Random thoughts and notes: Days 30 – 37

o    I know I have not gone directly into discussing any of the specific objections mainly because I am not the proper person for this type of research, but when people find a Hadeeth that seems to go against the obvious reality, they need to relax, and first make sure that there is consensus about its wording and the signification it seems to be pointing to, because many times one will find legitimate differences that one did not know about only from a leisurely reading of the standalone narration. Of course, this also brings up the question that why we normal people reading a book for specialists (like Saheeh al-Bukhaari, etc.), but I guess the information age will put things at our doorstep whether we like it or not, and we have to look for the correct manner in which to understand what is placed in front of us.

o    Normally this is not an issue that is considered, but many a times, when people (even Muslims) engage in debates and discussions online, this makes them feel first of all very anxious since they feel an inner urge to answer the opponent (even another Muslim who may be only disagreeing with him only slightly), and this many a times lowers the quality of the discussion.

o    But even worse is when obstinacy regarding what one is arguing about develops, since it is very difficult for people to turn around within a discussion thread and admit that they are wrong about something. If this is difficult to do in front of the mirror, or in front of your wife or friend, then what about when you have a number of people watching what you are saying, even if it is merely online?

o    The internet may be a very big change, but human nature in these matters has not changed, nor does it seem that the internet will make human nature change towards more humility. This is one of the reasons I am trying to leave online arguments as much as I can, and concentrate on my own knowledge first, and so should every self-respecting Muslim.  

o    The Sifaat of the Dhaat of Allah are Life, Power, Sight, Hearing, Knowledge, Speech, and Will [written as both Masheeah and Iraadah, and it is mentioned that they are one with respect to Allah, but created Masheeah and created Iraadah are different with respect to humans, the first referring to the total actualization of the desired thing, and the second referring more to a request for the desired thing].

o    Among the examples of the Sifaat of Fi’l (of Action) are creating, giving sustenance, conferring of blessings and favors, Mercy, Forgiveness, etc. – and for the Maturidis, all of these are under the ‘Attribute’ of Takween, since they relate to the bringing into existence something within the realm of temporal creation.

o    Allah’s Attributes are not Him nor other than Him. Thus, these are meanings that are eternally true of Allah the Exalted – and thus, they are not entities or beings, they are ‘not Him’. If one were to say they were Him, then there are two potential problems, one of them that there would be multiple gods (because Knowledge would be an independent Eternal being, Power would be an independent Eternal being, and so on); or that Allah would not be a Being, but only an abstract Attribute or set of Attributes, and this is the ideology of Daoists, Hindus, and others, and this is impossible.

o    Also, the Attributes cannot be used to describe any being other than Allah, and thus they are not other than Him. That is, it cannot be said that any from among the creation has the attribute of Eternal and Uncreated Knowledge, or Power, etc. If the Attributes of Allah were or could be ‘other than Allah’, they could hypothetically have been true for beings other than Allah, but this is impossible. Or they would have been emergent Attributes, and this is also impossible.

o    There are from among our opponents those who say that the Attributes are other than Him, in the sense that they must be created, otherwise there would be multiple deities. But this is obviously wrong, since in that case Allah would be a contingent locus for contingent qualities, and this is impossible.

o    The editor mentions that our saying that Allah creates something with His Power should not be taken to mean that His Act of creation is in itself subject to His Power [i.e. when He decrees for something to come into existence, His Decree is not subject to the possibility of occurrence or non-occurrence as is the case with those potentially contingent events and objects that come into existence. Also our saying ‘when He decrees’ is a limitation of our minds and our way of speaking, not that Allah is within the confines of time].

o    The Attributes of Allah (referring to the Attributes of Action) subsist in the Dhaat of Allah, in that Allah is the Creator and this is derived from creating, the Provider from providing, etc.

o    There are different considerations with regards to Allah’s Oneness. First, is Oneness in His Dhaat (Self), as partitioning is impossible to attribute to Him. Second, is Oneness in His Attributes, in that He has no homologues in His Attributes. Third, Oneness in His Actions, in that there is no being other than Him who brings matters into existence and out of existence, and that created material ‘causes’ have no true influence or effect with regards to any of the possibilities.

