Islam a comprehensive guide to the reality, legislation, beliefs and laws ()

Muhammad ibn Ibraheem al-Hamad

 

Islam a comprehensive guide to the reality, legislation, beliefs and law

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 Islām A Comprehensive Guide to the Reality, Legislation, Beliefs & Laws

of the World’s Fastest Growing Religion

The treatise that won first place prize in the international competition ‘This is Islam’ organized by the WorldWide Association for Introducing Islam (WWAII) - a subsidiary of the Muslim World League (MWL)

Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim al-Hamad

Translated by Saad Dawud Burbank

 Foreword

Foreword of the WorldWide Association for Introducing Islam (WWAII), a subsidiary of the Muslim World League (MWL)

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All praise is for Allah alone, and may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah – our Prophet Muhammad – and upon his family, his Companions, and upon those who aid them.

To proceed:

The need of humanity for Islam is great, rather their need for it is dire. The souls of people are unhappy and content except when they turn to their Lord and their Creator; and the condition of people individually, society as a whole, or nations in their entirety, will not be upright except by them following the legislation of their Creator, He Who knows that which contains within it their well-being and success.

It is of no surprise – then – that which we see the non-Muslim societies having attained from the splendour of this world that which they have attained; from luxury, freedom, indulging in desires - not having anybody to hold them to account or anything to prevent them – living in a state of worry, loss, and pure materialism which controls much of what they do.

How can that not be the case when they have not reached the divine methodology that purifies their souls and holds the answers to all that confuses them!?

Due to this, from the obligations and responsibilities upon the nation of Islam is that it undertakes and strives ardently - on behalf of humanity - to spread the guidance of Islam, and to make clear its fine qualities, its universality, and its justice – in order that the definitive proof of Allah is established, and in order that those whom Allah wishes are guided.

The people of Islam - both in the past and present – have carried out a great deal in this regard. However, in these times, the affair is graver, with there being a greater need to multiply efforts, and to dress the call to Islam in garments conforming to modern times and its people; so as to withstand the fakery and deception of the misleading, spiteful media; and so that Islam is acquitted from the actions of some of those who falsely ascribe themselves to it –while in fact they are far removed from its guidance –; and in order to oppose everything preventing the people from being introduced to Islam – the religion by way of which Allah completed His favor upon humanity, and is pleased with as the being the final, comprehensive religion until the day of Judgement.

Thus, it is from the primary aims of the WorldWide Association for Introducing Islam (WWAII) – a subsidiary of the Muslim World League (MWL) – to contribute in this field. From its contributions is that it saw – after consultation, discussions, and travelling to many parts of the world – the need to compile material that introduces Islam and displays its fine qualities.

Many attempts have been made to achieve this, in need of being rephrased and edited, in order to conform with modern times – as aforementioned – by following rigorous academic practices, without being excessive or falling short; or, as the researcher says: "The language used is far from being overpowering or provocative, as well as being distant from partisanship and weakness.

As a result, the idea of launching a research competition arose, under the name of "This is Islam", and it was circulated throughout all of the universities in the Islamic world, in the hope that the largest possible number would participate. A panel of experienced, specialized judges were chosen from amongst the professors of the reputable universities – succeeding which the arduous submissions were received.

However, the best and most deserving of being awarded with first place was the scholar and litterateur: Dr. Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Hamad – who clearly surpassed his peers to be honoured singly with first place position – and was given the appropriate marks in all areas; due to his treatise being comprehensive, inclusive, well-presented and discussed, gathering between classical and contemporary sources, in addition to his research being well referenced.

The result was this fine, unique piece of work; which we hope will aid in introducing Islam and assist the callers to Allah in inviting to Islam.

I ask Allah to bless this treatise, and to facilitate its translation into all of the worlds languages.

Just as I ask Him – the Exalted and Most High – to reward the researcher, his colleagues, and the panel of judges with the best reward. May He make us guides to good, preventers of evil, and blessed wherever we are.

Written by:

Habib Muhammad al-Harithi

Acting Secretary-General of the WorldWide Association for Introducing Islam (WWAII)

al-Madinah al-Munawwarah

1/12/1434H

 Introduction

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All praise is for Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah - our Prophet Muhammad - , his family, his Companions, and upon those who aid them.

To proceed:

Islam is the seal of all religions, and the most comprehensive and universal of them all. Allah the Mighty and Majestic completed it; and He perfected His favour upon the servants by way of it, and He is pleased with it as their religion.

The subject of Islam has many branches and aspects to it – making it a discussion that starts and never ends. This is due to Islam containing the details and rulings pertaining to everything. Allah says:

[مَّا فَرَّطنَا فِي ٱلكِتَبِ مِن شَيء] Sura al-An’am (6):38

 [Meaning: We have neglected nothing in the Book.]

So, there is not a single matter – small or great – from the matters of belief, action, legislation, or etiquette, that Islam did not make mention of. Rather it encompassed all matters; either generally or specifically – whether in relation to the nation in its entirety, or those affairs that concern a person specifically.

The Messenger of Islam – Muhammad  – did not depart this world except after making clear to the nation all they required regarding their religious affairs. So, he conveyed the message of his Lord, and he established the proof upon the people after him.

This study that is between your hands aims to give a comprehensive outlook on the religion of Islam.

Nevertheless, it is impossible for any author – however eloquent he may be – to fulfil such a task as is befitting. This is because – as has preceded – of the lengthiness of the topic and its many branches.

The problem lies not in the lack of availability of knowledge, historical material, or the like. Rather the problem lies in the number of topics wanting to be discussed in order to comprise a book that is clear and concise. Without a doubt, this goal is a formidable and difficult achievement.

Furthermore, another challenge faced was how to effectively communicate the religion of Islam by showing it in its true light – something that every seeker of the truth should have knowledge of – and uncovering that which it contains from tremendous good for all of humanity. This required additional care and precision.

I strove to fulfil this great goal and tried as much as I was able to summarize this treatise; however, it overcame me and increased in its size. This is because each of its sections – rather each of its subsections – is worthy of being researched separately and studied independently to be published in individual theses.

Due to the aforementioned I abridged much; in order to touch upon all of the topics with brevity, while adapting a modernistic approach.

That being said – then however large this work may be – it remains a humble effort; as reflected by the research plan and strategy.

Research plan: The research plan comprises an introduction, eight parts, and a conclusion. This is further broken down as follows:

Part One: The Reality of Islam, the Sources of its Legislation, and its Pillars

Part Two: The Pillars of Faith

Part Three: Muhammad  - the Seal of all of the Prophets and Messengers

Part Four: Regarding the Knowledge of the Unseen

Part Five: Regarding Sin, Repentance, and Supplication

Part Six: Political, Economic, & Social Systems in Islam & the Role of the Family Unit

Part Seven: The Islamic Stance Regarding Certain Contemporary Issues

Part Eight: Proof of the Truth of Islam

These eight parts make up the main topics of the treatise, with each part being broken down into chapters, and each chapter into sections. Occasionally, some of the chapters have a prologue to give background when needed.

Conclusion: A brief summary of all the topics contained in the treatise.

Research strategy: The researcher took care to observe the following points throughout his research:

1 – Great effort was made to ensure the topics of the treatise were separate from each other, while remaining linked at the same time. The topics are separate in the sense that each of them is deserving of being researched independently, but likewise linked in the sense that they complement and follow on from each other. This is from the perfection of Islam – that each of its aspects are complementary and interconnected – with it being impossible to separate a part of it from the rest of it.

2 – Effort was made to ensure a mild tone was adhered throughout the treatise, taking the mindsets of both Muslims and non-Muslims alike into consideration; and in particular the western mindset. The language used is far from being overpowering or provocative, giving it a greater chance of being accepted. This is also achieved by verifying the authenticity and accuracy of information, as well as striving to clarify the truth with its evidence.

A conscious effort was made to gain acceptance from the reader by gathering between classical and contemporary styles; with the classical style providing strength to the research, and the contemporary style aiding in conveying the message to the various target audiences.

3 – Care was taken to ensure the treatise was presented and written well. This was achieved via:

i. The treatise following the format and style of a research paper – with quotations, referencing, etc, being used throughout.

ii. Attention was paid to ensure correct usage of language, grammar, and punctuation throughout.

iii. Adhering to research principles and practices, with effort made in striking a balance between the treatise being formal and unappealing, and between it being informal and inviting.

iv. Verifying information by returning to its original sources; whether old or contemporary.

v. Generating and maintain reader interest by organizing the treatise into sections, as well as having a variation in quotation and transmission.

vi. Effort was made to ensure the writing in the treatise was lively and fluid; distant from the stagnant, mechanical nature of academic research.

- In addition to a number of other factors that assist the reader in comprehending the intent and maintain their interest. The format enables readers to split up the treatise into parts, or extract sections from it.

4 – Many of the topics in the treatise are interconnected, making it difficult to isolate them independently. Due to this effort was made to research each topic separately, such that the sections of the treatise complemented and completed each other.

5 – Care was given when writing this treatise to making it appropriate as a syllabus to be taught for the subject of Islamic culture, or as supplementary material to an existing curriculum.

The aforementioned were the main challenges faced in writing this treatise, and a brief outline of the research plan – detail of which will follow.

We seek Allah’s aid, and upon Him we rely, and may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah - our Prophet Muhammad - , his family, and his Companions.

Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim al-Hamad

az-Zulfi, P.O. Box: 460

15/5/1433H

University of Qassim, Faculty of Islamic Law& Islamic Studies,

Department of Creed, Belief & Modern-Day Theologies

WWW.M-ALHAMAD.COM

[email protected]

@M__ALHAMAD


 Part One: The Reality of Islam, the Sources of its Legislation, and its Pillars.

Prologue: The History of Humanity

The history of the human race begins with the creation of Adam – may peace be upon him – the father of humankind. Allah created him with His Noble Hand from clay, breathed into him the soul He created, and taught him the names of everything – from birds, and animals etc.

Allah also commanded the angels to prostrate to Adam, an indication of nobility and honour, so they all prostrated except Satan who was of the jinn. Rather he refused and was arrogant. Therefore, Allah expelled Satan from the kingdom of the heavens in humiliation and disgrace, and because of his disobedience he earned Allah’s wrath and curse, and for which he will dwell in misery in Hellfire.

After that, Satan requested Allah to allow him a respite until the Day of Resurrection. Allah – the Almighty – said:

[إِنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُنظَرِينَ] Sura al-A`raaf (7):15

[Meaning: You are of those allowed respite.]

Then Satan said:

[فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لَأُغۡوِيَنَّهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ ٨٢ إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنۡهُمُ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ]

Sura Saad (38):82-83

[Meaning: By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all, except Your chosen slaves from amongst them.]

Then Satan said:

[فَبِمَآ أَغۡوَيۡتَنِي لَأَقۡعُدَنَّ لَهُمۡ صِرَٰطَكَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ ١٦ ثُمَّ لَأٓتِيَنَّهُم مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ وَعَنۡ أَيۡمَٰنِهِمۡ وَعَن شَمَآئِلِهِمۡۖ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ شَٰكِرِينَ]  Sura al-A`raf  (7):16-18

 [ٱخۡرُجۡ مِنۡهَا مَذۡءُومٗا مَّدۡحُورٗاۖ لَّمَن تَبِعَكَ مِنۡهُمۡ لَأَمۡلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنكُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ]

[Meaning: Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as grateful. Allah said to Satan: “Exit it (i.e. Paradise) disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all.”.[1]

So Allah expelled Satan from the Heavens, and gave him the ability to whisper to mankind and misguide them, and He granted him respite until the Day of Resurrection, so that he would increase in sin, and his punishment would be magnified, and his penalty would be multiplied; and Allah made him the criterion so that mankind can distinguish between good and evil.

Thereafter Allah created Adam's spouse, Eve, so that he may enjoy the pleasure of living with her and enjoy her company. So, he ordered them to dwell in the abode of bliss – Paradise – which has within it that which no eye has seen, and no ear has heard, and no mind has ever perceived.

However, Allah warned them about the enmity of Satan towards them both, and He forbade them from eating fruit from a tree of the trees in Paradise. This restriction which Allah imposed on them was merely to test their resolve toward His instructions.

Satan whispered to them, beautifying the prospect of eating from that particular tree, and swore that he was from the sincere advisors. He encouraged them to eat the fruit convincing them that they would be immortal if they did so.

Satan continued in his attempts until he tempted them to eat from the tree, by which they disobeyed their Lord.

Having violated the orders from Allah, they were guilty and regretful, so they turned to their Lord in forgiveness, seeking His repentance. Allah accepted their plea, but He expelled them from the abode of bliss – Paradise – to the abode of fatigue and tiredness, earth.

Adam lived upon the earth, and Allah granted him offspring, and caused them to multiply and expand up until today. Then Allah caused him to pass away and entered him into Paradise.

Since Allah expelled them to the earth the enmity between the children of Adam and Satan and his progeny – from that time – is still ongoing. His goal is to turn them away from the guidance, deprive them of all good, beautify sin and evil to them, and to distance them away from that which pleases Allah. This will lead to their misery and disappointment in this world, and their entering the Hellfire in the Hereafter.

However, Allah did not create His creation pointlessly and in vain, nor did He leave them neglected. Rather He sent to them Messengers who showed them how to worship their Lord, and who illuminated for them the paths of life leading to happiness in this world and the Hereafter.

Allah instructed both mankind and jinn to listen whenever they receive any divine books or there comes to them a Messenger to guide them that they must accept them and their teachings and strictly adhere to what they come with.

Those who follow the guidance of Allah, believe in His Books and Messengers, and believe in that which the Books contain, and that which His Messengers command then he should not fear, nor will he go astray, nor will he be miserable. Rather for them is the ultimate happiness in this life and the Hereafter.[2]

This is how humanity began, with Adam and the ten generations that succeeded him living upon obedience to Allah, and His monotheism. After that polytheism was introduced, and other than Allah was worshipped alongside Him. So, Allah sent the first of His Messengers, Noah – may peace be upon him –, to call the people to the worship of Allah, and to warn them of polytheism.

Allah continued to send Prophets and Messengers after Noah throughout the eras, in various places, with some variation between the detailed rulings of their legislations.

However, the original message, and the fundamental of all of their teachings remained the same; and it is: their inviting and calling the people to the religion of Islam, and to the worship Allah alone, and warning against polytheism and setting up false deities besides Allah.

Then prophet Abraham – peace be upon him – came, calling his people to abandon idol worship and to single out Allah with all worship.

Ishmael and Isaac succeeded their father Ibrahim – may peace be upon them all – in prophethood. After them, Allah has sent many other Prophets from the offspring of Prophet Isaac.

The most prominent Prophets from Isaac’s lineage were Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus – may peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all –.

There was not a prophet that was sent after Jesus from the children of Israel.

After this, the succession of Prophets shifted to the progeny of Ishmael, the other son of Prophet Abraham – may peace and blessings be upon them –.

From this lineage, Allah chose Muhammad – peace and blessings be upon him – to be the seal to all of the Prophets and Messengers. His book – the Quran – was the final word of Allah to mankind.

Therefore, his message is comprehensive, perfect, and universal throughout all of time, in all places, for the whole of mankind and jinn, whether Arab or non-Arab, regardless of colour, creed or caste.

There is no good except it indicates towards it and instructs with it, and there is no evil except it warns us and forbids from it. And Allah does not accept from anyone a religion except that which Muhammad  came with.[3]

 Chapter One:The Reality of Islam

Section One:   The Meaning of Islam

Section Two:   Islam – the Religion of a Person's Natural Disposition

Section Three: Allah – the Exalted & Most High – the All-Capable over Everything – He the Mighty and Majestic

Section Four:    Piety & its Profound Effects

Section Five:    Etiquette & Manners in Islam

Section One: The Meaning of Islam

Firstly: the linguistic meaning of Islam: the term Islam is used in the Arabic language to mean a number of things; all of which revolve around: submission, surrender, obedience, sincerity, yielding, and acceptance.[4]

Secondly: Usage of the term Islam in the Noble Quran: the term Islam is used in the Noble Quran to indicate several meanings – which are the same as the linguistic meanings. From the meanings that occur in the Noble Quran are the following:

(i) The term Islam occurs with the meaning of sincerity. Allah the Almighty said:

[إِذۡ قَالَ لَهُۥ رَبُّهُۥٓ أَسۡلِمۡۖ قَالَ أَسۡلَمۡتُ لِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ] Sura al-Baqarah (2):131

[Meaning: When his Lord said to him: 'Submit (i.e. make sincere your religion)', he said: 'I have submitted in Islam to the Lord of all that exists.']

And He the Mighty and Majestic said:

[وَمَن يُسۡلِمۡ وَجۡهَهُۥٓ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ ٞ] Sura Luqman (31):22

[Meaning: And whoever submits his face to Allah (i.e. by making his actions sincerely for Him, submitting to His commands, and following His Legislation).]

And He the Exalted and Most High said:

[فَإِنۡ حَآجُّوكَ فَقُلۡ أَسۡلَمۡتُ وَجۡهِيَ لِلَّهِ وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَنِۗ] Sura aali-Imran (3):20

[Meaning: So, if they dispute with you O Muhammad, say: 'I have submitted myself to Allah and so have those who follow me (i.e. I have made my worship sincerely for Allah alone, and I will not worship anything besides Him).]

(ii) The term Islam occurs with the meaning of acknowledgement, as occurs in His saying – He the Almighty –:

[وَلَهُۥٓ أَسۡلَمَ مَن فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ طَوۡعٗا وَكَرۡهٗا]  Sura aali-‘Imran (3):83

[Meaning: And all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly have acknowledged Him.][5]

(iii) The term Islam occurs with the meaning of Tawhid (monotheism); as was mentioned by Ibn Al-Jawzee (may Allah have mercy upon him), and he cited as proof the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[يَحۡكُمُ بِهَا ٱلنَّبِيُّونَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسۡلَمُواْ] Sura al-Maa·idah (5):44

[Meaning: The prophets who singled out Allah in worship judged by it.][6]

(iv) The term Islam occurs with the meaning of submission; as Ibn Al-Jawzee mentioned; citing as proof His saying – He the Almighty:

[وَلَهُۥٓ أَسۡلَمَ مَن فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ طَوۡعٗا وَكَرۡهٗا]  Sura aali-‘Imran (3):83

[Meaning: And to Him have submitted all those within the heavens and the earth – willingly or unwillingly.][7]

And there are other sayings which I have not mentioned for the purpose of concision.

Thirdly: the meaning of Islam in general terms: it is submission of the servant, and his yielding to Allah, and adhering to that which a prophet from the prophets came with, and him making apparent such.

Or it is: A servant's submission to Allah outwardly and inwardly, by carrying out His commands, and staying away from His prohibitions, according to that which has come from Allah the Almighty upon the tongues of His Messengers, may peace be upon them.[8]

Fourthly: the meaning of Islam in a specific sense is: submitting and yielding to Allah, and adhering to that which the Prophet Muhammad  came with.[9]

This is the final religion by way of which Allah concluded all other religions; and Allah does not accept from anyone other than it. Allah the Mighty and Majestic said:

[إِنَّ ٱلدِّينَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡإِسۡلَٰمُۗ] Sura aali-Imran (3):19

[Meaning: Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam.]

And He the Exalted said:

[وَمَن يَبۡتَغِ غَيۡرَ ٱلۡإِسۡلَٰمِ دِينٗا فَلَن يُقۡبَلَ مِنۡهُ]  Sura aali-Imran (3):85

[Meaning: And whoever desires other than Islam as a religion - never will it be accepted from him.]

And the Prophet  said: "By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad! Nobody from this nation hears about me – not a Jew, nor a Christian – then he dies and does not believe in that which I have been sent, except he shall be from the people of the Fire."[10]

Section Two: Islam – the Religion of a Person's Natural Disposition

al-Fitrah means linguistically: natural creation[11]. Ibn Manthur – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: 'Allah made and formed the creation: i.e. He created them and brought them into existence.'

al-Fitrah: bringing into existence, inventing.[12]

And he said: "al-Fitrah is that which Allah created the creation upon regarding their having knowledge of Him.

In morphology, the term ‘fitrah’ is derived from the root verb fatarahu, yafturuhu, fatrann; meaning he created such and such."[13]

This is as it relates to the linguistic meaning of al-Fitrah.

As for its technical usage: then it means al-Islam according to the most correct of the sayings, just as was stated by Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and his student, Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon them.[14]

Therefore; a person's natural inclination is from the greatest of causes leading him to practice religion. And the evidences from the legislation clearly state that a person is naturally disposed to acknowledge the Creator, and to have servitude to Him.

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "And they mentioned from `Ikrimah, Mujahid, al-Hasan, Ibrahim, ad-Dahhak, and Qatadah regarding His saying – He the Mighty and Majestic:

[فِطۡرَتَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّتِي فَطَرَ ٱلنَّاسَ عَلَيۡهَاۚ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ ٱللَّهِۚ] Sura Room (30):30

[Meaning: The original disposition from Allah upon which He has created all people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah.]

They said: 'The original disposition from Allah' is: "The religion of Islam."

'No change should there be in the creation of Allah': They said [it means]: "To the religion of Allah."[15]

Every created being, without having to think or be taught, is naturally disposed to believe in its Creator, and to believe that He – the Mighty and Majestic – is the Lord of everything and its Creator.

And no one strays from this natural disposition except if something were to interfere with his heart and cause him to stray.[16]

The Prophet  said: "There is not a child that is born except that it is born upon the natural disposition; his parents make him a Jew, or a Christian, or a fire worshipper."

And in a narration: "Except that it is born upon this religion." And in a variant narration: "Except upon the religion."[17]

The narration of Iyadh bin Himar, may Allah be pleased with him, mentions: the Messenger of Allah  said: Allah the Almighty said in the narration that the Prophet  narrated directly from Him: "I have created My servants having a natural inclination to the worship of Allah but it is Satan who turns them away from their religion."[18]

Additionally, a person is naturally inclined to turn to his Lord – the Exalted and Most High – at times of hardship and difficulty. If any person – even a disbeliever who does not believe in the existence of Allah – were to experience hardship or be faced with danger, all of these speculations and doubts leave his mind, and he is left with that which he was created upon. He cries out at the top of his voice, from his inner soul, and from the bottom of his heart; calling upon his Lord to alleviate him of his distress and his worry. He calls upon Him alone, and does not call upon anything besides Him.

And Allah the Almighty spoke the truth when He said:

[فَإِذَا رَكِبُواْ فِي ٱلۡفُلۡكِ دَعَوُاْ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّىٰهُمۡ إِلَى ٱلۡبَرِّ إِذَا هُمۡ يُشۡرِكُونَ]

Sura al-‘Ankabut (29):65

[Meaning: And when they board a ship, they supplicate to Allah, being sincere to Him in religion. But when He delivers them to the land, behold, they associate others with Him.]

And the fact a person is born upon the natural disposition does not mean he is born having knowledge of the affairs of Islam; because Allah the Exalted and Most High says:

[وَٱللَّهُ أَخۡرَجَكُم مِّنۢ بُطُونِ أُمَّهَٰتِكُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ شَيۡ‍ٔٗا] Sura an-Nahl (16): 78

[Meaning: And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers knowing nothing.]

Likewise, it does not mean that a child is born naïve – not knowing polytheism or monotheism – because the Messenger  said: "Except that it is born upon the religion." And in a variant narration: "Upon this religion."

Rather the intent is that every new-born child is born having love for his Creator, acknowledging His Lordship, and affirming his right for servitude and worship. Therefore, if he were to be left upon that, having no interferences, he would not stray from that to other than it; just as he is born liking that which is appropriate for his body from nutrition and drinks – so he desires milk, which is appropriate for him and nourishes him.[19]

Due to that, he  said: "So his parents make him a Jew, or a Christian, or a fire worshipper."

And he did not say 'they make him a Muslim'; because the origin is he remains a Muslim. Thus, conversion to other than Islam is considered a deviation from the fundamental and the origin, and this is something caused by external factors.

Therefore, every new-born upon the face of this earth is born upon the natural disposition; and it is the religion of Islam. So the new-born is born acknowledging his Creator, having love for Him and turning to Him.

If he were to remain upon this natural disposition then he is by default a Muslim; not needing to renew his entrance into Islam when he reaches adulthood and sound understanding.

As for if he were to be raised by non-Muslim parents, and converted to their false religion, or he converted to any religion other than Islam, then it becomes binding upon him that he leaves his previous religion and enters into Islam. So he bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; then he begins to learn that which he must carry out from the rites of the religion – from establishing the prayer and the like.

The scholar Muhammad at-Tahir ibn Ashur said – explaining the fact people are naturally disposed to the religion of Islam –: "The meaning of people being created upon the natural disposition of Islam is: that Allah created the people upon being in agreement with the rulings of this religion, and He made its teachings suitable to their creation, not contrary to it, so that they are not distant from it, nor do they deny and reject it. Such as affirming the Oneness of Allah, for example; because the concept of monotheism conforms with the intellect and with sound reasoning – such that if a person were to be left to his own thoughts and was not taught misguiding beliefs – he would be guided to monotheism through his natural disposition."

Until his saying (may Allah have mercy upon him): "And the fact Islam is the natural disposition that a person is created upon, and the way its rulings are in accordance with the natural inclination of a person, is something that is specific to Islam over all other religions – with regards to its branches.

As for its foundations – then they are something that all of the divine religions share, and this is something we understand from His saying:

[ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ] Sura Yusuf (12):40

[Meaning: That is the true, straight religion.]

So Islam is comprehensive, everlasting, appropriate for all times, and suitable for all nations. And this cannot be the case except that its rulings are built upon the foundations of the natural human disposition – so that it is suitable for all of the people, and comprehensive for all times. And the essence of the human disposition necessitates that Islam is lenient and easy; because lenience and ease are objectives of the natural disposition."[20]

Based on the aforementioned, it becomes clear that Islam is the natural disposition that Allah created the people upon, and that everyone is naturally inclined to acknowledge the Creator, and His right to servitude. This is what practicing the religion comprises of, and that is its motive. All of this is indicated by the clear textual evidences.

Just as the evidences also indicate that a person's natural disposition – and his acknowledging the Creator as a Lord and the One possessing the right to be worshipped – is something that can be affected, altered and diverted from; due to external factors. These external factors – that cause a person to deviate from his natural disposition – can be categorized into three categories, based on their evidences:

1. The devils: and they are the first and original reason for this deviation, just as the aforementioned narration of Iyadh bin Himar indicates.

And the term devils here is comprehensive of the devils from the jinn and from mankind – from those who seek to turn the people away from their natural dispositions, and from them turning to their Lord.

2. Ones parents: just as occurs in the previous narration, in his  saying: "So his parents make him a Jew, or a Christian, or a fire worshipper."

And this is from the greatest of factors; due to the strength of the bond between the child and his parents, and their affect upon him.

It is possible for society and the media to divert a child away from his natural disposition instead of his parents; and it is even possible they play a greater role than his parents in this regard.

3. Heedlessness: and this is from the most significant of factors that cause a person to divert away from his natural disposition. So being heedless and becoming preoccupied with the joys of this worldly life and with its pleasures can lead to a person to forget his Lord, and to turn away from the natural disposition that Allah created him upon.

Allah has made mention of this in the Noble Quran; as occurs in His saying – He the Almighty –:

[وَإِذۡ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنۢ بَنِيٓ ءَادَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمۡ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمۡ وَأَشۡهَدَهُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمۡ أَلَسۡتُ بِرَبِّكُمۡۖ قَالُواْ بَلَىٰ شَهِدۡنَآۚ أَن تَقُولُواْ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنۡ هَٰذَا غَٰفِلِينَ ١٧٢ أَوۡ تَقُولُوٓاْ إِنَّمَآ أَشۡرَكَ ءَابَآؤُنَا مِن قَبۡلُ وَكُنَّا ذُرِّيَّةٗ مِّنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡۖ أَفَتُهۡلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ ٱلۡمُبۡطِلُونَ] Sura al-A`raf (7):172-3

[Meaning: And remember when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, and made them testify of themselves, saying: 'Am I not your Lord?' They said: 'Yes! We testify.' Lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: 'Verily, we were heedless of this.' Or lest you say: 'It was only that our fathers associated others in worship with Allah before, and we were merely descendants after them. Will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practiced falsehood?']

It is apparent from this verse that heedlessness is from the greatest of factors that cause a person to divert from their natural disposition.[21]

A person may pose the question: What is the benefit of the natural disposition if it is affected by these external factors that lead to it deviating – while it is almost impossible for a person to escape from some of these factors and causes for diversion, or from all of them?

The answer to which is: the wisdom of Allah entailed that He made the natural disposition such, so that the objective of testing the people with good and evil is achieved; and then – based upon that – they are rewarded for their actions. As for if the natural disposition was strong – to the point it was not affected by anything – then disbelief and deviation would not occur amongst the children of Adam. Rather they would be in disagreement with disbelief; so the wisdom of testing them would not be achieved. And to Allah belongs the highest level of wisdom.

As well as this, there are numerous benefits of the natural disposition; from them:

Firstly: this natural disposition plants in the human soul religiousness and the worship of Allah – the Almighty –.

So if it is not guided to Allah the Exalted and Most High, it worships any other object of worship, so that its desire for practicing religion is fulfilled. Just like the person who is overtaken by extreme hunger; if he does not find good food that he likes, he will eat anything that is possible to be eaten – even if it is something distasteful – in order that his hunger is satisfied.

This explains the widespread presence of the vast majority of the people practicing religion, even if their religion and object of worship much of the time is false.

Secondly: this disposition causes a person to naturally accept servitude [to Allah], and to conform to that which it necessitates. And this is from the affairs of importance to a person, because his soul is averse to anything that does not conform with his natural disposition, and if that is the case, he is therefore unable to carry out the requirements of anything he is naturally opposed to.

Thirdly: this natural disposition causes a person to select the truth. So if a person were to have knowledge of two religions – truth and falsehood – the natural disposition would differentiate between the two of them and incline towards the truth. Rather he be sure of that in his soul and have certainty of that in his heart. Then he may announce that and adhere to it, and perhaps he does not respond; due to desires, or fear, or affinity and blind following, and the like of that – from those things which cause him to stray from the truth. And this is just as Allah the Mighty and Majestic stated regarding Pharaoh and his people:

[وَجَحَدُواْ بِهَا وَٱسۡتَيۡقَنَتۡهَآ أَنفُسُهُمۡ ظُلۡمٗا وَعُلُوّٗاۚ] Sura an-Naml (27):14

[Meaning: And they rejected and disbelieved in them (i.e. the signs of Allah) out of injustice and haughtiness, while their inner selves were convinced thereof.]

Fourthly: the natural disposition gives certainty to the person who is guided that he is upon the truth, even if he does not know the detailed evidences that led him to this firm belief. And this explains to us – and Allah knows best – the reason why the Muslim does not leave his religion out of dislike for it; and that he does not do so except because it conforms to his disposition. So his natural disposition is what gives him certainty that it is the truth. Likewise, those people of false religions who have been guided to Islam cling onto it just like the drowning person clings to a lifeline; and that is not except due to the fact he is certain that this religion is the truth, because of its conformity and compatibility with the natural disposition. And Allah knows best.[22]

Section Three: Allah – the Majestic – and His Ability over everything – He the Exalted & Most High

Prologue:

The discussion in this section will cover something of informing about Allah – the Majestic – and His ability over all things – He the Exalted and Most High –.

As for the discussion regarding the affirmation of the existence of Allah – the Exalted and Most High – and the proofs of His Oneness, then this will be covered in detail when discussing the first pillar of faith; which is: to have faith in Allah.

This section will cover that which relates to having knowledge of Allah – the Majestic – and His ability over all things – He the Blessed and Most High –.

The First Topic: Allah – the Majestic –

Allah: He is the Lord of everything and its Owner, the sole Creator, the Organizer of the entire universe, the All-Knowledgeable, the One Who grants life, the One Who causes things to die, the Provider, the All-Able, the Possessor of every attribute of perfection, the One free from all imperfections and faults, the One who deserves to be singled out with worship.

Allah the Mighty and Majestic says – informing His servants about Himself –:

[هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِي لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ عَٰلِمُ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَٱلشَّهَٰدَةِۖ هُوَ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ ٢٢ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِي لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡمَلِكُ ٱلۡقُدُّوسُ ٱلسَّلَٰمُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُ ٱلۡمُهَيۡمِنُ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡجَبَّارُ ٱلۡمُتَكَبِّرُۚ سُبۡحَٰنَ ٱللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ ٢٣ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡخَٰلِقُ ٱلۡبَارِئُ ٱلۡمُصَوِّرُۖ لَهُ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰۚ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُۥ مَافِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ] Sura al-Hashr; (59):22-24

 [Meaning: He is Allah, Whom there is none that has the right to be worshipped but He; the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. He is Allah Whom none that has the right to be worshipped but He; the King, the Pure and Perfect, the One Free from all imperfections, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Exalted is Allah above all that they associate as partners with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Originator, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Most Perfect and Beautiful Names . All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.]

And He said – He the Almighty –:

[ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡحَيُّ ٱلۡقَيُّومُۚ لَا تَأۡخُذُهُۥ سِنَةٞ وَلَا نَوۡمٞۚ لَّهُۥ مَا فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِۗ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِي يَشۡفَعُ عِندَهُۥٓ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِهِۦۚ يَعۡلَمُ مَا بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمَا خَلۡفَهُمۡۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيۡءٖ مِّنۡ عِلۡمِهِۦٓ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَۚ وَسِعَ كُرۡسِيُّهُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَۖ وَلَا يَ‍ُٔودُهُۥ حِفۡظُهُمَاۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَلِيُّ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ]

 Sura al-Baqarah; (2):255

 [Meaning: Allaah! None has the right to be worshipped except Him, the Ever Living, Self-Subsisting Sustainer of all that exists. Neither drowsiness nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission? He knows whatever lies before them and whatever is behind them, and they cannot encompass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His footstool extends over the heavens and the earth, and preserving them does not weary Him; and He is the Exalted One, the Tremendous One.]

And He said:

[ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلۡحَقُّ وَأَنَّ مَا يَدۡعُونَ مِن دُونِهِۦ هُوَ ٱلۡبَٰطِلُ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلۡعَلِيُّ ٱلۡكَبِيرُ]

 Sura al-Hajj; (22):62

 [Meaning: That is because Allah He is the Truth, and what they invoke besides Him, it is false and futile. And verily, Allah He is the Exalted, the Most Great.]

And He said:

[قُلۡ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ أَحَدٌ ١ ٱللَّهُ ٱلصَّمَدُ ٢ لَمۡ يَلِدۡ وَلَمۡ يُولَدۡ ٣ وَلَمۡ يَكُن لَّهُۥ كُفُوًا أَحَدُۢ]

  Sura al-Ikhlaas; (112):1-4

[Meaning: Say: "He is Allah, One. Allah, the Perfect Lord and Master upon Whom all of creation depends. He begets not, nor was He begotten. Nor is there to Him any equivalent."]

Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – has many names that He named Himself with, some of which have preceded in the aforementioned verses; with the Noble Quran and the pure Prophetic traditions filled with mention of the Names of Allah – the Exalted and Most High –.[23]

The most well-known of these names, and the greatest of them – however – is: the name Allah.

This name has many virtues, from them are:

(i) It is the greatest name of Allah; as mentioned by a number of the people of knowledge – with them stating that Allah is the name that if the Lord is called upon by way of it, he responds; and if He is asked by it, He gives –.

(ii) It is the origin for all of the Beautiful and Perfect Names of Allah; with the rest of the names being ascribed to it, and it being described by them. Allah the Almighty says:

[وَلِلَّهِ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰ فَٱدۡعُوهُ بِهَاۖ] Sura al-A`raaf; (7):180

 [Meaning: To Allah belong the Most Perfect and Beautiful Names, so worship Him in accordance with them and call on Him by them.]

And He – the Almighty – said:

[ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ لَهُ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰ]  Sura Taa-Haa; (20):8

 [Meaning: Allaah! None has the right to be worshipped except Him; to Him belong the Most Perfect and Beautiful Names.]

And He the Almighty said:

[هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِي لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ عَٰلِمُ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَٱلشَّهَٰدَةِۖ هُوَ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ ٢٢ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِي لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡمَلِكُ ٱلۡقُدُّوسُ ٱلسَّلَٰمُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُ ٱلۡمُهَيۡمِنُ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡجَبَّارُ ٱلۡمُتَكَبِّرُۚ سُبۡحَٰنَ ٱللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ ٢٣ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡخَٰلِقُ ٱلۡبَارِئُ ٱلۡمُصَوِّرُۖ لَهُ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰۚ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُۥ مَافِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ ] Sura al-Hashr; (59):22-24

[Meaning: He is Allah, Whom there is none that has the right to be worshipped but He; the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. He is Allah Whom there are none that has the right to be worshipped but He; the King, the Pure and Perfect, the One Free from all imperfections, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Exalted is Allah above all that they associate as partners with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Originator, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Most Perfect and Beautiful Names . All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.]

And it is said: the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful, the Creator, the Provider, the All-Mighty, and the All-Wise are all names of Allah; whereas it is not said: Allah is from the names of the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful – or from the names of the All-Mighty, and the like.

(iii) This name entails and necessitates the meanings of all of the other names, and it is indicative of them in general; and the Beautiful and Perfect Names of Allah detail and clarify the majestic, perfect, and tremendous attributes of Allah. So it is the name that the rest of the names Beautiful and Perfect names of Allah return to, and whose meanings revolve around it.

(iv) It is the name that the majority of the narrated words of remembrance (of Allah) make mention of, so the tahlil[24], the takbir[25], the tahmid[26], the tasbih[27], the hawqalah[28], the hasbalah[29], the istirjaa`[30], the basmalah[31], and other than them from the remembrances (of Allah) make mention of this name and are coupled with it. So if the Muslim makes takbir[32], he mentions this name; and if he makes tahmid[33] he mentions it; and if he makes tahlil[34] he mentions it, and likewise with regards to the rest of the words of remembrance (of Allah).

(v) It is the most mentioned Name of Allah in the Noble Quran; with it being mentioned in the Quran more than two-thousand two-hundred times – unlike any of the other Names –; and Allah the Exalted and Most High opened thirty-three verses.[35]

As for the meaning of this name then it originates from "Al-Ilaah [God]"[36], which means the One Worshipped. "Al-Ilaah" is a Name from the Perfect and Beautiful Names of Allah occurring in the Noble Quran. Allah the Almighty said:

[وَإِلَٰهُكُمۡ إِلَٰهٞ وَٰحِدٞۖ لَّآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):163

[Meaning: And your God is one God. There is no deity worthy of worship except Him, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.]

And He the Almighty said:

[وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓاْ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَٰهٗا وَٰحِدٗاۖ لَّآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۚ سُبۡحَٰنَهُۥ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ]

Sura at-Tawbah; (9):31

[Meaning: And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.]

And He the Almighty said:

[قُلۡ إِنَّمَا يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَآ إِلَٰهُكُمۡ إِلَٰهٞ وَٰحِدٞۖ فَهَلۡ أَنتُم مُّسۡلِمُونَ]

Sura al-Anbiyaa; (21):108

[Meaning: Say: "It is only revealed to me that your god is but one God; so will you submit?"]

Additionally, the best and most comprehensive statement regarding the meaning of Allah is what is reported from Ibn Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – that he said: "Allah is the One possessing divinity and the right to be worshipped over all of His creation". Reported by Ibn Jarir in his Tafsir[37].

This interpretation of his – may Allah be pleased with him – comprises of two matters:

The first: Allah's attribute from this noble Name; and it is: divinity, as indicated by the term 'Allah' – just as the name "Al-`Aleem (the All-Knowing)" is indicative of the attribute of Knowledge, and the name "Al-`Azeez (the All-Mighty)" is indicative of the attribute of Might, and the name "Al-Hakeem (the All-Wise)" is indicative of the attribute of Wisdom, and "Ar-Raheem (the Bestower of Mercy)" is indicative of the attribute of Mercy – and other than that from the names that indicate the attributes that are indicative of His Self.

Thus, likewise, Allah is the One possessing Divinity; and the Divinity which is His attribute is the tremendous attribute by way of which He deserves to be a God. Rather, He deserves that nobody shares this tremendous attribute with Him in any way at all.

The divine attributes are all of the attributes of perfection, majesty, magnificence, beauty, mercy, kindness, generosity, and bestowing of bounties. This is because these attributes are those that deserve to be deified and worshipped for the sake of; so He is worshipped because He possesses the attributes of Magnificence and Pride; and He is worshipped because He is the Unique in Sustaining, in Lordship, Kingship, and Sovereignty; and He is worshipped because He is the unequalled in Mercy, and in delivering blessings – both apparent and obscure – to all of His creation; and He is worshipped because He is the All-Encompassing over everything with His Knowledge, Rule, Wisdom, Generosity, Mercy, Ability, Honor, and Subduing; and He is Worshipped because He is the Unique in His being unrestrictedly and completely Independent in every way – just as everything besides Him is permanently in need of Him in every way –. So they are in need of Him in His bringing them into existence and His organizing of affairs, and they are in need of His assistance and His provision; they are in need of Him in all of their affairs, and in reliant upon Him for their greatest necessity and most urgent need – and it is: their need to single Him out with worship, and to deify Him alone – because divinity necessitates all of Allah's Beautiful and Perfect Names, and His Lofty Attributes.

The Second: the attribute of the servant from this noble Name; and it is: servitude. So the servants worship and deify Him. Allah the Almighty said:

[وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي فِي ٱلسَّمَآءِ إِلَٰهٞ وَفِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ إِلَٰهٞۚ] Sura az-Zukhruf; (43):84

 [Meaning: It is He Who is the only God to be worshipped in the Heavens and the only God to be worshipped on the earth.]

i.e. The inhabitants of the Heavens and the Earth worship Him – willingly or unwillingly –; so they all yield to His Magnificence, are submissive to His Wish and Will, captives to His Might and Sustaining.

So the servants of the Beneficent deify and worship Him, and they strive with that which they are able to from energy in worshipping Him with their hearts and souls, and by way of their sayings and actions – in accordance with their ranks and positions. Allah has gathered between these two meanings in a number of places throughout the Quran; such as His saying – He the Almighty –:

[إِنَّنِيٓ أَنَا ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۠ فَٱعۡبُدۡنِي وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِذِكۡرِيٓ]

Sura Taa-Haa; (20):14

[Meaning: Verily! I am Allah! None has the right to be worshipped except I, so worship Me, and establish the prayer for My Remembrance.]

And His saying:

[وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِيٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۠ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ] Sura al-Anbiyaa; (21):24

[Meaning: And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him: that there is no deity except Me, so worship Me.]

And His saying:

[فَٱعۡبُدۡهُ وَٱصۡطَبِرۡ لِعِبَٰدَتِهِۦۚ هَلۡ تَعۡلَمُ لَهُۥ سَمِيّٗا]

Sura Maryam; (19):65

[Meaning: So worship Him alone and be constant and patient in His worship. Do you know of any who is similar to Him?][38]

I will suffice with that which has preceded for the time being, and more on the topic of having knowledge of Allah – the Majestic – will follow when discussing the pillars of Islam and the pillars of true faith.

The Second Topic: The Ability of Allah – the Exalted and Most High –

Ability is an attribute from the attributes of Allah – the Exalted and Most High – that we affirm for Him; and it is: His complete, perfect ability – the clarification of which will follow.

And from His names – He the Exalted and Most High – is Al-Qadeer (the All-Powerful), Al-Qaadir (the Fully-Able One) and Al-Muqtadir (the Omnipotent).

All of these Names are mentioned in the Quran, the most frequently mentioned of them being Al-Qadeer (the All-Powerful), then Al-Qaadir (the Fully-Able One), then Al-Muqtadir (the Omnipotent). Allah the Almighty said:

[وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٌ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):286

 [And Allah is Able to do all things.]

And He the Almighty said:

[إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ عَلِيمٗا قَدِيرٗا] Sura Faatir; (35):44

 [Meaning: He is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.]

He the Almighty also says:

[قُلۡ هُوَ ٱلۡقَادِرُ عَلَىٰٓ أَن يَبۡعَثَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ عَذَابٗا مِّن فَوۡقِكُمۡ أَوۡ مِن تَحۡتِ أَرۡجُلِكُمۡ أَوۡ يَلۡبِسَكُمۡ شِيَعٗا وَيُذِيقَ بَعۡضَكُم بَأۡسَ بَعۡضٍۗ] Sura al-An`aam; (6):65

 [Meaning: Say: "He is the One Able to send upon you punishment from above you or from beneath your feet or to cover you with confusion so that you become sects and make you taste the violence of one another."]

And He the Almighty said:

[وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ مُّقۡتَدِرًا] Sura al-Kahf; (18):45

 [Meaning: And Allah is Able to do everything.]

All of these names prove the affirmation of Ability as an attribute of Allah, and that He – the One free from all imperfections – has perfect Ability. So by way of His Ability He brought the things into existence, and by way of His Ability He organized them, and by way of His Ability He proportioned and perfected them, and by way of His Ability He grants life and death, and He resurrects the servants for reckoning, and He rewards the doer of good for his good deeds, and the doer of evil for his evil deeds – He – the One who when He intends a thing, he says to it: "Be!" and it is.

And through His Ability He controls the hearts and turns them whichever way He Wishes, and He guides Whomever He Wishes, and He misguides Whomever He Wishes, and He causes the Believer to believe, and the disbeliever to disbelieve, and the obedient one to obey, and the sinner to sin.

And due to His perfect Ability nobody can encompass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills to teach them; and due to His perfect Ability He created the Heavens and the Earth and that which is between them in six days and nothing of fatigue touched Him, nothing escapes Him from His creation nor does it pass Him by; rather it is within His grasp whatever it may be – He – the One Whose Ability is free from fatigue, tiredness, weariness, and free from inability to do whatever He Wishes.

And due to His perfect ability everything is under His Command and beneath His Control; that which He Wills occurs, and that which He does not Will does not[39].

