Category Archives: Aqidah

Shah Waliullah & Istighatha Clarified

Salam

Shah Waliullah and the topic of istighatha can be confusing.  You have the anti-istighatha scholars usually citing passages from his Hujatullah al-Baligha and at times other disputed works which seem to support their argument.  Yet when you read works of Shah Waliullah such as the Anfas al-Arifin you get a totally different impression, as it contains a number of pro istighatha anecdotes and comments, some of which have been presented on this site.  So which is the real Shah Waliullah?  I had been thinking for some time that the written words of a scholar can be misinterpreted and misrepresented by parties seeking to validate their own views, and that a record of the personal practice of an individual is often the best means to understand their view on an issue.  I was therefore overjoyed to some time ago come across the authorised biography of Shah Waliullah which was penned by his close disciple, and which happens to shed light on the issue of istighatha in such as a decisive way that only a stubborn partisan fanatic would engage in intellectual gymnastics to refute it.

Shaykh Muhammad Ashiq Phulati, the close disciple of Shah Waliullah and author of his authorised biography named Qawl al-Jalli mentions (p.82-83) a clear instance of istighatha which Shah Waliullah taught his students and which is cited approvingly by Shaykh Muhammad Ashiq Phulati. He said:

“A person named Muhammad Yusuf, who was a learned and pious mystic (darwesh) person narrates from a person named Dost Muhammad who was also a pious learned (fadil) person who narrated the following incident:

I would usually go to a person who I was close to who was well known in tasawwuf but regarding whom I knew that his beliefs (aqaid) were not good. I would also go to another person whose company I found beneficial and outwardly he conformed to the sacred law (shariah), and I had full trust in both of them.

One day I got up for the Fajr prayer and the congregation was ready and about to begin, I wished to pray 2 units and then join the congregation, however just as I had formed my intention for this that both of these Shaykhs forms manifested in front of me and attempted to prevent me from praying. I wished to get rid of them and begin the prayer but despite my attempts I was unable to do so. One of the Shaykhs sat down at the place of prostration (sajda) in order to prevent me from prostrating. The other Shaykh stood next to me* and was preventing me…when I found I was unable to do anything I began to recite, ‘La Hawla…’ but I did not find this beneficial to my predicament. I was increasingly becoming more distressed and was aware that the time for the prayer was running out.

I then began to individually recite the names of the pious folk of the past, meaning the noble awliyah and great Prophets and seeking help from them. I then remembered that Hazrat-e-Aqdas (Shah Waliullah) had once said that at a time of distress or difficulty remember my name. As soon as I had called out/took the name of Hazrat-e-Aqdas and sought help from him that I saw that Hazrat-e-Aqdas appeared and with his two hands took both Shaykhs by the ear and banished them and saved me from this tribulation.

I thanked Allah for this and busied myself with the prayer, and this incident was a reason for my increased veneration of Hazrat-e-Aqdas.”

The Nasafi Creed

Salam

A project we are currently working on is a new English edition of the Nasafi creed with a set of simple and easy to understand explanatory notes. This text is  widely taught across the Muslim world, especially in areas where the Hanafi school is prevalent. The new edition we are preparing has the following features:

  1. The Arabic text of the Nasafi creed is presented checked against the Ottoman and other editions.
  2. The Edgar Earl translation has been relied upon with changes and improvements
  3. The text has been arranged in to chapters
  4. Basic explanatory notes have been added based primarily on the excellent contemporary commentary of Shaykh Abd al-Malik al-Sadi in addition to other works.
  5. The explanatory notes aim to present evidences from the Quran and Sunnah where possible, with very little by way of the ilm al-kalam arguments.

We hope that this work will be ready soon inshAllah.

Wassalam

Order of Events in the Afterlife

Salam

The following order of events to take place on the day of judgement has been summarized from a work on aqidah by Shaykh Mustafa al-Khin, (a recent Sunni scholar from Damascus).  I found it useful in its explaining how the different Quranic verses and hadith link together.

The order of events is as follows;

  • After the dead are resurrected they are taken to the gathering place.
  • They will head towards the Hawd (Lake)  as they will be thirsty.  Note: each Prophet will have a Hawd as per the hadith in Tirmidhi.
  • In the gathering place there will be intense heat as the sun draws closer.  Note:  some people will not suffer here as per the hadith of those shaded by the Throne.  A hadith in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad mentions that this stage will pass very quickly for the pious.
  • The great intercession of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) will then take place for the reckoning to begin.  This is after people rush to other prophets asking them to intercede.
  • Then the accounting (hisab) will take place of actions.  Note: people will differ on this stage, some bypassing it as being those who ‘enter paradise without being taken to account’.
  • After this a person receives their book regarding their actions.
  • Then there will be the weighing of actions.  Note:  those who have equal level good and bad actions are referred to as the people of Araf.
  • Then people will traverse the sirat, some falling off in to the hellfire.
  • Then people will enter Paradise, at their head the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace).

