true according to the proofs from the Qur’an.

o    The Jinn were created from wind (the editor say this is in contradiction to what is known from the Qur’an, that the “Jaan” was created from smokeless fire; this is unless the meaning of “Jaan” is different from “Jinn”, in that the former only refers to Iblis, and the “Jinn” are his offspring who are made from substances other than what their original father was made).

o    The chest is the arena of the heart and its home, and whatever enters the heart first goes through the chest. And from the heart come out whatever the person wishes and wants to the chest, and from there it spreads out (to the other parts of the human, or so that the human may perform bodily functions based on what his hearts wants). So the Shaytan enters the chest and whispers therein, and this whispering is linked to the heart. This is why the Ayah in Surah Taha says that Shaytan whispered “to it” (Ilayhi) and not “in it” (Fihi). Ibn Abbas (RAA) said that the parable of the Shaytan is that he puts his mouth on the cover of the heart and whispers to it; when the person engages in remembrance of Allah the Shaytan goes away, and when the person is quiet, it comes back to whisper to him.

The establishment of Prophethood

o    There would have been no evidence against the people had Allah not sent Messengers to them. Also note that the evidence is through the spoken preaching of an “envoy” who is the Messenger that Allah has sent. In Islam we do not accept that the “internal revelation” or “internal enlightenment” can lead to total deduction of all the rules and beliefs, since there are also many things of the Ghayb whose rational possibility is indeed established, but they would still need Divine confirmation in order for us to know the certainty of such things (take the case of the Day of Judgment, it is rationally possible, and textually certain).

o    In every period Messengers have come to the people from the time of Adam (AS) to the time of Muhammad , and the miracles were granted to them so that the Hujjah (evidence) is established against them. [Need to ask about this, since it is obvious that there were times when Messengers were not at all on the Earth (like between ‘Isa (AS) and Muhammad ), and the apparent of this statement by the author would seem to contradict this].

o    The Noble Qur’an is the main miracle given to Muhammad . But do not think that it is the only miracle that Allah blessed him with, since this is a trap that the non-Muslims (especially Christians) wish for us to fall into. We also have the splitting of the moon, the crying of the tree, the praising of the pebbles while in his blessed hands, and the multiplication of little food due to his supplication.

o     The miracles of the Qur’an are twofold: One of them is with respect to its wording, its organization, its brevity and how in spite of using few words it is able to encompass a huge range of meanings (This is why even today we are able to deduce new meanings from the Qur’anic Ayaat, since these new meanings open up to us based on how the knowledge we have evolves, while not eliminating what we know from before). And the second type of miracle is with respect to the meaning of the Qur’an, since it informed about the aspects of the unseen, and the events came to pass as the Qur’an had foretold. For example, in saying that the Muslims would enter the Noble Sanctuary in peace, or that the Jews would never wish for death – since it was written in the Torah that if they wished for death, then death would overtake them, but they were prevented from wishing such a thing. Also in the case of the Mubahala, and how the Christians were prevented from carrying it out, since it was written in the Injeel that if they were to carry out the Mubahala they would surely die. Also consider that the Prophet never left Madinah, nor did he read books nor take anyone as a teacher, so we know that he informed whatever he was given but that it was not from his own self.

o    The formal proof that the Qur’an is a miracle is the saying within the Qur’an, that if all people were to gather to produce something like the Qur’an, they would be unable to do so. So this is the challenge to all of humanity and Jinns for them to come up with something like the Qur’an if they think that it was fabricated by any of the creation. Also note that this includes within it the saying of certain missionaries that the Shaytan was the one who came up with the Qur’an and gave it to Muhammad , since the Shaytan is also a creation and he can only reach a level of eloquence that is commensurate with created beings. If such a thing had been true, then the coming together of all humankind upon this project could have conceivably produced something similar to what the Shaytan (hypothetically) produced, but such has not been the case. Also, one has to note that the Christians (or people of other religions who bring up this falsehood) believe that the Shaytan has independent power to do his actions- this is why they show the “Unseen World” as a fight between God and the Devil- but this is obviously a false belief.

o    Also, note that the plots of the Devil are not such that they render the opponent incapable of bringing something similar or superior to it, since the ‘I’jaaz (incapability) is the blessing given to the Prophets (AS) so that people can see the reality of their message, and then choose either to follow them or reject them, based on clear-cut evidence. If one were to say that the devils have this capacity as well (of incapacitating the opponent) in the abstract, then there would be no value to the miracle to begin with, for it could be said that the devil fooled every single Prophet and that none of it at all comes from Allah. This type of thinking is much closer to atheism than anything a person who claims to follow God would say. If they do not understand how the Qur’an is miraculous, or they think they have produced something akin to the Qur’an, then we will refute them point by point, but to simply say that we are unable to produce something like the Qur’an, yet it is from the Devil is against all religious thinking, and an open door towards atheism.

o    With respect to the story of the multiplication of food, it is that Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (RAA) had invited the Prophet and there was food for only four people, yet all the people of Madinah ate – and this was during the time of the Battle of al-Ahzab, when supplies of the Muslims were running dangerously low, and the Muslims may have starved to death, had the siege been successful, so it was the eating of very hungry people that was satisfied, not that of people with normal or low appetite.

o    We also have the miracle of the cooked sheep telling the Prophet that it was poisoned. In summary, the fact that miracles appeared at the hand of the Prophet is  well-established, even if the particular narrations are singularly reported, since they all add up to a position where they cannot be denied.

Is Muhammad a Prophet right now?

o    There comes the question: Is Muhammad a Prophet right now? Some say that because an accident does not remain for two moments, then the Prophet is not a Prophet right now. We answer by saying that the Hukm (ruling, ordinance related to) a thing take the place of the thing itself, as when the woman is in her ‘Iddah, this prevents her from marrying again, so in this case the ‘Iddah is in the place of the Nikaah. And likewise the one who is in Wudhu during prayer and breaks it, then goes to make Wudhu again, he is in the Hukm of Salah but not in the actions of Salah (this is a detailed and fine Fiqhi ruling, will have to deal with it at a later time). Likewise, the Prophet is in the Hukm of Prophethood, even if it is not the exact same thing as the time when he was in the “original time” of Prophethood. Of course, we do agree that an accident does not remain for more than one moment, but this is to show that such a truth does not detract from the ruling regarding many things, in this case the obligation to follow what Muhammad brought.

o    But we say that Muhammad is a Prophet right now, since if such was not the case, then the Shahadah would be invalid as it is, and the Adhaan also would be that “I testify that Muhammad was the Messenger of Allah” not “is the Messenger of Allah”. And similar is the case with all the rest of the Prophets (This seems to be related to the fact that the Prophets (AS) are alive in their graves, that the earth does not consume their bodies, and the many other favors that have been granted to them).

Isra’ (Night Journey) and Mi’raaj (Ascent to the Heavens)

o    The Mi’raj is true and it was bodily, and while the Prophet was awake – this is in response to the Mu’tazila who say that the Mi’raj is not true since it was reported by solitary chains (But it seems that the real reason was that they could not comprehend how a human being of flesh and bones could go to the Heavens. We have to see how this is related to the Hadith Rejectors of today, who like to dismiss things and rulings of Islam based on their distaste for it, or for their rational inability to comprehend certain things).  

o    The Isra’ is also true and this is through absolutely certain knowledge (i.e. the Qur’anic revelation, and thus whoever denies it is a disbeliever), and Allah mentioned that it was at night in order to prove that it was in only one night when the Isra’ and Mi’raaj took place.

o    The Mi’raj is buttressed by strong chains, however they do not reach the point where the person denying it would be considered a disbeliever.

o    Note that Umm Haani became Muslim the year of the Victory of Makkah- this is to refute those who say that the entire family of Abi Talib were believers of the highest rank. Of course, we acknowledge the huge position of Ali (RAA), but when it oversteps the boundaries then we have to issue clarifications.

o    There is a report that the Prophet asked for the hand of Umm Haani in marriage, (but as shown in the following thread ( this is refuted by the fact that the Ayah forbidding the Messenger of Allah from marrying any other women was already revealed, so this report is not correct. Just to develop it in a little more detail, the Prophet wished to marry the widow of Ja’far bin Abi Talib (RAA), but this Ayah came disallowing him from doing so, and the battle in which Ja’far (RAA) was martyred [the Battle of Mu’tah] was before the conquest of Makkah.)

o    Then there is a difference as to whether the Prophet saw Allah the Exalted or not. Some reports indicated that he saw Allah with his heart, not with his eyes. Also consider that in Ayah 52:11, the seeing is connected with the heart, not with the eyes.

o    The Mu’tazila say that Ayah 17:60 uses the term “Ru’yah” (dream) and this shows that the Mi’raaj was only a dream not in a waking state. They also say that the nature of the human being is to be dense and this means falling naturally (not being able to fly), so it is impossible for any human to have flown up to the sky. We say that the disbeliever sees himself flying in his dreams, so it is from the peculiarities of Muhammad that he was able to go to the Heavens while awake. Besides, he was taken to Heaven and did “fly” there himself (and even if he had flown himself, who says this is rationally impossible?)

o    Also, do you not see that a rock is heavy, yet when it is thrown by a human in the air it can “fly”? (And this is more conceivable today, when we have planes, balloons and rockets). So if this is the case with lowly rocks, what about the Prophet who was aided by the Burraq Jibril (AS), with Allah as the guide?

o    Shias and Mu’tazilas say that Kursi means knowledge, and that ‘Arsh means ownership.

o    There have historically been five sects of Shias, the Kaysaniyyah, Zaydiyyah, Imaamiyah, Ghulaat, and the Isma’iliyya. Some of them have been more inclined in matters of Aqeedah (especially concerning Allah the Exalted) towards the Mu’tazilis, others towards the Mushabihha, and others still towards the Sunnis. (And this is why one cannot make an all-encompassing statement about their Takfir, since it is possible that the Shia in question belongs to an ideology that is innovation, but is not to the point of disbelief).

