Category Archives: Aqidah

Before You Listen to a Lecture on Imam al-Mahdi



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.

Resting in Peace Part 2: Burial in the Prophetic Chamber



A common misunderstanding is that burial of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the room of Sayyidah Aishah (Allah be pleased with her) is from the special prophetic qualities (khasais al-nubuwwah) which do not apply to others.  Scholars have argued that this in incorrect as Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, Sayyiduna Umar (Allah be pleased with them) are also buried alongside the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).  Likewise Sayyidah Aishah initially wished to also be buried in the room as did Imam Hasan (Peace be upon him).

Sayyidah Aishah (Allah be pleased with her) would offer her prayers in the room containing the graves without any barrier between her and the noble graves, and on Fridays when space ran out in the masjid people would pray in the room containing the noble graves.

The details are furnished below:


The Companions Did Not Think it Unlawful to Bury in the Masjid itself

After the passing away of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) the prominent companions (Allah be pleased with them) differed over where he should be buried. Some said he should be buried in the masjid itself by the pulpit (minbar) or in the prayer area. Some said he should be buried alongside the other companions in al-Baqi; this was detailed by Imam Malik in al-Muwatta (1/231) and Hafiz Ibn Abd al-Barr in al-Tamhid (24/394).

The narration related to the where the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is currently buried is well known and does not require citing. What is important to note is that the initial difference regarding the specification of the burial location indicates that all of these locations were regarded as lawful places for burial, though agreement was finally reached on the current location.

The Burial of Non Prophets in the Prophetic Burial Chamber
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was buried in his room, after which his two companions were buried, after which Hasan was also given permission to buried there.  Burial in this location was also as the desire of Abd al-Rahman bin Awf and Aishah (Allah be pleased with them), all of which is a clear proof of the permissibility of burial in a building with a roof and building around a grave after burial. This is also negates the claims of those who state that burial in a building is  from the special unique qualities (khasais) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

It is also authentically reported that Sayyiduna Isa Ibn Maryam (Upon him be peace) will be buried in the room of Sayyidah Aishah (Allah be pleased with her) as detailed by Shaykh Abdullah bin al-Siddiq al-Ghumari in his two works Iqamat al-Burhan and Aqidah Ahl al-Islam.

Allamah al-Sayyid al-Samhudi in Wafa al-Wafa (2/557) said

There remains adjacent to the noble graves the space for one grave. This supported by that which is narrated by Aishah (Allah be pleased with her)…her granting permission to Hasan bin Ali (upon him be peace) to be buried in the room. However Bani Umayyah prevented the burial.
Likewise that which is related in Sahih al-Bukhari from Hisham bin Urwah that Aishah instructed Abdullah bin al-Zubair: ‘Do not bury me with them’ [meaning the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his two companions] rather bury me with the companions of al-Baqi…
Al-Ismaili related this and cited the additional wording: ‘There was the space of a grave in her house’, however in the Sahih it is mentioned that Umar bin al-Khattab when he sent the message to Aisha requesting to be buried alongside the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and Abu Bakr, she replied: I had wanted it for myself, however today I give others preference to it over myself.

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s Confirmation of the Above

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said in his Fath al-Bari (3/233)

The majority of scholars hold the view of the permissibilty of burial within buildings. Yazid bin Abdullah bin al-Shakhir instructed that he buried in his home, and he was buried there. Hasan attended his funeral and no one condemned this.

Sayyidah Aishah’s Offering Prayer in the Prophetic Chamber

For the duration that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and then Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) were buried in the room of Sayyidah Aishah (Allah be pleased with her) she would offer prayer in the room next to the noble grave. However when Sayydina Umar (Allah be pleased with him) was buried in the room she had a wall constructed between her and the graves, or would fully cover herself.

There are a couple of differing narrations detailing this in the Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d (2/294) the strongest of them being the following

Saeed bin Sulaiman informed us saying Abd al-Rahman bin Uthman bin Ibrahim informed us saying, I heard my father mention: Aishah would open her hijab up to the time when her father was buried alongside the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). When Umar was buried there she covered up fully and did not untie her hijab.