And from the tremendous foundations of true faith is to believe in preordainment. Allah the Almighty says:

[إِنَّا كُلَّ شَيۡءٍ خَلَقۡنَٰهُ بِقَدَرٖ]  Sura al-Qamar; (54):49

 [Meaning: Verily, We have created all things with preordainment.]

And He the Almighty said:

[ وَكَانَ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ قَدَرٗا مَّقۡدُورًا] Sura al-Ahzaab; (33):38

 [Meaning: And the Command of Allah is a decree determined.]

And He the Almighty said:

[وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيۡءٖ فَقَدَّرَهُۥ تَقۡدِيرٗا] Sura al-Furqaan; (25):2

 [Meaning: He has created everything and has measured it exactly according to its due measurements.]

Imam Muslim reports in his Sahih[40] from a narration of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with Him – that he said: "The polytheists of the Quraish tribe came to have an argument with the Messenger of Allah  in regard to pre-destiny, so the verses were revealed:

[إِنَّ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِينَ فِي ضَلَٰلٖ وَسُعُرٖ ٤٧ يَوۡمَ يُسۡحَبُونَ فِي ٱلنَّارِ عَلَىٰ وُجُوهِهِمۡ ذُوقُواْ مَسَّ سَقَرَ ٤٨ إِنَّا كُلَّ شَيۡءٍ خَلَقۡنَٰهُ بِقَدَرٖ] Sura al-Qamar; (54):47-49

 [Meaning: Indeed, the criminals are in error and will burn in the Hellfire. The Day they will be dragged in the Fire on their faces it will be said to them: "Taste you the touch of Hell!" Verily, We have created all things with predestination]."

The person who does not believe in pre-decree does not believe in Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –. Imam Ahmad said: "Preordainment is the ability of Allah."[41]

So denying preordainment is denying the ability of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – and rejecting His attributes – He the One free from all imperfections – or some of them. This contradicts true faith in Him – the One free from all imperfections –; because from the foundations of having true faith in Him is to believe in His preordainments.

Ibn Abbas – may Allah be pleased with both of them – said: "Preordainment is the order of monotheism; so whoever singles out Allah – the Almighty – and believes in preordainment, then it is the firm handhold that will never break. And the one who singles out Allah – the Almighty – and disbelieves in preordainment then he has nullified his monotheism."[42]

`Awf said: I heard al-Hasan saying: "He who denies preordainment then he has denied Islam. Indeed Allah – the Exalted and Most High – has preordained preordainments, and He created the creation with predestination, and He allocated the lifespans with predestination, and He distributed the provisions with predestination, and He distributed the calamities with predestination, and He distributed well-being with predestination."[43]

Having true faith in preordainment is from the greatest of attributes of those who have knowledge of it; just as Ibn Jarir reports in his Tafsir[44], from a narration of Ibn Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – in explanation of His saying – He the Almighty –:

[إِنَّمَا يَخۡشَى ٱللَّهَ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِ ٱلۡعُلَمَٰٓؤُاْۗ]  Sura Fatir; (35):28

 [Meaning: It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.]

He said: "Those who say:

[أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٌ ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):106

 [Meaning: That Allah is able to do all things.]"

Further detail regarding the attribute of preordainment and its praiseworthy effects will follow when discussing the sixth pillar from the pillars of faith; and it is: believing in preordainment.

Section Four: Piety & its Profound Effects

Firstly: the meaning of Piety: Piety is from the significant terms that appear in the legislation, with it being mentioned in the Quran and the Prophetic traditions.

It is a comprehensive term that has many meanings and profound effects – all of which revolve around every good and success, whether religious or worldly.

Due to this, we find various scholarly statements and sayings interpreting the meaning of piety; with some of them stating: Piety is: Righteousness.

Other mention it is: Every good.

az-Zajjaj said: "Some of them said: Everything that is done to draw closer to Allah – the Exalted and Most High – is from the acts of good."

Abu Mansur said: "Piety is: the good of this world and the Hereafter. As for the good in this world: it is that which Allah facilitates for the servant from guidance, blessings, and goodness. And the good in the Hereafter is: achieving the everlasting bliss of Paradise."[45]

From the best definitions of piety is the definition of Shaykh Abdur-Rahman as-Sa`di – may Allaah have mercy upon him – wherein he stated: "Piety is a comprehensive name which encompasses the beliefs, actions of the heart, and actions of the limbs – and it includes all of the commandments, and abandoning the forbidden matters."[46]

This comprehensive definition is sufficient, saving the need to prolong the discussion regarding the meaning of piety.

Secondly: Piety in the Noble Quran: the word piety is mentioned much in the Noble Quran, appearing with its various derivatives in a number of contexts; from them:

(i) It occurs with the meaning of keeping the ties of kinship: Allah the Almighty said:

[وَلَا تَجۡعَلُواْ ٱللَّهَ عُرۡضَةٗ لِّأَيۡمَٰنِكُمۡ أَن تَبَرُّواْ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):224

[Meaning: And do not make your oath by Allah an excuse against keeping the ties of kinship.]

And His saying:

[لَّا يَنۡهَىٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يُقَٰتِلُوكُمۡ فِي ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمۡ يُخۡرِجُوكُم

مِّن دِيَٰرِكُمۡ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمۡ] Sura al-Mumtahanah; (60):8

 [Meaning: Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from joining the ties them.]

(ii) It occurs with the meaning of obedience: just as occurs in His saying – He the Almighty –:

[وَبَرَّۢا بِوَٰلِدَيۡهِ] Sura Maryam; (19):14

 [Meaning: And dutiful towards his parents.]

And His saying – Glory be to Him –:

[وَبَرَّۢا بِوَٰلِدَتِي] Sura Maryam; (19):32

 [Meaning: And dutiful to my mother.]

(iii) It occurs with the meaning of carrying out the acts of obedience: as occurs in His saying – He the Almighty –:

[وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلۡبِرِّ وَٱلتَّقۡوَىٰۖ] Sura al-Maa·idah; (5):2

 [Meaning: And help one another in the performance of good deeds and the avoidance of sins.]

Piety – when coupled with being god-fearing – takes on the meaning of carrying out good deeds; and being god-fearing in this context means: avoiding the forbidden acts.

(iv) It occurs with the meaning of righteousness: when mentioned unrestrictedly piety carries the meaning of righteousness; as mentioned in His saying – He the Almighty:

[لَن تَنَالُواْ ٱلۡبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُواْ مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَۚ] Sura aali-`Imran; (3):92

 [Meaning: Never will you attain righteousness until you spend from that which you love.]

And His saying – He the Exalted and Most High –:

[لَّيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمۡ قِبَلَ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ]

 Sura al-Baqarah; (2):177

 [Meaning: Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but righteousness is the quality of one who believes in Allah.]

And His saying:

[أَتَأۡمُرُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ بِٱلۡبِرِّ وَتَنسَوۡنَ أَنفُسَكُمۡ]  Sura al-Baqarah; (2):44

 [Meaning: Do you order people with righteousness and yet forget yourselves?][47]

Thirdly: Piety in the Prophetic traditions: piety is mentioned in the Prophetic traditions much, with the same meanings as those aforementioned, in addition to other meanings – such as: good manners, tranquillity of the soul, and other than that.

From which occurs in that regard is the narration reported by Imam Muslim in his Sahih on the authority of an-Nawwaas bin Sam`aan – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: "Piety is good manners, and sin is that which creates doubt and you do not like people to know of it."[48]

And on the authority of Waabisah bin Ma`bad who said: I came to the Messenger of Allah  and he said: “Have you come to ask about righteousness and sin?” I said, “Yes.” He  said: “Consult your heart. Piety is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil. And wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and causes uneasiness in the chest, even if people have repeatedly given their legal opinion.”[49]

Ibn Rajab – may Allah have mercy upon him – said in explanation of the previous two narrations: "His interpretation of piety differed because piety is used in two separate contexts:

The first: As it relates to a person's treatment of the creation by his being good to them; and it is possible that this is specific to being good to ones parents. Just as is said: Showing goodness to ones parents. It is also often used (in a general sense) to mean showing good to all creatures. Ibnul-Mubaarak authored a book called 'Kitabul-Birr was-Silah (The Book of Righteousness and Maintaining the Ties of Kinship)' that attests to this fact; just as both Sahih al-Bukhari and Jami` at-Tirmidhee both contain: 'The Book of Righteousness and Maintaining the Ties of Kinship' – which comprises of showing treatment to the creation in general, with the topic of being good to ones parents being mentioned first.

And in the narration of Bahz bin Hakeem, from his father, from his grandfather – that he said: "O Messenger of Allah! to whom should I be dutiful?" He replied: "Your mother." He said: "Then who?" He replied: "Your father." He said: "Then who?" He said: "Then the closest relatives, then the closest relatives."[50]

Also from that which occurs with this meaning: the saying of the Prophet : "There is no reward for the accepted Hajj except Paradise."[51] And in the Musnad: that he  was asked regarding the best acts of Hajj, so he said: "Feeding the people, and spreading the greeting of salaam (i.e. peace)"; and in another narration: "And [the utterance of] fine speech."[52]

Ibn `Umar – may Allah be pleased with them both – used to say: "Piety is something simple and easy: having a welcoming face, and being soft in speech."[53]

If – however – piety is coupled with being god-fearing, as occurs in His saying – He the Exalted and Most High:

[وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلۡبِرِّ وَٱلتَّقۡوَىٰۖ] Sura al-Maaidah; (5):2

 [Meaning: And cooperate upon piety and righteousness.]

It is possible that piety could mean: showing good treatment to the creation; and righteousness: dealing with the True One by being obedient to Him, and by staying away from those things He has forbidden.

Or is possible that piety could mean: carrying out the obligatory acts; and righteousness means: abstaining from the forbidden matters.

And His saying:

[وَلَا تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَٱلۡعُدۡوَٰنِۚ] Sura al-Maa·idah; (5):2

 [Meaning: But do not help one another in sin and transgression.]

It is possible that sin could mean: acts of disobedience; and transgression: oppressing the creation.

It is also possible that sin could mean: those things forbidden in and of themselves – such as fornication, stealing, and intoxicants – and transgression means: crossing the bounds regarding those things permissible in their origin and entering into that which is forbidden – such as killing those it is permitted to kill as a form of legal retribution as well as those it is not permitted to kill, and taking more than the mandatory limit from zakat, and going overboard regarding the prescribed flogging as a legal punishment, and the like.[54]

Ibn Rajab – may Allah have mercy upon him – then went on to explain the second meaning of piety, saying: "The second meaning from the meanings of piety is that it means: carrying out all acts of obedience – both apparent and hidden – as occurs in His saying:

[لَّيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمۡ قِبَلَ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِ وَٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ وَٱلۡكِتَٰبِ وَٱلنَّبِيِّ‍ۧنَ وَءَاتَى ٱلۡمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ ذَوِي ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَٰكِينَ وَٱبۡنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَٱلسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِي ٱلرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَى ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱلۡمُوفُونَ بِعَهۡدِهِمۡ إِذَا عَٰهَدُواْۖ وَٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ فِي ٱلۡبَأۡسَآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَحِينَ ٱلۡبَأۡسِۗ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْۖ وَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُتَّقُونَ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):177

[Meaning: Piety is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but piety is the quality of one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth – in spite of love for it – to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveller, those who ask for help, and for freeing slaves; and who establishes prayer and gives zakat; those who fulfil their promise when they promise; and those who are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the pious.]

It has been reported from the Prophet  that he was asked regarding true faith, so he recited this verse.[55]

So piety – with this meaning – encompasses all acts of obedience; whether hidden – such as believing in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Prophets; or apparent – such as spending wealth in the sake of Allah, establishing the Prayer, giving zakat, fulfilling promises, having patience with regards to preordainment – such as illness and poverty – and having patience upon obedience to Allah – such as being patient when facing the enemy on the battlefield."[56]

Ibn Rajab continues with his clarification of piety, saying: "And it is possible that the response of the Prophet  in the narration of an-Nawwaas is inclusive of all of these traits, because it is possible that what is intended by having good manners is to adhere to Islamic manners, and فخ mic mannerism to adorn oneself with the etiquettes Allah disciplined His servants with in His Book; just as He – the Almighty – said to the Messenger of Allah :

[وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٖ] Sura Noon; (68):4

 [Meaning: And indeed, you are of tremendous character.]

Aisha said: "His  character was the Quran."[57]

Meaning: He would adorn himself with the manners mentioned within it by carrying out its commands and abstaining from its prohibitions; so his acting in accordance with the Quran became his character, and something natural and normal for him, not parting with him – this being the best and most beautiful and noble of characters.[58]

And it has been said: 'Verily all of the religion is good manners.'

As for the narration of Waabisah, wherein he said: "Piety is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil."[59] And in a narration: "That about which the soul is pleased and relaxed."[60]

And he explained the meaning of the permissible affairs with similar to that – as occurs in the narration of Abu Tha`labah and others – this proving that Allah created his servants having knowledge of the truth, and an inclination to accept it, and He implanted love of that in their innate natures, and caused them to be averse to that which opposes it."[61]

Based on the aforementioned, we can understand something from the meanings of piety and its profound effects.

Section Five: Etiquette and Manners in Islam

Etiquette and manners have a great status in Islam, and in what follows we will mention some of the issues related to this.

Firstly: Defining the term Manner: Manners is the plural of manner, and a manner or behavioural trait means: a disposition or temperament – the plural of which is: manners.

Ibn Manthur said: "In the Revelation:

[وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٖ] Sura Noon; (68):4

 [Meaning: And indeed, you are of tremendous character.]

The plural: 'Manners' does not have an irregular (broken) plural other than this; and a character or manner means: a temperament."[62]

He also mentioned: "Manners are the religion, disposition, and temperament."[63]

al-Jahidh said: "Manners are: the state of the soul through which a person does his actions unintentionally, without choice.

It is possible for some people that manners are instinctive and natural; and for some they are unattainable except through practice and exertion."[64]

Secondly: Defining (Good) Fine Manners: Fine manners is made up of two words; fine, and manners. As for the definition of manners then it has preceded; and as for fine: Ibn Manthur mentions: "Fine is the opposite of ugly and in contrast to it."[65]

And he quoted al-Azhari as saying: "Fine is an adjective for that which is appealing and good."[66]

And he quoted al-Jawhari as saying: "Its plural is beauties – which is irregular – almost as if it is the plural of beauty."[67]

He also stated: "Fine action is the opposite of ugly and unattractive."[68]

This is what fine means.

As for fine manners as a compound word, then it has been defined with various synonymous definitions; and it is possible for us to define it by saying: Fine Manners is: that one adorns themselves with virtues and goodness, such as: having a welcoming face, gentleness, fine speech, being honourable, not harming others, generosity, having a sound heart, forbearance, patience, pardoning, courage, and other than that from noble manners, while remaining distant from all that contradicts the aforementioned.

This is from the easiest explanations of the meaning of fine manners; further detail of which shall follow.

Thirdly: What Good Manners are: The Prophet  said: "Fear Allah wherever you are, and follow up a bad deed with a good one and it will wipe it out, and treat the people with good manners."[69]

Shaykhul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "To encompass all of good manners when treating the people is that a person joins the ties with those who cut him off by giving the them the greeting of salaam (peace), honouring them, making supplication for them, seeking forgiveness for them, praising them, and visiting them.

And that a person gives to those who deprive him from learning, benefit, and wealth; and that he pardons those who oppress him regarding blood, wealth, or honour.

Some of this is obligatory, and some of it supererogatory."[70]

Fourthly: the meaning of tremendous manners: Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – said in description of His Prophet Muhammad :

[وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٖ] Sura Noon; (68):4

 [Meaning: And indeed, you are of tremendous character.]

Glory be to Him; how Great is He? And how perfect is His Beneficence? Look at His tremendous Generosity, and His abundant Kindness; look at how He granted then He praised!"[71]

Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah – may Allah be have mercy upon him – said: "As for the tremendous manners that Allah described Muhammad  with; then it is: the comprehensive religion that is inclusive of everything Allah commanded with unrestrictedly. This is the saying of Mujahid, and others. And it is: the interpretation of the Quran, just as Aisha – may Allah be pleased with her – said: "His  character was the Quran."[72]

And its reality is: hastening to carry out everything that Allah – the Almighty – loves, while being content and pleased with that."[73]

Ibnul-Qayyim said in explanation of the previous verse: "Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid said: 'You are upon a tremendous religion, there is no religion more beloved to Me, and there is no religion I am more pleased with; and it is the religion of Islam.'

al-Hasan said: 'It is the manners of the Quran.'

Qatadah said: 'It is that which he used to order with from the command of Allah, and prohibit from the forbiddance of Allah.'

And the meaning is: You are upon the manners that Allah has favoured you with in the Quran."[74]

The scholar Muhammad at-Tahir bin `Aashur – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "The tremendous manners are: the nobler manners from etiquettes, those that reach the highest level of praiseworthy perfection found in humans; due to the fact all noble manners were found in the Prophet ; so he treated people well in all situations requiring good treatment. Therefore, tremendous manners are a level higher than fine manners."[75]

He also said: "Know that to encompass all of tremendous manners – those a level higher than fine manners – is: to be devout, to know the realities, to be forbearing, just, and patient upon hardships, to acknowledge the doers of good, to be humble, to be abstinent from the worldly affairs, to be chaste, pardoning, generous, shy, courageous, solemn, dignified, sedate, merciful, and to be good in ones dealings and relations.

Manners are concealed within the soul, with their appearance manifesting in the conduct of their possessor; through one's speech, his welcoming face, his clothing, his judgment, his movements and his calmness, through his food and drink, through his disciplining his family and those under his care, and through the outcomes of that – such as his standing amongst the people, their fine praise of him, and his reputation –.

As for their manifestation in the Messenger of Allah  then it includes all of the aforementioned, as well as manifesting through his management of the nation, and through that which he was distinguished with from eloquence, and through his concise yet comprehensive speech."[76]

Fifthly: the virtues of good manners: the Islamic legislation mentions that which clarifies the great virtues of good manners – both in this world and the Hereafter –. In that regard is the following:

(i) It is carrying out the command of Allah the Mighty and Majestic. He – the Almighty – said:

[خُذِ ٱلۡعَفۡوَ وَأۡمُرۡ بِٱلۡعُرۡفِ وَأَعۡرِضۡ عَنِ ٱلۡجَٰهِلِينَ] Sura al-A`raaf; (7):199

[Meaning: Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.]

(ii) It is obedience to the Messenger ; as he ordered with having good manners in numerous narrations, from them the aforementioned narration of Mu`adh – may Allah be pleased with him – which contains the saying of the Prophet : "And treat the people with good manners."

(iii) It is following the example of the Prophet , and Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – has said:

[لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِي رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٞ] Sura al-Ahzaab; (33):21

[Meaning: Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a fine example to follow.]

(iv) Ones rank is raised; the Prophet  said: "By his good character a servant will attain the rank of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day."[77]

(v) It is the thing that enters people into Paradise most. The Prophet  said: "The thing by which most people will enter Paradise is being fearful of Allah and dutiful to Him, and by having good manners."[78]

(vi) Closeness to the seat of the Prophet  on the Day of Resurrection. He  said: "Indeed the most beloved among you to me, and the nearest to sit with me on the Day of Judgment is the best of you in manners."[79]

(vii) Attaining the love of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –. On the authority of Usamah bin Shareek – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: "We were sitting with the Prophet  and it was as if there were birds upon our heads and none of us spoke until a people came and said: 'Who is the most beloved of the servants of Allah to Allah?' He said: "The best of them in manners."[80]"

(viii) Good manners is the thing most heavy in the scales on the Day of Resurrection. On the authority of Abud-Dardaa – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: "There is nothing heavier than good manners to be put in the scales of a servant on the Day of Resurrection."[81]

(ix) It increases one's lifespan, and keeps the homes inhabited. He  said: "Having good manners and being a good neighbour keeps the homes inhabited and causes an increase in people’s lifespans."[82]

(x) It wins over the hearts, makes easy one’s affairs, and saves a person from the harms of the creation.

(xi) Good character results in a person being mentioned with good, and it causes an increase in knowledge.

(xii) Having a good character causes a person's mind to be at ease, and an increase in provisions, and saves a person from the harms of life and from hastiness.[83]

Sixthly: Is it possible to acquire good manners or not? The answer is: Manners, and temperaments – just as they are instinctive, natural, and innate –; likewise they are acquirable, and can be learned through practice, exertion, and by taking suitable means.

Allah the Almighty said:

[إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوۡمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمۡۗ] Sura ar-Ra`d; (13):11

 [Meaning: Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition.]

He – the Almighty – also said:

[قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ مَن زَكَّىٰهَا] Sura ash-Shams; (91):9

 [Meaning: Indeed he succeeds who purifies his own self.]

And the Prophet  said: "Knowledge comes about through seeking to learn, and forbearance comes about through striving to attain forbearance, and whoever strives to attain good is given it, and whoever seek to avoid evil is saved from it."[84]

He  also said: "And treat the people with good manners."[85]

So these textual evidences and other than them – which are many in number –, indicate that changing ones temperament or character is indeed possible and has occurred. Thus it is not something unachievable or impossible – contrary to those who believe a person's manners are fixed and unchangeable – with them using as proof that they are instinctive and natural, and that a person is created with his temperament; thus it is impossible and unimaginable to change or separate himself from such.

Furthermore; if it were the case that one’s character and manners were unchangeable, then advices, sermons, and admonitions would be pointless; and enjoining people with morality, and abstinence from vice would be burdening the souls with more than they cannot bear – something which no sane person says.

As for if noble manners were from the nature of a person, and he further coupled them with praiseworthy attributes, perfected them with the etiquette of the honourable Islamic Legislation, and cultivated them with practice and discipline – then that is light upon light –; and that is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whomever He wills.[86]

 Chapter Two: The Sources of Legislation in Islam

Prologue

Section One: The reality of the Quran and its Credibility.

Section Two: The meaning of the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) and its significance.

Section Three: Ways of preserving the Prophetic Sunnah (traditions).

Section Four: The status of the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) in light of the Noble Quran.

Prologue

The Book and the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) are the Islamic sources of legislation; from them the creed, legislation, etiquette of Islam are derived, in addition to various other affairs.

A detailed clarification and explanation of this will follow in the succeeding sections; by way of clarifying the meaning of the Book and the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions), the evidences indicating their origin, and everything in relation to that.

Section One: The Reality of the Quran and its Credibility

Firstly: The Reality of the Noble Quran

(i) The linguistic definition of the Quran: some language scholars are of the opinion that morphology of the term 'Quran' is: it is a verbal noun with the form of 'fa`lan' such as 'ghufran', 'shukran', and 'rujhan'; being derived from 'qa-ra-a' (lit. to read), 'qira-ah', and 'qur-a-nan' (lit. reading).

Others are of the opinion that the Quran is a noun, not derived from: 'qa-ra-a' (lit. to read); rather it is a name for the Book of Allah, just like the rest of the divine books, such as the Torah and the Gospel.

Some of the scholars said: Quran means: collection – it being named Quran because it gathers and collects the chapters, thus it joins them.[87]

(ii) The technical definition of the Quran: the scholars have defined the Quran with numerous definitions; and from the best most comprehensive of those being: "The Quran is the miraculous Speech of Allah that He revealed to the Prophet Muhammad , transmitted by such a huge number at every stage that it is impossible for them to have gathered upon a lie, recital of which is an act of worship."[88]

The meaning of it being "The miraculous Speech  of Allah": i.e. it is not from the speech of humans, nor the jinn, nor the angels, nor is it the speech of any of the Prophets or Messengers;  rather it is the Speech of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – He spoke with it in reality, in a manner that befits Him – He the Exalted and Most High –.

By our saying: "Revealed to the Prophet Muhammad " we exclude: the rest of the books that were revealed to the Messengers – may peace be upon them – before Muhammad ; such as the scrolls revealed to Abraham, and the Torah which was revealed to Moses, and the Gospel which was revealed to Jesus – may peace be upon them all –.

"Transmitted by such a huge number at every stage that it is impossible for them to have gathered upon a lie" rebuts the claim of those who say: 'It is Quran – however it was not transmitted by such a huge number that it is impossible for them to have gathered upon a lie.'

And we eliminate by our saying: "Its recital is an act of worship": those narrations that the Prophet  narrated directly from his Lord; because they are not recited as an act of worship – even though they are attributed as being from Allah the Mighty and Majestic.[89]

(iii) The names of the Noble Quran: Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – named the Noble Quran with many names – exceeding fifty in number – from the most well-known of them are:

The Book; due to it comprising of various kinds of stories, signs, rulings, and accounts – all with specific objectives.

The Reminder; due to that which it contains of admonition, warning, and accounts of the previous nations.

And due to that which it contains from honour and elevation for the one who believes in it, and affirms its signs – because the Quran is the criterion between truth and falsehood.[90]

Secondly: The Credibility of the Noble Quran, its Status, and its Flawlessness

The Quran is the final and last of the divine Books, and the longest and most comprehensive of them, and it overrules them all.

Allah the Almighty says:

[وَأَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ مُصَدِّقٗا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ مِنَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ وَمُهَيۡمِنًا عَلَيۡهِۖ]

 Sura al-Maaidah; (5):48

 [Meaning: And We have revealed to you the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and a trustworthy witness over it.] He – the Almighty – also said:

[وَمَا كَانَ هَٰذَا ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ أَن يُفۡتَرَىٰ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَٰكِن تَصۡدِيقَ ٱلَّذِي بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ وَتَفۡصِيلَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ لَا رَيۡبَ فِيهِ مِن رَّبِّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ]

Sura Yunus; (10):37

[Meaning: And it is not possible that this Quran could ever be produced by other than Allah , but it is a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of the Book – wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the worlds.]

He also said:

[مَا كَانَ حَدِيثٗا يُفۡتَرَىٰ وَلَٰكِن تَصۡدِيقَ ٱلَّذِي بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ وَتَفۡصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ وَهُدٗى وَرَحۡمَةٗ لِّقَوۡمٖ يُؤۡمِنُونَ] Sura Yusuf; (12):111

 [Meaning: It is not a narration invented, but a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of all things and guidance and mercy for a people who believe.]

The scholars of exegesis of the Quran said regarding His saying – He the Almighty –:

[وَمُهَيۡمِنًا عَلَيۡهِ] Sura al-Maaidah; (5):48

 [Meaning: And a trustworthy witness over it.]

i.e. A guardian and a witness over that which preceded it from the Books, and a confirmation of them – meaning: it confirms and attests to that which is correct within them, and negates that which has been distorted, altered, and changed of them; and it rules over them either by abrogation or approval.

Due to this, those who truly adhere to the previous books yield to it – just as Allah the Exalted and Most High said –:

[ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ هُم بِهِۦ يُؤۡمِنُونَ ٥٢ وَإِذَا يُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡهِمۡ قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦٓ إِنَّهُ ٱلۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ مُسۡلِمِينَ]

Sura al-Qasas; (28):52-53

[Meaning: Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it - they are believers in it. And when it is recited to them, they say: "We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from those who submit themselves to Allah as Muslims.]

And Allah does not accept from anyone a religion other than that which this tremendous Quran came with.[91]

Sheikh Abdur-Rahman bin Sa`di – may Allah have mercy upon him – said regarding His saying – He the Almighty –:

[وَمُهَيۡمِنًا عَلَيۡهِ] Sura al-Maaidah; (5):48

 [Meaning: And a trustworthy witness over it.]

"i.e. It contains that which the previous books contain and an increase with regards to the topics relating to having knowledge of Allah, and lofty morals. Thus it is the Book that follows all truth contained in the (other) books, by commanding and encouraging with it, and by increasing the means to it.

It is the Book that contains the news of the past and future nations, and the book that contains rulings and wisdom, and a mention of those rulings found in the previous books. That which it bears witness to the truthfulness of is accepted; and that which it bears witness to as being rejected is repelled, due to it being corrupted by distortion or alteration. Otherwise – if it were truly from Allah – it would not contradict them."[92]

The Noble Quran is the final message from Allah to humanity, rather it is inclusive of the jinn and mankind; contrary to the other divine books, as they were specific to particular nations, and particular time periods.

Furthermore, the Quran is preserved from addition, decrement, and distortion. Rather Allah – the One free from all imperfections – has guaranteed its preservation. He – the Almighty – said:

[إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ] Sura al-Hijr; (15):9

 [Meaning: Indeed We: It is We Who have sent down the Remembrance (i.e. the Quran) and surely We are indeed Preservers of it.]

The scholars of exegesis of the Quran said regarding this verse: Meaning: We are the Ones who have sent down this Quran,

[وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ]

 [Meaning: And surely We are indeed Preservers of it.]

i.e. From everything that does not befit it; from corruption, distortion, addition, decrement, and the like. So no-one is able to add falsehood to it, nor decrease a truth contained within it.[93]

The Quran has a great effect upon the hearts; and nobody intentionally listens to it except that he finds it has an impact on his soul – even if he does not understand its meanings or that which it denotes – and even if he does not know the Arabic language.

This is from the secrets of the Quran that shows its greatness.

The Quran also has a great effect in the elevation of nations and their success; for Allah produced from the Arab nation leaders of wisdom and guidance, and he made them the best nation ever raised up for mankind – before which they were confused in the darkness of ignorance.

And from the characteristics of the Quran is: There is no end to its wonders, and its repetition does not bore, rather the more a person reads it the more it increases in sweetness, over and over.

And from its characteristics is: Allah made easy its learning and memorization, and due to this many Muslim children memorize it entirely by heart.

And from its characteristics is: It contains the most just of rulings, and the greatest and most noble and comprehensive of them. It leaves nothing small or great except that it enumerates it, both in general and in detail. Every unbiased person of intellect bears witness to this fact, even from the non-Muslims.[94]

Further detail regarding the status of the Quran and its greatness will follow in the next section, and during the discussion of the miraculous nature of the Quran.

Section Two: The meaning of the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) and its significance

The First Topic: The meaning of the Prophetic Sunnah (traditions)

Firstly: The term Sunnah linguistically: Sunnah in the language means a way or behaviour. Labeed bin Rabi`ah – may Allah be pleased with him said in his famous line of poetry:

From a company whose fathers established such practices * and every people have their way and their leader[95]

Ibn Manthur – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "the Sunnah means: a behaviour – whether good or bad –.[96]

Secondly: The technical meaning of Sunnah: If the term Sunnah is used in the legislation then it refers to that which the Messenger  ordered with and forbade from, and that which he encouraged with, by saying or action.

For this reason, we say in reference to the evidences of the Islamic legislation: the Book and the Sunnah, i.e. the Noble Quran and the Prophetic narrations.

With this being said, the scholars of Islamic legislation differ regarding the meaning of Sunnah – in accordance with their specialties.

That which concerns us here is the meaning of Sunnah as intended by Hadith scholars, and in light of it being the second source of Islamic legislation.[97]

Based on this, it is possible for us to define the Sunnah as being:

Everything transmitted from the Prophet  in terms of speech, actions, approvals, physical or personality traits, or behaviours; whether before prophethood, or after it.[98]

Sunnah – according to this meaning – is synonymous with Hadith.

The meaning of everything transmitted from the Prophet  "From sayings": i.e. the narrations he spoke with in different circumstances, and that which he clarified from the rulings of Islam, and its beliefs and etiquettes.

An example of this is his saying: "Indeed actions are but by intentions."[99]

"Or actions": i.e. that which the Companions – may Allah be pleased with them all – transmitted to us; such as: his ablution, his prayer, his rites, his fasting, and the like.

"Or approvals": i.e. everything that the Messenger  approved of from the actions of his Companions – indicated by his silence and not criticizing them, or by his agreement and consent. So that which emanated from them – along with this approval and agreement – is counted as having emanated from the Messenger .

For example: his  silence regarding the Abyssinians play fighting in the mosque, and his not criticizing them.[100]

Their saying: "Physical traits": includes the appearance of the Messenger ; such as the description of his noble face – which was white with redness – and his height, his colour, and his smile .

Their saying: "Or personality traits": includes all of his manners and traits.

Their saying: "Before prophethood": includes all of his conditions prior to him being sent as a prophet.

Their saying: "Or after it": includes all of his conditions after being granted prophethood; due to him being the imam, and the finest guide and example. The Messenger of Allah  informed us that he is a role model in His saying – He the Almighty –:

[لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِي رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٞ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأٓخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرٗا] Sura al-Ahzaab; (33):21

 [Meaning: Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have a fine example to follow for him who hopes in the meeting with Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.][101]

The Second Topic: The Importance of the Sunnah and its Status in Islamic Legislation

The Prophetic Sunnah is the second source of the Islamic legislation, and it is from the remembrance and revelation that Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – guaranteed preservation of; just as occurs in His saying – He the Almighty:

[إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ] Sura al-Hijr; (15):9

 [Meaning: Indeed it is We Who have sent down the Remembrance and surely We are indeed Preservers of it.]

This promise and guarantee includes preservation of the Quran as well as preservation of the Prophetic Sunnah which explains the Quran. It is also the wisdom sent down, just as occurs in His saying – He the Almighty –:

[وَأَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَعَلَّمَكَ مَا لَمۡ تَكُن تَعۡلَمُۚ]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):113

[Meaning: And Allah has sent down to you the Book and the wisdom and taught you that which you did not know.]

Ibn Hazm – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "The revelation from Allah is of two categories:

The first: Revelation that is recited; composition of which is of a supernatural and miraculous nature.

The second: Revelation that is reported and narrated. This category is not miraculously composed, nor is it supernatural or recited melodiously, rather it is read.

And it is the instruction which comes from the Messenger of Allah  – who clarifies that which Allah the Mighty and Majestic wants of us. Allah the Almighty said:

[لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيۡهِمۡ] Sura an-Nahl; (16):44

 [Meaning: That you may make clear to the people what is sent down to them.][102]

The fact that the Quran and the Sunnah are preserved by Allah does not mean that there isn't anyone who tries to add or delete from them, as this has occurred much – both in the past and present –.

Rather the intent is: that Allah the Mighty and Majestic appoints from the scholars of this nation those who refute the falsehood, addition and decrement from the Book of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – and the Sunnah of His Prophet .

Shaikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – clarifies this meaning in his statement: "Verily the religion is preserved by Allah's preservation of it; and since the words of the Quran are preserved and transmitted by such a huge number at every stage that it is impossible for them to have gathered upon a lie, nobody attempted to falsify anything of it, nor add to it – contrary to the books preceding it. Allah the Almighty said:

[إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ] Sura al-Hijr; (15):9

 [Meaning: Indeed it is We Who have sent down the Remembrance and surely We are indeed Preservers of it.]

And contrary to the Hadith, for Satan yearns to distort much of it; and to alter its terms, by way of addition, decrement, and inventing lies both in its text and chains of transmission. However, Allah placed those who preserve and protect it; and who refute the distortion of the extremists, and the impersonation of the falsifiers, and the explanation of the ignorant – so they made clear that which the liars and distorters invented into it –."[103]

Ibn Taymiyyah also said: "Whatever the explanations of the Quran, or the transmission or explanations of Hadith contain from error, then Allah places those who clarify that from this nation; so they mention the evidence proving the error of the mistaken, and the lies of the liar – for indeed this nation does not unite upon misguidance – and there will remain within it a group who are manifest upon the truth until the Hour is established. This is due to them being the last of the nations; so there is no Prophet after them, and no book after their Book. The previous nations if they altered and changed [their books] Allah would send a Prophet to clarify to them, and to command and prohibit them.

However, there is no prophet after Muhammad , and Allah has guaranteed that He will preserve that which He sent down from the Remembrance, and that this nation will not unite upon misguidance. So He appointed in every era for this nation those who preserve His religion from the people of knowledge and the Quran."[104]

Therefore the Quran is the primary source in Islam – for the affairs of creed, legislation, and etiquette – because it is the miraculous Speech of Allah the Almighty that He sent down upon the Messenger  via the trustworthy angel Gabriel, and whose words have been transmitted by such a huge number of people at every stage that it is impossible for them to have united upon a lie; recital of which is an act of worship, and it is written in the mushafs (written copies of the Quran).

Everything that came from the Messenger  other than the Quran; such as clarifying the creed, details regarding rulings of the Islamic legislation, and implementation of the Quran – then it is the Sunnah – as well as the Prophetic traditions; for they are the result of Revelation from Allah the Almighty, or personal striving and deduction of the Messenger , and the Messenger  is not granted consent upon a mistake.

Thus the source of the Sunnah is the revelation; therefore the Noble Quran is revelation that is recited, and whose recital is an act of worship; and the Sunnah is revelation that is not recited. The Sunnah clarifies that which Allah wants of us. Confirmation of this is found in His saying – He the Almighty – in address to the Messenger :

[وَأَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلذِّكۡرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيۡهِمۡ] Sura an-Nahl; (16):44

 [Meaning: And We have also sent down unto you the reminder so that you may explain clearly to the people what is sent down to them.]

The Quran is the primary source, and the Sunnah is the secondary source; so they are the two inseparable sources of Islamic legislation. It is not possible for a Muslim to understand the Islamic legislation except by referring to both of them together; and a mujtahid[105] or a scholar cannot do without either of them.[106]

The Third Topic: Some of the Proofs Indicating the Validity of the Sunnah as Evidence

A person may ask the question: What is the proof that indicates the obligation of acting in accordance with that which is established as being from the Messenger , and indicates that the Sunnah is indeed the second source of Islamic legislation?

The answer is: There are evidences clarifying and necessitating this; from them:

(i) The obligation of believing in the Messenger : From the requirements of having true faith in his messengership is the obligation of accepting and attesting to everything that comes from the Messenger  in the affairs of religion, for Allah the Mighty and Majestic chose the Messengers and selected them from among His servants so that they would convey His legislation to them. Allah – the Almighty – said:

[ٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ حَيۡثُ يَجۡعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُۥۗ] Sura al-An`am; (6):124

 [Meaning: Allah knows best with whom to place His Message.]

He also said:

[فَهَلۡ عَلَى ٱلرُّسُلِ إِلَّا ٱلۡبَلَٰغُ ٱلۡمُبِينُ] Sura an-Nahl; (16):35

 [Meaning: So is there anything upon the messengers except the duty of clear notification?]

And He – the Almighty – said:

[يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ ءَامِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَٱلۡكِتَٰبِ ٱلَّذِي نَزَّلَ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِۦ وَٱلۡكِتَٰبِ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَنزَلَ مِن قَبۡلُۚ] Sura an-Nisa·; (4):136

 [Meaning: O you who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before.]

And His saying:

[فَ‍َٔامِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ٱلنَّبِيِّ ٱلۡأُمِّيِّ ٱلَّذِي يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَكَلِمَٰتِهِۦ وَٱتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَهۡتَدُونَ]

  Sura al-A`raaf; (7):158

 [Meaning: So, believe in Allah and His Messenger, the illiterate prophet who believes in Allah and His Words, and follow him that you may be guided.]

This is a clear textual evidence indicating the obligation of acting in accordance with that which he came, and the obligation of following him .

This is further clarified by the statement of Imam ash-Shafi`ee regarding the previous verse. He said: "So He perfected the basis of true faith – that which everything else follows on from – having true faith in Allah, then in His Messenger."[107]

(ii) The Noble Quran: The Noble Quran contains many verses that answer the question posed, and clearly state the obligation of obeying the Messenger . From them is His saying – He the Almighty –:

[يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي ٱلۡأَمۡرِ مِنكُمۡۖ فَإِن تَنَٰزَعۡتُمۡ فِي شَيۡءٖ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَٱلرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِۚ]

Sura an-Nisa; (4):59

[Meaning: O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day.]

Referring to Allah is returning to His Book and referring to the Messenger is returning to his Sunnah.

And His saying – He the Almighty –:

[وَمَآ ءَاتَىٰكُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَىٰكُمۡ عَنۡهُ فَٱنتَهُواْۚ]

Sooaratul-Hashr; (59):7

[Meaning: And whatever the Messenger has given you then take it; and whatever he has forbidden you from then refrain.]

And how eloquent is His saying – He the Exalted and Most High – in this regard:

[فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيۡنَهُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُواْ فِيٓ أَنفُسِهِمۡ حَرَجٗا مِّمَّا قَضَيۡتَ وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسۡلِيمٗا] Sura an-Nisa·; (4):65

 [Meaning: But no – by your Lord – they will not truly believe until they make you judge in all disputes between them; and then find within themselves no discomfort regarding your judgment, and submit in full, willing submission.]

(iii) Evidence from the Hadith (Prophetic traditions) Indicating the Validity of the Sunnah as Evidence: the Messenger of Allah  said: "Whoever obeys me then he has obeyed Allah, and whoever disobeys me then he has disobeyed Allah."[108]

He – may peace and blessings be upon him – also said: "I have left among you that which, if you cling to it, you shall not go astray: the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet."[109]

And he  said: "Stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs after me. Hold onto it tightly, and bite onto it with your molar teeth."[110]

These narrations indicate the Messenger  was given the Book and the Sunnah, and the obligation of clinging to them both, and that one accepts that which occurs in the Sunnah just as he accepts that which occurs in the Book, and acts upon it.

In addition to this: the Messenger  warned against rejecting his command, and he criticized the one who abandons his narrations with the excuse that he is acting in accordance with that which the Book of Allah – the Almighty – contains, and relying solely upon its content. On the authority of al-Miqdaam bin Ma`dikarib that the Messenger  said: "Let me not find one of you reclining on his couch; when he hears a command from my commands he says: 'We do not know what this is. Between us and you is the Book.' Verily I have been given the Book and the like of it along with it."[111]

(iv) The Consensus: All of the Muslims are in unanimous agreement upon the obligation of acting in accordance with the Sunnah, in response to the command of Allah and His trustworthy Messenger; and likewise, they all practice the rulings contained within it just as they practice the rulings of the Noble Quran. This is because it is a source of Islamic legislation just as Allah the Almighty informed and clarified in His Noble Book; and Allah bore witness to the Messenger  that he only follows what is revealed to him. He the Almighty said:

[قُل لَّآ أَقُولُ لَكُمۡ عِندِي خَزَآئِنُ ٱللَّهِ وَلَآ أَعۡلَمُ ٱلۡغَيۡبَ وَلَآ أَقُولُ لَكُمۡ إِنِّي مَلَكٌۖ إِنۡ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَيَّۚ قُلۡ هَلۡ يَسۡتَوِي ٱلۡأَعۡمَىٰ وَٱلۡبَصِيرُۚ أَفَلَا تَتَفَكَّرُونَ]

Sura al-An`aam; (6):50

[Meaning: Say: "I do not tell you that I have the treasures of Allah, nor do I know the unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me." Say: "Is the blind equal to the seeing? Then will you not give thought?"][112]

He – the One free from all imperfections – also warned against opposing the command of the Prophet  in His saying – He the Mighty and Majestic –:

[فَلْيَحْذَرْ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَنْ تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ]

Sura an-Noor; (24): 63

[Meaning: So let those who oppose the Messenger's command beware, lest some trial befall them, or a painful torment be inflicted on them.]

He also said:

[فَلا وَرَبِّكَ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّى يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجاً مِمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيماً]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):65

[Meaning: But no – by your Lord – they will not truly believe until they make you judge in all disputes between them; and then find within themselves no discomfort regarding your judgment, and submit in full, willing submission.]

Allah ordered us to refer to him for judgment, and to be pleased with his rule. He the Almighty said:

[فَإِن تَنَٰزَعۡتُمۡ فِي شَيۡءٖ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَٱلرَّسُولِ]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):59

[Meaning: And if you disagree over anything then refer it to Allah and the Messenger.]

The scholars have unanimously agreed that returning and referring to the Messenger for judgment after his death is returning and referring to his Sunnah.

Hence these verses contain the clearest evidence prohibiting opposition of him. Look at how He warned those who oppose him with a trial – which is polytheism, or deviation – and a painful torment.

And look at how He swore upon them not having true faith until they make him the judge in all disputes between them, and they submit to his judgment while not finding within themselves any discomfort regarding his judgment.

Sufficient is this as a warning and threat to those who abandon his Sunnah after knowing its ruling – either out of neglect, or disregard, and the like.[113]

Section Three: Ways of preserving the Prophetic Sunnah

Prologue

Previously we mentioned the Prophetic Sunnah being from the revelation and the remembrance which Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – guaranteed preservation of.

From His preservation – He the Exalted and Most High – of the Sunnah is that He caused the Muslims to have concern for it, and appointed men who give it the utmost care; so they purify it, and distinguish that which is authentic from that which is weak, and in this way the successors transmitted it from the predecessors, generation after generation. They would refer to it in all of their religious affairs, and act upon that which it contained, hold fast to it, and preserve it – in order to perfect their imitation of the Messenger .[114]

A clarification of this will be discussed in the following topics:

The First Topic: That which has been mentioned regarding having reverence for the Sunnah, and the virtue of the Hadith (Prophetic traditions) and its people

Since the Sunnah is a source of Islamic legislation, and its origin is the Messenger , and since Allah ordered the Believers to honour and venerate him, and He praised those who lower their voices in his presence – there is no oddity then, that it deserves the same honour as the one it originated from. This is from the reasons that caused the scholars to greatly respect and honour the Sunnah. From the examples of this:

(i) `Amr bin Maymun reported from Ibn Mas`ud that he narrated a saying of the Prophet  one day, so he did not say: "The Messenger of Allah ", except he was overcome with grief, and sweat started to drip from his forehead. And in a variant narration: "His eyes welled up, and his jugular veins bulged.

(ii) Ibn Sireen – if a narration of the Messenger of Allah  was mentioned in his presence and he was laughing – then he would be silent.

(iii) Imam Maalik – may Allah have mercy upon him – was well known in this regard more than others. If he wished to speak with the traditions of the Prophet  he would bathe, perfume himself, don new clothes, wear a turban, then he would sit upon his seat humbly, and would continue to burn incense until he finished speaking. He would say: "I like to honour the traditions of the Messenger of Allah .