The ‘Arsh and the Kursi

o    The Kursi is a huge luminous body in between the ‘Arsh, and it is connected to the ‘Arsh, but we have no certain (detailed) information about it. It was also reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that the size of the ‘Arsh is unknown.

o    The editor says: The Kursi is one of the (physical) evidences of Allah’s Power, and the location for the penetration of the orders and prohibitions, and the location for splitting and joining (things), and so forth from among the active attributes. Also, with respect to Ayah 2:255, the term ‘Wasa’’ is used and it has two facets: One is general ‘Wasa’’ and one is specified creative ‘Wasa’’. With respect to the first one it is that the Heavens and the Earth are from among the effects of the creative attributes of Allah, and the Kursi is the location for the appearance of all the Creative Attributes. With respect to the second facet, that of the creative ‘Wasa’, it is that the actualized creation is limited and encompassed by the Heavens and Earth and other (creations), and this is nothing other than the Kursi, and Allah knows best.

o    The Sunnis say that the ‘Arsh is not “knowledge”, since the Qur’an says that the ‘Arsh will be carried by the angels, and “knowledge” is not a hypostasis which needs to be carried. (From this, note that whenever any religion says that a certain attribute of Allah has hypostatized, they are saying that it has becomes necessary for it to be in need of all the things which physical bodies are in need of. This is why the Ahl us Sunnah say that the Attributes of Allah are not other than Allah, since this would lead to the possibility of them separating themselves from Allah and being in need of other things, and also it would lead to Allah being emptied from such attributes – which would lead to Him being weak and emergent, and this is impossible).

o    Some of the ‘Ulama said that among the wisdoms behind the creation of the ‘Arsh, is that it is the Qibla for the supplication of the angels, and also that it is a mirror for the angels, they see through it all that is in the heavens and the earth.

o    And there is a difference of opinion with respect to what the ‘Arsh is: Some said it is a bed made of light, and others said it is a red ruby (perhaps they meant made out of red rubies, need to ask about this).

o    In the language, ‘Arsh means a bed. And in the Shariah, it is a large body made of light, which holds within it all other bodies, and it was said that it was the first specified things brought into existence. It was also said that it is not a ball-shaped object, as some people claim, but rather a dome with supports which is carried by the angels. Al-Baydhaawi said it was called ‘Arsh since it is at a very high location, or due to its similitude with a bed, and all the orders and commands descend from it. According to the editor, the ‘Arsh is the structure and encompassing material body of the world, for all of its constituent parts. It is above the Lawh, and it can be said to be a body (lit. orbit) which holds all abstract and concrete bodies. The roof of this body is the “al-Makanah ar-Rahmaniyyah” (lit. Location of (Abundant) Mercy) and it is from the sanctified world, and Allah knows best.

Hafadhah angels

o    The Mu’tazila say there are no Hafadhah (angels who keep record of the deeds of human beings) since Allah already known everything, and such recording angels would be necessary only if Allah did not know some things. (Notice they have an extreme rationalist viewpoint, but it is still a very crude rationalism. This just shows that at every point in its history, Islam has had to contend with those who saw its declarations as silly: Consider the case of Abu Jahl, who mocked the Prophet when he said that he had seen the Tree of Zaqqum, and he taunted him to bring the people some dates from the Tree of Zaqqum, and that he knew nothing of Zaqqum other than the bread, butter and dates he was eating. So we should not be surprised when so many people, both non-Muslims and nominal Muslims start looking at the narrations of the Prophet with a mocking eye – of course, if anyone is a nominal Muslim and mocks something established of Islam, he becomes an apostate, but this has to be brought in here because we are now facing this problem from among those who claim to be part of the Muslim Ummah).

o     We say that the Hafadhah are there for the people to see their works, not for Allah, since He indeed does know everything without the need for tools such as angels and books.

o    Mujaahid was one of the greatest Mufassirs in the history of Islam, but note that he was a freed slave, which shows that freed slaves (and to be frank, even slaves) were treated as equals in terms of knowledge of the Islamic religion.

o    The saying of some people that the recording angels change every single day is incorrect, and the truth is that there are two angels in the morning and two angels in the evening.

What will not be destroyed when the Trumpet is blown

o    The Mu’tazila say that absolutely everything will be destroyed when the Trumpet for the Hour is sounded. The Mu’tazila say that since Ayah 57:3 says that Allah is the First and the Last, it is therefore logically incumbent that just as there was absolutely nothing before Allah created the creation, so there should be nothing when the Trumpet is sounded. But the Ahl us Sunnah say that there are a number of things that will not be destroyed even when the Trumpet is sounded, and these are the ‘Arsh, the Kursi, the Pen, Heaven, Hellfire, its inhabitants, and the souls (of the people).

o    [The people should not think in terms that nowadays we know about the relativity of time and the huge distances of the galaxies in the Universe and that what we see of such galaxies is what occurred so many light years away, so how is it possible for all the Universe to be destroyed at once. We say your finding out some of the intricacies of the Universe is just a small look into the huge power of Allah the Exalted, and that if he is able to create a Universe in which time in relative, then it is very easy for Him to destroy by whichever way which is unknown to us. There is no need for us to involve ourselves into such strange speculations which cannot lead to us to anything good.]

The Permanence of Heaven and Hell for Eternity

o    The Jahmis say that eventually Heaven and Hellfire will be destroyed. But the Sunnis say that Heaven and Hell are places for eternal reward and punishment. Also note that had it been otherwise this would have been injustice from Allah, as Allah says that he has bought the believers’ selves and their monies in exchange for Paradise, and it is not correct for the one who sells a home to someone to reclaim it after having received his payment (but this seems to be a weak answer, since the truth is that Allah has promised what the situation of the believers and disbelievers will be; this promise then, is informing us of what will surely come to pass in the Hereafter, and it is impossible that Allah’s Knowledge is false. It is from this angle that we know the certainty of the eternality of Heaven and Hellfire. The answer given by the author is based upon observing Allah’s Sunnah (way of treating the creation), but it is not decisive).

o    With respect to the objection that Allah says that He is the First and the Last, we say this is true in the sense that Allah is Self-Subsistent, while every creation exists only with His Permission. And with respect to the Hadith about the gates of Hellfire being “blown over” we say this is the situation when the sinners (from among the believers) have come out of Hellfire- so it is describing the case of that portion of Hellfire wherein the sinning believers were, not that everyone in Hellfire (including disbelievers) will be taken out.

Allah’s Pleasure and Anger

o    The Mu’tazila say that “Pleasure” and “Anger” (the literal translations of ‘Ridhaa’ and ‘Sakhat’) are not from among the Attributes of Allah the Exalted. They say that every time such are mentioned in the texts, they mean Paradise and Hellfire. But the Sunnis say that they are His Attributes, but of course, they indeed do not change, as is the case with all the Attributes of Allah.

o    The proof that ‘Ridha’ is other than Paradise is in Ayah 98:8 and in Ayah 9:72, where Allah mentions that the believers will be in Paradise and also receive His ‘Ridha’. And likewise for the ‘Sakhat’, Allah mentions in Ayah 4:94 that the one who kills a believer intentionally will be in Hellfire, along with facing the ‘Ghadhab’ (lit. anger) of Allah, so there has been a division between Paradise and Pleasure, and between Hellfire and Anger.

o    Then if someone asks whether the Attributes of Allah change, we say the question itself is impossible and wrong, since the Attributes of Allah do not change, for if they did, then that Attribute would be created and emergent, and Allah with all of His Attributes does not change (it would also mean that Allah Himself is a locus for changes to occur, and this is impossible). The same is the case if someone asks whether Allah can create another “God” like Himself: We say that whatever is created is not a “God”, so the question itself is impossible. (What is meant here is that the question itself is wrong, and that it does not deserve an answer in the traditional sense of ‘yes’ or ‘no’).

Does Allah know the number of the breaths of the people of Paradise and Hellfire?

o    The next topic is about Allah knowing the number of the breaths of the people of Paradise. In the notes, it is mentioned that Allamah al-Bajuuri said that Allah knows that which has no end, such as His Own Perfections, and the number of breaths of the people of Paradise, even though our minds may be unable to comprehend this [of course, the issue will come up that something which is infinite does not have a “number” attached to it, so perhaps this was meant in another sense, also see the note below].

o    In the body, the question of the Jahmis comes up, which is that does Allah know the number of the breaths of the people of the Paradise and Hellfire. They say that if we answer by no, we are saying that Allah is ignorant of something, and if we say yes, then it means that the people of Paradise and Hellfire will be dead at some point in the future. But we say that Allah knows that the number of breaths of the people of Heaven and Hell will not end, so the question was wrongly phrased to begin with.

o    If they say that we are making a similarity between Allah and His Creation in the fact that they are now both eternal and living into infinity, we say there is no similarity, because Allah exists by Himself “outside” of time altogether and He is not bound by any of the dimensions He has created, while we exist inside the confines of time and only with the Will and Permission of Allah the Exalted; indeed we are recreated at every moment, so the truth is that we “die” then we are recreated, since accidents do not remain for more than one moment, and neither do the substances within which these accidents take place.

The Five Fundamentals of the Mu’tazila

o    Note that even though the Mu’tazila had access to the rulers at certain points of their existence, yet for most of their history they would clandestinely ask each other whether they had read the ‘Usool al-Khamsa’ (The Five Fundamentals) in order to gauge whether the person they were talking to was a Mu’tazili. This shows that the way of the Sunnah has generally and historically been the way of truth, and even those who temporarily may have had some power in the land could not even get out of their fear of being discovered by the community at large.

o    ‘Amru bin ‘Ubayd is written generally as on the Thiqaat in the compendiums of Hadith criticism. Need to ask about this, though it is probably due to this individual’s great insistence on truth.

o    Note the different views taken by certain groups: The Mu’tazila said that the people who commit enormities are neither believers nor disbelievers, while the Murjia said bad deeds do not affect a person at all (and took it to an antinomian level), and the Khawarij went to the other extreme, saying that the perpetrator of enormities is a disbeliever. The Ahl us Sunnah were on the middle ground, saying that there is harm done to the person who commits enormities and Allah may punish him for a long time in the Hellfire, but we cannot say that such a person is outside the fold of Islam unless he shows pleasure and satisfaction with that sin, in the sense of saying that it is fine to do that sin [since this would point to his rejecting the Sharia and the Islamic texts].

o    The Mu’tazila say, of course, that Injustice is not applicable to Allah, but they say this means that Allah does not will or create “evil” or the “disbelief” of the slaves. But they have taken it at a very superficial level, saying that the one who does injustice (or in the case of Allah, creates injustice) is a unjust Being. We say that Injustice in the language means to overstep the boundaries and act in the domain of another being, without this second being having given you permission to do so. We challenge the Mu’tazila or any other person to tell what exists in the Heavens or in the Earth which they think inherently belongs to someone other than Allah, since they cannot find anything like this, especially since they agree with us that the entire Heavens and Earth is literally owned by Allah.

o    Some people may still be objecting, and they say that if Allah creates Injustice, then why don’t the rules and punishment of an unjust person apply to Him? We say that the rules and punishment for any deed are only for the creation, not for Allah. We hope that the opponent is not so naïve so as to think that punishment and reward are applicable to Allah, for this would mean that He would be created just like every other body one sees in the Universe (This is so, because first, there would have to be a judge other than Him to adjudicate reward and punishment on Him, and second, because it would mean that His Essence is a locus for originations such as pain and pleasure, and both of these positions are absolutely inapplicable to Allah).

o    If someone says, well then why aren’t rules at least applicable to Allah in this case, we say that in order for rules to have any efficacy, there has to be punishment and reward associated with them, and the impossibility of this has already been shown above. If they say, well at least it could be a set of moral rules, we say that even moral rules have their own set of rewards and punishments. We know this because it is obvious that people become happy or sad depending on whether they could carry out their “moral duty”, and both of these emotions are inapplicable to Allah in the way implied by the questioner.

