Preliminary Notes on ‘Imam Abu Hanifa’s ‘Fiqh al-Akbar Explained’

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

Notes on ‘Imam Abu Hanifa’s ‘Fiqh al-Akbar Explained’ [Original book only in hardcopy, can be purchased from:

Translator’s Introduction

o    Allah is unique in His characteristics. Simple enough to understand, but we can discuss more on this by saying that one cannot say that His characteristics can be separated from His Essence (as the Christians say concerning their concept of a ‘triune God’).

o    Ahl us Sunnah wal Jama’ah means (People of Sunna and the Community).

o    Consider the importance of Abu Hanifa’s influence, that Imam at-Tahawi said this (that is, his book) is an exposition of the beliefs of Imams Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad.

Islamic Beliefs

o    The Qur’an says: ‘Know therefore, that there is no God but Allah”. Note that it talks about knowing. Yes, we gave the Covenant to Allah the Exalted, but what we know by Fitra will not be enough to get us through our lives. This is especially true today, when the nature of human beings has turned for the worse, and they have been extremely deluded by Shaytan.

o    If one studies philosophy and metaphysics without having understood Islamic Aqeedah deeply, then this is very dangerous, since it could lead to placing such philosophies as the standard against which to judge Islamic beliefs- and this could lead to emotional trauma, progressive tendencies, or even apostasy. Of course, Islam does have lengthy step-by-step answers to all of its opponents, and we can even deduce the things from the bottom up, but will the ‘confused Muslim’ start from deeper Kalam texts? Probably not, because the pull of today mostly leads towards unfettered skepticism; mostly though, Muslim children are taught – and it enters their minds as unquestionable truth- from an early age concepts that are totally against Islam, and it takes many years for these to be drained out of their system – if at all (this also goes back to the fact that the child’s mind is very easy to mould and difficult to change later on, even if the adult understands that what he was taught as a child is wrong- there is a spiritual element at work in here as well, and we cannot ignore this element).

o    The most important goal of Ilm at-Tawhid is to attain Paradise. Yes, we may gain intellectual certainty and eliminate our doubts, but the final purpose is more exalted than mere academics. Thus, intellectual pleasure is overridden by spiritual sensual pleasure.

o    Interesting thing to note: We see that in the earlier generations, Surah al-Ikhlas was more than enough to satisfy their intellectual needs concerning ‘Ilm al-Kalam’. But we see the depth of the Qur’anic discourse when we consider how many more levels of meaning can be derived from this Chapter, so much so that every single objection against the Wahdaniyya of Allah can be refuted with a Verse of this Chapter.

o    Note that when the Messenger was alive, there was no real need to systematize ‘Aqida, Fiqh, Tafsir, and so forth. But after his death, then these matters arose.

o    [As an aside, some may ask that how can we think it possible for Allah to leave people without a guide and that the Message of Islam will be left just lying around like that? We say that such people – Shias in fact- fail to understand that it is not only a matter of having a guide, but also of the information reaching the people infallibly… this is something that has yet to happen at any time in their history, where all the ‘Shias’ would be guided infallibly by the ‘Imam of the time’, in the sense of the information reaching them infallibly.

o    As an explanation to this, we can say: In fact, we cannot think of how the information can reach them infallibly, unless each and every single person is directly connected to an Infallible for every single thing – like an Infallible chain for absolutely everything. We would say that even if I am asking from a normal Person-X who asks from the Infallible, there is still a chance of some loss of information, since perhaps Person-X made some mistake in his hearing. Consider that even when the Prophet was talking to people en masse, he would repeat things twice and three times, since there was a chance that someone may have misheard something. Besides, this is the basis for Fiqh placing Mutawwatir narrations above Ahaad ones, since the chance for loss of information is eliminated when multitudes of people narrate the same thing. Thus, even when the Infallible is the direct source and his knowledge is supernaturally received, the medium of transmitting this information is normal, and its reliability does not become supernaturally precluded from error.

o    This is why the matter of Taqiyya is so important for them. Not only this, but they also have basically the same framework of classification which we have (that is, Ahaad narrations, Mash-hor narrations, and so forth.) We have to ask ourselves, why do we have this? Because it is a method to approximate the truth about what was said by the Infallible when one cannot directly ascertain this matter personally, and to say that if there is a contradiction that cannot be resolved then that which is Mash-hor or Mutawatir is above that which is Ahaad. If the Shias were true in what they are saying in this respect (that their Imams guide them), then all of these methods would not be needed, since they would have certain knowledge about every matter of the religion. After all, having the Infallible guide means having certain knowledge concerning all matters (belief and practical). If they cannot have this certain knowledge about everything, then it is as if the Infallible did not exist amongst them. The obvious practical example is that of the Qibla for prayer: If we Sunnis are in doubt concerning this, then we make the best Ijtihad that we can and pray to the best of our ability. For them, they do the same, but in fact, either this knowledge (of where the Qibla is regardless of where they are) should have been already elucidated to them already by their ‘Infallibles’, or else the direct inspiration should come to each of them…but no, just as we do, they also have precautionary and probabilistic rules].

o    [Again, in connection with this matter, note that today the Shias (the 12ers amongst them) have basically made up the concept of the hidden Imam (if we look into history we see that it was there even before what the 12th Imam, but that is for another day). What this did was that (according to the history as Shias present it), this development was a product of the quietist attitude of their previous ‘Imams’, coupled with the hidden Imam, it made the return of the ‘true’ Khilaphah become postponed into an undefined eschatological future; its other consequence was to totally suck the life out of the alleged guidance the Shias claim to receive from the Imam. Other Shia groups quickly fizzled out or became much reduced in number, since they were openly fighting the Sunnis and their Imams were dying everywhere… even in the case of the Fatimids, eventually they became split up as well (Why? Because eventually one of the ‘Imam-Caliphs’ will not produce an heir or give ‘Nass’ for the next Imam, and he will die before doing this, and will plunge the community into confusion). There are other things to discuss, such as the Bohra Ismailis making the Dai akin to the Ma’sum Imam, but this is for another day].

o    The word ‘Salaf as-Salih’ could be used for the first three generations of Muslims, or it may refer to the Muslims up to the year 500 AH.

o    As the situation changed, then scholars systematized the belief sciences. One of things to take out from this is that new things can be developed as the situation warrants. Thus, what was latent in the hearts of the Muslims as their belief was later on formally written down and explained more fully by Imam al-Ash’ari and Imam al-Maturidi. As an analogy, consider the case for Arabic grammar and morphology: Every Arab knew it latently, but when the dominions of Islam grew and non-Arabs had to be taught Arabic systematically, it became necessary to write down the rules of Arabic formally.

o    During the Khilaphah of Uthman (RAA) strange ideas started to make themselves known throughout the Muslim nation. The most obvious reason is that as new people entered Islam far away from the spiritual home of the Companions, they may not have been able to fully rid themselves of their pre-Islamic ideas, and these were baselessly grafted onto their new belief. With the rise of the Abbasid, and concurrently with the Mu’tazila – who found favor with some of the rulers- the situation became direr.

o    [As another aside, also consider that all of the Fitnahs that led to the coming up of sects started at this time, when the Muslims were growing very rapidly, and new Muslims did not have the same level of commitment to the truth of Islam as the beginning Muslims. (Someone may ask that well, do we not believe that the second generation is the second best? Indeed we do, but this shows (1) how delicate the matter of governorship is in Islam and (2) that the Muslim Ummah has been getting into deeper and deeper problems in terms of holding on to the correct Aqeedah as time passes on. Consider that even 60 years ago, there were really no advocates of ‘Muslim-gayness’ or mass ‘Hadith-deniers’, but today if you tell someone that Hijab is necessary, they might start with a philosophical acrobatics concerning whether the Qur’an really means that Hijab is necessary (or whether it says that we only have to cover our breasts and private parts!!!), while at the same time rejecting the Ahadith and consensus of the Ummah)].

o    So with their political power, they could force and silence whoever they willed concerning their issues. But note that there were indeed those scholars who did stand up for the true position. Not only this, but it was due to such a setting that the orthodox schools of al-Ash’ari and al-Maturidi emerged. So it cannot be said that due to the coercion of the rulers, the true beliefs were lost or had to be transmitted underground (as what the Shias and other Batini groups say with respect to their beliefs). Yes, some people may have been cowed into submission, but as a whole the knowledge would still pass down uninterrupted throughout the Muslim Ummah.

o    Scholars of Islam generally call the traditional Kalam scholars as Ash’aris, even when they are discussing Ash’aris and Maturidis. This means that the differences between these two groups are relatively small when compared to the differences we have with say, the Mu’tazila or the Khawarij.

o    The questioning from Al-Ash’ari to al-Jubbai concerning the three brothers, one who dies a believer, the other a disbeliever, and the other a child, shows that the Mu’tazila and the Qadiriyya groups as a whole exaggerate the status of Allah’s Justice. How come it is exaggeration? Because it is said by them that a certain action or sequence of actions by created beings necessitates Allah’s rewarding or punishing them (that is, it intrinsically necessitates that he create pleasure or pain in their bodies and souls). But we say that this cannot be rationally proved at all, since there is no direct ‘natural’ correlation between these actions and pleasure/pain [or to put it more clearly, the consequences of reward and punishment, so in reality we are talking about reward and punishment]. We say that the only thing which is intrinsically necessary for any being to exist in a certain dimension is that it be defined by the minimal parameters required for existence in that dimension (for example, to exist as a being in the Universe, we require to have length, width, time parameter, etc., but pain or pleasure  is not intrinsically necessary for any of the beings existing in the Universe- or by  extension in the Afterlife- and it certainly cannot be specified by prior conditions).

o    Finally, consider that what the Qadirriyah and Mutazila say leads to the negation of miracles, and a certain type of deism, since they envision a mechanical type of Universe without much Divine Intervention. If someone says no how can you say this, when they are only saying that Allah only does not create the actions of His choosing servants, not that of the others who have no choice, we can answer in a number of way: Firstly, that they say Allah’s Power is not connected to every single incident, but only those incidents that do not have a ‘free choice’ attached to it- and this entails a sharing in His Power, and disbelief. Secondly, it would lead to the further question as to why logically (according to their criteria) should some of the Creation have a choice and others be ‘forced’ to worship Him? In the same way that the Mu’tazila incorrectly ask as to why should Allah ‘force’ some of His Creation to do sins and then punish them, we can ask (according to their criteria only) why should He ‘force’ the sun, the moon, etc., to worship Him? Why not give them a choice? If they say that given the choice they would disobey Allah, we say this goes back then to al-Ash’ari’s question.

o    One difference between Al-Ash’ari and Maturidi is that Al-Ash’ari would give less preference to reason in the presence of sacred texts (even if the sacred texts were Ahaad narrations); thus, the sacred texts would win out if there was ever a contradiction [one example is that of knowing what is good and evil (to a good degree) through reasoning alone, or about the position of those who have never received the message (the Qur’an says that Allah does not punish anyone until He has sent them a Messenger, so al-Ash’ari leaves it at that, but Maturidi says this means punish them for not doing the Sharai’, but they still have to know and recognize their Lord)]. The great scholar Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari considers the Maturidis to be a middle path between the Ash’aris and the Mu’tazila (more reason-oriented, but not as much as the Mu’tazila).

o    Some of the Hanbalis stayed on Tafwidh. Tafwidh is obviously a safe course since it means to say only that which the primary texts say and no more. But do not make the horrendous mistake of saying that Istawa’ means Istiqrar, and then saying this is Tafwidh. Nay, this is a type of Tashbih.

o    With respect to the Hashawiyya, they are literally stuffers, since they stuffed Israelite meanings into Islamic texts. Anyway, they say that Allah has haqiqatan settled on the throne (but not necessarily as the average human may understand). The issue in here is that they say that settled means Istiqrar, and that if you do not accept it then you are a Mu’attil… in fact they are the mirror images of the Jahmiyya and Mu’tazila, who said the word appearing in the Qur’an (such as Yad) has to necessarily be cancelled and something else has to be put in its place, and that there was no other choice in this respect.

o    Mention is made of the negation of ‘Sifat al-Ma’ani’. Their claim is that Allah sees, wills, and knows through His Essence, not through the attributes of knowledge, will, and sight. One of the arguments against this Mu’tazili view is that Allah Himself says in the Qur’an that they will not be able to encompass anything of ‘His Knowledge’ except what He Wills (one among other possible examples). This shows that the Qur’an itself attests to the existence of “Allah’s Knowledge”. [More detailed explanation may follow later on]

o    Even in spite of their erroneous beliefs (including that unbelief and disobedience are not created by Allah), the ‘Ulama of the Ahl-us-Sunnah did not issue a blanket Takfir on the Mu’tazila.

o    Interestingly it is said that Shia Qadarrite view is close to Christian belief (this would seem to be because the Christians took from the philosophers, who in turn gave matter the true ability to create).

o    It is a bigger error to define Allah by human reason (especially with respect to the issue of justice) than to say that Allah gives “life” to evil. First of all, it is unfounded to say that Allah has nothing to do with dead things, since Allah is the One who gives life and death, so ‘death’ even ‘dead evil’ (if we were to cal it that way) is related to Allah’s Will, Power, and Knowledge. But the other explanation is that even though this hypostatization of evil is not really founded, evil (and good) is a term we give in language to certain actions and how these actions interplay with other beings or with ourselves. We have said that Allah necessarily creates actions (and it can be no other way), even if we have trouble understanding the ‘wisdom’ behind such a situation, and even if we say that ‘such-and-such action is evil’.

o    The Khawarij were even more extreme than the Mu’tazila with respect to the issue of what happens if someone commits an enormity. The Mu’tazila said that he is the position between two positions, while the Khawarij said that he is outside the fold of Islam. It is interesting that the Twelver Shia hold this same Khariji-like mindset with respect to those Sahabah who (in their view) committed bigger evil deeds- that is, they are in Hellfire according to them. Of course, this Twelver view comes out due to their view that whoever did not take Ali (RAA) as the first “Infallible Imam” after the Prophet is a disbeliever; in fact their views concerning the “other” evil deeds done by the Sahabah is superfluous, and I think we should treat it as such.

o    Interesting to note that the Jahmiyya are a subgroup of the Jabariyya, even though in their claims about the Attributes of Allah they are Mu’tazila-like.

o    Note that Allah creates things through His Attributes, while the things created are the effects of His Attributes. But the Karramiya buffoons said material things exist in the essence of Allah, by this saying that Allah is a locus for created things (i.e. they are saying Allah is a location for created things), even though time, place, and change are qualities that apply only to created things.

o    Important to note that even though some of the heretic groups do not formally exist as sects any longer, their ideas are still being recycled by some of the people who call themselves “Muslim reformers”. This is why we had someone like Muhammad Asad claiming that Jinn are bacteria. (Not sure what type of previous sect would have said this, but perhaps it could be the influence of the extreme rationalism of the Mu’tazila in a modern context).

Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar (Authorship)

o    There is some dispute over the authorship of al-Fiqh al-Akbar. But this should be a non-issue, since matters of belief are certain (and in some cases not necessarily narrational- this is unlike matters of Fiqh, which have probabilistic elements in them, and therefore Taqlid is necessary), and if we were to say that Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) did not write al-Fiqh al-Akbar, it would not change the fact that what is contained within it is true. Yes, we know there are those who wish to say that Abu Hanifah (RA) was in fact a member of their erroneous sect, but we say that even if we hypothetically entertain such a possibility, the truth remains as it is without any change. This is the same reason why we do not pay much attention to those who say that Imam Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari (RA) left the Ash’ari way and converted to something else, since even if he were to do that (and this is a false accusation), the truth would remain unchanged by those who desert it.


o    Imam Abu Hanifah is a Tabi’i. If someone says no, he is of the generation following that, then there is still no problem, since they are one of the three foremost generations.

o    Usool ad-Deen for the Ahl-us-Sunnah refers to the important theological studies, the studies regarding belief sciences.

o    The rulings of Imam Abu Hanifah reach up to 70 thousand, and he did make use of Ahadith in his deduction of rulings, contrary to what some people may say. But the issue is that there is a difference between transmitting Ahadith and transmitting legal rulings. It is possible for a Faqih to transmit his rulings without telling his students which Hadith he is using for his rulings. In such a case the students cannot say that they have heard Ahadith, since these are concealed beneath the rulings being disseminated.

