Random Thoughts and Notes – Nos. 101-125

101.  The Ibaahiyah (i.e. ‘libertines’) were present in the Islamic society even 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 (this is what I personally see and feel).

102.  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].

103.  We must remember that the Kalaam sciences try, 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 Shariah, since these are normally not part of the ‘indubitable 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, or relate to the very general formulations connected to these acts).

104.  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] 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].

105.  The scope of rationality has a limit, and this 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 (or one could add, that the rational scope is limited to knowing how and when narrational evidence can constitute indubitable knowledge).

106.  What has been reported about some of the Salaf degrading Kalaam sciences is with regards to groups espousing Bid’ah, or if this study of Kalaam leads to fanaticism in the religion.

107.  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 tied to the reality of the matter under consideration.

108.  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.

109.  The Mashee’a (loosely translated as ‘Will’) 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 the ‘time’ of their actualization.

110.  The idea that there were multiple eternal ‘beings’ or ‘principles’ was something present in the ancient world, so when the Qur’an says: ‘قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ 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.

In fact, Surah al-Ikhlaas refutes the eight foundations of disbelief that people ascribe to Allah. It refutes multiplicity and compositeness with ‘قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ’ (trans. ‘Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One,’), deficiency and need with ‘اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ’ (‘Allah, the Eternal Refuge.’), cause and effect with ‘لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ’ (‘He neither begets nor is born’), equals and homologues with ‘وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ’ (‘Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”’).

111.  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).

112.  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.

113.  That which is intrinsically impossible to occur or to exist is not called a ‘Shay’ or a ‘thing’.

114.  The Sunni scholars (a great portion of them) say that the Verse in the Qur’an ‘إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ 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; but none of them hold that Allah literally speaks the limited Arabic letter ك and then the limited Arabic letter ن for things to come into existence.

115.  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.

116.  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 Qadriyya).

117.  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.

118.  On the issue of Istita’ah (loosely translated as capability, ability), it is described as either the (apparent) cause with which action takes 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.

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 and 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; if it was any other way, this would be burdening the person beyond what he can bear, and this is against the Divine Sunnah.

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. (It is acknowledged, though, that other scholars have explained the situation differently.)

119.  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 (or 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.

120.  Important point: It comes across as rough to some people, but as a matter of necessary belief, it is absolutely impossible for us to say that Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. are Adyaan (loosely translated as religions) ‘like Islam’ or ‘as good as Islam’. Rather, Islam is above other Adyaan and ideologies, and is not dominated or put down by other Adyaan; there are Verses of the Qur’an and Ahadeeth of the Prophet ﷺ in this regard, and many Aqeedah and Fiqh rulings are derived from the fact that Islam is not overwhelmed or treated on par with any other Deen or ideology.

121.  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.

122.  In summary it needs to be said, when people find a Hadeeth that seems to go against the obvious reality, they need to relax, and first make sure there is consensus about its wording and the signification it seems to be pointing towards, because many times one will find legitimate differences one did not know about from a leisurely reading of the standalone narration. Of course, this also brings up the question as to why we normal people are reading a book for specialists (like Saheeh al-Bukhaari), 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.

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

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 your colleague, or wife, or friend, then what about a number of people watching what you are saying, even if they are anonymous readers/viewers?

After all, the internet may be a very big technological change in our collective history, but human nature in matters of argumentation has not changed, nor does it seem that the internet will make human nature change towards more humility.

124.  The Sifaat of the Dhaat of Allah are Life, Power, Sight, Hearing, Knowledge, Speech, and Will [written as both Mashee’a and Iraadah, and it is mentioned that they are one with respect to Allah, but created Mashee’a 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].

125.  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 this attribute relates to the bringing into existence something within the realm of temporal creation.

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