o    Another thing about rules, rewards, and punishments is that they serve to restrict the person from doing absolutely whatever he wants. But it is a huge insult to the rational mind and to the belief of a Muslim to say that Allah may be restricted by something outside of Himself, since this means that this “outer thing” rules over Him and has control over His actions, and this is impossible.

o    Another issue is that the proponents of the Mu’tazila type view are basically advocating Tashbih between Allah and His Creation, in saying that both are capable of independently originating actions from nothingness into existence. Fine, if they can differentiate between acquisition of the human being and creation of Allah, then there is no issue, but it is obvious that this difference is not to be found while they talk about injustice and Allah.

o    A second viewpoint of the Mu’tazila is that the Qur’an is created, and so are the rest of the Attributes, for (they say) that if it were not created, then there would not be Tawheed. They also say that if Allah says He will punish someone, then it is impossible that His promise is not fulfilled.

o    With regard to this last issue, the Sunnis say that of course His promise is always fulfilled, but that with the exception of outright disbelief, we hope that Allah will forgive the sinners from among the believers. After all, it is not a mechanical, karma-like structure where everything is determined according to mathematical rules, but rather it is from among the Mercy of Allah that He may forgive whoever He wills. Now, with respect to the disbelievers, then yes their punishment will not be turned aside, but this is in order to attest the truth of Allah’s Word and that what He reveals to us cannot be contrary to the truth.

o    Thus, when the Mu’tazila bring forth Ayah 4:94 where it says that the one who kills a believer will be eternally in Hellfire, we say that this is “overruled” by the saying of Allah where He says that He does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives everything other than that [this of course, is after the person has died, for while the person is alive Allah will forgive every single thing, even association with Him].

o    So the way this works is that this latter Ayah is the overarching one in matters of whom Allah forgives and whom He does not forgive, while the Ayah 4:94 is interpreted in order to accord with this overarching Ayah. Thus, Ayah 4:94 means that if the person committing the murder committed it while He was pleased with it and thought it permissible to kill a believer while knowing about its prohibition, then his end will be in the Hellfire. But if repents at any time before his death, and acknowledges the prohibition of shedding the blood of a Muslim, then he will be forgiven for this sin, even though it was an enormous sin. In this vein, also consider Ayah 2:178, where Allah calls the murderer a believer even after his murder – so this means the disbeliever is only the one who holds killing a believer unjustly to be correct (as this is a matter of belief in the heart).

o    Otherwise, what would happen is that even sincere Tawbah could not erase the sin of killing a believer, and this is contrary to the rules of the Islamic religion (indeed, it would be strange to say that Allah would forgive even association with Him with sincere Tawbah and joining the Islamic religion, while He would not forgive the killing of a believer with sincere Tawbah, even though the killing of a  believer only happened because the murderer disobeyed Allah (and if we take the issue to its limit, committed disbelief in carrying out this act)).

o    The author says that while forgiving the sinner would be Mercy and Forgiveness from Him, it would not be acceptable for Allah not to reward the believer since this is the believer’s right. The editor rightly points out that this is incorrect, since the servant does not deserve anything from his master, and that there is a great Wisdom behind Allah giving rewards to the believers in the next world (even if we cannot fully comprehend this Wisdom).

o    Also consider with respect to Ayah 4:94 that this had a specific reason for its revelation. And that reason was that Miq-yas bin Sabaaba killed a Muslim after he had taken the blood money for his brother’s murder, fled the land of Islam and apostatized, which shows that he did not care about the injunctions of Allah regarding murder.

o    Regarding the claim that a Faasiq is not the same as a Mu’min, this term Faasiq was termed or Walid ibn ‘Uqba. The editor mentions though, that the claim that Ayah 32:18 was revealed about him, or that Ali (RAA) shouted at him and told him to be quiet for he is a disbeliever, all these are highly improbable. Refer to al-Awaasim minal Qawaasim for further details, as the editor says.

o    We need to also say something about the ‘Adaala of the Companions. When we are talking about them being just, we do not mean that they never committed sins, not even big sins. What ‘Adaala means in this technical sense is that they would not intentionally lie on the Prophet . Now, the issue may come up that perhaps some of the Companions may have forgotten something, or may have gotten old and started saying things that were not correct due to old age, or they may have been confused about something, etc. (and with it, the saying that all these things are basically like lying in terms of not conveying the correct information). We say this is why it is important to rely on the well-known and mass transmitted sayings of the Companions more than on the singularly reported narrations from them, since such a methodology will reduce or eliminate the chance for errors in what was transmitted. And we have to stress that this is not something particular about religious reports from the Prophets (AS), but is rather the way in which information is generally passed down from generation to generation even in “secular” matters. If such was not the case, then we would be justifiably unsure about every single thing that is presented to us in writing or words, down to whether the words we are speaking really have the meanings we were told them have; it is obvious that such a methodology can never lead to any detailed piece on information, let alone be a basis from which to build the foundations of the last message to humankind.


o    The Mu’tazila divided into different groups concerning intercession: There were some who absolutely denied the possibility of intercession (apparently because they said that rewards and punishment are karmically determined, and no amount of intercession can change this) There were some others who said that those who refrain from enormities but commit lesser sins are in need (and will benefit) from the intercession of the Prophets and angels.

o    There are others who say that those who commit enormities but then repent will need the intercession of Prophets and angels in order for their repentance to be accepted from Allah.

o    And others said that with respect to those who avoid all sins, they will still be in need of the intercession of the Prophets and angels so that their degrees will be increased, and that there is no intercession except for these two.

o    But all of these groups who accept intercession are in fact going against the saying of their sect, since only the first group who does not accept intercession whatsoever is the one who is following the basic rules of the Mu’tazila. However, the Ahl us Sunnah say that intercession is true and is given to the Prophets and the Awliyaa as a grace upon them and to show everyone what high status they have with Allah the Exalted.

o    If it is said that the unjust person is the one who has committed an enormity, and according to the Qur’an those who are unjust do not have recourse for any intercession, we say that the injustice talked about in here in disbelief, as is clear from Verses where disbelief has been labeled as injustice (the discussion about this is quite lengthy, we are just mentioning it in here in order to show some of the proofs to the people. We also see from this that a term such as “Thaalim” has been used by people other than the Shias to justify their own deviated Aqeedah).

o    There is one well-known Hadith of the Prophet where he says that his intercession will reach the perpetrators of enormities in his nation, while there is another Hadith saying the exact opposite. This latter Hadith is not found in the collections of Ahadith, and the author says that if this Hadith is correct, then it means only if the person committing the enormity thinks that enormity to be acceptable (in which case he is a disbeliever).

o    Note that Abu Dharr (RAA) had nothing to be buried with, nor (presumably) did he have any money with which to buy the burial cloth. But, as a rebuttal to the Twelver Shias, we should remember that such a type of lifestyle of extreme asceticism is not obligatory on the masses even according to the Twelvers’ jurisprudence. The issue of his being against the governors in Syria is one thing, but it is quite another to say that his views on how money should be distributed are binding on the Ummah- this, especially when he is not a Ma’sum according to the Shias, nor did their “Infallible Imams” go to this limit in advocating the distribution of wealth. [So in the end we see that the Twelvers are simply trying to find something with which to malign the majority of the Companions, without looking deeply into the issues involved].

o    Take note of the Hadith where the Prophet told Abi Dharr (RAA) to tell the people that if they (sincerely) say the Shahadah, they will enter Paradise, even if they committed adultery and stole. This shows that actions in and of themselves generally will not lead one to Hellfire except if they are accompanied by satisfaction for such sins in the heart.

The Balance, the Bridge, the Pool and the Accounting

o    The Mu’tazila said that there is no balance on the Day of Judgment, nor is there accounting, nor the Pool, nor the Bridge, since according to them a balance is needed by the grocers and the general masses. And they say it is insulting to say that Allah needs a balance for weighing deeds since He already knows what the weight of good deeds and bad deeds is for everyone, and he will directly tell the people of Paradise to enter Paradise without them being questioned on the Day of Judgment.

o    About the Bridge, they say that it is rationally impossible to cross a bridge that is as thin as a hair and as sharp as a sword. But we say that they are having a very crude rationality about this issue, since the true rationalistic possibilities are much wider than what they think.

o    But the Sunnis say that all of this is true. About the issue of the Balance, we say that this is only for the human to know how his deeds have been in the eyes of Allah, not that Allah does not know the weight of the person’s deeds. As an aside, Ibn Abbas (RAA) said that one of the handles of the balance is in the West and the other is in the East.

o    Also it has been deduced by the ‘Ulama that the Balance is on the Bridge, and the passing (or lack thereof) of the people on the Bridge is commensurate with how their deeds were weighed.

o    If it is asked that how come the “Balances” have been mentioned, while it is only one balance? To this we say that there is one balance for each specific person. We also say that there are instances in the Qur’an where the plural has been used but the meaning referred to is singular, such as in Verses 3:39 and 23:51.

o    If it is asked as to how the weighing takes place, we say that it has been reported that the servant is weighed along with his deeds, as is reported about Abdullah ibn Masood (RAA), that he will be heavier than the Heavens and the Earth on the Day of Judgment (as far as the weighing on the balance is concerned). Ibn Abbas (RAA) reported that the deeds will be written on a scripture and then weighed.

o    However, Allamah at-Tirmidhi (RA) said that the deeds are weighed without the person himself.

o    Anyway, if someone asks that how can deeds with are accidents (i.e. incidents) be weighed as if they were substances, we say that Allah has the Power to change them into a form that can be weighed.

o    Imam al-Huda (i.e. Abu Layth, according to the editor) said that the believer’s belief itself is not weighed, since there is no disbelief to place on the other handle (but note that there was no mention of not weighing the deeds).

Heaven and Hellfire are right now in Existence, they have been Created

o    Some from among the Jahmiya and Mu’tazila said that Heaven and Hellfire have not yet been created, for the reason that it is not from the characteristics of a wise Creator that He creates the places for reward and punishment before creating the people (i.e. before the people are to be led therein). Besides, they say, even if they were created right now, they would just pass away along with the passing of the Heavens and the Earth, so what is the use of them being created now?

o    But the Sunnis say, for example Imam Abu Hanifa and others, that Heaven and Hell are right now in existence, and they will never perish, and they are included in the exceptions mentioned in Verse 39:68.

o    The wisdom behind them being created right now is that the human being has a natural inclination to be more hopeful and expectant for something which is created now and which he can attain if he commits good deeds, and he will be more careful and cautious against committing sins if he knows that the punishment has already been created, but that it is only waiting for him to die and be judged in order for this punishment to fully overtake him (obviously, only in the case that he is a sinner).

o    In any case, Paradise has been mentioned in the present tense in Ayah 3:133 and 2:24. We also know that Paradise is not in the “Samawaat” (normally translated as ‘Heavens’), but rather is a million times bigger than the Samawaat.

o    As a point to consider in here, see that the author is saying “thousand thousand”, and he is not specifying exactly a million; rather he is saying some enormously huge number. This is important because from this we know there is a possibility that when the Qur’an or the other primary texts mention a “thousand years”, it may have this same type of meaning, that of denoting a very huge number. Also, it would be outside of eloquence to say thousand thousand thousand (for a billion- we are talking in terms that the word billion or even million had not been coined yet, and the proposition that the Universe is billions of years old. Also note that when we talk about dimensions in the Universe, many times we have to resort to scientific notation, because the word for denoting that number may be unknown even to scientists or that word may not even exist). So the thousand is presented and the people know from interpretation that it means a very huge number [but need to ask about this].

o    Just as the Sidratul Muntaha [Lote-Tree of the Utmost Boundary] is above the Seventh Heaven, likewise the Hellfire is below the Seventh Earth.

o    So in conclusion, we see that the Verses talking about Paradise and Hellfire are in the past tense, and we take them as they are (i.e. that they are talking about Paradise and Hellfire as existing in the past and by extension the present), since there is no other evidence urging us to reconsider the literal usage of the past tense.