We ask Allah Taala to make us from those who drink from Hawd, are under the shade of the throne, are not taken to account, receive our books in the right hand, have a heavy scale of good actions. Traverse the sirat easily and enter Paradise. Amin

 

A Short Aqidah Poem

Naqawatul Aqidah

Salam

Please find below a draft translation of a short poem on Sunni belief authored by a Meccan scholar.  It succinctly sums up the basics a Muslim should know regarding their creed.  I had begun annotating it with some comments from the author’s own commentary, but that is on hold at this current time.

Wassalam

http://telegram.me/daralhadith

Jawharah Tawhid Review Lesson

Jawharah 1-20 Overview

Salam

Please see a message below for a project I am involved with.  The image above is a draft page from the skeleton notes.

Dear all, Asalaamu alaykum warahmatulLah,

A review of the Jawharah al-Tawhid poem in aqeedah, lines 1-20 will take place this Friday the 16th of October. This class is relevant to all students who have an interest in aqeedah. It is of particular significance to those who have attended our monthly Jawharah al-Tawhid classes as it will reinforce what has been covered along with important additional points and a set of skeleton notes. Those who have not attended these classes but have some previous study of aqeedah such as the Islamic Belief module of CIL are welcome to attend.

Venue: Castlefield community centre in High Wycombe (HP12 3LL)

Timing: 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Date:  Friday 16-Oct-2015

Please confirm attendance by emailing: info@daralhadith.org.uk

Ilm al-Ghayb Treatise – Sh. Ahmad al-Barzanji

Ilm Ghayb Barzanji 2

Salam

Please find uploaded the treatise on the issue of Ilm al-Ghayb by Shaykh Ahmad al-Barzanji of Madinah the illuminated, a copy of which was provided by Shaykh Khalid al-Turkestani from Mecca.  I have not read the treatise in full at the time of posting here, but I believe a copy of this work is much sought after by students of knowledge.

The file can be downloaded from here: Barzanji Ilm Ghayb.

Wassalam

Sharh Aqidah al-Awam Publication

aqida awam

Salam

A work which we have contributed to is the translation of the commentary on the primers text in belief taught in Hijaz, Hadramawt and South East Asia, namely the Aqidah al-Awam.  The commentary is written by Shaykh Muhammad Ihya Ulum al-Din based on the lessons of Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki.   It still puzzles me why larger more complex works on aqidah have been translated, but this basic work taught in numerous institutions of traditional Sunni learning has not attracted the attention of translators beyond the translation of the poem itself (a translation of which has been undertaken by a couple of scholars including Shaykh Ilyas Patel of the UK and Shaykh Mostafa Azzam of Canada in a slightly adapted form).

We started the serialised translation of the poem on this site some years back and the project was picked up by Shaykh Rami Nsour of the Tayba Foundation in the USA.  The text is currently being typeset and needs tidying up before Shaykh Rami decides how it should be distributed.

Please pray for the tawfiq and successful completion of this project and other projects such as the Bayquniyyah work mentioned on this site which is nearly complete.

Please find below a sample of the Table of Contents page.

Aqidah Awam Contents

Wassalam

Before You Listen to a Lecture on Imam al-Mahdi

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Salam

The topic of Imam al-Mahdi is one which naturally attracts the interest of concerned Muslims, not least in the times that we live in.    There is no doubt that belief in Imam Mahdi (Alaihi Salam) is part of our Sunni beliefs, however a more than normal interest in elusive information regarding the Imam’s appearance can be of concern.

Basic Principles

Those afflicted with an obsession with secretive information regarding the Imam’s appearance should apply a couple of principles to any lectures or lessons they hear regarding this topic, which can be summarized as follows:

  1. Authenticity of the hadith cited:  This is a crucial criteria which enables Sunni Islam to sift between reports which are authentic and those which have been invented or have been altered due to the bad memory of the narrator.  This central principle is what allows the Sunni Islam position on Imam al-Mahdi to be argued against the Shia position on Imam al-Mahdi, as the Shia books of hadith are replete with reports which support their claims regarding the Mahdi.
  2. Errors in Non Prophetic Sources:  Kashf and Ilham of the great Sufi Shuyukh is open to error and mistake, and to believe otherwise goes against the teachings of the great Sufi masters themselves [see below].   Likewise which Kashf and Ilham do you follow when there is clear disagreement between scholars on certain aspects of Imam al-Mahdi?  A good example is Allamah Adawi al-Hamzawi citing a pious person from centuries ago writing that he had met Imam al-Mahdi in person, that he was alive and when he had met him had already exceeded 100 years of age. It is of concern therefore when Kashf and Ilham of scholars is presented to audiences without explicit mention that it is based on Kashf and without highlighting it is open to error and may never materialise.