This is supported by that which is mentioned by Ibn Zabalah (as cited by Ibn Asakir in his Tuhfah p.224) that

Ismail bin Ubaydullah narrated to me from his father from Amrah from Aishah (Allah be pleased with her) that she said: I used to remove my hijab and wear my normal clothing until Umar was buried [in the room]. I then was always carefully observed my clothing until a wall was built between me and the graves.

Friday Prayer in the Prophetic Chamber Due to Lack of Space

When there was no space in the masjid people would enter the rooms of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and offer prayer therein.  Ibn Shabbah said in Tarikh al-Madinah (as cited by Ibn Najjar p.152 and Ibn Taymiyyah in Rad ala al-Akhnai p.121)

Al-Qanabi and Abu Ghassan narrated to me from Malik that: People would enter the rooms of the wives of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to pray therein on Fridays. This was after the passing away of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), this was when there was no space in the masjid.


And tawfiq is from Allah (Most High) alone, salutations and peace be upon the Prophet, his companions, mothers of the believers and those that follow them with goodness till the last day.

Resting in Peace Part 1: What Does Taking a Grave as a Masjid Mean?


Many people have been shocked at the behaviour of the violent thugs in Libya and their desecration of the Maqams of pious Muslims not least a companion of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).  There seems to be a fair amount of misinformation circulating amongst Muslims regarding the common phenomenon of masajid which are built adjacent to the graves of the pious, or include a grave within their complex.  The worrying effect of this misinformation is the tacit approval from certain scholars, people of authority (politicians) and lay people alike for the destruction of these graves, and more alarmingly the digging out of the graves and transferring of remains.

I hope to be able to post a range of different information correcting misunderstandings from the work Kashf al-Satoor (inshAllah); but due to time commitments am not sure whether this will be possible.  We ask Allah (Most High) for tawfiq to do so.  Please find the first installment below:


A common misunderstanding is that the hadith which prohibit taking the graves of the Prophets as a masjid mean that any grave within a masjid complex or adjacent to the main prayer hall are prohibited.  Our ulema who commented on this explained that this is not the meaning of the hadith, rather what is meant is that the actual grave itself is prostrated upon or that people offer their prayer in direction of the grave as opposed to the direction of Makka.

The hadith as related by Imam Al-Bukhari (435)  & Muslim (531) is as follows:

The Messenger of of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said in his final illness, “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians who took the graves of their Prophets as masajid.”


Masajid is the plural of masjid, which is the name of a physical place/location.  The hadith is referring to the actual place of the grave itself and is not referring to that which surrounds the grave, is adjacent to the grave, or is above the grave.

Allamah Ali al-Qari said in his Sharh al-Mishkat (1/470)

They made masajid upon them.  He said: the conditional clause [upon them] indicates that making a masjid adjacent to graves is permitted [la ba’s bihi].

Ibn Abd al-Barr said in Al-Tamhid (6/383)

This hadith contains the permissibility of supplicating against the people of disbelief, the prohibition of prostrating upon the graves of the Prophets.  This includes that it is prohibited to prostrate to anyone other than Allah (Azza wa Jall).  The hadith can be interpreted to mean that the graves of the Prophets are not taken as a qibla (direction of prayer) to which prayers are directed…A group claimed that this hadith is evidence that it is disliked to pray in a graveyard or with a graveyard in front of one, however I do not regard this to be a proof for this.

Ibn Abd al-Barr said at another place in Al-Tamhid (5/45)

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)  warned his companions and the rest of his community of the bad practices of the nations which had preceded him, who would offer prayer to the graves of the Prophets, taking them as a qibla and masjid (place of prostration).

Allamah al-Baydawi said:

When the Jews and Christians had prostrated to the graves of their Prophets out of honouring them and making them a qibla to which they would direct their prayers, taking them as idols.