Questioning and punishment in the grave

o    Certain groups (i.e. Mu’tazila, Jahmiyya, Najjariya) claimed that the punishment of the grave and the questioning by the angels is rationally impossible, since either the flesh is without the soul and such a person cannot feel pain, or if the flesh is united with the soul, then this would mean that he dies a second time, which is textually impossible.

o    Further, they say that the Qur’an say that every (“Kull”) person will taste death, and that the usage of the word “Kull” leads to no option other than to say every person dies only once and the soul is never returned to the body after death.

o    But the Sunnis say that both the punishment and the questioning are true. It is also true that there will be straitening of the grave for both the believer and the unbeliever, except that for the unbeliever it will be perpetual until the Day of Judgment, except that his punishment is lifted on Fridays and during Ramadhan due to the sanctity of Muhammad – thus, in the same way that his existence on this Earth prevented the disbelievers from being immediately punished, likewise some of their punishment in the grave is alleviated due to his sanctity and nobleness.

o    But there is some disagreement about this last point, as mentioned by Mulla Ali al-Qaari (RA) in his commentary on al-Fiqh al-Akbar. He said there is really no textual proof for us to take this position, and that what is said that for the sinner the punishment stops on Fridays and does not return until the Day of Judgment is totally incorrect.

o    In any case, the punished flesh is connected with the soul, and the soul is connected with the body, so the soul with the body suffers the punishment even if it (the soul) is outside of the body.

o    In the case of the believer, there are several cases: If he was obedient, he will have no punishment in the grave, but he will have its straitening, due to his lack of commensurate thankfulness for the blessings he received in this world. If he is a sinner, there will be for him punishment in the grave plus its straitening, but it will be suspended for him on Friday night, and will not return until the Day of Judgment. (Need to ask about the first group of obedient Muslims, since it would seem that the straitening of their graves would also stop on the first Friday and never return after its first suspension; however, it could be that the punishment is one thing, and the straitening of the grave is not necessarily a punishment for the believer). If he died on a Friday, then he will only have an hour (i.e. some time) of punishment and straitening of the grave, but then it will not return after its suspension.

o    The soul is attached with the body, and even if the body decomposes into dust, then the soul is attached with that dust, and the two suffer the punishment together.

o    Some of the textual proofs for this are the narration from Aisha (RAA) where she was told that the straitening of the grave for the believer is like the mother’s tender embrace for her son. In addition, we have the Hadith where the Prophet told ‘Umar that his mind would be intact when the questioners of the grave would come to him.

o    Among the rational proofs for the punishment of the grave is that when one is asleep, the soul is outside of the body but it is still connected to it (in the spiritual world), so much so that he finds rest and peace in his sleep, and he speaks during his sleep. So know that sleep is the brother of death, so if all these are possible during sleep then they are also possible after death, since at the end the Punisher and the one granting Mercy is Allah, and He is able to give these states to the people and even to the dust (that the person has decomposed into) whenever He wills.

o    Another proof for the punishment in the grave is that Ayah 9:101 says that the hypocrites will be punished twice then returned to the great punishment. So there is one punishment in the world, and another punishment in the grave and this is clear when we see that the punishment in the Hereafter, as mentioned in this Qur’anic Ayah, comes after the two punishments. We also have Ayah 52:47, which says that for the unjust people, there is a punishment “other than that”, which is a punishment other than punishment of the Hellfire (we can take this to mean in addition to it, not as a substitution).

o     With respect to the soul, it has been that it is a subtle body, interwoven with the body like water in a moist stick. Allah has made it His Sunnah that he keeps the person alive while the soul is in the body, and once it departs, the person passes away. It has also been said that the life in connection with the soul is like the rays in connection with the sun, and this is the saying of many of the Mashayikh of Tassawuf. Also as mentioned by Mulla ‘Ali al-Qaari (Rahimahulla), the flowing of the soul in the body is like the flowing of rose water inside the rose.

The place of the souls during the Barzakh period

o    With respect to the life of the Barzakh, we see that the Arwaah (souls) are of different types: One type are the souls of the Prophets, which (after their passing from this world), exit their bodies and (their essences) travel like musk and camphor, are in the Paradise eating and gaining pleasures, and at night they cling to the lanterns suspended from the Throne of Allah.

o    Another type is the souls of the martyrs, who are in the bodies of green birds, and through that they eat and enjoy themselves in Paradise.

o    The souls of the obedient believers are in the gardens of Paradise, and they fly even though they do not eat nor do they enjoy (as the Prophets and martyrs do). The souls of the disobedient among the believers are between the Heavens and the Earth in the air.

o    And the souls of the disbelievers are in the bodies of black birds which fly in the Sijjin below the seventh Earth, and the body of the disbelievers is put to torture as the soul of the disbeliever is tortured during the period of the Barzakh. The closest analogy for this is how the Sun is in the sky and its light is on the Earth.

o    Also, the souls of the believers are in the ‘Illiyin, and their lights are connected to their bodies, and another analogy for this is the sleeping person whose soul is outside of his body, and even with this, he is able to feel pain and to experience joy, even to the point of laughing in his sleep.

o    As we know, sleep is the brother of death. And note that no one knows of the punishment of the grave save Allah and the person inside the grave who is suffering the punishment (or analogously, the enjoyment) – so it cannot be said, why can we not have some test for determining what are the sufferings the person is going through in the grave, since this is one of the matters of the unseen. This is just like the case of the sleeping person, do you not see that no one knows of his dreams except Allah and himself, and no one would know what transpired in his sleep except if he were to tell the people about what he saw in his sleep.

o    Some people may say that nowadays we have machines and sensors that can track brain activity and they can differentiate brain activity and brain waves during sleep, to the point of knowing when someone is in deep sleep, or in the “rapid eye movement” stage (i.e. the time of sleep when dreams are most likely to occur), but that we do not see anything like this at all when the person is dead. We say that while the body is alive, something or the other is always occurring within the body, and there are patterns to this as well. But we do not accept the reduction of everything to matter, since what happens beyond death is one of the matters of the unseen – as is the relationship between our flesh and the soul, which is something which Allah Himself said He has not given us knowledge of it except a little (so how can someone say that the existence of the soul is impossible, when he is talking about something he has no knowledge of, and whose workings are part of the unseen?)

The protection of the blood of people of the Qibla

o    The Mu’tazila and the Khawaarij said it was allowed to kill the people of the Qibla if: (1) they committed an enormity (2) they invented something new into the religion (3) if they took to rebellion against the proper rulers of the land. (4) If he does not perform the obligatory actions [note that if he considers it lawful for the obligatory thing to be missed, then indeed he is to be killed, since he has left the fold of Islam].

o    A “Khaariji” is defined as anyone who goes against the Imam (Khaliphah) which has been agreed upon by the majority of the Muslims. This is irrespective of whether this rebellion was shown during the time of the Companions, or during the time that came after them from among the Ta’bi’in and the rulers in every time.

o    Know that the first ones to show open rebellion against the Khaliphah where those who seceded from Ali (RAA) when he went out for the Battle of Sifeen. Among these apostates were al-Ash’ath bin Qees al-Kindi, Mas’ar at-Tamimi, and Zayd bin Husayn at-Taai, when they said that: the people are calling you to the Book of Allah and you are calling them to the sword? (that is, you do not accept this and wish to fight?) until he said: I know best about what is in the Book of Allah, so you all flee to the other groups, flee to those who say that Allah and His Messenger have lied.

o    It is very important in the Khaariji way to disassociate one’s self from ‘Uthman and ‘Ali (RAA) up to the point that it is put before every other good deed, and even the marriages (for them) are not held to be valid unless this point can be verified. They also hold that to rebel against the ruler is obligatory if he does something against the Prophetic Sunnah.

o    The Ahl us Sunnah say that the life of a Muslim cannot be taken except in the case of apostasy, of adultery while married, or of killing a person unjustly. With respect to the rebel, it is allowed to kill him as long as he is rebelling against the proper ruler, but when he stops then he is not to be killed, as per Ayah 49:9.

o    Likewise is the case of thieves and bandits (or those who obstruct the roads in order to kill, steal, kidnap people, etc., and all these come under spreading corruption in the earth), they are to be killed while they are carrying out these activities, but once they stop then there is no way to kill them for this action- as mentioned in Ayah 5:33. It is also applied in the case of the one who wishes somebody else’s money or self (i.e. intended to steal or kill someone- need to ask about what this exactly means). It also applies to the leader of the innovating group, since he is creating corruption in the land by calling people to his innovation.

Imamah (Leadership)

o    Next comes the topic of Imamah. It is mentioned that Imam al-Ghunaymi said that generally, the scholars of Kalaam included the topic of Imamah in their works, even though it is not technically part of Kalaam itself, but it is what completes our study of it. It is mentioned in Al-Aqeedah an-Nasafiyyah that the Muslims must have an Imaam (i.e. Khaliphah) who applies their rulings, protects their frontiers, prepares their armies, takes their charities, protects the citizens of the country against all rebels and bandits, carries out the ‘Eid and Jumu’ah prayers (or under whom such prayers are held in his land), marries of the young children who have no legal guardians to make decisions for them, and distributes the spoils of war.

o    Also the Imam should be visible to all and should not be hidden (because how can a hidden Imam do all these actions; note that the Twelver Shias have historically not been performing the Jumu’ah prayers, and certainly not as an obligation, since they claim their Imam is in occultation). The Imam should be from the Quraysh and it cannot be from other than him, and he does not have to be from the Banu Haashim or from the sons of ‘Ali (RAA). It is also not necessary for him to be divinely protected from error, nor does he have to be the best person in the world at that time. But he should be of the type of people who can take such a post, who shows concern for the affairs of the Ummah and who can energetically establish the rules of Islam in his land. Also note that injustice and corruption do not in and of themselves render the Imam incapable of ruling the Islamic lands (insofar as it would become obligatory for the people to rebel and kick him out- we learn from other Ahadith that there is a link between the situation of the Ummah and their leaders, so that the leaders come to them as a “recompense” for what they are doing, whether good or bad).

