o The Twelver Shia talks about the possibility of Taqeeya (dissimulation) being used by the Muslims in the situations where their life is in danger. But there is one important point to be considered, which is that the Taqeeya is supposedly applied in their ideology even by the absolute religious leader (the ‘Imaam’) of all humanity in the situations where he feels in danger. It is difficult to see how permission for the general populace for dissimulation will be valid for the absolute religious leader as well. This is especially so when the religious leader is supposedly the only rightful leader in the whole world, which means that people must necessarily know him and follow him, since humanity has been compelled (according to the 12ers) to follow the Imaam and no one else. This would be very similar to the case of a Prophet hiding the message for whatever reason, and as we know, this is in fact impossible to be attributed to the Prophets (AS) (since whoever the Prophet hid the message from would have the excuse that the message did not reach him, which would contravene the Qur’an and the very root meaning of what it means to be a Prophet of Allah).
o Note that Allah has both the ‘Attributes’ of Jalaal (Majesty) and Jamaal (Beauty). It is through the first set of ‘attributes’ that the servants stand in total awe of Allah, and it is the second set of ‘attributes’ that the servants are infatuated in love for Him, Exalted be He.
o When we say that the mind should not overstep the bounds and ‘discard’ the revelation, this is in connection with issues such as saying that Allah is ‘obliged’ to treat people with (what they themselves define as) justice, or if this consideration leads to the totally wrong conclusion that humans themselves are the creators of their deeds, and other such unacceptable points of belief.
o But how can anyone think like this, even when the Qur’an itself in Verse 2:216 says that we may like something that is bad for us, or dislike something that is good for us; and also Verse 28:68, where Allah declares that only He creates and chooses. Of course, the truly rational and sober mind will not conclude anything like the possibility of injustice on Allah, but this comes from the imprint of wrong or lazy thinking, or from the imprint of the ego on the heart – at the end of the day, the sound mind is not contradicted at all by the revelation.
o Note that positivist thinking had also come face-to-face with the Islamic scholars of the past (i.e. in the relatively early period of Islam), but they were able to refute it and throw it out of the Islamic milieu. The lamentable thing is that today, the enemies of Islam among the naturalists say that Islam kills and silences those who say anything against it, while in reality, it is difficult to find true scholars of traditional Islamic philosophy responding to the ideologies spouted by the naturalists and positivists – meaning that the ‘free rein in speech’ is in fact for the latter group, not for the first one. (At least this is how I view it, and Allah knows best).
o The study of Kalaam has certain special characteristics not found in other sciences of Islam, since it is the science dealing with the study of the evidences for Allah’s Existence, the affirmation of His Dhaat and His Sifaat, His Oneness, His Transcendence (being beyond blemishes, etc.), and also the refutation of all deviant sects and non-Muslim religions that have failed to properly distinguish the ‘Creator’ from the ‘Created’.
o And the science of Kalaam also seeks to establish the evidences for Prophethood, since this is what gives rise to the obligations, the Halaal and Haraam, etc.
o Contrary to what many of us may feel about debates, the truth is that a proper debate about Islamic topics requires knowledge of many things, such as what truly constitutes a definitive proof and what is speculative, what are the linguistic and legal classifications of judgments, and also a lot of knowledge of the Arabic language and its occurrence in the Qur’an and the Ahaadeeth, including why the words appear where they appear, which ones are ‘Aam (general) an which ones are Khass (specific), which Verses are abrogated and which ones are abrogating, the meanings pointed out by the words and their ‘holistic’ intra- and inter-connections, and many other issues that are studied in Arabic language, Usool, etc. (And this is why one hardly ever finds a true scholar of Islam arguing with a hardcore enemy of Islam, except for very brief moments, since the ‘debate’ cannot be between such people of vastly differing knowledge about Islam).
o We should note that the Ibaahiyah (i.e. ‘libertines’) were present amongst the Islamic society in the beginning periods of Islam. And even though their arguments may have been more God-centered than what we see of libertines today, yet the main idea was the same, that everything is literally ‘Halaal’, and that there are no restrictions whatsoever. And again, the ‘Ulaamaa of the previous centuries were able to stand against them and neutralize their influence among the great masses of believers, unlike what we see today of the difficulties in getting our message across (again, this is what I personally see and feel).