Allamah al-Tibi said in Sharh al-Mishkat (2/235)

As for the person who makes a masjid adjacent to [the grave of] a pious person or prays in his cemetry, intending by it istizhar of his soul, or attaining a trace from his worship, not out of honouring or facing the direction of the grave and its like, then there is no harm in this.  Do you not see that the resting place of Ismail (Upon him be peace) is in the Masjid al-Haram at the Hateem?

Similar points were mentioned by Qadi Iyad in Ikmal al-Muallim (2/450-452); Imam al-Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim (3/17); Imam al-Qurtubi in al-Mufhim (2/128) and al-Turbushti in Mirat Sharh al-Mishkat (2/419).


Use Of The Term ‘Khuda’


Those readers from an Indo-Pak background will be familiar with the use of the term ‘Khuda’ for the name of Allah (Most High) in everyday speech.  I was recently reading something regarding its being permissible to use this name, as its original meaning in Persian does not contradict with Muslim beliefs.  None other than the great Imam al-Razi in his Tafsir al-Kabir (1/170) had the following to say about the origin of this word,

Their statement in Persian “Khudayi” means that He is necessarily existent (wajib al-wujud) due to His essence.  This is because or statement “Khudayi” is a compound word made up of two Persian words.  One of them is “Khud” which means: the essence of something, its person and its reality. 

The second is “Ayi” whose meaning is: He came.

Thus our saying “Khudayi” means that He came by Himself, which is an indication to that He is existent by Himself and due to His essence, not due to another.  Based on this the understanding of the term “Khudayi” is that He is existent by His essence.

Taken from Qamus al-Fiqh (1/421) of Mawlana Rehmani.

Khasais al-Nabawiyyah al-Sharifah


Please find below a translated extract from Habib Zayn bin Sumayyit’s basic primer on Sunni orthodoxy and methodology, entitled Ajwibah al-Ghaliyah.  In view of its usefulness I made some personal notes on this text a number of years ago (which I am still trying to locate).  Unfortunately my copy of the second edition was burnt along with a number of my other books recently, may Allah (Most High) reward Sidi Zyad Hossen for sending me the scans of the second edition.  Please find below a sample of one of the chapters (p31-32):

“His (Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace) Special Qualities

Q: What are his (Allah bless him and give him peace) special qualities?

A: Our Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) is distinguished over all of the Prophets by means of numerous special qualities:

From them is: That he is the seal of the Prophets and Messengers, and that there is no Prophet nor Messenger after him. He (Allah bless him and give him peace)said: ‘I am Muhammad the unlettered Prophet, there is no Prophet after me. I have been given the comprehensive word and its seal’. [Ahmad (1:172)]

From them is: His superiority over the Prophets,Messengers and all of creation. Abu Saeed al-Khudari(Allah be pleased with him) said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ‘I am the master of the children of Adam on the day of Judgement, and it is no boast. In my hand will be the banner of praise, and it is no boast. There will be no Prophet on that day-Adam and other than him- except below my banner. I am the first that the earth will open up for and it is no boast’.[Al-Tirmidhi (3148, 3615) and he said it was a hasan sahih hadith]

And in a version: ‘I am the noblest of the early and late ones to Allah, and it is no boast’.[Al-Tirmidhi (3616)]

And from them is: The generality of his (Allah bless him and give him peace) Messengership to the Jinn, humans, Arabs and non-Arabs. Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ‘I have been given five things which have not been given to those before me: I was given victory by fear the distance of a month. The earth was made a pure masjid for me, wherever a man from my community needs to pray, should pray. War booty was made lawful for me and it was not lawful for anyone before me. I have been given intercession, Prophets were sent to their communities specifically, and I have been sent to the whole of mankind’.[Al-Bukhari (328) Muslim (521)]

And from them is: Allah (most High) made his community the best of communities, and abrogated through his shariah all other shariah’s. Allah (most High) said: ‘It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion to manifest it over all other religions, even if the polytheists hate it’ [Tawba:33].