o    Ash-Shahrastani said that Imamah is not one of the matters of the religion in that considering it (and studying about it) is one of the necessities of the religion. However, it is better to err regarding this matter than to neglect it altogether, since arbitrariness due to one’s inner self may make one unable to take proper decisions in this respect (but need to ask about this and what it exactly means).

o    Imam al-Ash’ari said that Imamah is something whose possibility is known by the rational mind, and whose obligatoriness is known through the revelation. Also, the Imamah is placed on the one who is (previously) capable of it through the oath of only one of the people of Ijtihaad and piety, and after he gives the oath then the rest of the people are obliged to follow that Imam. Also, the Imamah is not placed on any person while there is someone ho is better than him who can take up the mantle of Imamah (Need to ask about this, since there seems to be a difference of opinion over whether the Khaliphah should be the best person at that time, or whether it could be someone other than the best person).

o    Note that the Sunnis say that the Imamah (here it is taking the same meaning as Khilaphah) is not through Nass (explicit appointment by the Prophet and so on and on). Of course, the Shias as a group say that the Prophet left ‘Ali (RAA) as his trustee, and that this was his Wasayah (will before dying).

o    But the Sunnis say that he (RAA) was made the trustee for the specific purpose of the Prophet’s debts, and it is not acceptable to say that the one who has been made a trustee for one specific thing has been made a total trustee.

o    Now, the Mu’tazila say that leaving a Wasaya (i.e. will) is an obligation, but we Sunnis say that if all of his matters are settled and he has no debts, then leaving a will is optional upon him. Yes, if his matters have not been settled then it is obligatory for the Muslim to leave behind a will.

o    A very important proof that Imamah was not directly given to Ali (RAA) is that we have no record of this in our books [we will get to the Ghadir Hadith, etc. in other works]. Had such an appointment been made, we would have had these transmitted to us by the Companions, since they were able to give us the details on how to do Istinja’ (cleaning one’s self after going to the toilet) even to the point of mentioning that it is not obligatory with water, so how can one imagine that they would not transmit a matter of such importance as the supposedly specific appointment of any one of the Companions to the Khilaphah?

o    Anyway, in here the author is restricting himself to the matter of Khilaphah, since of course the Twelvers and other Shia groups concentrate much more on the “Infallible Imamah” as a post parallel to but not the same as Khilaphah.  A lot of the confusion has arisen due to the interchangability of Khilaphah and Imamah within Sunnism (but its dissimilarity in Shiaism), which causes the ‘Ulama of the Sunnis to look at it from their own viewpoint and not delve deeply into what new technical meanings are given to certain terms by the Shias.

o    Also, after the Prophet’s demise, the Sahabah gathered in the Saqifa of Bani Sa’ida and they recalled the Prophet’s Hadith where he said that whoever dies without acknowledging an Imam over himself will die the death of the days of Ignorance (However, note that we also have to consider the Hadiths where it is mentioned that a time will come when the people have to flee from everyone just to keep their Iman alive; this shows that the Imamah itself will leave the Ummah after some time, and that people will have to disassociate from society as a whole only to keep their faith alive. We also have the other Hadith where all of the different stages the Muslim Ummah will go through have been mentioned, down to our present time where we are under the oppressive direct influence and governance of the non-Muslims – so from this we learn that the Muslim Ummah will undergo a variety of difficulties, and taking an Imam and clinging to the society at large will not be the way to go in all circumstances).

o    They also understood that it is not possible for many obligations to be done without a proper Imam, such as the observance of the Jumu’ah and ‘Eid prayers, or the marrying off of orphans. It is interesting to note that the author says that ‘Ali (RAA) was the one offered the position of Imam by Abu Bakr (RAA) and he did not accept it and insisted upon Abu Bakr (RAA) being the one to whom allegiance would be paid. The editor mentions that it is well-known that Ali (RAA) was not in the Saqifa at that time, but that rather it was ‘Umar (RAA) who gave the oath of allegiance to him, as did Abu ‘Ubaydah (RAA) and the Ansaar who were gathered there at that time.

o    So one of the main reasons why Abu Bakr (RAA) was agreed upon as the Khaliphah after the Prophet was that he led the prayers for the people for three or seven days (based on the different narrations). Note that after the burial of the Prophet , Abu Bakr (RAA) stood on the pulpit and asked to be absolved from this responsibility, to which ‘Umar (RAA) [the author mentions ‘Ali (RAA), but the editor says it is well known that ‘Ali (RAA) gave the oath of allegiance after six months] said that they cannot place him at any position other than the top position given to him by the Prophet .

o    Anyway, then Abu Bakr (RAA) went to the markets to sell clothes in order to buy food to eat, but it was decided to give him some wage from the Bayt ul Maal. Note that even all of this was spent by Abu Bakr (RAA) so he had nothing left when he died (other places write that he had one or two Dirhams left).

o    Abu Bakr (RAA) also appointed ‘Umar (RAA) as the next Khaliphah. Note that he said this was based on his opinion of ‘Umar (RAA), and that if he was wrong, then no one knows the unseen except Allah the Exalted (note that it was not a divine inspiration, as the Twelvers say with respect to their “Infallible Imams”).

o    Another huge proof that Abu Bakr (RAA) used in appointing ‘Umar (RAA) was the saying of the Prophet to follow the two after him, Abu Bakr and Umar. The author says that ‘Ali (RAA) was one of those who accepted this appointment, and that he was particularly pleased with this (giving the Bay’ah to ‘Umar (RAA)).

o    It was under ‘Umar (RAA) that many of the important conquests at the early point of Islam came about, including the victories in Persia.

o    ‘Uthman (RAA) did two important things, one of them was to bring the Khutba of the Eid before the prayer, and the first to introduce the first Adhan before the Jumuah prayer (need to ask about the first issue).

o    The book mentions Abu Lu’lu (who killed ‘Umar (RAA)) as a Christian, but of course we know that he was a Zoroastrian.

o    Talha (RAA) has many important distinctions: Not only was he one of the six of the Shura, but he was also one of the 5 people who became a Muslim due to Abu Bakr (RAA), and one of the first eight people to enter Islam altogether.

o    Zubayr bin al-Awwaam (RAA) was the Prophet’s relative. He became a Muslim when he was only fifteen years old, and he never missed a battle with the Prophet . He was also the first person who took out the sword in the way of Islam (as is known in the story that he heard a rumor that the Prophet had been killed and he went out with his sword. He met the Prophet who asked him what he was doing, to which he (RAA) answered that he had heard the rumor, and he went out to fight against all of Makkah, after which the Prophet asked Allah to bless him).

o    Among the virtues of Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas (RAA) was that he was the first one to shoot an arrow in the way of Allah.

o     Note that with respect to the Shura appointed by ‘Umar (RAA), Abdur Rahman bin ‘Awf (RAA) was given three days by Uthman and ‘Ali to make up his mind with respect to which one of them should be the next Khalipha. The author mentions that he sought the views of the people and discovered that they tended towards ‘Uthman (RAA).

o    With respect to the narration that all Imams are to be from the Quraysh, even though the report itself is solitary, yet Abu Bakr (RAA) used this narration, and no one rejected this narration when he said, so it became an agreed upon principle, which no one from among the Muslims opposed, except the Khawaarij and some of the Mu’tazila.

o    The editor says that the day of ‘Ashura is a day of sorrow and grief for all Muslims, and not only for the Shias. He also mentions in passing the narration about Hasan and Hussayn (RAA) being the masters of the young people of Paradise. There is an obvious explanation to this, in that the narration is talking about the ages relative to the age of the Prophet [in comparison to the older age of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (RAA)], but need to ask about this.

o    The author mentions the Takfir of the Shias with respect to the bulk of the Sahaba. We say that the narrations are to be taken as a totality, not as a matter of partiality, since partiality in this regard also constitutes disbelief (that is, if the biased person knows that the Prophet said something but does not accept it).

o    Thus, we do not accept the allegation that the Ahadith about the virtues of the Shaykhayn were made up, and if they insist on this matter, we say then there is no reason for us to accept any narration concerning the virtues of Ali (RAA) either (if we follow this bigoted viewpoint to its logical conclusion), since there is a system which is followed for accepting narrations from the Prophet , and the results of this system is that there are virtues narrated concerning both the Shaykhayn (RAA) and ‘Ali (RAA), so rejecting one or the other constitutes disbelief. (Yes, if the person is truly unaware of a certain narration, then we can suspend the judgment until this matter become clear to him, but to say that the judgment is still suspended even after he has come to know of the narrations to the level of certainty is unacceptable).

The best from among the Sahabah

o    Next comes the discussion on the best of the Sahaba. The author says that Abu Bakr (RAA) was the best of all the Sahaba. The editor expands on this, saying that Abu Bakr al-Haytami said that the scholars of this nation agreed that Abu Bakr is the best of this nation, then ‘Umar, then they differed about whether it was ‘Uthman or ‘Ali (RAA). So Shafi’i, Ahmad, and Malik (RA) said it was ‘Uthman (RAA), but the Kufan school, including Sufyan ath-Thawri (RA) were certain concerning the preference of ‘Ali over ‘Uthman (RAA).

o    Also note the very important point that Imam al-Ash’ari (RA) said that it is proven through decisive evidences that Abu Bakr (RAA) is the best of this nation – this means no one can say that al-Ash’ari’s position is that the best person should be the Khalipha, so let me combine this with the (minority) opinion that ‘Ali (RAA) was the best, and then say that ‘Ali should have been Khalipha instead of Abu Bakr. This is wrong of course, since the conclusion of al-Ash’ari in this respect is that Abu Bakr is known decisively to have been the best person in this Ummah after the Prophet’s demise, so one cannot deny his Khilapha and remain a Muslim, since the proof is religiously undeniable in his view.

o    Even so, other scholars such as Abu Bakr al-Baqilaani mentioned that the evidences for Abu Bakr’s (RAA) superiority are speculative, so it is not from among the necessities of the religion in his view.

o    Muhammad bin al-Hanaffiya (RA) reportedly said that his step-brothers Hasan and Hussayn (RAA) were better than him, but that he was more knowledgeable than them. All this shows is that it would be an impossibility for the Twelvers to show a strong link between their religion and what is found in our books, if our sources are taken as a whole, even in a casual manner.

o    It was also said that al-Hanaffiya (RA) died in Ta’if while fleeing from Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr (RAA), but need to ask about this matter. [We also have the mention of the Kaysaniyya who held that al-Hanafiyya was the Mahdi and that he would return at the end of time. This is an angle which has to be studied in more depth in the sense of looking at when the idea of an “occult Imam who will come in the future” started with Shiaism].

o    One of the stronger proofs concerning the order of superiority is the narration from ‘Ali (RAA), where he was asked by al-Hanafiyya (RA) concerning who was the best of this Ummah, and he said Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman (RAA), but he remained silent about the fourth best person in this nation. So when he was specifically asked about himself, he said that he was only a common man from amongst the Muslims, because he did not wish to praise himself.

