Category: Aqidah

Sharh Aqidah al-Awam of Sayyid al-Maliki: The Story of The Poem

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One of my favourite Aqidah texts is the beginners poem on belief named ‘Aqidah al-Awam’ (The common/lay persons belief) written by Shaykh Ahmad al-Marzuqi al-Maliki.  I obtained a useful commentary on this poem many years ago by the Muhaddith of the Haramayn:  Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki which was transcribed by his student Shaykh Muhammad Ihya Ulum al-Din from the teaching of this text in sacred city of Makkah in the late 1970’s.

I had been puzzled for some time why this wonderful work has seemingly been ignored by translators (not least as it is the first text studied by students of knowledge in many parts of the Muslim world) whilst other more detailed and complex works have been translated and offered to the English speaking public.  I pray that we have the tawfiq to be able to present all of this brief commentary on this blog in the upcoming months, Ameen.  Please find below an extract from pg 11-12 of Sayyid Malikis commentary compiled by his wonderfully named student (Muhammad Ihya Ulum al-Din).  The commentary states:

The Reason For the Composition of This Poem
A unique story is reported from the author regarding the reason for his composing this poem which we will make mention of, and it is:

The author (Allah have mercy on him) saw the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his companions (Allah be pleased with them) standing around him (in a dream). He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to him:

Recite the poem of al-Tawhid which whomsoever memorizes it will enter paradise, and will attain all that is desired from every good which is in conformity with the Book and the Sunnah.

He said to him:

What is that poem O Messenger of Allah?

The Companions said to him:

Listen to the Messenger of Allah to what he says. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: Say  أَبدَأُ بِسْمِ اللهِ وَالّرَحْمن

So he said:

أَبدَأُ بِسْمِ اللهِ وَالّرَحْمن

To its end which are his words:

وَصُحُفُ الخَلِيْلِ وَالكَلِيم فِيْهَا كَلاَمُ الحَكَمِ العَلِيْم

Whilst the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was listening to him. When he awoke from his sleep he recited that which he had seen in his dream and found that it was preserved with him from its beginning to its end. He then saw the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) a second time in a dream at the time before dawn, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to him:

Recite that which you have gathered (meaning in your heart).

So he recited it from its beginning to its end whilst standing in front of him (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his companions standing around him saying: ‘Ameen’ after every verse of this poem. When he had completed his recitation the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

May Allah (the Exalted) give you success to that which pleases Him, and accept that from you, and bless you and the believers, and benefit the slaves by it, Ameen.

The author was then questioned after people came to know of the poem, so he answered their question, and added to it the poem from his words:
كُلُّ مَا أَتَى بِهِ الّرَسُوْلُ فَحَقُّهُ الّتَسْلِيمُ وَالقَبُوْلُ until the end of the poem. This is what the author has informed regarding himself, and we have conveyed it exactly, and the responsibility is upon the narrator.

Categories: Aqidah

Divine Protection

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Salam. I was looking over the draft translation of a wonderful classical work on the virtues/excellence of the Prophet (Allah bless Him and give Him peace), soon to be released by a publisher I work with. A discussion related to the subject matter below comes up in the text, I submitted the following footnotes lest any confusion may ensue in the mind of the unwary reader who may misunderstand the authors intent. I will post more details closer to the release date of this short booklet which is a must read. Wassalam
Imam Abu Hanifah said in ‘Fiqh al-Akbar’ p.48:
The Prophets (upon them be peace) are free from minor and major sins

Abul Muntaha adds to this in his commentary:
Meaning before Prophethood and after it

Mulla Ali al-Qari in his ‘Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar’ p.69 comments:
This protection/immunity is established for the Prophets before Prophethood and after it according to the more correct opinion

Going on to add importantly that p.73:
In it is a proof that His Prophethood was not limited to that which is after 40 (years of age) as a group have said. Rather there is an indication that from the day of His birth He is attributed with the quality of Prophethood. Rather the hadith: ‘I was a Prophet when Adam was between a soul and body’ is a proof that He was attributed with the quality of Prophethood in the world of souls before the creation of bodies.