He disliked mentioning the traditions of the Prophet  if he was standing or in a hurry. These reports are mentioned by al-Qaadhi `Iyaadh in his book 'ash-Shifaa (the Cure).'[115]

They did so out of honour for the one who made such statements, and out of honour for those noble words that are the most noble of speech, and the highest in status – after the Speech of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –.[116]

Allah – the Almighty – encouraged with the acquisition of knowledge, He commended and praised the scholars by associating their testimonies of His oneness with the testimonies of His angles. He the All Mighty also negated equality between those who possess knowledge and those who do not.[117]

Likewise the Prophet  encouraged with knowledge, and informed that its carriers are the  inheritors of the Prophets, and that the angels lower their wings for the student of knowledge[118]; and that which has been reported in this regard is ample.

So those that carry the Prophetic narrations – and are busied with learning and teaching them – have an abundant share of this praise for the scholars, and sufficient is this as an honour for Hadith (Prophetic traditions) and its bearers. Therefore, spending one's lifetime learning and spreading it is better than busying oneself with supererogatory acts of worship; this not being the case except due to that which it contains from explanation of the Quran, and a revival of the Sunnah of the Prophet , and an imitation of him in his calling to Allah and conveyance of the Message. Even if it were only for the fact that its people sent plentiful blessings upon the Prophet  – regarding which great reward has been reported – such as his saying : "The person closest to me on the Day of Judgement is the one who sent the most blessings upon me"[119] [then that would be sufficient].

Furthermore, in it is deservingness of the supplication of the Prophet ; as occurs in the 'Musnad' and the 'Sunan' from a narration of Zayd bin Thabit and others, that the Prophet  said: "May Allah brighten [the face of] a person who hears my saying and retains it, then he conveys it just as he heard it."[120]

And in it is a fulfilment of the order of the Prophet  in his saying: "Convey my teachings to the people even if it were a single sentence."[121]

The Second Topic: The Pious Predecessors and their Concern for the Prophetic Traditions

Since the Companions – may Allah be pleased with them all – knew the importance of this knowledge, they strove in learning it from their Prophet , by accompanying him much, and by preferring his sittings over working to acquire wealth or seeking after their livelihoods. Some of them would appoint those who would attend his gathering so that they could inform them of that which they missed from knowledge; just as `Umar ibn al-Khattaab did with his Ansari[122] neighbour.[123]

The Prophet  was the best example in teaching his Companions and conveying to them the meanings of things. He would use a variety of methods to explain and clarify; such as: presentation, discussion, striking examples, and repetition – so that he would be understood –. The Companions would learn from him in his sittings and gatherings, while he was on the pulpit, and whether he was upon a journey or resident. Allah did not cause him to pass away except after he had taught them everything they needed to know – just as some of his enemies from the polytheists bore witness to – as occurs in the narration of Muslim, on the authority of Salman al-Farisi – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: "It was said to me: 'Your Prophet has taught you about everything; even regarding the etiquette of answering the call of nature.'"[124]

After Allah caused His Prophet Muhammad  to pass away, his Companions knew the knowledge they learnt from him was a responsibility upon them, and that they were obligated to convey it to the people so that they did not enter under the threat of those whom Allah said regarding them:

[إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَكۡتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلۡبَيِّنَٰتِ وَٱلۡهُدَىٰ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا بَيَّنَّٰهُ

لِلنَّاسِ فِي ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ يَلۡعَنُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَلۡعَنُهُمُ ٱللَّٰعِنُونَ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):159

[Meaning: Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers.]

In the same way, their students were aware of the status of this knowledge in the religion that they were burdened with, which led them to expend efforts teaching and learning it. Their gatherings were filled with Hadith (Prophetic traditions), and seeking it became almost their sole objective. They endured hardships in attaining it, and travelled great distances; just as it is reported from Ibn `Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – that he said: "A Hadith (Prophetic tradition) would reach me from some of the Companions, so I would go to him and I would find him taking a siesta, so I would sit at his door – with the wind blowing dust into my face – until he awoke."[125]

It is famous from Jabir – may Allah be pleased with him – that he travelled to the Levant[126] in order to hear a single narration of the Prophet  from `Abdullah bin Unays, as reported by Ahmad.[127]

Likewise, Abu Ayyub would travel from Medina to Egypt so that he could narrate a single narration of the Prophet  from `Uqbah bin `Aamir.[128]

After they would hear a narration of the Prophet , they would revise and study it together, and practice it between themselves, so that each of them could be certain he had memorized it. Some of them would repeat a single narration for extended periods of time until they memorized it; just as is reported from Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that he would set aside a portion of the night to revise narrations of the Prophet  so that he did not forget them. Mentioned by Ibn Jurayj and others.[129]

Allah favoured them with an increase in memory – by way of which they surpassed those who came after them by a great deal – there being many amazing reports from them in that regard.[130]

Some of them would use the aid of writing to help them memorize.

In short, we have reports from our pious predecessors indicating their concern for Hadith (Prophetic traditions) and their care for it – through which Allah brought about preservation of this Islamic legislation, and conservation of its sources – so may Allah have mercy upon them and reward them on behalf of Islam and the Muslims with the best reward.[131]

The Third Topic: The Efforts of the Scholars of the Sunnah in Preserving the Hadith (Prophetic traditions)

Near the end of the time of the Companions – may Allah be pleased with them – those who would deliberately lie upon the Messenger of Allah  began to appear, in spite of there being narrations threatening and warning against such.[132] Those most famous for fabricating narration were a group of infidels who entered into the religion in disguise, while intending to corrupt the creed, and create doubts regarding Islam.

And others:

[مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ فَرَّقُواْ دِينَهُمۡ وَكَانُواْ شِيَعٗاۖ]  Sura ar-Rum; (30):32

 [Meaning: Of those who split up their religion and became sects.] – they purposefully show partisanship to their leaders, tribes, and lands.

And a third category is: those storytellers who wish to be known for having many tales, and amazing accounts – those that arouse the souls and move the hearts –.

However, the scholars of Hadith – when they sensed this danger – they met it with that which nullified and rejected it; in order that the Prophetic Hadith (traditions) remained intact from corruption or tarnish, and so that it remained a pure spring for whoever wished to drink from it.

They laid foundations and invented ways that became a means for the preservation of the Sunnah so that it continued to be transmitted from generation to generation while remaining green and fresh – just like the day the holder of the Message uttered them – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Some of the methods they invented in order to preserve the Prophetic Hadith (narrations) are:

(i) Adhering to the chains of transmission, and naming of the narrators: This is from the distinguishing factors of this nation; by way of it we know the source of the Hadith (narration) and the condition of its men – which enables to pass the ruling of our acceptance or rejection of it. `Abdullah bin Mubarak said: "The chain of transmission is from the religion; and if it were not for the chains of transmission then anybody would say whatever they wished."[133]

This resulted in the prevention of many fabricated narrations, as the fabricators feared their lies being exposed, and their status diminishing in the eyes of those who respected them.

(ii) Carefully checking the conditions of the narrators: Searching for their status regarding Hadith and their competence in carrying it – the scholars spoke regarding them due to this being from giving sincere advice to the nation. This is because the narrators have taken on the responsibility of transmitting matters of religion that carry rulings. And this is from the specific types of backbiting that are permissible and is excluded from the general prohibition of backbiting; due to that which it contains from widespread benefit for the nation.

(iii) Verifying the narration – both at the time of reception and narration –: The narrators would not mention a narration except they had perfected it; and they would not narrate it except to those who were deserving of hearing it; and they would avoid narrating to the foolish and the people of desires.

These efforts – and other than them – resulted in the distinguishment of the Prophetic narrations; the removal of fabricated, made-up narrations from the term Hadith (i.e. from being attributed to the Prophet ); as well as the identification of liars, announcing their condition, and uncovering their faults – this being something that made them shy away when confronted by those illustrious scholars –. In this regard we have the statement of Sufyan ath-Thawri: "Allah never covered up the faults of one who lied regarding Hadith (Prophetic narrations)."

It was said to Ibn al-Mubaarak: "Are these narrations fabricated?" He said: "They are the reason the scholars live;

[إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ]  Sura al-Hijr; (15):9

 [Meaning: Indeed it is We Who have sent down the Remembrance and surely We are indeed Preservers of it]."

Mentioned by as-Sakhawi in 'Fathul-Mugheeth' and others.[134]

The Fourth Topic: Recording the Hadith (Prophetic narrations)

We find the prohibition of writing Hadith in some reports from the Messenger  and from the Companions; just as we find the Prophet  clearly giving permission to do so on some occasions, and to specific people.[135]

To interpret the prohibition of writing to mean the unsuitability of using Hadith as valid evidence is incorrect, as is the view of some heretics. Also, the opinion that the reason behind this prohibition was due to a lack of writing utensils or literate people is weak as well; for there were those from the Companions and their sons who had the ability to write.[136]

The most correct understanding is that the prohibition of writing Hadith was at the dawn of Islam – in order that people would busy themselves with memorization of the Quran, and strive to learn it from tablets and parchments – and their study of Prophetic narrations would be through practice and sittings.

Or it is possible that the prohibition was specific to writing Hadith and the Quran together on the same parchment – out of fear that those who were ignorant would not be able to distinguish between the two –; and the permission to do so was granted to those who confusion was not feared from – such as `Abdullah bin `Amr – or an allowance was made due to a necessity – such as the command of the Prophet  to write for Abu Shah.[137]

Also, it is well known that he  wrote many parchments to some of the covenanters, and on some occasions; as well as his sending books during his time to the leaders of lands, inviting them to Islam[138] – all of this indicating the permissibility of writing Hadith in general.

Furthermore, the Companions knew the reason for the prohibition – so some of them refrained from writing, and others wrote out of necessity.[139]

After this fear had disappeared – due to the Quran becoming distinguished and unique from other than it –, and the need for writing increased, the Sunnah began to be recorded. This occurred towards the end of the first century, by decree of `Abdul-`Aziz bin Marwan and after him: his son `Umar[140].  Then, in the second century writing became widespread; and the people became accustomed to writing and would narrate from their books and preserve them.

This remained the case until these narrations reached great scholars such as al-Bukhari and Muslim, and the authors of the Sunan[141]. They recorded such narrations in their books – both generally and specifically – as well as separating the authentic of it from the weak, and the like.

These collections reached us – and all praise is for Allah – just as they were written, preserved from being altered or changed. By way of this Allah fulfilled His guarantee of preserving the sources of Islamic legislation, and the proof of Allah was established over the servants, and all praise is for Allah – Lord of the Worlds –.[142]

In this way it becomes clear that the religion of Islam, the Book of Islam, and the Sunnah of the Prophet of Islam have all reached us in preserved form; as a result of being preserved and passed down by trustworthy hands that gave it care and concern.

Section Four: The status of the Sunnah in light of the Noble Quran

Since Prophet Muhammad  was the intermediary between Allah and His servants in transmitting His legislation and Religion, this meant he was the source of all Islamic legislation.

However, the legislation – as has preceded – is divided into: revelation which is sent down and whose recital is an act of worship, i.e. the Noble Quran; and into: a clarification, demonstration, and an affirmation of that, as well as bringing new legislation regarding the rulings not found within the Quran, i.e. the Prophetic Sunnah.

And since there are some rulings in the Quran that are obscure and whose reality is not known; it was the duty of the Prophet  to clarify them.

Allah the Almighty said:

[وَأَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلذِّكۡرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيۡهِمۡ]

Sura an-Nahl; (16):44

[Meaning: And We have also sent down unto you the reminder so that you may explain clearly to the people what is sent down to them.]

[وَمَآ أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ إِلَّا لِتُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلَّذِي ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ]

[Meaning: And We have not sent down the Book to you, except that you may explain clearly to them those things in which they differ.]

The Prophet  carried out his Lord's Command perfectly, and fulfilled his duty impeccably; so he clarified through his Sunnah that which was revealed to them.[143]

An explanation of this is that the only sources of religious rulings in the lifetime of the Messenger  were the Book and the Sunnah.

The Book of Allah – the Almighty – contains the basis for the rulings of Islamic legislation without detailing them all. It only explains those rulings in conformance with the solid, unchanging bases that do not evolve in accordance to the different circumstances or habits of people. This is so that the Quran succeeds in achieving uprightness and prosperity for every nation, regardless of circumstances or time period. Therefore, we find it comprises of that which causes its legislation to remain unchanged despite modernization and progression; and leads to bliss in this world and the Hereafter.

Alongside these bases in the Noble Quran we find a mention of the creed, acts of worship, stories of previous nations, manners, and etiquette.

The Sunnah came with that which affirms the contents of the Quran, clarifies its ambiguity, details its obscurity, restricts its absolute, specifies its generality, explains its rulings and intents, as well as mentioning rulings not found in the Noble Quran. Thus, the Sunnah is a practical implementation of that which occurs in Noble Quran.

From that which has preceded we know the status of the Sunnah is the same as that of the Noble Quran – in the sense that they are both revelation and are both sources of Islamic legislation which we are obligated to act in accordance with.

However, the Sunnah follows the Noble Quran in virtue, because it explains it – and the thing explained is given precedence over that which explains it, just as the base of something is better than whatever is built upon it – just as Allah the Almighty said:

:[وَأَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلذِّكۡرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ]

Sura an-Nahl; (16):44

[Meaning: And We have also sent down unto you the Reminder so that you may explain clearly to the people what is sent down to them and that they may reflect.]

In summary; it is possible to categorize the relationship between the Sunnah and the Noble Quran into four categories:

The First: Either it confirms that which is mentioned in the Quran; such as the narrations commanding with the prayer, Zakat, fasting, honesty, refraining from lying, and the narrations forbidding usury, and the like.

The Second: Or it explains the Noble Quran. This clarification is further split into the following sub-categories:

(i) It clarifies that which is ambiguous in the Quran: so the Sunnah clarifies that which is unclear as it relates to the acts of worship and the religious rulings. For example: the clarification of the Messenger  regarding the prayer times, the number of units they comprise of, how to pray, and the pillars of prayer – just as he  said: "Pray just as you have seen me pray."[144]

Likewise, he clarified and explained the obscurity regarding the rites of Hajj mentioned in the Noble Quran; just as he  said: "Learn your rituals from me (i.e. by seeing me performing them)."[145]

Also, his clarification on what Zakat is to be given upon, its amount, and its threshold – all of which are unmentioned in the Noble Quran.

(ii) It specifies that which is general in the Quran: From the examples of this is the clarification of the Messenger  regarding the saying of Allah the Mighty and Majestic:

[يُوصِيكُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِيٓ أَوۡلَٰدِكُمۡۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثۡلُ حَظِّ ٱلۡأُنثَيَيۡنِۚ]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):11

[Meaning: Allah commands you regarding your children's inheritance; for the male is a portion equal to that of two females.]

This is a general ruling regarding children inheriting from their fathers and mothers and includes all parents and their children. The Sunnah then particularized this ruling to those who pass away other than the Prophets, by his saying: "Our property is not inherited; that which we leave is charity."[146]

(iii) It restricts that which is absolute in the Noble Quran: so for example in His saying – He the One free of all imperfections –:

[وَٱلسَّارِقُ وَٱلسَّارِقَةُ فَٱقۡطَعُوٓاْ أَيۡدِيَهُمَا] Sura al-Maaidah; (5):38

 [Meaning: And the male thief and the female thief: then cut off the hands of both of them.]

The cutting is not restricted to a particular part of the hand; and [in the Arabic language] the term 'Yad (hand)' is used to refer to the forearm, just as it is used to refer to the upper arm, lower arm, and the palm. The Sunnah then restricted the cutting to the wrist, when a thief was brought before the Messenger of Allah , and he established the penalty upon him by cutting his hand off from the wrist[147].

The Third: That the Sunnah brings additional detail to a fundamental mentioned in the Noble Quran: For example: the prohibition of selling fruits before their condition becomes apparent. After the Prophet  emigrated to Medina he found the farmers would sell their fruit before its condition became apparent, with both the buyer and seller not knowing the amount or condition of that which they were trading. This ultimately led to disputes between the two parties when it came to the time of harvest; either due to unexpected severe frost, or disease which destroyed the blossoms and harvest, and also caused a deficiency in fruit. Therefore the Messenger of Allah  forbade this type of selling as long as the condition of the fruit remained unknown[148], so he said: "If Allah withholds the crop – with what right would one of you take the wealth of his brother?"[149] This contains additional detail to the tremendous foundation mentioned in His saying – He the Almighty –:

[لَا تَأۡكُلُوٓاْ أَمۡوَٰلَكُم بَيۡنَكُم بِٱلۡبَٰطِلِ إِلَّآ أَن تَكُونَ تِجَٰرَةً عَن تَرَاضٖ مِّنكُمۡۚ]

 Sura an-Nisa·; (4):29

 [Meaning: Do not consume your wealth among yourselves unjustly but only in lawful business by mutual consent.]

The Fourth: That the Sunnah mentions rulings not found in the Noble Quran: [this category] is not in clarification of the Quran, nor is it a practical implementation affirming that which is mentioned within it. For example: the prohibition of eating the meat of domestic donkeys, and the meat of fanged animals, and the prohibition of marrying a woman and her paternal or maternal aunt at the same time, and the additional mourning of a widow for more than the duration mentioned in the Noble Quran, and other than that.

All of this is Sunnah; obligatory upon us to act in accordance with.

This is the view of all reputable scholars from the nation of Islam – regardless of place or time –.[150]

Imam ash-Shafi`ee – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "Whatever the Messenger of Allah  legislated regarding that which Allah does not have a ruling in – then he did so according to the rule of Allah; just as Allah informed us in His saying:

[وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهۡدِيٓ إِلَىٰ صِرَٰطٖ مُّسۡتَقِيمٖ ٥٢ صِرَٰطِ ٱللَّهِ]

Sura Shuraa; (42):52-53

[Meaning: And you, O Muhammad guide to a straight path – the Path of Allah.]

Prophet Muhammad would legislate alongside the Book of Allah, just as he would legislate things not mentioned with the exact wording of the text of the Book. Allah has made it binding upon us to follow him in all that he legislated, and He made following him obedience to Him, and He made averting following him disobedience to Him. This is something He does not pardon any of the creation regarding, and He has not made a way out for anyone to avoid following the Messenger of Allah."[151]

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "It is upon us to follow that which is authentically established from him of the Sunnah, even if it is said: 'It is in the Quran and we do not understand it', or it is said: 'It is not in the Quran'."[152]

He also said: "Everything that is in the Quran then the Messenger  is in agreement with; and likewise, everything that the Messenger of Allah  legislated, then the Quran commands with following him."[153]

He also says: "It is not necessarily the case that everything that occurs in the Sunnah is explained in the Quran; because the Messenger  was the intermediary for His Commands and Forbiddances, and for His Allowances and Prohibitions."[154]

Thus the Sunnah is the second source of Islamic legislation.


 Chapter Three : The Pillars of Islam

Prologue

Section One: The two Testifications.

Section Two: Prayer.

Section Three: Zakat (obligatory almsgiving).

Section Four: Fasting.

Section Five: Hajj (the greater pilgrimage).

Prologue

The pillars of Islam are its foundations that it is built upon, and they are five in number:

1. The testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

2. Establishing the prayer.

3. Giving Zakat (alms).

4. Fasting the month of Ramadan[155].

5. Performing Hajj (the greater pilgrimage) to the sacred house of Allah for those who have the ability.

These pillars are mentioned in the narration of Ibn `Umar – may Allah be pleased with them both – from the Prophet  that he said: "Islam is built upon five: The testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and to establish the prayer; and to give Zakat; and to fast the month of Ramadan; and [to perform] Hajj."[156]

These are the pillars of Islam in summary – those pillars that result in there being an Islamic, God-fearing nation among the population; who follow the true religion, and who treat the creation with justice and honesty. This is because the rest of the Islamic legislation can only be correct if these foundations are correct, and the nation can only be rectified if it rectifies the affair of its religion. So its condition will not be rectified as long as it does not rectify the affair of its religion.[157]

A clearer and more detailed clarification of these pillars will follow in the coming sections.

Section One: The Two Testifications

The two testifications refer to: testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and testifying that Muhammad is the servant of Allah and His Messenger. These two testifications are the first pillar of Islam.

What follows is a clarification and explanation of this tremendous pillar of Islam:

Firstly: The Meaning of Laa ilaaha illaa Allah (there is none that has the right to be worshipped except Allah)

The true meaning that it is not permissible to divert away from is: there is nothing worshipped in truth except Allah.

This is due to the fact that the term 'Ilah (God)' in Arabic follows the form 'fi`al' and carries the meaning of 'maf`ul (being an object)' – just like 'ghiras' means 'maghrus (lit. planted)', and just as 'firash' means 'mafrush (lit. outspread)'. In the same way 'Ilah' follows the form of 'fi`al' and carries the meaning of 'maf`ul (being an object)' – i.e. 'ma·luh (lit. deified)', and deification in Arabic means devotion and worship. Therefore 'ma·luh (lit. deified)' means worshipped.

Thus, the meaning of Laa ilaaha illaa Allah is: there is none worshipped in truth except Allah. The term 'in truth' is inferred as the objects of worship are many, however the One worshipped in truth is Allah alone, without any partners.

He the Almighty said:

[ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلۡحَقُّ وَأَنَّ مَا يَدۡعُونَ مِن دُونِهِۦ هُوَ ٱلۡبَٰطِلُ]

Sura al-Hajj; (22):62

[Meaning: That is because Allah He is the Truth, and what they invoke besides Him, it is falsehood. And verily Allah – He is the Almighty, the Most Great –.][158]

Secondly: The Pillars of Laa ilaaha illaa Allah (there is none that has the right to be worshipped except Allah)

The testification has two pillars:

1. Negation – contained within the phrase 'Laa ilaaha (there is none that has the right to be worshipped)'.

2. Affirmation – contained within the phrase 'Illaa Allah (except Allah)'.

So 'Laa ilaaha (there is none that has the right to be worshipped)' negates singling out in worship anything besides Allah. And 'Illaa Allah (except Allah)' affirms the oneness of worship for Allah alone, without any partners.

This style is known as 'Qasr (restriction)’ and is a well-known style in the Arabic language. Restriction depends on two phrases; one affirmative, and the other negative.

This rhetoric style is from the strongest of styles in establishing speech, and firmly implanting it in the mind – due to it eliminating any denial or doubt.

The restriction method used in the testification is: negation and exception.[159]

Thirdly: The Conditions of Laa ilaaha illaa Allah (there is none that has the right to be worshipped except Allah)

It has seven conditions:

1. Knowledge; which negates ignorance.

2. Certainty; which negates doubt.

3. Sincerity; which negates polytheism.

4. Truthfulness; which negates lying and falsehood.

5. Love; which negates its opposite.

6. Submission; which negates disobedience.

7. Acceptance; which negates refusal.[160]

Fourthly: Is the mere utterance of Laa ilaaha illaa Allah (there is none that has the right to be worshipped except Allah) sufficient?

The meaning of the testification – as has preceded – is that there is nothing worshipped in truth except Allah. Therefore, nothing besides Allah is to be worshipped, and it is not permissible to dedicate any type of worship to other than Allah. So the one who says this phrase while having knowledge of its meaning, and acting in accordance with that which it necessitates – from abandoning polytheism, and affirming oneness while believing in that which it implicates, as well as acting in accordance to it – then he is truly a Muslim. This is in contrast to the hypocrite who acts upon it without believing; and the polytheist who acts contrary to it, as he remains a disbelieving polytheist even if he were to say it upon his tongue.

Thus, it is clear that mere utterance of this tremendous phrase is insufficient; rather having knowledge of it and acting in accordance with that which it necessitates is essential.

Fifthly: the meaning of Testifying that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

It means: Obeying him in that which he commanded, believing him in that which he informed of, abstaining from that which he forbade and prohibited, not worshipping Allah except by way of that which he legislated, and to respect his commands and prohibitions by not giving precedence over that to the saying of anyone from the creation – whoever it may be –.[161]

Sixthly: the wisdom behind the two Testifications being Conjoined

The wisdom behind the conjoining of the testification that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah with the testification of the oneness of Allah – such that the two testifications make up a single pillar despite there being multiple testifications – is because these two testifications are the foundation of correct action. So neither Islam nor action is accepted without sincerity, and conformance to the Messenger .

This means that none is worshipped except Allah alone, and that He is not worshipped except by that which He legislated via His Messenger Muhammad .

By way of sincerity, testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah is achieved, and by way of conformance, the testification that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah is achieved. Therefore, one of them is not enough nor does it suffice in place of the other.

And with this the testification for Allah to His Oneness and for the Messenger to his Messengership is achieved.[162]

Section Two: The Prayer

Firstly: the meaning of Prayer

(i) The linguistic meaning of Prayer: it is used to mean supplication, or supplication for good, just as it is used to mean mercy, declaring Allah to be free from all imperfections, bowing, and prostration.

Prayer from Allah means mercy; and from the creation – i.e. the angels, mankind, and jinn – it means standing, prostration, supplication, and declaring Allah to be free from all imperfections.

Likewise, the prayers of birds and animals means their declaring Allah to be free from all imperfections.

And perhaps the most well-known and widely used meaning of prayer linguistically is supplication.

Prayer also carries the meaning of glorification and reverence.[163]

(ii) The technical meaning of Prayer: an act of worship that comprises of specific sayings and actions, beginning with the declaration that Allah is the Greatest (Allahu Akbar), and ending with the salutation (as-Salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah).[164]

(iii) The reason it was called that is because it encompasses the meanings of prayer; such as supplication for good, glorification of Allah and declaring Him to be free from all imperfections, bowing, prostration, and the like.[165]

(iv) The meaning of establishing the Prayer is: to worship Allah the Almighty by carrying it out steadfastly, in its prescribed time, and in its correct manner.

The prayer has obligations, pillars, conditions, supplementary acts, acts that impair it – mention of which would be lengthy –. Further detail can be found in most books of the people of knowledge.[166]

(v) Evidence for [the obligation of] the Prayer: Evidence for [the obligation of] the prayer is found in the Quran and the Sunnah, just as it is proved by the consensus. It is from the matters of the religion known by necessity.[167]

Secondly: The Status of the Prayer and its Importance

The five daily prayers have a lofty status and a great importance in Islam. The prayer is unique in comparison to the rest of the prescribed obligatory acts from a number of angles, from them:

1. It is the greatest and most important of the pillars of Islam after the two testifications.

2. It was prescribed in the Heavens, whereas other than it was prescribed on the earth.

3. It was prescribed by Allah – the Almighty – to His Messenger  directly without an intermediary; whereas other than it was prescribed with the intermediary of an angel.

4. It is the pinnacle of servitude, humility, and nearness to Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –.

5. It comprises of the best and most complete and comprehensive aspects of worship; as it contains declaring Allah to be the Greatest, praise of Him, extolling Him, declaring Him free from all imperfections, glorifying Him, recital of His Book, sending peace and blessings upon His Messenger  and upon the family of His Messenger, just as it contains supplication for all of His righteous servants.

It also comprises standing, bowing, prostration, sitting, lowering, and raising. Every joint in the body has its share in this act of worship; with the attentive heart of a person being at the head of them.[168]

6. It contains comfort for the eyes, and delight for the heart. The Prophet  said: "Women and perfume have been made dear to me from this world of yours, and the comfort of my eye has been placed in the prayer."[169]

Ibnul-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – said commenting upon this narration: "He informed that two things were made dear to him from this world: 'Women and perfume'. Then he said: 'And the comfort of my eye has been placed in prayer'.

The comfort of one's eye is a level higher than love, as not every beloved thing comforts a person. Rather only the most beloved of things comfort a person; He Who is loved for His Essence, and that is none other than Allah – other than Whom there is no deity –."[170]

Until he – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "So the prayer comforts the eyes of the ones who love [Allah] in this world; due to that which it contains from beseeching the One Whom the eyes are not comforted, nor do the hearts find tranquillity, nor do the souls find peace except by turning to Him; they seek comfort through remembrance of Him, and through humbling and submitting themselves to Him, and by drawing close to Him – especially in prostration, as it is the state in which the servant is closest to his Lord –. In this regard we have his saying : "O Bilal! Give us comfort by way of the prayer"(i.e. Bilal was the companion who would perform the call to prayer).

Know – therefore – that his contentment was in the prayer, just as he informed the comfort of his eyes was therein. So then – how is it possible that a person says: 'Let us pray and then we can have a rest from the prayer?!'

The contentment and comfort of one who loves [Allah] is in the prayer, whereas the heedless person who is averse does not have a share of that. Rather the prayer is difficult and hard for such a person; who – if he were to stand up to perform it – it is as if he is upon hot coals until he finishes from it, and the most beloved of prayers to him is the quickest and swiftest. He does not find comfort within it, nor is his heart content. However, if the eyes of a servant are comforted and his heart finds content by way of something, then it is most difficult upon him to part from it. In contrast, the one who forces himself while having a heart void of Allah and the abode of the Hereafter, and is stricken with the life of this world – the most difficult thing for him is the prayer, and the thing he dislikes most is it being prolonged – even though he is free, healthy, and unoccupied."[171]

Section Three: Zakat

Firstly: The Meaning of Zakat, and its Ruling

(i) The linguistic meaning of Zakat: Linguistically Zakat is used to mean growth, profit, increase, purification, goodness, investment, and the like.[172]

(ii) The technical meaning of Zakat: It is an obligatory right upon specific types of wealth, to be given to a certain category of people at its appointed time.[173]

(iii) The meaning of giving Zakat: To worship Allah – the Almighty – by paying the amount obligatory upon particular types of wealth.[174]

(iv) The reason for its naming comes from the linguistic meaning; as it increases, purifies, and cleanses wealth.

(v) The ruling of Zakat: It is obligatory according to Islamic legislation – Allah the Almighty says:

[وَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُواْ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ] Sura al-Muzzammil; (73):20

 [Meaning: And give the prayer and give Zakat.]

The Muslims are in consensus that it is a pillar from the pillars of Islam, with the basis of this consensus being the texts of the Quran and the Sunnah.

Whoever rejects its obligation has disbelieved; and whoever refuses to pay it has sinned and disobeyed.[175]

Secondly: The importance of Zakat and its Benefits

Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam, and one of its great foundations – just as is indicated by the numerous evidences of the Book and the Sunnah.

From that which indicates its great status is that Allah the Mighty and Majestic mentioned it alongside the prayer in eighty-one places throughout His Mighty Book.

Zakat is from the fine traits of Islam containing the qualities of mutualism, mercy, affection, and aiding one another. It cuts off the root of every evil that threatens virtue, security, prosperity, and all else that constitutes a happy worldly life and everlasting bliss in the Hereafter. Allah made it a purification for its giver from the evil of miserliness, and an increase both tangibly and spiritually, and an aid from the rich for their deserving brothers, and a unification of the word(i.e. they are united upon the same beliefs and practices), and a harmonization for the hearts, and safety from the evil of envy and pride – the envy of the poor towards the rich, and pride of the rich over the poor –.

With the like of this noble and wise obligation it becomes known that Islam is a religion of social mutualism that supports the poor – who are unable to survive – with that which helps them live. It also shows the fact that Islam is a religion of liberty which gives the rich freedom of ownership as a reward for their labour and efforts; while obligating upon them Zakat as a consolation for their brothers. It is a perfectly balanced religion; not communistic or socialistic wherein it deprives individuals at the expense of society – nor is it miserly, tight-fisted, or capitalistic by giving precedence to individuals at the expense of society.[176]

Thirdly: The Economic Impact of Zakat

Zakat is an obligation and an act of worship; having positive effects upon the economy that benefit both individuals and society. Mention of some of these effects has preceded. One of the main differences distinguishing Zakat from tax is the fact those whom it is binding upon pay it based on religious grounds – unlike taxes – which rely upon government and suffer from people evading them whenever the authorities are absent.

From the most important economic effects of Zakat include:

(i) Zakat is a way of redistributing revenue and wealth amongst society; and results in condolence of the poor. It is a means to achieving economic justice – something that economists agree upon despite their differing regarding its definition and methods.

(ii) Zakat is an incentive for investment; i.e. a person who owns monetary funds must invest to prevent them from being eaten away. It is well-known that investing in different ventures causes the economy to benefit; and this is something that nations encourage in various ways.

(iii) Zakat is a way of achieving security and helps to provide the ideal environment for economic activity. This is because poverty is a reason for crime, and because Zakat combats poverty therefore it is an indirect means to fighting crime.

(iv) Zakat is a way of improving the situation of those economically disadvantaged within society; i.e. it contributes towards improving their lifestyle, health, and education; which in turn helps qualify them to participate as a workforce in improving economic growth.

(v) Zakat helps to remove some of the financial responsibility bore by a nation’s aid budget that it spends on those such as the disabled, orphans, and other groups that need social care.[177]

Fourthly: Types of Wealth Upon which Zakat is Obligatory

Zakat is payable upon four types of wealth, and they are:

1. Currency: This includes gold, silver, and that which is resembles them from modern day currency made of paper or other materials.

2. Free-grazing livestock: i.e. cows, camels, and sheep that graze freely on open pasture for majority of the year.

3. Crops: Grains such as wheat; fruit such as dates; and minerals such as iron.

4. Merchandise for business: i.e. all that is prepared for buying and selling with the goal of profiting.[178]

These are the things that Zakat is obligatory to be paid upon, each one having further detail concerning its threshold, and which of it is to be paid. All of this is mentioned at length in the books of the scholars on this topic.

Fifthly: The Recipients of Zakat

What is meant by the recipients of Zakat is: the beneficiaries it is to be distributed amongst. They are mentioned in the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَٰتُ لِلۡفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلۡمَسَٰكِينِ وَٱلۡعَٰمِلِينَ عَلَيۡهَا وَٱلۡمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمۡ وَفِي ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلۡغَٰرِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبۡنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِۖ فَرِيضَةٗ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيم] Sura Tawbah; (9):60

 [Meaning: Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect Zakat and for bringing hearts together and for freeing captives or slaves and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the stranded traveller – an obligation imposed by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.]

The particle ‘innamaa (only)’ implies confination and indicates the impermissibility of spending Zakat upon other than the eight categories mentioned in this verse.[179]

Section Four: Fasting

Firstly: The Meaning of Fasting, and its Obligation

(i) The linguistic meaning of Fasting: Fasting in the language is used to mean abstaining and leaving. It is said: He abstained from food, drink, marriage, and speech – just as it is said: he left it.[180]

(ii) The technical meaning of Fasting: It is to intentionally abstain from certain matters, during a specific time, performed by a particular person.[181]

Or it is said: Abstaining from the things that break ones fast from the appearance of dawn until the setting of the sun while intending such.[182]

(iii) The meaning of fasting Ramadan: It is to worship Allah the Almighty by abstaining from whatever breaks the fast during daytime in the month of Ramadan.[183]

The things which break a person’s fast are eating, drinking, sexual intercourse, and that which carries the same ruling.

(iv) The obligation of fasting: Fasting was made obligatory during the month of Sha`ban[184] in the second year after the Prophetic Hijrah (migration from Mecca to Madinah). The Prophet  fasted nine Ramadan’s according to the consensus of the Muslim scholars.

Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam, and it is from the greatest of its obligations. This is indicated by the Book, Sunnah, and the consensus. Allah the Almighty said:

[يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):183

 [Meaning: O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed upon you as it was prescribed upon those before you, so that you may attain piety.]

The Messenger of Allah  said: “Islam is built upon five…” and he mentioned from them: “Fasting the month of Ramadan.”[185] The Muslims are unanimously agreed that the one who denies its obligation has disbelieved.[186]

Secondly: The Virtues of Fasting the month of Ramadan

Fasting Ramadan has great virtues, from them are:

1. It is a means to a person’s previous sins being forgiven: There occurs in the two most authentic collections of Prophetic traditions (Bukhari and Muslim) the narration of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: “Whoever observes fasting during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah's reward, then all his past and future sins will be forgiven.”[187]

2. It is from the greatest means to achieving piety: (Attaining) piety is the greatest wisdom behind fasting. Allah the Almighty said:

[يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):183

 [Meaning: O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed upon you as it was prescribed upon those before you, so that you may attain piety.]

Shaykh `Abdur-Rahman as-Sa`di – may Allah have mercy upon him – said in explanation of this verse: “Fasting is from the greatest means to achieving piety, due to that which it contains from obeying the commands and prohibitions of Allah. Some of the aspects of piety it contains is that a fasting person abandons whatever Allah has made forbidden upon him, such as: eating, drinking, sexual intercourse, and the like – i.e. those things that his soul is inclined towards. He does this seeking to draw closer to Allah, intending by his abstinence Allah’s reward. This is from piety.

Also: the fasting person trains himself to be aware that Allah the Almighty is watching him, leading him to abandon that which his soul desires while it is within his ability, due to him knowing that Allah is watching over Him.

Also, from the aspects of piety fasting comprises is that a fasting person restricts the pathways of the devil, as the devil runs through the human just as blood flows through him. Thus, by fasting his influence is weakened, and the sins of the son of Adam decrease.

Also: the fasting person – in most cases – increases in acts of obedience; and obedience is from the characteristics of piety.

Also: the rich person – by tasting the pain of hunger – is caused to sympathise and console the poor and destitute. This is another trait of piety.[188]

3. Fasting is a protection, and a shield from the Fire: There occurs in the two most authentic collections of Prophetic traditions (Bukhari and Muslim) from a narration of Abu Hurairyh – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Messenger of Allah  said: “Fasting is a shield.”[189]

Ibnul-`Arabi – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Fasting is a shield because it is abstaining from desires, and the Fire is surrounded by desires. Therefore, if the fasting person refrains from desires in this world, then that will be a shield for him from the Fire in the Hereafter.”[190]

4. The smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is finer with Allah than the smell of musk: There occurs in the two most authentic collections of Prophetic traditions from a narration of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Messenger of Allah  said: “And the smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is finer with Allah than the smell of musk.”[191]

The meaning of the smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is: the change in scent of the mouth of the fasting person due to fasting.

5. Allah – the Exalted and Most High – specified fasting as being for Him, and that He will reward for it; as is established by a narration that occurs in the two most authentic collections of Prophetic traditions (Bukhari and Muslim) upon the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: “Every act of the son of Adam is for himself; a good deed is rewarded tenfold up to seven-hundredfold. Allah the Majestic and Most High said: Except for fasting; for it is done for My sake, and I will reward (him) for it. He abandons his desires, and his food and drink for My sake.”[192]

The reason for this is because fasting is a secret between the servant and his Lord that nobody else knows except for Him – He the Mighty and Majestic –.

Thirdly: Some of the Secrets and Wisdoms behind Fasting

1. Fasting is a good lesson for a person in managing himself, overcoming his whims, and controlling his desire for amusement, jest, and idleness.

2. Fasting nurtures the soul upon trustworthiness and sincerity in action, and causes a person to not have any regard other than seeking the face of Allah the Almighty.

This is a great virtue that eradicates the vices of flattery, pride, and hypocrisy.

3. Fasting nurtures the soul upon good manners and righteous action; causing a person to be dutiful to his parents, keep the ties of kinship, and show goodness to his family and neighbours.

4. It is a way of obtaining good health overall – whether bodily, spiritually, or mentally.

As far as it relates to bodily health, fasting allows the body to burn through fat deposits; especially the bodies of the affluent, well-off, and overweight – those little in activity or labour. The doctors say: Fasting maintains moisture levels in the body, cleanses the toxins caused by overeating from the organs, and breaks down excess fats thus improving cardiovascular health; just as a horse is prepared and conditioned by being placed on a specific diet which causes it to increase in strength when charging and retreating.

As it relates to spiritual health then fasting is from the greatest of means to curing the hearts and reforming the souls.

And as it relates to mental wellbeing then this comes about as a result of fasting correctly; and causes a person to attain good thoughts, foresight, and to contemplate the commands, prohibitions and perfect wisdom of Allah.

By way of this the fasting persons thoughts are rectified, he is enlightened by the light of his Lord, and he answers His call, and fulfils His obedience. Thus he completes his fasting having been transformed, and possessing radiant thought which distinguishes him from animals, and causes him to ascend through the ranks of happiness and leadership.

This is a general overview and a mention of some of the wisdoms, effects, and secrets that fasting comprises.[193]

Section Five: Hajj (the Greater Pilgrimage)

Firstly: The Meaning of Hajj, and its legality according to Islamic Legislation

(i) The linguistic meaning of Hajj: Linguistically Hajj means to intend. In morphology, it originates from the verb: ‘hajjahu, yahujjuhu, hajjan’ i.e. he intended or aimed for something; and a man that is ‘mahjooj’ means: that he is intended.[194]

(ii) The technical meaning of Hajj: To intend the sacred house for the performance of particular actions at a specific time.[195]

i.e. To intend Mecca at the time of Hajj – which is: during its well-known months; Shawwal[196], Dhul-Qa`dah[197], and Dhul-Hijjah[198] with the intention of performing the rites, which are: entering into the state of ihram[199] from the miqat[200], tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka`bah), sa`y (walking between the hills of Safa and Marwa), standing at`Arafah, as well as other rites.[201]

(iii) The legality of Hajj in Islam: Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam, and from its great foundations.

This is something established by the Book, Sunnah, and the consensus of the Muslims.

Allah the Almighty said:

[وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ حِجُّ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ مَنِ ٱسۡتَطَاعَ إِلَيۡهِ سَبِيلٗاۚ]

Sura aali-`Imran; (3):97

[Meaning: And due to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find a way thereto.]

There occurs in the two most authentic collections of Prophetic traditions (Bukhari and Muslim) a narration upon the authority of Ibn `Umar – may Allah be pleased with them both – that the Prophet  said: “Islam is built upon five…”[202] and amongst them he mentioned Hajj.

It is only obligatory once during a person’s lifetime upon those who have the ability. It occurs in Sunan Abu Dawud from a narration of Ibn `Abbas – may Allah be pleased with both of them – traceable to the Prophet  that he said: “Hajj is once; and if anyone increases upon that then it is a supererogatory act.”[203]

Secondly: The Benefits of Hajj

Hajj has amazing secrets, numerous wisdoms, many blessings, and tangible benefits – witnessed by individuals and the nation as a whole. Sufficient for us in this regard is the saying of Allah the Mighty and Majestic in the Quran:

[وَأَذِّن فِي ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلۡحَجِّ يَأۡتُوكَ رِجَالٗا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٖ يَأۡتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٖ ٢٧ لِّيَشۡهَدُواْ مَنَٰفِعَ لَهُمۡ] Sura al-Hajj; (22):27-28

 [Meaning: And proclaim to the people the Hajj pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass. That they may witness things that are of benefit to them.]

His saying – He the Almighty –:

[لِّيَشۡهَدُواْ مَنَٰفِعَ لَهُمۡ]

 [Meaning: That they may witness things that are of benefit to them.] is comprehensive of every good in this world and in the Hereafter.

The great scholar `Abdur-Rahman as-Sa`di – may Allah have mercy upon him – said regarding the previous verse: “Meaning: That they attain by the house of Allah religious benefits such as (the performance of) virtuous acts of worship – especially those acts of worship that are only performed within it –; as well as them attaining worldly benefits such as provisions, and worldly profits. This is something witnessed and well-known by all.”[204]

Prologue

Islam is made up of creed and legislation; an indication of some of its laws has preceded, as well as a discussion regarding its pillars – which are the basis for its legislation.

As for the Islamic creed then it comprises of having faith in everything that came from Allah, and from the Messenger of Allah  – from news, definite rulings, affairs of the unseen, and the like.

The fundaments of creed are the six tenets of faith, which are:

1. Believing in Allah.

2. Believing in the angels.

3. Believing in the Books.

4. Believing in the Messengers.

5. Believing in the Last Day.

6. Believing in Predestination; it’s good and it’s bad.

A more detailed clarification of these tenets will follow in the coming chapters.

 Part Two : The Tenets of Faith

Prologue

Chapter One: Believing in Allah the Mighty & Majestic

Chapter Two: Believing in the Angels

Chapter Three: Believing in the Books

Chapter Four: Believing in the Messengers

Chapter Five: Believing in the Last Day

Chapter Six: Believing in Predestination

 Chapter One : Believing in Allah – the Majestic –

Section One: The Meaning of Believing in Allah; its Effects, and its Evidences

Section Two: Evidence from the Legislation indicating Having Belief in Allah

Section Three: Intellectual Evidence indicating Having Belief in Allah

Section Four: Empirical Evidence indicating Having Belief in Allah

Section One: The Meaning of Believing in Allah, its Effects, and its Evidences

Firstly: The Meaning of Believing in Allah, and that which it Comprises

Having faith in Allah is to firmly believe in the existence of Allah; that He is the Lord of everything and its Sovereign, that He is the sole Creator and Organiser of the universe, that He is the One deserving of being worshipped alone without any partners, and that everything worshipped besides Him is false and futile, and that He – the One free from all imperfections – possesses the attributes of perfection and majesty, being far removed from every imperfection or flaw.[205]

It becomes clear from that which has preceded that believing in Allah comprises four matters:

1. Believing in the existence of Allah: This is achieved by believing in His perfect existence that was not preceded by nonexistence and is never-ending.

2. Believing in His Lordship: This is achieved by singling Him out – He the Mighty and Majestic – with His actions; and that He has no partner in His creation, His Dominion, His Organization, and other than that from the requisites of Lordship.

3. Believing in His Names and Attributes: This is achieved by having faith that He has the most Beautiful Names and Perfect Attributes; without resembling Him to His creation, negation, or questioning how they are.

4. Believing in His right to be singled out with Worship: This is achieved by singling Him out – He the Mighty and Majestic – with the actions of the servant; without directing any act of worship to other than Him – He the Exalted and Most High –.[206]

Secondly: The Benefits of Believing in Allah

Believing in Allah yields many great fruits which benefit individuals and society as a whole – both in this world and the Hereafter. From these fruits are: Achieving complete serenity and guidance, as well as succession authority, and power upon the earth.

Also from its benefits is: Living a fine life, being given good, granted blessings, and guided to every virtue; being saved from loss, and gaining the protection, victory, and aid of Allah.

Further benefits include: Rising of a person’s rank, an expiation of his sins, admittance into the gardens of Paradise, and salvation from the Fire.