Prologue – The Scholars’ Approach to ‘Ilm al-Kalam

o    The Hadith of 73 sects, is of plurality in general (according to Shaykh Saharanpuri). He also says that it refers to differences in the fundamentals of the religion, since this is what the claims and counterclaims of disbelief are based upon. The number will definitely not be less that ‘73’, though there is no problem if it is exceeded. Mufti Abdur-Rahman follows up by saying that we are not exactly sure of the criteria that the Prophet had in mind when he was saying this Hadith. Among other things, we do not know the number of adherents necessary to consider a group as ‘deviant’, nor the intensity of their deviation, nor whether the Hadith referred to all times until the end of the world or to a specific period of time.

o    When the ‘Ulama said that they disapprove of Kalam, they meant that type that was related to hairsplitting disputes about doctrine. However, studying ‘Islamic theology’ is necessary for many cases, since it is the knowledge which will serve as the bedrock for all actions to be done with full certainty. But if we talk about extreme going into it, then it is possible that certain stumbling may come along, especially since rationality may be given a greater role than it should. As al-Ghazzali (RA) says that kalam may reveal, clarify, and define certain aspects, but this is rare.

o    It is said that Fakhr ad-Deen ar-Razi regretted what he had studied previously of ‘Ilm al-Kalam. If such is the case, then what about the things he did write which were connected to ‘Kalam’? Also, in the narration about Juwayni on his deathbed, what is the meaning we should take from this?

o    There are two things that may be meant by ‘I’tiqad, either belief which allows for doubt (the common meaning of belief), or ‘Ilm, a definite judgment that does not allow for doubt. The faith of most persons is characterized by al-zann al-ghalib, which is a preponderant opinion which does not allow for an antithesis.

The Fundamentals of Divine Oneness and True Faith  

o    Ash’aris say that divine revelation is required for accountability both in expressing belief and upholding the religious laws (in this case, it means acknowledging the existence of Allah and following the Shariah)

o    Establishing the oneness of Allah serves to establish with greater firmness the matter of His existence. Of course, this is so, since most people have the idea that there is some ‘divine force’ or they might call it ‘spiritual force’, but they have totally flawed ideas about what this ‘Deity’ is, and will most likely fall into not accepting the Existence of Allah as He really is (which in a sense is a type of atheism).

o    Negating attributes are five: Qidam, Baqa’, Wahdaniyya, Mukhalafat al-Hawadith, Qiyam bi’l-nafs.

o    Nu’ut thubutiyya (Establishing Attributes) are the same as personal attributes (Sifat Dhatiyya)

o    A number of the ‘Ulama say that Iqrar bi Lisan is only necessary for someone to be treated as a believer in this world, even though at the end the matter is between him and Allah. But others, such as Allamah Bazdawi, say that a believer cannot leave off confession of the tongue without an excuse.

o    There is another discussion as to whether one has to say ‘Ash-hadu’ when he is confessing his faith. Some Shafii scholars said it is necessary, while others said it is not a condition per se (that is, one can say only ‘La ilaha Illa Allah’ and it will be taken that he is affirming this reality).

o    Total number of scriptures revealed to all the prophets is 104.

o    The Scale is that with which the amounts of deeds will be determined, and we are incapable of comprehending its form (consider that we are unable to comprehend the true nature of the scale which is a created thing, and they want us to speculate on the true nature of Allah beyond what has been safely deduced from the primary Islamic texts by the scholars!)

Allah and His Essential and Active Attributes

o    Among the active attributes of Allah, they are creating, sustaining, bringing into being, originating, making and others.

o    Allah is One, not in terms of numbers, but in the sense that He has no partners. This has to be carefully considered, since someone might say that Allah is the number ‘One’, and this is extremely incorrect and blasphemous. (Also, consider that when we say ‘He’ with respect to Allah, this ‘Huwa’ is not the ‘Huwa’ of gender, but rather the ‘Huwa’ of Allah not having a gender).

o    Allah does not beget nor is He begotten. Consider that this is not only a refutation of ‘material children’ like what Christians and Jews say, but also of Neoplatonic gnostics, who held that there was an intelligence which ‘emanated’ from the Necessary Being, and through which all creation came into being. (This was a belief discussed by people like Farabi, Ibn Sina, the Nusayris, and Isma’ili sects- of course, with certain inter-sectarian and intra-sectarian variations, which can perhaps be discussed separately, but which would show that this idea commenced in later Greek thought).

o    Allah is not a substance (jawhar) in which accidents (or abstract things) [a’rad] subsist, nor is He an accident (or abstract thing) that can subsist in a substance.

o    [From what I understand, A’rad are the perceptible qualities that must subsist in a substance, such as color, texture, size, etc. Consider that with Allah such a thing is not possible, since Allah is not a Jawhar as we have mentioned previously. Also the other way is not acceptable, since it would mean that Allah needs a Jawhar in order to exist, and this is also disbelief.

o    Some Mu’tazila-like people might say that our views on the Attributes of Allah reduce Allah to a Jawhar, but we say that attributes such as Knowledge, Power, Will, etc., do not need a ‘Substance’ (Jawhar) to exist. This is why Allah is attributed with them].

o    If someone were to say that there are really two gods, there would be the problem of mutual hindrance (tamaanu’) which would translate into a problem with their effectiveness or absolute power. Powerlessness is a sign of being originated and of being possible, for it points the defect of being in need of something. [That is, Being in need of something else to give effect to one of the possibilities for the being and deed in consideration.]  Even if we imagine that they were always agreeing, there is still the possibility of ‘mutual hindrance’, and this possibility still is a sign of weakness.

o    (From Mulla Ali al-Qari’s statement) the attributes of the Created Beings are other than their Essence… why? Because they are originated and change, and can be separated from the being itself, while this is not true concerning Allah the Exalted. Consider that for example, I can have ‘sight’ at one point in my life, and at another if I become blind, I have no ‘sight’ but I am still myself. This is in contrast to the Attributes of Allah the Exalted, which cannot change, and they are not originated. (It seems as if the Mu’tazila and others said that since Allah is totally different from the creation, then they should give the exact opposite ‘relationship’ between the Essence and Attributes in the case of Allah, that is, that the Attributes are simply His Essence. But this case neglects the fact that Attributes are qualities, not essences. It also overlooks the fact that we Sunnis say that the Attributes of Allah are not other than His Essence, so we are indeed affirming the distinction between Allah and the created beings).

o    Definition of the Attributes of Allah is that they are particular qualities (ma’ani) associated with the Essence of Allah, which are everlastingly true of Him. Note that they are qualities, not essences. They are preeternal by His being preeternal and everlasting by His being everlasting (this is the ‘not other than Him’ description, in that it is impossible for them to be separated from Him).

o    According to the dictionary definition, quality is synonym with characteristic, trait, etc. We cannot say that only material substances have traits and characteristics, while Allah the Exalted has no traits and characteristics. We can say that they are totally different from what we can imagine, but we cannot deny them outright.

o    A more literal translation of Ayah 42:11 is: ‘Nothing is similar to that which is similar to Him’ (this is of course a hypothetical premise, since that which is assumed to be similar to Allah does not exist at all).

o    Difference between a name (ism) and an attribute can be summarized as follows: Name indicates the essence itself, like Allah, al-Qaadir, al-‘Aliim. An attribute is that which indicates the quality (or characteristic) that is associated with the essence, or the qualities and characteristics it possesses.

o    While both Ash’aris and Maturidis say that the essential attributes are eternal, there is a difference of opinion concerning the active attributes (which come under the heading of Takwin- bringing into being). Maturidis say they are eternal and Ash’aris say they are created. The reason for the difference is: There are three components relating to each attribute, the attribute itself (sifa), the associations of connection (Ta’alluq) of the attribute to the effect, and the effect or result (athar) of this association. Both schools say that the first is eternal and the last two are created. But MAturidis consider all attributes related to takwin as real sifaat, so they are eternal. Ash’aris see Takwin as the association of the attribute of Power and the manifestation of the word kun (“be”), which they consider to be necessary for the existence of any action (any of the active attributes). Since Maturidis also consider the associations to be created, the difference is largely one of terminology and is not a technical difference.

o    The way in which the difference between the two is shown is that if the opposite can also be attributed to Allah, then it is an active Attribute, such as the Creator (its opposite being the Giver of Death), the Giver of Bounty (the opposite being the Withholder of Bounty). This is why when the Shias say that the Speech of Allah is created, we do not consider anything of that sort, since its opposite (if we know that Allah is Speaking, “the one who is Silent or Dumb” is not something that Allah can be attributed with). Also for oaths, only taking an oath on the essential attributes is allowed.

o    The Speech of Allah is unlike the speech of the creation, since Allah speaks without organs (like lips, tongue, vocal chords, etc.) or words and letters (because letters and words have the quality that one comes after the other, so there is delay in what is being spoken.)

o    What we are talking about in here in Kalam Nafsi (internal speech), which is opposed to kalam lafdhi, which is speech manifested in sounds, letters and words. For making an imperfect analogy with the creation, consider the thought which comes to the mind before its articulation in words and letters.

o     (In the case of a human being) this is different from knowing something, since one could articulate something in contradiction to what one knows, or could mindlessly say nonsense. But consider that Allah’s (Nafsi) Kalam refers to whatever His Knowledge refers to, so it cannot be that the Kalam of Allah the Exalted contains lies.

o    With respect to the actual words of the Qur’an and other scriptures revealed by Allah to mankind, these are an articulation of the Divine Speech put into words and sounds in a manner in which human beings can understand; in this sense they signify His Speech and point to it. However, they are not the Kalam Nafsi referred to as an eternal attribute of Allah, but a speech He created to indicate His Eternal Speech.

o    When Allah speaks to His Creation it is with Eternal Speech, the reflection of which is recorded which is recorded (as letters and words) in the Preserved Tablet and the Masahif for humans. His Speech is unlike the speech of created beings, as He says in the last Ayaat of Surah al-Shura. In here the wahy (divine revelation) is mentioned, and this includes dreams, such as to the prophets, or by divine inspiration (ilham), as happens to the Awliya of Allah. Imam al-Ghazalli said that wahy is when knowledge is gained by a Prophet witnessing the angel that is conveying the knowledge.

o    Mu’tazila say that Allah speaks with a speech associated with someone else, and not through an attribute of His Own; also note what the innovators among the Hanbalis say, that His Speech are letters and words associated with His Essence (and thus eternal)- some of them even say that the copies and paper on which the Qur’an are written are eternal. And, this is a gross error, since they are saying about the Qur’an what the Christians said with respect to ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam).

o    The bulk of the Ahl-us-Sunnah do not consider the word ‘kun’ to be necessary to bring things into being. Rather they say that what is needed is His Ijad (originating) and Takwin (bringing into being). But Ash’aris say that the existence of things is dependent upon His attribute of Eternal Speech, and that the word ‘kun’ is an indicator of that Speech. There is also a third opinion of some Maturidis, who said that creation was from the word ‘kun’ and from Allah’s attribute of Ijaad, and that ‘kun’ cannot merely a metaphor for takwin. They say this indicates that the speech of Allah itself is involved in the act of creation, but without any knowledge of the ‘How’. (Note that this is different than the Christian idea, since they say that the ‘logos’ is a hypostasis [an Essence, a Being] which ontologically is also ‘God’].

o    Also consider what is said is Tafsir al-Taysir regarding Verse 3:47: The use of ‘Kun Fa Wakun’ is to express that when He wills something to be, it is. It is utterly simple for Him to do what He wills, and it exemplifies His greatness and ability (If it were an address to an already existent thing, it cannot ‘come into Being’ with an address, and if it does not exist, it cannot be addressed. So it is referring to something other than what might come to the simpleton’s mind).

o    In any case, this is from among the Mutashabihat, so it is proper not to delve deeply into it, since there is benefit in such deep delving.

o    Allah Hears all sounds and words through His pre-eternal Hearing, and sees all forms and colors through His Pre-eternal Sight. [Someone might ask, why can He not hear forms and colors and has to see them? We say there is something in the color and form which links it to Allah’s Attribute of Sight, not with that of Hearing. The Hearing of Allah is not deficient, rather ‘color’ is a visible quality (Mubassarat), not a hearing-related quality- thus, the deficiency is with color, and the substance which has that color].

o    ‘Kibriya’ means grandeur, and it is from among Allah’s Essential Attributes.

o    Human Beings have a will, but the difference between the will of creation and that of Allah is this: Our will is created, and is the product of created thoughts in our minds for us to do something. Thus, it is possible that our will not come to pass. But of course, with Allah, whatever He Wills always comes to be. So, as has been said before, this is only a coincidence in the word, while the nature of what is being talked about is completely different.

o    There are two types of talab (demands) from Allah. One is command (amr) which has to do with ordering the Mukallaf to do or not do something, and this does not necessitate the thing’s existence. But the other is Mashi’a or Irada (desire or will) and this necessarily comes into being. (Thus, Mash’a is bringing into existence (Ijaad)).

o    With respect to saying that Allah wills disbelief and evil, some say that we should not say it is detail, but in general we say that Allah Creates everything that exists. (this is similar to the case of pigs and garbage, we can say that Allah Creates everything, but do not say it in detail, since it might go towards disrespect of Allah the Exalted). Others say that one can mention these details, in a manner appropriate for Him (this is important especially when confronting the innovators and disbelievers who adamantly insist that Allah does not create evil, and that evil literally originates from the human being, and that the human is the creator of it). Thus, evil is from the will and displeasure of Allah, while good is from the will, love, and good pleasure of Allah.

o    As a summary, there are two types of will: (1) The creative decreeing will, which encompasses all beings, and (2) the legislative will, which is linked to His love and approval- and this is what the commands (amr) relate to.

o    A Hadith Qudsi is that which Allah has communicated to His Prophet through revelation or in a dream, and the Prophet has communicated it to us in his own words. The Qur’an is superior because not only is it a revelation, but it is also the divine word.

o    If someone asks that how come we can use terms such as ‘Qadeem’, ‘Mawjud’, and ‘Wajib’ for Allah, even those such a thing is not mentioned in the texts, we say that such has been approved by the Ijma’ of the Ummah, so it constitutes a Hujja.

o    The active attributes are those whose manifestation is dependant upon the existence of Creation. The difference between active and essential is that the essential attributes are always manifest, while the active attributes remain hidden until there is creation (even those these are also forever present).

o    Ash’aris say that ‘takwin’ is nothing other than the attribute of power in terms of its association with a particular effect. So, for example, Takhliq is power in terms of its association with the Makhluq. Thus, Ash’aris (and Mu’tazilis to boot) say that Takwin is created. But Maturidis say that Takwin is an eternal attribute. The analogy is made with knowledge (‘Ilm), which is an essential attribute of Allah, even though some things known are originated.

o    (Response to the Ash’aris from the Maturidis) is: If Takwin were originated, then it is in need of another Takwin, and so on ad infinitum, which is impossible. If it is originated but without an originator, then this is impossible. So it should be eternal.

o    Now, there are those who say that if Takwin were eternal, then the Mukawwan should also be eternal, just as it is impossible to talk of ‘a beating’ without a ‘thing being beaten’. But the Maturidis say that this is a flawed analogy, since ‘a beating’ is an accident/incident (‘arad)

o    With respect to Takhliq, this refers to bringing something into being, whether based on a previous model or not. Ibda’ (originating) means bringing into being something that was not existent and is not based on a previous model. Tarziq is not only bringing into being the sustenance of something, but also enabling that something to benefit from that sustenance.