o    This Oneness refutes four possibilities: 1. Multiplicity in the Dhaat, in that it is not composed of parts. 2. Multiplicity in the Attributes; there cannot be multiple attributes originating from one genus, such as Two Powers, Two Knowlesdges, etc. 3. Multiplicity detached from the Attributes; refers to the impossibility that there be among the created beings one who has attributes similar to those of Allah. 4. Multiplicity detached from His Actions, in that there be any being other than Allah who literally creates, originates, influences, etc.

o    However, multiplicity connected with His Actions is established, since there are many instances of His Creating, Providing Sustenance, Giving Life and Death, etc. This is related to the Ash’ari view that Allah’s Actions are emergent (since for the Ash’aris, these are defined as the linkages of Allah’s Omnipotence with the effect [the originated objects and events, etc.])…but with the Maturidis, all of these go back to one Attribute, that of ‘Takwin’.

o    It is admissible to say ‘The ‘Nafs’ of Allah’, since it points to the Dhaat (Entity) of Allah, not to a ‘soul’, etc. Besides, the Qur’an and the Ahaadeeth mention ‘Nafs’, so there is no way to deny it with the meaning mentioned above.

o    It is interesting to note that from among those who upheld that Allah is in a place, some held that He was not in a direction, or those who held that Allah is a body, some held that He did not have a form [based on their own redefinitions of place, direction, the Universe, body, or form]; however, it is obvious that even these ascriptions are very troubling when applied to Allah. In short, when someone says that Allah is a form or a body, etc., they are immediately pointing to a ‘modality’ (Kayfiyya), and modalities need to be specified, and this is impossible to attribute to Allah.

o    There are scholars who say that ‘يدّ’ (‘Yadd’) is to be attributed to Allah as it appears in Arabic, and it is an attribute like Knowledge, Power, Life, an so forth, from the point of view of establishing as true what Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an. But of course, like all other Attributes of Allah, it is not to be thought that it has any modality, or is related to limbs, organs, but rather we say that its meaning is whatever Allah wills it to mean.

o    As to those who say that the mention of ‘Yadd’ absolutely refers to Power, this is incorrect, since the ‘Yadd’ are mention as dual or plural in a number of instances in the Qur’an, and it is impossible that Allah may have two or more Attributes of Power. This is as opposed to us creatures, since we may have many ‘created powers’ within us that arise and vanish at every new instant.

o    With respect to the ‘Qalb’ (lit. heart) a good number of scholars understood that it meant the Lateefa (the subtle spiritual heart) that is connected to the gross physical heart, but is separate from the physical heart.

o    With regards to the ‘Saaq’ (lit. leg) mentioned in the Qur’an, it has been interpreted to mean a great and momentous affair; the ‘Asbayan’ (lit. fingers) mentioned in a Hadeeth, it refers to how Allah controls the heart of the people between granting them success to do good actions or ‘deserting them’ perdition so that they do evil actions. With regards to the Hadeeth about ‘Qadam of Allah’, the correct view is that it is ‘Qidam’, that is, that Allah will throw into the Hellfire those whom He knows pre-eternally from amongst the Kuffar. With regards to the ‘Coming’ of Allah mentioned in Verse 89:22, this refers to the coming of Allah’s Order.

o    Regarding the Hadeeth: ‘I saw my Rabb (lit. my Lord) in the Night of Mi’raaj in the best of forms’, this refers to Jibril (AS), not that Allah has a shape. With regards to the Hadeeth in Sahih al-Bukhaari where it is mentioned that Allah will appear in a ‘Surah’ (lit. form) that the people of the Standing (on Judgment Day) do not know, and then in a ‘Surah’ they know, for this author it refers to the ‘Attributes’ of justice, managing of affairs, splitting of the moon, falling of the stars, after which will be the ‘Attributes’ of Forgiveness and Mercy (which they knew of in this world as well).

o    Istiwaa’ (for this author) has a meaning related to conquering or subduing (the ‘Arsh), and even for the humans, one would say that the general has Istiwaa’ over the land, which means he has conquered it, not that he literally sits over the entirety of the land – which we know is absurd even for humans.

o    Apparently, the Jahmiyya said that Allah is literally in all places (need to ask about this, but this is what is written). Whoever said this should know that Ma’eeya is interpreted according to the situation: Allah is with the believers with His Knowledge, with the Awliyaa’ with His Protection, and with the Prophets With His Help and Succor.