Distorted Picture

Thus with the combination of both weak or forged narrations and Kashf/Ilham a picture may be presented of the scenario at the end of times which is far from certain, the problem however the audience believes it to be an authentic relaying of how events will play out.  What then happens to the faith of believers if events unfold differently in reality, which is a realistic possibility?

The above points were brilliantly pointed out centuries ago by the great Indian hadith master Imam Ali al-Muttaqi, author one of the largest hadith collections of Sunni Islam, the Kanz al-Ummal.   His work on Imam al-Mahdi entitled Al-Burhan fi Alamat Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman is a collection of hadith on the topic of Imam al-Mahdi based primarily on Imam al-Suyuti’s work (printed in his Al-Hawi lil Fatawa).  Note: Imam al-Muttaqi however does not analyse the authenticity nor grade the narrations he has presented in his work.

Imam al-Muttaqi discusses in the preface of his work on Imam al-Mahdi (Alaihi Salam) a scholar in India who mistakenly made a claim of being the Mahdi.  He points out the root cause of this scholar and his followers misguidance was: 1.  Not understanding that a Wali can be wrong, as can his Kashf and Ilham. 2. Lack of knowledge of the hadith regarding the topic of the Mahdi.

Imam Ali al-Muttaqi’s Analysis 

In his work he says the following:

Ustadh Abul Qasim al-Qushayri and Imam Izz al-Din bin Abd al-Salam and other than them (Allah be pleased with them all) have said:  A murid should not have the belief that the Mashaikh are divinely protected from mistakes and errors.

Shaykh Abul Hasan al-Shadhili (Allah be pleased with him) said:  Allah Most High has guaranteed divine protection (from error) for the Book and the Sunnah, whereas there is no such guarantee for Kashf and Ilham.

It is known to the people of truth that many of the Mashaikh (Allah be pleased with all of them) who were of enlightened spiritual ranks (maqamat al-saniyyah) and lofty miracles – whom the people, both the elite and common man have been in agreement regarding their virtue, nobility and uprightness of their way – have laid claims to be the Mahdi.  Their description did not correspond with that which has been transmitted regarding the Mahdi in the Prophetic narrations and reports of the companions and Tabieen (Allah be pleased with them all).

Therefore there must be a reason for this phenomena, and this matter is not known except by one who understands the states of those who have drawn close (Muqarrabin), their statements and their spiritual stations.  He understands that these claims which issue forth from them are a necessary by product of their spiritual state and their spiritual rank which results in this claim emanating from them.

There is a group in India which has become numerous which holds the belief that a noble person born in India, his name being Al-Sayyid Muhammad bin Sayyid Khan al-Jaunpuri, who died (Allah have mercy on him) at around the age of 40, was the promised Mahdi who would emerge at the end of time.  His attributes did not correspond that which is related in the Prophetic narrations and reports from the companions and Tabieen (Allah be pleased with them all) regarding the promised Mahdi.  I saw that their belief in this matter was due to two reasons:

First:  Their not comprehending the difference between a Prophet and Wali, for it is known that the the difference between a Prophet and Wali is in many matters, as is explained in the relevant place [books of Aqidah], amongst these differences being:

A Prophet is divinely protected from sin (Masum), however a Wali is not so but rather is Mahfuz, meaning it is possible for a Wali to make a mistake and error, however he does not persist on it, as was stated by the author of Qawaid al-Tariqah.

In his book it is mentioned:  A Wali remains a Wali even if he commits a crime demanding a Hadd punishment which is applied on him, as long as he does not reach the level of being a Fasiq which is by habitually committing this sin.  The outward ruling of Wilayah is negated for him as related [in a hadith]:  “Do not curse him for he loves Allah and His Messenger.”

I say [Muttaqi al-Hindi]:  If a Wali does not leave the rank of Wilayah by committing a major sin, how can he exit from the rank of Wilayah by means of problematic words which are a necessary by product of their spiritual states?

The Second reason:  The belief of this group in this matter due to their not understanding principles of knowledge and having knowledge of the corpus of Prophetic narrations.  For I myself in the beginning of my matter was seeking to verify the belief of this group and accompanied them for some time.  I did not verify anything in this matter even when I travelled in India and discussed with its scholars regarding this matter. However when Allah Most High destined for me to travel to the the Two Noble Sanctuaries (Haramain) and I busied myself for ten years in the study of hadith and discussing with expert scholars regarding this matter, Allah Most High gave me understanding of the falsehood of the belief of this group, and All Praise and thanks are due to Him, and He is Most Knowledgeable of those who are rightly guided.

Also it is sufficient proof for the falseness of this group’s belief is their killing of the scholars, for this attribute of theirs points to the absence of any proof for their beliefs and their inability to prove their beliefs.  This attribute alone is sufficient to nullify their belief, so how is it if the Book and the Sunnah itself nullifies their belief and objectives?

We ask Allah Most High for protection from deviation, misguidance and oppression.