Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Creed of Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was taken from “The Creed of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah” by Shaykh ‘Ali Juma’ah.  This is a summary of our creed.

The word for creed in Arabic is ‘aqidah.  Linguistically, it means to bind firmly and tightly.  And in the terminology of the sciences, it is a belief held strongly and with conviction in the hearts of humans, whether it be true or false.  This strong belief is a motivator to action, such as is the case with the belief of a Muslim in the existence of Allah (s.w.t.) and the veracity of the Prophet (s.a.w.).

History attests to the fact that all peoples at all times have had an ideology or religious creed to which they assent, which moves them to action and which has an impact on their behavior and conduct.  The Islamic creed consists of a firm belief that Allah (s.w.t.), Lord of the Worlds, is the Creator of the heavens and the earth; that there is only one Allah Who can be Characterised by All Perfections, Who Transcends all deficiencies, and Who is unlike any other being; that Muhammad (s.a.w.) is his Prophet and Messenger to the Worlds, and that he fulfilled this mission in the most perfect and complete manner; that the Qur’an is His Book, truthful and untouched by any falsity; and that what it conveys of matters unseen – for example, angels, other prophets, Paradise, and Hell – is all true.


The Messenger believeth in what hath been Revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith.  Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His Messengers: “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His Messengers.”  And they say, “We hear and we obey; (We seek) Thy Forgiveness, Our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.”  On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.  It gets every good that it earns and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray): “Our Lord!  Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord!  Lay not on us a burden like that which Thou didst Lay on those before us; Our Lord!  Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear.  Blot out our sins and Grant us Forgiveness.  Have Mercy on us.  Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith.” (Surah al-Baqarah:285-286)

This set of beliefs moves he who possesses them to hold fast to the rules of the shari’ah and the Commands and Prohibitions of the Qur’an and the sunnah.

Monotheism, tawhid, is to believe in the Oneness of Allah (s.w.t.), worshipping Him Alone, and affirming this belief of His Essence, His Qualities and His Actions.  It is also to affirm that there is no entity which resembles His Indivisible Essence; that no qualities which resemble the Divine Qualities, in which plurality is not possible such that one can say that Allah (s.w.t.) has two Wills or two independent sets of Knowledge, for example; and that His Actions do not admit of any association – there is, that is to say, no action other than His, and any action of another is to be regarded as acquisitive, kasb.

What has been said by the theologians with regards to monotheism can be simplified as follows: It is the belief that Allah (s.w.t.) is other than anything that can be conceived by the imagination; it is the belief that His Essence in no way resembles other entities, nor does It compromise His Qualities; tawhid is, in fact, a developed science derived from certain and definitive proofs since it enables one to establish religious beliefs via argumentation and repelling doubts; and it is concerned with the Essence of Allah (s.w.t.), and what is necessary, impossible, or permissible to affirm of It.  It is also concerned with the messengers, what they brought affirming the existence of a Creator.  Finally, it treats Revelatory data, and the necessity to believe in it.

The benefit of the science of tawhid is that it leads to knowledge of Allah (s.w.t.) through definitive proofs, and the attainment of eternal happiness as a result.  Because it is connected to the knowledge of Allah (s.w.t.) and His prophets, it is the most noble of sciences.  As the Arabic saying goes, things are ennobled by that which they are connected to.  Learning this science is an individual obligation for every person, male or female, as established by the verse which directs all to:


Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah ... (Surah Muhammad:19)

Technically, the obligation is to know the creed in a general way; while a knowledge of the particulars and details is a communal obligation.  The science of tawhid discusses three matters: Divinity, that which has to do with Allah (s.w.t.); prophecy, that which has to do with prophets and messengers; and Revelation, that which treats matters which cannot be proven except through revelatory reports.

There are two types of proofs: purely rational, such as that which establishes the Existence of a Creator through the Creation of the heavens, the earth and ourselves; and Revelatory, which is in fact a combination of rational and Revelatory premises, because the veracity of a report can be established only by reason.  These proofs may establish definitive certainty in shari’ah matters when they are mass-transmitted or accompanied by empirical evidence.  However, in cases where they do not accord with a reason-based proof, the latter is given priority, for to disregard reason would be to disregard both types of proofs since the latter is a hybrid.