o    Maturidis thus say that there are eight pre-etrnal attributes: Life, Power, Knowledge, Speech, Hearing, Sight, Will, and Bringing into Being (Takwin) – all the active attributes are a subset of Takwin.

o    Later ‘Ulama (especially of the Asha’ira) did a further classification of the Attributes: They classified them into the following categories: The Personal Attribute, the Negating or Cancelling Attributes, and the Abstract or Affirmative Attributes. The Personal Attribute of Allah is one : Being (Wujud) [On which there is difference of opinion as to whether it is the same as Dhat, or if it an added description of the Dhat]. The Negating Attributes are Five: Qidam, Baqa’, Wahdaniyya, Qiyam bi’l-Nafs, Mukhalafa lil-Hawadith. The Affirmative Attributes are Seven: Life, Power, Knowledge, speech, Hearing, Sight, and Will. There are those who add a fourth category, the Entative Attributes (Sifat Ma’nawiyya), which are the active participle of the previous category, in that these attributes require a Ma’naa (Entity).

o    Some may ask that why does the Qur’an use past tense (for example, ‘We sent Noah to his people’), when the Qur’an is the Eternal Speech of Allah? Answer is: The eternal speech of Allah does not use the same “wording” (wording is in quotes since Allah’s Eternal Speech is not words) as the created speech we see in the Qur’an. The Qur’an is composed of special Arabic words and phrases of the highest eloquence that articulate the Eternal Speech of Allah for us. In the revealed speech, events are characterized by tense based on the connection of that event with the time of revelation. Thus, the (Eternal) Speech of Allah regarding the sending of Nuh (Alayhi Salaam) is preeternally possessed by Allah, but the change takes place in the words used to articulate the information and not in the information itself as possessed by Allah. (Here we can may be able to understand something about this matter by seeing that the Knowledge possessed by Allah is pre-eternal and not subject to change, so the Speech of Allah – being related to His Knowledge- also is pre-eternal and not subject to tense and change, these last two being strictly the qualities of created words).

o    Again it is mentioned that the Attributes of Allah are neither His Essence nor other than His Essence (nor extraneous to His Essence), that we are happy with what the Imams of this religion have passed down to us, and that we do not delve deeply into such matters.

o    The Doer is Allah Most High, doing was an attribute in pre-eternity, while that which is done is created.  The originated is the tangible impression [athar] of His doing (and not the doing itself). The thing done is a locus (mahall) for the impression of the doing to occur in- and this is obviously created.

The Qur’an: The Speech of Allah Most High

o    Our uttering, writing, and reciting of the Qur’an is created, but the Qur’an itself is uncreated (here the first use of the word ‘Qur’an’ refers to the words and letters which point to the Eternal Speech of Allah. In the Second case, it refers to the Eternal Speech of Allah itself. It is also alluded in the book when it is said “Qur’an” this means the speech of Allah Most High, not its Arabic composition (Nadhm). So please note the difference)

o    Whatever Allah has said in the Qur’an quoting Musa (Alayhi Salaam) and others from among the creation, is all the Speech of Allah informing us about them.

o    The Speech of Allah exists in His Own Essence, and its meaning is elucidated through the use of such tools (that is, through words, letters, paper, etc.)

o    If anyone says “The Qur’an is Created” he could mean a number of things: (1) Whoever says the Speech of Allah is created (without further elucidation) is an unbeliever (2) Whoever says the Speech of Allah is created intending by it that there is a created speech which exists in the Essence of Allah is also an unbeliever (3) Whoever says the Qur’an is created and by this intends to say that there is no Kalam Nafsi is also a disbeliever (4) Whoever says the Qur’an is created and by this means the paper, letters, and words, is not an unbeliever, but this usage is flawed since it suggests unbelief (it can easily confuse the masses).

o    The proof for the attribute of Speech for Allah is the mutawaatir transmission and consensus (Thus, it is not only through logic and reason that some of the Essential Attributes of Allah are established).

o    When there are two or more readings for one Verse, if each reading has a meaning that actually differs from the other, then Allah spoke both of them, and the two readings acquire the status of two different Verses. But if the two readings retain one meaning, then Allah expressed one meaning, and allowed for the Verse to be read in more than one way.

o    With respect to the seven recitations, these differ in: (1) some nouns (as in singular, plural, masculine, or feminine) (2) some verbs (e.g., in the tense, active or passive) (3) some vowelling (4) addition or deletion of certain words (5) placement of some words (either before or after the other) (6) substitution of words (one word for another) and (7) the manner of reading and pronunciation [i.e. the madd, qasr, imaala, idhgam differences]. Please note (as the book mentions) that none of these differences lead to any form of confusion in the general meaning and message of the Qur’an. Also, the original Uthmanic script was prepared so that all seven readings could be read from it (thus the primary importance of having a teacher to learn from).

o    Some theologians have used the word Qadeem to describe Allah, but note that al-Awwal (which appears in the Qur’an) is superior, since it implies not only that He is before all else, but also that everything which comes after Him is in need of Him.

o    When Allah is described by an attribute, He is described by it in its fullest sense. The Names al-Hayy and al-Qayyum (the Self-Subsistent) permeate all the attributes of perfection to the utmost degree. These two names are the basis for all the other beautiful names of Allah the Exalted.

o    The Qur’an, even though it is written and read, does not subsist either in the hearts, or in the tongues, or in the paper.

o    Ikhbar means to convey something in meaning, not in word, since the speech of Musa (Alayhi Salaam) is created, while the Speech of Allah is uncreated. This distinction is more firmly set when we consider that three Verses of the Qur’an constitute the minimum for inimitability (I’jaaz). It is evident that whatever is quoted in the Qur’an of the speech of created beings exceeds three verses, and so the entire Qur’an is the Speech of Allah, not their human speech. There is no difference in this regard between the stories mentioned in the Qur’an, the Ayatul Kursi, and Surah al-Iklas (in that they are all the Speech of Allah, and not the Speech of humans).

o    Another proof that the Speech of Allah is created is that the Prophet used to supplicate: ‘I seek refuge in the words of Allah’, and he would never seek refuge in a created being.

o    When some of the Salaf used to say that the Qur’an will return to Him prior to the Day of Judgment, they meant that He alone possesses the knowledge and understanding of the details of the description of His Speech.

o    With respect to the story of Musa (A.S.) hearing Allah’s preeternal Speech, we say that Allah is capable of speaking to creation without the use of mediating tools from all directions, or from a single direction, although human beings hear it through the use of mediating tools (utterances and sounds), as they need them to comprehend His Speech.

o    Allah was the Speaker when He had not yet spoken to Musa (Alayhi Salaam) [this is in concordance with what we say of Allah’s Attributes not being subject to time, and the Maturidi position that even when mentioning His active Atttributes, we should say that Allah was (for example) the Creator even before He created the creation.] Thus, the attribute of speech is not dependent on the existence of the addressed.

o    It is important to note that Allah’s Attribute of Knowledge is unlike our knowledge, since our knowledge is originated and prone to illusion. But Allah’s Knowledge is beyond being necessary [as far as I understand, it means it is beyond being in need of someone or something], acquired, conceived (since it would be a sign of origination), or asserted (since it would show doubt, that it needs the truth of the information to be verified)

o    Allah Sees, and it is without the condition of being face-to-face with the object being seen (this is addition to not being subject to time, place, or direction)

o    Also note that when we see, hear, or speak, we not only need to have some organs to carry this out, but we also need the conditions to be right, and our organs change their intensity and correctness of the information they gather based on these environmental conditions.

o    Letters are created because whatever is formed from the created is also created. (We speak letters and make sounds from our tongues, vocal chords, and so on, and these body parts are created, so what comes out of them is also necessarily created)

o    Allah’s Speech (which is existent in His Entity) does not become detached or separated from Him when being relayed to the hearts and ears of created beings. [May need to ask concerning the word ‘relayed’ used in here].

o    The contingent object occurring later does not negate the prior occurrence of the eternal association [i.e. His Eternal Attributes] (this is said with respect to Hearing, Seeing objects which are contingent). As an imperfect example, many times we see and hear things in our dreams and then in a wakeful state, we see and hear them exactly as we saw them in the dream. Then how can one say that Allah is incapable of Hearing and Seeing things before their actual occurrence? (Of course, this example is not strong, since the human brain is the one that perceives such sounds and colors, and this perception – whether in a state of wakefulness or sleep- is created, while Allah’s Seeing and Hearing is not created)

o    The greatest enjoyment in Paradise is to see Allah and to hear His Speech, and the greatest humiliation and punishment is to be barred from this. Such a statement shows that the bodily pleasures in Paradise pale in comparison to the theophanies kept in store for the believers in Paradise, and that likewise, the bodily punishment is nothing in comparison to the feeling of being shunned from having honor with Allah the Exalted. Thus, the ultimate heavenly enjoyments are the spiritual ones.

Chapter Name: Allah in Unlike Anything, and His Hand, Countenance, and Self

o    Allah is an entity (shay’) unlike any other entity. He is without a body, substance, or accident. He has no definition (hadd), no opposite, no equal, and no peer.

o    Do not say that Allah’s Yad is His Power or Blessing (in the way of saying that they are definitely His ‘Power’ or ‘His Blessing’ and not as the Qur’an has mentioned it as ‘Yad’)

o    It was narrated from Imam Ahmad that he condemned those who said that Allah is a ‘body’, since names are derived from the Shariaha and (their concomitant meanings) in lexicography.  Since a ‘jism’ (body) is that which has a length, width, depth, and a compound nature, it is obvious that such an attribution is not fit for Allah the Exalted, and that He is above this. Thus, it is surprising when Ibn Taymiyyah said that it is not disallowed to say that ‘Allah has a body’ (Need to ask about the Takfir related to this, since what I know is that Ibn Taymiyyah’s repentance is accepted as genuine [since if someone says they have repented, we take them at their word], but sayings such as the one just quoted are discarded).

o    Notice that every body is divisible, every divisible thing is complex (murakkab), every complex thing is originated (muhdath), and every originated thing requires an originator (muhdith).

o    Someone might ask: Well then, why is every complex thing originated? It is originated because if something is murakkab it means that it is composed of parts. Parts are substances, and the composition of parts needs some Being other than the parts or the whole to specify how they will be brought together, and which one possibility from among the range of possibilities will be actualized.  A similar explanation can be given as to why lies cannot be associated with the Eternal Speech of Allah. If such a thing were possible, it would mean that His Attribute would be “created speech”, not “Eternal Speech”. Why? Because in that case, it may or may not be concomitant (Muttabiq) to the reality of things, and there would be a need for another Being to specify which of the possibilities would come into existence and which one would remain in the realm of non-existence.

o    To sum up the Islamic cosmological argument in one sentence, the existence of every contingent being or action is through the existence of that which necessarily exists through itself, that is Allah Most High, the Necessarily Existent.

o    Allah is also transcendent beyond being attributed with substance, since a substance is a locus for incidents/accidents (‘arad) and originations (hawaadith); the same goes with ‘araad, since they are in need of a substance in order to become manifest, and they are only possible in existence.

o    For one to ascertain one’s inability to comprehend Allah is in fact the true comprehension. It means that the person has acknowledged the Exsitence of Allah while also acknowledging his frailty in understanding Allah’s true Essence and Attributes. He has taken the rationale to its limit, and knows there is no way for it to go beyond that, and that from then onwards everything else (whether regarding the description of Allah or the submission to the Shariah) is totally based on revelation.

o    The word “shay’” (entity) which is a verbal noun, can express two meanings: as a passive participle, or as an active participle. It is only with respect to the second meaning that the word “shay’” can be used for Allah.

o    The anthropomorphist (that is, basically every non-Muslim) is the one who never worshipped Allah, because he worships the forms he imagines, and Allah is free from this false attribution of the anthropomorphist.

o    A question may arise at this junction: In one place it says that no Prophet came to tell his people to believe that Allah exists, but rather that they should not associate anything with Allah. But in another place it mentions with approval Imam Fakhr ad-Deen ar-Razi’s statement that the non-Muslims do not worship Allah to begin with, and they only worship a figment of their imagination. So how can the two matters be reconciled? [From what I know, the people knew the existence of Allah as a Being (generally speaking, they knew that a Supreme deity exists, but by introducing all of their ugly beliefs they basically changed the referent for the term “Allah” to something totally different. Thus, the name, the referrer (Allah) remains, but what it refers to is something else, a figment of their imaginations. This is what the Prophets came to correct- this is why Surah al-Ikhlas is of such huge importance in delineating Islamic belief, since it sets up the definitions succinctly and beautifully, without any ambiguities but with room for huge follow-up in commentary [ of course, in some societies, the situation had/has become so deteriorated that they even denied that such a  Being exists in name, and they attributed all existence as being ‘created’ by the interactions of events within the Universe, or to abstract consciousness, or to other factors].

o    He has no partner is species (Naw’) because there is no species for Him, just as there is no genus (jins) for Him, nor a Mithl (peer), since that would mean being a co-member within a species.

o    When Allah speaks of Yad, Wajh, Nafs, and so forth, we transmit them as they are and do not engage in Ta’wil concerning their meanings. Here Mufti Abdur-Rahman has translated the terms to English, but there are those ‘Aalims who say not to even translate them out of caution.

o    The sayings of the Salaf is that the Kayf of these things is Ghayr Ma’qul [originally, this is with respect to the question of someone about the Istiwa’, but it extends to any of the Mutashabih sayings in the Qur’an concerning Allah’s Nature and Attributes. So no Muslim should get close to trying to explain the Kayfiyyah of such Verses or Ahadith, since it is incomprehensible.]

o    Do not say that the Yad of Allah is His Power or blessing, since this is the saying of the Qadariyya, those who denied predestination. As per the Prophet’s narration, those who reject predestination are the Majus of this Ummah. The ‘Majus’ come into the picture since they are dualists who believe that there are two mutually exclusive ‘gods’ one of light and one of darkness, and each ‘god’ creates only good or evil respectively. Note the similarity of these idolaters with the saying of the Mu’tazila and the Twelver Shias, may Allah keep us safe from this terrible belief.

o    The Prophet said that belief in destiny removes grief and worry. This is self-evident, since when one understands this, they will humble themselves before Allah, since they know that the individual has no effective power to bring about anything into being, and it is only Allah who brings things into existence, including the faith and disbelief of His servants. Thus, the humbling one’s self to Allah is a sort of begging to Allah to make the deeds of one such that the servant enters into His Mercy, not into His Wrath, since he knows that the decision is in reality solely with Allah.

o    It is not allowed to invalidate the (revealed) reality (of Yad, Wajh, etc.) even though their description is unknown to us.

o    An example of everyday Ta’wil is in the saying: “The King defeated the enemy” meaning that the king’s army defeated the enemy. With respect to the word ‘Istiwa’, there are in the Qur’an itself various meanings used. We can obviously not attribute to Allah those that entail anthropomorphism, but all that we can say is that the elevation is in status in rank, not in physical elevation.

o    There is a difference of opinion with respect to the reading of Ayah 3:7: “And no one knows its [the ambiguous verses’] meaning except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, ‘We believe in it, the whole of it is from our Lord’ (However, in spite of this difference both parties agreed to Tanzih).

o    There was a difference in the way the salaf and the khalaf dealt with the issue of the Mutashabih Ayats. But note that in the time of the salaf, there were no groups proclaiming their heretical ideas; while in the later generations, groups such as the Mu’tazila and the Hashawiyya came out calling people to their innovations and disbelief. Thus, the khalaf were compelled to give some sort of possible Ta’wil to the ambiguous Verses, all the while noting that these interpretations had to be in accordance with the Status of Allah the Exalted, and also mentioning that the safer approach was that of the Salaf.

o    Imam al-Juwayni initially engaged in Ta’wil but later rendered it unlawful. He said in his work, that any attribute in created being whose affirmation entails the need for an allocator, who would need to specify the quantities and measurements related to such attribute (with respect to movement, limitations, etc.) [since such specifications are necessary for the attribute to have meaning- let us take the exact length of an object, it needs an allocator to specify exactly how long it will be, from among all possible lengths for this object], then such an attribute is impossible to apply to Allah, since in such a hypothetical case, (what we call) Allah would need another allocator as well, and this is impossible.

o    Imam al-Juwayni also said that there are three options with respect to what one’s mind may come upon when examining the Universe: He may settle on something existent that his thinking has concluded for him [in the sense of having the same attributes as the members in the Universe], then he is a mushabbih; if he settles on complete repudiation, then he is one who negates Allah’s attributes (mu’attil); and if he achieves conviction regarding an existent whose reality he is unable to comprehend, then he is a monotheist (Muwahhid). [Consider that the agnostics, such as Kant, took the “extreme negation of attributes” of philosophers such as Maimonides and took it one step further, applying it to Allah’s Essence and His “Wujud”, thus completing what the Mu’tazila-oriented groups had started.]