He (Most High) said: ‘He who follows other than Islam as a religion, it will never be accepted from him. And in the next life he will be from the losers’ [Al-Imran:85]

He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ‘No one from this ummah hears of me, a Jew or a Christian, and then dies and does not believe with that which I was sent with, except that he is from the people of the fire’. [Muslim (153)]



It appears that al-Hallaj is a favourite of the new age pseudo sufi movement whereas his heresy within orthodox Sunni circles appears to be well known.   In addition to this I came across an advert for a book from one of the major Indo-Pak scholars of the past which dealt with his case in a more detailed manner.  Those with access to this work please share, as for Imam al-Dhahabi he mentioned the following as cited in Fawaid al-Gharra (1/343):

Ibn Bakawayh said:  I heard Ibn Khafif being asked:  “What do you think about al-Hallaj?”
He replied:  “I believe that he is a Muslim”
It was said to him: “Many of the scholars declared him kafir and so did the majority of the Muslims”
He said: “If that which I saw from him when he was imprisoned was not Tawhid then there is no Tawhid in the world”

Imam al-Dhahabi commented on this saying:

This is a mistake from Ibn Khafif, for al-Hallaj at the time of his execution continued to affirm the oneness of Allah and cry: ‘Allah, Allah,  in my blood, I am upon Islam and disassociate from everything other than Islam’.
A heretic (zindiq) affirms the oneness of Allah outwardly, but his heresy is within him.  The hypocrites (Munafiqun) would affirm the oneness of Allah, would fast and pray outwardly, but their hypocrisy was in their hearts.

Al-Hallaj was not stupid (lit. not a donkey) that he would manifest his heresy in front Ibn Khafif and his like.  Rather he would manifest it with those whom he was sure of their being closely connected to him.  It is possible that he became a heretic and deviated, claimed divinity, practised magic and false supernatural feats for a period of time.  Then when affliction descended upon him and he saw that death was inevitable he embraced Islam and returned to the truth, and Allah knows best his inner state.  However we absolve ourselves-to Allah- from his statements, for they are pure disbelief.  And we ask Allah for well being and forgiveness.

Al-Hallaj was executed in the year 309.

Sharh Aqidah al-Awam: Four Necessary Attributes of the Prophets

Chapter Two

Regarding the Prophets and Messengers Blessings and Peace Be Upon Them

(What is Necessary in Regards to Them-Possible For Them-Their Protection-Impossible With Regards to Them-Their Number Mentioned In the Quran)

-What Is Necessary With Regards to Them (Blessings And Peace Be Upon Them)

The Author Allah have mercy on him said:

أَرْسَل أَنْبِياَء ذَوِىْ فَطَانَهْ   بِالّصِدْقِ وَالّتَبْلِيْغِ وَالأَمَانَهْ

He sent messengers possessing intelligence with truthfulness and conveying the message and trustworthiness


It is compulsory for every legally responsible person to believe that Allah تعالى has Prophets and Messengers.  He تعالى said:

The Messenger believes In what has been sent down to Him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. each one believes In Allâh, his angels, his Books, and his Messengers. they say, “We make no distinction between one another of his Messengers” – and they say, “We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, Our Lord, and to You is the return.” [al-Baqarah:285]

And it is upon him to know that which is necessary with regards to them, that which is impossible and that which is conceivable.  There are four attributes which are necessary with regards to them:

1) Intelligence: The proof for this is that if intelligence was negated for them they would be unable to establish a proof against an opponent, and this is impossible because the Quran has shown in numerous places their establishing the proof against an opponent.  From it is His تعالى words:

And that was Our proof which we gave Ibrâhim against his people. we raise whom we will In degrees. certainly Your Lord is All­Wise, All­Knowing. [al-Anam:83]

And His تعالى words:

They said: “O Nûh! You have disputed with us and much have You prolonged the dispute with us, now bring upon us what You threaten us with, if You are of the truthful.”   [Hud:32]

And His تعالى words:

And debate with them In a Way that is better [al-Nahl:125].

And also because we have been ordered/instructed to follow, and the one being followed is not unintelligent.