The philosophers say that that which may be known are either non-existent, existent in the mind, or existent in the world.  And that which has extra-mental, worldly, existence is either necessarily existent, for example, it is impossible that it not exist, or it is contingently existent.  The theologians say that the existent is that which has a reality in the world, and it is either eternal or Created.  The Created is further divided into two: the substance and the accident.  The contingent, al-mumkin, is that which is necessarily in need of a cause.  It may be either existent or non-existent, in equal probability.  The contingent is always Created, never eternal.

The Essentially Necessary is Allah (s.w.t.), Who is Simple, not compound.  This is because to be compound means to be contingent, created and admitting divisibility.  This also means He does not admit association because that would entail being compound.  Allah (s.w.t.) Transcends comparison and resemblance.  His Qualities include Life, Knowledge and Power.  These Qualities are Eternal, and do not compromise His Necessity of Being, nor do they render Him needy of anything, for His Qualities are not other than Him.

To be created, huduts, means to be preceded by non-existence, ‘adam.  The world is everything other than Allah the Exalted.  The world is made of substances, jawahir, and accidents.  Substances are those entities that are independent of place.  Accidents are those qualities that are connected to substance, such as color, taste, smell, life, death, will, power, and knowledge.

The Createdness of the world is proven as follows: All existents can be classified as either Eternal, Qadim, or Created.  The Eternal is that which is preceded by nothing else.  It is Necessary for Existence.  It is impossible for the Eternal to not be, for Eternality contradicts non-existence.  The Created is that existent which is preceded by another.  It may both exist and not exist.  So, when it is distinguished by existence rather than non-existence, it is in need of something that performs that distinguishing for it.  This Entity is a Creator characterised by Volition and Power.

All that is not void of Created entities is Created.  Nobody in the world is void of Created accidents and changeable states.  The qualities of the bodies change, and they move from one state to another.  The reality of changeable entities is that in fact one state is annihilated and another is created.  This is known in the case of the new state by observation, and in the case of the old state because, if it were eternal it would not have become non-existent.  Therefore, it is necessary to believe firmly that the world, all its bodies, including all sorts of vegetation and animals; all actions; all utterances; and all beliefs are Created.  They came to exist after non-existence.

Belief in the Existence of the Creator is the first pillar of Islamic doctrine.  All other doctrinal principles are built upon it.  And believing in this Existence is the only path to attaining a correct understanding of Creation, and the meaning of existence in this world.  The world that we see is contingently existent, mumkin al-wujud, which means that the mind precludes neither its existence nor non-existence.  Therefore, there must be some external cause which made it existence, and distanced it from non-existence.  In its default mode, the world and its entities are possible of both states.  And the Cause that made it existent and not non-existent is what we call Allah, the Exalted.

Every rational person, through observation, knows necessarily that Creation came into existence after non-existence, that it was Created.  That which is Created is in need of a Creator.  An infinite regression of such creators is impossible, as all rational people agree.  Infinite regression means that a created entity has a creator, and that creator has its own creator, and on and on with no end.  This infinite regression, on whose impossibility all rational people agree, cannot be avoided except by positing an Eternal Creator, Who is in need of no other.  His Existence needs No Originator.  This is Allah (s.w.t.), the Necessarily Existent.  The Necessary, Allah (s.w.t.), is not a compound being, nor multiple.  It is truly One.

If all existences were simply contingent, and none of them were necessary, this set of contingently existent entities, which encompasses all existent entities, would be in need of an Originator.  This is because the set is itself contingent, a compound entity made of a set of contingent entities.  However, the Necessary of Existence is independent in His Existence.  He does not need any other entity for His Existence.  And He is outside of this set.  So He is the Creator.