o One interesting thing is that many of the great scholars who expertly explained the matters of the religion did so in response to the deviance of certain groups and ideas that had started to gain currency, and some of this had to do with the introduction of what may be called ‘freedom of thought’ during such times and in such lands. [Not that I am making a call for ‘freedom’ in the current sense of the term, but sometimes adversity leads the true scholars of Islam to expound and present the religion with more rigor and better proofs. And Allah knows best].
o We must remember that the Kalaam science tries, as much as possible, to provide indubitable proofs for matters of ‘Aqeedah, since there is no scope for speculative evidences in that which must be believed with certainty. Thus, it generally avoids those matters that are practical applications of the Sharia, since these are normally not part of the ‘certain Aqeedah’ (from what I understand, because for any given act of Islam, there are generally a number of differing opinions about how it is to be completed, and only very few matters are totally agreed upon, and/or they relate to the very general formulations connected to these acts).
o There are various classifications of the ‘Arad [incidents] such as between what necessitates life such as power and knowledge, and what does not necessitate life such as colors and tastes, and of the Jawaahir [elements] as well such as minerals, plants, animals, etc. As we know, Allah is far exalted from having the created characteristics mentioned above (like created life, created knowledge, colors, etc.). [Granted this is a simple exposition, which is why the classifications are very general].
o The scope of rationality has a limit, and that is reached once we know the proofs for the coming of the Prophet ﷺ, and that what he is informing us concerning the religion is true. After this, the rules we are to follow are only based on what is transmitted from him ﷺ, and the mind’s scope in this regard is not definitive.
o What has been reported about some of the Salaf degrading Kalaam sciences is with regards to the Bid’ah groups, or if this study of Kalaam leads to fanaticism in the religion.
o I’tiqaad may be translated as ‘belief’ or ‘faith’, but the English connotation misses the important point that the peak of I’tiqaad is the sincere conviction of the heart that is tied to the reality of the matter under consideration.
o That Allah is ‘Azalyy’ is a term used in the books of Aqeedah; it means that He is the One who has no beginning to His Existence, or that He is the One whose existence is not preceded by non-Existence.
o Masheea (loosely translated as ‘Will’, though I am not sure if it is the correct translation) is an Attribute of Allah through which He specifies the time when any event will take place, considering that His Qudra (‘Power’) is equal to all events with respect to ‘time’.
o The idea that there were multiple eternal ‘beings’ or ‘principles’ was something that was present in the ancient world, so when the Qur’an says: ‘قُلْ هُوَ اللَّـهُ أَحَدٌ’, one of the indications is to refute this ideology. It might seem very obvious to us that Allah is One, but even today, many people are holding on to such types of thinking, where the ‘Main God’ has ‘Eternal sub-gods’ who literally help him in creating/managing the world. So this is a very relevant matter that has to be dealt with in all ages.
o Surah al-Ikhlaas refutes the eight foundations of disbelief that people ascribe to Allah. It refutes multiplicity and compositeness with ‘قُلْ هُوَ اللَّـهُ أَحَدٌ’ (trans. ‘Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One,’), deficiency and need with ‘اللَّـهُ الصَّمَدُ’ (‘Allah , the Eternal Refuge.’), cause and effect with ‘لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ’ (‘He neither begets nor is born’), equals and homologues with ‘وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ’ (‘Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”’).
o There are different categories with regards to knowledge and certainty. ‘Ilm (علم) is the convergence of established certainty with the reality of that which is known as it truly is. Taqleed (تقليد) is when the independent establishment thereof is missing (and someone else has to be followed); if it is not concomitant with the reality of the thing it is ‘Jahl Murakkab’ (جهل مركّب) (lit. composite ignorance). Shakk (شكّ) is when there is doubt to the degree that both sides of the matter are equal in the mind of the person. If there is preference for one side over the other, the preferred side is called ‘Thann’ (ظنّ), and the other side is called ‘Wahm’ (وهم).
o The knowledge of Allah is not described with the term ‘Ma’rifa’, but rather with ‘Ihaatah’ and ‘Khubr’, as per the Verse in Surah al-Kahf ‘كَذَٰلِكَ وَقَدْ أَحَطْنَا بِمَا لَدَيْهِ خُبْرًا’ (trans. ‘Thus. And We had encompassed [all] that he had in knowledge.’); and this is because His Attributes are Eternal concerning the realities of every single thing.