2) Truthfulness: The evidence/proof for this is His تعالى words:

Allâh and his Messenger had spoken the truth. [al-Ahzab:22]

And His تعالى words:

And the Messengers spoke truth!   [Yasin:52]

And His تعالى words:

And mention In the Book Ismâ’il. Verily! He was true to what He promised, and He was a Messenger, (and) a Prophet [Maryam:54]

And because if lying was possible for them it would necessitate a lie in what He تعالى Has informed which is impossible.

3) Conveying: The evidence/proof for this are His تعالى words:

O Messenger! proclaim which has been sent down to You from Your Lord. and if You do not, Then You have not conveyed his Message. [al-Maidah:67]

And His تعالى words:

Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning In order that mankind should have no plea against Allâh after the Messengers.  [al-Nisa:165]

Giving of glad tidings and warning is not complete except by conveying, for if they did not convey the sacred laws to people they would have been concealing it. This is impossible because it necessitates concealment which is a great deficiency/shortcoming such that anyone who falls short in regards to the sacred law would have an excuse to dispute with Allah تعالى and argue claiming of lack of conveyance, and Allah تعالى has negated this in the previous verse.

4) Trustworthiness: The evidence/proof for this are His تعالى words:

I am to you a trustworthy Messenger [al-Dukhan]

And His تعالى words:

Certainly Allâh likes not the treacherous. [al-Anfal:58]

And because if they were treacherous by committing an unlawful or disliked act that unlawful and disliked act would become obedience  with regards to them, because Allah تعالى has ordered us to follow them in their statements, actions and states.

Sharh Aqidah al-Awam: That Which Is Possible In Regards To Allah تعالى

Salam, please find the latest draft translation from our beloved Shaykh Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki’s commentary on the ‘Aqidah al-Awam’.

That Which Is Possible In Regards To Allah تعالى

The author said:

وَجَائِزٌ بِفَضْلِهِ وَعَدْلِهِ    تَرْكٌ لِكُلِّ مُمْكِنٍ كَفِعْلِهِ

And conceivable with His grace and justice is to leave every possible matter, like doing it


That which is possible in regards to Allah تعالى is the doing of all that is possible or its being left.  Therefore it is compulsory upon every legally responsible person to believe that it is possible for Allah تعالى to create and choose from His creation as He wishes.  Nothing is compulsory in Him because He is the absolute disposer, and no one has any choice with Him, because in His hands are all matters, the good and the bad. Thus He gives and prevents, honours and debases, benefits and harms, forgives and punishes, rewards and takes to account.  Heتعالى said:

And Your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses, no choice have they (in any matter).  [al-Qasas: 68]

And He تعالى said:

Say (O Messenger of Allah ): “O Allâh! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the Kingdom to whom You will, and You take the Kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do All things.  You make the night to enter into the day, and You make the Day to enter into the night, You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. and You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will, without limit.

And He تعالى said:

To Allâh belongs All that is In the heavens and All that is on the earth, and whether You disclose what is In Your ownselves or conceal it, Allâh will call You to account for it. Then He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. and Allâh is Able to do All things. [al-Baqarah:384]

Sharh Aqidah al-Awam: The Attributes of Allah (The Exalted)

Salam, please find the next installment in this series, namely Shaykh Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki’s commentary on Imam al-Marzuqi’s poem ‘Aqidah al-Awam’  (as recorded by his student Ustadh Muhammad Ihya Ulum al-Din).  I have made omitted some minor things from the chapter.  Note:  This is a draft work in need of revision.