o    If someone were to hold to this position of Allah being in all places (basically pantheism or panentheism), it would lead automatically to polytheism, since it would imply that every particle that ‘God occupies’ is a ‘god’ unto itself.

o     According to the author, the Hadeeth related to the Vision of Allah in the Hereafter has been reported by 21 Companions, so it is quite well-known; the objections to the idea that Allah may be seen are refuted in a number of ways, and one of them I had discussed in here. Also, Allah sees us as is mentioned in the Qur’an yet He is not in a spatial relationship with us.

o    It can be said that vision is the affirmation of the thing (or the Entity) as it is with by means of the faculty of the eyes; if the thing to be see is in a direction, then it will be seen in that direction, and if (in the case of Allah) is beyond direction then He will be seen thus. And there are other explanations for this as well.

o    The Kalam Nafsi of Allah is uncreated, and the recited Qur’an are the words, letters, and sounds that point to the Kalam Nafsi, not that the words, letters, or sounds are themselves eternal and uncreated, and a further explanation of this is available here (pages 17-20).

o    A number of simple-minded people equate Ash’aris with Jahmis, but we see that Jahmis contradicted the Ash’aris in the following important points : The total rejection of the Attributes of Life and Knowledge for Allah, the creation of the Qur’an (insofar as they rejected the Kalaam Nafsi), the rejection of Ru’yah in the Hereafter, and their assertion of the mind being able to definitively know the Shar’i obligations even before they are revealed.

o    If we were to say that the recited Qur’an does not at all point to the Eternal Speech of Allah, then what to make of Verses like that found in Surah Taha, Verse 14? From what I understand of what has been written, in such a case, the bush or tree would be the one literally saying that it is Allah, the one who recites this Ayah would be saying that he or she is Allah (and he would be sentenced to death for blasphemy), and this is an amazing assertion.

o    There is definitely a very long discussion behind this, but this is the simple counter-objection to the claim of those who deny the Kalam Nafsi, since they are basically presenting only two alternatives: One, that Allah creates this Kalaam within Himself, which would render Him a locus for originated things and this is impossible, or this second option we have mentioned above, where the reciter would automatically commit blasphemy in many cases for attributing Lordship to himself whenever he reads the Qur’an.

o    Of course, if someone utters the words of the Verses of the Qur’an such as the one pointed to above sarcastically, or without the intention of reading the Qur’an, then obviously he has blasphemed, but if what the Mu’tazila and others say was actually true this apparent blasphemy would occur in every single case.

o    With respect to Verse 26:5, one answer is that the Dhikr (remembrance) is mentioned, but the signification is towards the Dhaakir (the one reciting the remembrance) and that is the Prophet , who is created and originated.

o    The Maaturidis say that since the Speech of Allah subsists in His Essence, it is under the ‘category’ of Vision [Ru’yah], and not under the category of Hearing [Sam’], since Hearing is only related to letters and sounds, which are inapplicable with respect to Allah’s Kalaam Nafsi.

o    There is a long discussion about the difference or lack thereof between the ‘Ism’ [Name] and the ‘Musamma’ [the thing named], and there is disagreement between the Maturidi scholars (at least some of them) and the Ash’aris on this issue. One point from those who hold the two to be the same is that if a man marries a woman [and in Islam it is verbal, by saying: ‘I am marrying Fatimah, Maryam’, etc.], then the marriage takes place with the woman referenced by that name, but if the two were separate, then the marriage would be only to the name, not to the woman, and this is not possible.

o    But the response to this is that there are 99 names of Allah, so would anyone say that there are 99 gods; or if someone writes ‘Allah’ on a paper and burns it, what is said about this then? The rebuttal to this is that in these types of situation, the issue is one of ‘Tasmiya’ (or ‘naming’ (i.e. the process of naming)). So it is possible for the name (‘Ism’) to be used with the signification of ‘naming’ and in such a case it is other than the thing named. (Admittedly, the discussion on this in the original work is short, so the various arguments and counterarguments are not included).

o    As we know, medicine is the cause (i.e. apparent material cause) for one’s health to be restored, but in reality Allah is the Healer; likewise with Kasab (acquisition of wealth) is the cause for one’s sustenance, but the Sustainer is only Allah the Exalted; same gone for clothes, food, fire, and so on and so forth. I know that most people scoff at or even laugh at this presentation, but this is in fact a crucial point of Islamic belief. And I personally think it is the important point of Islamic belief about Allah and how the Universe works.