In summary, believing in Allah results in all good both in this world and in the Hereafter; and destruction and loss are caused by a lack of faith, or an insufficiency in faith.[207]

Thirdly: Evidences indicating the Oneness of Allah – the Exalted & Most High –

The proofs indicating the Oneness of Allah are many in number, with His bearing witness – He the Mighty and Majestic – for Himself being sufficient in this regard. This is just as occurs in His saying:

[شَهِدَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ وَأُوْلُواْ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ قَآئِمَۢا بِٱلۡقِسۡطِۚ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ ] Sura aali-`Imraan; (3):18

 [Meaning: Allah bears witness that there is no deity except Him, and so do the angels and those of knowledge - that He maintains the creation in justice. There is no deity except Him; the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.]

The Oneness of Allah, His being singled out with creation and provision, and deserving to be worshipped alone is further proven by a person’s innate nature, Islamic Legislation, the intellect, and one’s senses.

Together these evidences indicate the existence of Allah as well as the three categories of monotheism; which are: monotheism of Lordship, monotheism of worship, and monotheism of Allah’s Names and Attributes. These categories are inseparable – whoever sets up partners with Allah in one of them, then he has done so regarding them all.

For example: Whoever calls upon other than Allah regarding something that none but Allah has ability over, then his supplication is an act of worship dedicated to other than Allah, and means he has set up partners besides Allah in worship.

The supplication made to other than Allah entails belief of the supplicant that the one they call upon has the power to dispose of affairs alongside Allah and is able to actualise such. This is setting up partners with Allah in Lordship.

Furthermore, he did not call upon him except due to his belief that he hears him. This is setting up partners besides Allah regarding His Names and Attributes due to his belief that the one he calls upon has the ability to hear everything whether near or distant. Thus, it is evident that setting up partners besides Allah in worship necessitates setting up partners besides Him in Lordship and regarding His Names and Attributes.[208]

Further detail concerning the proofs of Allah’s Oneness will follow in the coming sections – with a mention of intellectual and physical evidences.

Mention of how the natural disposition of a person is indicative of the Oneness of Allah has preceded under the topic of Islam being the religion of one’s natural disposition, and the natural disposition mentioned in the Quran is the religion of Islam according to the most correct opinion.

As for evidences from the Islamic legislation proving the Oneness of Allah and belief in Him then they are clear and well-known. Everything that the Messengers came with and that which was revealed in the Books conclusively prove the Oneness of Allah. All of the divine books explicitly mention this; as well as that which they contain from rulings beneficial to the servants in their worldly lives and their Hereafter – such as the prayer, Zakat, Hajj, and other than it – and that which they contain from mention of signs within the universe, and affairs of the unseen that are proven by fact – all of this indicates it must originate from a wise, knowledgeable Lord Who deserves to be worshipped alone without any partners.[209]

The evidences in this regard are almost innumerable and will be mentioned in many subsections of this treatise.

Section Two: Intellectual Evidence Indicating Having Belief in Allah

As for intellectual evidence indicating having belief in Allah then all created beings must have an originator and a creator; as it is not possible that they created themselves, just like it is impossible that they were created by chance. Therefore, it is not possible that these created beings originated themselves, as a thing does not create itself – because before something is present it is inexistent – so how can it be a creator?!

Similarly it is not possible that the creation came into being by chance; because every occurrence must have an initiator, and due to the fact that it exists with such a coordinated, fine-tuned, and harmonious system – wherein there is a coherent relation between events and their causes, and between organisms themselves – all of which negates the theory that the creation came into existence by chance.[210]

Additionally, every created being is dependent – this is something that is an inherent and permanent characteristic of every living thing – further indicating the existence of a perfect, self-sufficient creator Who is the Lord of the Worlds.

Allah – the Exalted and Most High – mentions this reasoning as compelling evidence in Sura Tur (Chapter of The Mount); wherein He says:

[أَمۡ خُلِقُواْ مِنۡ غَيۡرِ شَيۡءٍ أَمۡ هُمُ ٱلۡخَٰلِقُونَ] Sura Tur; (52):35

 [Meaning: Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators?]

In other words: they were not created without a creator, nor did they create themselves – which only leaves the fact that their creator is Allah – the Majestic and Most High.

It is for this reason when Jubayr bin Mut`im– may Allah be pleased with him – who was a polytheist at the time, heard the Messenger of Allah  read Sura Tur; when he reached the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[أَمۡ خُلِقُواْ مِنۡ غَيۡرِ شَيۡءٍ أَمۡ هُمُ ٱلۡخَٰلِقُونَ... الآية] Sura Tur; (52):35

 [Meaning: Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators?]

Jubayr said: “It was as if my heart was about to take flight, and that was the time when belief was first planted in my heart.” Reported by al-Bukhari in various places.[211]

For this reason, Allah – the Exalted and Most High – encourages us in numerous places in His Book to ponder and reflect. There is no clearer evidence of this than the multitude of verses ending with the like of His saying:

[أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ]  Sura as-Saafaat; (37):138

 [Meaning: Will you not then reflect?]

[لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ] Sura Yusuf; (12):2

 [Meaning: So that you may consider.]

This is because when a person thinks they remember and come to know the truth; which leads them to become fearful, pious, and obedient to God.

Due to this, we notice those who are wise and serious in their search for the truth indeed find it and are granted success in reaching it.

Something that further proves this is that many great Western philosophers were guided to the truth due to their deep contemplation, and their search for the truth.

Anyone who reads the book ‘The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe’ – wherein forty scientists declare their affirmative views on religion; and similar to it, Cressy Morrison’s work ‘Man Does Not Stand Alone’(former president of the New York Academy of Sciences); which was translated into the Arabic language under the title ‘Knowledge Calls to Belief’ – comes to know that a true scholar is a believer just as a common person is a believer, and that atheism and disbelief are not found except in half-scholars and the imperfectly learned – those who possess little knowledge which they have learned at the expense of losing their innate belief – while not having reached the level of knowledge that causes a person to believe.[212]

Thus it is apparent that the intellect proves the Oneness of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –.

As for if a person’s intellect were to deny such, then the deficiency is in the intellect itself; just as the poet said:

If your intellect claims to disbelieve in Him * Then disbelieve in your intellect and its claims

And as another poet said:

 The intellect attempts to question the existence of a Creator * While the intellect is from His creation

From this standpoint, the falsity of the statement: ‘this universe originated by chance’ or ‘the universe was created by a natural process’ becomes clear. These claims are nothing but stubbornness and obstinacy to that which is established by both intellectual and textual evidence. Therefore, it is said to those who say: ‘the universe came about by chance’: How is it possible that this great, vast, fine-tuned, and systematic universe came about by mere chance?

Take, for example, the example struck by an American scholar, Cressy Morrison[213] whereby he explains the impossibility of the universe coming about by chance. He says:

“Suppose you put ten pennies, marked from one to ten, into your pocket and give them a good shuffle. Now try to take them out in sequence from one to ten, putting back the coin each time and shaking them all again. Mathematically we know that your chance of first drawing number one is one in ten; of drawing one and two in succession, one in a hundred; of drawing one, two and three in succession, one in a thousand; of drawing one, two three, and four in succession, one in ten thousand, and so on. Your chance of drawing them all, from number one to number ten in succession, would reach the unbelievable figure of one in ten billion.”

The objective of striking a simple example as such is to illustrate how astronomical the odds are against the universe originating by chance.

Based on this, how long would it take for the universe to originate if it came about all of a sudden by chance?

Calculating the probability of this using the same method makes such a likelihood impossible and unimaginable.

All that the universe contains indicates it is from the creation of an all-Wise, all-Aware, and all-Knowledgeable Creator; however mankind is unjust and ignorant.

[قُتِلَ ٱلۡإِنسَٰنُ مَآ أَكۡفَرَهُۥ ١٧ مِنۡ أَيِّ شَيۡءٍ خَلَقَهُۥ ١٨ مِن نُّطۡفَةٍ

خَلَقَهُۥ فَقَدَّرَهُۥ] Sura Abasah; (80):17-19

 [Meaning: Cursed is man; how disbelieving is he! From what substance did He create him? From a sperm-drop He created him and then set him in due proportion.][214]

As for the opinion that the universe was created by a natural process then it is a great lie with no evidence, the absurdity of which is so clear it is needless of a response. Rather merely attempting to imagine such a claim is sufficient as a refutation against believers in this theory.[215]

Similar to these theories is Darwin’s theory – believers in which try to explain the presence of living beings – claiming that humans originated from microscopic water organisms which nature then caused to mutate, resulting in new attributes in such organisms, which were then inherited by their offspring until – over millions of years – all of these small variations caused by nature led to the development of numerous beneficial traits, making the original organism more adapted. This process of natural selection then repeated itself until eventually the life forms we observe around us came to be; and which ended with humans.

This is a summary of Darwin’s theory – the falsehood and fabrication of which is apparent and clear.[216]

The falsity of this theory is something established – even according to many of those who hold this opinion.

Another rebuttal of this theory is: Supposing such a premise is true; who originated the first organism? And who caused it to evolve to the extent it has?

Section Three: Empirical Evidence indicating Having Belief in Allah

There is much empirical evidence that clearly indicates the Oneness of Allah – the Exalted and Most High –.

From the numerous tangible evidences in that regard are the following:

Firstly: The Answering of Supplications

That is: the supplications of those distressed, or in dire need and the like, being answered; those that call upon Allah – the Exalted and Most High – so He responds to them, and they are granted their intent.

The examples bearing witness to this are innumerable, both as it relates to the Prophets – peace be upon them – and other than them.

Take, for example, that which Allah – the Exalted and Most High – said regarding Noah –peace be upon him –:

[فَدَعَا رَبَّهُۥٓ أَنِّي مَغۡلُوبٞ فَٱنتَصِرۡ ١٠ فَفَتَحۡنَآ أَبۡوَٰبَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ بِمَآءٖ مُّنۡهَمِرٖ ١١ وَفَجَّرۡنَا ٱلۡأَرۡضَ عُيُونٗا فَٱلۡتَقَى ٱلۡمَآءُ عَلَىٰٓ أَمۡرٖ قَدۡ قُدِرَ]

Sura al-Qamar; (54):10-12

[Meaning: Then he invoked his Lord saying: "I have been overcome, so help me!” So We opened the gates of heaven with water pouring forth. And We caused the earth to gush forth with springs. So the waters met for a matter predestined.]

Likewise that which Allah – the Exalted – informed of in the story of Jonah – peace be upon him –:

[فَنَادَىٰ فِي ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِ أَن لَّآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنتَ سُبۡحَٰنَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ]

Sura al-Anbiyaa·; (21):87

[Meaning: But he cried through the darkness saying: “None has the right to be worshipped but You O Allah, Glorified and Exalted are You. Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers.”]

To which Allah responded, and saved him from the belly of the whale.

Similarly, He said regarding Job – peace be upon him –:

[وَٱذۡكُرۡ عَبۡدَنَآ أَيُّوبَ إِذۡ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُۥٓ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ بِنُصۡبٖ وَعَذَابٍ ٤١ ٱرۡكُضۡ بِرِجۡلِكَۖ هَٰذَا مُغۡتَسَلُۢ بَارِدٞ وَشَرَابٞ ٤٢ وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهُۥٓ أَهۡلَهُۥ وَمِثۡلَهُم مَّعَهُمۡ رَحۡمَةٗ مِّنَّا وَذِكۡرَىٰ لِأُوْلِي ٱلۡأَلۡبَٰبِ]

Sura Sad; (38):41-43

[Meaning: And remember Our servant Job, when he called to his Lord, “Indeed, Satan has touched me with hardship and torment.” So he was told, “Strike [the ground] with your foot; this is a spring for a cool bath and drink.” And We granted him his family and a like number with them as mercy from Us and a reminder for those of understanding.]

There occurs in Sahih al-Bukhari a narration upon the authority of Anas – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: “While the Prophet was delivering the sermon upon the pulpit on a Friday, a Bedouin stood up and said: "O Allah's Messenger! The livestock are dying and the families are hungry; please supplicate to Allah that He blesses us with rain." The Prophet  raised both his hands and began to call upon Allah. Then the clouds started gathering like mountains. Before he got down from the pulpit I saw rainwater trickling down his beard.

The next Friday the same Bedouin or some other person stood up during the Friday sermon and said: "O Allah's Messenger! The houses have collapsed and the livestock have drowned. Please invoke Allah for us." So Allah's Messenger raised both his hands and said, "O Allah! Around us and not upon us." Whichever side the Prophet directed his hand, the clouds dispersed from there till a gap in the clouds was formed.”[217]

The supplication of the supplicant being answered is something witnessed until today – given that all of the conditions for a supplication to be accepted are met. There are many instances where we hear the people go to pray the rain prayer and before they exit the mosque rain is granted to them. Thus the answering of supplications is conclusive evidence indicating the Oneness of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –.

Secondly: The Truthfulness of the Messengers – peace be upon them –

This is clear empirical evidence proving the belief in Allah; as the Messengers – peace be upon them – are the best of mankind. They delivered Allah’s message, He selected and favoured them over the rest of creation, aided them with evident signs, granted them victory and caused them to defeat and overcome their enemies.

Therefore, with regard to the Prophets, it is not possible for a person except that he believes in their truthfulness, because claiming prophethood is the greatest of claims – something that is not claimed except by the most truthful or the most dishonest of people. So the Prophets are the most truthful of people unrestrictedly; and the miracles they possess, Allah’s aid of them, His forsaking their enemies, their noble characteristics and praiseworthy attributes, are all indicative of their honesty. Thus we come to know they were indeed sent from Allah, and that He – the Exalted – is the Truth, just as worshipping Him is the truth.[218]

Thirdly: The Human Body

Allah fashioned humans in the most perfect of forms, and created them in the best of stature, just as He – the Exalted and Most High – said:

[وَصَوَّرَكُمۡ فَأَحۡسَنَ صُوَرَكُمۡۖۡ] Sura at-Taghabun; (64):3

 [Meaning: And He formed you and perfected your forms.]

And as He – the Mighty and Majestic – said:

[لَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ فِيٓ أَحۡسَنِ تَقۡوِيمٖ] Sura at-Tin; (95):4

 [Meaning: We have certainly created man in the best of stature.]

If a person were to contemplate regarding his anatomy and that which it comprises from the amazing creations of Allah, and he were to observe his outer form and that which it contains from His perfect making, and that he is distinguished from the rest of the animals due to his realization that behind all of that is a Wise Lord Who created him, and due to him perceiving that this Creator is the Only One that organizes and regulates his affairs.[219]

Shaikh `Abdur-Rahman bin Sa`di – may Allah have mercy upon him – says in establishment of this meaning, when explaining the meaning of the saying of Allah – the Almighty –:

[وَنَفۡسٖ وَمَا سَوَّىٰهَا] Sura ash-Shams; (91):7

 [Meaning: And by the soul and Him Who made it perfect.]

“In either case, the soul is one of His great signs which is deserving of swearing an oath by; as it is something that is subtle, hidden, swift, quick to change, and produces emotions such as grief, desire, intent, and love. Were it not for the soul, the body would remain a mere empty shell having no benefit. Therefore, it’s being proportioned in this way is a sign from the great signs of Allah.

The intent is that the soul of a person is from the greatest of proofs indicative of the existence of Allah alone, which leads to singling Him out with worship.”[220]

Fourthly: Guidance of the Creation

This is something witnessed by the senses and proves the Oneness of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –. Allah guided the animals – intelligent and non-intelligent, birds and beasts, articulate and inarticulate – to that which contains benefit for them in their lives and maintains their existence.

There are many amazing and fascinating matters – knowledge of which is only encompassed by Allah – that fall under His saying – He the Almighty –:

[رَبُّنَا ٱلَّذِيٓ أَعۡطَىٰ كُلَّ شَيۡءٍ خَلۡقَهُۥ ثُمَّ هَدَىٰ] Sura Taa-Haa; (20):50

 [Meaning: Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.]

Who, then, guided the new-born baby to suckle from the breast of his mother? Who caused him to know the technique of breastfeeding? This complex process which requires continuous contractions from the muscles of the face, tongue, and neck; as well as constant movement of the lower jaw and breathing via the nose. All of this is done with total guidance, without previous knowledge or experience. Who inspired the new-born such? Verily it is:

[رَبُّنَا ٱلَّذِيٓ أَعۡطَىٰ كُلَّ شَيۡءٍ خَلۡقَهُۥ ثُمَّ هَدَىٰ] Sura Taa-Haa; (20):50

 [Meaning: Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.]

Additionally, the guidance of a person after he grows up to strive for that which benefits him, such as travelling throughout the earth, and journeying within it – all of this is from the total, comprehensive guidance of the creation.

Discussion of the guidance of birds, beasts, and riding animals is endless; as Allah guided them to perform amazing actions impossible of humans.

The illustrious scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – mentions many amazing matters in this regard in his book ‘Shifa· al-`Alil’.

These are from the strongest of proofs indicative of the fact that their Creator is Allah – the Exalted and Most High –, while at the same time they illustrate the perfection of His creation, His incredible arrangement of affairs, and His gracious Wisdom. This is because that which He bestowed them with from remarkable knowledge, resourcefulness, organization, and facilitation of their needs, causes the mouths to glorify Him, and fills the hearts with knowledge of Him, His Wisdom, and His Ability. Every intelligent person knows that Allah did not create anything in vain, nor did He neglect the creation; and that to Him belongs supreme wisdom, clear signs, and decisive evidence, indicating that He is the Lord of everything in existence and its King, the Possessor of every perfection contrary to His creation, Ever Able to do all things, and the all-Knower of everything.[221]

Fifthly: The Universe & Horizons

The horizons are something that everyone observes; the scholar and the layman, the believer and the disbeliever alike. If a person were to ponder and contemplate with insight, they would comprehend the greatness of the One who created them, which in turn would lead them to worship Him alone, without any partners.

Shaikh `Abdur-Rahman bin Sa`di – may Allah have mercy upon him – said regarding His saying – He the Almighty –:

[سَنُرِيهِمۡ ءَايَٰتِنَا فِي ٱلۡأٓفَاقِ وَفِيٓ أَنفُسِهِمۡ]

Sura Fussilat; (41):53

[Meaning: We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in themselves.]

“And He has done so – He the Almighty –. He has shown His servants from the signs that which have made clear the truth, however Allah is the One Who grants belief to whom He wills and forsakes whom He wills.”[222]

He mentions elsewhere: “The more an intelligent person reflects regarding the creation, and contemplates regarding the amazing life forms present around him – the more he becomes aware that they were created for the truth by the Truth, and it is as if they are scrolls filled with signs, and books full of evidence and proof; indicating both that which He informed us of regarding Himself and His Oneness, and that which the Prophets informed us of regarding the Last Day. Such a person also comprehends the fact these creatures are directed and controlled, being unable to defy or rebel against the One Who manages and controls them; and that everything in the Heavens and the Earth is destitute to Him, and turns to Him; and that He is the Independent One Who has no need whatsoever of the creation. So there is no God in truth except Him, and there is no Lord besides Him.”[223]

He – may Allah have mercy upon him – also says in another place: “Allah the Almighty informs of things in the future that He will show His servants – from signs and proofs in the universe, and within themselves – all of which indicate the Quran is the truth, and the Messenger is the truth, and that which he came with is the truth.”[224]

In every era Allah allows His servants to make great discoveries regarding this vast universe.

As of recent times, many discoveries, inventions and facts have been unearthed; and every day researchers continue to uncover new secrets from the secrets of this universe – something that makes them stand in astonishment and become dumbfounded; causing them to acknowledge their weakness and inability, and admit the fact that there are worlds undiscovered and unknown to us.

In summary, everything in the universe acts as decisive proof indicating the existence of a Wise Controller, and an all-Knowledgeable Lord who deserves to be worshipped; however:

If a person does not have a sound eye * then it is no wonder that he is doubtful despite it clearly being day

Sixthly: Worship of all Creatures

Allah the Exalted created all beings – humans, jinn, angels, animals, inanimate objects, plants, and other than them – to worship Him; and He originated them upon monotheism, and acknowledgement of His right to be singled out with all worship, and awareness of their destitution, need, surrendering and turning to Him – the Mighty and Majestic –.

All of these created beings worship Allah the Mighty and Majestic – the only ones being negligent in that regard are humankind; obstinate and misguided from Allah’s Legislation, non-conformant to the rules of this perfect and amazing universe that originated upon the worship of Allah.

Having said this, the forms of worship differ from creature to creature.

From the types of worship is the worship of humankind, which is the best and most noble of them.

As far as the worship of humankind is concerned, then the worship of the Prophets is the most honourable, and their calling to Allah, fighting religious wars, and the like. Succeeding them in virtue are their followers, then the followers of their followers, and so on.

Another type of worship is the worship of the angels and the jinn; neither of which are surprising or strange.

What is strange, though, is the worship of the animals and inanimate objects – which many people believe do not understand, perceive, or worship Allah.

This vast universe along with all that it contains from created beings worships and yields to its Creator and Maker. Many acts of obedience – such as prostration, glorification, prayer, seeking forgiveness, submittal, fear – are mentioned both in the Book and the Prophetic Sunna in relation to these creatures.

Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – says regarding the prostration of these creatures:

[أَلَمۡ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَسۡجُدُۤ لَهُۥۤ مَن فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَن فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱلشَّمۡسُ وَٱلۡقَمَرُ وَٱلنُّجُومُ وَٱلۡجِبَالُ وَٱلشَّجَرُ وَٱلدَّوَآبُّ وَكَثِيرٞ مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِۖ وَكَثِيرٌ حَقَّ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡعَذَابُۗ]

Sura al-Hajj; (22):18

[Meaning: Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and many of the people? But there are many upon whom the punishment has been justified.]

This does not necessitate that their prostration is the same as how human Muslims prostrate; rather each prostrates in their own manner.

The proof for these creatures glorifying Allah is contained in His saying – He the Almighty –:

[تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتُ ٱلسَّبۡعُ وَٱلۡأَرۡضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّۚ وَإِن مِّن شَيۡءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمۡدِهِۦ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَفۡقَهُونَ تَسۡبِيحَهُمۡۚ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورٗا]

Sura al-Israa·; (17):44

[Meaning: The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.]

Therefore, all created beings glorify their Creator with glorification that us humans do not understand. However, our lack of knowledge regarding that is not sufficient evidence for us to deny its occurrence, as Allah has allowed some of His creation to recognize and understand the glorification of some creatures – such as prophet David, peace be upon him –.

As for their prayer, then Allah the Almighty says:

[أَلَمۡ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُۥ مَن فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱلطَّيۡرُ صَٰٓفَّٰتٖۖ كُلّٞ قَدۡ عَلِمَ صَلَاتَهُۥ وَتَسۡبِيحَهُۥۗ] Sura an-Nur; (24):41

 [Meaning: Do you not see that Allah is exalted by whomever is within the heavens and the earth and by the birds with wings spread in flight? Each of them has known his means of prayer and exalting Him.]

Although all of them pray and glorify Allah, it is not essential that we comprehend such.

As for the proof of their seeking forgiveness, then it occurs in the narration of Abud-Dardaa· - may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah  say: “And everyone in the heavens and on earth asks for forgiveness for the seeker of knowledge, even the fish in the sea.”[225]

In relation to their submittal to Allah, He the Mighty and Majestic says:

[أَفَغَيۡرَ دِينِ ٱللَّهِ يَبۡغُونَ وَلَهُۥٓ أَسۡلَمَ مَن فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ طَوۡعٗا وَكَرۡهٗا وَإِلَيۡهِ يُرۡجَعُونَ] Sura aali-`Imran; (3):83

 [Meaning: So is it other than the religion of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted all those within the heavens and earth – willingly or by compulsion – and to Him they will be returned.]

As well as various other types of worship, mention of which would be lengthy.[226]

From this standpoint it becomes clear that all created beings are in need of Allah – the Exalted and Most High – “and that their dependence and need of Him is an inherent quality of every created thing in existence; just as independence is an inherent attribute of the Lord and Creator.”[227]

So the dependence of all created beings and their turning to Allah clearly indicates His Oneness.

Seventhly: The Diversity in Flavour, Colour, and Fragrance within Plant Life

This is further empirical evidence indicating the Oneness of Allah; and that is because when rain falls upon arid land from the sky, colourless, tasteless, and odourless; it results – by the will of Allah – in different plants, which vary in colour, flavour, and scent. Some of them are sweet, whereas others are sour, or tangy; and some are green, while others are yellow, or black.

Rather a single type of fruit can have different varieties; such as the grape – some vineyards are trellised and others untrellised; some grapes are sweet, others are sour, or bittersweet; some varieties are green, while others are red, or black; some are circular, and others elongated.

Likewise the same diversity is found in the date-palm; some dates are sweeter unripe than in their ripe form, and vice-versa; just as there are some varieties that are black while others are yellow; some are oblong, and others circular – despite all being irrigated with the same water.

Who caused some of them to exceed others in quality of fruit? And who placed within them these different attributes, from colours and flavours?

Verily it is Allah:

[وَٱلَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَىٰ ٣ وَٱلَّذِيٓ أَخۡرَجَ ٱلۡمَرۡعَىٰ ٤ فَجَعَلَهُۥ غُثَآءً أَحۡوَىٰ٥]

Sura A`laa; (87):3-5

[Meaning: And Who destined and then guided. And Who brings out the pasture, and then makes it dark stubble.]

Eighthly: Linguistic Diversity

We observe the diversity in dialect and language from nation to nation, and from person to person – so who taught man eloquence? And who knows all of those languages and precisely that which people utter, not being confused in the slightest. Verily it is Allah, the One. Thus, linguistic diversity is a great sign indicating His Oneness – He the Exalted and Most High –.[228]

 Chapter Two : Belief in the Angels

Section One:   The Meaning of Believing in the Angels and Various Related Matters

Section Two:   The Angels Have Physical Forms

Section Three:   The Relationship Between Angels and Mankind

Section One: The Meaning of Believing in the Angels and Various Related Matters

Firstly: Defining the term ‘Angels’

(i) Linguistically: In morphology, the origin of this word is from the basic root ‘alaka’ meaning he sent. From its derivatives is ‘ulook’ meaning sending; i.e. (on a) mission.

Thus, the word ‘malak’ (angel) means in the language: missioner.[229]

(ii) Technically: the angels are obedient servants of Allah created from light, belonging to the world of the unseen; they do not deserve to be singled out with any of the entitlements of lordship or worship. This means they do not possess the attributes of creation or provision, nor is it permissible that they are worshipped along with Allah, or besides Him.

Allah the Exalted and Most High endowed them with perfect conformance to His commands and granted them strength to carry out His orders.

They are great in number, no one can enumerate them except Allah.[230]

Secondly: That which Believing in the Angels Comprises

Believing in the angels comprises the following matters:

1. Believing in their existence.

2. To believe in the names of those we have been informed regarding; such as the angel Gabriel. As for those we do not know the names of, then we believe in them generally. i.e. we believe that Allah has many angels, and it is not necessary for us to know all of their names.

3. To believe in that which we have been informed of regarding their attributes; such as the attributes of Gabriel – as the Prophet  informed us that he saw Gabriel in the form Allah created him upon, and that he has six-hundred wings which covered the horizon.

It is possible that an angel may take the form of a man by the command of Allah, just as occurred with Gabriel when Allah sent him to Mary the mother of the Messiah – may peace be upon them both –:

[فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرٗا سَوِيّٗا]

Sura Maryam; (19):17

[Meaning: He appeared before her in the form of a well-proportioned man.]

Likewise, he came to the Prophet  whilst he was sitting with his Companions in the form of a man, dressed in extremely white clothes and with extraordinarily black hair. No traces of journeying were visible upon him, and none of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger  recognized him. He sat down facing the Messenger of Allah , leaning his knees against the Prophet’s knees and placing his hands upon the Prophet’s thighs. Thereupon he questioned the Prophet  regarding Islam, true faith, perfection of worship, the Last Hour, and its signs; to which the Prophet  answered. After his departure the Prophet  said: “That was Gabriel; he came to teach you your religion.”[231]

Similarly, the angels Allah sent to Abraham and Lot – peace be upon them both – were in the form of men.

4. To believe in that which we have been informed of regarding the actions they carry out; such as their glorification of Allah, and their worship of Him throughout the day and night – without slacking or becoming bored –.

Some of them have particular roles, such as Gabriel – the one trusted with Allah’s revelation, whom Allah sends to the Prophets and Messengers –; and such as Michael – the one commissioned with the rain and the plants –; and such as Malik – the one commissioned with the Hellfire –; and such as the angels entrusted with protecting human beings; and many other than them.[232]

Thirdly: The Benefits of Believing in the Angels

Believing in the angels has many great benefits; from them:

1. It causes a person to realize Allah’s Greatness, Strength, and Sovereignty; and that is due to the fact that the greatness of these creatures comes from the Greatness of their Creator.

2. It leads a person to thank Allah for His care for the sons of Adam; as He entrusted from these angels those that protect them, record their deeds, and other than that from matters beneficial to them.

3. A person draws closer to Allah by having love for the angels – due to their performance of acts that are pleasing to Allah.[233]

Section Two: The Angels Have Physical Forms

There are many textual proofs that explicitly mention the angels possessing physical forms; contrary to those who went astray in this regard and denied that the angels have bodies. Instead they claim that the angels are a permanent force of good amongst creation.

This saying necessitates disbelief in the Book of Allah the Almighty, the Prophetic Sunna, and the consensus of the Muslims.

Allah the Almighty says:

[ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ فَاطِرِ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ جَاعِلِ ٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ رُسُلًا أُوْلِيٓ أَجۡنِحَةٖ مَّثۡنَىٰ وَثُلَٰثَ وَرُبَٰعَۚ]

Sura Fatir; (35):1

[Meaning: All praise is due to Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four.]

And He said regarding the inhabitants of Paradise:

[وَٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ يَدۡخُلُونَ عَلَيۡهِم مِّن كُلِّ بَابٖ ٢٣ سَلَٰمٌ عَلَيۡكُم بِمَا صَبَرۡتُمۡۚ فَنِعۡمَ عُقۡبَى ٱلدَّارِ ٢٤]

Sura Ra`d; (13):23-24

[Meaning: And the angels will enter upon them from every gate, saying: “Peace be upon you, for that you endured patiently.” Excellent indeed is the final home.]

Likewise, in the two authentic collections of Prophetic customs there occurs the narration of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: “If Allah loves a servant, He calls Gabriel, saying: “Allah loves so and so, O Gabriel love him.” So Gabriel loves him and then announces in the Heavens, saying: “Allah has loved so and so; therefore you should also love him.” So all the dwellers of the Heavens love him, and then acceptance upon the Earth is granted to him.[234]

Similarly there occurs in Sahih al-Bukhari a narration upon the authority of Abu Hurairah – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: the Prophet  said: “Every Friday the angels stand at every gate of the mosque to write the names of the people in order of their arrival; until the imam sits on the pulpit, upon which they fold up their scrolls and get ready to listen to the sermon.”[235]

These textual evidences explicitly mention that the angels have bodies and are not just spiritual forces – as the deviants claim. It is upon that which these proofs indicate that the Muslims have unanimously agreed.[236]

Section Three: The Relationship Between the Angels and Mankind

Firstly: The Connection between Angels and Humans

There is a strong connection between the angels and mankind which is manifested in the following points:

1. They are present at the time a human being is created: as occurs in the narration of Ibn Mas`ud – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: Allah’s Messenger  – who is the most truthful of humankind and his truthfulness is a fact – said: “Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for forty days, and then he becomes a clot of blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his deeds, his livelihood, the time of his death, and whether he will be happy or unhappy. Then the soul is breathed into him.”[237]

2. Their protection of human beings: Allah – the Almighty – says:

[سَوَآءٞ مِّنكُم مَّنۡ أَسَرَّ ٱلۡقَوۡلَ وَمَن جَهَرَ بِهِۦ وَمَنۡ هُوَ مُسۡتَخۡفِۢ بِٱلَّيۡلِ وَسَارِبُۢ بِٱلنَّهَارِ ١٠ لَهُۥ مُعَقِّبَٰتٞ مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ يَدَيۡهِ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِۦ يَحۡفَظُونَهُۥ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ ٱللَّهِۗ]

Sura Ra`d; (13):10-11

[Meaning: It is the same to Him concerning you whether one conceals his speech or publicises it and whether one is hidden by night or conspicuous among others by day. For each one is successive angels before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah.]

3. They are the emissaries of Allah to His Prophets and Messengers: Allah informed us of the angel Gabriel being specified with this duty:

[قُلۡ مَن كَانَ عَدُوّٗا لِّـجِبۡرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُۥ نَزَّلَهُۥ عَلَىٰ قَلۡبِكَ بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ مُصَدِّقٗا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):97

[Meaning: Say, "Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel, then it is none but he who has brought the Quran down upon your heart – O Muhammad – by permission of Allah, confirming what came before it.]

And He said:

[نَزَلَ بِهِ ٱلرُّوحُ ٱلۡأَمِينُ ١٩٣ عَلَىٰ قَلۡبِكَ لِتَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُنذِرِينَ١٩٤]

Sura Shu`ara; (26):193-194

[Meaning: The Trustworthy Spirit has brought it down; Upon your heart – O Muhammad – that you may be of the warners.]

4. Good impulses are stimulated within the souls of the servants: Allah has appointed to every human being a companion from the angels and a companion from the jinn; as occurs in a narration reported by Muslim on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: the Messenger of Allah  said: “There is none amongst you except that he has been appointed a companion from amongst the jinn.” They said: “Even you, O Messenger of Allah?” Thereupon he said: “Even me, but Allah aided me against him, such that he embraced Islam, and therefore he does not command me except with good.”[238]

It is possible the angel that is appointed to every human is other than the angels who are commanded to record a person’s deeds; and that Allah assigned him so that he may guide and direct a person.

A person’s companion from the angels and his companion from the jinn take turns to influence him; one of them commands him with evil and encourages him to perform it, and the other motivates him to perform good and encourages him with it. Proof of this is found in the narration of Ibn Mas`ud that the Messenger of Allah  said: “Indeed the devil has an effect on the son of Adam, and the angel also has an effect. As for the effect of the devil; then it is his threatening evil consequences and (persuading a person) to reject the truth. And as for the effect of the angel, it is by his promising a good end and (prompting a person to) believe in the truth. Whoever finds that, let him know that it is from Allah, and let him praise Allah for it. Whoever finds the other then let him seek refuge with Allah from the outcast devil. Thereupon he recited:

[ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ يَعِدُكُمُ ٱلۡفَقۡرَ وَيَأۡمُرُكُم بِٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِۖ وَٱللَّهُ يَعِدُكُم مَّغۡفِرَةٗ مِّنۡهُ وَفَضۡلٗاۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٞ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):268

[Meaning: Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality, while Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty. And Allah is all-Encompassing, all-Knowing.][239][240]

5. They record the deeds of human beings: there are angels assigned the task of recording the actions of every human from good or evil; and they are the ones meant by His saying:

[وَإِنَّ عَلَيۡكُمۡ لَحَٰفِظِينَ ١٠ كِرَامٗا كَٰتِبِينَ ١١ يَعۡلَمُونَ مَا تَفۡعَلُونَ]

Sura al-Infitar; (82):10-12

[Meaning: And indeed, appointed over you are preservers; noble and recording; they know what you do.]

Allah has appointed to every human two attentive angels that record his actions and sayings and who do not leave him:

[وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ وَنَعۡلَمُ مَا تُوَسۡوِسُ بِهِۦ نَفۡسُهُۥۖ وَنَحۡنُ أَقۡرَبُ إِلَيۡهِ مِنۡ حَبۡلِ ٱلۡوَرِيدِ ١٦ إِذۡ يَتَلَقَّى ٱلۡمُتَلَقِّيَانِ عَنِ ٱلۡيَمِينِ وَعَنِ ٱلشِّمَالِ قَعِيدٞ ١٧ مَّا يَلۡفِظُ مِن قَوۡلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيۡهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيد]

Sura Qaf; (50):16-18

[Meaning: We verily created man and We know what his soul whispers to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. When the two receivers receive, seated on the right and on the left. Not a word does he utter, but there is a watcher at hand.]

Seated: i.e. overseeing.

A watcher at hand: i.e. a surveillant who has been prepared for such a task; one from whom not a word escapes.

6. Drawing out the souls of humans when their lifespans come to an end: Allah designated to some of His angels the task of drawing out the souls of the servants when the lifespans He has ordained for them come to an end. He the Almighty said:

[قُلۡ يَتَوَفَّىٰكُم مَّلَكُ ٱلۡمَوۡتِ ٱلَّذِي وُكِّلَ بِكُمۡ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمۡ تُرۡجَعُونَ]

Sura as-Sajdah; (32):11

[Meaning: Say: “The angel of death will take you who has been entrusted with you. Then to your Lord you will be returned.”]

Those who pluck the souls are numerous in number; just as Allah the Almighty said:

[وَهُوَ ٱلۡقَاهِرُ فَوۡقَ عِبَادِهِۦۖ وَيُرۡسِلُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ حَفَظَةً حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا جَآءَ أَحَدَكُمُ ٱلۡمَوۡتُ تَوَفَّتۡهُ رُسُلُنَا وَهُمۡ لَا يُفَرِّطُونَ ٦١ ثُمَّ رُدُّوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ مَوۡلَىٰهُمُ ٱلۡحَقِّۚ أَلَا لَهُ ٱلۡحُكۡمُ وَهُوَ أَسۡرَعُ ٱلۡحَٰسِبِينَ]

Sura al-An`am; (6):61-62

[Meaning: And He is the subjugator over His servants, and He sends over you guardian-angels until, when death comes to one of you, Our messengers take him, and they do not ever neglect their duties. Then they are returned to Allah, their true Master. Surely, His is the judgement, and He is the swiftest of reckoners.]

These angels pluck the souls of the disbelievers forcefully and violently, without gentleness or kindness. Allah the Mighty and Majestic said:

[وَلَوۡ تَرَىٰٓ إِذِ ٱلظَّٰلِمُونَ فِي غَمَرَٰتِ ٱلۡمَوۡتِ وَٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ بَاسِطُوٓاْ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ أَخۡرِجُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمُۖ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ تُجۡزَوۡنَ عَذَابَ ٱلۡهُونِ]

Sura al-An`am; (6):93

[Meaning: And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the overwhelming pangs of death while the angels extend their hands, saying: “Deliver your souls! Today you will be awarded the punishment of extreme humiliation.”]

Likewise, He says:

[وَلَوۡ تَرَىٰٓ إِذۡ يَتَوَفَّى ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ ٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ يَضۡرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمۡ وَأَدۡبَٰرَهُمۡ وَذُوقُواْ عَذَابَ ٱلۡحَرِيقِ]

Sura al-Anfal; (8):50

[Meaning: And if only you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve at the time of death, they smite their faces and their backs, saying: “Taste the punishment of the blazing Fire.”]

In another verse, He says:

[فَكَيۡفَ إِذَا تَوَفَّتۡهُمُ ٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ يَضۡرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمۡ وَأَدۡبَٰرَهُمۡ]

Sura Muhammad; (47):27

[Meaning: Then how will it be when the angels take them in death, striking their faces and their backs.]

As for the believers, then the angels pluck their souls mercifully.

7. Their approaching the believers: and that is by way of their love for them; their directing them; their supplication for them – such as their supplicating for the teacher of good, those who await the congregational prayer, those who pray in the first row, those who fill the gaps between the rows, those who partake in the pre-dawn meal, those who send peace and blessings upon the Prophet , and those who visit the sick –.

They also approach the believers by saying amen to their supplications, seeking forgiveness for them, attending sittings of knowledge and circles of remembrance, recording those who attend Friday prayers, descending upon those who recite the Quran, fighting alongside the believers in battle, and other such actions.[241]

8. Their hatred for the disbelievers: the angels do not have any love for the oppressive disbelievers; rather they are their enemies whom whey fight, cause their hearts to quake, and curse.

Secondly: Who is Better; the Angels or Pious Human Beings?

This is a matter that the scholars of old have differed upon and formed various opinions concerning; however a summary of the most correct saying in this matter is what Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – mentions: that the pious humans are better in regards to the perfect nature of their final abode. That is: when they enter Paradise and are given the rank of honour, being housed in elevated stations, greeted by their Lord the Most Merciful, distinguished with being near to him, and when He appears to them, and they receive pleasure in looking at His Noble Face – the angels serve them by the permission of their Lord.

However the angels are more excellent in regards to their origin; and that is due to them being in the presence of the highest companions (i.e. in Paradise); free from that which affects the children of Adam (i.e. from impurities etc.); and occupied with the worship of their Lord.

There is no doubt that the current state of angels is better than that of mankind.

Ibn Al-Qayyim said: ‘With the aforementioned detail, the secret of superiority [between angels and mankind] becomes clear, enabling one to gather between the evidences of both sides, and reconcile between them according to that which each of them is correct regarding.’

And Allah knows best.[242]


 Chapter Three : Belief in the Divine Books

Section One: The Meaning of Believing in the Divine Books and Various Related Matters

Section Two: A Comparison of the Similarities and Differences Between the Divine Books

Section Three: The Quran, the Torah, and the Gospel

Section One: The Meaning of Believing in the Divine Books and Various Related Matters

Firstly: Defining the term ‘Books’

The term ‘Books’ linguistically: is the plural of book; which means something written – in the same way that ‘spread’ appears in the Arabic language with the meaning: outspread.

In morphology, its basic root ‘kataba’ revolves around the meanings of collecting and joining. A book is so called due to it comprising a collection of letters that are joined together.

Another derivative is ‘katibah (battalion)’ – which was so called due to a faction of the army joining together. In the same way a tailor is called ‘katib (lit. gatherer)’ – due to his gathering and joining together the edges of a garment. This meaning is indicated by the saying of al-Hariri in his ‘Maqamat (The Assemblies of al-Hariri)’ wherein he mentions in the form of a riddle:

And scribes whose hands never wrote a single letter * and who read nothing of what is written in books

The intent here is: tailors.[243]

As for the meaning of the word in a technical sense: then the intent is: the Books that Allah the Almighty revealed to His Messengers; as a mercy to creation, and a guidance for them; so that they may attain bliss in this worldly life as well as in the Hereafter.[244]

Secondly: That which Believing in the Divine Books Comprises

1. To believe that they were truly revealed from Allah.

2. To believe in the names of those we have been informed regarding; such as the Quran that was revealed to Muhammad , the Torah that was revealed to Moses – peace be upon him –, and the Gospel that was revealed to Jesus – peace be upon him –, and the Psalms that were revealed to David – peace be upon him –.

As for the revealed books unknown to us, then we have a general belief regarding them.

3. We believe in that which is authentically established from news contained within them – such as news contained within the Quran, and news not distorted or altered that is found in the previously revealed books.

4. We act in accordance with that which has not been abrogated from them; we are pleased with it; and we submit to it – whether we comprehend the wisdom behind such or not –.

All of the previous revealed books have been abrogated by the Quran; just as Allah the Almighty said:

[وَأَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ مُصَدِّقٗا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ مِنَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ وَمُهَيۡمِنًا عَلَيۡهِۖ]

Sura al-Maa·idah; (5):48

[And We have revealed to you – O Muhammad – the Book in truth; confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it.]

i.e. overruling it. Thus, it is not permissible to act upon any rulings mentioned in the previous revealed books except those which the Quran is in agreement with and attests to the correctness of.[245]

Thirdly: The Importance of Believing in the Divine Books

Believing in the revealed books is of great significance, which is demonstrated in the following points:

1. Believing in the revealed books is from the foundations of creed, and a pillar from the pillars of faith. A person’s faith cannot be correct unless he believes in the books revealed by Allah upon His messengers – peace be upon them –.

2. Allah the Mighty and Majestic praised the messengers that convey from Him His messages; as occurs in His saying:

[ٱلَّذِينَ يُبَلِّغُونَ رِسَٰلَٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَيَخۡشَوۡنَهُۥ وَلَا يَخۡشَوۡنَ أَحَدًا إِلَّا ٱللَّهَۗ]

Sura al-Ahzab; (33):39

[Meaning: Those who convey the Messages of Allah and fear Him, and fear none but Allah.]

Just as He the Exalted informed that the Messenger  and the believers believe that what was revealed from scripture is from Allah. He the Almighty says:

[ءَامَنَ ٱلرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡهِ مِن رَّبِّهِۦ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَۚ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَٰٓئِكَتِهِۦ وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):285

[Meaning: The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and so have the believers. All of them have believed in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers.]

3. Allah commanded the believers to believe in that which He revealed in His saying:

[قُولُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡنَا وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَىٰٓ إِبۡرَٰهِ‍ۧمَ وَإِسۡمَٰعِيلَ وَإِسۡحَٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَ وَٱلۡأَسۡبَاطِ وَمَآ أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَآ أُوتِيَ ٱلنَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمۡ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيۡنَ أَحَدٖ مِّنۡهُمۡ وَنَحۡنُ لَهُۥ مُسۡلِمُونَ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):136

[Meaning: Say: “We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and to the twelve sons of Jacob; and that which has been given to Moses and Jesus; and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted.]

4. Allah destroyed the nations of the past due to their disbelieving in His messages; just as Allah informed regarding Saleh in His saying:

[فَتَوَلَّى عَنْهُمْ وَقَالَ يَا قَوْمِ لَقَدْ أَبْلَغْتُكُمْ رِسَالَةَ رَبِّي وَنَصَحْتُ لَكُمْ وَلَكِنْ لا تُحِبُّونَ النَّاصِحِينَ]

Sura al-A`raf; (7):79

[Meaning: Then he turned away from them and said: “O my people, I have certainly conveyed to you the message of my Lord and advised you, but you do not like advisors”.]

5. Whoever denies anything from that which Allah has revealed then he is a disbeliever – as He the Almighty says:

[وَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَٰٓئِكَتِهِۦ وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِ فَقَدۡ ضَلَّ ضَلَٰلَۢا بَعِيدًا]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):136

[Meaning: And whosoever disbelieves in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, then indeed he has gone far astray.]

Fourthly: The Benefits of Believing in the Divine Books

Believing in the revealed books yields many great fruits; from them:

1. Knowledge of the care of Allah; and that is due to Him revealing a book to every people in order to guide them by way of it.

2. Knowledge of the wisdom of Allah; as He legislated for every people that which befits them and suits their circumstances.

