Random Thoughts and Notes – Nos. 151-175

151.  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, where the firm intention for accomplishing the act is present in the heart, when accountability is established.

152.  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 internal acceptance and declaration that it is as such – and thus, the category of Ma’rifah may not necessarily imply Imaan.

153.  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 is mentioned 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 thought is impossible.

154.  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 are complaining incessantly? So we should pray for Allah to give us contentment and provisions for this world and the Afterlife.

155.  It has been mentioned 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.

156.  Certain people say that Allah has already created everything and there is nothing left to be created, in the sense that the fruit of the trees has already been created and that this fruit merely ‘branches out’ 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, 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 an 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 effects we witness in this world.

157.  As per what is mentioned, 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 in 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.

158.  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.

159.  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 (Alayhi Salaam), the sleepers of the Cave, and the amazing provisions brought to Maryam (Alayhaa Salaam), so there is no way to deny the validity of Karaamaat in general.

The operating principle in a Mu’jiza is as if the Prophet (Alayhi Salaam) 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: ‘It is truly so’.

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).

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 who can by himself do Waswasa to people all over the world, or that the devils may change their forms, and also what will be given to the Dajjaal, etc. [but note that while the liar may claim Godhood, he will not be able to claim Prophethood while he does these ‘amazing’ things].

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

161.  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 ﷺ would or would not do), plus its internal style (its construction, usage of words, or its encompassment of many meanings within a relatively brief presentation).

Then there are other miracles that also presented themselves at the Prophet’s ﷺ hands, such as the multiplication of food, the multiplication of water, the splitting of the moon, the dead cooked sheep saying that it was poisoned, the pebbles glorifying Allah while in his ﷺ 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 ﷺ, and as a whole they give indubitable knowledge just like a Mutawaatir narration concerning one event.

162.  There is a question as to whether Muhammad ﷺ 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 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 ﷺ is the Prophet of Allah, not that ‘he used to be a Prophet of Allah’. Besides, all the Prophets (Alayhim as-Salaam) are alive in their graves, and when this is added to the finality of Muhammad’s ﷺ call, then there is no doubt left in this regard.

163.  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.

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

165.  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 ﷺ 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 ﷺ. 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 ﷺ could not have, by the grace and permission of Allah, accomplished this in wakefulness?

166.  As per the explanation provided, the Kursyy is a great luminous 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/manifestations 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.

167.  Also as explained, ‘Arsh in the language means a ‘bed’, but in Islam it refers 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.

168.  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 Jahmi 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.

169.  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.

170.  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. Needless to say, 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 – this last issue being a redundant, invalid point brought up by certain people.

171.  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 (definitive) one. Besides, there are comparatively very few people that the Qur’an and the Ahaadeeth say will absolutely enter Paradise or Hellfire.

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

172.  It is mentioned 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. There is also a mention of 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 (RAA) even if some corruption or sins may have been committed by them.

Thus, we do accept that lapses may have occurred in the understanding or relaying of information from any of the Sahaabah (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. 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 comes from these Companions whom they claim to be liars, cheaters, and disbelievers. 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 (RAA) or anything else for that matter.

173.  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 a response could be that if Allah gives the Tawfeeq to the person to cross it then he can cross it without any problems; it may also be that this is the gross description of the bridge, yet its width varies based on the spiritual state of each person crossing it.

More importantly, this type of strict rationalization might eventually lead to disbelief altogether, because there are many things in Islam which seem improbable yet they are accepted. After all, the belief in Islam itself is based on the revelation that came to the Prophet ﷺ. If viewed from the point of view of so-called strict 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 indubitable belief by means of amazing occurrences outside the natural means.

One additional point is that the very term “rationalism” is a misnomer in this case, in fact such views are more strictly empirical naturalist than rationalist – especially since Sunni theology uses logic and rationalism to come to the conclusion that it is possible for Allah to send Prophets and Messengers (Alayhim as-Salaam) to convey His Message. In a closed-universe system as held by strict empirical naturalists, these revelations would not be possible.

174.  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.

175.  We see some Ahaadeeth that are mentioned by an author, but are not found in the current 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 and Usool sciences, but we cannot totally reject a Hadeeth for the mere reason that we did not find it in the books (for example, who said we have completed a thorough search of all the books, or found all the Hadith manuscripts?)