Random Thoughts and Notes – Nos. 176-200

176.  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.

177.  One point needs mentioning, which is that modern science says it is interested chiefly with those propositions that are ‘falsifiable’. This is something which could, in the abstract, be a main reason why many modern scientists simply cannot accept that God exists, or at least not with the Dhaat (Entity) and Attributes we know of in Islam.

Thus, if this ‘falsifiable’ supposition were to be applied to Allah, it would mean that ‘Allah’ (or the being that person calls ‘Allah’) is in fact only a possible being, and is not and cannot at all have sempiternal Attributes and Existence; while the truth is, Allah necessarily exists with His Dhaat and Attributes, this is first of all outside the realm of scientific inquiry, and it also cannot be overturned by further study- it is necessarily so.

178.  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.

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 on 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 (this is mentioned in connection with the sinning believer). And this position was taken by those who based it upon the sanctity of the Prophet ﷺ, analogous to how Allah did not utterly destroy the disbelievers and other sinners in this world due to the existence of the Prophet ﷺ and the validity of his message; however, this is far from an agreed upon position.

179.  It is mentioned that the ‘Jinn’ are created from wind. It is noted that this is contrary to what the Qur’an mentions in Surah ar-Rahman 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. (The analogy can be made with human beings, and the many different elements the creation of humans has been associated with in the Qur’an, all of them true, but all of them specifying a different angle of the creation, be that the creation of the first human or those that followed this initial creation.)

180.  There is a very pressing need for the proper Islamic society to be set up, even for tackling seemingly unrelated matters, such as the refutation of non-Muslims and the presentation of strong evidences for the truth of Islam. The reason for this is obvious enough, in that just as one cannot expect for the rules of a land to be put into practice and for a ‘vibrant discussion about the direction of the country’ to take place while the land is in a war-torn or occupied state, so one cannot expect the ‘Ulaamaa of Islam to be able to answer the different and diverse types of objections that come up from the non-Muslims while they do not have the system that can support this type of work.

This is one of the reasons why I think that one very little thing we can do and should strive to do is to provide funding for the traditional scholars of Islam, in whichever way we can. I know it sounds old and tired, but if a person is not paid for his work, he will never do it, so how do we expect the ‘Ulaamaa to handle the complex intellectual and societal issues of the Ummah if they have to worry about feeding their families first and foremost without any communal help? Granted that this ‘community support’ may have some of its own problems, but that may be mentioned at another time.

181.  People claim that ‘Islam has no evidence’ for its truth. I say the evidence is first of all the arguments for the Existence of Allah (with the Dhat [Essence] and Sifat [Attributes] held on to in Islam), then the Qur’an and the other miracles that Allah gave to the Prophet ﷺ. Yes, there may be secondary evidences for or against the core points of the indubitable Islamic beliefs; but, that is what they will remain as, secondary evidences, for the main evidences that establish Islam have already been set. (This is not to say we discard visual data, but even here, there is a difference between the data itself and the interpretations surrounding the data, so we should be aware of this.)

182.  I know this might hurt some people, and I am not a political analyst, but from what I can see, the ‘Palestinian question’ was lost the moment the Palestinians and Arabs started using the language of the Israelis. And what I mean by that is the language of secular nationalism, of the ‘nation-state’, which is something imported from the modern Euro-American ethos. Because at the end of the day, from this point of view, there are and will always be migrations of humans from one place to another, dislocations and counter-dislocations, any piece of land at any given time may have people of one ethnicity, culture, and language, making up the nation-myth connecting them to the land as they go along, and if it so happens that the ‘realities on the ground’ favor the Israelis, the only option the Palestinians have is for the moral opinion of the world to overwhelmingly coerce the Israelis into a pro-Palestinian solution.

But we also know that the ‘realities on the ground’ will always support those who have might and power, and in truth people give very little attention to moral issues in the face of visible might and power (military, economic, etc.). This has been shown in the world so many times that it requires no in-depth explanation. Besides, those with might and power can present moral narratives of their own, and even if flawed, these are passable narratives, good enough to perpetuate and entrench the status-quo for a very long time.

I know there will be those who point out certain cases when the moral authority of the world did force a change in the reality on the ground, but I seriously doubt that this will apply to the Palestinian question as long as the parameters and rules of the game are set by the Israelis and the ‘secular-nation’ world community (plus we should remember that even in those other cases the moral authority was often accompanied by considerable looming economic, political, or military menaces against the offending entity).

183.  On another note, with respect to the question of moral authority versus visible economic and military might and power, this is also why having a robust, viable and active Islamic polity is so important for the upkeep of the Ummah. Unfortunately, we see so many lay Muslims feeling ashamed of being Muslims, wanting to quit Islam, and so forth – since the Muslim community as a whole is in such a weak state from many different angles that the sacrifices on a personal level seem to come at a prohibitive cost to many.