o    Another proof is that he would sit with Abu Bakr (RAA) to his right and ‘Umar (RAA) to his left, and there are only two options: that this action was done due to dissimulation or due to confirming the highness of their position. Note that the Shaykhayn also took the Prophet’s footwear at times – this means he was very close to them, in that they were performing his services of the mundane world for him. Also, the Prophet put Abu Bakr (RAA) to lead the prayers of the people in front all the Muslims, so this is a type of designation different from the designation of Ibn Umm Maktum (RAA).

o    If someone brings forth the Hadith of Manzila: “You are to me in the same position as Harun was to Musa, except that there is no Prophet after me”, and then says that the successorship of Harun (AS) cannot be changed (in the sense that it has been divinely decreed), we say that the reason for this statement is that the Prophet went for the battle of Tabuk and the hypocrites taunted ‘Ali (RAA) by saying that he had been left at home with the women and children. But in fact the Prophet had left him in charge of Madinah for that period of time only, and from here we understand a number of important parallels, such as: (1) we see that just as the Children of Israel were driven to commit unbelief, so the hypocrites that were in Madinah at that time were driven to unbelief, and it cannot be said that hypocrisy and unbelief were the common trends among all the Sahabah during and after the death of the Prophet , (2) just as Harun (AS) had been left as an overseer while Musa (AS) was out in the path of Allah for a specific amount of time which did not constitute all-encompassing Wilaaya, likewise ‘Ali (RAA) had been left in charge only for a specific amount of time for a specific place which did not constitute an all-encompassing Wilaaya.

o    Another important issue in here is that Harun (AS) died before Musa (AS), and the successor of Musa (AS) was Yusha’ bin Noon (AS). So from this angle only it is shown decisively that the succesorship cannot possibly be an encompassing “Infallible Imamah” type of Wilaaya, since the most important point is missing.

o    If some insists and says that then why did the Prophet emphasize that there is no Prophet after him, we say that this point still had no be made, since Harun (AS) was a Prophet even though his Wilaaya was for a specific duration of time, but this could not be the case with ‘Ali (RAA) even though he was analogously left in charge of a particular place for a particular amount of time. Also, the phrase “Prophet after me” means that there is no designation of Prophethood after his designation, not that there is a divinely appointed position distinct from Prophethood that is to be filled by ‘Ali (RAA) after he passes away.

The Revelation was for Muhammad

o    Certain now-defunct Shia groups say that Jibril (AS) made a mistake in giving the revelation to Muhammad , and others say that ‘Ali (RAA) was a partner in the Prophethood, and both of these groups are disbelievers. There are others who say that just as Khidr (AS) was more knowledgeable than Musa (AS), so ‘Ali (RAA) was more knowledgeable that the Prophet .

o    The answer to this last objection is that the Prophet said that he was the city of knowledge and ‘Ali (RAA) is its gate, and the gate of the city cannot be bigger than the city itself. One issue we have to note is that making the analogy that one can only enter the city through the gate, thus we can knowledge only from ‘Ali (RAA), this is an incorrect analogy, since again, we have to take the totality of the Ahadith and see where the evidence leads us to. In this case, this narration is taken to emphasize the vastness of ‘Ali’s (RAA) knowledge, not that knowledge is only restricted to him, or that if we take from other Companions then we have erred.

o    This is one thing, and another one is that the Sunni ‘Ulama did indeed take many of their sciences from him (RAA) anyway, such as the Hanafi Fiqh, the Qir’aat of the Qur’an, numerous narrations, and so forth. So when we see that there is a disjunction between what ‘Ali’s (RAA) students took and what the Shias claim, we find out the incoherence of their claims.

o    Do note though, that there is a difference of opinion concerning the authenticity of this narration, as a number of Hadith scholars have not considered it as authentic.

o    It is mentioned also that the Prophet is always better than the Wali, so it is impossible to say that ‘Ali (RAA) was higher than the Prophet . In the case of Khidr (AS) it was a type of Ladunni knowledge – which in this case means Ilham- and Musa (AS) was a Prophet with a new Sharia and a revelation, and in this case also Musa (AS) was higher in status than Khidr (AS). Also note that many ‘Ulama say that Khidr (AS) was also Prophet, since no Prophet is taught religious knowledge by a Wali.

o    The editor mentions that it has indeed been explicitly said by our ‘Ulama that whoever says that a Wali is better than a Nabi has disbelieved. With respect to the position of Wilaaya and Nubuwwa, there is no Takfir on him, even though the correct position is that Nubuwwa is better than Wilaaya. It was also mentioned by al-Izz bin Abdus Salaam that Wilaaya is better, but the Nabi is not a Wali, even though he is a Nabi and he is higher in status (Need to ask about this, since there seem to be some confusion inherent in the above).

The finality of Prophethood

o    Another group of Shias said that Prophethood was an inheritance given to ‘Ali (RAA) and his progeny, and that it is obligatory to obey ‘Ali and the specific line of Imams they have mentioned, and that whoever does not do so is a disbeliever (note the similarity between this saying and that of infallible Imamah, even if the Twelvers deny that Imamah is Prophethood).

o    However, this group has disbelieved, since they have repudiated the explicit Verse in Surah al-Ahzab, and also the clear-cut Hadith: “There is no Prophet after me”.

o    Also, note that Imam Abu Yusuf said that if anyone asks for evidence from a claimant to Prophethood, then he himself has disbelieved. The reason for this is that evidence is asked from someone is order to evaluate the truth of their claim, and whoever asks for evidence is doing so because he has doubts about the Qur’anic Verse and the Ahadith which mention otherwise, and this is the reason for their disbelief. Anyone who claims Prophethood nowadays in definitely telling a lie, so there is no way one may ask for evidence.

o    Now, there is another issue with “asking for evidence” even if it was in a mocking way: The issue is that the imposter may try to play games with the wordings of the definite Verses and Ahadith, and say that ‘Khatam’ something other than “final”, or other matters. This is what we see from the Qadiani group, in that they say that ‘Khaatam’ means “best” and not “last”, or that there is a Hadith to the opposition of what is widely known among the Muslims. (Will ask about this later on)

o    Someone may ask, then why did we expect the people to believe in the evidences of Muhammad , even though when he started out people also doubted him totally? We say that in Muhammad’s case there were prophecies to this effect in the previous books which cannot be denied (those among the Christians or Jews who say that there is no possibility of other Messengers coming say so through what we would call broken chains, or no chains at all. For a confirmation of this, we only need to look into how their scriptures were collected to understand that they did not have a strong methodology). But in the case after his coming, the mass transmitted reports and understanding is that there is no Prophet or Messenger after him .

o    Another matter which we have mentioned before is that the Jewish and Christian understanding of what a “Prophet” means is totally opposed to what Islam teaches, since for them it is a very general term, meaning anyone who speaks after “being filled by the Holy Ghost” or something to that effect. This is why today many of the Protestant and Pentecostal groups have so-called “Prophets” in their hierarchy, since they have totally lost the true meaning of this term.

The Imam who compiled the Qur’an

o    The Shias say that ‘Ali (RAA) was the only one who compiled the Qur’an. But we say that it was ‘Uthman (RAA) who gathered the Qur’an and presented it to the people. We say that during the time of Abu Bakr (RAA) he did gather the Qur’an, but he did not present it publicly to the people, due to his engagements in preparing the armies fighting the war of Yamaama, and other expeditions. Likewise, in the time of ‘Umar (RAA) this was not possible, since he was also busy in preparing armies for then expeditions in Khurasan and other areas. However, when ‘Uthman (RAA) came to power, he saw the people differing in the recitation of the Qur’an and the matter could not be neglected. So he presented the Mushaf to the masses and all of the Companions agreed upon this. Whoever rejects even a Verse of the Qur’an has disbelieved, since the Mushaf of ‘Uthman (RAA) is what all of the Muslim Ummah agreed upon.

o    As we know, the story is that Hudhayfa bin al-Yaman (RAA) came to ‘Uthman (RAA) and told him to seize the Ummah before they differ like the Jews and Christians. So he took the Suhuf from Hafsa (RAA), copied them unto new Masahif and directed the group (and these were Zayd bin Thabit, Abdullah bin Zubayr, Sa’eed bin al-‘As, and Abdur Rahmman bin al-Haarith (RAA)) undertaking this matter to give precedence to the tongue of the Quraysh, since it was the tongue in which the Qur’an was revealed. After this task was completed, ‘Uthman ordered for the rest of the pages in which anything of the Qur’an had been written to be burned. Note that this action was not due to trying to force a certain Mushaf down the throats of people, as our non-Muslim opponents say, but it was rather to avoid confusion.

o    If someone asks as to how could confusion occur, it is because when someone had a personal copy of the Mushaf, it may have been that he had taken his own personal notes along the margins or in the body of the Qur’anic text, and for those who did not have the acumen to understand what was happening, they may taken these marginal notes and commentary as part of the actual Qur’an. Also, note that when the copies were sent, a teacher was also sent to each land in order to teach the people the Qir’aah. And this was of an utmost necessity, since the ‘Uthmanic “codex” was a skeletal copy of the Qur’an, which could accommodate the different readings, and it would be impossible for anyone to read the Qur’an without the guidance of a teacher.

o    The Books revealed to the Prophets (Alayhima Salaam)

o    We must acknowledge that all of the revealed books are like the Qur’an in the sense of their being the uncreated Speech of Allah. There are 100 ‘Suhuf’ (lit. ‘pages’ or ‘copies’) and 4 Books; fifty ‘Suhuf’ were given to Sheet bin Adam (AS), and thirty were given to Idris (AS), 10 were given to Ibrahim (AS), and 10 were given to Musa (AS) before the revelation of the Torah and before the drowning of Fir’awn. These were called the ‘Kitab at-Tasmiyya’ (lit. ‘The book of Namings’).

o    Then the four books revealed were the Tawrah (given to Musa (AS) after the drowning of Fir’awn), the Zabuur (given to Daawud (AS)), the Injeel (given to ‘Isa (AS)), and the Furqaan – that is, the Qur’an- given to Muhammad .

o    With respect to the Torah, it consisted of nine ‘tablets’ and these contained great knowledge; that is, except the knowledge given to Prophets Ibrahim, ‘Isa and Muhammad (AS), plus the knowledge inherited by the Prophet . And this point shows a great honor bestowed upon the aforementioned Prophets (in that they were given knowledge which Allah did not bestow to Musa (AS) in the Torah).

o    And everything that was in the tablets (except what was exclusively with regards to Musa (AS)) is within seven types of “divine” knowledge (Or we can say that of the nine tablets, seven were for the general masses, and two were exclusive to Musa (AS) and he did not pass them on to anyone):  (1) Light (2) Guidance (3) Wisdom (4) Strength (5) Governance (6) Servitude (7) Elucidation of the way of happiness from the way of perdition, and an explanation of which one is higher.

o    As to the last two remaining tablets, the first tablet was the tablet of “Lordship” and the second was the tablet of “Power”.

o    With respect to the Zabuur, it is in fact a Syriac word meaning “book”, and it appears with this meaning in the Qur’an in Ayah 54:52. And the Zabuur revealed to Daawud (AS) contains mostly admonitions to his people, and praises to Allah as He deserves. It also includes abundant divine knowledge, and knowledge concerning the rights of the existent things, the existent tribes, provisions, of nature, calculations, logic, of succesorship and wisdom, and of martial skills. There is also in it a section encompassing jurisprudential rules.

o    With respect to the Injeel, it was revealed in the Syriac language to ‘Isa (AS) (who was the last Messenger sent specifically to the Children of Israel), and it was read in seventeen different languages. There is nothing in it save it is related to theological codes concerning human beings.  Of course, there is nothing in the true Injeel which leads one towards the doctrine of “Trinity” and the Qur’an refutes this in Ayah 5:116. From this Verse we learn that ‘Isa (AS) did teach them the correct religion, but rather than sticking to it, they left that teaching and followed whatever occurred to them from their personal readings and interpretations of the Injeel.

o    With respect to the Qur’an, we know that there are those Verses and Chapters which came all at once, while others came in installments, some came in Makkah and others in Madinah, and so forth until the revelation was completed.

o    We know that whoever disbelieves in even one Ayah of the divinely-revealed books has disbelieved. However, if he says that he believes in all of the Messengers but says he does not believe in a particular Messenger whose name is not mentioned in the Qur’an, he has only become an innovator. On the other hand, if he enters any of the various religions, then he has apostatized and is to be killed. Finally note that to believe in all the Prophets, Messengers, and Divinely revealed Books is an essential part of faith.