Contemplating, an-nazar, knowing Allah (s.w.t.) is an obligation by consensus, whether it is by Revelatory means as the Ash’ariyyah say, or by rational ones as the Mu’taziliyyah say.  The primary obligation is to know Allah (s.w.t.), and the means to achieving it is speculation, an-nazar, so it is also an obligation.  But speculation is not possible without an intent to engage in it.  Therefore, the intention is also an obligation, indeed the first obligation.  By an-nazar is meant the tools and methodologies by which knowledge is organised so as to lead from one piece of information to another.  Alternatively, it is defined as abstracting the mind away from insignificant matters and orienting it to the objects of reason.  When this is done properly, what results is necessary knowledge.

This is an obligation, because in matters of doctrine, following another based on his or her authority is a sin for someone who is capable of engaging in theoretical and rational thought.  If he is not capable of this, it is not a sin.  Imam Abu Manswur al-Maturidi (r.a.) said, “Our companions are agreed that the masses believers and knowers of Allah, and they will populate heaven, as we are informed in reports and as is agreed on by scholars.  For their natural state leads them to monotheism and belief in the Creator’s Eternality and the Createdness of all else, even if they are unable to articulate this in the terminology of the theologians.”  Imam Sayf ad-Din al-Amidhi (r.a.) reported agreement that those who attest to the correct doctrine based on authority are not disbelievers.

The difference of opinion obtains when we turn to the judgement in the Hereafter.  In matters of this world, there is no disagreement that we are to judge based on apparent attestations alone.  So, he who attests to the doctrine of Islam is to be treated as a Muslim, and not pronounced a disbeliever.  So, he may marry other Muslims; he may lead the prayer; his slaughtered meat may be consumed; Muslims may inherit from him, and he from them; and he is to be buried in their cemeteries.

Belief, iman, is to attest to all that is brought by the Prophet (s.a.w.) and is known necessarily to be of the religion, both in generalities and particulars.  “That which the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) brought” is al-Islam, outside of which there is no Salvation.  As Allah (s.w.t.) Says:


Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds: No partner hath He: this am I Commanded, and I am the first of those who bow to His Will.” (Surah al-An’am:162-163)

It is necessary that one submit to this, for there is no salvation in the eyes of Allah (s.w.t.) except by entering into Islam:


Say: “We believe in Allah, and in what has been Revealed to us and what was Revealed to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord; we make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam).”  If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be Accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost. (all spiritual good). (Surah Ali ‘Imran:84-85)

Islam is the religion of Allah (s.w.t.) with which all other messengers had been Sent:


Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian, but he was true in faith and bowed his will to Allah's (which is Islam) and he joined not gods with Allah. (Surah Ali ‘Imran:67)

The formula of testification is: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”  For one who is capable of uttering it, it is obligatory for the validity of his faith.  It may be uttered in a language other than Arabic, though it is better to use the Arabic wording.  Simply uttering the words is not sufficient if the speaker does not understand the meaning of what he is reciting.  Articulating the formula of testification is a condition of one being considered a Muslim in legal matters, such as inheritance, marriage, leading prayer, being eligible for the funeral prayer, burial in Muslim cemeteries, and being subject to the demand to pray and pay the zakat.  This is because silent affirmation in one’s heart, though it constitutes belief, is hidden, and we are in need of a visible sign of one’s Islam.

He who attests with his tongue, but not his heart, is a hypocrite.  Though he is not a Muslim in the eyes of Allah (s.w.t.), he is to be regarded as a Muslim in this world, provided he does not betray any visible indication of his disbelief, such as prostrating to an idol or abusing a copy of the Qur’an.

The rejecter is one who refuses to utter the formula of testification.  He is a disbeliever both in the eyes of Allah (s.w.t.) and in the consideration of people in this world.  An affirmation of the heart is of no consequence.  He who is confronted by doubts must seek to dispel them either through rational speculation or by asking someone of knowledge.  He who is confronted by temptations should seek Refuge in Allah (s.w.t.), and say “I believe in God and His Messenger.”  The children of Muslims are considered believers, and are to be treated as such in this world even if they never articulate the formula of testification their whole lives.