3. Sufficiency in the revelation from the opinions of man – which may be correct or incorrect, just as they may be affected by absent-mindedness or one’s personal desires.

4. Traversing a clear, straight path that does not contain any crookedness or contradiction.

5. Rejoicing in such great good:

[قُلۡ بِفَضۡلِ ٱللَّهِ وَبِرَحۡمَتِهِۦ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلۡيَفۡرَحُواْ هُوَ خَيۡرٞ مِّمَّا يَجۡمَعُونَ]

Sura Yunus; (10):58

[Meaning: Say: “In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy; therein let them rejoice.” That is better than what they amass.]

6. Being thankful to Allah for this great blessing.

7. Safety from becoming confounded ideologically or theologically.[246]

Fifthly: Evidences Indicating Belief in the Divine Books

There is countless evidence from the Book and the Sunna indicating having belief in the divine books. From the examples of such are His saying:

[يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ ءَامِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَٱلۡكِتَٰبِ ٱلَّذِي نَزَّلَ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِۦ وَٱلۡكِتَٰبِ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَنزَلَ مِن قَبۡلُۚ]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):136

[Meaning: O you who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before.]

And His saying:

[وَقُلۡ ءَامَنتُ بِمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ مِن كِتَٰبٖۖ]

Sura Shura; (42):15

[Meaning: I believe in whatsoever Allah has sent down of the Book.]

Likewise the Prophet  said in the famous narration of Gabriel – when he questioned him regarding true faith - he replied: “That you truly believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Day of Judgment, and in predestination; its good and its evil.”[247]

Sixthly: The Purpose Behind Revelation of the Divine Books

All of the divine books were revealed for one purpose, and for a single goal, which is: that Allah alone is to be singled out in worship without any partners. They serve as guides for humans to follow in all aspects of their lives – directing them by way of what they contain to every good –; as well as being an inspiration and a light – bringing life to the souls, by removing them from darkness, and illuminating for them all of life’s avenues.[248]

Seventhly: That which Contradicts Belief in the Divine Books

From the things that contradict having belief in the divine books are: denial of them, disbelief in them, or distortion of them.

Objecting to the Quran, claiming its abrogation, judging by other than it, claiming its deficiency, attempting to contend with it, and opposing it likewise all contradict having true faith in the divine books.

Section Two: A Comparison of the Similarities and Differences Between the Divine Books

Part One: The Similarities Between the Divine Books

The divine books all agree in a number of areas:

1. Unity of their source: Their source is one; as they are all revealed from Allah the Almighty.

2. Unity of their purpose: All of the divine books have one objective; they all call to the worship of Allah alone without any partners, and to the religion of Islam, as Islam is the religion of all the Messengers. Thus, their goal is to call to the religion of Islam, and to the worship of Allah alone, without any partners.

3. Matters of creed: All of the divine books contain a mention of having belief in the unseen, and those affairs related to creed – such as believing in the Messengers, resurrection of the dead, believing in the Last Day, and other than that.

Hence the affairs of creed are from the unabrogated pieces of news.[249]

4. General principles: All of the divine books lay down general principles essential for mankind to be aware of; such as the concept of reward and punishment – i.e. that a person is accountable for his deeds, punishable for his crimes and sins, and unaccountable for the doings of others. In the same way, he is rewarded for his labour, and only possesses that which his own hands earnt.

Another example of such is: the concept of purification of the souls. This is something we find encouraged and given importance to, along with a clarification that true success is not achieved except by purifying one’s soul with obedience to Allah, worshipping Him, and giving precedence to the Hereafter over the worldly life.

Another such principle is that those deserving inheritance of the earth are Allah’s pious servants, and the good end is for righteousness and its doers.

5. Justice and equity: All of the Prophets – peace be upon them – came with the judgement of justice and equity.

6. Combating corruption and misguidance: This is something all of the scriptures agree upon; whether the corruption is as it relates to creed or manners, straying from the natural disposition, transgressing against another human, being fraudulent in one’s dealings, or the like.

7. Calling to the perfection of fine character: All of the divine books called to the perfection of fine character, such as pardoning the one in the wrong, having patience upon harm, speaking fine words, dutifulness to one’s parents, fulfilling covenants, maintaining the ties of kinship, honouring the guest, humbleness, being kind to the poor, and other than that from fine manners.

8. Many acts of worship: Many of the acts of worship that we perform were known to the Messengers and their followers; such as prayer, Zakat, fasting, and Hajj.[250]

Part Two: The Differences Between the Divine Books

The divine books differ with regards to legislation; hence we find the legislation of Jesus is different to the legislation of Moses – peace be upon them – in some respects. In the same way, the legislation of Muhammad  is different in some respects to the legislations of Moses and Jesus – peace be upon them –.

Allah the Almighty says:

[لِكُلّٖ جَعَلۡنَا مِنكُمۡ شِرۡعَةٗ وَمِنۡهَاجٗاۚ]

Sura al-Maa·idah; (5):48

[Meaning: To each of you We prescribed a law and a methodology.]

This does not mean that the various legislations differ in totality; the one who compares will find they agree upon the fundamental matters – as aforementioned –. Thus, the differences between them are with regards to the subsidiary details.

In this way, we find the number of prayers, their units, conditions, the amount of Zakat, ritual sites, and other than that, may differ from one legislation to another. It is also possible that Allah may permit something in a particular legislation due to a wisdom and forbid the same matter in another legislation due to a wisdom He has knowledge of, and that we may not necessarily comprehend. Some examples of this are:

1. Fasting: In the previous nations a fasting person would break his fast at sunset – after which it was permissible for them to eat, drink, and engage in sexual relations – until the onset of dawn, provided they did not sleep. If they slept before dawn, then all of the aforementioned became prohibited for them until sunset the following day. Allah lightened such hardship upon this nation (Islam) by making these acts permissible for the Muhammadan nation from sunset until sunrise, regardless of whether they sleep or not. He the Almighty said:

[أُحِلَّ لَكُمۡ لَيۡلَةَ ٱلصِّيَامِ ٱلرَّفَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَآئِكُمۡۚ هُنَّ لِبَاسٞ لَّكُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ لِبَاسٞ لَّهُنَّۗ عَلِمَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّكُمۡ كُنتُمۡ تَخۡتَانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمۡ فَتَابَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَعَفَا عَنكُمۡۖ فَٱلۡـَٰٔنَ بَٰشِرُوهُنَّ وَٱبۡتَغُواْ مَا كَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمۡۚ وَكُلُواْ وَٱشۡرَبُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ ٱلۡخَيۡطُ ٱلۡأَبۡيَضُ مِنَ ٱلۡخَيۡطِ ٱلۡأَسۡوَدِ مِنَ ٱلۡفَجۡرِۖ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):187

[Meaning: It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives for sexual relations. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread of night.]

2. Covering the intimate parts of the body when bathing: This was not something binding upon the Children of Israel; as occurs in the narration reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim: “The Israelites used to bathe naked, and they would look at the private parts of one another. Moses, however, used to bathe alone.”[251]

3. The forbidden matters: Allah allowed Adam to unite his sons and daughters in wedlock, however thereafter He forbade such.

Similarly, concubinage was permitted in Abraham’s legislation, with Abraham himself having Hajar as a concubine alongside Sara.

Allah then forbade such upon the Children of Israel in the Torah.

Likewise marrying two sisters was something permissible, as Jacob did when he married the two daughters of his maternal uncle: Layyaa, and Raaheel – who were sisters. Afterwards Allah forbade such a practice in the Torah.

Another matter which Allah forbade upon the Jews is mentioned in Sura al-An`am (Chapter of the Cattle), wherein He the Almighty said:

[وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّمْنَا كُلَّ ذِي ظُفُرٍ وَمِنَ الْبَقَرِ وَالْغَنَمِ حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهُمَا إِلاَّ مَا حَمَلَتْ ظُهُورُهُمَا أَوِ الْحَوَايَا أَوْ مَا اخْتَلَطَ بِعَظْمٍ ذَلِكَ جَزَيْنَاهُمْ بِبَغْيِهِمْ وَإِنَّا لَصَادِقُونَ]

Sura al-An`am; (6):146

[Meaning: And to those who are Jews We prohibited every animal of uncloven hoof; and of the cattle and the sheep We prohibited upon them their fat, except what adheres to their backs or the entrails or what is joined with bone. By that We repaid them for their injustice. And indeed, We are truthful.]

Then Jesus – peace be upon him – permitted for the Children of Israel some of that which had been prohibited upon them.

The final legislation came, laying down the principle of: permissibility of all good things and prohibition of all evil things.

From the distinguishing features of the final legislation is that it is comprehensive of all of mankind until the Hour is established; contrary to the other legislations – as they were specific to certain peoples or eras.[252]

Section Three:  The Quran, the Torah, and the Gospel

The Quran, the Torah, and the Gospel are the greatest of the divine books.

Firstly: The Noble Quran

The Quran is the last of the divine books and their seal. It is also the longest and most comprehensive of them, as well as being a criterion over them.

A mention of the Noble Quran has preceded under discussion of the topic ‘the sources of Islamic legislation’.

Further detail will follow when discussing the miraculous nature of the Quran in part eight, entitled: ‘Proof Indicating Islam is the Truth’.

Secondly: The Torah

1. Meaning of the word ‘Torah’: ‘Torah’ is a Hebraic word meaning legislation, law, or guidance.[253]

The Torah – in its original form, and according to the Muslims – is the name of the book revealed to Moses, peace be upon him.

The Torah is a tremendous book comprising light and guidance; just as Allah the Almighty said:

[إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَا ٱلتَّوۡرَىٰةَ فِيهَا هُدٗى وَنُورٞۚ يَحۡكُمُ بِهَا ٱلنَّبِيُّونَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسۡلَمُواْ لِلَّذِينَ هَادُواْ وَٱلرَّبَّٰنِيُّونَ وَٱلۡأَحۡبَارُ بِمَا ٱسۡتُحۡفِظُواْ مِن كِتَٰبِ ٱللَّهِ]

Sura al-Maa·idah; (5):44

[Meaning: Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted to Allah judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah.]

And He the Almighty said:

[ثُمَّ ءَاتَيۡنَا مُوسَى ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ تَمَامًا عَلَى ٱلَّذِيٓ أَحۡسَنَ وَتَفۡصِيلٗا لِّكُلِّ شَيۡءٖ وَهُدٗى وَرَحۡمَةٗ لَّعَلَّهُم بِلِقَآءِ رَبِّهِمۡ يُؤۡمِنُونَ]

Sura al-An`am; (6):154

[Meaning: Then We gave Moses the Scripture, making complete Our favour upon those who do right, and as a detailed explanation of all things and as a guidance and a mercy that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord.]

In many places in the Quran, Allah the Mighty and Majestic couples between the Quran and the Torah; due to the fact they are the best two books to be revealed to creation.

In short, this is the reality of the Torah that was revealed to Moses – peace be upon him –.[254]

2. The Torah present today: As for the Torah we have today, and according to the Jews, it is a term indicative of the legislation that the Jews believe Moses – peace be upon him – wrote with his own hand.

They call it: ‘Pentateuch’, from the Greek word: ‘penta’ – meaning: the five books. These books are:

The First: The Book of Genesis: This book discusses the creation of the universe, the appearance of humans, the deluge of Noah, and the time period between the birth of Abraham until the death of Joseph – peace be upon them –.

The Second: The Book of Exodus: It contains a discussion of the life of the Israelites in Egypt – from the death of Joseph until their departure from Egypt to the land of Canaan accompanied by Moses and Joshua – and that which occurred to them after their departure.

The Third: The Book of Leviticus: ‘Leviticus’ is an ascription to Levi the son of Jacob. In this book, from the topics discussed are purity, uncleanliness, sacrifice and ritual, vows, and veneration of Aaron and his sons.

The Fourth: The Book of Numbers: A census starting from the time of Jacob is taken; recording the tribes, tribespeople, and sumpters of the Israelites.

The Fifth: The Book of Deuteronomy: i.e. a repetition of the legislation, and a further reiteration of commands and prohibitions pertaining to them.

This book concludes with the death of Moses – peace be upon him –.[255]

The Christians use the term Torah to refer to all the books of the Old Testament.[256]

In addition to the foregoing books, there are thirty-four additional books in the Protestant version of the Bible – bringing the total number of books including the Torah to thirty-nine. Christians call this the Old Testament, which can be categorized as follows:

Firstly: The five books ascribed to Moses – peace be upon him –.

Secondly: The thirteen Historical Books: 1. Joshua. 2. Judges. 3. Ruth. 4. Samuel I. 5. Samuel II. 6. Kings I. 7. Kings II. 8. Chronicles I. 9. Chronicles II. 10. Ezra. 11. Nehemiah. 12. Esther. 13. Jonah (Jonas) – peace be upon him –.

These books contain a history of the Israelites after Moses – peace be upon him – until their return to Palestine after Babylonian captivity, and their restoration of the temple after its destruction. Chronicles I and II however, are a repetition of the story of the Israelites – starting with a summary of the birth of Adam through to the first year of King Cyrus’ reign.

Similarly, the book of Jonah (Jonas – peace be upon him –) mentions his story with the people of Nineveh[257], to whom he was sent.

Thirdly: The fifteen Prophetic Books: 1. Isaiah. 2. Jeremiah. 3. Ezekiel. 4. Daniel 5. Hosea. 6. Joel. 7. Amos. 8. Obadiah. 9. Micah. 10. Nahum. 11. Habakkuk. 12. Zephaniah. 13. Haggai. 14. Zechariah. 15. Malachi.[258]

These books compose mostly of visions, prophecies of what will become of the Israelites, the people’s relationship with them, warnings of the consequences of what would happen to the Israelites, and a promise of their victory and return.

These books are ascribed to those present at the time of Babylonian captivity onwards.

Fourthly: The five Books of Wisdom and Poetry (Books of Literature): 1. Job. 2. Proverbs. 3. Ecclesiastes. 4. Song of Songs. 5. Lamentations.

Fifthly: The Book of Praises and Hymns is another name for the Book of Psalms, which is ascribed to David – peace be upon him –.[259]

These are the Books of the Hebraic copy of the Bible as recognised by Jews and Protestant Christians.

As for Catholic and Orthodox Christians, then they rely upon the Greek version of the Bible – which contains an additional seven books in comparison to its Hebraic counterpart. They are the Books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, and Maccabees I & II.[260]

3. The Talmud: One of the central religious texts of Judaism. It means: ‘learning Judaism and its orders’.

The Talmud has two components: (a). Text: which is called ‘Mishnah’ meaning: ‘learning’ or ‘redaction’. (b). Analysis & Commentary: which is called ‘Gemara’ meaning: ‘completion’.

The Talmud is the comprehensive written version of the Jewish oral law that Pharisee rabbis relayed to one another in secret, generation after generation.

Then, in the first and second centuries Anno Domini – due to their fear of it becoming lost – they recorded it, calling it ‘Mishnah’. This was then explained, the analysis being termed ‘Gemara’.

These analyses were written over a long period of time, stretching from the second century until the end of the sixth century Anno Domini.

Additions were made by Babylonian and Palestinian rabbis, after which the text – Mishnah – along with its analysis – Gemara – was named collectively: ‘The Talmud’.

The version with the analysis and notes of Babylonian rabbis was called: ‘The Babylonian Talmud’; whereas the version accompanied by the analysis of the Palestinian rabbis was called: ‘The Palestinian Talmud’.

The Talmud is revered and venerated by the Pharisee Jews, while the remaining sects disaffirm it.[261]

The Talmud has a huge impact on the mentality of the Jews.

4. Distortion of the Torah: Every unbiased, discerning person – alongside the believing Muslims – knows the innocence of the Torah that Allah revealed to Moses – peace be upon him – from much of what is contained in the books of the Jews. Some of the reasons for this are:

(a) That which occurred to the Torah from disappearance, replication, distortion, and loss. It was altered, changed, and misplaced, as well as going missing seven times between the times of Solomon – peace be upon him – in the year 945 B.C and the year 613 A.D; when it went missing for the seventh time. This proves its loss and lack of credibility.

(b) That which it contains from erroneous beliefs opposing what the Messengers informed of.

(c) That which it contains from blasphemy of the Lord – Mighty and Majestic – and likening Him to the creation. From the examples of that is their saying: “God wrestled with Jacob all night, until Jacob overpowered Him.”

Likewise, their saying: “The Lord regretted that He created humankind due to what He saw from their wickedness; and He cried until His eyes became inflamed, and the angels visited him.”

Exalted is Allah above whatever the wrongdoers say, by great sublimity.

(d) That which it contains from insult and slander of the Prophets; such as their saying: “Aaron made an idol cast in the shape of a calf and worshipped it along with the Israelites.”

Likewise, it occurs: “That Lot drank wine until he became drunk, before preceding to commit incest with his two daughters – one after another.”

Also, they say: “Solomon – peace be upon him – apostatized at the end of his life, and worshipped idols – building for them temples.”

There are many more similar examples of the like of these disgraceful acts which the Prophets – peace be upon them – are utterly free from.[262]

(e) That which it contains from mistakes, impossibilities, and contradictions.[263]

(f) The conflict between the Torah and modern-day science proves that which it contains from scientific errors.

From the books that discuss the foregoing are: ‘What is the Origin of Man?’ and ‘The Torah, the Gospel, the Quran, and Science’ authorship of a French scholar: Dr. Maurice Bucaille. In these two books he proves the existence of scientific errors in both the Torah and the Gospel. At the same time, he establishes the fact there is no contradiction between the Quran and facts proven by modern-day science. Rather he mentions evidence affirming the Quran’s precedence to science by fourteen-hundred years.[264]

Thirdly: The Gospel

1. The Gospel in origin: The Gospel is a Greek word meaning: good news; glad tidings.[265]

The Gospel according to the Muslims is the great book that Allah revealed to Jesus – peace be upon him – as a completion of the Torah, and as an endorser of it. It conforms to the Torah with regards to most legislation; guides to the straight path; clarifies truth and falsehood; and calls to the worship of Allah alone without any partners. This is the Gospel that was revealed to Jesus – peace be upon him –.

After Jesus’ ascension, the Gospel was distorted, altered, changed, deleted from, and added to.[266]

2. The Gospel post Jesus – peace be upon him –: The holy book of the Christians is a collection of books comprising the Torah, and the books annexed to it, the Gospel, and the epistles of the Messengers.

The Torah and the books annexed to it are collectively called the Old Testament; while the Gospel – along with the epistles of the Messengers – is called the New Testament.

The Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments to be holy, gathering between them in a single book which they call the Holy Bible.

They also believe that the rulings of the Old Testament were abrogated, and therefore do not practice any of its legislation, as Paul annulled acting in accordance with it. However, they still believe its holiness, and benefit religious knowledge from it – such as information pertaining to the creation of the heavens and the earth, the creation of Adam, stories of the Prophets, supplications, prayers, hymns, and praises.[267]

The New Testament – then – comprises the Gospels and the epistles annexed to it; its contents being as follows: Christs’ mission, a history of his life, a mention of some of the early Christian missionaries and a history of their lives, and other religious epistles – which are, in order –: 1. Gospel of Matthew. 2. Gospel of Mark. 3. Gospel of Luke. 4. Gospel of John. 5. Acts of the Apostles. 6. Epistle to the Romans. 7. First Epistle to the Corinthians. 8. Second Epistle to the Corinthians. 9. Epistle to the Galatians. 10. Epistle to the Ephesians. 11. Epistle to the Philippians. 12. Epistle to the Colossians. 13. First Epistle to the Thessalonians. 14. Second Epistle to the Thessalonians. 15. First Epistle to Timothy. 16. Second Epistle to Timothy. 17. Epistle to Titus. 18. Epistle to Philemon. 19. Epistle to the Hebrews. 20. Epistle of James. 21. First Epistle of Peter. 22. Second Epistle of Peter. 23. First Epistle of John. 24. Second Epistle of John. 25. Third Epistle of John. 26. Epistle of Jude. 27. The Revelation to John.[268]

3. The Gospels regarded by the Christians are: (a) The Gospel of Matthew; who was from the Twelve Disciples. This Gospel was written in Hebrew or Syriac.

The last copy to be found was in Greek; with there being a difference of opinion regarding who wrote the Gospel and who translated it.[269]

(b) The Gospel of Mark: which was written by John. Mark is titled ‘Saint Mark the Evangelist’; and was not from the Twelve Disciples of Christ whom Jesus chose to be close to him.

Mark was of Jewish origin; his family were inhabitants of Jerusalem at the time of the appearance of Christ. He was of the first to accept Christ’s call, thus he was chosen from amongst the seventy apostles whom the Holy Spirit descended upon following the ascent of Christ.[270]

He was active in calling to Christianity in Antioch (Greece), North Africa, Egypt, and Rome; before being killed in circa 62C.E.[271]

(c) The Gospel of Luke: they say: Luke was born in Antioch and studied medicine before becoming a physician – after which he become a disciple of Paul, accompanying him upon his travels. His writings were influenced by his close association with Paul.[272]

(d) The Gospel of John: John was a beloved disciple of Jesus. Some claim his identity is unknown, and that he was the only one to mention the trinity as well as claim the divinity of Christ – at such an early stage in Christian history.[273]

4. Criticism of the modern Gospel:

Many scholars of Islam – classical and contemporary alike –, as well as Christian academics who converted to Islam, and unbiased Christians – all mention the many weaknesses that occur in the Gospel possessed by Christians today. From these scholars is Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah in his book: ‘al-Jawab as-Sahih liman Baddala Din al-Masih (The Correct Reply to Those Who Altered Christ's Religion’; and Ibn Al-Qayyim in his book: ‘Hidayat al-Hayara fi Ajwibat al-Yahud wan-Nasara (Guidance of the Confused in Answering the Jews and Christians)’.

Examples of contemporary scholarly work in this field include: ‘Ithaar al-Haq (The Truth Revealed)’ of Shaikh Rahmatullah al-Hindi; ‘Muhadarat fin-Nasraniyyah (Discussing Christianty)’ of Shaikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah; ‘al-Bahth as-Sarih fi Ayyima Huwa ad-Din as-Sahih (The Clear Search for the True Religion)’ of Shaikh Ziyadah bin Yahya ar-Rasi – a Christian scholar who converted to Islam; and ‘Muhadarat fi Muqaranat al-Adyan (A Comparative Discussion of Religion) of Shaikh Ibrahim Khalil Ahmad.

Some of the criticisms of modern versions of the Gospel are as follows:

(i) The early Christians – as Paul mentions in his epistles – are of the opinion that God revealed a book called the Gospel to Christ; which Christ – peace be upon him – called the people to believe in.

However, the Christians have no knowledge what happened to this book.

(ii) The Gospels that the Christians possess were not dictated by Jesus – peace be upon him – nor were they sent down as revelation. Rather they were written after his time.

(iii) The alterations, distortions, and modifications made to the Gospels by scribes.

(iv) The differences and contradictions present in the Gospels. Shaikh Rahmatullah al-Hindi – at the end of his book ‘Ithaar al-Haq (The Truth Revealed)’ – mentions over a hundred differences between the Gospels.[274]

(v) The Christians do not know precisely when these books came to be accepted as the binding canon of ‘Holy Scripture’.

Instead they hold that their books gradually became sacred throughout the fourth century after Christ.

(vi) Breakages in the chain of transmission between the books and their authors. The Christians do not have chains of transmission for their books, and do not know their real origin – which leads us to the conclusion that these books are falsely attributed to their authors, and that the Christians merely have blind faith in them.

The like of this does not provide a human soul with the sufficient contentment that these books aim to provide in origin; and that is: avoiding the Anger of Allah and attaining His Good Pleasure.

(vii) It contains blasphemy of the Lord – Exalted and Most High – and attributing evil to the Prophets – peace be upon them –.

(viii) It contains false beliefs that contradict both textual evidence and the intellect.

(ix) It contradicts scientific facts. This is something established by numerous scholars, such as Dr Maurice Bucaille, as aforementioned.[275]

(x) The Gospels – regardless of their genuineness – are void of political, social, economic, and academic concepts.[276]

In summary, the Gospels present today are not the same as the Gospel that was revealed to Jesus – peace be upon him –. Rather they are a mixture of ancient Indic, Greek, and Egyptian religions and paganism – just as they are a representation of Paul’s (Saul) change to Christianity.

This does not mean – however – that the Gospels are free from all truth, and from the words of Christ – and although this is not something that can be proven academically – we are able to establish such due to the Quran mentioning that which supports and attests to.[277]

Fourthly: Is it Permissible for a Person to Adhere to the Torah or the Gospel After the Revelation of the Quran?

It is not permissible for anyone to do so; due to that which has preceded, in addition to – supposing they were genuine – the fact that they were specific to a certain people, and a set era, and because they were abrogated by the Noble Quran.

From this standpoint, the falseness and impermissibility of acting in accordance to these books becomes clear. The only exception to this ruling is that which the Quran concurs with. Further proof indicative of the misguidance of the Jews and Christians and the falsity of their claims is found in the saying of the Prophet : “No Jew or Christian from amongst this nation hears about me, then dies having not believed in that with which I have been sent except that shall be from the inhabitants of the Fire.”[278]

 Chapter Four : Belief in the Messengers

Section One: The Meaning of Prophethood and Messengership

Section Two: The Reality of the Prophets and Messengers, their Infallibility, and the Benefits of Believing in Them

Section Three: Believing the Finality of Prophethood & Related Matters

Section One: The Meaning of Prophethood and Messengership

Firstly: Linguistic Definitions of Prophethood and Messengership

(i) The linguistic definition of Prophethood: In Arabic morphology, prophethood is derived from one of three linguistic roots. It is either derived from the root ‘naba·’, which means information or news of significance or importance – based on which – the meaning of prophethood would be: informing.

Or it is said to be derived from ‘nabawah’ or ‘nabwah’, meaning highness; based on which the word prophethood would mean: elevation and altitude.

Or it is said to be derived from ‘an-nabi’ meaning: a path; based on which the word prophethood would mean: the path to Allah the Mighty and Majestic.[279]

However, prophethood from a religious perspective is inclusive of all these meanings; as the reality of prophethood is informing of that which comes from Allah the Mighty and Majestic. In the same instance, this role is an elevation for the one who performs it – due to that which it contains from nobility and honour – as well as being the path that leads to Allah the Exalted.

Despite this, the most fitting of these meanings is its derivation from the word ‘naba·’ meaning news. This is because a Prophet is informed by Allah, just as he informs the people of Allah. These two traits are sufficient as a confirmation of the prophethood of a prophet, and in turn earn him the attributes of elevation and loftiness, while also affirming the fact he is a means to knowing Allah the Mighty and Majestic.

The term ‘naba·’ occurs in the Quran with the meaning of information; just as occurs in His saying:

[نَبِّئۡ عِبَادِيٓ أَنِّيٓ أَنَا ٱلۡغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ]

Sura al-Hijr; (15):49

[Meaning: Inform My servants that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful.]

And He says – relating the statement of His Messenger  –:

[نَبَّأَنِيَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡخَبِيرُ]

Sura at-Tahrim; (66):3

[Meaning: The All-Knower, the All-Aware informed me.]

Further evidence of this is proven by numerous Quranic verses.

Based on the foregoing, perhaps the closest derivative of the word prophethood is informing, thus enabling us to define a prophet as being someone who is informed by Allah, or someone who informs of Allah the Mighty and Majestic.[280]

(ii) The linguistic definition of Messengership: In Arabic morphology, the origin for this word is: the letters ‘raa’, ‘seen’, and ‘laam’ (rusul).

In Arabic, the word ‘messenger’ is derived from the root ‘sending’, meaning: ‘guiding’.

Or it is said to be derived from the root ‘successiveness’; from the saying of the Arabs: ‘succession of milk’ i.e. if it flowed (from the udder) in abundance. The word messenger – then – is either taken from the fact they guide the people, or from the fact that revelation is continuously sent down upon them.[281]

This is as it relates to the linguistic definitions of the two terms.

Secondly: Technical Definitions of Prophethood and Messengership

It is possible for us to define prophethood and messengership in a technical sense by saying: They are states that occur to a person when Allah the Mighty and Majestic chooses them; informing them the news of the Heavens, and orders them to convey it.

Prophethood and messengership are thus achieved by Allah simply singling a person out with revelation – regardless of the various opinions regarding the differences and similarities between them both[282] – discussion of which will follow shortly.

Thirdly: The Difference Between Prophets and Messengers

Scholars have discussed at length the topic of the difference between prophets and messengers and the definition of these two terms; however much of their speech is not free from criticism. The most correct view according to many people of knowledge is that there is indeed a difference between the two terms, although they disagree as it relates to what is intended by each of them.

Prophethood is broader than messengership, so every messenger is a prophet – but not every prophet is a messenger.

The truth is – and Allah knows best –: that a prophet is: a man whom Allah informs of a previous legislation so that he may warn its people. It is also possible that he may be ordered to convey certain commands in relation to a specific matter, or instructions, or advices. For example, the Israelite Prophets – they all followed the legislation of the Torah – with none of them bringing new legislation abrogating that of the Torah’s. Thus, it is possible to describe them as being restorers of the teachings of previous messengers.

As for a messenger, then he is: a man whom Allah sends with a legislation and orders him to convey it to those who disobey His commands – whether the legislation in question is new in itself, or to those whom it is directed –. A messenger may also abrogate some of the rulings contained within his predecessor’s legislation.[283]

Fourthly: The Signs of Prophethood

Prophethood is from the greatest of claims; and is not something claimed except by the most truthful or the most dishonest of people.

True prophethood is recognised by many signs – the greatest of which are miracles – in addition to: virtuous action, noble character, and praiseworthy traits.

Therefore, any claimant to prophethood who is aided with miracles from Allah, and is famous for their honesty, trustworthiness, fine character and praiseworthy traits, is indeed a prophet whom Allah has sent down revelation to and is from those whom Allah aids.

As for if he is contrary to that, then he is a lying imposter falsely claiming prophethood whom there is no doubt Allah the Mighty and Majestic will expose.

Further detail regarding the signs of prophethood will follow in part eight, when discussing the topic of the: ‘Miracles of the Messenger Muhammad ’.

Section Two: The Reality of the Prophets and Messengers, their Infallibility, and the Benefits of Believing in Them

Firstly: The Reality of the Prophets and Messengers

The prophets and messengers are human beings created by Allah whom revelation is sent down upon. However, they do not possess any of the qualities of lordship or worship.

They experience that which humans experience from sickness, sleep, death, dependence on food and drink, and the like.

Allah the Almighty describes them as worshipping Him superlatively; just as occurs in His praise of Noah – peace be upon him –. He the Almighty says:

[إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ عَبۡدٗا شَكُورٗا]

Sura al-Isra·; (17):3

[Meaning: Indeed, he was a grateful servant.]

Likewise, He mentions regarding Muhammad :

[تَبَارَكَ ٱلَّذِي نَزَّلَ ٱلۡفُرۡقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبۡدِهِۦ لِيَكُونَ لِلۡعَٰلَمِينَ نَذِيرًا]

Sura al-Furqan; (25):1

[Meaning: Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His Servant that he may be a warner to the worlds.]

And He mentions in relation to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:

[أُوْلِي ٱلۡأَيۡدِي وَٱلۡأَبۡصَٰرِ ٤٥ إِنَّآ أَخۡلَصۡنَٰهُم بِخَالِصَةٖ ذِكۡرَى ٱلدَّارِ ٤٦ وَإِنَّهُمۡ عِندَنَا لَمِنَ ٱلۡمُصۡطَفَيۡنَ ٱلۡأَخۡيَارِ]

Sura Saad; (43):45-47

[Meaning: Those of strength and of religious understanding Indeed, We chose them for an exclusive quality: remembrance of the home of the Hereafter. And verily, they are to Us, of the chosen and the best.]

And with regards to Jesus the son of Mary – peace be upon him – He says:

[إِنۡ هُوَ إِلَّا عَبۡدٌ أَنۡعَمۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ وَجَعَلۡنَٰهُ مَثَلٗا لِّبَنِيٓ إِسۡرَٰٓءِيلَ]

Sura az-Zukhruf; (43):59

[Meaning: Jesus was not but a servant upon whom We bestowed favour, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.]

Messengership is given to a person by Allah choosing them and is not acquired by a person’s striving.

The Messengers are the best, finest, and most excellent of mankind.

Secondly: Infallibility of the Prophets and Messengers

The entire Islamic community is in consensus that the prophets and messengers are infallible with regards to their bearing and conveying their Lord’s message.

They do not decrease from anything that Allah reveals to them, nor do they forget anything of that – except what has been abrogated.

Allah guaranteed His Prophet Muhammad  that He would make him read so that he did not forget any of what had been revealed to him, except that which Allah wished to make him forget; just as occurs in His saying:

[سَنُقۡرِئُكَ فَلَا تَنسَىٰٓ ٦ إِلَّا مَا شَآءَ ٱللَّهُۚ]

Sura al-A`laa; (86):6-7

[Meaning: We will make you recite so you will not forget, except what Allah wills.]

The Messengers are infallible in their conveyance of the message; so they do not conceal anything from revelation, as concealment would be regarded as disloyalty – something impossible in relation to them. Allah the Almighty says:

[وَلَوۡ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيۡنَا بَعۡضَ ٱلۡأَقَاوِيلِ ٤٤ لَأَخَذۡنَا مِنۡهُ بِٱلۡيَمِينِ ٤٥ ثُمَّ لَقَطَعۡنَا مِنۡهُ ٱلۡوَتِينَ]

Sura al-Haaqah; (69):44-46

[Meaning: And if he had forged a false saying concerning Us, We surely should have seized him by his right hand, and then We would have severed his aorta.]

The natural emotions felt by the prophets and messengers do not contradict their infallibility; such as when Abraham – peace be upon him – felt fear when he saw the hands of his guests did not reach the food presented to them as he was unaware they were angels.

When Moses – peace be upon him – became enraged, he seized his brother by the hair of his head, dragged him towards himself, and threw down the tablets while in their inscription was guidance. This occurred when he returned to his people after the appointment with his Lord and found them worshipping the calf.

Similarly, the forgetfulness of Muhammad  unrelated to his delivery of the revelation or affairs of legislation; as occurs in the narration of ‘Dhul-Yadayn (the long-armed)’ when the Prophet  forgot while in prayer.[284]

Rather he  explicitly mentioned that forgetfulness occurs to him just as it occurs to the rest of mankind – in his saying: “Verily I am a human being; I forget just as you forget. When I forget, then remind me.”[285]

It is also possible that the prophets may err in their judicial rulings by not reaching the truth, just as minor sins may occur from them. However, they are not given consent upon error; rather they are granted a return to the truth and a rectification of their mistake. In other words: Allah the Mighty and Majestic does not approve of their sins or mistakes, rather He corrects them via revelation, and guides them to repent after sin. Due to this their subsequent state is better than their prior state.

As for the wicked deeds and major sins – the Prophets and Messengers are infallible with regards to them, by consensus of the Islamic community.

The foregoing serves a brief summary regarding the infallibility of the prophets – and although there is further detail in relation to this topic – this is not the right place to discuss such.[286]

Thirdly: What Believing in the Messengers Comprises

Believing in the Messengers comprises four matters

1. To believe their messengership is the truth from Allah – the Almighty –. Whoever disbelieves in the messengership of any of them then he has disbelieved in them all, just as Allah the Almighty says:

[كَذَّبَتۡ قَوۡمُ نُوحٍ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ]

Sura Shu`ara; (26):105

[Meaning: The people of Noah denied the messengers.]

Thus, Allah regarded them as deniers of all the messengers despite there only being one messenger present at the time.

2. To believe in those who have been specified by name, such as Muhammad, Abraham, Moses, Noah, and Jesus – peace be upon them all –.

As for those whom we do not know the names of, then we have a general belief in them. Allah the Almighty says:

[وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُلٗا مِّن قَبۡلِكَ مِنۡهُم مَّن قَصَصۡنَا عَلَيۡكَ وَمِنۡهُم مَّن لَّمۡ نَقۡصُصۡ عَلَيۡكَۗ]

Sura Ghafir; (40):78

[Meaning: And indeed We have sent Messengers before you. Among them are those whose stories We have related to you, and among them are those whose stories We have not related to you.]

3. Believing in that which is authentically established from their news.

4. Acting in accordance with the legislation of the one sent to us from them, and he is their seal – Muhammad  - who was sent to all of mankind. Allah the Almighty says:

[فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيۡنَهُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُواْ فِيٓ أَنفُسِهِمۡ حَرَجٗا مِّمَّا قَضَيۡتَ وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسۡلِيمٗا]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):65

[Meaning: But no, by your Lord, they will not truly believe until they make you – O Muhammad – judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves, and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in full, willing submission.]

Fourthly: Benefits of Believing in the Prophets and Messengers

Believing in the Prophets and Messengers has many great benefits; from them:

1. Knowledge of the mercy of Allah the Almighty, and His care for His servants. That is because He sent Messengers to them to guide them to His path, and to clarify to them how to worship Him; as the human intellect cannot independently come to know that.

2. Thankfulness to Allah the Almighty upon this tremendous blessing.

3. Loving the Messengers – peace be upon them –, revering them, and praising them as befits them – because they are the Messengers of Allah the Almighty, and because of their worshipping Him, conveying His message, and sincerely advising His servants.[287]

Section Three: Believing the Finality of Prophethood & Related Matters

Firstly: The Meaning of Believing the Finality of Prophethood

The finality of Prophethood is: The cessation of Allah’s communication to the people, and the termination of revelation from the heavens.[288]

The meaning of this belief is: that all prophethood came to an end with the prophethood of Muhammad , and that revelation was terminated with his death – may peace and blessings be upon him –. This is from the core beliefs of the Muslims; whoever claims contrary to that is a disbeliever in Allah and a denier of His Prophet .

This is proven by the Quran, Prophetic traditions, and consensus of the Islamic community.

There is much evidence in the Noble Quran indicating the belief of the finality of prophethood, which we can categorise as follows:

(i) Verses explicitly mentioning the finality of prophethood; just as Allah the Almighty said:

[مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَآ أَحَدٖ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمۡ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ ٱللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ ٱلنَّبِيِّ‍ۧنَۗ]

Sura al-Ahzab; (33):40

[Meaning: Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets.]

This verse explicitly mentions that Muhammad is the conclusion to those who preceded him from the prophets. Thus, there is no prophet nor messenger after him.

This is also how the exegetists of the Quran – from the first era of Islam until today – interpreted the aforementioned verse.[289]

(ii) Verses establishing the finality of prophethood through rationality: There are numerous Quranic verses that serve as an example of this – such as the verses indicative of the universality of our Prophet Muhammad’s message. Allah the Almighty says:

[قُلۡ يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيۡكُمۡ جَمِيعًا]

Sura al-A`raf; (7):158

[Meaning: Say – O Muhammad –: ‘O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to all of you.’]

Likewise, the verses mentioning Allah’s guarantee to preserve His Book are indicative of this fact.

Also, the verses that establish the Quran being a proof against all those it reaches; such as Allah’s saying:

[وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَٰذَا ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ لِأُنذِرَكُم بِهِۦ وَمَنۢ بَلَغَۚ]

Sura al-An`am; (6):19

[Meaning: And this Quran has been revealed to me that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach.]

Similarly, the verses that call the people only to have faith in the previous messengers and divine books – not in other than them.[290]

As for proof from the Prophetic Sunna; then the Prophet  used to give great attention to establishing and asserting the belief of the finality of prophethood, using a variety of explanatory styles to achieve his aim. It was something he mentioned on various occasions, and removed every shadow of a doubt regarding; leaving this article of faith manifest and clear.

One who examines the narrations of the Messenger  will notice that they give emphasis to the finality of his prophethood through use of various wordings, some of which have been conveyed by such a large number of narrators that it is not conceivable they could have agreed upon a lie. These narrations are therefore accepted as unquestionable in their veracity.[291]

The Prophet  said: “There will be liars from amongst my nation; all of them will claim prophethood. However, I am the seal of the prophets – there is no prophet after me.”[292]

Secondly: The Meaning of Miracles, Wondrous Feats, and Satanic Trickery

A miracle is: An extraordinary matter that Allah causes to happen at the hands of a prophet, as an aid for him, and as proof of his truthfulness. Another name for a miracle is a sign.

An extraordinary matter is one that humans are unaccustomed to, and unable to perform.

A wondrous feat is: An extraordinary matter that Allah causes to happen at the hands of one of His allies; aiding them in a religious or worldly matter.

Such a feat occurs at the hands of a believing, obedient ally of Allah who adheres to the religion.

In reality these wondrous feats are miracles of the Prophet, as they were only granted to their possessors due to their adhering to his way.

A satanic trick is: An extraordinary matter that happens at the hands of one who rejects Islam, refuses the truth, and partakes in sin. Satan uses such tricks to avert people from following the truth; such as entering into idols and speaking to those who worship them, or judging between them, or fulfilling some of their needs. They may also cause misguided people to levitate in the air momentarily, or transfer them to a faraway place, and the like.

These three – miracles, wondrous feats, and satanic tricks – are similar in the sense that they are all extraordinary matters. The difference between them is that miracle only occurs at the hands of a prophet – as an aid and a manifestation of his truthfulness; a wondrous feat occurs at the hands of an obedient ally of Allah; and a satanic trick occurs at the hands of an illegitimate, disobedient fool.[293]

Thirdly: Claimants of Prophethood

Numerous prophetic movements have arisen since the early eras of Islam and until today - the leaders of which claim prophethood. The main reasons for the appearance of such movements include: ignorance, tribalism, nationalism, and the Islamophobia of the Jews and Christians.

Some of the most famous claimants of prophethood in the early era of Islam were: al-Aswad al-`Ansi, Tulayhah bin Khuwaylid, Musaylimah, and Sajah at-Taghlibiyyah.

The most prominent claimants in the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties were: al-Mukhtar bin `Ubaid, al-Haarith bin Sa`ed, Bayan bin Sam`an, al-Mughirah al-`Ijli, Abul-Khattab al-Asadi, `Ali bin al-Fadl al-Himyari.

In modern times there have been many claimants to prophethood, the most famous of whom were: Muhammad bin `Ali Shirāzi –  the founder of Bábism; Husayn Ali al-Mazandarani –founder of the Bahá'í Faith; and Ahmad al-Qadyani – founder of the Ahmadiyya movement.

Refuting each of these claims would take up much time and space; however the obviousness of their falseness saves us the task of having to clarify such.[294]

Fourthly: Unique Characteristics of Our Prophet Muhammad

Our Prophet Muhammad  possessed many unique characteristics, enumeration of which would be difficult. It is possible to summarize some of these in the following points:

1. The universality of his Message: Allah the Mighty and Majestic says:

[قُلۡ يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيۡكُمۡ جَمِيعًا]

Sura al-A`raf; (7):158

[Meaning: Say – O Muhammad – “O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all.]

Contained in this noble verse is a proof of the universality of his Message to all people. This was an attribute specific to him – and was something not granted to any of the previous prophets. The prophets that preceded Muhammad  were sent to their nations exclusively, and therefore each nation was in need of someone who would convey to them the commands of Allah the Exalted.

Allah the Mighty and Majestic clarified the generality of Muhammad’s messengership to all people so this would not be assumed with regards to him.[295]

The Prophet – peace be upon him – said: “Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation exclusively, however I have been sent to all mankind.”[296]

2. Allah the Mighty and Majestic has guaranteed prevalence of his religion over all religions; Allah the Exalted says:

[هُوَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَرۡسَلَ رَسُولَهُۥ بِٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ ٱلۡحَقِّ لِيُظۡهِرَهُۥ عَلَى ٱلدِّينِ

كُلِّهِۦ وَلَوۡ كَرِهَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكُونَ]

Sura at-Tawbah; (9):33

[Meaning: It is He Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, to make it superior over all religions even though the polytheists hate it.]

3. Allah the Mighty and Majestic guaranteed preservation of the Book He revealed to Muhammad ; just as occurs in His saying:

[إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ]

Sura al-Hijr; (15):9

[Meaning: Indeed, it is We who sent down the Quran, and indeed We will be its guardian.]

4. His religion is complete, and suitable for every time, place, and nation. Allah the Exalted says:

[ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ وَأَتۡمَمۡتُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ نِعۡمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡإِسۡلَٰمَ دِينٗاۚ...]

Sura al-Ma·idah; (5):3

[Meaning: This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.]

5. He was made victorious by awe of frightening his enemies for a distance of one month’s journey; the spoils of war were made lawful for him; the earth was made pure and a place of prayer for him; and anyone of his followers can pray anywhere and at any time that the prayer is due – as occurs in a narration authentically established from him.[297]

6. The numerous miracles that Allah caused to happen at his hands.

7. He will be the one to have the most followers on the Day of Resurrection.

8. On the Day of Resurrection he will intercede with the Major Intercession on behalf of the creation, after all the other prophets excuse themselves from doing so.

9. He will be the first person to request that the doors of Paradise be opened; and his nation will be the first of nations to enter paradise.

In addition to many other characteristics unique to him.

More detail regarding the Prophet  will follow in the coming parts, specifically parts three and eight.


 Chapter Five : Belief in the Last Day

Section One: The Meaning of Believing in the Last Day, its Significance, and its Benefits

Section Two:  The Blowing of the Trumpet

Section Three: Resurrection

Section Four: The Standing: Reckoning, the Scales, and the Exhibition of the Books of Deeds

Section Five: The Reservoir of Prophet Muhammad , and the Bridge over the Hellfire

Section Six: Paradise and Hell

Section One: The Meaning of Believing in the Last Day, its Significance, and its Benefits

Firstly: The Meaning of Believing in the Last Day

Believing in the Last Day includes having faith in all news that has been mentioned regarding it, and those affairs relating to it. This includes believing in the signs that lead up to it; death; the trial of the grave, its punishment, and its bliss; the blowing of the trumpet; resurrection of the dead from their graves; reckoning; judgement; the terror and horror at the standing place; the details of the gathering place; distribution of the scrolls of deeds; placing of the scales; the bridge over the Hellfire; the bridge between the Hellfire and Paradise; the reservoir of the Prophet ; the intercession; and other that that; Paradise and it’s bliss – the peak of which is looking at the Face of Allah the Mighty and Majestic; the Hellfire and its punishment – the most severe of which is: them being veiled from their Lord the Exalted.[298]

Secondly: The Significance of Believing in the Last Day

Believing in the Last Day is of great importance as indicated by the following points:

1. It is one of the six tenets of faith; as occurs in the famous narration of Gabriel, wherein the Prophet  said – after Gabriel questioned him regarding true faith – he replied: “It is that you believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and that you believe in predestination – its good and its evil aspects –.[299]

2. Its plentiful mention in religious texts, and its frequently being coupled with belief in Allah the Almighty.

3. Praise of the believers, and dispraise of the disbelievers by way of it. Allah the Exalted says in description of the believers:

[وَهُم بِٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ هُمۡ يُوقِنُونَ]

Sura an-Naml; (27):3

[Meaning: And they believe with certainty in the Hereafter.]