o     The deviants said that the person has an inherent and independent power before the action takes place, and that it is with this power that he brings his actions of good and evil into existence. But the Sunnis flatly refused this presentation of matters, saying that Allah creates the ability within the person only at the time when he does the action, not before it nor after it. Of course, had it been after the deed it would mean that actions can be done without ability whatsoever, and this is impossible; but to say that the power was created in the person before the action would mean that the person himself created the deed, and this is also impossible.

o    There is a well-known difference of opinion as to whether action in and of themselves are part of Imaan (belief). The Maturidis said that no, they are not, since there are a number of Qur’anic evidences to this; and also, (the reasoning of the author is that) if someone were to convert to Islam in the early morning after Fajr, and then die before Zuhr, would he be in Paradise or Hellfire? Obviously he would be in Paradise, even though he did not even pray one prayer. Had the actions themselves been part of faith, this new convert would not have entered Paradise, since he only said the Shahaadah and then died (I have not read the whole discussion since it is not present in this book, but it could be that the other side may say that his declaration of faith was itself a huge action and renders the one who says it eligible for Jannah. And Allah knows best).

o    Then there is another discussion as to whether Imaan includes the saying by the tongue or not. As per the editor, the best known position is that the articulation by the tongue is a condition for the application of the regulations of Islam on the person, but with regards to pure Imaan in and of itself, then no, it is not included within Imaan itself. (There are other opinions, such as that if the person is physically able to say that which declares his Imaan but stubbornly refuses to do so, then his Imaan is lost in such a case).

o    Then there is another discussion concerning over whether one should say that he is a believer without any doubt, or whether he is a ‘believer Insha Allah’. Of course, the first group is saying that the situation is as such in the present. But the second group is thinking about what state they will die in, and since they are not absolutely sure as to what their end will be, they say ‘Insha Allah’ (Allah willing). But the first group counters that such a declaration of ‘Insha Allah’ in fact invalidates all things said just before it, such as divorce, freeing of slaves, buying and selling, and so forth; and that also, no one is making a declaration of what the person will die upon when he says ‘I am a believer without doubt’, but rather he is expressing his inner conviction tied to his own self.

o    All in all, it seems that the second group is articulating the uncertainty they have concerning their final state (i.e. they are actually answering the question: ‘Will you die upon Islam?’ or ‘Are you sure that Allah has accepted your Islam?’ not ‘As far as you know, are you a true Muslim?’ or ‘Do you accept that Islam is the correct religion?’), while the first group says that there is no need to get so deep into what will happen to us in the future or what Allah’s judgment on our heart is, as we say what we know of our internal states as best as we can make it out, and hope for Allah’s Mercy at every moment.

o    People say that there are too many divisions in Islam, but look at how Allah saved the Ummah from clashing with each other about this very point. Had something like this come up in Christianity, they would have been at each other’s throats in no time. But in Islam, the ‘people of Hadeeth’ (the Shaafi’is, etc.) and the ‘people of scholastic reasoning’ (the Hanafis) did not let this tear the Ummah apart. Yes, of course there are certain issues that really did constitute real and divisive issues, but Allah saved us from many arguments and their evil consequences.

o    On the question of Imaan, there is a difference between ‘Al-Imaan al-Mutlaq’ (complete faith) and ‘Mutlaq al-Imaan’ (saying that someone has faith (i.e. the lower levels of faith)). The first category prevents the holder from entering the fire, and the second category prevents the person from remaining in the fire eternally. Of course, this difference itself is within the consideration of whether Imaan increases or decreases within a person.

o    One definition of the major sins (Kabaair) is whatever has a specific punishment in the Shariah, such as adultery, stealing, drinking alcohol, etc.

o    There is a big discussion (historically speaking) about whether the perpetrator of major sins remains a Muslim, whether it affects him, etc. Our position is that the major sin must be repented from, but the person who commits it still remains a Muslim, except if he considers that sin (or any sin in Islam) to be in fact something permissible; or if he thinks that the prohibition itself is unfair, etc. Of course, there might come the issue of whether there is Tawaatur that an action has in fact been considered a sin, but here there is simplification of the issue, we are talking about obvious sins like Zinaa’ (adultery), etc.