There are some things that cannot be affirmed of Allah (s.w.t.).  In short, He is Transcendent, and free of anything that indicates createdness or deficiency of any sort.  Therefore, one may not attribute to Him accidental attributes like taste, color, smell, or pain.  Nor is he restricted to directionality.  Nor can we ascribe to him adjacency, for he is not bound by area.  Neither the earth nor the heavens surround Him.  He has neither limits nor measure.

Anything that is distinguished by directionality is restricted a space, and therefore is capable of being joined to substances and separate from them.  Anything that admits such a joining and separation with substance is connected to substance, and not void of it.  Anything that is not void of substance is Created like the substance it is connected to.  In contrast, Allah (s.w.t.) Transcends space, and connection to bodies.

We believe that the Creator of the world cannot be restricted by space, nor can He have an end.  For a thing may not be so restricted except by something else, nor can he have an endpoint except by imposing a limitation on him by another entity.  But the Creator is neither created, nor restricted, nor limited in any way.  As Allah (s.w.t.) Says:


Seest thou not that Allah doth Know (all) that is in the heavens and on earth?  There is not a secret consultation between three, but He makes the fourth among them nor between five but he is the sixth nor between fewer nor more, but He is with them, wheresoever they be: in the end will He Tell them the truth of their conduct, on the Day of Judgment.  For Allah has Full Knowledge of all things. (Surah al-Mujadilah:7)

It is impermissible to attribute to Allah (s.w.t.) movement or rest, going and coming, being in a place, connectedness and disconnectedness, physical proximity and distance, size, body, form, measure, directions, or sides.

There are the Attributes which Subsist in the Divine Essence.  They number seven or eight, the difference in number being due to scholarly disagreement.  These attributes are eternal like His Names.  If they had been created, this would mean affirming something created of the Divine Essence.  It would also mean that Allah (s.w.t.) was once without them.  Finally, it would indicate the need for something to endow the Divine Essence with this quality, which contradicts His Absolute Self-Sufficiency, His lack of need of anything other than Him.  These are in contrast to the Attributes of Action which are not eternal according to the Ash’ariyyah.

The Attributes of the Divine Essence are of neither the essence, nor of other than it.  The former is obvious, for it is well known that the Reality of the Essence is not the same as that of its Attributes, otherwise they would be identical.  As for the latter, what is meant is that They are not of a separable other.  For these Attributes are not separable from the essence, even though Their Reality is not that of the essence itself.  Whoever directs his worship to the Attributes alone has committed disbelief.  And whoever connects his worship to the Essence alone has sinned.  The correct path is to worship the Divine Essence characterised by Its Attributes.  These Attributes are listed below.

The first is Existence.  This means the Existence of His Essence, uncaused by any other.  It is impossible that He did not Exist.  This sort of Perfect Existence is affirmed only of Allah (s.w.t.).  All others partake in a subordinate mode of existence, both preceded and succeeded by non-existence.  This is an Affirmative Attribute, affirmed of the Essence Itself.

The second is Eternality.  This is a negative Attribute, which is to say that it negates that which is not worthy of Allah (s.w.t.) – in this case, Createdness, and so previous non-existence.  What is meant is the Eternality of the Essence, that It never came into existence.  For if It were not Eternal, It would be created, and thus in need of a creator, which creator would itself be in need of a creator.  This would regress infinitely.  As such, He must be Eternal.  We believe that Allah (s.w.t.) has always been.  A report in the Swahih of Imam Muhammad ibn Hibban (r.a.) has it that, “There was Allah, and there was none other than Him.”

The third is Everlastingness.  This is also a negative Attribute intended to exclude non-existence from His Essence.  Just as we may not contemplate a cause for the generation of the Necessary Existent, we may not admit a cause for Its destruction.  If we were to admit such a cause, there would be no Necessary Existent.  The proof that Allah’s (s.w.t.) Existence has no end is that It would then not be Eternal, because Eternality contradicts non-existence.  The existence of all other creation has both a beginning and end, except for Paradise and Hell, which had a beginning but no end.  We know this through revelation and not reason.