Chapter One

Regarding the Attributes of Allah (the Exalted)

 (That which is necessary with regards to Him the Exalted- That which is possible with regards to Him the Exalted- That which is impossible with regard to Him the تعالى)

 – That which is necessary with regards to Him the Exalted

 The author Allah have mercy on Him said:

وبَعْدُ فَاعْلَمْ بِوُجُوْبِ المَعْرِفَهْ    مِنْ وَاجِبٍ ِللهِ عِشْرِيْنَ صِفَهْ   

After, know the necessity of knowing the twenty attributes which are necessary for Allah

    فَاللهُ مَوْجُودٌ قَدِيْمٌ بَاقِىْ    مُخَالِفٌ لِلخَلْقِ بِالإِطْلاَقِ      

So Allah has existence, without beginning, everlasting, different from the creation absolutely

   وَقَائِمٌ غَنِىٌّ وَوَاحِدٌ وَحَىْ    قَادِرٌ مُرِيْدٌ عَالِمٌ بِكُلِّ شَىْء       

Self Subsisting without any need, the One and the Living, Powerful, Willing, Knower of everything

          سَمِيْعٌ البَصِيرُ وَ الُمتَكَلِّمُ     لَهُ صِفَاتٌ سَبْعةٌ تَنْتَظِمُ         

All Hearing, All Seeing and Speaking, He has seven attributes which consist

    فَقُدْرَةٌ إِرَادةٌ سَمْعٌ بَصَرْ     حَياَةٌُ العِلمُ كَلامُ استَمَرْ

So they are Power, Will, Hearing and Seeing, Life, Knowledge, Speech which is continuous

Commentary:  It is compulsory upon every responsible person to know from the attributes of Allah those which are necessary with regards to Him:  Which is that whose absence the intellect cannot comprehend. 

That which is impossible with regards to Him: Which is whose existence the intellect cannot comprehend. 

And the permissible:  Which with regards to Him is that which is correct for the intellect to comprehend the existence and absence of

Likewise it is compulsory for him to know the likes of it with regards to the Messengers (upon them blessings and peace).  The author began in these verses by mentioning that which is necessary with regards to Him (تعالى), and they are twenty attributes detailed as follows:

1) Existence: Meaning the establishment (thubut) of a thing.  It is certainly necessary for Him (تعالى) due to His essence  and not due a cause, meaning that other than Him has not effected/caused His (تعالى)  existence.

As for existence which is other than from the essence (ghair dhati) such as our existence, then it is by His (تعالى) action.  The evidence for this is the existence of this creation, for if it was not for Him (Glorified and Exalted is He) there would be nothing from the creation (in existence).

He (تعالى) said:

Verily! I am Allah, There is no god except Me, so worship Me [Ta-Ha:14]

And He (تعالى) said: 

Do they not think deeply about themselves, Allah has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny the Meeting with their Lord. [al-Rum:8]

 The desert Arab was asked regarding the proof, he replied:

The droppings point to the (existence) of the camel and donkey, and the footsteps to the traveller. So the heavens containing stars, and the earth with its mountain passes, and oceans and with its waves, do they not point towards a wise, powerful, all knowing creator?

2)  Without Beginning:  It is the absence of a beginning to His (تعالى) existence.  Meaning that He (تعالى) has no beginning to His existence because He (جل شأنه) is the origin (masdar) of this universe, and creator of all that exists.  Therefore He must precede it all, and nothing precedes Him (تعالى).  He (تعالى) said:

He is the First and the Last , the Most High and the Most Near. And He is the All-Knower of every thing [al-Hadid:3]

3) Everlasting:  It is His (تعالى) existence not coming to an end, meaning that He (تعالى) is continually existent without limit, and everlasting without end.  He (تعالى) said:

Everyone in it is annihilating and there only continues the Face of your Lord the Owner of Majesty and Generosity [al-Rahman:26-27] 

And He (تعالى) said: 

Everything will perish save His Face. His is the Decision, and to Him you (all) shall be returned. [al-Qasas:88]

4) His (تعالى) Non Resemblance to All Events:  It is the dissimilarity of any created thing to Him (سبحانه و تعالى), He (تعالى) said: 

There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is All Hearing and All Seeing.  [al-Shura:11]

And He (تعالى) said: 

And there is none like unto Him. [al-Ikhlas:4]

5) His (تعالى) Subsisting by Himself:  It is the absence of His needing a place in which he resides or location in which he dwells, or someone to bring Him into existence.  Rather He is without need of all that is other than Him.  He تعالى) said:   

(All) faces shall be humbled before (Him) – the Living, the Self-Subsisting  [Taha:111]

 He (تعالى) said:

O mankind! It is you that have need of God: but God is the One Free of all wants, worthy of all praise. [Fatir:15]

 He (تعالى) said:

For God is free of all needs from all creation [al-Ankabut:6]

6)  Oneness:  It is the absence of a multiplicity in His (تعالى) essence (dhat), Attributes (sifat) and Actions (afal). 