And He says in description of the disbelievers:

[وَهُم بِٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ هُمۡ كَٰفِرُونَ]

Sura Hud; (11):9

[Meaning: While they are disbelievers in the Hereafter.]

4. The multiplicity of its names: The Last day has many names due to its great importance and many terrors.

Al-Qurtubi – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Everything of importance or greatness has numerous attributes, and multiple names – this is from the practice of the Arabs in their speech.

Take the sword as an example – due to its great value, benefit, and status – the Arabs gave it five-hundred names; and there are further examples of the like of this. Thus – due to its importance and many terrors – Allah mentioned the Day of Resurrection in His Book with various names, and He described it with many descriptions.[300]

Thirdly: The Benefits of Believing in the Last Day

Believing in the Last Day renders many benefits, fine manners, acts of worship, and praiseworthy consequences – that in turn benefit individuals and societies – both in this life and in the Hereafter.

The benefits of believing in the Last Day include:

1. Fulfilling the worship of Allah the Mighty and Majestic. Believing in the Last Day is from the affairs that we worship Allah the Almighty by way of.

2. It increases a person in faith. Believing in the Last Day is one of the six tenets of faith without which true faith is unachievable; the more a servant increases in knowledge regarding it, the stronger his faith and certainty become, and the higher his rank is.

3. It causes a person to have hope and fear. Believing in the Last Day causes a person to perform acts of obedience, hoping to attain the reward on that day – just as it causes one to abandon sin, out of fear of being punished on that day.

If a person understands this in detail – realizing the everlasting bliss that the obedient people will experience, and the painful torment and punishment the sinners will experience – it is from the greatest of motives that cause a person to perform good and abstain from evil.

4. A person comes to know of the bounty of Allah, His justice, and His Wisdom; as He requites those deserving of being punished through His justice, and rewards those deserving of bounty through His munificence.

This becomes known by having knowledge of that which occurs in the Hereafter from reward and retribution.

5. Temperance both in times of difficulty and ease: The believer is temperate in all circumstances; blessings do not cause him to transgress, and calamities do not cause him to despair. Rather if he is blessed with prosperity, he is thankful; and if he is tested with adversity, he is patient.

The Prophet  said: “Amazing is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If he experiences prosperity, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.”[301]

6. It causes a person to adorn themselves with excellent manners. Believing in the Last Day leads a person to having fine manners – such as giving in charity, as he knows that which he puts forth in this world he will find it with Allah in the Hereafter, better and more lasting. Thus, a person chooses to do acts of righteousness with his wealth even if he is in need, to the extent his giving is similar to one who does not fear poverty.

7. The believer finds solace from that which he misses out on in this world by having hope in the reward of the Hereafter. This causes him not to be displeased if a difficulty befalls him, or he loses a loved one, because He is hopeful of receiving compensation from Allah the Mighty and Majestic. Thus, he is not discontent, but rather he feels comforted and consoled.[302]

After having clarified the meaning of believing in the Last Day, its significance, and its fruits – next we will discuss some of its occurrences in detail.

Section Two: The Blowing of the Trumpet

Firstly: Defining the Blowing of the Trumpet

(i) The linguistic meaning of blowing: Blowing is well-known in the language; it is said: ‘he blew with his mouth’, ‘he is blowing’, ‘blowing’; if a person causes air to exit from it. It is also said: ‘blowing into the fire’, ‘blowing into the drink’, and the like.[303]

(ii) The linguistic meaning of trumpet: The word trumpet has various meanings in the Arabic language; from them is: ‘horn’. It is with this meaning the exegetists of the Quran interpreted the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[وَنُفِخَ فِي ٱلصُّورِ]

Sura al-Kahf; (18):99

[Meaning: And the Trumpet will be blown.][304]

(iii) The blower of the trumpet: He is Raphael (Israfeel), one of the noble angels from the bearers of the Throne of Allah.

(iv) The religious meaning of blowing of the trumpet is: Raphael’s blowing into the horn he has put to his mouth and been entrusted with blowing into at the time of the establishment of the Hour.[305]

Secondly: Evidence Indicating the Blowing of the Trumpet

The blowing of the trumpet is proven by the Quran, Prophetic traditions, and the consensus of the Islamic community.

(i) Evidence from the Quran indicating the blowing of the trumpet: Allah the Almighty says:

[وَنُفِخَ فِي ٱلصُّورِ فَصَعِقَ مَن فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَن فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ إِلَّا مَن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُۖ ثُمَّ نُفِخَ فِيهِ أُخۡرَىٰ فَإِذَا هُمۡ قِيَامٞ يَنظُرُونَ]

Sura az-Zumar; (39):68

[Meaning: And the Horn will be blown, and whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth will fall down dead except whom Allah wills. Then it will be blown again, and at once they will be standing, looking on.]

(ii) Evidence from the Prophetic traditions indicating the blowing of the trumpet: there occurs in Sahih Muslim the narration of `Abdullah bin `Amr – may Allah be pleased with them both – that he said: The Messenger of Allah  said: “Then the trumpet will be blown. Everyone will hear it, turning and raising their necks towards it, then they will all fall down dead. Allah will send down rain which will be like dew or like a shadow (the narrator doubted of the two words was most correct) and by way of it the bodies of the people will sprout. Then the trumpet will be blown for the second time and they will be standing, looking around.”[306]

Thirdly: The Number of Times the Trumpet will be Blown

The number of times Raphael will blow in into the trumpet is twice:

(i) The Blowing of Death; this blowing causes the people to become terrified and fall down dead. When Allah the Almighty gives permission for the termination of this world, He commands Raphael – peace be upon him – to blow into the trumpet, upon which everyone in the Heavens and the earth fall down dead except those whom Allah wills. The earth will become a barren ground, the mountains a heap of sand pouring down, and everything that Allah informed of in His Book – especially in Sura al-Infitar (Chapter of the Cleaving) and Sura at-Takwir (Chapter of the Overthrowing) – will occur.

This blowing is referred to as: The Blowing of Death, the Blowing of Terror, the Quaking, and the Cry.

(ii) The Blowing of Resurrection: Upon this blowing, the people will be resurrected from their graves and will stand up alive before their Lord.

This blowing is also called: The Second [blowing], or: the Subsequent [blowing].

Some of the people of knowledge are of the opinion that the horn will be blown three times:

1. The Blowing of Terror – without the occurrence of death.

2. The Blowing of Death.

3. The Blowing of Resurrection and standing up before the Lord of the worlds.

Those who consider the Blowing of Terror to be the same as the Blowing of Death count them as two; whereas those who consider each of them separately count them as being three in total.[307]

Section Three: Resurrection

Firstly: The Definition of Resurrection

(i) The linguistic meaning of resurrection: It occurs in the Arabic language with the meanings of emanation, spreading, stirring, and the like.[308]

(ii) The meaning of resurrection in a religious sense: It is a restoration of the bodies to their original forms, and a revival of the dead on the Last Day – so that they can be called to account for their deeds and judged.[309]

Secondly: Evidence Establishing Resurrection

The belief in resurrection is something indicated by the Book, Prophetic traditions, consensus of the Islamic community, intellect, and the natural disposition of a person – just as it is something necessitated by Allah’s wisdom; as it entails He makes for the creation a place of return, wherein they are rewarded for their adherence to that which they were instructed with upon the tongues of His Messengers.[310]

Allah the Almighty says:

[أَفَحَسِبۡتُمۡ أَنَّمَا خَلَقۡنَٰكُمۡ عَبَثٗا وَأَنَّكُمۡ إِلَيۡنَا لَا تُرۡجَعُونَ]

Sura al-Mu·minun; (23):115

[Meaning: Did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?]

He – the Mighty and Majestic – also says:

[ثُمَّ إِنَّكُم بَعۡدَ ذَٰلِكَ لَمَيِّتُونَ ١٥ ثُمَّ إِنَّكُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ تُبۡعَثُونَ]

Sura al-Mu·minun; (23):15-16

[Meaning: Then indeed, after that you are to die. Then indeed, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be made to rise.]

Similarly, the Prophet  said: “The people will be assembled on the Day of Resurrection barefooted and uncircumcised.” Its authenticity is agreed upon.[311]

The evidences proving resurrection and restoration of the dead to life are almost innumerable.

Thirdly: Evidence Indicating the Possibility of Resurrection

The evidences indicating the possibility of resurrection are established by the Book, Prophetic traditions, intellect, and a person’s senses – a brief mention of which has preceded. It is possible for us to further elaborate on this topic by saying:

(i) Textual evidence indicating the possibility of resurrection. Textual evidence means proof from the Book and Prophetic traditions.

Allah the Almighty says:

[زَعَمَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَن لَّن يُبۡعَثُواْۚ قُلۡ بَلَىٰ وَرَبِّي لَتُبۡعَثُنَّ ثُمَّ لَتُنَبَّؤُنَّ بِمَا عَمِلۡتُمۡۚ وَذَٰلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِير]

Sura at-Taghabun; (64):7

[Meaning: Those who disbelieve have claimed that they will never be resurrected. Say: “Nay, by my Lord, you will surely be resurrected; then you will surely be informed of what you did. And that, for Allah, is easy.”]

Notice how Allah emphasises this meaning by His saying: ‘Nay’, swearing an oath upon it, usage of the Arabic letters ‘laam’ and the emphatic ‘noon’.

This is further indicated by many textual evidences.

(ii) Empirical evidence indicating the possibility of resurrection[312]: As far as empirical proof of the possibility of resurrection, then Allah has demonstrated this by resurrecting the dead in order that His servants may witness it themselves in this world. In Sura al-Baqarah (Chapter of the Cow) alone, there are five examples of this:

1. That which occurred to the people of Moses – peace be upon him – when they said to him:

[لَن نُّؤۡمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّىٰ نَرَى ٱللَّهَ جَهۡرَةٗ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):55

[Meaning: We shall never believe in you till we see Allah plainly.]

Allah caused them to die and then brought them back to life.

2. That which occurs in the story that took place during the time of Moses, when the Israelites disputed regarding a man who had been murdered – Allah ordered them to slaughter a cow, and to strike him with a piece of it, so that he could inform them of his killer; so they did, and Allah revived him, then he informed them of his killer.

3. That which occurs in the story of the people who left their homes in many thousands – fleeing death –; Allah caused them to die, then He restored them to life.

4. That which occurs in the story of the person who passed by a township that had fallen into ruin, when he wondered how Allah could bring it back to life. So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then He brought him back to life.

5. That which occurs in the story of Abraham – the chosen beloved servant of Allah – when he asked Allah the Almighty to show him how He gives life to the dead. Allah ordered him to slaughter four birds and place parts of them on the surrounding mountains; then he was to call them – whereupon the parts reassembled, and the birds flew to Abraham in haste.

(iii) Intellectual evidence indicating the possibility of resurrection[313]: Logic proves that resurrection is possible from two angles:

1. Allah created the Heavens and the earth to begin with; therefore the One able to initiate creation has the ability to restore it.

Allah the Almighty says:

[وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي يَبۡدَؤُاْ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُۥ وَهُوَ أَهۡوَنُ عَلَيۡهِۚ وَلَهُ ٱلۡمَثَلُ ٱلۡأَعۡلَىٰ فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ]

Sura ar-Rum; (30):27

[Meaning: And it is He who begins creation; then He repeats it, and that is even easier for Him. To Him belongs the highest description in the Heavens and the earth. And He is the all-Mighty, the all-Wise.]

He the Almighty also says:

[كَمَا بَدَأۡنَآ أَوَّلَ خَلۡقٖ نُّعِيدُهُۥۚ وَعۡدًا عَلَيۡنَآۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا فَٰعِلِينَ]

Sura al-Anbiya·; (21):104

[Meaning: As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. That is a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We shall do it.]

Similarly, Allah orders His Prophet  to respond to those who deny the possibility of bones being restored after their disintegration by saying:

[قُلۡ يُحۡيِيهَا ٱلَّذِيٓ أَنشَأَهَآ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٖۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ خَلۡقٍ عَلِيمٌ]

Sura Yaa Seen; (36):79

[Meaning: Say: “He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the all-Knower of every creation.”]

2. Oasification of barren land. Land may be infertile and barren – with not a single green shoot in sight – then when the rain falls, it is stirred to life, becoming green and alive, and putting forth every kind of lovely growth.

The One able to bring it back to life after it being barren is also able to resurrect the dead.

Allah the Almighty says:

[وَمِنۡ ءَايَٰتِهِۦٓ أَنَّكَ تَرَى ٱلۡأَرۡضَ خَٰشِعَةٗ فَإِذَآ أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡهَا ٱلۡمَآءَ ٱهۡتَزَّتۡ وَرَبَتۡۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَحۡيَاهَا لَمُحۡيِ ٱلۡمَوۡتَىٰٓۚ إِنَّهُۥ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٌ]

Sura Fussilat; (41):39

[Meaning: And among His Signs is that you see the earth barren, but when We send down rain to it, it is stirred to life and growth. Verily, He Who gives it life, surely, He is Able to give life to the dead. Indeed! He is Able to do all things.]

He the Almighty also says:

[وَنَزَّلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءٗ مُّبَٰرَكٗا فَأَنۢبَتۡنَا بِهِۦ جَنَّٰتٖ وَحَبَّ ٱلۡحَصِيدِ ٩ وَٱلنَّخۡلَ بَاسِقَٰتٖ لَّهَا طَلۡعٞ نَّضِيدٞ ١٠ رِّزۡقٗا لِّلۡعِبَادِۖ وَأَحۡيَيۡنَا بِهِۦ بَلۡدَةٗ مَّيۡتٗاۚ كَذَٰلِكَ ٱلۡخُرُوجُ]

Sura Qaf; (50):9-11

[Meaning: And We have sent down blessed rain from the sky and made grow thereby gardens and grain from the harvest, and lofty palm trees having fruit arranged in layers – As provision for the servants, and We have given life thereby to a dead land. Thus will be the resurrection.]

Fourthly: The Religious Status of Believing in Resurrection

Believing in the Last Day – and the unseen in general – includes believing in Resurrection.

The significance and great importance of that in the religion is clear and proven by the many textual evidences mentioned previously.

Its significance is further highlighted by the fact Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – swore an oath upon its occurrence, praised the believers by way of it, informed us that it is a true promise, and something guaranteed; just as He dispraised the disbelievers in it.

Fifthly: The Ruling on Denying Resurrection

Denying Resurrection constitutes disbelief in Allah the Mighty and Majestic. Thus, the denier of Resurrection is a disbeliever in Allah the Exalted, His Messengers, His Books, and the Last Day.

Allah the Almighty says:

[زَعَمَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَن لَّن يُبۡعَثُواْۚ قُلۡ بَلَىٰ وَرَبِّي لَتُبۡعَثُنَّ ثُمَّ لَتُنَبَّؤُنَّ بِمَا عَمِلۡتُمۡۚ وَذَٰلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِير]

Sura at-Taghabun; (64):7

[Meaning: Those who disbelieve have claimed that they will never be resurrected. Say: “Nay, by my Lord, you will surely be resurrected; then you will surely be informed of what you did. And that, for Allah, is easy.”]

And upon the authority of Abu Hurairah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: Allah the Almighty said: “The son of Adam disbelieves Me and he had no right to do so, and he insulted Me and he had no right to do so. As for his disbelieving Me, it is by his saying: ‘Allah will not remake me as He made me at first’. However, the initial creation of him is no easier for Me than remaking him. As for his insulting Me, it is by his saying: ‘Allah has taken to Himself a son’; while I am the One, the Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures are in destitute need of. I begot not nor was I begotten, and there is none like unto Me.”[314]

Section Four: The Standing: Reckoning, the Scales, and the Exhibition of the Books of Deeds

The First Topic: The Standing

1. Definition of the Standing: The Standing is from the names of the Day of Resurrection.

al-Qurtubi – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “In the Arabic language it is a verbal noun from the root: ‘he stood’, ‘he is standing’; and out of magnification it occurs in feminine form – as is the practice of the Arabs.”[315]

2. The reason behind its naming: The scholars differed regarding the reason behind its naming upon four sayings:

(a) Due to it including these affairs.

(b) Due to the people rising up from their graves to it.

(c) Due to the people standing before the Lord of the worlds.

(d) Due to the Spirit and the angels standing in rows upon that day.[316]

3. The tremendousness of that Day: The affair of the Day of Standing is great, its terror is severe and unlike anything the servants have experienced. From the evidences that indicate this are:

(i) Allah the Almighty described it as being tremendous in His saying:

[أَلَا يَظُنُّ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ أَنَّهُم مَّبۡعُوثُونَ ٤ لِيَوۡمٍ عَظِيمٖ]

Sura al-Mutaffifin; (83):4-5

[Meaning: Do they not think that they will be resurrected on a tremendous Day.]

(ii) Allah also described it as being heavy – in His saying:

[إِنَّ هَٰٓؤُلَآءِ يُحِبُّونَ ٱلۡعَاجِلَةَ وَيَذَرُونَ وَرَآءَهُمۡ يَوۡمٗا ثَقِيلٗا]

Sura al-Insan; (76):27

[Meaning: Verily! These disbelievers love the present life of this world and put behind them a heavy Day.]

(iii) That which it contains from fright and horror, such that every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one will drop her load, and you will see mankind appearing in a drunken state, yet they will not be intoxicated.

(iv) The ties of kinship will be severed on the Day of Resurrection.

(v) The disbeliever will be prepared on that Day to give up everything so that he may receive deliverance from the punishment that has befallen him.

(vi) The extreme length of that day:

[فِي يَوۡمٖ كَانَ مِقۡدَارُهُۥ خَمۡسِينَ أَلۡفَ سَنَةٖ]

Sura al-Ma`arij; (70):4

[Meaning: On a Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years.][317]

4. The closeness of the Sun to the creation: the Sun will be brought until it is a mile away from the creation, and their sweat will bridle them – some of them up to their ankles, some of them up to their knees, some of them up to their chests, some of them up to their collar-bones; everyone in accordance with their deeds[318] - as occurs in the two Sahihs and other than them.[319]

Some of the pious predecessors mentioned: “If the sun were to rise in this world as it will on the Day of Resurrection, it would incinerate the entire world, liquefy the rocks, and evaporate all of the rivers.”[320]

5. Those whom Allah will shade on the Day of Resurrection: There are many actions that will save a person from the terrors of the Day of Resurrection.[321]

Mention of those whom Allah will shade under His shade on the day there is no shade but His shade occurs in the narration of the seven, as reported by al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others – on the authority of Abu Hurairah t that the Prophet  said: “Seven people Allah will shade them under His Shade on the Day when there is no shade but His shade; a just ruler; a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah; a person whose heart is attached to the mosques, two men who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah; a man whom an extremely beautiful woman seduces for illicit relations, but he rejects this offer and says: 'I fear Allah'; a man who gives in charity and conceals it to the extent that his left hand does not know what his right has given; and a man who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes become tearful.”[322]

The Second Topic: Reckoning

1. The linguistic meaning of Reckoning: The word reckoning in Arabic morphology is taken from the word ‘hasaba (reckon)’ – the letters ‘haa’, ‘seen’, and ‘baa’ make up the sound root verb with various meanings; from them: counting and enumerating.[323]

2. The religious meaning of Reckoning: It is Allah’s disclosing to His servants their actions on the Day of Resurrection, and His informing them of what they put forth from good or evil.[324]

3. The evidences establishing Reckoning[325]: Reckoning is something established by the Book, Prophetic traditions, and consensus of the Islamic community.

As for the evidences from the Book and Prophetic traditions – they have been conveyed by such large numbers of transmitters that it is not conceivable they could have agreed upon a lie. These evidences are therefore accepted as unquestionable in their veracity.

Allah the Almighty says:

[إِنَّ إِلَيۡنَآ إِيَابَهُمۡ ٢٥ ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيۡنَا حِسَابَهُم]

Sura al-Ghashiyah; (88):25-26

[Meaning: Verily, to Us will be their return; then indeed, upon Us is their account.]

The Prophet  used to say in some of his prayers: “O Allah! Grant me an easy reckoning.”

Aisha – may Allah be pleased with her – said: ‘What is an easy reckoning?’

He replied: “His book of deeds is briefly looked into, then he is pardoned.”[326]

Also, there occurs in the two authentic collections of Prophetic narrations the narration of Aisha – may Allah be pleased with her – that the Prophet  said: “Whoever is taken to account on the Day of Resurrection will be punished.”

Aisha said: ‘I said: Has not Allah the Exalted said:

[فَسَوۡفَ يُحَاسَبُ حِسَابٗا يَسِيرٗا]

Sura al-Inshiqaq; (84):8

[Meaning: He will soon have an easy reckoning.]?

She said: He replied: “That is not the reckoning, for that is only the presentation of deeds. Whoever is thoroughly taken to account will be destroyed.”[327]

Reckoning on the Day of Resurrection is also something established by the consensus of the community of Muslims.

4. Reckoning is something necessitated by the Wisdom of Allah: The wisdom of Allah entails that He calls His servants to account, as Allah the Almighty revealed the Books, sent the Messengers, obligated upon the servants acceptance of that which they came with, and adherence to that which is compulsory – thus if there were to be no reckoning or reward, all of the foregoing would be in vain; and the all-Wise Lord is far removed from such.

Allah the Almighty indicated to this in His saying:

[فَلَنَسۡ‍َٔلَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ أُرۡسِلَ إِلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَنَسۡ‍َٔلَنَّ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ ٦ فَلَنَقُصَّنَّ عَلَيۡهِم بِعِلۡمٖۖ وَمَا كُنَّا غَآئِبِينَ]

Sura al-A`raf; (7):6-7

[Meaning: Then We will surely question those to whom a message was sent, and We will surely question the messengers. Then We will surely relate their deeds to them with knowledge, and We were not at all absent.][328]

5. A description of how the Reckoning will take place: The textual evidences of the Islamic legislation explain how the Reckoning shall take place and describe what will occur.

It is possible for us to outline the happenings by saying: Allah – the Exalted and Most High – will make His servants stand before him, causing them to admit to the sins they committed, the actions they performed, and the sayings they uttered. He will also inform them of what they were upon in the worldly life from belief or disbelief, obedience or disobedience, steadfastness or deviation, and that which they deserve from reward or punishment – based on what they have put forth.

Reckoning is inclusive of that which the Lord says to His servant and that which they say to Him; their excuses; that which He establishes against them from proofs and evidences; the attestation of the witnesses; weighing of the deeds; and the like.[329]

6. The types of Reckoning: There are various types of Reckoning: from them is that which is difficult; from them is that which is easy; from them is that the servant acknowledges their deeds and is honoured; from them is that the servant is reprehended and rebuked for his actions; from them is grace and pardoning; and from them is taking to account and requital – all of which are under the control of the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful, the Most Wise.[330]

7. The basic principles in accordance with which a servant is judged: Even if Allah the Mighty and Majestic were to punish all of creation that would not be oppressive of Him; as they are all His servants, and His creation – and the owner of something may dispose of it however they wish.

However, Allah – the True One – will give them a fair Reckoning, as befits His perfect Wisdom and Justice.

Allah the Exalted has clarified to us in many textual evidences a number of the fundamental principles that judgement will be carried out in compliance with – an outline of which can be summarised in the following:

(i) Perfect justice free from any oppression.

(ii) No person shall be held accountable for the offences of others, and no soul will bear the burden of another.

(iii) The deeds of the servants will be shown to them.

(iv) Only good deeds will be multiplied – not sins.

(v) Witnesses will testify against the disbelievers and hypocrites.[331]

8. The comprehensiveness of the Reckoning, and those who will have no Reckoning: The Reckoning is comprehensive of all people – except for those whom the Prophet  exempted – as occurs in the narration of the seventy thousand reported by the two Sahihs[332] upon the authority of Ibn `Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – that he said: the Messenger of Allah  said: “All of the nations were displayed before me…” until his saying: “Then I looked and saw a huge multitude of people.” Gabriel said: ‘Those are your followers, and those are seventy thousand in front of them who will not receive any reckoning nor punishment.”

I asked: “Why?” He said: “For they used not to treat themselves with cauterisation, nor did they used to seek treatment by the recitation of verses of the Quran and supplications, nor did they used to seek omens in things – rather they used to put their trust only in their Lord.”

Upon hearing that, Ukkashah bin Mihsan stood up and said: ‘Invoke Allah to make me from them.’

He said: “O Allah make him from them.”

Then another man got up and said: ‘Invoke Allah to make me from them.’

He said: “Ukkashah has preceded you.”[333]

9. A description of the Reckoning of the disbelievers: Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Allah will bring the creation to account for their deeds; and He will seclude Himself with His believing servant, causing him to acknowledge his deeds – as is mentioned in the Book and Prophetic traditions.

As for the disbelievers, their reckoning will not be the same as those whose good and evil deeds are compared – because they have no good deeds. Rather their deeds will be counted and enumerated, then they will be informed of them, confess to them, and be requited for them.”[334]

10. The first of the nations to receive Reckoning: The first of the nations to be reckoned is the nation of Muhammad ; as occurs in the narration reported by the two Sahihs[335]: “We are the last [of nations] but we will be the first to be judged on the Day of Resurrection, before the rest of creation.”[336]

Ibn `Abbas is reported to have said: “We are the last of the nations, and the first to be brought to account.” This narration is traceable to the Prophet .[337]

11. The first of a person’s deeds for which will be called to account is: the prayer; if they are in order then the rest of his actions will be in order. But if they are deficient then the rest of his actions will be deficient – as the Prophet  informed.[338]

12. The first matter concerning which the people will be judged is bloodshed; due to the saying of the Prophet : “The first matter concerning which people will be judged on the Day of Resurrection will be the matter of blood.” The authenticity of this narration is agreed upon.[339]

The Third Topic: The Scales

1. Defining the word ‘scale’.

(i) The linguistic definition: In Arabic morphology its origin is ‘miwzan’ – after which the letter ‘waaw’ was replaced with the letter ‘yaa’, due to the letter preceding it being broken. Its plural is ‘scales’.

A scale is an instrument used to measure the weight of things. Or it is: what is used to calculate how heavy or light something is.[340]

(ii) The religious definition: That which Allah sets up on the Day of Resurrection to weigh the deeds of the servants.[341]

2. Evidence mentioning the scales: The scales are proven by the Book, Prophetic traditions, and consensus of the Islamic community.

(i) From the evidences that occur in the mighty Book is His saying – He the Almighty –:

[وَنَضَعُ ٱلۡمَوَٰزِينَ ٱلۡقِسۡطَ لِيَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ فَلَا تُظۡلَمُ نَفۡسٞ شَيۡ‍ٔٗاۖ وَإِن كَانَ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّةٖ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ أَتَيۡنَا بِهَاۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِنَا حَٰسِبِينَ]

Sura al-Anbiya·; (21):47

[Meaning: And We shall place the scales of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We as Reckoners.]

(ii) Evidence from Prophetic traditions: The Prophet  said: “Two words are beloved to the Most Merciful, light upon the tongue, and heavy upon the Scale: ‘Free is Allah from imperfection and all praise is for Him’; ‘Free is Allah the Magnificent from imperfection’”[342].

(iii) Consensus of the Islamic community: The pious predecessors were in unanimous agreement regarding the establishment of the scales.[343]

3. Are the Scales physical or metaphorical?

The scales that the deeds of a person shall be weighed upon are actual, tangible scales; with two pans, and a pointer.[344]

The explainer of at-Tahawi’s creed – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The Prophetic traditions indicate that the Scales of deeds have two real pans that are visible.”[345]

4. What shall be weighed upon the Scales?

A person’s deeds shall be weighed upon the scales; and although they are intangible in origin – Allah the Mighty and Majestic will cause them to have substance – such that the good deeds of a person will be placed in one pan, and the evil deeds in the other pan. This is what is apparent from the previous textual evidences.

It is also said: the scrolls of deeds are what will be weighed; and it is said: the doers themselves will be weighed[346], due to that which occurs upon the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: “On the Day of Resurrection, there will be brought forth a bulky person whose value to Allah will be less than that of the wing of a mosquito.” He said: “Read [the saying of Allah the Almighty]:

[فَلَا نُقِيمُ لَهُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ وَزۡنٗا]

Sura al-Kahf; (18):105

[Meaning: And on the Day of Resurrection We will not give them any weight.][347]

The great scholar – Shaikh Ibn `Uthaymin – may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Some of the scholars reconciled between these textual evidences by saying: (i) All of the foregoing shall be weighed; or: (ii) the scrolls of deeds will be weighed in reality – and due to the deeds that are written therein, they will become heavier or lighter. Thus, it is as if deeds themselves possess weight.

As for the weight of the doers of actions – the intent is: his worth and sanctity.

This is a good reconciliation, and Allah knows best.”[348]

The explainer of at-Tahawi’s creed – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Thus it is established that the deeds, their doers, and the scrolls of deeds will all be weighed. It is also established that the scales have two pans; only Allah the Almighty knows how that will be in reality. It is upon us to have belief in the unseen just as the truthful one  informed – without addition or omission.”[349]

Ibn Hajr – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Abu Ishaq az-Zajjaj said: The people of Sunna are in consensus regarding having belief in the Scales; and that the deeds of the servants will be weighed upon it on the Day of Resurrection; and that the Scales have a pointer and two pans which incline in accordance with ones actions.”[350]

5. How many pairs of scales will there be – one or more?

The answer to this question is: the scholars differed regarding this issue; some of them said: there are numerous sets of scales – either in accordance with the number of nations and individuals, or in accordance with the number of actions. The evidence they used is: the word ‘scales’ does not appear in the Quran except in plural form. As for it appearing in singular form in the narration then that is by consideration of the class.

Other scholars said: There is only one set of scales, as it appears in singular form in the narration; and as for its appearance in the Quran in plural form, then that is by consideration of the things that are weighed. It is possible either of these opinions are correct, and Allah knows best.”[351]

6. What is the wisdom behind the placement of the Scales?

The wisdom is: it is a manifestation of the justice of Allah the Mighty and Majestic.[352]

The Fourth Topic: Exhibition of the Books of Deeds

1. Definition:

(i) The linguistic meaning of exhibition: It means: the laying open of a book; or: the broadcasting of something.

(ii)  The Books of Deeds: They are the registers and scrolls wherein the deeds are enumerated.

(iii) The meaning of the exhibition of the Books of Deeds: Their manifestation on the Day of Resurrection, and their distribution; some people will receive their Books in their right hand, and others will receive them in their left hand from behind their backs.

2. Evidence indicating the foregoing: Exhibition of the Books of Deeds is proven by the Book, Prophetic traditions, and consensus of the Islamic community.[353]

Allah the Almighty said:

:[فَأَمَّا مَنۡ أُوتِيَ كِتَٰبَهُۥ بِيَمِينِهِۦ ٧ فَسَوۡفَ يُحَاسَبُ حِسَابٗا يَسِيرٗا ٨ وَيَنقَلِبُ إِلَىٰٓ أَهۡلِهِۦ مَسۡرُورٗا ٩ وَأَمَّا مَنۡ أُوتِيَ كِتَٰبَهُۥ وَرَآءَ ظَهۡرِهِۦ ١٠ فَسَوۡفَ يَدۡعُواْ ثُبُورٗا ١١ وَيَصۡلَىٰ سَعِيرًا]

Sura al-Inshiqaq; (84):7-12

[Meaning: Then, as for him who will be given his Record in his right hand, He surely will receive an easy reckoning and will return to his family in joy. But whosoever is given his Record behind his back; he will cry out for his own destruction, and shall enter a blazing Fire, and made to taste its burning.]

And upon the authority of `Aa·ishah – may Allah be pleased with her – that she asked the Prophet : ‘Will you remember your family [on the Day of Resurrection]?’

He said: There are three places where no-one will remember anyone: At the scales – until a person knows whether his scales are light or heavy; at dispersal of the scrolls – until a person knows whether his book will be put into his right hand, or into his left hand, or behind his back; and at the bridge when it is placed across Hell – until a person crosses over it.”[354]

3. A description of how the Books will be received: The believer shall be given his book in his right hand and will receive it from in front of him. He will become happy and rejoice at this, saying:

[هَآؤُمُ ٱقۡرَءُواْ كِتَٰبِيَهۡ]

Sura al-Haaqah; (69):19

[Meaning: “Here, read my record.”]

As for the disbeliever, then he will receive his Book in his left hand from behind his back – upon which he will cry out for perdition and destruction, saying:

[وَأَمَّا مَنۡ أُوتِيَ كِتَٰبَهُۥ بِشِمَالِهِۦ فَيَقُولُ يَٰلَيۡتَنِي لَمۡ أُوتَ كِتَٰبِيَهۡ ٢٥ وَلَمۡ أَدۡرِ مَا حِسَابِيَهۡ]

Sura al-Haaqah; (69):25-26

[Meaning: But as for him who will be given his Record in his left hand, he will say: “I wish that I had not been given my Record, and that I had never realised how my account stood.”]

Section Five: The Reservoir of Prophet Muhammad , and the Bridge over the Hellfire

The First Topic: The Reservoir of Prophet Muhammad

1. Definition of the word reservoir:

(i) The linguistic definition: In Arabic morphology, the word reservoir is the verbal noun of ‘haada’ meaning: to accumulate. The word reservoir thus means: a place where water accumulates and is stored; its plural is reservoirs.[355]

(ii) The religious definition: It is the Reservoir of water fed by the river of al-Kawthar (the River of Abundance) at the Plains of Gathering on the Day of Resurrection, belonging to the Prophet .[356]

2. The Reservoir of the Prophet  is something established by the evidences of the Book, Prophetic traditions, and consensus of the Sunnites.

With regards to Quranic proof, Allah the Mighty and Majestic says to His Prophet :

[إِنَّآ أَعۡطَيۡنَٰكَ ٱلۡكَوۡثَرَ]

Sura al-Kawthar; (108):1

[Meaning: Indeed, We have granted you – O Muhammad – the River of Abundant Good.]

Evidence from the Prophetic traditions has been transmitted by so many reliable narrators that there could be no collusion.

The explainer of at-Tahawi’s creed says: “The narrations that have been reported relating to the Reservoir of the Prophet  reach the level of infallibility, having been transmitted by over thirty of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger.”[357]

These narrations include the statement of the Prophet : “I am your predecessor at the Reservoir; whoever passes by me shall drink from it, and whoever drinks from it will never be thirsty. There will come to me some people whom I will recognize, and they will recognize me, but a barrier will be placed between me and them.” The authenticity of this narration has been agreed upon.[358]

And upon the authority of Anas – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: ‘When the Prophet  was made to ascend through the Heavens he said: “I came upon a river the banks of which there were tents made of hollow pearls. I asked Gabriel: ‘What is this?’ He replied: ‘This is the River of Abundance’.” The authenticity of this narration has been agreed upon.[359]

As for the consensus, then this is something the Sunnites have a consensus of opinion regarding.[360]

3. A description of the Reservoir of the Prophet : A summary of that which occurs in the authentic narrations describing the Prophet’s Reservoir: It is a great reservoir, a source of abundant good, and it is fed by the River of Abundance in Paradise.

Its water is whiter than milk and silver, colder than ice, sweeter than honey, and finer smelling than musk. Its drinking vessels are as many as the stars in the sky, and it is immensely vast – both its length and width will be equal to a month-long journey. Its water will continue to increase every time people drink from it. Whoever drinks from it a single time shall never become thirsty. Musk will grow on its banks, its pebbles will be of pearls and gold bars, and it will yield jewels of all colours.[361]

In addition to the various narrations that have been reported regarding its description.[362]

4. Where does the Reservoir get its drinking vessels from?

The reservoir gets its drinking vessels from Paradise, as has been made clear in many Prophetic traditions – such as the narration that occurs in Sahih Muslim upon the authority of Abu Dharr that he said: ‘I said: O Messenger of Allah! What about the vessels of the Reservoir?’

He said: “By Him in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, its vessels outnumber the stars and planets shining in the sky on a dark, cloudless night. They are from the vessels of Paradise; whoever drinks from it shall never be thirsty. Two spouts will feed into it from Paradise, and he who drinks from it shall never feel thirsty. It is as long as it is wide – the distance between its two sides is like that between Oman and Aqaba (in Jordan); its water is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey.”[363]

Muslim also reports the narration of Thawban – may Allah be pleased with him – in which the Prophet  was asked regarding its drinking water, to which he replied: “Two streamlets whose sources are in Paradise will flow into it via two spouts. One of them is made from gold and the other is from silver.”[364]

5. Is the Reservoir something specific to our Prophet ?

Some narrations mention every prophet will have a reservoir, however the Reservoir of Prophet Muhammad  is the largest, greatest, and sweetest of them all, having the most drinkers.[365]

In this regard we have the narration of the Prophet  that he said: “Indeed there is a reservoir for every Prophet, and indeed they will boast regarding which of them has the most drinkers. And verily I hope that mine will be the one with the most drinkers.”[366]

6. Does the Reservoir exist now?

Yes, it exists now. The proof is that which al-Bukhari and Muslim report from the saying of the Prophet  in the narration of `Uqbah bin `Aamir that the Messenger of Allah  went out one day to offer prayer over the martyrs of Uhud just as he used to pray over the deceased. He then ascended the pulpit and said: “I shall precede you to the Reservoir, and I shall be a witness over you. By Allah! Verily I am looking at my reservoir now.”[367]

7. Those who will drink from the Reservoir, and those who will be turned away from it.

The truthful and obedient believers will drink from the Reservoir, while the innovators who converted and turned upon their heels will be refused from doing so.

The Messenger of Allah  said: “I shall precede you to the Reservoir, and I will contend for some people, but I shall have to yield. I will say: ‘O my Lord! They are my companions; they are my companions.’ Then it shall be said: ‘You do not know what they innovated after you.’” The authenticity of this narration is agreed upon.[368]

And there occurs in Sahih Muslim the narration of Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri – may Allah be pleased with him –: “It will be said: ‘You do not know what they did after you.’ So I will say: ‘Woe to him who changed [his religion] after me.’”[369]

Muslim also reports the narration of `Aa’ishah – may Allah be pleased with her –: “You do not know what they did after you; they have been constantly turning back on their heels.”[370]

The Second Topic: The Bridge over the Hellfire

1. Definition of the word bridge:

(i) The linguistic definition: It is a straight path.[371]

(ii) The religious definition: It is the bridge that stretches over the Hellfire so that people may cross over it to reach Paradise.[372]

2. The Bridge over the Hellfire is something established by the Book, Prophetic traditions, and consensus of the Sunnites.[373]

Amongst the Quranic proofs is the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[وَإِن مِّنكُمۡ إِلَّا وَارِدُهَاۚ كَانَ عَلَىٰ رَبِّكَ حَتۡمٗا مَّقۡضِيّٗا]

Sura Maryam; (19):71

[Meaning: There is not one of you but will pass over it; this is with your Lord a Decree which must be accomplished.]

A group of the pious predecessors interpreted this verse to mean crossing over the Bridge, while others interpreted it to mean entering into the Fire but being saved from it.[374]

Evidence from the Prophetic traditions includes: the lengthy narration of Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri reported by the two Sahihs[375], and in it there occurs: “Then a bridge will be laid over the Hellfire, and intercession will be permitted. They will say: ‘O Allah! Save us, save us.’”[376]

2. A description of the Bridge: Many Prophetic traditions describe how the Bridge shall be, such as the lengthy narration of Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri, which includes: “It is slippery and will cause people to fall down. It has hooks, spikes, and thorns like the Sa`dan (creeping thorn rose plant; Neurada procumbens) found in the region of Najd.”

Abu Sa`eed said: “I heard that the bridge is narrower than a hair and sharper than a sword.”[377]

There also occurs the long narration of Abu Hurayrah in the two Sahihs[378], and in it there occurs: “In the Hellfire there are hooks like the thorns of the Sa`dan plant (creeping thorn rose; Neurada procumbens) – have you seen the thorns of the Sa`dan plant?”

They replied: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.”

He said: “These hooks will be like the thorns of the Sa`dan plant (creeping thorn rose; Neurada procumbens). Nobody except Allah knows their greatness in size. They shall snatch the people in accordance with their deeds; some of the people will be destroyed or remain [in the Hellfire] because of their deeds; some will be cut or torn by the hooks [causing them to fall into Hell]; some will be punished and then relieved, and the like.”[379]

4. The people’s passing over the Bridge: Passing – i.e. crossing over it – in accordance with their deeds.

Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The Bridge is erected over the Hellfire – and it is the Bridge[380] between Paradise and the Hellfire. The people will cross over it in accordance with their deeds; from them are those who will cross in the blink of an eye, and from them are those who will cross like a flash of lightning, and from them are those who will cross like the wind, and from them are those who will cross like the finest of steeds, and from them are those who will cross like riders on camels, and from them are those who will cross it running, and from them are those who will cross it walking, and from them are those who will cross it crawling, and from them are those who will be snatched and thrown into Hell. The Bridge has hooks to grab the people according to their deeds, and whoever passes over it will enter Paradise.”[381]

The speech of Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah is taken from the authentic narrations that describe the crossing over the Bridge.

From those narrations is that which is reported in the two Sahihs[382] upon the authority of Abu Sa`eed that the Prophet  said: “The believers shall then pass over like the blink of an eye; and like lightning; and like the wind; and like a bird; and like the finest of horses and camels. Some will escape and be safe, some will be lacerated and let go, and some will be pushed into the fire of Hell.”[383]

5. Who will be the first to cross the Bridge?

The first of the prophets to cross will be Muhammad , and the first of the nations to cross will be his nation.

The Prophet  said: “I and my nation will be the first to pass over it; and none but the messengers would speak on that day, and the prayer of the messengers on that day would be: ‘O Allah! Save us, save us.’”[384]

6. Will the disbelievers cross over the bridge?

The Prophetic narrations indicate that the bridge will be erected only for the believers – amongst whom are the hypocrites and sinners. That is whom the bridge will be erected for.[385]

Ibn Rajab – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Know that the people are split into categories: believers who only worship Allah alone and do not associate any partners with Him, and polytheists who associate partners with Allah in worship. As for the polytheists: then they will not cross over the Bridge; rather they will fall into the Fire before the placement of the Bridge.”[386]

7. The Qantarah: It is that which is between Paradise and the Fire, and some scholars call it the second Bridge.[387]

 Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah mentions – following the discussion of the crossing over the Bridge –: “After they have passed over it, they will be stopped at a bridge between Paradise and the Fire to settle the disputes they have between themselves. When amends have been made between them and they have been purified, permission will be granted to them to enter Paradise.”[388]

Section Six: Paradise and Hell

1. Defining the word ‘Paradise’.

(i) The linguistic definition: The word paradise in the Arabic language means: a garden of many trees. Hence it means: a garden containing many trees because of which the ground is covered.[389]

(ii) The religious definition: Paradise is the abode of bliss in the Hereafter that Allah has prepared for the pious, sincere believers who follow His messengers.[390]

2. The origin of its name

Ar-Raghib al-Asfahani said: “Paradise was so-called either because of its likeness to the gardens on earth – although there is a difference between the two – or due to its bliss being hidden from us, as is indicated by the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[فَلَا تَعۡلَمُ نَفۡسٞ مَّآ أُخۡفِيَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعۡيُنٖ جَزَآءَۢ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ]

Sura as-Sajdah; (32):17

[Meaning: No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.][391]

3. Definition of the word ‘Fire’.

(i) The linguistic definition: In the Arabic language, the word ‘fire’ is used to refer to the flame that is sensed, heat by itself, the Fire of Hell, and the fire of war.[392]

(ii) The religious definition: The Fire is the abode of punishment in the Hereafter that Allah has prepared for the disbelievers who disbelieve in Him, and who disobeyed His Messengers.[393]

4. Paradise is of different levels, and the Fire is of different depths.

The inhabitants of Paradise differ in their levels of bliss in accordance with their righteous deeds; just as the inhabitants of the Fire differ in their depths in punishment, in accordance with their evil crimes.[394]

5. Who are the inhabitants of Paradise? And who are the inhabitants of the Fire?

Every pious believer will be from the inhabitants of Paradise, and every wretched disbeliever will be from the inhabitants of the Fire.

Allah the Almighty said regarding Paradise:

[أُعِدَّتۡ لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ]

Sura aali-`Imran; (3):133

[Meaning: It has been prepared for the pious.]

He the Exalted also said:

[أُعِدَّتۡ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦۚ]

Sura al-Hadid; (57):21

[Meaning: It has been prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers.]

And He said regarding the Fire:

[أُعِدَّتۡ لِلۡكَٰفِرِينَ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):24

[Meaning: It has been prepared for the disbelievers.]

And He said:

[فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ شَقُواْ فَفِي ٱلنَّارِ]

Sura Hud; (11):106

[Meaning: As for those who are wretched, they will be in the Fire.]

6. Paradise and Hellfire have both been created and currently exist.

Allah the Almighty said regarding Paradise:

[أُعِدَّتۡ لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ]Sura aali-`Imran; (3):133

[Meaning: It has been prepared for the pious.]

And He said regarding the Fire:

[أُعِدَّتۡ لِلۡكَٰفِرِينَ]Sura al-Baqarah; (2):24

[Meaning: It has been prepared for the disbelievers.]

‘It has been prepared’: i.e. readied.