The fourth is Opposition to all Created Things.  This is also a negative Attribute indicating a lack of resemblance between Allah (s.w.t.) and Creation.  For He is neither a body nor an accident, neither a universal nor a particular.  He similarly Transcends all states and attributions that, for example, can be said of humans and other entities, such as sleep, heedlessness, hunger, thirst, and need.  The proof of this Attribute is that if Allah (s.w.t.) were not opposed to all created things in all qualities, He would resemble them in their createdness, or they would resemble Him in His eternality.  That is impossible.

We believe that Allah (s.w.t.) cannot be characterised by those qualities which characterise creation.  These latter are the essence of createdness, such as being restricted to a place or time, having bodily or mental needs, or weakness or incapacity.  Allah (s.w.t.) is completely Transcendent.  Nothing even remotely resembles him.  He has neither ancestors nor descendants.  Nor does he have friends and enemies in the manner commonly spoken of, though we may use these words to mean sincere devotees, on the one hand, and those who transgress his commands, on the other.  However, it is true that we may describe humanity by some qualities we attribute to Allah (s.w.t.), such as knowledge, power, will, and perception.  But we distinguish by saying that these are Essential Attributes of Allah (s.w.t.), but not essential attributes of humans.  In the case of the latter, they are Divine Blessings.

The fifth is Subsistence in Himself.  This means that He has no need for other.  We believe that Allah (s.w.t.) Subsists in Himself.  He has no need for an entity to generate Him, nor for a space to encompass him.  He has been Allah (s.w.t.) since before the generation of anything else, and before the generation of time and space itself.  Nor does He have directionality, though some anthropomorphists have said that He is characterised by “aboveness.”  This is invalid.  As Qadhi ‘Iyadh (r.a.) has said, “There is no disagreement among the Muslim jurists, ahadits scholars, theologians, thinkers, and lay people that the apparent meaning of verses that Mention Allah (s.w.t.) being in the Heavens, such as ‘Do ye feel secure that He Who is in heaven will not Cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes?’ are not to be taken literally, but rather are to be interpreted.”

The sixth is Oneness.  This is also a negative attribute in that it denies something that is not appropriate to Attribute to Allah (s.w.t.), that is, multiplicity or quantity.  Allah (s.w.t.) is neither composed of parts, nor made up of particulars subsumed under a Universal.  He does not have two sets of Knowledge or two Wills that complement one another, nor does He have a Knowledge or will that partakes in the knowledge or will of others.

The seventh is Power.  This is an Eternal Attribute of the Divine Essence, through which all things come to be and come to an end in accordance with His Will.  What is necessary for every Muslim to know and believe is that Allah (s.w.t.) is Capable of all things.  The proof that Allah (s.w.t.) is characterised by power is that if He were not All-Powerful, He would be characterised by incapacity.  This is impossible.

The eighth is Will.  This is also an Eternal Attribute of the Divine Essence, which has to do with realising some of the potentialities of contingent beings. Allah’s (s.w.t.) Will is one.  It originates and annihilates some things.

There are also other Eternal Attributes.  These include Knowledge, Life, Speech, Hearing, and Sight.

Then there are the Beautiful Names of Allah (s.w.t.).  Allah (s.w.t.) Says:


The Most Beautiful Names Belong to Allah: so call on Him by them ... (Surah al-A’araf:180)

The Names of Allah (s.w.t.) are Eternal like His Essential Attributes.  This Eternality is taken to mean that either that they were suitable of Allah (s.w.t.) from pre-eternality, or that they always indicated the meaning of those names.  Some like Shaykh ibn ‘Arabi (q.s.) took them to be equal in that they all pertain to One Essence, Allah (s.w.t.), even though they may differ in the world.  Others took them to be of varying degrees of importance.

“Allah” is itself the Greatest Name, above all others.  Ninety-nine have been enumerated in a hadits in Imam at-Tirmidzi’s (r.a.) book on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (r.a.), but Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) has said that the scholars have agreed that the Names listed there do not exhaust the Names of Allah (s.w.t.).  The position of the Ahl as-Sunnah is that His Names and Attributes are taught to us, for this is what indicates Allah’s (s.w.t.) Permission.  This may take the form of either being in the Qur’an and sunnah, or it may be established by consensus of use, such as the Fabricator, the Existent, the Necessary, the Eternal.