o That which is intrinsically impossible to occur or to exist is not called a ‘Shay’ or a ‘thing’.
o The Sunni scholars (a great portion of them) say that the Verse in the Qur’an ‘إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَن يَقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ’ (trans. ‘His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, “Be,” and it is.’) is a sort of ‘metaphor’ for how easily Allah brings things into existence, not that Allah speaks the Arabic letter ك and then the Arabic letter ن for things to come into existence.
o There is a difference between the Maturidis and the Ash’aris as to whether the one to whom the message does not reach is responsible for at least knowing his Lord. The Maturidis say the person is indeed responsible for this, but the Ash’aris say he is not responsible. Thus, for the Maturidis, the obligation (of knowing one’s Lord) is established with the reaching of the sound mind for the person (at the time he reaches puberty), and its binding legality is established automatically at that time.
o There is a long discussion behind it, but the person who accepts that there is an originated power that is created within the person (which he terms ‘Kasb’) and with this, the person performs his actions, is not considered to be a Jabryy (nor from the Qadariyya either).
o With regards to Jabr and Ikhtiyaar, one short answer is that the Decree of Allah is His Secret that He has veiled from the creation, with the commands and prohibitions being the proof of Allah on His servants.
o On the issue of Istita’ah (loosely translated as capability, ability), it is described as either the (apparent) cause with which action take place, or its precondition. This ‘attribute’ is created by Allah after the intention of the doer in acquiring the deed, along with the mental image of the deed, a material liable to be influenced (i.e. on which the deed can take place), and the presence of any other material tools necessary to complete the action, if applicable. Crucially, this capability is created at the time of the action, not before it or after it.
o There is also the issue of Istita’ah with regards to faith and disbelief. It is said that this ability, if interlinked with the (previous conditions suitable for) faith, is fit only for belief itself at the time of the action itself, an it is not fit for disbelief, and vice-versa. So the potential power for the person (in the abstract consideration) is for both faith and disbelief, for if it was any other way, this would be burdening the person beyond what he can bear, and this is against the Divine Sunnah.
o That is, the disbeliever would be commanded to believe, even though he has no potential power to believe in the first place at all, and this is contrary to what we know of how the world works. But rather, when the disbeliever wants to do his evil act, he has (in the abstract sense) the potential power to do good deeds as well [such as declaring the Shahaadah, etc.], and it is based on the discarding of the good potential and the taking up of the bad potential that the servant is punished in the Hereafter. The editor acknowledges that other scholars have explained the situation differently, but he is not delving into the other views.
o What I can make out of the above is that this is a description of what we see from the angle of the person’s actions, intentions, etc., and not a full exposition in that it is Allah who creates all the person’s actions, intentions, etc. There may be reasons as to why some may concentrate more on the viewpoint of the person, and why some may want to delve deeper and explain what Allah the Exalted creates at every instance, but these are not mentioned in the work.
o There is a difference between Sa’aadah and Shaqaawa on the one hand [the happy and sad states of any given person that will materialize in the Hereafter], and Is’aad and Ish’qaa [Allah’s creation of such happy and sad states]. As far as the first ‘set’ is concerned, there may be a change in the situation of the people during their lives, in terms of people switching from disbelief to belief and dying upon that (and vice-versa), but as far as Allah’s creation of these states, there is no change to Allah in either His Knowledge, Decree, Power, etc., so we should keep this difference in mind.
o Important point: I know we live in an era of political correctness, but as a matter of necessary faith, it is absolutely impossible for us to say that Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. are religions ‘like Islam’ or ‘as good as Islam’. Rather, Islam is above other religions and ideologies, and is not dominated or put down by other religions; there are Ahadeeth of the Prophet ﷺ in this respect as well, and many Fiqhi rulings are derived from the mere fact that Islam is not overwhelmed or treated on par with other religions/ideologies.
o One proof for the Existence of Allah is that we see all the differences in the things of the world even if they are neighboring one another, such as trees that are basically in the same place, yet their produce is very different. This points to specification for the trees and their produce – and is an argument derived from Verse 13:4 of the Qur’an. There are of course other proofs, and a lot of sophistication and intricate logic is present in some of them, but the above is one of the proofs, and such a proof is enough for many people.