The Attributes of Creating, Knowledge, Predestination, and His Writing in the Preserved Tablet

o    Ibn Daqiiq al-‘Id said that Ta’wil is acceptable if it is close to the popular usage of the Arabs, otherwise it is not. Ibn al-Humaam said Ta’wil is acceptable only if there is a problem in the understanding of the people, otherwise it is not to be done.

o    The writing of Allah in the Preserved Tablet entails descriptions, not commands.

o    The Essence of things is real, not like what the Sophists and the ignorant Sufis claim. Know that true wahdat al-wujud means that only Allah exists independent of the dimensions, while every thing else is possible in existence, and is in fact re-created every moment. But be careful of taking Wahdat al-Wujud into pantheism mode, or you will lose your Iman – also consider that legally prohibited sayings like ‘I am Allah’ or ‘There is no one in this dress except Allah’ will be taken by our scholars on their apparent meaning, and death is the punishment for the one who says it. It is true that some from amongst the true Sufis might say such things due to “extreme wine” (i.e. an extreme spiritual state of annihilation), but we cannot base our Fiqhi rulings on such “extreme wine”.

o    Imam Abu Hanifah said that whoever says that the ordainment of good or evil was from other than Allah, he would become an unbeliever, may Allah save us from this.

o    His Writing on the Tablet concerns all the descriptions, conditions, and characteristics of all things and occurrences until the Day of Judgment.

o    It is not written in the Tablet: “Let Zayd be a disbeliever”, because such a matter would have included involuntary compulsion. [Of course, Zayd turning to disbelief and becoming a disbeliever is through the will, knowledge, and power of Allah, but here they mean the preclusion of the Jabri type of compulsion.]

o    The example of the teacher who accurately prognosticates the grades of the students is given. Since this section is concerning the writing on the Tablet, then the Knowledge of Allah about the actions of His servants is brought up, in that Allah’s Knowledge is not compelling the servant to do his deeds. [But need to ask about how and when this example may be brought up, since in the case of our actions, they are ultimately brought into existence through the will, and power of Allah. Also, if it is said that Zayd will be a believer or disbeliever through his own choice and power, it is obvious that Zayd’s choice and power are a’rad, and they need Allah’s Takwin to become realities. It could be that the issue of “Knowledge” is being discussed in here, and thus the matter is presented in this format for this section, that is, that as an imperfect analogy for people just to understand something we say: A teacher knows that this student is good and the other is bad, and he could pass one and fail the other one outright. But he gives them the examination for the students themselves to see their own progress in their studies. Allah knows that this person will go to Heaven and the other to Hellfire, but as a Mercy to them, He sets everything out in front of them on the Day of Judgment, so that they can see what they did. Note that everyone who goes to Hellfire will acknowledge that the Hellfire is his rightful destination when he enters it…it is full justice whichever way you look at it. (Again, I will need to ask the scholars about this, but basically this is the matter as I understand it).]

o    Qada (ordaining) and Qadar (decreeing) have similar meanings but there is a slight difference. Qada means a non-detailed general command and Qadar a more detailed and defined command. The Mufti says that Qada is His foreknowledge of events prior to their occurrence, and Qadar is His bringing those events into occurrence in accordance with how He knows them to be.

o    The Mu’tazila say that unbelief cannot be from the decree of Allah, since that would entail that we need to be happy with the decree of Allah (rida bi’l-qada), and being happy with unbelief is also unbelief. Thus, they say that evil is from ourselves.

o    The refutation of this is that unbelief is not the decree (qada) of Allah but is rather the decreed (maqdi). [Need to ask about this, since there seem to be problems in here: if we take qada as general command, why can’t it be the Qada of Allah? And if we take it as His foreknowledge, also why is it not the Qada of Allah? It must be a misunderstanding from my part which is to be rectified]

o    Also, we should have satisfaction with the decree of Allah rather than with the decreed. Unbelief can be attributed to Allah only in the sense that He created it according to His Wisdom. There is no questioning Allah on His Mashi’a (desire). In the case of unbelief we also consider the mukallaf. Since he has acquired (kasb) this trait then he is guilty of punishment.

o    Thus, many of the ‘Ulama say that it is not disbelief to be pleased with the disbelief of another, as long as is not pleased with unbelief for one’s self. This is supported by the prayer that Musa (Alayhi Salaam) did so that the heart of Fir’awn would be hardened and he would not believe until he would see the great punishment

o    It is necessary for the believer to believe in the attributes of qada, qadar, and mashia’ (along with all other attributes) and hold that anything that the intellect may conclude about them is false. In this connection, there are those who are totally ignorant and are tested in their endeavor to seek out their meaning. Then there are others who have attained some inspired knowledge about them, but they are also tested in that they have to refrain from seeking the intellectual satisfaction of deeper understanding, and realize that such is impossible. We have to know that complete understanding of such attributes is impossible.

o    The analogy is made between free will and the lifting of one’s legs/feet. From this we see that we have “free will”, but it is a “created free will”, not a “totally independent free will”.

o    There is a limit to one’s knowledge, intellect, and understanding, at even the most advanced level, since at the end of the day, the intellect and everything else of the human is limited and weak, and this is from among its intrinsic properties. The stories of Ali ibn Abi Talib (Radhia Allahu Anhu) and Imam Abu Yusuf (RA) who ascended the pulpit and took from the treasury according to their knowledge (and not their ignorance) is indicative of this fact.

o     Abomination is the characteristic of the person who has acquired the act; it is not a characteristic of Allah, even though He Wills and brings it into Existence (because at the end of the day, that which is called abominable is a function of what we think to be right and wrong- whether we falsely say it is due to strict ‘natural law’ or due to the commandments of Allah, on both cases there would be no way to keep Allah out of the equation – in the first case through direct creation of such thoughts in our minds, in the second case through His revelations)

o    With respect to attributing “evil” to Allah, we say that what appears to be “evil” has been created for some wise purpose, and based on this purpose, it is counted from among His Favors. As said in a Hadith: “The good is all in Your hands and the evil cannot be imputed to You”. This means that “You do not create anything purely and wholly evil, because everything You create consists of some wisdom by which it is considered good. But as being pure or completely evil, Allah is transcendent of that.” Thus, it can be counted only among the generality of His creation, as in certain Qur’anic Ayahs, or it can be attributed to its (material) cause as in Surah al-Falaq, or it can be mentioned in the passive.

o    [What seems to be the case in here is that it is said that if it were said that Allah creates something “wholly and purely evil”, this would be an imputation against Him, as it would have no use whatsoever, and it would be said by such people that Allah creates useless things. Need to ask about this carefully though, since in that case it would need to be from among those things which are intrinsically impossible to occur, and it does not seem to be of that nature in here – especially since whether we call something “good” or “evil”, it does not change the Essence or Attributes of Allah a bit.

o    What seems to be the best answer is that there is wisdom in everything that Allah creates, the benefits of this wisdom going back to the creatures. However, in this case we do not say that such wisdom is obligatory upon Allah – but for this, would need to ask about the phrase “Allah is transcendent of that” in the text of the book itself]

o    With respect to the ability to the impossible, it is said that everything ‘Amm in texts is specified. As what appears in Ayah 2:284. In here, the general “all” is qualified as “everything He desires”. This excludes His Essence and attributes, the things that Allah does not desire from among His Creation, and the things whose occurrence is an intrinsic impossibility.

o    Thus, the Qudra is associated with everything His Desire is associated with. Thus, it is not to be said that Allah has power over the impossible, since it is a contradiction in terms and meaningless (Otherwise, we would be unable to rationally preclude the possibility of in-dwelling, trinity, and other intrinsically impossible matters.) But we should also exercise extreme propriety and never say that “Allah does not have the ability to do such-and-such”, since this is a type of insult towards Allah, may Allah save us from all evil deeds.

o    The knowledge of Allah is one (Wahid), while the things knows (Ma’lumat) are numerous. He knows the state of everything as it is in that state, without any new knowledge being added to His pre-eternal knowledge.

Allah Created the People Pure and the Covenant of the Beginning

o    Allah created all beings free from both unbelief and true faith. The Covenant at the time of Adam (Alayhi Salaam) is binding on the people, since they acknowledged His Lordship. They are born on this natural faith, and only if they change it do they deserve blame and punishment.

o    Those who disbelieve do so through juhud (which is to reject something while knowing it to be true).

o    Linguistically, Tawfiq means to bind and harmonize, and it could mean both with respect to good as well as to evil. However, the common usage has come to assign this meaning to what is in harmony with bliss (sa’ada).

o    Someone may ask that if we do not remember the Covenant, then how can this be any type of evidence. The truth is that we have been made to forget since the Earth is a testing ground, and we are obligated to believe in the unseen from the onset of the age of discernment. Also evidence does not become invalid on the basis of something forgotten. Also, had everyone remembered, there would be no need for sending the Messengers, since there would be no test.

o    Allah extracted all the progeny of Adam, those who would go to the Paradise and those who would go to the Fire, and declared that such would be the case. Someone may ask as to why then do we have to do anything if it has been predestined. We say that the predestination itself says you will work the deeds of the people of Paradise or of the Fire, so the deeds are part of what has been enjoined upon you, and there is no contradiction. Or we can put in another way, in that the people have been “employed to perform” the actions which will lead them either to Paradise or to Hellfire.

o    The Jabriyya said that even the revert was always a Muslim, and the renegade was always a non-Muslim, even when they were upon their previous state. We say that the Ahadith presented are the elucidation of what the final state of the person will be, and it is possible for them to switch back and forth between disbelief and belief many times before they die.

o    Others, the Ahl ul-Nazar, say that the extraction took place from the loins of their fathers, and that Allah made them witness upon themselves by what He instilled in them of proofs of His Oneness.

o    Allah does what He wills, guides whomever He wills to guidance and whoever He wills to misguidance, and every instance of Tawfiq and Khadhalan is from Allah.

o    The people acquired “natural” faith (iman fitri) due to the Mithaq, but not “acquired” faith (iman kasbi). So we say that whoever disbelieves has indeed replaced and altered the natural faith with unbelief acquired through his own choice after having gained maturity. Someone may ask how come it is “his own choice” when Allah creates it. We say that the choice is his own, but it is a “created choice” of his own. He has acquired the choice, his thoughts, and so on, and he performs his actions, but Allah is the Creator and Originator of all this, who brings it from non-existence to existence. Of course, the confusion arrises since the questioner thinks that “his own choice” entails the servant creating it, but in fact it is “his own created choice”.

o    Allah creates unbelief or true faith when the servant has shown his choice, satisfaction, and love (for it). Of course, Allah does create the choice, satisfaction, and love for that in the servant’s heart, but this is due solely to His Mercy. What this also entails is that at the Day of Judgment, every disbeliever will acknowledge that he inclined towards disbelief, and that he loved it – the fact of it being created does not diminish his love for it. And this is one of the deepest secrets of Qada and Qadar, and we should be careful not to indulge too deep into this issue.

o    Allah does not create people upon acquired faith or acquired disbelief, but is rather acquired by them after all of their faculties have developed to a proper degree. Thus, unbelief, true faith, obedience and disobedience are the (acquired) acts of the servants.

o    Anything originated requires that it be a locus for originations to take place inside of it, and Allah is exalted above that.

o    Even though Allah knows that such-and-such person will die as a disbeliever, He does not bring him into the world with kufr kasbi, but rather lets him acquire this at a time when he is happy and in love with such Kufr.

The Creator and the Actions of His Creation

o    All actions of servants pertaining motion and stillness are in reality their acquisition, while Allah is their Creator. Everything that occurs is through His will, knowledge, ordainment, and decree. The acts of obedience are obligatory through the command of Allah (Amrihi), His Love (Mahabatihi), His Approval (Ridha’ihi), Knowledge, Will (Mashiatihi), Ordainment (Qadhaihi), and Decree (Taqdirihi). The acts of disobedience are also through His knowledge, Will, Ordainment, and Decree, but not with His Love, Command, or Approval.

o    Technically, Kasb is the connection of the servant’s will and power to his action. His motion, with respect to his own power and will is called Maksub (acquired), and with relation to Allah’s Will and Power is called Makhluq (created). Motion and stillness are attributes and acquisitions of the servant, and creations of Allah. The power and will of the servant are his attributes (not his acquisitions), and the creations of Allah.

o    The Mu’tazila say that the will of the servant overpowers that of Allah in cases of disobedience. We say this is a very ugly thing to say, and it is a saying of disbelief, since that would mean that Allah’s Will is (sometimes) incapable of becoming actualized. This would imply that the being they call ‘Allah’ is in need of an originator for “His will”, just like every other created being.

o    There is a difference between kasb and khalq. Kasb occurs when the acquirer is not completely independent, while in Khalq, the Creator is completely independent. It is also said that whatever occurs with the use of an aid or tool is kasb, and whatever occurs without that is Khalq. Thus, in Kasb, what we have is the feeling of free will and choice, and we do not deny the reality of that free will and that choice; however, we also do not say that we are independent in bringing them into existence, since our “role” in this matter is only to acquire them- we are incapable of creation and origination.

o    If something is brought about without Allah’s Power associating with the servant’s power and will, this is considered the attribute of the servant, but not his action – such as if someone trembles of having Parkinson’s disease. The purposeful movements of the servants have this association, and thus are described as the attribute, action, and acquisition of the servant. Mu’tazila say that matters such as pain from striking, or the breaking of glass are from the creation of the person (Allah is free from such things!)

o    The Power of Allah is associated with the source (asl) of the action. The ability of the servant is associated with the action’s identification with obedience or disobedience. Thus, the associations of the effect of the two abilities [of Allah and of His servant] upon the action are different. As an example, if someone is physically punished or disciplining them is different than if it is solely for injury (in terms of it being counted as obedience or disobedience). As a result of the person’s firm resolve, this action is being done through his power and ability (and this is what constitutes the ability of the servant).

o    Ali (Radhia Allahu Anhu) said that he recognized Allah by the annulment of determinations. This means that regardless of what one may plan or resolve to do, Allah’s decision is the only one that really comes to pass.

o    We declare that the servant is created, not only his essence, but also his actions, confessions and knowledge (ma’rifa). When the actor is created, the actions will likewise be created.

o    The power and will of the servant are created at the moment of the action, neither before nor after the action.

o    If ability were given before the action, then the servant would have had no need for Allah at the time of the action, and this is impossible, especially when Allah mentions in the Qur’an that we are all needy of Him. If the ability were after the action, then that would preclude the performance of the action itself. (Thus, we see that power in this discussion is an a’rad- but need to ask about this) Note that Allah created all beings weak and feeble, without power.

o    People are of three types, either believers, unbelievers, or hypocrites. What Allah requires from the believer are deeds, from the unbelievers belief, and from the hypocrites sincerity.