On the issue of prophecy, in Arabic, the word “prophet”, “nabi”, is taken from the word for “news”, or “report” for he reports about Allah (s.w.t.).  He is also the one who is reported to, in the first instance, since Gabriel (a.s.) brings him news.  Terminologically, the word “prophet” refers to a pure human who is inspired by a Revelatory code of conduct on which he himself acts, even though he may not be called on to propagate it.  If he is in fact called upon to propagate, he is a “Messenger”, “rasul”.  All Messengers are prophets, but not all prophets are Messengers.  The sending of Messengers is a Great Bounty from Allah (s.w.t.).  It is a rational possibility, but He is under no obligation to Send Messengers.

Allah (s.w.t.) has Named twenty-five prophets in the Qur’an.  Their prophethood must be believed in.  It is not permissible for a Muslim to be ignorant of them.  There are yet others not mentioned by name or in detail in the Qur’an.  We know of them only generally, and so must believe in them in that general manner.  That is to say, we must believe that Allah (s.w.t.) Sent many prophets and messengers, to every nation and group, in a variety of places and times.  It is ignorant to think that Allah (s.w.t.) specified only the Arabian peninsula and its surrounding areas for prophecy.

There are five necessary requirements for prophethood.  Prophets only arise among humans, not among jinn or angels.  Prophets must be characterised by trustworthiness and honesty, and innocence from sin.  This is so that their testimony may be believed, and held to a high standard.  Prophets must be characterised by a perfect rationality, precision, and uprightness.  They must have propagated to the people everything they had been ordered to propagate.  They did not conceal anything.

There is disagreement on whether a prophet must be male.  Those who said he must be a male rely on the verse:


Before thee, also the Messengers We Sent were but men, to whom We Granted Inspiration: if ye know this not, ask of those who possess the Message. (Surah al-Anbiya’:7)

Those who say it is not a condition that a prophet be made point to verses which say that the mother of Moses (a.s.) was “inspired”:

  
So We Sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses … (Surah al-Qaswasw:7)

And that Mary (a.s.), the mother of Jesus (a.s.), was listed in a context where many other prophets were listed:


Those were some of the prophets on whom Allah did Bestow His Grace― of the posterity of Adam, and of those whom We Carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and of the posterity of Abraham and Israel ― of those whom We Guided and Chose... (Surah Maryam:58)

The greatest of prophets is the final prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Muslims are duty bound to love him, as we learn from a number of ahadits.

Miracles are Actions of Allah (s.w.t.) in which the conventional laws of nature are broken at the hands of His messengers, so that the messenger’s truthfulness, and the veracity of his Message, may be affirmed.  It may be speech, like the Qur’an; or an action, such as the gushing forth of water between his fingers; or an absence, such as the inability of the fire to burn Abraham (a.s.).

The conditions for a miracle are that it be from Allah (s.w.t.) Himself; it be a breaking of the conventional laws of nature; it be inexplicable; it be at the hands of someone who claims prophecy, so that his prophethood may be established; it be in accordance with what is being claimed; what is claimed not be disproven by the miracle itself; and it not precede the claim, but be made in conjunction with it.  Therefore, Prophet Jesus’ (a.s.) speech in his infancy, wet dates falling on lady Mary (a.s.) from a dry palm tree, cutting the chest of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and washing his heart, clouds forming a shadow over him to protect him from the sun along with the peace greetings that he used to hear from stones before his prophecy are considered miracles.  The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) greatest miracle was the Qur’an itself.  He also had material sensible miracles, such as the splitting of the moon, the greetings offered to him by stones, trees speaking to him, the gushing forth of water between his noble fingers, and others.

It is obligatory for a Muslim to believe firmly that there is no Cause in the world other than Allah (s.w.t.), and that all the apparent causes we see in the world of phenomena are deputised by Allah (s.w.t.) Himself.  There is however no harm in using language that indicates causality of things other than Allah (s.w.t.) if one’s beliefs are sound on this matter.  For example, one might say, “This medicine was of benefit to me,” or “This doctor cured me,” or “The rain this year caused there to be a good crop.”