The Prophet  said after praying the eclipse prayer: “I saw Paradise, and I stretched my hand out to pluck a bunch [of its fruits]. Had I plucked it, you would have eaten from it for as long as this world exists. Then I saw the Hellfire, and I have never a sight more horrible than it.” Its authenticity has been agreed upon.[395]

Imam Abu Ja`far at-Tahawiy – may Allah have mercy upon him stated: “Paradise and Hellfire have already been created.”[396]

The explainer – Ibn Abil-`Izz al-Hanafi  – said: “Paradise and Hellfire have already been created and are currently in existence by consensus of the Sunnites.”[397]

7. Paradise and Hellfire are eternal.

Allah the Almighty said:

[جَزَآؤُهُمۡ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ جَنَّٰتُ عَدۡنٖ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَبَدٗاۖ]

Sura al-Bayyinah; (98):8

[Meaning: Their reward with Allah will be gardens of perpetual residence beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever.]

The Quranic verses indicating the perpetuity of Paradise are many; whereas the perpetuity of Hellfire has been mentioned in three places:

The first: In Sura an-Nisa· (Chapter of The Women) Allah states:

[وَلَا لِيَهۡدِيَهُمۡ طَرِيقًا ١٦٨ إِلَّا طَرِيقَ جَهَنَّمَ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَبَدٗاۚ]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):168-169

[Meaning: Nor will He guide them to a path – except the path of Hell; they will abide therein forever.]

The second: In Sura al-Ahzab (Chapter of The Combined Forces) Allah the Almighty says:

[إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَعَنَ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمۡ سَعِيرًا ٦٤ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَبَدٗاۖ]

Sura al-Ahzab; (33):64-65

[Meaning: Verily, Allah has cursed the disbelievers, and has prepared for them a burning Fire, wherein they will abide forever.]

The third: In Sura al-Jinn (Chapter of The Jinn) Allah the Exalted says:

[وَمَن يَعۡصِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَإِنَّ لَهُۥ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَبَدًا]

Sura al-Jinn; (72):23

[Meaning: And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger - then indeed, for him is the fire of Hell; he shall abide therein forever.]

Imam Abu Ja`far at-Tahawi – may Allah have mercy upon him – mentions regarding Paradise and Hellfire: “They shall never perish, nor will they come to an end.”[398]

8. The location of Paradise: It is in the highest and most honourable of places, just as Allah the Almighty says:

[كَلَّآ إِنَّ كِتَٰبَ ٱلۡأَبۡرَارِ لَفِي عِلِّيِّينَ]

Sura al-Mutaffifin; (83):18

[Meaning: Nay! Indeed, the record of the righteous is in the most exalted of places (the seventh Heaven).]

There occurs the saying of Allah the Mighty and Majestic in the famous narration of al-Bara· bin `Aazib regarding the punishment of the grave: “Write the name of my servant in the Register of those enjoying the most exalted of ranks, and return his soul to the earth.”[399]

9. The location of Hellfire: It is in the lowest of low places, just as Allah the Almighty says:

[كَلَّآ إِنَّ كِتَٰبَ ٱلۡفُجَّارِ لَفِي سِجِّينٖ]

Sura al-Mutaffifin; (83):7

[Meaning: Nay! Indeed, the record of the wicked is in the lowest of depths.]

And there occurs the saying of Allah the Exalted in the narration of al-Bara· – may Allah be pleased with him –: “Write the name of my servant in the depths of the lowest earth.”[400][401]

10. What does belief in Paradise and Hellfire mean?

It means: to have faith in their creation and current existence, and in their permanence due to Allah’s preservation of them – perpetually and endlessly. This comprehends believing in all that Paradise contains from bliss, and all that Hellfire contains from painful punishment.[402]

That which has preceded outlines some of the happenings of the Last Day; and in chapter four further detail and clarification regarding related topics – such as death, signs of the Hour, the afterlife, and the like – shall follow.

 Chapter Six : Belief in Predestination

Section One: The Meaning of Believing in Predestination, its Significance, Evidence of it, and the Obligation of a Person in Relation to it

Section Two:  The Benefits of Believing in Predestination

Section Three: The Opinions of the People regarding Predestination, Free Will, and Taking the Means of Sustenance

Section Four: Using Predestination as an Excuse; Compulsion and Choice

Section Five: Wisdom and Causality; Guidance and Misguidance

Section One: The Meaning of Believing in Predestination, its Significance, its Evidence, and a Person’s Obligation Regarding it

Firstly: Defining Belief in Predestination

It is to have faith in the all-encompassing knowledge of Allah, His writing, His will, and His creation of everything.[403]

Secondly: The Levels of Predestination and its Pillars

It becomes apparent from what has preceded that predestination is based on four matters which are also referred to as the levels or pillars of predestination.

These pillars are essential in understanding the affair of predestination, and in order to achieve correct faith regarding it and a person must believe in them all.

The first level: Knowledge: To believe that Allah possesses knowledge of everything – generally and specifically, in the past and in the future, whether it relates to His actions, the actions of His servants, or that which takes place in the universe. His knowledge is comprehensive of everything that ever occurred, everything that shall ever occur, and everything that has not occurred – how it would be if it did occur.

Likewise He had knowledge of His creation before He created them – He knew their provisions, lifespans, deeds, movements, and their rests.[404]

There is much proof for this level, such as the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[عَٰلِمِ ٱلۡغَيۡبِۖ لَا يَعۡزُبُ عَنۡهُ مِثۡقَالُ ذَرَّةٖ فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَلَا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَآ أَصۡغَرُ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَآ أَكۡبَرُ إِلَّا فِي كِتَٰبٖ مُّبِينٖ]

Sura Saba·; (34):3

[Meaning: Allah, He is the Knower of the unseen, not even an atom's weight within the heavens or within the earth or what is smaller than that or greater, except that it is in a clear Book.]

The second level: Writing: To believe that Allah wrote everything He had prior knowledge of regarding the measures of all of creation in the Preserved Tablet.

[أَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمۡ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعۡلَمُ مَا فِي ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ فِي كِتَٰبٍۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِير]

Sura al-Hajj; (22):70

[Meaning: Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Verily, that for Allah is easy.]

Muslim reports in his authentic collection of prophetic traditions the narration of `Abdullah bin `Amr bin al-`Aas – may Allah be pleased with them both – that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah  say: “Allah ordained the measures of the creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.”[405]

He  likewise said: “There is not a created soul except that it has its place either in Paradise or in Hell assigned, and it has also been determined for him whether he will be among the blessed or wretched.”[406]

The third level: Will: This level connotes belief in the operative will of Allah, and in His perfect ability – that which He wills occurs, and that which He does not will does not occur. There is not an instance of movement, stillness, guidance, or misguidance, except by His will.[407]

Allah the Mighty and Majestic said:

[وَرَبُّكَ يَخۡلُقُ مَا يَشَآءُ وَيَخۡتَارُۗ]

Sura al-Qasas; (28):68

[Meaning: And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses.]

He the Exalted also said:

[وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ]

Sura at-Takwir; (81):29

[Meaning: And you do not will except that Allah wills - Lord of the worlds.]

The Prophet  said: “Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between two fingers from the fingers of the Most Merciful just like one heart. He turns it in any direction He wills.”[408]

The fourth level: Creation: This level connotes the belief that all beings – along with their souls, attributes, movements, and actions – are created; and that everything besides Allah originated from nothing and was brought into existence after nonexistence.

There are numerous evidences for this level, such as the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَجَعَلَ ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِ وَٱلنُّورَۖ]

Sura al-An`am; (6):1

[Meaning: All praise is due to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth and made the darkness and the light.]

Likewise, He the Almighty said:

[ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَ ٱلۡمَوۡتَ وَٱلۡحَيَوٰةَ لِيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ أَيُّكُمۡ أَحۡسَنُ عَمَلٗاۚ]

Sura al-Mulk; (67):2

[Meaning: He who created death and life to test you as to which of you is best in deed.]

The actions of the servants are included within this level, as they are encompassed by the comprehensiveness of His creation – thus Allah creates, originates, and decrees them, while the servants acquire and perform them. Therefore, Allah creates their actions, and they accomplish them.

Allah the Exalted says:

[ٱللَّهُ خَٰلِقُ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ]

Sura ar-Ra`d; (13):16

[Meaning: Allah is the Creator of all things.]

These are the levels of predestination without which it is impossible to have faith in.[409]

Thirdly: The Significance of Believing in Predestination

Having faith in predestination is from the most important affairs of creed, as it is one of the tenets of faith – belief in which is from the completion of monotheism. The books of the pious predecessors paid it attention and discussed it at great length. Similarly, the topic of predestination is something that concerns people from all walks of life – because of its connection to their everyday lives and their ever-changing circumstances; such as health, sickness, poverty, wealth, life, death, happiness, misery, and the like.[410]

Fourthly: The Ruling on Discussing the Affair of Predestination

Discussing predestination is not forbidden unrestrictedly, nor is it allowed unrestrictedly – rather there is detail regarding this matter. If the affair of predestination is discussed in accordance with the correct scholarly methodology that relies upon the Book and Prophetic traditions, and a person’s intent was to attain the truth – this is not something prohibited or forbidden, rather in some cases it may be obligatory.

As for if a person falsely engaged in discourse of it, relying merely upon the intellect in their understanding; or their intent was to object to it, dispute regarding it, or show obstinacy – all of this is strictly impermissible.[411]

Fifthly: The Types of Divine Decree

Divine decree in terms of its generality and specificness can be split into four categories.

1. The general decree: It is Allah’s Decree that encompasses all created beings – meaning His comprehensive knowledge of them and His recording of all things.

There is much evidence indicating this type of Decree – such as the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[أَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمۡ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعۡلَمُ مَا فِي ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ فِي كِتَٰبٍۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِير]

Sura al-Hajj; (22):70

[Meaning: Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Verily, that for Allah is easy.]

Likewise, the Prophet  said: “Allah ordained the measures of the creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.” Reported by Muslim.[412]

2. The lifetime decree: It is the Allah’s Decree regarding everything that happens to a servant in his lifespan and until his death. This includes writing of whether he will be blessed or wretched.

Proof of this is contained in the saying of the Prophet : “Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for forty days, then he becomes a clot of blood for a similar period, then a morsel of flesh for a similar period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows his soul into him and is commanded with four matters: to write down his sustenance, his life span, and whether he will be happy or unhappy.” Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.[413]

3. The annual decree: This occurs on the Night of Decree every year, and is indicated by the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[فِيهَا يُفۡرَقُ كُلُّ أَمۡرٍ حَكِيمٍ]

Sura ad-Dukhan; (44):4

[Meaning: Therein – on that night – is decreed every matter of ordainments.]

Similarly, Allah the Almighty says:

[تَنَزَّلُ ٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ وَٱلرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذۡنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمۡرٖ ٤ سَلَٰمٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطۡلَعِ ٱلۡفَجۡرِ]

Sura al-Qadr; (97):4-5

[Meaning: The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter, peace it is until the emergence of dawn.]

It has been said in explanation of the foregoing verse: Upon that night – i.e. the Night of Decree – everything that will happen in that year is written; from death, life, honour, humiliation, provision, and rain – even the pilgrims, it is said regarding them: ‘so-and-so and so-and-so will perform the pilgrimage’.[414]

4. The daily Decree: This is indicated by the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[كُلَّ يَوۡمٍ هُوَ فِي شَأۡنٖ]

Sura ar-Rahman; (55):29

[Meaning: Every day He has a matter to bring forth.]

It has been said regarding explanation of this verse: From the matters He brings about is that He honours some and disgraces others; raises some and lowers others; gives to some and denies others; enriches some and impoverishes others; causes some to laugh and others to cry; and some to die and others to live – and other than that.[415]

Sixthly: Evidence Indicating Having Belief in Predestination

This great tenet of faith is proven by the Book, Prophetic traditions, consensus of the Islamic community, the natural disposition, the intellect, and the senses.

As for Quranic proof: There are many verses – in addition to those that have preceded – indicating such. Allah the Almighty says:

[وَكَانَ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ قَدَرٗا مَّقۡدُورًا]

Sura al-Ahzab; (33):38

[Meaning: And ever is the command of Allah a destiny decreed.]

He the Almighty also says:

[إِنَّا كُلَّ شَيۡءٍ خَلَقۡنَٰهُ بِقَدَرٖ]

Sura al-Qamar; (54):49

[Meaning: Indeed, all things We created with predestination.]

And His saying:

[وَإِن مِّن شَيۡءٍ إِلَّا عِندَنَا خَزَآئِنُهُۥ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُۥٓ إِلَّا بِقَدَرٖ مَّعۡلُومٖ]

Sura al-Hijr; (15):21

[Meaning: And there is not a thing but that with Us are its depositories, and We do not send it down except according to a known measure.]

As for evidence from Prophetic traditions: There occurs the saying of the Prophet  in the narration of Gabriel – peace be upon him –: “And that you believe in predestination, its good and its evil.” Reported by Muslim.[416]

Muslim also reports the saying of Tawus: “I found some Companions of Allah’s Messenger  saying: “Everything occurs by predestination”. He further said: I heard Abdullah bin `Umar saying: “Everything occurs by predestination, even incapability and capability”.[417]

The Prophet  also said: “And if anything befalls you, then say not: ‘If only I had done this then such-and-such would have happened. Rather say: ‘It is the Decree of Allah, and He does whatever He wills.’” Reported by Muslim.[418]

As for consensus of the Islamic community: All of the Muslims are in unanimous agreement upon the obligation of believing in predestination – both the good and evil of it – and that it is from Allah.

An-Nawawi – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “There is much conclusive evidence –from the Book, Prophetic traditions, consensus of the Companions and Muslim representatives of early and later times – establishing the Decree of Allah the Exalted and Most High.”

Ibn Hajr – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The methodology of all of the pious predecessors is that all matters occur by the preordainment of Allah the Almighty.”[419]

As for the natural disposition of a person: Belief in predestination is something known by way of a person’s natural disposition – in olden times and nowadays – and was only rejected by a few polytheists amongst the nations. Even their misconception did not lead them to negate or deny it outrightly, rather they misunderstood it. It is for this reason that Allah the Almighty said regarding the polytheists:

[سَيَقُولُ ٱلَّذِينَ أَشۡرَكُواْ لَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مَآ أَشۡرَكۡنَا وَلَآ ءَابَآؤُنَا]

Sura al-An`am; (6):148

[Meaning: Those who associated partners with Allah will say: “If Allah had willed, we would not have associated anything with Him, and neither would our fathers.”]

Thus, they affirmed Allah’s Will, however they used it as an excuse for their polytheism. Allah then made clear that this was the state of those who preceded them, in His saying:

[كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ]

Sura al-An`am; (6):148

[Meaning: Likewise belied those who were before them.]

The Arabs of pre-Islamic ignorance knew about preordainment and it was something they did not deny; none of them believed that events merely transpire without the knowledge or predestination of Allah.

A senior Arabic scholar – Abu al-`Abbas Ahmad bin Yahya Tha`lab – clearly mentions that none of them negated it outrightly, in his saying: “‘I do not know an Arab indeterminist.’ It was said to him: ‘Are any of the Arabs affected by the saying that there is no predestination?’ He said: ‘I seek refuge in Allah! There is not amongst the Arabs except affirmers of predestination – its good and its evil – both from the people of pre-Islamic ignorance and Islam; their speech is in that regard is plentiful and clear.”[420]

As for the intellect: The sound intellect has certainty of the fact that Allah is the Creator, Organiser, and Owner of the universe; and that it is impossible this amazing system, with its perfect coordination – wherein there is a coherent relation between events and their causes – could originate by chance. This is because that which comes about haphazardly is unsystematic in its very existence, so how can it be methodical in its continuance and development?

Thus, if it is established intellectually that Allah is the only Creator – this necessitates that nothing occurs in His dominion except by His Decree and Will.[421]

Proof of this is contained in the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبۡعَ سَمَٰوَٰتٖ وَمِنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مِثۡلَهُنَّۖ يَتَنَزَّلُ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ بَيۡنَهُنَّ لِتَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٞ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَدۡ أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَيۡءٍ عِلۡمَۢا]

Sura at-Talaq; (65):12

[Meaning: It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth, the like of them. His command descends among them so you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge.]

Furthermore, the details regarding predestination are not something that disagree with the intellect; rather they are conformant with it.

As for the indication of a person’s senses: We see, hear, and read that the affairs of people are rectified by their belief in predestination. Further detail regarding this shall follow under discussion of the fruits of believing in predestination. Those who have true faith in it are from the happiest, most patient, bravest, kindest, most perfect, and intelligent of people.

Predestination rounds out monotheism, as Ibn `Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – mentioned; as monotheism cannot be attained except by having faith in Divine Ordainment and Predestination.

Additionally, that which Allah and His Messenger  informed us of – from future events that have taken place – acts as clear empirical evidence indicating the truth and validity of believing in Predestination.[422]

Seventhly: A Person’s Obligation Regarding Predestination

A person’s obligation regarding this matter is that they believe in the Ordainment and Decree of Allah, and in His commands and prohibitions. It is upon them to believe in the textual evidences, and to obey the orders of Allah.[423]

If a person performs good, he praises Allah; and if he does evil, he seeks forgiveness from Allah – knowing that everything occurs by Allah’s Decree and Ordainment. When Adam – peace be upon him – sinned, he repented, so Allah chose him and guided him; whereas Satan was obstinate and used predestination as his excuse. This earned him the curse of Allah and caused him to be far removed from His mercy. Therefore, the one who repents is Adamic; and the one who displays obstinacy and uses predestination as an excuse is Satanic. The people of bliss follow their father Adam, while the people of wretchedness follow their enemy – Satan.[424]

In summary: it is upon a person to believe in the four levels of predestination; and that nothing occurs except that Allah has knowledge of it, and has recorded, decreed, and created it. It is also upon a person to believe that Allah commanded with His obedience and forbade from his disobedience – thus he should perform acts of obedience and abandon disobedience. So, if Allah grants him success to perform acts of obedience and abandon sin, then he should praise Allah and persevere; but if he is forsaken and left to himself such that he sins and gives up obedience, then it is upon him to seek forgiveness and repent.

Furthermore, it is upon the servant to strive in order to attain his worldly needs, and to take the correct means that allow him to achieve them – so he travels throughout the earth and traverses its paths –. Then, if things happen in accordance to what he wants – he praises Allah, and if things happen contrary to what he wants – he seeks solace in the preordainment of Allah, knowing that everything occurs by the preordainment of Allah the Exalted. He is mindful that which befell him would never have missed him, and that which missed him would never have befallen him.

If a person realizes there is a great wisdom in everything Allah creates and commands with – he finds sufficiency in that. Then – the more he increases in faith and knowledge – the more Allah’s Wisdom and Mercy becomes apparent to him; and he becomes amazed, realising the truth of that which Allah informed of in His Book.

It is not necessary that everyone possesses detailed knowledge regarding the belief in predestination, rather having this general belief is sufficient.[425]

This is what is connoted by the textual evidences, a person’s natural disposition, the intellect, and the senses. There is no contradiction nor ambiguity in that, and all praise is for Allah.

Section Two: The Benefits of Believing in Predestination

The correct belief in Divine Ordainment and Predestination renders many benefits, fine manners, acts of worship, and praiseworthy consequences – that in turn benefit individuals and societies – both in this life and in the Hereafter.

From such benefits are:

1. Reliance: Reliance upon Allah is the essence of worship, and a person’s reliance will not be right or correct until he has the proper faith in predestination.

      Reliance – in a religious sense – is used to mean: the direction of a person’s heart towards Allah at the time of performing action, seeking His aid, and relying upon Him alone. That is the secret of true reliance and its reality.[426]

2. Profound hope and having good thoughts of Allah: Predestination leads a believer to have good thoughts of Allah and profound hope in Him; as He knows that Allah does not decree anything except out of His perfect Justice, Mercy, and Wisdom.[427]

3. Patience and forbearance: You find believers in predestination being patient and tolerant in the face of adversity, being able to endure great burdens.

On the other hand, those who do not believe in predestination become annoyed at the smallest of things, to the extent that it leads some of them to insanity, devilish insinuations, drug taking, and suicide.

Due to this, the suicide rate is high in the countries whose people do not believe in the Divine Ordainment and Predestination.

If we were to investigate the reasons for their suicide, we would find they were very petty – only requiring from a person that they disregard and ignore such thoughts. We find some of them commit suicide because of a breakup in their relationship; others because of their failure in an exam; others because of the death of their favourite singer or a personality they admire; and others because of the defeat of their favourite team, and the like.

Occasionally, mass suicide occurs – however the strange thing is that most suicide victims are not lower-class citizens, making it impossible to blame their hardships.

On the contrary, the majority of suicide victims are upper-class citizens who are accustomed to luxury – rather they are from the famous people and psychologists who it is believed bring about happiness and solve a person’s problems.[428]

4. It combats despair: A person who does not believe in predestination is affected by depression and despair. Thus, if a calamity afflicts him he considers it as backbreaking, and if a crisis befalls him he thinks it will never cease.

Contrast to this is the state of a believer in predestination, who does not know despair, and is optimistic in all of his affairs. He awaits the deliverance from his Lord, being mindful of the fact that victory comes with patience, and that with hardship comes ease.

5. Generosity and kindness: The believer in predestination has certainty that Allah is the continual Provider, and that He has distributed the provisions between His creation – each of them has his share, and not a single soul will die until its provision and lifespan have been fulfilled. Likewise, a person will not be impoverished except by the Will of Allah the Mighty and Majestic.

This belief causes a person to be charitable and give to good causes; favouring others with his wealth over himself – even if he is in need of it – out of his trust in Allah, and as a response to His command with spending in charity.[429]

6. Courage and bravery; and the abandonment of cowardice and weakness: Having faith in preordainment causes the heart of a person to become filled with courage and bravery, just as it empties it from weakness and cowardice. This is because the believer in predestination knows he shall not die before his appointed time, and that only what is written will befall him, and if all of mankind gathered to harm him – he would never be harmed except by what Allah had written for him.

Only true believers in Allah, His Decree, and His Predestination realise the like of this, are aware of its fruits, and experience its sweetness. Thus, a believer in predestination senses tranquillity in his heart, peace in his soul, and calmness in his mind. He does not overthink regarding potential harm afflicting him, and if it does – he is not heartbroken, rather he endures and is patient. If he falls sick, he does not make it worse by worrying; and if an adversity befalls him, he remains steadfast. It is from wisdom that a person does not gather between the pain of anticipating harm, and the pain of harm itself.

Rather he is happy as long as the causes of sadness remain distant from him. Then, if they occur, he meets them with courage and temperance.

You will find the elite Muslims – such as the scholars that worship Allah and the devoutly obedient servants – possess an inconceivable sense of tranquillity in their hearts and peace in their souls.

Even amongst the common Muslims – you find they feel a certain sense of serenity and tranquillity in their hearts and minds unexperienced by the great thinkers, writers, and doctors from amongst the non-Muslims. How many non-Muslim doctors – for example – are astonished when they diagnose ill Muslims, only to discover they are suffering from a serious disease – such as cancer – not knowing how to break the news to them. However – upon informing them – they are surprised at how receptive their patient is, as he accepts the news calmly and composedly.

Many non-Muslims are astounded by the belief of Muslims in Divine Ordainment and Predestination. They testify to the resolution of the Muslims and express admiration in their writings and testimonies.

This is a true attestation from a people who have been deprived of believing in Allah, His Decree, and in Predestination.[430]

Their deprivation is not except due to their turning away from Allah, and due to their remoteness from the true religion – Islam – that Allah has chosen for His servants and concluded the divine religions with.

Section Three: A Person’s Free Will, and Carrying out the Means of Sustenance

Firstly: Predestination and the Free Will of a Person

Belief in predestination – as has preceded – does not contradict the fact a servant possesses free will regarding voluntary actions, just as he possesses the ability to perform them. This is something proven both by Islamic legislation and reality.

As for evidence from the Islamic legislation: there are many evidences indicating this; such as the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[فَمَن شَآءَ ٱتَّخَذَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِۦ مَ‍َٔابًا]

Sura an-Naba·; (78):39

[Meaning: Whosoever wills, let him seek a way to His Lord.]

And His saying:

[فَأۡتُواْ حَرۡثَكُمۡ أَنَّىٰ شِئۡتُمۡۖ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):223

[Meaning: Come to your place of cultivation (i.e. your wives) however you wish.]

As for reality: Everyone secretly knows that they possess free will and the ability to perform or refrain from an action, just as they are able to differentiate between that which they do voluntarily – such as walking – and that which they do involuntarily – such as shivering –.

However, a person’s free will and ability only occur by the Will and Ability of Allah. Proof of this is found in the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[لِمَن شَآءَ مِنكُمۡ أَن يَسۡتَقِيمَ ٢٨ وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ]

Sura at-Takwir; (81):29-30

[Meaning: For whoever wills among you to take a right course; and you do not will except that Allah wills – Lord of the worlds.][431]

Secondly: Predestination and Carrying out the Means of Sustenance

Using lawful and ordinary means to attain sustenance does not contradict the belief in predestination. Rather performing such means is something necessitated by the correct belief in Divine Ordainment and Predestination.

Hence it is obligatory upon a person – alongside believing in predestination – to strive, and to take the rightful means, while asking Allah the Almighty to make easy for him the means to happiness and to aid him upon that.

The texts of the Book and Prophetic traditions are filled with commands to use lawful means in all courses of life. They order with striving in search of sustenance, preparing to meet the enemy before battle, taking provisions upon journeys, and the like.

Likewise, they order with performance of the lawful means which lead to the good pleasure of Allah and His Paradise; such as the prayer, Zakat, fasting the month of Ramadan, Hajj, supplication, and other than that.

The life of the Messenger  and his Companions – rather the lives of all Muslims, and of those who follow them – attest to their use of lawful means, and to their diligence and striving.[432]

Section Four: Using Predestination as an Excuse; Compulsion and Freedom

Firstly: Using Predestination as an Excuse to Perform Sin and Refrain from Righteousness

Belief in Predestination does not provide a person with an excuse to commit sin and withhold from righteousness.

Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “It is not permissible for anyone to use predestination as an excuse according to the consensus of the Muslims, as well as the followers of other religions, and all discerning people. If it were to be acceptable, it would enable everyone to do what they pleased – such as murder, theft, and all types of corruption – using preordainment as an excuse.

However, if a criminal himself were to be assaulted, and the perpetrator used predestination as an excuse for his attack – he would oppose that. This opposition is indicative of the invalidity of such a statement; thus, the nullity of using predestination as an excuse is something fundamentally known by the intellects.”[433]

This is further proven by the fact we see people seeking after that which suits them from the worldly affairs until they attain it. They do not leave off what befits them while using predestination as an excuse for that.

So why – then – do they use predestination as an excuse to leave off that which is of religious benefit to them and choose that which is of harm to them instead?!

By way of example: If a person wanted to travel to a particular land and there were two possible routes he could take; one of them was safe and peaceful, and the other was filled with chaos, disorder, murder, and bandits – which one would he take?

There is no doubt he would take the first route. Why – then – regarding the Hereafter, would he not take the route to Paradise instead of the route to the Fire?

A further rebuttal would be to say to the one who uses predestination as an excuse to perform sin and leave off righteousness – according to his belief –: ‘Do not get married; if Allah decrees that you will have a child, then it will be granted to you – otherwise it will not. Do not eat or drink; if Allah decrees that you reach your fill of food and drink, then it will happen – otherwise it will not. If a lion charges at you, do not try and escape from it – if Allah decrees your safety then you will be saved; and if He does not, then your attempt to escape will not be of any benefit to you. Likewise, if you fall ill then do not take any medication; if Allah decrees you will be cured then you shall be restored to health; and if He does not, then medicine will not benefit you.’

Would such a person agree with us in this regard? If he agreed, it would be indicative of the corruption of his mind – and if he disagreed, it would show the falsity of his saying and the futility of his excuse.

In short: using predestination as an excuse to perform sin or refrain from righteousness is something invalidated by the religion, the intellect, and reality.[434]

Secondly: When is it Permissible to use Predestination as an Excuse?

It is allowed to use predestination as an excuse when calamities befall a person – such as poverty, illness, losing a loved one, crop devastation, bankruptcy, manslaughter, and the like. This is from the perfection of being pleased with the Decree of Allah. Thus, predestination is used as an excuse for calamities – not wrongdoings. Hence the blissful person is the one who seeks forgiveness from his wrongdoings and has patience under difficult circumstances. Allah the Almighty said:

[فَٱصۡبِرۡ إِنَّ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقّٞ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لِذَنۢبِكَ]

Sura Ghafir; (40):55

[Meaning: So be patient – indeed, the promise of Allah is truth. And seek forgiveness for your sin.]

The wretched person – however – is discontent at the time of calamity and uses predestination as an excuse for his wrongdoings.

This is clarified by the following example: If a person who committed manslaughter were to be chastised by the people, and the defendant used predestination as an excuse, his reasoning would be valid. Nevertheless, this does not mean he is not accountable.

However, if a person committed murder and was rebuked and reprimanded for that, then he protested – using predestination as his excuse – his reasoning would be void.[435]

Secondly: A Person is Between Freedom and Compulsion

A question that is often asked is: Are people free or are they compelled?

This question is frequently asked, and there are those who answer by saying a person is compelled – just as there are those who answer by saying a person is free.

The truth is: to categorically answer this question would be incorrect. Rather the answer to such a question needs to be detailed.

As for the answer that people are compelled and do not have any free choice, then it is incorrect; because if it were to be said: ‘They are compelled unrestrictedly’ – it would be said: In that case: how can they be answerable for their actions? Likewise, how is it possible that they are compelled while we see them possessing free will, ability, and choice? And how do we understand the texts that establish for them free will, ability, and choice?

Similarly, the answer that people possess complete freedom is also incorrect; because the question that then poses itself is: How can they be completely free whilst they did not have a say in their birth? Nor do they choose when they fall ill, or die, and the like of that – from those affairs which occur contrary to the wishes of a person.

If it were to be said: ‘a person is independent regarding the actions that happen by his decision and free will’ – then it would be said: Even with his voluntary actions this is the case; as it is possible that he may or may not actually do what he initially wanted and decided upon, though he has the ability, due to a number of matters that may hinder him. This phenomenon is something witnessed.

Thus, the error of categorically answering such a question becomes clear to us. Were it to be the case that a person was compelled, he would not have ability or free will; and were he to have complete freedom, he would do everything that he wished.

Those who are of the opinion that a person is compelled are upon the ideology of the fatalists (Jabariyyah) who say: a person is necessarily and inevitably constrained to act as he does. They deny that man has ability, will, or action.

The claimants that a person has complete freedom are upon the ideology of the indeterminists (Qadariyyah) who claim that events transpire without the knowledge or predestination of Allah, that a servant creates his own actions, and that his will and actions are independent.[436]

So, what is the solution to this issue? What is the answer to this question?

The answer is that the truth is in the middle, in-between these two sayings; and it is guidance between these two misguidances. We say – and Allah is the Granter of success –: A person is free to a certain extent, just as he is compelled to a certain extent. He is free in the sense that he possesses his own initiative – which enables him to make choices; and his own ability – which enables him to do things. Proof of this is found in the saying of Allah the Almighty:

[فَمَن شَآءَ فَلۡيُؤۡمِن وَمَن شَآءَ فَلۡيَكۡفُرۡۚ]

Sura al-Kahf; (18):29

[Meaning: So whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve.]

Likewise, He the Almighty says:

[وَهَدَيۡنَٰهُ ٱلنَّجۡدَيۡنِ] Sura al-Balad; (90):10

[Meaning: And shown him the two ways (of good and evil).]

And in His saying:

[فَأۡتُواْ حَرۡثَكُمۡ أَنَّىٰ شِئۡتُمۡۖ]Sura al-Baqarah; (2):223

[Meaning: Come to your place of cultivation however you wish.]

And in His saying:

[وَسَارِعُوٓاْ إِلَىٰ مَغۡفِرَةٖ مِّن رَّبِّكُمۡ]Sura aali-`Imran; (3):133

[Meaning: And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord.]

Similarly, in the saying of the Prophet  in the narration reported by Muslim: “Adhere to that which benefits you, ask Allah for help, and do not give up…”[437]

And his saying that occurs in the narration reported by al-Bukhari: “Pray before the sunset prayer.” He said it thrice, and in the third time he said: “Whoever wishes to offer it can do so.”[438]

There are many further examples that also highlight this point.

At the same time, a person is compelled in the sense that all of his actions are encompassed by predestination and included within it. Thus a person is not able to escape from what Allah has predestined for him. Hence his choice falls within the ability of Allah, just as Allah says:

[هُوَ ٱلَّذِي يُسَيِّرُكُمۡ فِي ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِۖ]  Sura Yunus; (10):22

 [Meaning: It is He who enables you to travel on land and sea.]

Likewise, He the Almighty says:

[وَرَبُّكَ يَخۡلُقُ مَا يَشَآءُ وَيَخۡتَارُۗ مَا كَانَ لَهُمُ ٱلۡخِيَرَةُۚ سُبۡحَٰنَ ٱللَّهِ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ] Sura al-Qasas; (28):68

[And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses; not for them was the choice. Exalted is Allah and high above what they associate with Him.]

Similarly, the Prophet  said: “Allah ordained the measures of the creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.”[439]

There are many further examples of evidence in this regard.

It is for this reason that Allah the Almighty coupled between these two matters – i.e. that a person is free to a certain extent, just as he is compelled to a certain extent – in the like of His saying:

[لِمَن شَآءَ مِنكُمۡ أَن يَسۡتَقِيمَ ٢٨ وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ]

Sura at-Takwir; (81):29-30

[Meaning: For whoever wills among you to take a right course; and you do not will except that Allah wills – Lord of the worlds.]

So Allah the Mighty and Majestic affirmed for the servant’s free will; just as He clarified that their free will is subordinate to His will, and falls within it.

Also, the Prophet  said: “There is not one amongst you who has not been allotted his seat in Paradise or the Fire.”[440]

They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Then what is the use of performing good deeds? Should we not depend upon what has been written for us?’

Thereupon he said: “No, work – as it will be made easy for each person to do that for which he was created.”

This narration is further evidence for the aforementioned. It proves a person has free choice, as the Prophet  said: “Work” – just as it is indicative of the fact that his free choice does not escape the predestination of Allah, as the Prophet  said: “It will be made easy for each person to do that for which he was created.”

This is what is necessitated by the evidences of the religion and reality.[441]

Section Five: The Affair of Guidance and Misguidance

The affair of guidance and misguidance is of great importance and a lengthy discussion. It is possible for us to summarise this matter by saying: Guidance, misguidance, obedience, and disobedience all occur by the will of Allah. A person is the reason that these matters happen, and he is answerable for them. This is an absolute truth according to the Sunnites – and a principle that all intellectuals agree upon is: ‘Absolute truths are not contradictory, and even if they appear to us as such – then that is due to our lack of understanding.’ Thus, it is sufficient for us to merely accept and believe in all of these absolute truths. We do not refuse any of them, even if we cannot comprehend them – because there is a connection between the affair of Divine Ordainment and Predestination and between the attributes of Allah. So predestination is the Ability of Allah; and Allah’s Ability is like His Knowledge, His Wisdom, and His Will – in the sense that their meaning is known but their manner is unknown. Consequently, just as we are incapable of encompassing the Attributes of Allah – likewise we are incapable of encompassing the secret of Divine Predestination, some of which include Allah’s guiding and misguiding; gladdening and saddening; causing life and death, and the like. He does all of this due to a wisdom that He has knowledge of, and which we do not – and he is the all-Knowing, the all-Wise.

A person’s belief is not diminished because of his inability to comprehend the secret of predestination, as he is incapable of doing so – and Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear.

What does harm him is if he were to base rulings upon his incapability, acts without guidance, refuses absolute truths, and fails to reconcile between the textual evidences.

Intellectuals are in agreement that the one who owns a thing may dispose of it as he wishes, and it is not necessary – for his disposal to be valid – that others comprehend the wisdom behind it. Nobody has the right to object to his disposal if they do not know the grounds for his actions.

They also agree that an expert in a certain field, speciality, or branch of knowledge may do things incomprehensible to the intellects of those inexperienced in such.

Their failure to understand does not reduce such a field, speciality, or branch of knowledge in significance.

All of this is in relation to mankind – who are deficient in their knowledge and wisdom – so how about in the case of the Most Just of Judges; the One Who has encompassed everything in mercy and knowledge?!

If we were to try and uncover what which has been hidden from us concerning the secrets of predestination that Allah has exclusive knowledge of - that would merely be overburdening oneself in vain. A person’s attempt to comprehend the impossible will be[442]:

Like one who rams a boulder in order to split it * However he cannot harm it, and the antelope merely damages his horn[443]

To summarise: Guidance and misguidance are possessed by Allah alone. Allah knows best whom to guide just as He knows best with whom to place His Message.

This does not mean we abandon using the legitimate means, as Allah the Mighty and Majestic placed means and made them a path to reaching guidance. He likewise warned from the means to misguidance and made clear that they lead to destruction. Lastly, we must remain mindful of the fact all of that is in the Hands of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic. He is not questioned about what He does, whereas they will be questioned about what they do.[444]

  Part Three : Muhammad  – the Last of the Prophets and Messengers

Chapter One: The Sending of the Prophet  and a Summary of His Biography

Chssapter Two: The Character of the Prophet  and the Secrets of His Biography

Chapter Three: The Glad Tidings Given by Jesus and Moses – peace be upon them both – of the Coming of Muhammad

 Chapter One : The Sending of the Prophet and a Summary of His Biography

Section One: Preparation for Prophethood

Section Two: A Short Biography of the Prophet J and His Lineage

Section Three: The Beginning of Revelation

Section One: Preparation for Prophethood

Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – facilitated many matters in the lead up to the sending and prophethood of the Prophet J foretelling his coming. For example:

1. The supplication of Abraham, the glad tidings given by Jesus – peace be upon them both – and the vision of his mother Amina: The Prophet  said regarding himself: “Indeed I was the servant of Allah and the last of the Prophets when Adam – pace be upon him – was still clay; and I shall inform you of the explanation of that: the supplication of my father Abraham, and the glad tidings of Jesus to his people, and the vision which my mother had.”[445]

The meaning of this narration is: that the Prophet  said: I am the answer to the supplication of Abraham – peace be upon him – who was the chosen beloved servant of Allah; because when he was raising the foundations of the Kaaba with his son Ishmael, Allah informed us in the Quran of his saying:

[رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلۡ مِنَّآۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ١٢٧ رَبَّنَا وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا مُسۡلِمَيۡنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَآ أُمَّةٗ مُّسۡلِمَةٗ لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبۡ عَلَيۡنَآۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلتَّوَّابُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ ١٢٨ رَبَّنَا وَٱبۡعَثۡ فِيهِمۡ رَسُولٗا مِّنۡهُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَايَٰتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمۡۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):127-129

[Meaning: Our Lord, accept this from us. Verily You are the all-Hearing, the all-Knowing. Our Lord and make us submissive unto You and from our offspring a nation submissive to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who Accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.]

Allah answered the supplication of Abraham and Ishmael – peace be upon them both – thus the last prophet was Muhammad – peace be upon him – who was from their descendants.

As for his saying: “And the glad tidings of Jesus”: that is because Jesus – peace be upon him – gave glad tidings of Prophet Muhammad’s coming, just as Allah mentioned in the Quran:

[وَإِذۡ قَالَ عِيسَى ٱبۡنُ مَرۡيَمَ يَٰبَنِيٓ إِسۡرَٰٓءِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيۡكُم مُّصَدِّقٗا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ ٱلتَّوۡرَىٰةِ وَمُبَشِّرَۢا بِرَسُولٖ يَأۡتِي مِنۢ بَعۡدِي ٱسۡمُهُۥٓ أَحۡمَدُۖ]

Sura as-Saff; (61):6

[Meaning: And remember when Jesus the son of Mary said: “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.]

Jesus – peace be upon him – was the last of the prophets sent to the Israelites. There were no other prophets between him and Muhammad . He gave glad tidings of a prophet called Ahmad succeeding him; and from the names of Prophet Muhammad  is Ahmad.

As for the vision of his mother: then she had a true vision when the pains of childbirth overcame her, and she delivered him – wherein there appeared to her eyes a light that illuminated for him Basra in the Levant.[446]

2. The fact that the Prophet  emerged from the Arab nation: The Arab nation was given precedence over the rest of the nations present at that time. It was prepared for the spiritual reformation of humanity contained by Islam, despite being an illiterate, idolatrous nation that was split and divided due to its strong nomadism.

On the other hand, the Arab nation was distinguished with independent thought, individual freedom, intelligence, independent will, self-respect, heroism, as well as both physical and mental strength.

The Arab nation was also the closest to establishing justice between individuals.

Likewise, they reached the peak of eloquence and magniloquence. This was something that made them receptive and responsive to intellectual evidence, as well as literary and poetic devices. Furthermore, it enabled them to communicate divine and religious knowledge, as well as logic and cosmology – at a time when the other nations were divided by religious and doctrinal partisanship, in addition to racial intolerance.

The greatest trait possessed by the Arabs – however – was that their natural dispositions remained undamaged, even though the developed civilisations were more advanced than them in all arts and manufacture.

Islamic reform is based upon giving precedence to reformation of the soul – by independence of the mind and will, and correction of one’s character – over reformation of that which the earth contains from minerals, plants, and animals.

In this way, Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – prepared this nation for the great reform brought by Muhammad J.[447]

3. The nobility of his lineage: His lineage is the purest and noblest of lineages – just as Allah the Almighty said:

[إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ٱصۡطَفَىٰٓ ءَادَمَ وَنُوحٗا وَءَالَ إِبۡرَٰهِيمَ وَءَالَ عِمۡرَٰنَ عَلَى ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ]

Sura aali-`Imran; (3):33

[Meaning: Indeed, Allah chose Adam, Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran over the worlds (mankind & jinn).]

Similarly, there occurs in Sahih Muslim the narration of Wathilah bin al-Asqa` that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah  saying: “Verily Allah chose Kinana (tribe) from amongst the descendants of Ishmael, and He chose the tribe of Quraish from amongst Kinana, and He chose the Banu Hashem clan from amongst Quraish, and he chose me from amongst Banu Hashem.”[448]

Allah granted eminence to the Banu Hashem clan due to that which they were distinguished with from virtues and morals. Hence they were the most honest of people at times of unrest, and the best of them to the poor and orphans.

`Amr bin `Abd Manaf was nicknamed Hashem due to him being the first person to break bread for Tharid – which is a delicious dish – which he would give to those affected by drought. Every year all of the pilgrims would eat to their fill, and his dinner table remained food-laden in times of ease and hardship alike.

`Abdul-Muttalib – the grandfather of the Prophet  – outdid Hashem in this regard, and even fed the animals and birds. He was also the first person to worship in the cave of Hira, and it is said that he abstained from drinking wine.

In summary: The family of the Prophet  surpassed the rest of their people in ethics, morality, and virtue. Allah chose Muhammad  from amongst the clan of Banu Hashem – making him the best of the children of Adam, and their chief.[449]

4. He  had exemplary character: Allah – the Exalted – created him having noble traits, and praiseworthy qualities. Prior to prophethood he was the best of his people –the best of mankind, even – due to the purification of his soul, the soundness of his natural disposition, and his excellent manners and character.

He was well-known for his honesty, trustworthiness, and fine manners. This was something that caused him to have such a high standing in society before prophethood – to the extent he was nicknamed ‘the trustworthy one’.

Muhammad  remained upon this until he reached full strength and maturity in body and mind – not desiring wealth or reputation, nor seeking fame or prestige – until the revelation came to him from the Lord of the Worlds.[450]

5. The fact he was illiterate; unable to read or write: This was from the greatest of preparations and proofs indicating the truth of his prophethood; the fact an unlettered man emerged from an illiterate nation having never read a single book or written a single word, nor having ever uttered any poetry or spoken in prose extemporaneously – the fact he came with such a tremendous call and a divine, just legislation which eradicated all social chaos and guaranteed its adherents perfect human happiness while freeing them from the enslavement of worshipping other than their Lord, the Mighty and Majestic.

All of this proved the truthfulness of his prophethood and acted as preparation for it.[451]

6. The fact he was raised in Makkah – the good land that Allah chose to be the location for the first house upon earth establishing His monotheism, sincere worship, and perfect rites.

Allah – the Exalted and Most High – said:

[إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيۡتٖ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكٗا وَهُدٗى لِّلۡعَٰلَمِينَ]

Sura aali-`Imran; (3):96

[Meaning: Indeed, the first house of worship established for mankind was that at Makkah - blessed and a guidance for the worlds (mankind).][452]

Section Two: A Short Biography of the Prophet  and His Lineage

His lineage: He was Muhammad the son of `Abdullah, the son of `Abdul-Muttalib, the son of Hashim, the son of `Abd Manaf, the son of Qusayy, the son of Kilab, the son of Murrah, the son of Ka`b, the son of Lu’ayy, the son of Ghalib, the son of Fihr, the son of Malik, the son of an-Nadhr, the son of Kinanah, the son of Khuzaymah, the son of Mudrikah, the son of Ilyas, the son of Mudar, the son of Nizar, the son of Ma`d, the son of Adnan. Adnan was from the Arabs, who were from the descendants of Ishmael the son of Abraham – peace be upon them both.[453]

The mother of the Prophet  was Amina the daughter of Wahb, the son of `Abd Manaf, the son of Zuhrah – who was the brother of the grandfather of the Prophet .

After `Abdullah – the father of the Prophet  – married her; he remained with her and her family for three days, after which she became pregnant with the Prophet . She found great ease in bearing him – as is the case with healthy, chaste women.[454]

His mother had a vision while she was pregnant with him – mention of which has preceded.

His birth: As a baby he was handsome, fit, and in good health. His birth was in the Year of the Elephant, corresponding with the year 571CE.[455]

His father died while he was in the womb of his mother, thus his grandfather `Abdul-Muttalib nurtured him. His mother suckled him for three days, after which his grandfather entrusted his suckling to a woman by the name of Halima as-Sa`diyyah.