o    If we divide actions into three types, that is, obligations, virtues, and sins, then we say the following (salient points): All the three are through His writing then in the Preserved Tablet. We also say that virtues are not through the order of Allah, since otherwise they would be obligations. With respect to sins, they are not omitted through the order of Allah. Rather they are through His Will, not through His Love; through His ordainment, not through His approval; through His decree and creation, not through His divine guidance but rather His forsaking the sinner.

o    There are nine enormities, which are: To partner anything with Allah, squandering wealth, performing adultery, taking any life unjustly, reporting an innocent person to an authority to have him killed, sorcery, consuming interest, slandering a chaste woman, fleeing the battlefield, and (as far as the Jews were concerned) breaking of the Sabbath.

o    Obedience is according to ability. The ability (istita’a) by which a person is accountable is the soundness of the means by which one may fulfill what is required with regards to knowing Allah and worshipping Him. This is why the child, the mentally incompetent, and the bedridden are excused on different levels.

o    Ability is an attribute that Allah creates upon the acquisition of an action, after the soundness of the means and causes are in place. The ability to do good or bad deeds is concomitant with the intention of the servant. Thus, the blame is realized upon the servant, since he squandered his God-given ability to do good actions, and instead opted for the evil actions.

o    The word ‘istita’a’ can also refer to the soundness of the causes, means, and limbs themselves. It is this type of ability which determines accountability, not the above type of accountability. Imam Abu Hanifah said that it is actually the same ability (qudra) that may be employed for performing the good or the evil deed. It is the servant that links to one or the other depending on his intention. The analogy is made to a person who uses a car for a good person, versus the one who uses it for a bad purpose. In the second case, the person is also responsible for what happens to the car, in addition to the potential damage which may be inflicted on anyone. This ‘car’ in here is similar to a person’s ‘ability’, which allows him to dispose of it as he wishes, although there are limitations in here.

o    In the case of a sinner and disbeliever, it is still within his intrinsic ability to repent and believe. Thus, Allah bringing someone to account is not considered holding one responsible for what one has no power over. Anyone who thinks like that [i.e., that Allah has made him responsible for something that he cannot bear], has considered the occurrence of the association in pre-eternity of the knowledge of Allah and His Will to the contrary, but has not considered the intrinsic ability of the person himself. (That is, just because it was known by Allah in pre-eternity that such-and-such person is going to be die a disbeliever and that there was no way that He was going to die a believer [Since such a possibility would have entailed ignorance, and Allah is transcendent above ignorance], it does not mean that he was unjustly treated and asked to do something which was intrinsically impossible for him to do. Rather, as far as the disbeliever is concerned, he squandered that chance to believe even though he had the ability to believe. With respect to Allah the Exalted, he disposes of His Creation as He wills – that is, He could have made them believers, but He is the truly Majestic who does what He wills with those whom He creates).

o    Otherwise, if one were not responsible for faith and obedience, the ones who leave it would not be considered disobedient. Thus, the belief of an unbeliever and the obedience of a sinner could only be considered inconceivable based upon the association of this to Allah’s pre-eternal knowledge and will. (What they are saying is: “Allah already knew we would be disbelievers since pre-eternity past, so how can we be sent to Hellfire?” The response to this is as above, that Allah disposes of His servants as He wishes, and that with respect to the disbeliever’s point of view, there was nothing precluding him from choosing faith) Thus (with respect to Allah’s pre-eternal knowledge- but I need to ask concerning this phrase), the difference between Allah holding someone responsible or not is only semantic. Ultimately, the acquisition of such good and bad deeds relate back to the servant’s intention and his actions. [We have to remember in here, that it is only due to Allah’s Mercy that He does not punish us for the unintentional actions we commit, such as trembling from cold or Parkinson’s disease, etc.

o    The association Allah has made between intentional actions of man and reward/punishment is wholly His to make, since He under no obligation to reward or punish anyone (unlike what the Mu’tazila and the Twelver Shias may say)]

The Prophets (Upon them be Peace), Muhammad , and the Companions (Radhia Allahu Anhum)

o    The Prophets are free from all sins, major and minor. However, some slips and mistakes have escaped them.

o    The ranking after the Prophets is given to Abu Bakr, then to Umar, Uthman, and ‘Ali (Radhia Allahu Anhum). We mention the Companions only in a good way.

o    Prophets are free from minor sins and enormities even before receiving the Prophethood.

o    Leaving the faraid and wajibat even once without excuse is considered an enormity. Also, committing the unlawful is an enormity. Leaving the sunnas or committing disliked actions are minor sins. However, if one were to habitually leave the sunnas or commit disliked actions, then this would also be considered as an enormity, though it is an enormity below the rank of the established enormities. Take note that the good deeds of the pious are the sins of the intimate (muqarrabun).

o    Some slips and mistakes have escaped the Prophets. A slip (zalla) is like when Adam (Alayhi Salaam) ate from the tree, and a mistake (khata’) is when Musa (Alayhi Salaam) killed the member of Pharaoh’s people. The strike was intentional but the killing was a mistake. The killing was also a slip, since every mistake is a slip, but every slip is not a mistake. The Imams of Samrqand did not use the word ‘slip’ because for them a ‘zalla’ is a type of sin. Rather, they used to say that the Prophets performed a good act and left the preferred one, and they were lightly reproved for it, since for them to leave the preferred act is like the rest of the people leaving an obligation (wajib) act.

o    Another view is that the misdeed or slip of the Prophet is a means for them to reach closer to Allah.

o    As for Adam’s (Alayhi Salaam) case, there are various explanations: One is that is that it was out of forgetfulness. Or that he ate from a tree of the same type, but not the exact same tree- also it was in Paradise, which is not a place for accountability, and he did not know the consequences for disobedience. Thus, he chose the path of lesser superiority or suboptimal path, so that Allah would show the weakness of humanity and the strength of divine forgiveness. Also consider the Hadith that had we not sinned, Allah would have replaced us with those who would sin, then Allah would forgive them.

o    As for the Hadith stating that a cloudiness comes over the heart of the Messenger , ar-Razi explains that this is like the light mist in the air that does not block the sun’s light but dies prevent its complete light from penetrating. Among the explanations is that: One, Allah would inform the Prophet of the disputations which would occur in the future in his Ummah, and he would seek forgiveness from Allah for his Ummah. However, saying that it always preoccupied him is far-fetched since his position was too exalted. Second, it is said that he would ascend from state to state and seek forgiveness for thinking that he had reached the last possible state. Third, some say that the forgiveness was due to when he returned from a state of deep love and self-annihilation. Fourth, related to the third, is that the Prophet would seek forgiveness whenever anything other than Allah crossed his mind. The fifth explanation is also similar. Sixth, that it was a result of viewing his acts of worship as falling short of what was due of him, or his inability to show gratefulness in certain circumstances.

o    The actions of all prophets fall into wajib, mustahabb, mubah, and zalla. As for Adam (Alayhi Salaam), it is said that his action of eating from the tree was before Prophethood was conferred on him, so there is no contradiction. Emulation of the Prophets is only in these three other types of acts, since the slip is corrected by revelation.

o    Anything which is soundly transmitted that indicates falsehood or disobedience should be interpreted in a favorable light, or if not possible, as them having left the more preferred option for the less preferred one, or as having occurred before Prophethood was conferred on them (in which case the Shariah would not have been applicable to them). Thus, our opinion is that the Prophets do not intentionally perform forbidden actions due to their ‘Ismah, but that they may perform certain actions inadvertedly or out of forgetfulness, and this is what is termed a slip.

o    According to Imam al-Maturidi, the Prophets are given Ismah, but this does not mean that they do not face trials and tribulations in this world, or that it render them (physically) “incapable” of committing evil. Rather the Ismah is a favor and boon bestowed upon them from Allah.

o     Muhammad is the beloved on Allah, and his nation has been protected from taking him in the same way the Christians took ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam). The highest stage he was granted was to be associated with Allah through servitude (‘ubudiyya).

o    Muhammad is also Allah’s Prophet, Messenger, Chosen and Purified One. Jibril (Alayhi Salaam) cleansed the Prophet’s heart from any trace of Satan, and this was testified by the Companion Anas bin Malik (R.A.A.) who saw the stitches on the Prophet’s chest.

o    The Prophet never committed either a major or a minor sin before or after receiving Prophethood, since Prophets are protected from ignorance of Allah.

o    Abu Bakr (RAA) was called al-Siddiq due to his profound honesty, his devotion to the truth, the strength of his belief, and his tawfiq – being divinely guided. He is the foremost among the Awliyaa.

o     Consider that when a Jew and a hypocrite had a disagreement, the Jew said they go to Muhammad to pass a ruling, while the hypocrite said they should go to Ka’ab ibn al-Ashraf – this same Ka’b who was later killed for insulting the Prophet , but notice that the Jew wouldnot have his affairs of dispute be judged by Ka’b.

o    With respect to ‘Uthman (RAA) , note that at the time of the Bay’at al-Ridwan, the Messenger’s took his own hand and struck to his other hand- taking the pledge for ‘Uthman (RAA) himself.

o    Since the Prophet assigned the religious affairs to Abu Bakr (RAA), so the Companions agreed to assign him for their worldly affairs [Of course, the Khaliphah is also the ruler in terms of religious affairs, but here it seems they were pointing that the most important thing has been assigned to Abu Bakr (RAA), and thus this shows his overall supremacy.]. If it is said that there were some Sahabis who did not agree right away, well these ones also agreed eventually.

o    It is the belief of Mulla Ali Qari (RA) that this constitutes definitive proof (qat’i) for many reasons: Some of them are related to the Prophet appointing him to lead the prayers in spite of the presence of other Companions, and others relate to the Ummah as a whole agreeing upon this matter.

o    (With respect to what the Twelver Shias say, that it was a conspiracy by Abu Bakr, Umar, and others, in order to maintain power, we say that the power base in Madinah at that time was not of an imperial type, where one finds all sorts of court murders and intrigue thanks to the luxuries of a large empire. Not only that, but immediately after the Prophet’s death, many of the Arabian tribes revolted against Madinese rule. If such Companions had really been in search of power, they would have immediately left this matter and allowed for Madinah – and as an extension Islam- to collapse, since the material prowess of one city such as Madinah would not seem to be enough to overcome a large part of Arabia in revolt, when considered from a purely materialistic viewpoint. In addition to this, what we see is that the initially small Khilaphah did was to go on the attack against the Empires of its time, and only after some relatively longer time could one say that a ‘lavish Empire’ had been established. This is why one sees all of the problems starting around the latter time of Uthman (RAA), since there was money and luxuries over which people would fight, but before that, talk about wanting ‘the world’ was quite strange, considering the difficulties the Sahabah had to go through. Also consider that especially during the Prophet’s time, 20 out of the 23 years were in extreme difficulty, and it is not possible to think that those who attached themselves to him day and night were thinking about great luxuries; this is especially obvious when we consider the saying of Ayesha (RAA), that only after the battle of Khaybar did she have a chance to have her fill of dates.)

o    Ali (RAA) gave the Bay’ah to Abu Bakr (RAA) after a certain amount of time. It is only because he had not had time to contemplate on the issue due to the grief and sadness from the Messenger’s death. If the Shia say it was due to dissimulation, we say that only the one who dissimulates knows it to be so – if the Shias say that later Imams informed us of the reality of this Taqiyya, we say this is circular reasoning, since this assumes that the Imams had Ilm al-Ghayb (Which is exactly what we are arguing with them about, so it cannot be invoked at this stage). Also, it would make a mockery of all knowledge, since anything which is seen openly today can be said to have been done as dissimulation for some ulterior motive.

o    The most that Ali (RAA) could have done was to declare himself equal or superior to Abu Bakr (RAA) but without any proof. (Here, what I have personally read is that there are those ‘Aalims who consider Ali (RAA) to be the best from among all the Sahabah. However, this would not invalidate the Khilaphah of Abu Bakr (RAA), since the scholars do not necessarily agree that the one who is best should always be the Khaliphah, but rather there is a difference of opinion on this matter.

o    But the real important thing that has to be considered here is that the Twelver Shia argument should not be addressed in terms of who should have been the Khaliphah after the Prophet’s death, but rather, whether there exists a divine office called ‘Infallible Imamah’ which has existed from the time of Adam (AS) and which is occupied in every generation by the ‘Infallible Imam’. This is the key, and all the other discussions stem only from this matter and nothing else.      

o    A sign of hypocrisy is hate for the Sahabah. As said in the Qur’an those who are foremost in faith will be the foremost in the gardens.

o    Abu Bakr (RAA) directly appointed ‘Umar (RAA) as the next Khaliphah. If someone shouts that: “Aha, see that you say that the Prophet did not appoint anyone as the Khaliphah, but Abu Bakr did? Then how do you judge!!”

o    To this we say that Abu Bakr (RAA) was appointing only a Khaliphah, not an “Infallible Imam” as what the Shias claim about the Prophet and Ali (RAA)- this is the main difference, and we cannot overlook the different natures of what is being argued about. Secondly, the method for a Khaliphah to be appointed are many and may change depending on the situation; sometimes it may be through a council, through a meeting of the top leaders, sometimes through a military takeover, and sometimes through an appointment by the previous ruler. Thus, contrary to what the Twelvers and other Shia groups say, a Nass (explicit designation) is not a precondition or a necessity from one Khaliphah to the next. Also, Abu Bakr (RAA) wrote in his will when he designated ‘Umar (RAA) that this designation was based on what he thought of ‘Umar (RAA), and was not due to an explicit divine commandment or inspiration (we can say that due to the high rank of Abu Bakr (RAA), the possibility of Ilham cannot be denied, but even if such was the case, Ilham of one Wali is not a Hujja in and of itself). Finally, in order for the Khilaphah of Umar (RAA) to be effective, the Bay’ah of everyone was still necessary- the appointment by Abu Bakr (RAA) did not in and of itself make him the Khaliphah; and this is contrary to what the Twelvers claim with respect to the “Nass of the Infallible Imam”.

o    When Umar (RAA) was struck and he called for the council to be formed, he excluded Said bin Zayd (RAA), due to them being relatives. Abdur  Rahman ibn ‘Awf (RAA) chose Uthman (RAA), and Uthman (RAA) began to lead the Muslims in their Friday and Eid prayers without any opposition (after taking formal Bay’ah) – and this proves the consensus of the Ummah upon him.

o    As for the situation at Ali’s (RAA) time, we say that his Khilaphah was correct, even if there were those Companions who did not aid him, or who took up arms against him. This is because they did not consider his position as Khaliphah to be wrong, but rather due to the rejection of his decision not to capture and punish those who had killed Uthman (RAA). (If it is said that such Companions disobeyed the sayings of the Prophet in that they should obey the Khaliph, we say that their actions were not due to juhud against the truth, but rather because they inferred that the seriousness of the situation threatened the integrity of the Islamic nation itself, and that this was above the obligation to obey the Khaliphah – of course, this was a wrong Ijtihad, but it is not possible to pass Takfir on any Mujtahid who errs in matters of Fiqh; and at the end of the day, even though many people were killed, it is a difference of Fiqh. Those who express shock and outrage that we consider them as having “only made a mistake in Ijtihad and Fiqh” even though thousands were killed should understand that all matters of warfare, fighting, and governorship are Fiqhi Masail, and that Islam is too noble to say that warfare and fighting are not within its jurisdiction. Thus it is possible at any point of time that a Mujtahid makes a mistake in matters of warfare, and due to this millions of people die – it is still a Fiqhi issue, and the only way that Takfir could be made is if it can proved that the person passing that ‘Fatwa’ thought that killing a Muslim without due reason was allowed.)

o    There is also the Hadith which says that true Khilaphah will be there for 30 years, and after that there will be an unjust kingdom. The rule of Hasan bin ‘Ali (R.A.A.) is also considered part of the rightful Khulapha era.