This is why there is no harm in a Muslim seeking intercession with Allah (s.w.t.) via the relics of prophets, as long as he believes that the only Cause is Allah (s.w.t.).  This fits with the language used with respect to the apparent causality of the world.  The most obvious instance of such is the Qur’anic verse:


We Sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures. (Surah al-Anbiya’:107)

If Allah (s.w.t.) has Said of the Prophet (s.a.w.) that he is the cause of mercy to His servants, there is no harm in invoking this honour He has Granted the Prophet (s.a.w.).  There is also no difference between invoking him during his life and after his death.  This is because his bodily life was never the reason for invoking him in this manner, such that we may say this is no longer possible.

On the issue of Revelation, the word used here, sam’iyyat, refers to all that which can be known only through reports that partake in certainty.  One may not be a believer in Allah (s.w.t.) in his heart, mind and soul without believing in both the seen and the unseen.  The unseen we believe in is that which is not visible, which may not be perceived purely through rationality.  Believing in the unseen is the first pillar of piety.  This means believing in Allah (s.w.t.); the reality of angels; divine scriptures and messengers, and that they are from Allah (s.w.t.); the Last Day, and that it will undoubtedly come; in Fate, good and bad; and that there is nothing in the world except it was willed by Allah (s.w.t.).  The unseen includes also jinn, whose existence is proven by definitive texts.  Allah (s.w.t.) Says in the Qur’an:


And He Created jinn from fire free of smoke: (Surah ar-Rahman:15)

So the jinn are Created from fire and are asked to worship Allah Almighty and follow the prophets and messengers as Allah (s.w.t.) Says:


I have only Created jinn and men, that they may serve Me. (Surah adz-Dzariyat:56)

Also the jinn are divided into believers and non-believers as Allah (s.w.t.) Says in the Qur’an:


Amongst us are some that submit their wills (to Allah) and some that swerve from justice.  Now those who submit their wills ― they have sought out (the path) of right conduct: (Surah al-Jinn:14)

Satan is one of the jinn but was expelled away from Allah’s (s.w.t.) Mercy and earned Allah’s (s.w.t.) Wrath on him because of his disobedience of Allah’s (s.w.t.) Direct Command to prostrate to Adam (a.s.) as was Narrated in the Qur’an:


Behold!  We Said to the angels, “Bow down to Adam”: they bowed down except Iblis.  He was one of the jinn, and he broke the Command of his Lord … (Surah al-Kahf:50)

Allah’s (s.w.t.) Eternal Wrath on Satan deems him to enter Hellfire but his punishment is postponed until Judgment Day where he will be Sentenced to excruciating pain along with those who were seduced by Satan and followed his path of evil.  The jinn are inhabitants of earth and are able to see humans unlike humans who are unable to see jinn as Allah (s.w.t.) Explained in the Qur’an, Saying:


… for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them ... (Surah al-A’araf:27)

The Throne is the greatest of Creation, and where Allah (s.w.t.) will Present Himself on the Day of Judgment.  This Throne will be carried by eight angels in the Day of Judgment but we are unable to attribute any sort of a defined or detailed description of this Throne due to a lack of knowledge about it.  We also believe in the Divine Pedestal but similarly we have no available date describing it.  What we know for sure though is that neither the Throne nor the Pedestal are dwellings of Allah (s.w.t.).  In other words, Allah (s.w.t.) did not create the Throne out of need for elevation or superiority and did not create the Pedestal out of a need for sitting down.  The same goes for Creating the Pen.  He did not Create it for writing previously known knowledge nor asked angels to write down and document the deeds of humans out of fear of forgetfulness.

Paradise and Hell, which are two Created entities, the first an eternal abode of Reward, and the latter an abode of punishment and fire.  They are of levels, and each person will occupy the level in accordance with his deeds.  Some people might assume that the eternality of Heaven and Hell comes in opposition to Allah’s (s.w.t.) Saying in the Qur’an:


… Everything (that exists) will perish except His Own Face.  To Him Belongs the Command, and to Him will ye (all) be Brought Back. (Surah al-Qaswasw:88)

But the correct interpretation of this verse is that everything in its own right amounts to nothingness, ‘adam, because of its inability of independent self-existence.