The meaning of oneness of the essence is:  That His essence is not constructed from parts, and that He has no partner in His dominion.

The meaning of oneness in attributes is:  That no one has an attribute which resembles any of His attributes.

The meaning of the oneness of actions is:  That no one other than Him (تعالى)  has any action.  For Allah is the creator of everything and originator of everything,  and He (تعالى) is independent in creating and originating.  He         (تعالى) said:

Glory be to Him! He is God, the One, the Irresistible. [al-Zumar:4]

He (تعالى) said:

And your God is One God: There is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. [al-Baqarah:163]

He (تعالى) said:

Say: He is God, the One and Only [al-Ikhlas:1]

 He (تعالى) said:

If there were, in them both other gods besides God, there would have been confusion in both! [al-Anbiyah:22]

He (تعالى) said:

No son did God beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to God! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him [al-Muminun:91]

7) Power:  It is a beginning less attribute established in His (تعالى) essence by which He brings into existence and non existence. 

Indeed God has power over all things. [al-Nur:45]

He (تعالى) said:  

 Nor is God to be frustrated by anything whatever in the heavens or on earth: for He is All-Knowing. All-Powerful. [Fatir:44]

8 ) Will:  It is a beginning less attribute established in His (تعالى) essence by which He specifies that which is possible with that which is possible for Him.  For He (سبحانه و تعالى) can dispose in the universe in accordance to his volition, will and wisdom.  So He may make this tall or short, beautiful or ugly, knowledgeable or ignorant in this place or in another. He (تعالى) said:   

For to anything which We have willed, We but say the word, “Be”, and it is. [al-Nahl:40]

He (تعالى) said:  

Your Lord does create and choose as He pleases: no choice have they (in the matter): Glory to God! and far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)! [al-Qasas:68]

He (تعالى) said:  

Say: “O God! Lord of Power (And Rule), You give power to whom You please, and You strip off power from whom You please: You bestow honour whom you pleases, and you disgrace whom you please: In Your hand is all good. Verily, over all things You have power. [Aal-Imran:26]

He (تعالى) said:  

To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows (children) male or female according to His Will, Or He bestows both males and females, and He leaves barren whom He will: for He is full of Knowledge and Power. [al-Shura:49-50]

9) Knowledge: It is a beginning less attribute established in His (تعالى) essence by which He knows things.  He (تعالى) said:  

God has full knowledge of all thing. [al-Mujadilah:7]

He (تعالى) said:  

God comprehends, all things in (His) Knowledge. [al-Talaq:12]

He (تعالى) said:  

It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. [Qaf:16]

10) Life:  It is a beginning less attribute of His essence which it is correct to attribute with Power, Will, Knowledge, Hearing, Seeing and Speech.  For if He (تعالى) was not living these attributes would not be established for Him.  He     (تعالى) said:  

And put your trust in Him Who lives and dies not [al-Furqan:58]

He (تعالى) said:  

He is the Living (One): There is no god but He: Call upon Him, giving Him sincere devotion. [Ghafir:65]

11-12) Hearing and Sight:  They are both beginning less attributes established in His (تعالى) essence by which that which exists is revealed.  For Allah (تعالى) is All Hearing, and hears everything even the creeping of a black ant over a smooth rock during a dark night.  He is All Seeing, viewing everything with a sight which is includes all that can be comprehended.  He  (تعالى) said:  

God has indeed heard the statement of the woman who pleads with thee concerning her husband and carries her complaint (in prayer) to God: and God (always) hears the arguments between both sides among you: for God hears and sees (all things) [al-Mujadilah:1]