Yes, the didactic proofs and evidences for Islam are there and they will always be there, but most people do not do things out of a plenitude of rationality or due to many logical proofs being presented, but rather are much more emotional in nature than what they would like to admit; and part of this emotionality is feeling uplifted when they know that the community they are part of is robust and strong, not only intellectually, but also in all facets of human endeavor. (Needless to say, unfortunately many Muslims today do not have the intellectual aptness or even the desire in relation to the fundamental proofs and methodology of Islam, so even this part is lacking. And our pleas are to Allah the Exalted.)

184.  The soul is said to be within the body in an intertwined manner, just as the rose water is within the rose, or in the same ways the rays are ‘connected’ to the Sun.

185.  Most professionals in any given field do ‘Taqleed’ of other professionals, and this is an important part of how a serious field of inquiry works. So do not be confused about this point, either in connection to Islam or to ‘secular’ fields.

186.  There is a discussion concerning the issue of Imaamah from a Sunni angle. It is noteworthy that not all the ‘Ulaamaa agreed that the Imaam must absolutely be the best Muslim on Earth, but rather he should be strong enough to maintain and promote the interests and actions related to the Islamic government and lands. Besides, it is impossible to find someone who will be the best in every single facet connected directly or indirectly to Islam, so there is really no scope for those who call towards the concept of an ‘Infallible Imaam’.

187.  It is mentioned that it was held by Imam al-Ash’ari (RA) that the precedence of Abu Bakr (RAA) over the rest of the Companions is an indubitable matter – which is important, because his view about the Khilaafa is that the good one cannot become a Khalifa if there is someone better than him; but if the Shias try to use this as an evidence against us, then this is not acceptable, since al-Ash’ari also held that Abu Bakr (RAA) was indubitably better than ‘Ali (RAA) and everyone else from among the Companions. Qaadhi al-Baaqilaani (RAA) said that the precedence of Abu Bakr (RAA) over the rest of the Companions is known through probabilistic proofs; what is common and widespread amongst the Ummah is the precedence of Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthman (RAA), though some of the scholars did prefer ‘Ali (RAA) over ‘Uthman, but the question about this last preference is not one of the bigger issues in the religion.

188.  Consider the very famous speech of ‘Ali (RAA) in Kufa, where he was asked as to who was the best of people, and he mentioned Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthman (RAA), then he did not want to mention himself so he remained silent (note that there are many routes for this narration).

189.  An important point of our belief is that the Prophets and Messengers (Alayhim as-Salaam) are undoubtedly better than the Awliyaa’, to such a degree that the one who believes than any Wali is better than a Prophet or Messenger has left Islam.

190.  There have been a huge number of sects of the Shia in the history of Islam; and this could be the main reason why the ‘Ulaamaa do not like to make a blanket Takfir on all Shias as a rule. Consider that people belonging to any given group may change in their beliefs from generation to generation even if the appellation remains the same. This is why the Sunni scholars are more likely to say that certain views, if held by anyone, will lead the person to disbelief, but they may be much more careful in making Takfir of an entire group. Not that they will never do Takfir of entire groups, but it definitely is much more difficult than the neo-Khaariji ‘Takfir culture’ we unfortunately see mushrooming in some quarters of the Islamic world.

Yes, there were some sects of the Shia (throughout history) who in their entirety even claimed Prophethood for ‘Ali (RAA) and said that ‘Ali (RAA) is better than the Prophet ﷺ, and whoever says this is a disbeliever without a doubt. But as far as today’s Shias are concerned, except if the Sunni scholar also happens to be an expert in the Shia religion or Shia subsect and has really studied the subsect’s doctrines from their original sources, he will generally not take any article or book prepared by others as an evidence to use as a basis for Takfir, since this is simply not the way that Sunni scholarship operates. (And besides, if the Sunni ‘Aalim sees that the Shia scholar who wrote a book has said things of explicit disbelief in it –and such books and tracts do exist- does it establish an indubitable connection with the ‘Shia Ummah’ as a whole? This is a question that would have to be answered satisfactorily by the Sunni ‘Aalim or Mufti before the issue of Takfir comes up.)

This is said, considering also that in many individual cases and discussions, the nominal Shia might be very close to the mainstream beliefs of Islam, or he may be even more deviated than the most blasphemous of things one finds in some of the books and writings of the Shia clerics, or at other times, the declarations of this “Shia” do not even resemble Islamic discourse in any way. So all of these are present, and the case is often to be considered separately for each individual.

191.  Take note that any call of Messengership or Prophethood after Muhammad ﷺ is indubitably false, without a doubt. This is a very important part of our faith, so much so that Imam Abu Yusuf (RA) is quoted as saying that even the one who asks the claimant of Prophethood for evidence to back up his claim has disbelieved, since evidence is asked when there is doubt concerning a claim, and there can be no doubt that the claimant to Prophethood after Muhammad ﷺ is a liar.