Number of Prophets and Messengers

o    With respect to the number of Prophets and Messengers, it was reported that the number of Prophets were 124,000 (or 1,200,000 according to another narration) from which 313 of them were Messengers. In view of the different reports that have come in this regard, the safest option is to say that we believe in everything that has come from Allah and whatever has come from Allah as Allah wishes us to believe in it, and in all His Prophets and Messengers.

o    This is so that we do not include any non-Prophet among the Prophets, nor exclude any Prophet by saying he was not a Prophet (which would be the case if we were to insist on a specific number to the point of personal certainty as if it was a fundamental matter of the religion). This is also the case since even if a solitary report reaches the best possible level as far as Usool of the Fiqh is concerned, it is still probabilistic evidence, and there is no space for probabilistic evidences in matters of (absolutely certain) creedal matters.

Whoever dies does not come back to the world

o    There are those among the Shias who say that ‘Ali (RAA) and his progeny will come back to the world and take revenge upon those who oppressed them, and fill the world with justice as it is filled with injustice and oppression. This is their doctrine of Rajaa’ which a number of their scholars have said is necessary to believe in.

o    But we Sunnis say that there is nothing after death other than Paradise or Hellfire, as has been mentioned in the Hadith: “There is nothing after death other than Paradise or Hellfire”. Also, we can deduce this from Verses 20:55 and 36:31, and we note that the Qur’an did not mention in these Verses that people would be brought back twice (i.e., in the case of Ayah 20:55, it just says that once they will be taken out from the Earth another time, not two or multiple times).

Forbiddance of evil and immoral things

o    Some from among the Shia say that drinking alcohol, sodomy, singing, dancing, and poetry are all allowed. In the case of sodomy, they say that Allah did not specifically call it “Haraam”, but only said it was “Munkar” (an evil). In the case of alcohol drinking, they say that Verse 5:92 says that there is no blame on the believers on what they eat as long as they have piety. Concerning the last three issues, they say that this was the view of Imam Maalik (RA).

o    The Sunnis say that all of this is disallowed, since there is a Hadith mentioning that very play and amusement is forbidden except three: shooting of arrows, training of horses, and a man playing with his wife.

o    With respect to alcohol, there is a Hadith mentioning its forbiddance. Moreover, in Ayah 7:33 it is mentioned that ‘Ithm’ is forbidden by Allah. And we know from certain poets and the saying of the Arabs that ‘Ithm’ may be used as another word for alcoholic beverages.

o    Now, with respect to Ayah 5:92, we say there is a specific reason for the revelation of this Verse, which was that a certain people were drinking alcohol before the news of its prohibition had reached them, and in order to dispel the distress they were feeling, Allah revealed that He did not place any blame on them for what they had done prior to the information reaching them (Note that even during the time of the Prophet , information did not reach become supernaturally, but rather had to follow the normal routes of transmission).

o    With respect to the playing of Duff [one-sided drum], it is true that Imam ash-Shafi’i (RA) allowed it in marriages, but this was only for the purpose of informing the people about the occurrence of the marriage, not for mere play.

o    If someone says that the fact that alcohol and the eating of dead meat were allowed at the beginning of Islam, and their prohibition would seem like a turning back of Allah’s decision [in the sense that they say: How can we say Allah abrogated this legislation, since it would mean He did not know the consequences of His decisions – and thus if it was allowed at the beginning it cannot be prohibited at a later time (may Allah save us from both these thoughts)], we say that this is not a “turning back” of the laws, but rather that the time for the first law has passed and finished, and the beginning of a new law.

o    The only thing is that we as limited human beings did not know that the previous law would end and a new one would begin, and this became obvious to us only after the revelation of the relevant Qur’anic passage or the Hadith from the Prophet .

o    Now, with respect to ‘Naskh’ we say that as far as we are concerned it is the changing of a ruling after it had been previously established. With respect to Allah though, it is only a declaration of the ruling (since there is no before or after for Him, and He is not subject to rules and regulations like us). Note that abrogation occurs only with those matters of the rules of the Sharia which do not have an explicit time-limit associated with them, nor do they have an explicit clause saying that the rule will go on forever. An example of a time-limited ruling would be if Allah had revealed to us that a certain prayer is obligatory on us for one month. So after that month is finished the ruling is automatically lifted, and there is no need for another rule abrogating it. Also, if the ruling is explicitly said to last forever, then there is no abrogation to it. An example of this is the Hadith that Jihad will take place until the Day of Resurrection (and as an extension, we see that it means it is legislated on the Muslim Ummah until the Day of Resurrection) there is no way that another rule can come to abrogate this.

o    This last issue leads us to another important point, which is that there is no abrogation with respect to ‘Akhbaar’ (i.e. reports), which in the case of divine inspirations takes on an aspect of the unseen. This is because if any Prophet (AS) were to come and say one thing, and then later something of this were to be changed, then this would imply a lie in the inspiration and the Speech of Allah, and this is totally impossible for us to even consider.

o    Thus, the scholars of Usool have said that the formal definition of ‘Naskh’ is the elucidation of the ending of the time for an encompassing ruling, which Allah knew in His preeternal knowledge, would end at such and such time. An example of how this is applied to the case of alcohol consumption is that Allah had allowed every single thing for the believers at the beginning of Islam, and only later did the gradual prohibition for its consumption start to take effect.

o    Finally, take note that what is Haraam is established only through the explicit text (Nass), Ijma’ (consensus) or Ijtihaad/Qiyaas (legal reasoning), and everything else is allowed for us.

o    As another analogy is the case of the Day of Judgment, when the dead people will be brought back to life. Note that no one says that Allah wavered in his decision to keep the people dead, but rather that their time for being dead was up, and that the time for them to start their life either in Paradise or Hellfire started.

o    Also note that in many cases, the abrogating ruling is easier on the believers than the abrogated ruling, and this is a huge mercy and compassion from Allah to His servants. The clearest example of this is when Allah commanded that each believer in warfare had to face ten disbelievers without leaving the battlefield, and later this was reduced to only two disbelievers, so in the previous ruling the situation was much harder than in the latter ruling.

o    Of course, there are also cases when the abrogating ruling is more difficult than the abrogated ruling, but this could be due to some test that Allah wishes to place His servant under, or due to some wisdom which may not be obvious at the time. Again returning to the matter of alcoholic drinks, there is a huge wisdom in its prohibition, as we see all the problems that people go through their lives and families due to their drinking of alcohol, all of which are obviated if the Islamic ruling is followed properly.

o    Finally, note that it is obligatory to adhere to the abrogating ruling in both ruling and action, while the abrogated ruling is to be adhered in belief only, but not in action. This is also the analogy concerning the previous books revealed to the Messengers, in that we believe in them being the Divine Speech of Allah and that they were indeed revealed to the Prophets, but we say that we are not to live our lives today according to such books, since their time has passed and now we are to follow Muhammad fully until the Day of Return.

The Wisdom of abrogating the Sharai’ (Divine Laws)

o    The Jews say that the abrogation of Allah’s rules is not allowed. What seems to be case is that they are following a revised version of the “Roman natural law” argument, which says that the rules under which human beings should live are known to every sensible person, and that Allah has only revealed it in the Torah.

o    However, the Ahl us Sunnah say that abrogation of rulings is definitely allowed. The proof of this is easily seen in how the children of Adam (AS) were allowed to marry each other, and then this was abrogated later on. Also, see how Adam (AS) was allowed to enjoy in a sexual sense what was in fact a part of himself – Hawaa (AS) – but this was not allowed to anyone else after him. Also, marrying two sisters as wives simultaneously was allowed in the time of Ya’qub (AS) but it was later on abrogated in the Torah. Additionally, we see how circumcision was optional in the Shariah of Ibrahim (AS) but it became obligatory at the time of Musa (AS).

o    However, the Jews argue on this point and then say that whatever was revealed in the Torah was for the goodness of the people, so it cannot be that there comes a time when the rulings of the Torah are abrogated, because it would mean that at one point in time Allah revealed things which were not for the utmost goodness of people. They say that if such were the case, we would be attributing uselessness and weakness to Allah the Exalted, and such a thing is not allowed.

o    The answer to this is as was mentioned before, in that there was indeed goodness in what Allah revealed to Musa, Dawuud and ‘Isa (AS), but this was for that specific time and place, and as that Prophet, time, and place was replaced by something new, likewise the Shariah changed with the coming of a new book. The analogy is made to eating, in that we do eat at the time when we are hungry but it makes no sense for us to eat when we are full (since at the latter time eating will only hurt us). Or like the doctor who gives a prescription to his patient, knowing fully well that at a future date this medicine will have to be changed to something else, since this is the step-by-step road which has to be taken in order for the person to recover fully.

o    There is one very important point in here, in that the final revelation has come to Muhammad . This revelation is final and is for all places and times until the Day of Judgment, so there cannot be any change or abrogation of the Islamic Shariah. As a further proof is his saying: “There is no Prophet after me”. Since there is no Prophet after him, likewise there cannot be any new rules or changes to the old rules after him. Note that in Islam we do not follow rules or make up rules only because they seem to be good to us at that time and place, but rather we say that there has to be divine confirmation for every single rule we follow. Thus, in our age, it is not possible for some rule to overtake the Islamic Sharia, based on the impossibility of the appearance of a new Messenger. As a final note, take heed that the current world order in embedded within the thought that there is no God at all, or that if God exists, then He has a “hands-off” approach to whatever occurs in the Universe; it is obvious that both of these strains of thinking are immediately rejected and are two sides of the “atheist coin”.