o    From the allegiance to ‘Ali (R.A.A.) we learn that when some of the righteous from the Islamic community confer their allegiance to one who is worthy of the position, it becomes established, even if there is no strict ‘consensus’ in this issue.

o    We also see that Ali (R.A.A.) did not immediately seek out and execute the rebels, since a rebel is one who has military strength and justifies his actions through a corrupt interpretation of the texts. The rule is that if he submits to the Imam, he is no longer liable for the destruction, injury and death he has caused. According to another interpretation, it is obligatory on the just Imam to extract this retribution only after their strength and support is broken and they cannot cause any more strife. None of these options were possible at that time, so Ali (RAA) chose the correct course of action at that moment.

o    We say that Talha, az-Zubayr, and Ayesha (R.A.A.) later regretted opposing him. In the case of Ayesha (R.A.A.) she had gone out with the intention of reforming the situation and protecting the lives of many of the great Companions. Also, many of her male and female relatives went with her. In the case of Muawiya (R.A.A.), we also say that he was incorrect in his judgment [demanding that Uthman’s (RAA) murderers be caught and then going out against Ali (RAA). However since it was out of true scholarly endeavor rather than because of a personal vendetta, he is not classified as a fasiq.

o    Ali (RAA) was correct in his decision for arbitration, but the Khawarij thought he was wrong, based on their interpretation of Ayah 49:9. We say the purpose of this Verse is to order the repelling of evil and uniting the hearts of the believers, and this is what Ali (RAA) was trying to achieve by not fighting the rebels at that time.

o    After the five Khulapha, we say that Muawiya (RAA) was the most superior from among those who came after the Khulapha ar-Rashidun, and that he became the legitimate ruler after the transference of power from Hasan (Radhia Allahu Anhu).

o    From the interpretation of Ibn ‘Abbas, we see that cursing of the Companions is not allowed. We also see that Allah the Exalted commanded us to ask forgiveness for them, since He knew that soon they would be driven to conflict.

o    Interesting note concerning Ibn Abi’l ‘Izz: He was a Hanafi in fiqh, but he is not considered authoritative in matters of creed, as he was highly influenced by Ibn Taymiyyah. It is unfortunate that some people have taken Ibn Abi’l-‘Izz’s commentary on the Tahawiyya as a proper Maturidi commentary, while such is not truly the case.

o    Our following most of the Companions is in terms of Ittiba’ (following their way in general), but with respect to Abu Bakr and Umar (RAA), they have the distinction of us being told to do Iqtida’ of them (taking them as complete exemplars). It is also said in the commentary that their commands, inferences, and legislations are to be taken. (However, this obviously does not mean that they are at a rank of Prophethood, but only that of Wilayah).

o    The ten Companions promised Paradise are: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Talha, Az-Zubyar, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, Sa’d bin Zayd, Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, and Abdur Rahman bin ‘Awf (Radhia Allhu Anhum).

o    With respect to the Hadith of the twelve men from the Quraysh, we say this cannot at all refer to the ‘Twelve Imams’ of Shiaism, because the Hadith states that the religions will be strong in that time, while the Twelvers says that throughout this time the matter was weak, corrupt and disturbed. In fact, what they say is that the people of truth were supposedly more humiliated than the Jews during their dispersals, when the Jews were humiliated as a punishment from Allah. Also, consider closely that the Prophet said that Islam will remain strong until such and such time- what this implies is that at some point there will be a weakening of the impact of Islam upon the world, and this is complete contradictory to what the Twelvers say, which is that the ‘Imamate’ is eternal and will never be weakened as an institution. It is far off to say that Mulla Ali Qari (RA) did not know that there objectionable things reported about some of these personalities such as Yazid, ibn Marwan’s sons, and so forth, but this Hadith is talking (perhaps- I need to ask about this matter) about the expansion of Islam, and that others could not attack Islam from the outside, and related matters – but it does not necessarily point to the goodness of everyone who ruled at that time. Or perhaps, it could refer to rulers altogether outside the early period of Islam (but do not take the different interpretations as signs that we are confused about the issue – after all, most Ahadith have multiple probable interpretations, and this is all part of the academic discussion concerning Ahadith).

o    With respect to the disagreements among the Companions, we say that the testimony of the Qur’an and the Ahadith has already transpired and is definitive in both text and meaning. That which is from the stories of their fighting is (relatively speaking) weaker and/or prone to interpretation as regards to its meaning. Thus, as a general rule, that which is established cannot be overturned by that which is relative and weaker in terms of certainty.

o    Imam Abu Hanifah said that had it not been for ‘Ali (RAA) we would not have known how to deal with the Khawarij (so the Fitan had some ultimate wisdom behind it, even if it was kept hidden at that time).

The Effects of Sin on a Person, Wiping Leather Socks, Tarawih, and other Matters

o    We do not call anyone a disbeliever for any particular sin he may commit, even if that sin an enormity, unless if that person regards the sin as lawful. This last phrase is so, since it is tantamount to rejecting Allah and His Messenger, due to rejecting something that is clearly established with definitive proof. The author indicates the oneness of iman (true faith) with islam (submission), much like the oneness of the back and the stomach. Fisq (unrighteousness) means to depart the obedience of Allah Most High by committing an enormity. Allamah Sadr al-Sharia said that an enormity is anything that has a punishment either in this world or the next and is established by a definitive sacred text. The Mu’tazila place such a person in their manzila baynal manzilatayn category.

o    Abu Hanifa rejects calling sinners of the Ahl ul Qibla as unbelievers. With respect to cursing (or even killing) the Sahabah, this does not in and of itself constitute unbelief (because it is possible that any Muslim commits an enormity while holding it to be unlawful- in fact this is the only way that a Muslim can commit a sin, by doing the sin while knowing and accepting that he has erred and is doing something evil). However, if a person holds that it is lawful to curse or kill the Sahabah, then he is definitely a disbeliever.

o    The author mentions that certain bid’ah beliefs do not render one an unbeliever such as the Mu’tazilis in their denying the attributes of Allah, or saying that Allah is not the Creator of the actions of His Servants, or the possibility of Beatific Vision in the Hereafter. [Need to ask about the particular matters related to this, since it has to do with Allah- like those who say that they create their own actions are claiming to be ‘gods’ who originate and create, and that Allah is limited and weak.] 

o    However, other things, such as Tajsim, or denying that Allah knows the particulars of things, that salat can be fulfilled with mere Du’a, that Jibril (Alayhi Salaam) did not discharge the task of giving revelation properly, or that Ayesha (R.A.A.) was exonerated from immorality in the Qur’an, does render the person an unbeliever.

o    However, there are also many different opinions reported in the books, some of which say that no one from among the Ahl ul Qiblah should be thrown out of Islam (of course, this is a legalistic ruling given in this world – it may be that the person we think is a Muslim is actually not a Muslim in his heart, and that the person executed for apostasy in fact had a proper excuse for what he said and it was not investigated properly. This is why the preponderance is towards finding every excuse before declaring Takfir). Others say that those who say the Qur’an is created, or who curse the Shaykhayn, or who deny the beatific vision are disbelievers. In any case, one important opinion is that mentioned by al-Asqalani who says that the necessary implications of a position cannot be taken as the position itself.

o    In essence, there is difficulty concerning this matter. What happens is that we have on one side the saying of the theologians who say that takfir cannot be made on any of the innovators of the people of the Qibla, while on the other hand, there are many fatawa saying that prayer behind them is invalid. Some of this difficulty can be reconciled by saying that this ruling in invalidity was meant as a precaution that does not necessitate that they be called unbelievers.

o    (The reason for this seems to be that not necessarily every innovation is an unbelief, and that there may be cases where the “Aalim of innovation” came upon a certain kufr belief without knowing all of the evidences, so there is a possibility that with proper dispelling of all Shubuhat, the person may come back to correct belief – this is why the person propagating an unbelief may not be an unbeliever. This also seems to be related to the fact that we Muslims do not generally say with ‘certainty of belief’ that anyone who has died will certainly go to Paradise or Hellfire, except such a thing has been written in the Qur’an or rigorously authenticated Ahadith – and it is known that no specific names of anyone dying today has been written in the primary Islamic texts, so we say that there is a chance (however small and tiny) that the man dying upon apparent disbelief (such as the Pope) may have turned to Islam right before the soul was taken out of his body, but he was unable to articulate this belief).

o    Also, we need to consider that there are certain prerequisites for being considered a person “of the qibla”. Thus, whoever is constant in his worship, but believes the world is preeternal, or denies the resurrection, or says that Allah does not know the particulars of things, is not of the people “of the qibla”. Also, what is meant by not making Takfir of the people of the Qibla is that no Takfor is done on them unless something that necessitates unbelief emanates from them (it is not a blanket term for saying that anyone can claim to be Muslim and then do and believe absolutely whatever he wants, and that no one will do Takfir of him).

o    (The book also mentions that) once these matters have been agreed upon, there is a difference of opinion [in the people of qibla] with respect to other fundamentals, such as the divine attributes, the creation of all actions by Allah, His encompassing will, the eternality of His Speech, the permissibility of beatific vision, and all matters upon which the Ahl us Sunnah are agreed upon. The Ahl us Sunnah also differ as to whether Takfir can be made of such people. (The Ahl ul Qibla also differed about this)

o    There are different opinions from Imam al-Shafi’I, Imam Abu Hanifah, ar-Razi and Imam al-Isfarayini regarding making Takfir of the people of Qibla. In synthesis, we can say that not making Takfir is the opinion of the theologians (honoring the status of the people of Qibla), while that of the jurists is more towards making Takfir (due to an exaggeration in countering the opponents of true belief). Since the proponents of the two opinions are different (and their scopes are also different) then there is really no contradiction.

o    It is not permissible to curse the believer, even if he committed an enormity, since faith has not left him, and it does not lessen due to his performance of this enormity.

o    Abu Hanifah (RA) has been termed a Murji’a by certain people. This is because he held back from condemning the one who performs an enormity. But this is not true, since they are referring to the irja’ of the antinomians who held every sin lawful since they thought it would be forgiven once faith is established. Thus, they said there is no accountability for sins after belief, nor benefit with unbelief. This was not the position of Imam Abu Hanifah (RA).

o    The Murjia also held that the unbelievers in Hellfire do not suffer, but only that they do not enjoy things like the people of Paradise. This is obviously a wrong saying, as it is contradicted by all the primary Islamic texts and tools for derivation of rulings. As for their use of a supposed narration where it is said that a wind will blow on the doors of Hellfire while there is no one inside, we say that narration is fabricated. We also say that even if it were a correct narration, it can be reconciled by saying that it refers to that section of Hellfire where the believers were punished, and that this wind will blow after all believers have been put into Paradise.

o    Wiping over leather socks is a sunna. It is said that the one who rejects it is feared to have fallen into disbelief, because the proofs are so strong that they are almost Mutawaatir (and he who rejects Mutawwatir narrations is like the one who rejects the religion in totality). Also, it is allowed to forgo the fasts during travel, and one must shorten the prayers during travel (there is some Fiqhi difference over whether one is allowed to shorten the prayers or one has to do it).

o    Tarawih is an established Sunnah, unlike what the Shias say. When asked to explain the beliefs of the Ahl us Sunnah, Imam Abu Hanifah said that it is to give preference to the Shaykhyan, to love the Khatanayn, to believe in wiping over leather socks, and to pray behind any righteous or unrighteous believer – it is said that the Imam took this statement from the Companion Anas bin Malik (RAA).

o    The Prophet performed the Tarawih prayer for a few nights in Ramadhan, then left it out due to his love for the Ummah, so that it would not become or be considered obligatory. With respect to Umar (RAA) calling it a good bid’ah, this is either in respect to its revival, or due to its performance in congregation after it was performed individually (or in many different congregations, each one with its own prayer leader, which was against the spirit of Islamic unity). Besides, the Muslim Ummah does agree to the existence of “good Bid’ah” which are those newly brought up matters which are in line with the Qur’an, the Sunnah, the Ahadith, or the consensus. Another similar example is the bringing of all the folios where the Qur’an had been written into one volume at the time of Abu Bakr (RAA).

o    Even though prayers behind the pure, scholarly people are the best, it is still valid if one prays behind any believer, even the unrighteous one – however, this is makruh (disliked). So it is not proper to leave the congregational and Friday prayers only because the person leading them is unrighteous. Neither can the obligation to Jihad be cancelled or waived due to this unrighteousness.

o    (It is mentioned in the book) concerning the incident of Walid ibn ‘Uqba and his leading the people in Fajr prayer with four raka’at instead of two (Need to ask about this, and how it relates to the transmission of information in Islam- supposing that the inclusion of the incident in the book is accurate).

o    We do not claim that the one who commits an enormity from among the Muslims will not enter Hellfire, as this is the belief of the Murji’a. We also do not take the view of the Khawarij abnd Mu’tazila, but rather say that he may be punished in the Hellfire (and Allah may forgive him altogether if he wills) but that he will not remain therein forever.

o    Allah accepts repentance from His servants and forgives every single sin (even unbelief) while the person is alive and the pangs of death have not come to him. However, Allah’s forgiveness is only out of His Mercy, not due to any obligation upon Him, as the Mu’tazila claim. They claim that it is binding on Allah to punish the disobedient one and to reward the obedient one, as well as to accept people’s repentance.

o    There are certain actions that if the perpetrator dies them, they would be considered unbelief even if done while claiming to be a Muslim such as: prostration to an idol, placing the Qur’an in the trash, uttering words of clear disbelief, and other things that are proven to constitute unbelief in the sacred texts.

o    We do not claim that good deeds are surely accepted and that bad deeds are surely forgiven as the (innovator-type) Murji’a say. But we say that if all the conditions for the correctness of the deed are performed and it is not invalidated by matters of the heart (i.e., vanity, ostentation, etc.) then Allah will not disregard the deed but will recompense him for it out of His Generosity and Mercy, not out of any obligation placed on Allah. But do remember that we do not know whether there is any ostentation in our heart, or if there was some hidden defect in our actions, so we cannot be so (arrogantly) confident that we have done the deed correctly. Not only this, but even the Prophet acknowledged that no act of worship that he did was really worthy of being presented to Allah, so what about the case with us?

o    True faith prevents permanent residence in Hellfire. Thus, if any person dies while committing a sin, whether major or minor without repenting, we say that He is under the Will of Allah; if Allah wishes He will forgive Him, and if He wishes He will punish that person for some time in the Hellfire, but not eternally.

o    Ostentation and vanity eliminate the reward of deeds and the action itself (this is with respect to acts of pure worship, such as prayer and fasting, if the opening intention is corrupt. With respect to other acts such as ghusl and wudhu, these are not corrupted by ostentation/vanity, since intention is not a prerequisite for them (according to the Hanafi school)). The reason why it is invalidated is because the person with vanity considers himself secure from the planning and punishment of Allah, and whoever considers himself like that has committed an act of unbelief. It should be mentioned that ostentation and vanity are specifically mentioned, since other sins do not destroy good actions in the way these two evils destroy good actions.