o    Of course, one of the things that may be said ‘in response’ to our position is the Hadeeth where the Prophet mentions that the adulterer, the thief, and the drinker do not do these acts while they are believers, so how do we consider the perpetrator of these sins as believers? The response given here is that this is a saying outside the norms of common speech, in order to show the true ugliness of such acts.

o    We also need to remember that Tawbah has been obligatory on the believers in the Qur’an, and this is with respect to all sins, small ones and big ones as well; for had the perpetration of a big sin rendered the person a disbeliever, then the question of Tawbah would have been moot when addressed to the ‘believers’. This is one of the big issues we need to consider in this regard.

o    There are different types of ‘intention of the heart’, which are named: As-Saanih, Al-Khaatir, Al-Fikr, Al-Iraadah, Al-Hamm, and finally al-‘Azm. It is only this last stage, wherein the firm intention for accomplishing the act is present in the heart, that is used as a basis for accountability.

o    There is a difference between Ma’rifah (cognizance) and Imaan (faith). The first one only involves a knowledge (even a passing one) that a certain thing is in  a certain way, while Imaan is the verbal acceptance and declaration that it is as such – and thus, the category of Ma’rifah may not necessarily imply Imaan.

o    According to this author, there is a difference between being burdened (Tahmeel) with what is impossible to accomplish, and ‘Takleef’ (legal responsibility) for that which is impossible to accomplish. What he is saying is that the Verse in Surah al-Baqarah, number 286, refers to ‘Tahmeel’ in the sense of mere physical burdening, not that rewards and punishments are being tied to this activity, which according to the Maaturidi school is impossible. (To be honest, I am more in favor of Ash’ari in this regard, especially in today’s world, where there are so many people who say that ‘This’ or ‘That’ of Islam is simply too hard to do: it is in fact due to their own problems, but I feel that the Ash’ari view explains the issue better from a rational-only viewpoint, though of course many times there is a need for further and deeper explanations beyond mere rationality and logic.

o    Within Islamic history, certain groups have said that working to earn money is prohibited since it goes against Tawakkul (relying on Allah for all one’s necessities). But this is wrong, since first of all we have been commanded to spend from what we earn, so it would be logically untenable to say that one is to spend from what he has not acquired. But also, Tawakkul is an attribute of the heart, and it is not directly related to how much money one has or can earn. After all, how many people do we see who are happy and content with Allah in the little they have, while others have much more than what they conceivably need, yet they are always complaining? So we should pray for Allah to give us contentment and provisions for this world and the Afterlife.

o    It is written by the author that those who died as small children of the believers will have no torment, no questioning in the grave or in the plain of Judgment.

o    Certain people say that Allah has already created everything and there is nothing left to be created; the example they present is that the fruit of the trees has already been created and that this fruit merely ‘branches out’ (i.e. on a conceptual level) from the tree, except that we cannot see this. But the problem with this view is that they are trying to say that Allah is not bound by the confines of time, but yet they are denying the obvious things that are seen in the world – and from this, some other people may take the view of pantheism, or of the eternal Universe that co-exists with Allah, or other types of blasphemies. From what I know, it would have been more proper if they had taken the definition of creation being the emergent linkages to Allah’s Omnipotence, rather than make a directly proportional ‘connection’ between Allah’s Attribute of Creation and the emergent effect that we can witness in this world.

o    As per the editor of the work, the Qalam (trans. ‘Pen’) is the first fully specified visible creation of Allah; it has a general existence in the ‘Arsh, and a detailed existence in the Kursyy, where it ‘draws’ what is in the Preserved Tablet, just as the ‘Aql (intellect) of the person ‘draws’ what is his Nafs (soul), and the ideational matters that stir the Nafs are like the ‘creational images’ that are drawn in the Preserved Tablet; so the Qalam is the first ‘Aql and is one of the creations of Allah. I believe this matter comes up because many people say that a ‘Pen’ is not a living thing, so how can it speak? But Allah makes the living (those with a soul) speak, and He can also make inanimate bodies to speak (if we assume the objections of such people to be correct to begin with).