He (تعالى) said: 

Go, both of you, to Fir’aun (Pharaoh), verily, he has transgressed, And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah. They said: “Our Lord! Verily! We fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress (all bounds against us).He (Allah) said: “Fear not, verily! I am with you both, hearing and seeing.  [Taha:43-46]

13) Speech:  It is a beginning less attribute established in His essence, it is neither letter nor sound, indicating to all that is known.  He (تعالى) said:  

And to Moses God spoke direct [al-Nisa:164]

He (تعالى) said:  

When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord spoke to him, [al-Araf:143]

He (تعالى) said:  

It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration [al-Shura:51]

If Power, Will, Knowledge, Life, Hearing, Sight, Speech are necessary for Him (تعالى), then it is natural that the following attributes also be necessary for Him, and they are: 

14) That He is Powerful

15) That He is Willing

16) That He is Knowledgeable

17) That He is Living

18) That He is All Hearing

19) That He is All Seeing

20) That He is Speaking

These twenty attributes are subdivided into four categories:

1) Attributes of Self (Sifah al-Nafsiyyah):  Linked/related to the self, meaning the essence.  The attribute of the self is that which the essence cannot be rationally conceived of being without, and it is one:  Existence.

2) Attributes of Negating (Sifat al-Salbiyyah):  Linked/related to [the term] negating, meaning nullifying.  They are named negating because they negate from Allah (Exalted) that which does not befit His Majesty.  And they are five:  Without beginning, Everlasting, Non resemblance to all events, Self Subsisting, and Oneness.

3) Attributes of Meaning (Sifat al-Maani):  They are named as ‘Meaning’ because they affirm for Allah (Exalted) meanings existing and established in His essence befitting His perfection, and they are seven:  Power, Will, Knowledge, Life, Hearing, Seeing, Speech.

4) Attributes Pertaining to Meaning (Sifat al-Manawiyyah):  Linked/related to the seven (attributes) of meaning of which they are a branch.  They are named as ‘pertaining to meaning’ because they are necessarily follow from the meanings.  They are that He is: Powerful, Willing, Knowledgeable, Living, All Hearing, All Seeing, Speaking.

The wisdom in mentioning these ‘attributes pertaining to meaning’ despite their being included in the aforementioned ‘attributes of meaning’ are the following:

i) Mentioning the beliefs in a detailed manner, because the danger of ignorance in it is great.

ii) A refutation of Mutazilah, as they deny them

Sincerity- Allamah Nawawi al-Jawi al-Bantani


I have not been posting as regularly as I would have liked, but I have been working (slowly) on the commentary of the ‘Aqidah al-Awam’ and other projects some of which Insha-Allah I will post on here (may Allah the Exalted give us tawfiq to complete them).

I recently purchased two additional commentaries of the ‘Aqidah al-Awam’, one by the author himself, and the other by the great Malay scholar Allamah Muhammad Nawawi al-Jawi, both of which contain points of benefit that I hope to append to Sayyid Maliki’s commentary. One passage which caught my attention from Allamah Nawawi al-Jawi’s commentary (Nur ul-Zallam p.275-276) was the following:

Know that sincerity has three levels

The First: To worship Allah, or to do a thing not desiring reward, nor fleeing from punishment, but because He is your Lord and you are His slave, and this is the highest of them

The Second: To worship Him or perform an act of obedience seeking reward and fearing punishment, or desiring paradise or fearing the hellfire. And this is the middle.

The Third: To worship Him in order to be ennobled by worshipping Him, and to be associated with Him (Most High) so that it is said: This is a worshipper and righteous person. Or to to a thing to attain the dunya such as if you read Surah al-Waqiah for wealth and its like. And this is the lowest of them. For if you did it to show off or for fame this is unlawful for you due to the absence of sincerity (ikhlas).

Fudayl bin Iyad said: Leaving an action due to people is showing off (riya), and action due to people is polytheism (shirk), and sincerity is that Allah (Most High) protects/saves you from them both.