Mu’jizaat, Karamaat, and Istidraaj

o    Prophets have Ayat, and the Awliyaa have Karamat. The enemies of Allah only have the fulfillment of their needs, which are done to (ultimately) delude and punish them.

o    The difference between a Mu’jiza and a Karama is that the Mu’jiza is a matter that departs from the norm and is accompanied by a tahaddi (challenge), that is, the claim to prophethood. Essentially, the claim to prophecy is translated into a challenge for all those who are being called to witness his message. The Karama is at the hand of a friend of Allah (a Wali of Allah) and it is not accompanied by a challenge. It is also a proof of the truth of his prophet, because the miracle of the follower is a miracle of the followed (thus, any departure from the norm with respect to a Prophet is a miracle whether it is exhibited at the hand of a Prophet or at the hand of one of his followers). We have as examples the Karama of Sulayman’s (AS) assistant, and of Maryam (AS). We also have the Karamat of ‘Umar (RAA) with respect to Sariya and the mountain, and that of the flowing of the Nile river by his writing a letter that was thrown into it. (Others are that of Khalid bin al-Walid (RAA) drinking poison and no harm befalling him, and quite a number of other Karamat).

o    The Mu’tazila deny the Karamat (due to Allah having taken away from them the position of friendship with Him). The Shia say that Karamat only issue from their 12 Imams, but there is no proof for this assertion.

o    We should avoid seeking Karamat and rather seek Istiqaamah. Karamat is what the lower self wants, but steadfastness is what Allah wants from you – and this steadfastness is the actual ultimate miracle.

o    There are three types of Firasa (spiritual intuitiveness): Firasa imaniyya (faith-based insight) and this is a light Allah places in the heart of the servant. Firasa riyadiyya (insight attained through exercise) is what is attained through disciplining the self through hunger, isolation, and sleeplessness – however it is not necessarily a sign of faith or nearness to Allah, as the non-Muslims can also attain this rank. Firasa khilqiyya (physiognomy) is the insight gained into the inner character of someone from their outer appearance due to the relationship Allah created between the two. Thus, it refers to such things as inferring a weak intellect from a small head size, a generous personality from the broadness of one’s chest, and so forth.

o    With respect to the supernatural things that were or are given to Iblis, Fir’awn, and the Dajjal, these are only the fulfillment of their needs. For example, we have the contracting of the Earth for Iblis and his flowing in the blood of people, the Dajjal and his slaying and bringing back a man to life, the flowing of the Nile for Fir’awn, and so forth. All of this is so that these disbelievers will feel that they are at ease and close to Allah and the truth, while in fact they are slowly being forsaken and taken to Allah’s punishment. There is also the possibility of humiliation to one desiring the opposite of it; just as Musaylama the Liar who prayed to cure the blindness in eye of one man, but instead he lost his sight in the healthy eye as well.

o    Imam Abu Hanifa also reiterates that Allah was Khaaliq, Raaziq, Qaadir (Omnipotent), Qaahir (Vanquisher), Raheem (Merciful), Ma’bud (the Worshipped), Mujeeb (the Answerer), Ghanii (the Wealthy), Maalik (Possesor) even before any of the Creation existed that would be overpowered, vanquished, possessed, etc. (This shows that just because the creation does not exist, it does not mean that Allah’s Attributes are ‘emergent’, since Allah is transcendent from being measured by time).

The Beatific Vision of Allah

o    The Beatific vision is certainly true (and it is with our actual eyes), but we do not claim that there will be comparison, modality, nor distance in this vision.

o    The Dunya is called so because of its closeness to the Hereafter. The matter of the vision is not known through the mind, but it is one of the matters of ambiguous description – since we need to believe in the reality of the vision while also acknowledging that it is without a direction or modality. Allah is attributed with the attributes of perfection, and to be visible to Himself and to others is from among the attributes of perfection.

o    “Seeing” does not necessitate encompassing the seen thing, since encompassing or comprehending (Idrak) is a deeper intellectual matter. Thus, there is no contradiction between the beatific vision and Ayah 6:103 where it is mentioned that visions do not encompass Him. (If someone says that it is obvious that it is related to Vision and thus the beatific vision must be negated, we say there are too many routes of transmission for the establishment of beatific vision, and it is not possible to simply deny it, especially when the reconciliation between the texts is definitely possible).

o    Ibn abi’l ‘Izz erred when he said that vision would be through a direction, as if he was saying that Allah is physically in the ‘above’ direction. The Hadith where the Prophet made a resemblance between our seeing Allah and our seeing of the moon is just to show general resemblance, not to show a resemblance in every aspect of what is actually seen.

Imaan, Islaam, and Deen

o    Iman is to be convinced, which is to accept in the heart the information of an informer. In terms of Islam it means to accept everything in one’s heart concerning the articles of faith of Islam, along with the obligatory matters in worship. It should be noted that the hypocrites are not believers (since they are dissimulating belief while they really do not believe), neither are the People of the Book in spite of their awareness of Allah (since they reject Muhammad , the Qur’an, and all the Sharia. Also this is the case due to their juhud of the Islamic religion – they know it is true but refuse to follow it).

o    Affirmation (iqraar) is mentioned after conviction (tasdiq) because it is what is normally observed first in expression and because the law has sufficed with confession in many matters, even though tasdiq is what is really taken into consideration.

o    Someone may ask that how do we reconcile between the fact that the hypocrites are confessing with their tongue (thus it is like an eyewitness, which in matters of Aqeedah and Fiqh is taken into consideration as true knowledge), while the Qur’an negates their faith? We say the Qur’an is not negating that they are saying they believe, but it is negating that their hearts agree with their tongues. It is thus stipulating the rule that one’s heart should be in accordance with one’s tongue so that their deeds will be acceptable before Allah.

o    Tasdiq is an integral pillar of Iman, but Iqrar with the tongue may be dispensed with in life-threatening situation without it affecting one’s Iman (as long as the Tasdiq remains). Thus, it is mentioned that Iqrar is only a Shart for carrying out sacred laws and to validate treating such a person as a Muslim. However, some ‘Ulama said that when in a state of safety, if one is asked to make Iqrar, then it becomes an integral part of faith and the person who can enunciate it verbally has to affirm his faith verbally.

o    Thus, Tasdiq is an internal matter and is known only to Allah (who will judge the person accordingly in the Hereafter), but in our dealings with him in this world, we need an outward manifestation to know whether to consider him as a Muslim or not, and this manifestation is through his Iqrar with the tongue. Also, performing the actions and requirements of Islam in public can take the place of a public proclamation of Islam with one’s tongue. At-Taftazani says that if Iqrar is taken as an integral pillar of faith, then it can be executed by a person affirming faith to one’s self only, and not necessarily to others.

o    Imam Abu Hanifa’s (RA) statements show that an undetailed acknowledgment of faith would be sufficient for establishing faith. Thus, to confirm that one believes everything that Islam establishes by necessity (bi l-dharura) is sufficient to satisfy this condition. However, it is better to say that the situation may dictate the amount of matters that have to be confirmed. Thus, if one does not confirm the obligation of Salat or the prohibition of intoxicants when asked about them, then one is not a believer.

o    The meaning of that which is known by necessity, is that which is known by the general laity without the need to employ nazar (syllogistic speculations), nor know proof-texts. These include the oneness of Allah, the obligation of Salat, and the prohibition of wine. This condition is necessary since the denial of rulings derived through Ijtihad is not considered as unbelief. Notwithstanding, the one who (through Ijtihad adopts a non-literal interpretation and thus) denies the resurrection of bodies, the Huduuth of the world, etc., is considered an unbeliever since their literal meaning is known to all.

o    There is a difference of opinion, however, concerning the narrations regarding the people who commit Kaba’ir not remaining forever in the Fire, since there have been some conflicting narrations concerning this.

o    Even though the one who knows little is also a “believer”, just as the one who knows the detail of faith, the latter person is much closer in terms of spiritual knowledge of Allah and the perfection of his faith (Ihsaan).

o    The people of the Heaven and Earth are the same in terms of what is believed in. It also does not increase nor decrease. Thus, what is the correct way of expressing this is that “I believe in Allah and whatever has come from Allah, and I believer in the Messenger of Allah and what has come from him ”. However, if one were to (for example) deny that resurrection exists, then one is an unbeliever, and if one were to say that he believes only in Allah and Muhammad and absolutely nothing else, he is also an unbeliever; there is no difference in both of these groups being absolute unbelievers, and they are just like any person who does not even testify the Shahadah (i.e. Hindu, Jew, Christian, etc).

o    Imam an-Nawawi (RA) said that the theologians said that the essence of belief itself does not increase or decrease, for otherwise it would be doubt and unbelief, Others said that the essence does not change, but it increases (and decreases) with respect to its attributes and effects – this is from what they deduced of the Qur’an, Ahadith, and the sayings of the Salaf.

o    Imam Abu Hanifah (RA), Imam al-Haramayn (RA) and others also said that faith itself does not increase or decrease. However, others said that it does increase and decrease. This difference is based on whether acts of obedience are included in the definition of faith. Thus, for the first group it is a matter of tasdiq jazim (firm conviction) coupled with submission (idh’an), and it cannot be influenced by obedience or sin. However, there are texts which would seem to contradict this, such as Ayah 8:2 (Where Allah says that the belief of the believers increases whenever the Qur’an is recited to them). Thus, many theologians said that certainty (Yaqin) that is constituted from conviction (Tasdiq) vacillates between the badihiyyat (clearest of immediate (mental) perceptions and certainties – such as logical proofs) and nazriyyat (vaguest of syllogistic speculations). We also have the case of Ibrahim (Alayhi Salaam) as mentioned in Ayah 2:260.

o    Thus, the first group does acknowledge fluctuation in the outside aspects but not the essence of faith itself. This is why Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) said that his faith was ‘ka’ (like) the faith of Jibril (AS), but not ‘mithl’ equal to his faith. In conclusion then, if one sees the essence and tasdiq itself, they will say that it does not increase and decrease. But if they look at its characteristics, such as weakness and strength, they will acknowledge its increase and decrease (since these are aspects supplementary to it). As an aside, we say that the faith of angels is constant, the faith of the Prophets only increases, the faith of normal jinn and humans increases and decreases, and the faith of the Fussaq only decreases.

o    With respect to the essential attributes of divine oneness encompassing the negation of partnership in godhood, lordship, creation, preeternality, everlastingness, self-subsistence, and sovereignty, there is no difference between the believers, and faith does not increase or decrease. Whoever negates some aspects and not others is a polytheist and not a monotheist. But in terms of taqlid (following certain evidences) and inferring certain proofs (istidlal) it may increase or decrease based on the amount of proofs available to a person. 

o    The faith and belief of someone who has only attained intellectual proofs is unlike the one who has become an ‘arif of Allah, or who has achieved spiritual unveilings, spiritual visions, divine gnosis, and so on.

o    The actions of a person do not affect Iman. Thus, the fast of the one who fasts only half of Ramadhan is valid insofar as those fasts he did are valid and he is not considered a disbeliever due to his not fasting the rest of Ramadhan. Of course, the issue could also come up that he may not hold fasting in Ramadhan as obligatory in which case the Iman would be lost, but this is something other than doing or forsaking the actions in and of themselves. Thus, actions are other than belief and belief is other than actions.

o    Inqiyaad (compliance) means (more fully) humility, fearfulness, satisfaction, and humbleness, while taslim means to express complete satisfaction with the command of Allah. Thus Islam means to be totally satisfied with the commandments of Allah in terms of obligations, prohibitions, etc., without any objection or disapproval.

o    Iman literally means conviction, and Islam is literally surrender. Conviction comes from the heart, and the tongue is its interpreter; and surrender is an act shared by the heart, tongue, and limbs. Islam is more general in the literal sense, since hypocrites can be classified as muslimin literally but not in terms of sacred law, while they cannot be termed Mu’minun at all. Affirmation of the tongue then can be taken as Islam in the literal sense, but not Iman in the literal sense, because of absence of conviction of the heart. (However, the claim of the Twelvers that Islam applies to the Companions and all Sunnis in this sense (akin to that of the hypocrites) is refuted since we are not talking with them about the literal sense, but rather about what the position of the person is in the eyes of Allah (that is, with respect to the revealed religion, not with respect to the Arabic language). Also, it is interesting that normally the Twelvers come up with technical definitions out of thin air, but in this case want to insist on sticking to the literal non-technical meaning).

o    However, in terms of sacred law (i.e. the Islamic religion) the two terms are inseparable, since Iman is the affirmation and conviction of Allah as He is, in addition to the acceptance of all that He has revealed, commanded, and prohibited. Likewise, Islam is not found without Iman, since surrender and submission to the commands of Allah is forthcoming only after affirmation and conviction.

o    Din (religion) is a noun that encompasses Iman, Islam, and all sacred laws (sometimes it may also refer to the sacred laws of the previous Prophets (Alayhima Salaam)).

Knowing Allah Most High

o    We know Allah as much as He has made us responsible to know Him, as He has described Himself in His Book with all of His Attributes. Nobody is able to worship Allah as is His right to be worshipped, because worship is to exalt and glorify Allah, and there is no limit to Allah’s exaltedness, glory, and grandeur, while there is a limit to the worship of the servant. Likewise, no worship is equal to the reward and merit of Allah Most High, since these are also without limit or end. Also, the servant’s gratitude cannot be equal to the bounties of Allah, since as the Qur’an mentions, the bounties of Allah cannot be counted.

o    All believers are equal in knowledge, in terms of their obligation to know Allah first, and then knowing the actions – the obligatory, required, lawful and unlawful. Also in Yaqin they are the same. Yaqin literally means an awareness without doubts, and technically it means to see clearly through the strength of true faith and through abstract proofs and evidences. The Qur’an mentions ‘ilm al-yaqin, ‘ayn al-yaqin, and haqq al-yaqin. The first comes from hearing or contemplation, the second through personal witnessing, and the third when both come together. Also, the first category applies to the ordinary scholars, the second for the elect scholars and the Awliyaa, and the third for the Prophets. Tawakkul is also the same among all believers, will means to rely on what Allah possesses and despair in what people possess. Love (is also the same), which is a state that the servant finds in his heart that cannot be defined by anything other than word mahabba. Some scholars say that love in this case means glorifying Him, giving preference to satisfaction with His Commands, feeling restless at being away from Him, and always receiving abundant pleasure in His remembrance. Satisfaction is to have happiness in the heart for the bitter ordainment of calamities and afflictions. Fear means to expect the undesirable to happen or something beloved to be lost, and Raja’ literally means hope, and it means the attachment of the heart to the future acquisition of something cherished. Hope cannot exist without fear, because hope with out fear is false security and delusion, while fear without hope is hopelessness and despair of the mercy of Allah.

o    True fear is that which comes between the servant and whatever Allah has prohibited; if it goes beyond this it is hopelessness and despair. True hope is when a person performs a good action and anticipates the reward from Allah, or when one commits a sin and after repentance hopes for the forgiveness from Allah; if it goes beyond this (into antinomianism, for example) then it is delusion, empty wishing, and false hope.

o    The narration from ‘Umar is relevant in this regard, where he said that if it were announced that only one person is to enter Paradise, he would hope it were him, and if only one person were to go to Hellfire, he would fear it would be him. Some have said that hope should predominate over fear, while others have said that fear should predominate when one in young and healthy, while hope should predominate when one is old and ill.

o    Again, it is mentioned that believers are all equal in what has to be believed, but they are dissimilar in terms of their conviction, trust, certainty, knowledge of the points that have to be believed. Imam Tahawi said the difference comes from each person’s level of fear, God-consciousness, opposing the nafs, and upholding the worthier actions.

Allah, the Generous and Just

o    Allah is kind and just to His servants. He may give one many more times than what he is entitled to out of His Kindness, He may punish for a sin out of His Justice, or He may forgive it out of His Generosity.

o    We say out of His Kindness, to negate that the servant has any intrinsic self-entitlement towards any reward. The promise and command of reward is not obligatory upon Allah, but is rather out of His generosity and choice to fulfill. He may punish for a sin out of His Justice. Note here that Justice is taken to be administration within Allah’s Own Dominion, since zulm (injustice) is to administer in someone else’s dominion without consent from the other one (but how is this possible to be said about Allah, when He literally owns everything, and the creatures own nothing, and their own existence itself is solely due to His Choice?). With respect to the one who says that Allah has to reward and punish exactly the same if two people commit the same good deed or bad deed, we say this is in total error, since it constitutes a judgment of Allah’s will and predestination, while the Qur’an says that all favors are with Him and He disposes them as He wills.