Imam Ibn Abidin said in his ‘Rasail’ p.307:
They are protected/immune from minor and major (sins) before Prophethood and after it, whether deliberately or forgetfully

(Taken from Mufti Madarullah Madar’s book on the issue)

Categories: Aqidah Sayyidi

Qattar Sunni- definitions of orthodoxy

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What is a Sunni is something which has plagued us all at some time, from those who have faced the inquisition at the local masjid about their “aqidah”, or on the other hand have had to trawl through all the different groups vying for a young muslims mind and soul, some clarity on the subject is greatly needed. Presented below are some extracts and summaries of points from Sheikh Wahbi Suleiman al-Albani ( a pillar of orthodoxy in this age) work on the issue of orthodox belief.

Development of the Science of Tawhid

The scholars of Islam did not invent anything new when they compiled and wrote books on Islamic belief, the need arose to write down and teach the correct muslim belief in a systematic way due to various deviant groups arising such as the Shiah, Khawarij, Mutazilah etc. In order to preserve the correct Islamic belief the scholars of the religion came forward to preserve and protect the aqidah, they wrote books and compiled works to preserve the belief as it was originally revealed. The earliest of them to write about aqidah was Imam Abu Hanifah rh who wrote Fiqh al-Akbar, after him of note was Imam Abul Hasan al-Ashari rh who destroyed the people of innovation in his age and so on down the centuries.

Definition of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaah

Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaah are those who cling/stick to the way/path of the sunnah that the Messenger of Allah (s) gave us, and that which the sahabah followed.

The 2 main head scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah are:

1- Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi d.333

2- Imam Abul Hasan al-Ashari d.330

Qadi al-Baydawi said: “If we use the term ahl al-sunnah wal-jamaah what is meant are the ashari’s and maturidi’s.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Saffarini al-Hanbali al-Athari said: “ Ahl al-Sunnah consists of 3 groups: al-Athariyyah whose Imam is Ahmad bin Hanbal rh, al-Ashariyyah whose Imam is Abul Hasan al-Ashari rh, and the Maturidi’s whose Imam is Abu mansur al-Maturidi”

he also went on to mentioned that the four Imams , Compilers of the six books and others are all upon the salafi athari aqidah (Lawami al-Anwar p.73+22)

Allamah Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi in his book al-Farq bain al-Firaq said: “ Know may Allah be pleased with you – that ahl al-sunnah wal Jamaah is composed of 8 categories (of people)”

he then went on to mention them as being

1) Scholars of the 4 madhabs and their followers

2) Scholars of hadith

3) Scholars of Arabic Grammar

4) Scholars of Tafsir

5) The Sufi’s

6) The People making Jihad

7) The general masses of the muslims

Imams Abul Hasan and Abu Mansur were the heads in defining /clarifying the belief of ahl al-sunnah wal-jamaah, they did not innovate anything but rather they clarified and gave examples and laid down principles, and their teaching was passed on by the brilliant scholars of ahl al-sunnah until today.

Differences Between the Maturidis and Ashari’s

The differences between the Maturidi’s and the Ashari’s are not in the matters of the fundamentals of belief and its principles, their differences do not occur in the matters of the attributes of Allah.

One of the scholars has said the differences between the Ashari’s and Maturidi’s is a difference in understanding the meaning intended in some texts (nusus) or what can be derived from some of the evidences.

Definitions of terms Salaf and Khalaf

al-Salaf: They are the predecessors, the salaf of a person are his: forefathers, meaning your ancestors that passed before you.

Al-Kashani said: al-salaf al-salih is the first generation, those who strive in knowledge, guided by the guidance of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) preserving his sunnah, whom Allah chose to accompnay the Prophet, and chose them to be the Imams of his deen…

Abul Hasan said: They are the sahba in their actions and speech and that which they deduce in ijtihad.

Al-Ghazali said: al-salaf: meaning the madhab of the sahabah and tabieen.

Al-Bajuri said: what is meant by salaf are those who have preceded from the anbiyah, sahabah, Tabieen, Tabi tabieen and especially the four mujtahid Imams.

Sheikh al-Buti said: The technical menaing for this word is/are the first 3 generations in age of this islamic/muslim ummah, the ummah of Sayyidina Muhammad (Allah bless him and give peace), for its source are the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Masud ra: The best generation is my generation, then those that follow them, then those that follow them….

al-Khalaf: They are a large and numerous group from the Imams and trustworthy scholars from the fuqaha and mijtahidin, and scholars of usul al-din, tafsir, hadith and Arabic language that came after the third century.

Categories: Aqidah