o    According to what the editor is explaining, the Lawh al-Mahfudh (Preserved Tablet) is a ‘Divine Light’ wherein all the existents have their original impressions; it is the ‘primordial substance’, for substances (objects) only come into existence – and are written by the Qalam- if they are in conformity with what is in the Lawh. Of course, the Lawh is a creation of Allah, so the term ‘Divine Light’ is obviously not literal in the sense some people might think, and ‘primordial substance’ does not mean co-existent with Allah, like what many non-Islamic religions erroneously claim about the Universe.

o    The Karaamaat of the Awliyaa (amazing occurrences at the hands of a Wali of Allah) are true according to the Sunni belief (interestingly, the author mentions that the Jahmiyya deny this, so how far is this from the Ash’ari and Maturidi belief). It is said that what is a miracle of a Prophet may be a Karaama of a Wali: but of course, this refers to the outward visible occurrence only, not to its connection with a challenge. Also, the Qur’an is the Eternal Miracle, so no Wali or anyone else can come up with something like the Qur’an…but what he may be able to do are things like raising the dead, stopping the Sun, etc. Also, this matter of the Karaamaat as a concept cannot be denied, since the generalities of their occurrence have been attested to by many people in many different lands and times, even if the exact details of each occurrence are not Mutawaatir. And also, the Qur’an mentions the amazing occurrence at the hands of the companion of Sulayman (AS), the sleepers of the Cave, and the amazing provisions brought forth to Maryam (AS), so there is no way to deny the validity of Karaamaat in general.

o    Based on what the editor is saying, the operating principle in a Mu’jiza is that it is as if the Prophet (AS) in question is asking Allah: ‘If it truly is that I am a Prophet You have sent, then make such-and-such thing happen’ and when this thing happens, it is as if Allah is saying: ‘I am truthful’ or ‘It truly is so’.

o    Another difference between a Mu’jiza and a Karaamah is that the first is seen by all people, while the Karaamah is only seen by another Wali and is not generally seen by the corrupt persons. Also, the Mu’jiza comes forth from the Prophet every time he asks Allah for it, while the Karaamah only occurs at certain times in order to awaken a desire in the Wali upon the correct path. And another issue is that the Prophet knows that this Mu’jiza has come forth at his hands, and he acknowledges and informs it as such to all the people, but in the case of a  Karaamah the Wali does not divulge it, and he even says that the Karaamah is due to the presence of other Muslims, etc. (This is as a mark of the Wali’s humility; and obviously the Prophets are even more humble than anyone else, but the Mu’jiza is the indubitable mark of the Prophet in that all the people he was sent to must follow him, and hiding due to humility does not apply in such cases).

o    There is also what we call those things that mislead the enemies of Allah, and this is from what Allah has provided certain creatures such as the Shaytaan that he can by himself do Waswasa to people all over the world, or that the devils may change their forms; and also what will given to the Dajjaal, etc. [but note that while the liar may claim Godhood, he will not be able to claim Prophethood while they do these ‘amazing’ things].

o    The author says that the ‘Jinn’ are created from wind. The editor says that this is contrary to what the Qur’an mentions in Surah ar-Rahmaan of them being created by smokeless flame of fire, except if ‘Jaann’ refers to Iblis, and that the rest of the Jinn are created from something other than the first of the Jinns.

o    The Wasaawis of the Shaytaan are the means of connection of the Shaytaan from our chests to our hearts, that is why there is mention of ‘إليه’ [to him] and not ‘فيه’ [in him].

o    I have discussed in many places and will do so later also, but the miracle of the Qur’an is from a number of angles, one of them with respect to its message (i.e. whatever it has informed us of is true, even with respect to challenges contained in the Qur’an concerning what the contemporaries of the Prophet would or would not do), plus its internal style (its construction, usage of words, its encompassment of many meanings within a relative brief presentation, etc.).

o    Then there are other miracles that also presented themselves at his hands, such as the multiplication of food, the multiplication of water, the splitting of the moon, the dead cooked goat saying that it was poisoned, the pebbles glorifying Allah while in his hands, the crying of the tree-trunk, and many others. And even though many of these miracles have been singularly reported, they point to one meaning which is the extraordinary events that occurred at the hands of the Prophet , and as a whole they give certain knowledge just like a Mutawaatir narration concerning one event.