Then there is the Hawdh of Kawtsar, the reservoir from which the Prophet (s.a.w.) will serve the believers of his nation in the Hereafter and we believe that whoever drinks from it will not be subjected to thirst.

The Hour and its signs: there are some obvious signs like the appearance of Gog and Magog, the emergence of the Beast, the rising of the sun from the west and the appearance of smoke.  These signs- especially the ones that are backed by definitive proofs from the Qur’an- whoever denies its veracity deemed to be a liar and a disbeliever.  These signs are part of Revelation which the mind does not have much say in as they are believed in through revelatory reports.  For example, Allah (s.w.t.) Says in the Qur’an:


Until the Gog and Magog (people) are let through (their barrier), and they swiftly swarm from every hill. (Surah al-Anbiya’:96)

The questioning in the grave is authenticated by numerous prophetic reports.  It is believed that the soul returns back to the body with all its five senses intact and its intellectual ability persevered to be questioned in the grave and receives its due punishment or enjoy its grace.  After the burial of the dead and the dismissal of people attending his or her funeral, two angels called Munkar (a.s.) and Nakir (a.s.) are responsible for asking the deceased three questions with the language that is comprehendible to the deceased.  The angels ask the dead about the two parts of the testimony of faith namely the Oneness of Allah (s.w.t.)  and the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Prophets are exempted from these questions as well as martyrs who died for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.) along with children because they were not eligible to understand Commands and Prohibitions Ordained by Allah (s.w.t.).  Allah Almighty has the Power to Gather back the scattered particles and atoms of the body resided in a grave or spread in a desert or kept in the belly of an animal and Form the human body again to be asked about his or her life on earth.  The scholars of the Ash’ariyyah theology reached a consensus that both the body and the soul combined either suffer from the ailments or enjoy the grace in the grave.  The return of the body to the spirit on the Day of Judgment is believed in as all the particles of the body is gathered again to return it to its original state to form the full human body.  Allah Almighty Possesses the Ability to reorganise these particles because of His Unlimited Power and Divine Knowledge.  On the Resurrection of the dead and Taking them out of their graves for the Reckoning, on this Day all, human beings, jinn, angels are Resurrected along with the beasts.

Regarding the Reckoning, there is the Intercession of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  The belief in the intercession of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) to all people in the day of Judgement is obligatory and this noble status of wasilah is the supplication or prayer which the Prophet (s.a.w.) saved for his people until Dooms Day.  The meaning of intercession entails forgiveness for whoever attested to the Oneness of Allah (s.w.t.) and the prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) even if this person committed grave sins.

Prophets as well have an intercession in the Day of Judgement along with the angels, the gnostics and the martyrs.  The first intercessor among all these is Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  As for the intercession of others, it occurs only after reckoning and punishment over small and grave sins which were not Forgiven by Allah (s.w.t.).  The importance of intercession lies in honouring the intercessor in this day and showing his great position in the Sight of Allah (s.w.t.).  Therefore, the Forgiveness of sins other than polytheism is possible both through logic and revelation as intercession deems forgiveness possible.  As for polytheism, it is deemed impossible through Revelation for a polytheist to be forgiven.  The Ash’ariyyah creed refuses to make a judgement of disbelief on any sinful believer in this world and it is similarly impermissible to pass a verdict of his or her eternal stay in Hellfire for sins whether minor or major.  The correct approach is to delegate the whole issue to Allah (s.w.t.).

All souls will have to pass over the path that stretches over Hell as a test and among the passers are the prophets, the gnostics and those who enter Paradise without previous subjection to reckoning and judgement over their deeds.  The description of the path is that it is thinner than a hair and sharper than a blade.  Whoever is deemed to enter Paradise will succeed in crossing his way over to Heaven and whoever is deemed to enter Hell will fall over the bridge straight down to Hell.


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