Intercession and some other Eschatological realities

o    Intercession of the prophets in true. Intercession of Muhammad for those who committed sins from among his nation is also true and established. Also, scholars and martyrs will intercede for people on the Day of Judgment. Others add the ‘Awliya, the destitute, the children of believers, and those patient through hardships.

o    There will be many types of intercession such as : (1) By the Prophet for the Qiyamah to start, (2) bringing a group of believers into Paradise without reckoning, and most scholars say this is also specific to Muhammad . (3) for those who are deserving of Hellfire not to enter therein (4) for those believers who are already in the Hellfire – and this type is not specific to Muhammad and (5) intercession for the elevation of the status of a person in Paradise.  

o    The weighing of deeds with a Scale is established as per the primary Islamic texts, as is the reading of the Books of deeds.

o    The Watering pool of the Prophet is a reality. Imam al-Qurtubi said there are in fact two pools which are both called al-Kawthar: One before the Scale and Bridge, and the other pool in Paradise.

o    The settling of accounts with good deeds between litigants on the Day of Judgment is a reality; if they do not possess any good deeds, then the bad deeds of the litigant is cast on to them. The Prophet described the one in this situation as the bankrupt one from his Ummah, may Allah save us from this difficulty.

o    In al-Fiqh al-Akbar, the term “true and possible” means that it is possible through reason alone and that it is definitively established once we consult the textual proofs.

o    Paradise and Hellfire have already been created, as is ascertained by the use of the past tense to refer to them. They will never cease to exist, meaning that their destruction will be temporary, since everything other than Allah the exalted will be destroyed. Or it could mean that they will not be destroyed at all; in such a case, the meaning of Ayah 28:88 is that every possible thing is destructible in itself, in the sense that its possible existence in contrast to necessary existence (that is, the existence of Allah) is like non-existence, and that non-essential continuity in contrast to essential continuity is akin to destruction. As for what Jahm ibn Safwan, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Abi ‘l-‘Izz mention about the eventual destruction of Hellfire, this is all wrong and was even considered as unbelief by some of the correct ‘Ulama.

o    Paradise is (according to the strongest opinion) in is the Heavens, with weaker opinions saying it is on the Earth or that we should refrain from discussing this matter. Likewise, Hellfire is said to be above or below the Earth, or that one should refrain from discussing about its location. Also, note that the believers will remain in Paradise forever, while the unbelievers will remain in Hellfire forever as per the proof of the Qur’anic Ayats.

o    The Bridge over the Hellfire is true as is attested to in the Hadith and the Qur’an. The maidens of Paradise are eternal, they never become old nor are they afflicted with the blemishes of the women on Earth.

Allah guides and leaves astray 

o    Allah guides right whom He wills out of His generosity and leaves astray whom He wills, with justice. Tawfiq means to make the means in accordance with bliss and virtue, while idhlal and khidhlan means the person is forsaken by Allah. Tawfiq is characterized by a servant’s turning toward the eternal abode, withdrawing from the deceptive abode, and achieving a readiness for death before its arrival.

o    We do not say that the Satan takes away the faith of anyone. Rather, when the servant abandons his faith, then Satan takes it away from him. If Satan had taken it by force, the servant would not be liable to punishment, and also, Allah’s Sunnah in this matter is to create unbelief in the servant’s heart only after the servant has inclined towards unbelief with his own preference and liking for it.

Eschatological Realities of the Grave

o    In the case of Fir’awn and his people, they will be brought in front of the Fire, which means they ill burned until the Day of Resurrection and this punishment will afflict their souls.

o    Questioning by Munkar and Nakir is a reality, as is the returning of one’s soul to the body in one’s grave. These angels have been given these names since the deceased will not recognize them and will not have seen their forms before.

o    The tightening of the grave is a reality for both unbelievers and believers, but for the believer the Earth is initially tight, after which it becomes expanded. It is said that for the believer it will feel like a compassionate mother’s embrace when her son returns from a long journey. All of this is certain due to the corresponding proofs in relation to their occurrence.

o    The ‘Ulama agree that Allah creates in the dead person a small component of life in the grave so that he can taste pain and pleasure. They have disagreed as to whether the ruh (spirit) is actually returned to the body. Some have said this is the opinion of Abu Hanifa (RA). Others have said it is possible to imagine pain/pleasure without the Ruh as we see with a sleeping person who experiences pleasure and pain even though his spirit has been raised.

o    There is a difference of opinion concerning the ruh. Some say it is a subtle body infused with the flesh as water permeates a fresh stick. When it separates from the body, (physical) death takes over. Others from the Ahl us Sunnah say it is a substance flowing through the body like rose water flows within the rose. All this does not contradict Ayah 17:85, since the general speaking about the Ruh is part of the little knowledge we have been given, though the stronger position is to say that its knowledge is totally consigned to Allah, and this is the majority position.

o    Allah will revive all the souls and resurrect them on the Day of Judgment, as has been widely reported in all primary sources.

Expressing the Attributes of Allah in other than Arabic

o    It is allowed to express the attributes of Allah in Persian, except for ‘Yad’, and one can say ru’e khuda (Countenance of God) without comparison or modality. As an extension, this means the permissibility of expressing the attributes of Allah in languages other than Arabic (this is the understanding of the ‘Ulama concerning this matter). The “Yad” was precluded due to certain negative connotations. In general, employing translations of such terms in any given language will be governed by the usage of scholars fluent in that language. In conclusion, it is allowed to express the Attributes of Allah in other languages according to the way they have been revealed. [though this may bring up the issue that they were not revealed in non-Arabic, so how do these two points tally together. Need to ask about this.]

The Closeness and Distance of a Person to Allah Most High

o    The closeness and distance of anyone from Allah is not in terms of long and short distances, since this applies only to possible (or created) beings, and in something which is spatial. Rather, closeness and distance is in terms of honor and humiliation [as an aside within the book, there is a difference of opinion as to whether this last part is really in the text, or whether ‘honor and humiliation’ were also excluded so as to say that this is from among the Mutashabihat]. The closeness and farness is without description.

More Concerning the Qur’an

o    The verses of the Qur’an, in that they are the Speech of Allah Most High, are all equal in virtue and exaltedness. The superiority of the Speech of Allah over all other speech is like the superiority of Allah over His Creation.

o    As an aside: Knowing this then, do not be surprised by those who foolishly try to show that the Qur’an is human speech, as there are those who try to show that Allah does not exist, or that He is like His creation, and other foolish unacceptable ideas that no sound contemplating mind would accept.

o    Also, some Verses of the Qur’an possess two virtues, the virtue of their mention along with that which is mentioned, such as those Ayats that deal with the Attributes of Allah or of the Messengers of Allah; other Verses only have one virtue, that of their mention, since they deal with the unbelievers, in whom there is no virtue.

o    The names and attributes of Allah are all equal in their exaltedness and virtue – they are neither Him Himself nor anything extraneous to Him (Need to ask about this statement, especially in connection with the names of Allah, since from what I know, the names (or namings) indicate the Essence). The name Allah is the greatest and most specific name, since it cannot be attributed even metaphorically to anyone else, while the other names are sometimes attributed to others, for example, al-Qaadir, al-‘Aalim, al-Raheem, etc. This does not negate the fact that some names and attributes are greater than others, as what has been related in the Hadith regarding the superiority of the Greatest Name of Allah (Need to ask about this as well, since it would seem to contradict the above).

o    There is a difference between us and the Mu’tazila with respect to intellect and the understanding of good and evil. They say that once reason perceives some goodness or ugliness, then that in itself obligates Allah and His servants to judge accordingly. But we say the one who necessitates servants to judge something good or ugly in Allah Most High; the intellect is a means by which these judgments are made known to us, that is, by Allah revealing to it the good and ugliness found in an action.

o    The Ash’aris say that all rulings can only be known through the coming of a Prophet. The Maturidis say there are rulings that can be known without the aid of a Prophet, such as the obligation to believe in a Prophet, and the prohibition of harmful lying. It is true though, that most rulings cannot be known except through the Book of Allah or a Prophet. However, the Imams of Bukhara (Maturidi Hanafis) side with the Ash’aris on this matter. There is some difference of opinion as to what Abu Hanifa’s (RA) position was, and some say that his statement that it is obligatory on everyone to know Allah even without a Prophet coming to them can be taken as “recommended”, in that the people would not be punished if they failed to come to the realization of the lordship of Allah Most High.

o    This difference is seen more clearly when we consider the case of a child who believes in Allah; is his faith valid? According to the Hanafis (the second group- who side with Ash’aris in this matter) his belief is valid. However, the majority of Shafi’is said no, his faith is not valid – however, this would be problematic in the case of ‘Ali (RAA) since he was invited and accepted Islam as a child; it is also contrary that all of his worship was valid at this stage of his life.

o    The Ash’ari scholars say it is (hypothetically) possible for Allah to burden someone with something which he cannot bear – this is opposed to the saying of the Mu’tazila. If it were not permissible, there would have been no meaning to asking for protection from it, as the Qur’an mentions. Also, Allah declared that Abu Jahl (or) Abu Lahab would never believe, while at the same time, he is commanded to believe in everything Muhammad came with, including the fact that he will never believe. This is a paradox – unless we take the view that Allah may command people more than what they can bear. But note that this is foretelling of a fact, not that Abu Lahab was compelled not to believe.

o    The Maturidi view is that it is not permissible to hold one accountable for what one does not have the ability to do, as Allah says “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear” (Qur’an 2:286). Even though Imam al-Ash’ari allowed it hypothetically, there is difference of opinion as to whether it has ever occurred, with the more correct opinion being that it did not. As examples of what this entails, it is like asking the blind man to see something, or a paralyzed man to walk, in such a way that he is rewarded or punished based on whether he does it or not.

o    As for accountability for what is not intrinsically impossible, such as the belief of those whom Allah knows will die as unbelievers, then all scholars agree that this is possible for it legally occur.

o    With respect to Ayah 2:286, Maturidis say that it is a prayer of refuge from being physically burdened with what one cannot bear, not from it legal accountability; thus Allah may burden some blind person with seeing something, but it would not be permissible to make the blind person accountable for seeing.

Abu Taalib, the Parents of Allah’s Messenger , and his Children

o    With respect to the parents of the Prophet , there a variety of problems with the rendition of this part in the text of al-Fiqh al-Akbar. However, many Imams, such as Shaykh Zahid al-Kawthari, al-Amidi al-Diyarbakri, Hafiz al-Zabidi, and others said it was a copyist error (as copyists were not always learned in the religious sciences) and certain later ‘Ulama [such as Mulla ‘Ali Qari – he also changed his opinion later on] quoted and commented based on this wrong rendering of the text.

o    Actually, there are many different opinions on this issue, with some saying that the parents of the Prophet died on unbelief, others saying that they were excused due to being in the period of cessation of Prophethood, others saying that the Prophet raised them back to life and they testified to his Prophethood, others saying that they were not polytheists but indifferent to such beliefs, or who took up monotheism after using their intellect. All in all, it is best to use the best decorum when discussing such matters, and to also to leave this discussion to the specialists, since it is not from among the articles of faith, and one will not be questioned about it in the Akhirah.

o    With respect to Abu Talib though, it is established that he was prevented from saying the Shahadah by Abu Jahl and his ilk on his deathbed.

o    With respect to saying that any believer will go to Paradise, there are different opinions. One is that one cannot say anything for sure, except for Prophets, whose case is definitively known. A second opinion is that it can also be said for those from among the Companions where some textual evidence is found- but this would be speculative proof (Need to ask what about the case of the ten promised Paradise, do the narrations reach the level of Tawaatur in such a case such that denying it would be a denial of a belief matter). A third opinion is that one may attest for whomever the believers attest, as is mentioned in the Hadith of the two funeral processions that passed, one which was praised and the other criticized by the Companions. However, this type of judgment is a non-binding statement of what is likely to occur.

o    The sons of the Prophet were Qasim, Tahir, and Ibrahim. His daughters were Fatima, Ruqayya, Zaynab, and Umm Kulthum. Some others add Abdullah as another child. Others say that there were two sets of twins born to the Prophet – Tayyib and Mutayyib and Tahir and Mutahhir.

o    The Mothers of the Believers are: Khadijah, Sawda, A’isha, Hafsa, Umm Salama, Umm Habeeba, Zaynab bint Jahsh, Zaynab bint Khuzayma, Maymuna, Juwayriyya, and Safiyya (may Allah be pleased with them all). However, it has been related that he married women other than these.

o    After Khadijah, the best woman of the world is ‘Aisha (RAA). Whoever accuses her of sexual immorality is denying the Verses of the Qur’an (and is to be executed for apostasy as indicated by Imam Malik’s (RA) ruling on this issue). Whoever talks ill of her for her opposing ‘Ali (RAA), then he is an evil obscene innovator.

When Doubt Arises about any of the Subtleties of Tawhid

o    When one is unsure about some of the subtleties of the science of divine Oneness, one has to declare that He believes whatever is correct in the sight of Allah the Exalted, and then immediately seek the knowledgeable person who will dispel his doubts. If he hesitates he will be committing unbelief.

o    (Notice the importance attached to dispelling the doubts concerning the ‘Ilm at-Tawhid; it is more important than seeking urgent assistance if one is suffering from a heart attack, since in the latter case the most is that one will die and this is inevitable anyway, while in the first case he is in danger of going into eternal Hellfire, which is to be avoided at all costs. If someone asks why this is so, we say that if it were regarding some obligatory matter of worship, then he would definitely ask in order to know what he should do. So what about the case with obligatory parts of the ‘Ilm of Tawhid, which are the enabler for all your actions to be accepted in the first place?).

o    With respect to the narration ‘Seek knowledge even if in China’, it is mostly said that it is weak, but some have said that it may reach the status of an acceptable narration. However, most scholars do not rely upon it.

o    Hesitancy regarding the tenets of belief in unbelief. This is because hesitancy prevents conviction. (And one must be convinced of the articles of faith, not waver in them).

o    Differences of opinion in matters of kalam and ‘ilm at-Tawhid are not permissible, and are deviance, innovation, fabrication, and unbelief. However, differences in the ahkam (juridical matters) are a mercy for the people, through which concessions have become known to us. Allah has made them valid (within set boundaries) and even rewards the (proper) Mujtahid if he errs.

Concerning the Ascension and Some Signs of the Last Day

o    Whoever rejects the Mi’raj to the Heavens is a misguided innovator, since these reports are Mash-hor and close to Mutawaatir in evidentiary strength. The one who rejects the Isra’ from Makkah to Jerusalem is an outright disbeliever, since he has rejected the Qur’an.

o    All the reported signs of the Day of Judgment are true. These include the emergence of the Dajjal, Gog and Magog, the rising of the sun from its place of setting, the descent of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) from Heaven, the Smoke, the Beast, the three swallowings of the Earth (one in the East, one in the West, and one in the Arabian Peninsula), and the fire that will erupt from Yemen, driving people to the assembly place.

o    The Mahdi will appear in the Haramayn, then will go to Bayt al-Maqdis. The Dajjal will besiege him there, but wil be killed by ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam). When the call for prayer will be made, ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) will say that the Mahdi should lead the prayer, since the Iqaamah was made for him.

o    ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) will remain on Earth for seven years, after which he will pass away and the Muslims will pray over him and bury him in Madinah. During ‘Isa’s (Alayhi Salaam) time, Gog and Magog will come out but will be destroyed by the blessing of his (Alayhi Salaam) supplication against them. Then all believers will die, the sun will rise from the West, and the Qur’an will be lifted from the face of the Earth. This will happen after the death of ‘Isa (AS) and after the Ka’ba is destroyed by the Abyssinians.

o    Allah bestows divine guidance (Tawfiq) and keeps whom He wills steadfast upon correct beliefs and virtuous deeds, through the connection of His preeternal Will with His guidance. Our responsibility is only to convey the message, and Allah guides whom He wills to the Straight Path.