o    There is a question as to whether Muhammad is a Prophet now; the answer given is that the ruling on something takes the place of the thing itself. There is an analogy that the woman in her ‘Iddah is still within the ruling of marriage even if her husband is dead (she is still has to wait for the ‘Iddah to finish before she may marry someone else). And we obviously say in our Adhaan and in our Shahaadah that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah, not that ‘he used to be a Prophet of Allah’. Besides all the Prophets are alive in their graves, and when this is added to the finality of Muhammad’s call, then there is no doubt left in this regard.

o    The Ahl us Sunnah accept both the Israa (night journey to Bayt al-Maqdis) and the Mi’raaj (the heavenly journey). The only difference is that the one who denies the Mi’raaj is held by us to be a deviated innovator, but the one who denies the Israa’ is an outright disbeliever, and this is due to the difference in the level of the evidences for each.

o    There is a difference of opinion as to whether the Prophet saw his Lord on the night of the Mir’aaj, some say he saw Allah with his eyes, others said with his heart but not with his eyes, and others said he did not see Allah at all.

o    There were some groups who said that the Mi’raaj was in fact impossible and it could only be a vision, since the human being is a gross and heavy creature, and it is impossible for such a creature to trespass the skies and go to the higher Heavens. But our answer is first of all, that the Prophet had this special privilege given to him by Allah the Exalted, and the improbability that normal human beings can have something like a Mi’raaj occurring to them does not make it definitive in the case of the Prophet . And also, we see people doing many amazing things in their dreams, like flying and so forth; if normal people can do this in their dreams, what is the barrier to say that the Prophet could not have, by the grace and permission of Allah, accomplished this in wakefulness?

o    As per the editor’s explanation, the Kursyy is a great luminious body attached to the ‘Arsh. The Kursyy is one of the manifestations of Divine Omnipotence, and from it is the carrying out of Divine Commands and Prohibitions. The Was’ (وسع) (extension) of the Kursyy (as mentioned in Verse 2:255) is both in a general sense and in a specific sense. The general Was’ is that the Kursyy is from among the visual effects/manifestation of Allah’s Creative Attributes, and the specific Was’ is that the created beings delimited by the ‘Heavens and the Earth’ are nothing other than the Kursyy. And Allah knows best.

o    As per the editor’s explanation, ‘Arsh in the language means a ‘bed’, but in Islam it refer to a great luminous object above the Lawh that universally encompasses all abstract and gross bodies, and it is said that it was the first real created object. It is written that the ‘Arsh is not sphere-shaped, but rather dome-shaped with supports, and is carried by the angels. The orders related to and the maintenance/regulation of the Universe descends from the ‘Arsh.

o    It is written that the Jahmiyyah said a very sadly amazing thing, specifically that the inhabitants of Paradise and Hellfire would remain in bliss or punishment based on the amount of their deeds, after which Paradise and Hellfire would be made to perish. I say, look at how far is this Jahmiyyah belief from proper Ash’ari and Maturidi doctrine, and also how close this Jahmi view is to Hindu, Buddhist, and certain Jewish perceptions of Paradise and/or Hellfire. And Allah is our Protector against what they invent.

o    It is mentioned that the people of Paradise have bought Paradise with their faith, their positions within Paradise with their actions, and their right for the Beatific Vision with their intentions.

o    Note that the knowledge of Allah the Exalted is connected with the absolutely necessary; so He knows that which has no end, such as His Perfection, and He knows the breaths of the people of Paradise and Hellfire, and this in ‘precise and elaborate detail’, just as is His Knowledge about all possibilities and impossibilities as well. Of course, needless to say that this is something way beyond what we can comprehend. Also, note that we mentioned that He knows the breaths of the people in the Afterlife, not that He knows their ‘final number’, since we would not be talking ‘numbers’ in such a case.

o    Certain groups within Islamic history said that if Allah promises to reward a good deed or threatens to punish an evil deed, then it must be only in this way, since there can never be a contradiction between the Speech of Allah and what actually occurs. It seems that the best answer to this is that yes, the Speech of Allah is totally true, but when the text of the Qur’an is considered in its totality, we see that Allah may forgive sins of the person other than Shirk (associating partners with Allah); this is taken as the foundation, and the other texts are interpreted considering this principle as the overarching Muhkam (determinative) one. Besides, there are comparatively very few people that the Qur’an and the Ahaadeeth say will absolutely enter Paradise or Hellfire – so for the rest of us we must be careful about how we act and believe, since there is absolutely nothing definitive for our case.