192.  It is mentioned: The Tawrah was revealed to Musa (Alayhi Salaam) after the drowning of Fir’awn; there had been ten ‘Sahaaif’ (‘sheets’ of a book) revealed to Musa (Alayhi Salaam) before the drowning of Fir’awn.

193.  Among the divine matters contained in the Tawrah, we have the following (i.e. their classifications): 1. Light 2. Guidance [This is why the Qur’an mentions (in translation: ‘Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light.’] 3. Wisdom 4. Strength 5. Legislation/Judgment 6. (The Quality of) Worship 7. The Elucidation of the Path of Felicity from the Path of Grief and a clarification of which one is higher.

Plus, there were two more Alwaah (scrolls) given to Musa (Alayhi Salaam) that were not to be publicized, and these were the Lawh of Rubuubiya (Godhood/Divinity) and the Lawh of Qudrah (Power).

194.  With regards to the Zabuur that was revealed to Dawud (Alayhi Salaam), it contained admonitions and reminders to his people, praises of Allah, and knowledge connected to the material earthly existents, including knowledge of physical sciences, logic, math, horsemanship, and it also included a section related to rulings and laws.

195.  It is mentioned that the Injeel was revealed to ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) in the Syriac language and read in 17 Lughaat (dialects); as a general comment, it is said that the Injeel only contained theological codes related to the human nature. Of course, it had nothing like the ‘Trinity’ doctrine, but rather this doctrine was something that came up due to the personal interpretations of those who applied whatever came to their minds concerning Allah the Exalted and His Messenger ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam).

196.  If someone were to deny a Messenger that has not been named, he would be an innovator, but not a disbeliever.

Connected to this, the most popular opinion concerning the number of Prophets and Messengers (Alayhim as-Salaam) is that there were 124,000 Prophets and 313 of them were Messengers. There is also another narration that their number was 1,200,000. But the safest option is to say that we believe in whatever is from Allah, in whichever way He has sent it, and in this way we may not fall into the extremes of rejecting the one who was truly a Prophet, or of calling someone a Prophet who in reality was not so.

This position is taken since it is better not to give an exact number, and this is because the reports where their numbers are mentioned are solitary reports, but this is obviously not enough in terms of establishing indubitable belief.

197.  There is one important thing we have to consider about Naskh (abrogation), which is that Naskh is, so as to say, the elucidation of a change in the Shariah rules from our point of view. Thus, Naskh is not applicable for historical events mentioned in the Islamic sources, nor is it (hypothetically speaking) for those rulings that are explicitly said to be for a limited amount of time, nor for those that are explicitly said to be valid until the end of the world – since both of these types have the same ‘historical’ side to them [that is, we are being informed that the rule will be valid for a certain amount of time, whatever that time may be]. But of course, with Allah, He always knew that the abrogated rule would be valid only up to such-and-such time, so it is not that Allah did not know that the first legislation was not good and it later became apparent to Him, or any other similar invalid statements uttered by our opponents.

198.  It might be argued that every ‘piece’ of divine legislation is for the benefit of the people, so how can it be that a rule that was good one day can become bad and ugly the next? To this, the answer stated by many scholars is that every legislation that has been revealed by Allah is good for that time; but when a new legislation is revealed, then the mechanism is being set up for the outward system to be changed – and this is mostly in a gradual manner, so that the believers may not suffer sudden shocks. This is akin to how a doctor treats his patients, by giving them different sets of medicines at different times, even if the illness is one.

199.  A very important indication to our belief that there is no Prophet after Muhammad ﷺ is that there is also no Shariah after him ﷺ. This is why, when something has been totally decided upon through the indubitable proofs of Islam as having to be acted upon or refrained from, then it is totally incorrect for ‘new rationalizations’ to come forth and try to change such rules. The truth is people who call for such ‘rationalizations’ are either denying Allah outright (by saying that Allah has no right to legislate over humans) or denying that Muhammad ﷺ is the last Prophet and Messenger of Allah (by implying that another Prophet has come and given us a new set of divine revelations), since the rules to be applied come only from Allah through His appointed Prophets and Messengers, not through anyone and everyone we feel has interesting ideas.

200.  Many a times, the abrogating ruling is lighter than the abrogated one, and in these cases it is a sign of compassion and Mercy from Allah. Or if it is vice-versa, then it could be a test for the believers. In any case, both the abrogated and the abrogating ruling have to be believed in (i.e., both have come from Allah the Exalted), but only the abrogating ruling is to be applied. This is somehow similar to how the Qur’an, Tawrah, Injeel, and Zabuur have to be believed in as revelations from Allah, even if we only follow the Qur’an in its practical injunctions– each book has a time and scope of applicability, and we should not overstep the scope set by Allah due to what our own imaginations may propose to us.