Ruling on Mut’ah Marriage

o    Certain of the Shias (all the Twelvers at least) say that Mut’ah is Halaal, as per Verse 4:24, where they take the enjoyment mentioned in the Ayah to be partial enjoyment without permanent marriage.

o    But we Sunnis say that it was allowed for a certain time frame for a necessity, then it was repealed. There are narrations where it was allowed in the years of Hunayn and Awtaas, and then it was abrogated. Even Ibn ‘Abbas (RAA) said that it was only for a pressing need and would not be allowed if there was no pressing need. The rest of the ‘Ulama said that its permission meant its allowance and its abrogation meant its total disallowance. In nay case, the scholars of the four schools do not consider it allowed, since acting on the abrogated ruling while the abrogating ruling is present is not allowed.

o    The author says that Ayah 24:3 (where it is mentioned that an adulterer can only marry an adulteress or a disbeliever…) was abrogated by another Ayah, which was Verse 24:32 (and marry (off) your slave-girls…). Of course, this view has not been shared by other scholars, who say that Verse 24:3 does not have the position of technically declaring that only such a marriage may take place, but that rather it is only describing what is known to be a fact of life.

o    Other Shias say that when the person dies and his body becomes dust, then Allah creates another body in which his soul enters, and that the position of the body to the soul is like a thobe to the body. They say this viewpoint is vindicated by Verse 4:56.

o    But we say that Verse 4:56 is only mentioning that the characteristics of the skin and its form will be changed, not its actual essence. As another analogy, we have Verse 14:48, where Allah mentions that He will change the Earth to another Earth, but this means that He will change its composition, not the Earth itself.

Refutation of the antinomians

o    Now we come to the refutation of the “Ibahiyya”. Basically these are antinomians, in that they do not consider any of the Sharia to be applicable to them, to the point that they believe that people do not have any exclusive right to sexual intercourse with their wives, but rather that women are the public property of all.

o    These antinomians say that when the person reaches the highest level of love, then all of the rulings of Shariah are dropped from him, and the only thing he has to do is to think about Allah, and with the light of this thinking he ascend to Paradise, where he marries and sleps with the Hoors.

o    But we the Sunnis say that whoever believes in this nonsense has disbelieved, since even the Prophets were unable to ascend to Paradise by the “light of their thinking”, but rather ‘Isa, Idris, Adam and Muhammad were all taken to or placed in Paradise and the high stations through the help of Allah, so any person other than them can never reach such stations only by his own deep meditation and so forth.

o    Others from among them say that if someone needs the money or the women of another person may take from them, since all that was left by Adam and Hawaa (AS) was an inheritance for their posterity in equal measure for all. But we say that as per Ayah 4:29, it is explicitly stated that people cannot take from the money of each other except if it is with the approved trade between them. We also have the narration of the Prophet : “The burden of proof is on the accuser and swearing the oath is on the one accused”.

o    And these antinomians say that if the person reaches the highest level of love, then the women of people are allowed for him (to have intercourse with). They have rationalized that this is the lover of Allah and these women are the female slaves of Allah, so why should there be any impediment for them to cohabit?

o    We say that this is reasoning is incorrect, since the Qur’an and the purified Sharia say that there is no legal intercourse except through marriage or through slavery, or if the master marries his slave girl to someone else, then that specific person can cohabit with her, but it is not for every single person in whichever way they wish. Also note that Maa’iz (RAA) was stoned to death during the time of the Prophet , and it would have been useless to stone him to death had there been total freedom in having intercourse with whoever one wished. (Note that with respect to Maa’iz (RAA), the Prophet said that his repentance was such that if a portion of his people had undertaken it, it would have sufficed them).

o    They also say that whenever the lover commits a sin, Allah will not enter him into the Hellfire, since whoever enters it cannot come out of it, just like the one who enters Paradise will never come out of it. But this is a false saying from their part.

o    The reason why it is a false saying is that it is up to Allah whether to punish the person who commits sins, as He has mentioned in Verse 5:40. Moreover, the believer may be placed in Hellfire as a means of purifying him for dirt and filth, just as the gold is placed in fire in order to remove its impurities. This is obviously different than the case with the disbeliever, since he is simply like the wood used to kindle the fire and he has no other purpose. Also note that this situation is different than the case with Paradise, since Paradise is totally pure, and it does not remove the purities from the hearts of the believers so that they may be kicked out – in fact the whole reason why some sinning believers are placed in Hellfire for a time is so that they may be totally purified and only then can they enter Paradise.

o    They also say that for whoever reaches the pinnacle of love, the rulings of the Sharia are cancelled for him. They say that such lovers would prefer killing themselves over disbelief. It seems that they are implying by this that they cannot be called disbelievers, because they would rather die than fall into disbelief (at least this is the claim they make with their tongues).

o    But we Sunnis say that this is incorrect, since the way of Allah is to burden the ones who love Him the most and whom He loves the most with more duties and tasks. Do you not see how Muhammad , who was His beloved and His chosen Messenger, was commanded to do certain things in the Qur’an, to the point of being commanded to spend half the night in prayer? So how can it be said that the Sharia has dropped from these people due to their love of Allah?

o    Also, the case of Adam (AS) is there, who was commanded not to approach the tree, and when he did approach the tree, he was blamed for what he did and taken out of Paradise.

o    The author mentions the story of Daud (AS) looking at the wife of Uriya, but the editor mentions that the correct thing he has told from his Shuyukh is that Daud (AS) was slightly reproved for judging in favor of one woman without listening to the argument of the other.

o    Also note (with respect to the hardships of those who are loved by Allah) that Aisha (RAA) reported that there were never three nights in a row when the Prophet’s household ate fine bread until he passed away.

o    Of course, the reason for the hardships we go through in this world is because Allah the Exalted has mentioned that in Paradise we will enjoy everything without having to work (either in obtaining the goods, or in terms of having to fulfill obligations of worship).

o    Next, the author mentions some of the rulings, such as the fact that prayer, giving Zakat, and fasting do not fall off of a person as long as he is physically and mentally able. In the case of the traveler and the sick person he has a choice but even then fasting is better, And this is unlike the case of the menstruating woman or the woman in Nifaas, since for her the fasting is to be made up but not the prayers, since making up the fasts is easy on her but making up of the prayers is difficult (Need to ask about whether this is really the probable wisdom behind this legislation).

o    Now, we have to mention as a final point that whosoever says that the normal lover has the obligations and prohibitions dropped from him, but this is not the case with the Prophets (AS), then he has taken the position of a Wali higher than that of the Nabi , and that the Wali is higher than the Prophet , and whoever says this is a disbeliever and is deserving of the horrible punishment.

Stars and Planets are controlled by Allah, they have no influence over anything

o    The astrologers say that the matters of the people of the Earth are under the influence of the various planets and stars, such as Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, and so forth, and that those who have knowledge of these things can understand what is to their benefit and their harm at every moment, and plan accordingly. Note that such a matter is still very much a part of even the so-called civilized West, which is why we still have horoscopes and all these evil things appearing in their midst. Then we have the situation of religions such as Hinduism, which are totally dependant on astrology and the movement and position of the stars and planets for many of their rituals and ceremonies. So it cannot be said that the inclusion of such a matter in this books serves no purpose, since people are still committing disbelief in this day and age by believing in astrology.

o     But the Sunnis say that all of these constellations and heavenly bodies are under the command of Allah and do nothing other than what He commands them to do. And part of the proof that they are under the command of Allah is their change of states, and the fact that the move from position to position, such as (the states of): good and bad fortune, eclipses, combustion, apogee and perigee (of course, the first two states are related to planets as per the astrologers’ whims and fancies with Mercury and Venus being auspicious planets while Saturn and Mars bring bad luck, but this is just to show that according to the astrologers themselves, planets appear and disappear, and have different moods and states, all of which show that they are in need of a Being to specify their states).

o    The astrologers may respond back by saying that astrology was a true knowledge during the time of Idris (AS), and that even Ibrahim (AS) said that he was ill after looking at the stars. They also say that if we claim that this matter has been abrogated, we should produce our proof.

o    In response to this, we say that Ibrahim (AS) knew that he was going to die, and whoever knows that death is certain knows that he is ill. This is also corroborated by the narration where Muhammad said that the believer is never free from either shortage, disease, or lowliness.

o    With respect to what is mentioned concerning the time of Idris (AS), it was only that Allah had informed that certain things would happen when a certain star would reach a certain place, but this does not mean that the administration of the heavens and Earth was due to such stars. Note that such was the case until the coming of Sulayman (AS), when the Sun entered during night-time, and this order became jumbled, after which it was finally abrogated in totality (Need to ask about this, since there it is mentioned in the interpretations of the Qur’an that it is not proper for the Sun to suddenly enter into the night, nor vice versa, but that rather all the order of night and day has been made stable).

o    It is said that the astrologer is like the soothsayer, and the soothsayer is like the magician, and the magician is like the disbeliever, and the disbeliever is in Hellfire, and there is another proof to the impermissibility of this “science” in Verse 18:51.

o    And we should always remember that people can gain access to information either through a true report or through their eyes (and by extension, their senses). And we know that the Prophet was truthful and he did not tell us anything about astrology, while the people are all alike in terms of their senses. The only thing with this last matter is that certain people (blindly) trust their eyesight while letting their minds fool them, and through this they lead themselves and others to great deviance and loss.

o    It was also said that whoever holds on to what he has is in shortage, and whoever holds on to his mind alone is made low, and whoever hold son to his own opinion becomes deviated, but whoever holds on to Allah is raised.

o    Another point we have to take into account is that believing what the soothsayer has to say about the unseen is disbelief (whether he is talking about the past or the future), as per the narration where the Prophet said that whoever goes to a fortune-teller or a soothsayer and believes in what he has to say has disbelieved in what Muhammad has brought.

The location of the planets in the seventh Heavens

o    The astrologers claim that the Sun, the moon, and all the stars are in the fourth Sky. But the Sunnis say that it is in the lowest Sky, as mentioned in the Qur’an. Besides it is mentioned in the story of Dhul Qarnayn that he reached the place of the setting and rising of the sun, and it is not mentioned that he reached the fourth Sky. (Need to ask about this, since it seems to be taking the Verse in a literal sense).

o    There are some interesting things said about Dhul Qarnayn: it was said that he was a Prophet, a Messenger, or an angel. It was also said that Khidr (AS) was his deputy, and that he became a Muslim due to Ibrahim (AS). (Though this would obviate the claims that he was a prophet, messenger, or angel, since all these do not “enter Islam” in the conventional sense of the word). And certain reasons were given as to why he was called Dhul Qarnayn, including that he had something which resembled two horns on his head, or that he ruled over both Persia and Rome, or that he reached the “horns” of the Sun and ruled whatever was in between them (the editor mentions this is more dubious than the other sayings). And with respect to his name, there is also some controversy, and a number of names are mentioned.



2 thoughts on “Preliminary Notes from the book ‘Bahr al-Kalaam’

    • Salam Alaykum,

      As far as I know there is no English translation. There were some lectures given on this book by Shaykh an-Ninowy but I think they are no longer on his site. Perhaps I might upload these lectures later if possible.


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