o    From what I can tell, this is in fact not a discussion of prime importance, except that some of our opponents use this presentation of affairs as a way to say that Allah does not create the actions of His Servants but acts as a sort of ‘External Judge’, and this issue right here is where the argument really lies.

o    The editor mentions that the appellation of disbelief on al-Waleed bin ‘Uqbah (RAA) is incorrect and so is the appellation of ‘Faasiq’ as a technical term; this is not only related to Verse 32:18 and the narration mentioned in connection to it but also to Verse 49:6. The editor also mentions the criticism of some of the authorities with respect to the story about al-Waleed (RAA) and his drinking wine and getting mixed up in the prayer. And then there is more of a discussion about how the term ‘Faasiq’ as a permanent trait cannot be applied to the Companions even if some corruption or sins may have been committed by them.

o    It is not really an issue to discuss too much about, I think, because we do accept that lapses may have occurred in the understanding or relaying of information of any of the Sahaabah (i.e. even with the best of intentions), and that is why that which is mass transmitted or agreed upon by all becomes the basis of Islam, and the rest is open to discussion and debate. But as for those who bring up the issue of the Companions (such as the Twelver Shias), we simply say that the entirety of the Qur’an and the Ahaadeeth they use to support their own claims come from these Companions whom they claim to be liars and cheaters. If the word of the liars and cheaters is not to be trusted, then Tawaatur would have no meaning, and nothing could be known about the virtues of ‘Ali (or anything else for that matter).

o    One issue with the Mu’tazila is that they denied that which seemed strange for them from their minds; like the traversing of the bridge over the Hellfire, since they said that it is impossible to cross a bridge that is thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword. But I for my part would respond that if Allah gives the Tawfeeq to the person to cross it then he can cross it without any problems. More importantly, this type of strict rationalization might eventually lead to disbelief altogether, because there are many things in Islam which seem improbable in Islam yet they are accepted. After all, the belief in Islam as a religion itself is based the belief that revelation came to the Prophet . If viewed from the point of view of normal rationalism, it is improbable that anyone receives a revelation from Allah, but that is why miracles are what they are, in order to turn the scales in favor of the improbable into certain belief by means of that which is an amazing occurrence outside the natural means.

o    The Balance on the Day of Judgment is true, it consists of pans and armlets, one for weighing the good deeds and one for weighing the evil deeds; and there are those for whom there will be no weighing of deeds at all, but rather they will be escorted to Paradise or Hellfire respectively.

o    We see some Ahaadeeth that are mentioned by the author, but are not found in the books of Hadeeth collections. Allah knows best, but it could be that it was a Hadeeth that was within the author (i.e. he had learnt this Hadeeth from his teachers), but it just so happened that they were not collected by the Hadeeth compilers. This needs a more complete explanation by an expert in the Hadeeth sciences, but we cannot simply reject a Hadeeth for the mere reason that we did not find it in the books (for example, who said we searched all the books thoroughly, etc?).

o    Contrary to what some deviants say, Paradise and Hellfire have already been created, and this is known from the text of the Qur’an where Allah mentions their current existence, since the Arabic points to the past tense (meaning it has already been created). Thus, there is no need to go from the literal past to a figurative future without a strong reason, and this strong reason is not forthcoming, neither from the primary texts nor from the arguments of our opponents.  

o    Certain people said that the punishment in the grave cannot be logically accepted for a variety of reasons; but there are many Ahaadeeth in this regard, and they show that the person’s flesh connected with his soul will be punished, and the soul is connected with the body, and all of them will be tormented in the grave, even if it is accepted that the soul is separate from the body of the person until the Day of Judgment.

o    And also, there is some discussion as to whether the torment in the grave is lifted during Fridays and/or during Ramadhaan, or for the ones who died during a Friday – and also whether the torment may be present for only some time, and then lifted from the person until the Day of Judgment (the author mentions this in connection with the sinning believer). And this position was taken by those who took it built upon the sanctity of the Prophet , analogous to how Allah did not punish the disbelievers and/or other sinners in this world due to the existence of the Prophet and the validity of his message; but of course, this is far from an agreed upon position, as the editor points out.

o    Allah knows best, but the author mentions that the reward in the grave for the believers is among the permissible things (that may be bestowed upon the believer), but for the disbelievers the punishment in the grave is from those things that will obligatorily befall them.

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