His suckling amongst the tribe of Sa`d: It was from the customary practices of the Arabs that they would send their children to be suckled in desertlike regions, as it led to them growing up strong and healthy.[456]

Due to her new foster child, the household of Halima as-Sa`diyyah was showered with blessings in a way they had not previously experienced. For example, they had travelled to Makkah on a frail jenny. On the return journey from Makkah, however, as Halima rode with the infant on her lap, the jenny moved so swiftly that it left the rest of the caravan behind. This was something that amazed her fellow travellers.

Halima used to complain that her breast milk did not suffice her nursling and that he would constantly cry out of hunger. However, when the Prophet  would suckle, her breasts overflowed with milk to the extent that she would breastfeed them both until they were satisfied.

Halima also narrated that the homeland of her people – the Sa`d tribe – was drought-stricken. Upon being granted the honour of suckling her foster child, both her land and cattle yielded, and her circumstances changed from suffering and poverty to happiness and ease.

After two years had passed, Halima took him back to his mother and grandfather in Makkah. However, she pleaded with his mother to let her keep him for longer, due to that which she witnessed from the blessings she had been granted because of him. His mother Amina consented, and thus Halima returned home delighted with Muhammad .

After the passing of yet another two years, Halima returned him to his mother at the age of four. Thereafter his mother looked after him until her passing when he was six years old. Then, for the next two years, he remained under the guardianship of his grandfather. Before his grandfather died, he instructed his son – Abu Talib, who was the paternal uncle of the Prophet  – to take custody of him. Upon the passing of the Prophet’s grandfather, Abu Talib took Muhammad  under his care, treating him the same as his own family and children.[457]

Abu Talib lived a harsh life and thus the Prophet  was not accustomed to luxury. Perhaps this was out of Allah’s concern for His noble Prophet.

Muhammad  grew accustomed to shepherding with his milk siblings during the time he spent in the desert with the tribe of Sa`d. This was something he continued to do for the people of Makkah, as it provided him with a wage that enabled him to be financially independent of his uncle.

Travelling with his uncle to the Levant, and his meeting with Bahira the monk: At the age of twelve years, two months, and ten days, the Prophet  accompanied his uncle – Abu Talib – upon a trade expedition to the Levant. During the journey, Bahira the monk saw Muhammad  and gave his uncle glad tidings. He also warned him of the enmity of the Jews upon seeing the Seal of Prophethood between his shoulders.

Travelling on business with Khadijah’s wealth: Muhammad  travelled again to do business with the wealth of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. She paid him more than she used to pay other wageworkers as the trip was extremely profitable for her. Rather it brought her bliss in this world and the Hereafter.

Khadijah was the wisest and most desirable woman from Quraysh, to the extent she used to be called even prior to Islam: ‘The Pure One’ – due to that which she possessed from chastity, purity, and apparent virtue.

His marriage to Khadijah: When her servant – Maysarah – informed her of what he had witnessed upon the journey from the excellent character and virtue of the Prophet , as well as that which Bahira the monk said to his paternal uncle – Abu Talib –, she was impressed by what she heard and she desired him as her husband. Khadijah was a widow before her happy marriage to Muhammad  at approximate age of forty. He was twenty-five years old at the time.

The Prophet  did not marry anyone else during her lifetime and he did not love anyone else like her. She died ten years after his prophethood. He would mention her frequently, spend in charity on her behalf, and give gifts to her friends. She bore all of his children except for Ibrahim – who was born by his bondmaid, Maria al-Qibtiyyah.

This is a small glimpse at the life of the Prophet  and some of the events that occurred prior to prophethood and revelation.[458]

Section Three: The Beginning of Revelation

The Prophet  attained maturity and reached his mental and physical peak as he approached the age of forty. Revelation started in the form of good dreams, such that he would not have a dream except it came true like bright daylight – precisely as he had dreamt it.

The solitude of the Prophet  in the cave of Hira, and the sending down of Revelation to him: Solitude was made beloved to him and hence he would isolate himself in the cave of Hira in Makkah. Here he would worship Allah for nights on end before returning to Khadijah to stock up on food and water. He remained upon this state until the truth came to him in the month of Ramadan when the Quran was revealed to him. The angel Gabriel appeared to him to teach him the first verses that were revealed of the Quran, saying: “Read!” “I cannot read,” he said. The angel repeated: “Read!” to which he replied: “I cannot read.” Once again, the angel commanded him: “Read!” “I cannot read,” he restated. After each of the three answers the angel would press his chest and squeeze it until he could bear it no longer.

When Gabriel let him go after the third time, he recited the first verses that were revealed of the Quran. He said:

[ٱقۡرَأۡ بِٱسۡمِ رَبِّكَ ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَ ١ خَلَقَ ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ مِنۡ عَلَقٍ ٢ ٱقۡرَأۡ وَرَبُّكَ ٱلۡأَكۡرَمُ ٣ ٱلَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِٱلۡقَلَمِ ٤ عَلَّمَ ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ مَا لَمۡ يَعۡلَمۡ]

Sura al-`Alaq; (96):1-5

[Meaning: Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created all that exists. He created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught to write with the pen.]

With these tremendous verses – that command with knowledge and inform of how humans are created – revelation began to be sent down upon the Prophet . He returned to his wife, Khadijah, with a trembling heart – however he kept his sanity. “Wrap me up! Wrap me up!” he said. He ordered her to cover him with garments. She did so until his fear was dispelled, then he informed her of what had happened. “I feared for myself [that I may die or fall sick permanently] he told her.

Khadijah – may Allah be pleased with her – said in reply: “Never! I swear by Allah that He would never disgrace you. You maintain the ties of kinship, you bear the burdens of the poor, you help the destitute, you honour the guest, and you assist those who are stricken with calamities.”

In this way Khadijah – by way of her wisdom – assured her husband that whoever desired good for the people then Allah would not disgrace them. The established way of Allah entails that a person is rewarded in accordance with their deeds.

Khadijah then took the Prophet  to her cousin – Waraqa bin Nawfal – who had converted to Christianity in the days of pre-Islamic ignorance. He used to write the Gospels in Hebrew and was old in age, having become blind. Khadijah said to him: “Listen to what Muhammad has to say.” “What have you seen, my nephew?” Nawfal asked. The Prophet  informed Nawfal of what had occurred. Upon hearing what had happened, Waraqa said: “This is the paraclete[459] that was sent to Moses. Would that I were a youth – i.e. young – and would that I were alive when your people expel you.”

The Messenger  said to him: “Will my people really expel me?!” He replied: “Yes. No man has ever come with the like of which you have and not been held in enmity; but if I should live to that day, I will give you great help.” Waraqa died soon afterwards, and the revelation ceased.[460]

No further revelation was sent after the first instance for the following three years, during which the Prophet increased in readiness and his yearning and longing grew.

The Prophet  said: “As I was walking, I heard a voice in the sky, and when I looked up towards the sky, I saw the angel who had come to me in the cave of Hira. He was sitting on a chair in-between the sky and the earth. I was so startled[461] by him that I fell to the ground. I came to my family and said: “Cover me! Cover me”.

He described himself as being terrified by him, however the terror on the second occasion was less than the first. When he returned to his family he enshrouded and wrapped himself up – i.e. he enveloped himself completely in garments.

Allah the Almighty then revealed to him His saying:

[يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلۡمُدَّثِّرُ ١ قُمۡ فَأَنذِرۡ ٢ وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرۡ ٣ وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرۡ ٤ وَٱلرُّجۡزَ فَٱهۡجُرۡ]

Sura al-Muddathir; (74):1-5

[Meaning: O you enveloped! Arise and warn! And your Lord Magnify! And your garments purify! And defilement forsake!]

The explanation of this revelation is: O you who has enveloped himself garments! Arise and warn the people with the Quran; convey Allah’s call to them; purify your garments and deeds from the defilements of polytheism; forsake the idols; and abandon the idolaters.

The continuation of revelation, and the Prophet’s calling to Islam: Revelation continued to be sent down successively following that, and the Prophet  conveyed the call of his Lord. Allah revealed to him the command to invite people to His worship alone, and to the religion of Islam – which He chose for mankind and concluded all religions with. The Prophet  undertook the mission, calling to the way of his Lord with wisdom, fair preaching, and disputation with that which was best.[462]

The first to answer his call were: Khadijah from the women; Abu Bakr as-Siddiq from the men; and `Ali bin Abi Talib from the children. After that the people continued to embrace Islam and the Muslims grew in number. Due to this, the polytheists persecuted him severely – expelling him from Makkah and torturing his companions. So he migrated to Madinah wherein the revelation continued to be sent down upon him. He continued his call – fighting religious wars and conquering – until his successful conquest of Makkah.

Thereafter Allah completed for him the religion and contented him with the glory of Islam and multitude of Muslims, before He caused him to die at the age of sixty-three years. Forty years he spent before prophethood, and twenty-three he spent as a prophet and messenger.[463]

By way of his death Allah concluded the divine messages and made it obligatory upon the jinn and mankind to obey him. Whoever obeys him will attain happiness in this world and shall enter Paradise in the Hereafter; and whoever disobeys him shall be miserable in this world and will enter the Fire in the Hereafter.

After Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – caused the Prophet  to die, his Companions adhered to his way. They conveyed his call, conquered many lands in the name of Islam, and propagated the Religion of Truth until it reached the ends of the earth. His religion shall remain until the Day of Resurrection.

What can be said regarding an unlettered man who grew up amongst an illiterate people – yet he brought about a reformation that changed the entire history of humanity, and that encompassed legislation, politics, and all other aspects of religion and worldly life? A reform that expanded – with its language – in a single century from the region of Hijaz to the distant regions of Europe and Africa in the west, and to China in the Far East. A reform that all nations yielded to and all countries succumbed to. A reform that captivated the souls before the bodies, and that resulted in civilisation and advancement, justice and mercy, as well as the sciences of logic and cosmology. All of this occurred at the hands of a nation who had only recently become literate. A nation purified by the Quran and taught by it that personal reform leads to universal reform. Is it at all possible that this could have occurred without revelation from One All-Wise, all-Knowing; or that it could have happened without Divine aid from the True God, the Almighty, the all-Powerful, the Most Merciful?[464]


 Chapter Two :The Character of the Prophet  and the Secrets of His Biography

Section One: The Character of the Prophet

Section Two: Mercy in the Life of the Prophet

Section Three: Secrets of the Prophetic Biography

Section One: The Character of the Prophet

Our Prophet Muhammad  was the best of creation; the purest of mankind; the highest of them in rank; the greatest of them in standing; the best of them in character; and the noblest of them with Allah – the Exalted and Most High –.

Allah chose him with knowledge and honoured him with messengership, and He aided him with revelation.

He created him upon praiseworthy traits and originated him upon noble characteristics, then He cultivated him and perfected his cultivation, and He nurtured him and perfected his nurturing. His character was the Quran, just as the Mother of the Believers – `Aa·ishah, may Allah be pleased with her – mentioned when she was asked regarding his character.

The Prophet  was the main intent behind such nurturing and cultivation, after which he enlightened the rest of creation. He was nurtured by the Quran and he nurtured others by it. After Allah perfected for him his character, He praised him by saying:

[وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٖ]

Sura al-Qalam; (68):4

[Meaning: And indeed, you are of a great moral character.]

The scholars – may Allah have mercy upon them – have written regarding his characteristics and his manners, and have discussed his forbearance; his clemency; his mercy; his compassion; his modesty; his courage; his kindness; his generosity; his honesty; his sincerity; his honour; his trustworthiness; his altruism; his humbleness; his leniency; his benevolence; and the like of such noble traits which he reached the pinnacle in.

Whoever follows his example and imitates his manners shall be granted the very best of final abodes, and a well-guarded honour.

A person is given honour, aid, and sufficiency in accordance with their adherence to the way of Prophet . Likewise, guidance, prosperity, and success are granted in accordance with adherence to his way. Thus Allah – the Almighty – made following the Prophet  a condition for bliss in this life and the next, just as He made opposing him a cause of misery in this life and the next.

For his followers is guidance, security, success, honour, sufficiency, victory, leadership, aid, and a fine life in this world and the next.

And for his opponents is humiliation, disgrace, fear, misguidance, desertion, and misery in this life and the next.[465]

Spreading his praiseworthy characteristics and propagating his noble manners is from the best of ways and from the most just of paths. Doing so is a means to cutting off all corruption and quashing falsehood. Rather it is a means to honour and glory; a way to bliss; and a path to forbearance.

That which follows is a summary of what the scholars have penned regarding the character of the Prophet . The chains of transmission and referencing have been omitted as the intent is brevity, not wordiness and prolixity.

From that which has been said regarding his character is:

He was the most forbearing of people, the bravest of people, the most just of people, and the most abstinent of people.

He was the most generous of people and would sleep not possessing a single dinar or dirham. If there was anything leftover when night fell, he would not go to bed until he had given it away to someone in need.

He would only take a year’s sustenance from that which Allah provided him with, in the form of dates and barley. This was something he was pleased with for the sake of Allah. He did not refuse anybody their request, and after giving them what they had asked for, he would return to his limited sustenance. He even chose to give others from it, to the extent that on some occasions he became needy before the year ended.

He would mend his shoes, repair his garments, serve his family and cut up meat with them. He was the shyest of people and never fixed his eyes upon the face of anybody.

He would attend the invites of slaves and freemen alike, and he would accept gifts – even if they were something small, such as a drink of milk or a rabbit’s thigh, being grateful by eating from it and repaying their givers. He would not take from charity, and he was not too proud to accept the invites of bondmaids or the poor.

He would become angry for the sake of his Lord and not for himself. He would bind stones to his stomach out of hunger, occasionally eating whatever was present. He would not refuse that which was available or leave that which was permissible. If he found dates without bread, he would eat them; and if he found roasted meat, he would eat it; and if he found bread made from barley or wheat, he would eat it; and if he found something sweet such as honey, he would eat it; and if he found milk without bread, he would suffice himself with it; and if he found watermelon or fresh dates, he would eat them.

He would visit the sick, attend funerals, and walk amongst his enemy alone and unguarded.

He was the humblest of people, and the most serene of them without being haughty. He was the most eloquent of people without being wordy, and the best of mankind absolutely. Nothing of the worldly affairs worried him.

He would wear whatever was available from permissible clothing – sometimes he would wear a cloak; sometimes a striped Yemeni mantle; and sometimes a woollen jubbah (gown).

He would ride whatever he could – sometimes a horse; sometimes a camel; sometimes a grey mare; sometimes a donkey; and sometimes he would walk barefoot.

He would sit with the poor, eat with the needy, honour the virtuous for their good manners, and engage the nobles by treating them well. He would maintain good ties with his relatives, without favouring them over those of greater excellence.

He did not shun anybody; he accepted the apology of the apologiser; he would joke but never lied; he would laugh but never guffaw; he would compete with his family; and he was patient whenever anyone raised their voice at him.

None of his time passed without him either performing deeds for Allah – the Almighty – or seeing to his needs.

He never looked down upon a poor person because of their poverty or weakness, neither did he respect a king for his kingship – rather he invited them both to Allah with an equal call. Allah caused him to lead a virtuous life and granted him perfect governance, despite his illiteracy and inability to read or write.

He was raised in a desertous land of ignorance as a poor orphan who looked after sheep. Allah – the Almighty – taught him good character and praiseworthy traits and informed him about the former and later peoples. He educated him regarding that which leads to success and victory in the Hereafter, and to bliss and salvation in this world. He also instructed him to adhere to righteousness and to abandon unbeneficial matters.

He did not insult any of the believers except that he made it an expiation and a mercy for them. He never cursed or swore at a woman or servant.

He never raised his hand to hit anyone except when fighting in battle for the sake of Allah – the Almighty –. He never sought revenge for anything that was done to him unless it transgressed the bounds of Allah, and he was never given the choice between two affairs except that he chose the easier option – as long as it did not involve sin or severing the ties of kinship, as he was the furthest of people from that.

Nobody would come to him with a need except he would aid them in it; regardless of whether they were a freeman, bondsman, or bondswoman.

Muhammad  was not severe or harsh, nor was he vociferous in the marketplaces. He did not requite an evil deed with one similar to it, rather he would pardon and overlook.

From his manners was that he would initiate whoever he met with the greeting of peace, and he would have patience with whoever approached him with a need until they were the ones to depart.

He did not let go of the hand of anybody that held his hand until they let go; and if he met any of his companions, he would initiate a handshake before taking hold of their hand, interlocking fingers, and squeezing tightly.

He used to sit most of the time with his shins raised while wrapping his arms around his knees – like the sitting of a person on their buttocks with their knees erected while tying them with a garment or holding them with their hands. His gathering was indistinguishable from the gatherings of his Companions, as he used to sit wherever there was space. He would never extend his legs while sitting with his Companions so that he did not restrict them, unless the area was spacious and uncrowded.

He would honour whoever entered upon him, to the extent that he would even lay his garment out for complete strangers so that they could sit upon it.

He would give preference to whoever entered upon him by giving them the cushion he was sitting upon, and if they refused, he would continue to insist until they gave in.

He made all of his Companions feel as if they were the closest of people to him; and he would give everyone that sat with him their share of his attention, time, speech, fine manners, and advice.

His gathering was one of dignity, clemency, modesty, goodness, and honesty. There was no raising of voices nor was the honour of anybody defamed. Likewise, any mistakes that occurred therein were not repeated.

‘Nor was the honour of anybody defamed’ – meaning: the honour of the people was not mentioned in a bad light. It is said: ‘he defamed him’ if he mentioned him in a bad light. The intent behind honour here is: the dignity of the people and that which they refuse to be insulted regarding.

‘Likewise, any mistakes that occurred therein were not repeated’ – meaning that they were not mentioned again. ‘Slips’ is the plural of ‘slip’, i.e.: an unintentional mistake from saying or action. The intent is: the attendees of the Prophet’s gathering were trustworthy and averse to idle talk. If a slip occurred from one of them, the rest of them would not expose him by divulging or conveying such.

This is from the lofty etiquettes of the Arabs. Waddak bin Thumayl – who was from the poets featured in ‘al-Hamasah (An Anthology of Valour Poems)’ – said in this meaning:

The soundness of Ad’s intellects not be worry by those who sit in their company

Those who sit in the company of Ad’s sound intellects need not worry * of sharp tongues if they err in speech

The companions of Prophet Muhammad  would never interrupt him while he was talking in a gathering. They would only speak when he was silent and would not differ or have prolonged arguments in his company.

They were attentive and would listen to whoever wished to speak until they had concluded their speech.

The last speaker in the gathering of the Prophet  was given the same share of attention and consideration as the first speaker.

The Prophet  would laugh with them, and marvel at that which they marvelled at, as long as it conformed to etiquette.

He was patient with strangers if they spoke or acted harshly, to the extent that perhaps his Companions disliked such. However, they did not put themselves forward before him, nor did they transgress that which he had taught them from patience, mercy, and helping the needy with their request.

Similarly, from his manners was that he made dialogue a foundation of his. Any unbiased and impartial person can clearly see that his life was filled with excellent discussion at the highest level, and in the best of manners and ways.

There is no strangeness in this, as the Prophet  is the best of mankind, and his biography is the most exemplary example of human life.

The various stages and many phases he passed by during his lifetime include peace, war, prosperity, and hardship. He was the chosen Messenger; the obeyed chief; the compassionate father; the loyal husband; the exemplary teacher; and the sincere friend.

He would deal with the young and the old; pious and impious; believers and unbelievers; combatants and non-combatants; men and women; relatives and strangers – and in all of these instances and dealings he would implement dialogue. This was not something he merely did under false pretences without it being heartfelt or having actual results.

He would call his Companions by their teknonyms, out of respect for them and as an attraction for their hearts. He would give teknonyms to those who did not have children, and the people would call them by such. He would also give teknonyms to both the women who had children and those who had not given birth alike. Even the children he would give teknonyms to, in order to soften their hearts.

He was the furthest of people from anger and the easiest of them to please. He was the best and gentlest of mankind in his treatment of people, and he would never call anyone by a name they disliked.

The forgoing is a summary of some of the manners and characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad . May Allah grant us adherence to his way and allow us to follow his example, and may He guide us by way of his guidance.[466]

Section Two: Mercy in the Life of the Prophet

Allah – the Almighty – says in description of His Prophet  while informing of His grace upon mankind:

[فَبِمَا رَحۡمَةٖ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمۡۖ وَلَوۡ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ ٱلۡقَلۡبِ لَٱنفَضُّواْ مِنۡ حَوۡلِكَۖ فَٱعۡفُ عَنۡهُمۡ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَهُمۡ وَشَاوِرۡهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَمۡرِۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمۡتَ فَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُتَوَكِّلِينَ]

Sura aali-`Imran; (3):159

[Meaning: By mercy from Allah you were gentle with them. And if you had been rude in speech and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. Pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely upon Him.]

Shaikh Muhammad at-Tahir bin `Aashur – may Allah have mercy upon him – says in explanation of this verse: “Gentleness here is a metaphor indicative of his extensive good treatment of both the people whom his call reached as well as the Muslims. It also indicates that he would overlook the harshness of the polytheists and forgive people their faults.”[467]

He – may Allah have mercy upon him – also said: “Muhammad  was sent with a gentle temperament. His gentleness was a mercy from Allah upon this nation in implementing His legislation without being overly lenient, and with clemency and assistance in its attainment. For this reason, his gentleness was coupled with mercy from Allah that He placed within him; as he was sent to all of mankind, however Allah chose that his call should be to the Arabs firstly due to a wisdom which was: so that the Arabs could convey the Islamic legislation to the world.

The Arabs are a nation known for their dignity, their intolerance to oppression, the soundness of their natural dispositions, and their intelligence.

They were the first ones to receive the religion and thus sternness and harshness did not befit them. Rather their wing needed lowering in order for the Islamic legislation to be conveyed to them, so that by way of that they could avoid obstinacy – which was the only barrier between them and compliance to the truth.

It has been reported that the forgiveness, pardoning, and mercy of the Prophet  were reasons for many people embracing Islam. This is something that `Iyaadh mentioned in his book ‘ash-Shifa· (the Cure)’.[468]

Allah – the Exalted and Most High – said in clarification of the comprehensiveness of the mercy in the sending of the Messenger :

[وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَٰكَ إِلَّا رَحۡمَةٗ لِّلۡعَٰلَمِينَ]

Sura al-Anbiyaa; (21):107

[Meaning: And We have not sent you except as a mercy to the worlds.]

This verse affirms the attribute of mercy in one of the strongest possible ways, namely by way of restriction through the agents of negation and exclusion, thus signifying the generality of mercy.

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The most correct of the two sayings regarding the verse –:

[وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَٰكَ إِلَّا رَحۡمَةٗ لِّلۡعَٰلَمِينَ]

Sura al-Anbiya·; (21):107

[Meaning: And We have not sent you except as a mercy to the worlds.] – is that it is general.

Based on this premise, we understand two things:

Firstly: The universality of the benefit of his Message. As for his followers, then they attained by way of it honour in this life and the next. Regarding his combatant enemies – those of them whose killing and death were hastened, then that was better for them than their remaining alive; as their remaining alive would have been a cause for the increase in the severity of their punishment in the Hereafter, in addition to the fact that they were already destined for misery. Thus, the hastening of their deaths was better for them than leading long lives upon disbelief.

The covenanters lived under his shade, his treaty, and his pact in the life of this world. Due to the covenant they had, their evil was less than that of those at war with him.

Concerning the hypocrites, their blood, their wealth, and their families were spared and honoured due to their outward display of faith. They were given the same rulings as the Muslims, such as inheritance laws and the like.

With regards to the remote peoples who were distant from him, then Allah the Exalted removed by way of His Message the comprehensive punishment of the entire inhabitants of the earth, and thus all of the worlds benefitted by way of His Message.

Secondly: That he was a mercy to all of mankind. The believers accepted this mercy and thus it benefitted them in this world and the next, whereas the disbelievers refused it. This merely means that they did not accept it and does not necessitate that he was not a mercy to them. A similar example would be to say: ‘This medicine is a cure for such-and-such an illness’ – just because a person does not take it does not mean that it is not a cure for such an illness.”[469]

Shaikh Ibn `Aashur – may Allah be pleased with him – said in explanation of the foregoing verse: “This verse contains a comprehensive description of the sending of Muhammad .

The distinguishing feature of this legislation amongst the other legislations is one that befits its universality and perpetuity, namely that it is a mercy to all of the worlds.”[470]

Until he – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “This is apparent from two angles: firstly: mercy was something he adorned his virtuous soul with; and secondly: mercy encompasses all aspects of his legislation.”[471]

Section Three: Secrets of the Prophetic Biography

The Prophetic biography is full of lessons and of secrets, such as:

1. It is impossible to exhaust all discussion concerning the Prophetic biography regardless of how much is written regarding it. It has been said: Concerning the biographies of the greats, then generally it is sufficient that they are written a single time, or a few times, after which there remains nothing more to mention. Any further discussion surrounding their lives becomes merely an unnecessary repetition regarding which sufficiency can be found in precedent works.

However, the biography of our Prophet Muhammad  is something that historians and narrators have shown a concern for since the beginning of Islam and until today. They have written books in multiple languages upon the topic, and yet, have not exhausted discussion regarding it. On the contrary, the more that is written regarding the life of the Prophet , the more exquisite and engrossing it is.

For this reason, you will seldom find a topic pertaining to knowledge, or philosophy, or character, or manners, or morals, or ethics, or sociology, or politics, or eloquence, or language, or other than that – except that you shall find it mentioned superabundantly in the Prophetic biography, such that there remains surplus material for successive researchers. Thus the Prophetic biography is an endless fount of goodness for all people; and although it does not rely on experiments, nor is it a theory susceptible to being proven or disproven by evidence – as is the case with scientific hypothesis that are subject to change over time – rather in origin it is based upon narrations and reports; however it is a domain with much scope for the deduction of rulings; regulations; principles related to various sciences; good manners; etiquette; and the like.[472]

2. Slander made against the Prophet  is a reason for the revival of his virtues: Many islamophobics have sought to defile the prophetic biography – either out of ignorance or obstinacy – but been unable to do so. However, in some cases this has had the opposite effect, piquing the interest of some unbiased researchers in search of the truth. Thus, they were either guided to goodness in its entirety, or at least to a portion of it.

3. Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – placed a natural interest within the people for the life of the Prophet : Perhaps from the blessings of Allah upon His Prophet is that He caused the people – both the acceptors and deniers of his prophethood – to have an innate concern for the Prophetic biography. This is because he  is light. Therefore, whoever recognises this fact it is proof of his own cognizance, and whoever does not then it is proof of his own blindness. Regardless, light remains light.

4. Our concern for the life of the Prophet  is not merely academic or theoretical; rather the necessity of the believers for this spring of love and guidance is greater than the need of the scholars to research and study. Whoever has a trace of faith in their heart will find themselves drawn to Muhammad, desiring to strengthen their bond with him – regardless of however lax they are in religion.

Loving the Messenger of Allah is from loving Allah. Muhammad – peace be upon him – even with his lofty status, is not except a human messenger.[473]

5. The life of the Prophet  has a profound effect in rectifying a person’s conduct, and in nurturing noble character as it is a reflection of the perfect example of human life in truth. By way of his sayings, his actions, and the rest of his practices, Prophet Muhammad  represented the most exemplary role model which human efforts must emulate in their quest for perfection.[474]

6. All stages of the Prophetic biography are well-known, and all aspects of it are apparent.

There is no doubt that this is from the greatest secrets of its perpetuity and magnificence. It is only correct to take the biography of anyone as an example to be followed if their life was well-known and apparent; and free from faults and deficiencies.

It is clear that all stages of the life of the Messenger of Allah  are apparent; from the marriage of his father, `Abdullah, to his mother, Amina, until his death.

We have much information regarding his birth; his childhood; his youth; his occupation before prophethood; and his journeys outside of Makkah before he was ennobled by Allah with prophethood.

Our knowledge regarding his circumstances post-prophethood is much clear, detailed, and thorough. This is something that made his biography as clear as the light of day, and led some Western critics to say about him: “Muhammad – peace be upon him – is the only person ever to be born whose life was like sunlight [i.e. as clear as day].”[475]

The scholars have precisely recorded his biography and have come across minute details likely to be overlooked by many.

If a reader were to open the index to one of the works on his life and his characteristics, he would see this plainly and clearly.[476]

 Chapter Three : The Glad Tidings Given by Jesus and Moses – peace be upon them both – of the Coming of Muhammad  & the Sayings of the Impartial non-Muslims in that Regard

Prologue: The Glad Tidings Given by the Prophets of the Coming of Muhammad

Section One: The Glad Tidings Given by Moses – peace be upon him – of the Coming of Muhammad

Section Two: The Glad Tidings Given by Jesus – peace be upon him – of the Coming of Muhammad

Section Three: Sayings of the Impartial non-Muslims Regarding Muhammad

Chapter Three: The Glad Tidings Given by Jesus and Moses – peace be upon them both – of the Coming of Muhammad  & the Sayings of the Unbiased non-Muslims in that Regard

Prologue: The Glad Tidings Given by the Prophets of the Coming of Muhammad

It was only appropriate in the case of a great messenger such as Muhammad  – especially considering the universality of his call, as well as the perpetuity of his religion and legislation – that Allah the Exalted informed His prophets and messengers – peace be upon them – of his coming, and described to them some of his characteristics and his signs so that they could give glad tidings of his coming to their nations, and instruct them to accept his call and obey him.[477]

This is indeed what took place, just as Allah the Mighty and Majestic said:

[وَإِذۡ أَخَذَ ٱللَّهُ مِيثَٰقَ ٱلنَّبِيِّ‍ۧنَ لَمَآ ءَاتَيۡتُكُم مِّن كِتَٰبٖ وَحِكۡمَةٖ ثُمَّ جَآءَكُمۡ رَسُولٞ مُّصَدِّقٞ لِّمَا مَعَكُمۡ لَتُؤۡمِنُنَّ بِهِۦ وَلَتَنصُرُنَّهُۥۚ قَالَ ءَأَقۡرَرۡتُمۡ وَأَخَذۡتُمۡ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكُمۡ إِصۡرِيۖ قَالُوٓاْ أَقۡرَرۡنَاۚ قَالَ فَٱشۡهَدُواْ وَأَنَا۠ مَعَكُم مِّنَ ٱلشَّٰهِدِينَ]

Sura aali-`Imran; (3):81

[Meaning: And remember when Allah took the covenant of the prophets saying: "Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, you must believe in him and support him.” Allah said: “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?” They said: “We have acknowledged it.” He said: “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”]

Ibn Kathir said in explanation of this verse: “`Ali bin Abi Talib and his cousin, Ibn `Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – said: ‘Allah did not send any of the prophets except that He took a covenant from them that if Muhammad  was sent while they were still alive then they would believe in him and support him.”[478]

The greatest glad tidings given were by those messengers of strong will; namely Moses and Jesus – peace be upon them – mention of which shall follow in the next two sections.

Section One: The Glad Tidings Given by Moses – peace be upon him – of the Coming of Muhammad

News regarding the coming of the trustworthy Prophet had been delivered to the Israelites by the prophet of Allah Moses long ago. They had been informed of his sending; his attributes; the clarity of his message; and the characteristics of his religion. He was the unlettered Prophet who commanded the people with good and forbade them from evil; he made lawful for them fine things and prohibited them from immorality; and he relieved those who believed in him of the burdens and shackles which Allah knew they would be bound by because of their sins – so he freed them from such when they believed in him. The followers of this prophet were fearful of their Lord and dutiful to Him; they paid the alms due upon them; and they believed in the signs of Allah.

The inevitable news was delivered to the Israelites that whoever believed in this unlettered Prophet, honoured him, revered him, aided him and followed the guidance that was revealed to him – they would be the successful and victorious ones in this life and the Hereafter.

Allah says in the Quran:

[قَالَ عَذَابِيٓ أُصِيبُ بِهِۦ مَنۡ أَشَآءُۖ وَرَحۡمَتِي وَسِعَتۡ كُلَّ شَيۡءٖۚ فَسَأَكۡتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤۡتُونَ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم بِ‍َٔايَٰتِنَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ ١٥٦ ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلرَّسُولَ ٱلنَّبِيَّ ٱلۡأُمِّيَّ ٱلَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُۥ مَكۡتُوبًا عِندَهُمۡ فِي ٱلتَّوۡرَىٰةِ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلِ يَأۡمُرُهُم بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡهَىٰهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَٰتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡخَبَٰٓئِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنۡهُمۡ إِصۡرَهُمۡ وَٱلۡأَغۡلَٰلَ ٱلَّتِي كَانَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡۚ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِهِۦ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَٱتَّبَعُواْ ٱلنُّورَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أُنزِلَ مَعَهُۥٓ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ]

Sura al-A’raf; (7):156-7

[Meaning: Allah said: "My punishment - I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things." So I will ordain it especially for those who are fearful of Me and dutiful to Me and give Zakat and those who believe in Our verses - Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honoured him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him - it is those who will be the successful.][479]

This verse clearly mentions that the Prophet Muhammad  is written in the Torah and the Gospel, and what is meant by him ‘being written’ in them is: his sending is mentioned; as well as his call and some of his traits.

This is certainly the case as the aforementioned verse was revealed upon the ears of scholars from the two nations; the Jews and Christians. Some of them believed in him  and informed others of that which their books contained regarding his signs and attributes, while others – although they do not deny their books mention a prophet who was to come with such signs and attributes – they stubbornly denied that the reference was to the Prophet Muhammad , instead claiming another prophet was meant. Allah revealed the following verse in reference to such people:

[ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ يَعۡرِفُونَهُۥ كَمَا يَعۡرِفُونَ أَبۡنَآءَهُمۡۖ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقٗا مِّنۡهُمۡ لَيَكۡتُمُونَ ٱلۡحَقَّ وَهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُونَ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):146

[Meaning: Those to whom We gave the Scripture know him as they know their own sons. But indeed, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it.]

Some scholars and researchers sought to compile the indications of Muhammad’s coming, highlighting how they correspond precisely to the Prophet Muhammad  – such that the reader is left without a doubt that he is indeed the Messenger whom the prophets gave glad tidings of his coming, and whose comprehensive message they prophesied.

Due to how conclusive these indications are in serving as proof for the truthfulness of Muhammad’s prophethood, the noble Quran mentions them as evidence of prophethood. Allah the Almighty said:

[أَوَ لَمۡ يَكُن لَّهُمۡ ءَايَةً أَن يَعۡلَمَهُۥ عُلَمَٰٓؤُاْ بَنِيٓ إِسۡرَٰٓءِيلَ]

Sura ash-Shu’ara; (26):197

[Meaning: And has it not been a sign to them that it is recognized by the scholars of the Children of Israel?]

The recognition of the Israelite scholars was from the signs of Muhammad’s truthfulness in his claim to prophethood because their knowledge was based on that which the Torah mentioned of his traits and his signs – coupled with the fact these traits and signs matched how he  was.[480]

The Torah contains remnants of Moses’ glad tidings informing of Muhammad’s coming, as mentioned in the Book of Deuteronomy – Chapter Eighteen, Verse 18-19, wherein Allah said to Moses: “I will raise up for them [i.e. for the Israelites] a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.”

These glad tidings clearly denote the messengership of Muhammad  as he was from the sons of Ishmael who were brothers to the sons of Israel; their grandfather was Isaac who was the brother of Ishmael. In addition to this, he had the noblest of lineages.

His saying: “like you” means: a person of legislation – just as Moses was. He also put His words in Muhammad’s mouth, as Muhammad was illiterate and could not read books. Rather Allah revealed His speech to him, and he would memorize and recite it. Muhammad was the messenger sent to the whole of mankind and the Israelites are required to follow him, and to leave their legislation for his legislation. Whoever does not do so then Allah will punish them, as is mentioned: “I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.”

Further evidence that these were indeed the tremendous glad tidings Allah revealed to Moses is the fact it occurred during a particular setting, namely when Moses chose from his people seventy men for the appointed time and place that Allah set for him, and the earthquake seized them due to their request to see Allah, the Exalted and Most High. Moses then supplicated to his Lord and interceded on their behalf, so Allah resurrected them after their death. Allah said following Moses’ intercession and supplication:

[عَذَابِيٓ أُصِيبُ بِهِۦ مَنۡ أَشَآءُۖ وَرَحۡمَتِي وَسِعَتۡ كُلَّ شَيۡءٖۚ فَسَأَكۡتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ...] Sura al-A’raf; (7:156)

[Meaning: My punishment - I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things." So I will decree it especially for those who fear Me and are dutiful to Me…]

If you refer to the Torah, Book of Exodus, you will find that Allah revealed these glad tidings after Moses went to the appointment that Allah had set for him. The Torah also makes mention of something similar to an earthquake, when it mentions: “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance…” Book of Exodus, Chapter 20 of the Samaritan Torah.[481]

The Torah that is available today, however, has been distorted and changed as is indicated by the great degree of differing present between the various copies and editions. One will find there are three copies of the Torah: Hebraic, Greek and Samaritan; with each people claiming their copy is most correct and authentic. In addition to this, there are clear differences between the numerous editions of the Torah and their translations.

This distortion has resulted in many of the indications and signs of Muhammad’s coming being omitted or erased. Despite this, a great deal of these prior indications remain in existence and are clear to those who contemplate them and compare them to the biography of the Messenger  whilst remaining impartial.

Discussion relating to the indications of Muhammad’s coming is lengthy due to their number.[482]

Section Two: The Glad Tidings Given by Jesus – peace be upon him – of the Coming of Muhammad

Jesus – may peace be upon him – gave glad tidings of the coming of Muhammad , as Allah mentions in the Quran in His saying:

[وَإِذۡ قَالَ عِيسَى ٱبۡنُ مَرۡيَمَ يَٰبَنِيٓ إِسۡرَٰٓءِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيۡكُم مُّصَدِّقٗا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ ٱلتَّوۡرَىٰةِ وَمُبَشِّرَۢا بِرَسُولٖ يَأۡتِي مِنۢ بَعۡدِي ٱسۡمُهُۥٓ أَحۡمَدُۖ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم بِٱلۡبَيِّنَٰتِ قَالُواْ هَٰذَا سِحۡرٞ مُّبِين]

Sura as-Saff; (61):6

[Meaning: And when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, "O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad." But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, "This is obvious magic."]

Ahmad is from the names of our Prophet Muhammad ; as is authentically established in ‘Sahih al-Bukhari’ from a narration of Jubayr bin Mut’im that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah  say: “I have five names: I am Muhammad; I am Ahmad; I am the effacer (al-Mahi) by whom Allah wipes out disbelief; I am the gatherer (al-Hashir) before whom people are gathered; I am the last successor (al-Aqib).”[483]

In the previous section, discussion of the verse in Chapter 7 (Sura al-A’raf) which mentions the prophecy of Moses regarding the coming of Muhammad also mentions that his description is contained within the Gospel as well as the Torah.

Similarly, in Chapter 48, Verse 29, Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – strikes two examples to describe Muhammad  and his companions. He – the Almighty – said:

[مُّحَمَّدٞ رَّسُولُ ٱللَّهِۚ وَٱلَّذِينَ مَعَهُۥٓ أَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى ٱلۡكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيۡنَهُمۡۖ تَرَىٰهُمۡ رُكَّعٗا سُجَّدٗا يَبۡتَغُونَ فَضۡلٗا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرِضۡوَٰنٗاۖ سِيمَاهُمۡ فِي وُجُوهِهِم مِّنۡ أَثَرِ ٱلسُّجُودِۚ ذَٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمۡ فِي ٱلتَّوۡرَىٰةِۚ وَمَثَلُهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡإِنجِيلِ كَزَرۡعٍ أَخۡرَجَ شَطۡ‍َٔهُۥ فَ‍َٔازَرَهُۥ فَٱسۡتَغۡلَظَ فَٱسۡتَوَىٰ عَلَىٰ سُوقِهِۦ يُعۡجِبُ ٱلزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيظَ بِهِمُ ٱلۡكُفَّارَۗ وَعَدَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتِ مِنۡهُم مَّغۡفِرَةٗ وَأَجۡرًا عَظِيمَۢا]

Sura al-Fath; (48):29

[Meaning: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and His good pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers - so that Allah may enrage the disbelievers by way of them. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward.]

The Gospel of Matthew contains a mention of some of the glad tidings foretelling the coming of Muhammad . Chapter 11, Verse 14 mentions: “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Prophet Muhammad  informed us that there was no other prophet between him and Jesus, which means when Jesus mentioned Elijah he was referring to Muhammad . According to gematria ‘Elijah’ equals ‘Muhammad’.

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verse 15, it says: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.” Some versions mention: “And he will give you another Paraclete that he may abide with you forever.”

The literal meaning of the Greek word ‘Paraclete’ is Ahmad, which is from the names of Prophet Muhammad .

The Gospel of John, Chapter 15, Verse 26, also states: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”

His saying “He will testify of Me”: this is true as Prophet Muhammad  testified to the prophethood and messengership of Jesus. “The Spirit of truth” is a metaphor for Muhammad, in addition to the fact that the meanings mentioned in the modern translation are not precise. This is because their Greek origin – which the Gospels were translated from – mention the word ‘Parakletos’– translated as ‘Faraqalet (Paraclete)’ in the Arabic versions printed in London in 1821, 1831 and 1834, which is closer to the original aforementioned Greek word than the term ‘helper’ we find occurring in the modern versions. Allah criticized the people of the Book because of their distortion of the scriptures in His saying:

[يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَنْ مَوَاضِعِهِ]

Sura an-Nisa; (4):46

[Meaning: There are some who displace words from their right places.]

It is to be noted that there is a sentence preceding Verse 26 that has been omitted from this chapter in the modern versions; however, it clearly exists in the older versions of the Gospel. It states: “But when the Manhamanna who Allah will send to you comes” – ‘Manhamanna’ literally meaning ‘Muhammad’ in Syriac.[484]

Section Three: Sayings of the Impartial non-Muslims Regarding Muhammad

Every impartial, intellectual person cannot help but marvel at the greatness of Muhammad  while attesting to the truthfulness of that which he brought, due to the multitude of signs which indicate this.

There is no doubt regarding the significance of an opposer’s attestation, just as it is said: ‘Merit is that which one’s enemies attest to’.

What follows is a number of testimonies given by Christian and other non-Muslim philosophers and thinkers regarding Prophet Muhammad .

1. The testimony of the famous English philosopher Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Thomas’ testimony is arguably the greatest and most famous given by a Western writer, and it is as if it were written by a Muslim possessing detailed knowledge regarding the circumstances of the Prophet .

Here are some excerpts from his book ‘On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History’ in which he addresses his Christian audience:

“Our current hypothesis about Mahomet, that he was a scheming Impostor, a Falsehood incarnate, that his religion is a mere mass of quackery and fatuity, begins really to be now untenable to anyone. The lies, which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man, are disgraceful to ourselves only.

It is really time to dismiss all that. The word this man spoke has been the life-guidance now of one hundred and eighty millions of men these twelve hundred years. These hundred and eighty millions were made by God as well as we. A greater number of God’s creatures believe in Mahomet’s word at this hour than in any other word whatever. Are we to suppose that it was a miserable piece of spiritual legerdemain, this which so many creatures of the Almighty have lived by and died by?

I, for my part, cannot form any such supposition. I will believe most things sooner than that. One would be entirely at a loss what to think of this world at all, if quackery so grew and were sanctioned here.

Alas, such theories are very lamentable. If we would attain to knowledge of anything in God’s true Creation, let us disbelieve them wholly! They are the product of an Age of Scepticism; indicate the saddest spiritual paralysis and mere death-life of the souls of men: more godless theory, I think, was never promulgated in this Earth. A false man found a religion?

Why, a false man cannot build a brick house! If he do not know and follow truly the properties of mortar, burnt clay and what else he works in, it is no house that he makes, but a rubbish-heap. It will not stand for twelve centuries, to lodge a hundred and eighty millions; it will fall straightway.”

He continues: “This Mahomet, then, we will in no wise consider as an Inanity and Theatricality, a poor conscious ambitious schemer; we cannot conceive him so. The rude message he delivered was a real one withal; an earnest confused voice from the unknown Deep. The man’s words were not false, nor his workings here below: no Inanity and Simulacrum To kindle the world; the world’s Maker had ordered it so. Neither can the faults, imperfections, insincerities even, of Mahomet, if such were never so well proved against him, shake this primary fact about him.

One other circumstance we must not forget: that he had no school-learning of the thing we call school-learning none at all. The art of writing was but just introduced into Arabia; it seems to be the true opinion that Mahomet never could write! Life in the Desert, with its experiences, was all his education. What of this infinite Universe he, from his dim place, with his own eyes and thoughts, could take in, so much and no more of it was he to know. Curious, if we will reflect on it, this of having no books. Except by what he could see for himself, or hear of by uncertain rumour of speech in the obscure Arabian Desert, he could know nothing. The wisdom that had been before him or at a distance from him in the world, was in a manner as good as not there for him. Of the great brother souls, flame-beacons through so many lands and times…

But, from an early age, he had been remarked as a thoughtful man. His companions named him ‘Al Amin, The Faithful.’ A man of truth and fidelity; true in what he did, in what he spoke and thought. They noted that he always meant something. A man rather taciturn in speech; silent when there was nothing to be said; but pertinent, wise, sincere, when he did speak; always throwing light on the matter. This is the only sort of speech worth speaking! Through life we find him to have been regarded as an altogether solid, brotherly, genuine man. A serious, sincere character; yet amiable, cordial, companionable, jocose even; —a good laugh in him withal: there are men whose laugh is as untrue as anything about them; who cannot laugh.”

He further states: “Ah no: this deep-hearted Son of the Wilderness, with his beaming black eyes, and open social deep soul, had other thoughts in him than ambition. A silent great soul; he was one of those who cannot but be in earnest; whom Nature herself has appointed to be sincere. While others walk in formulas and hearsays, contented enough to dwell there, this man could not screen himself in formulas; he was alone with his own soul and the reality of things. The great Mystery of Existence, as I said, glared in upon him; with its terrors, with its splendours; no hearsays could hide that unspeakable fact, “Here am I!” Such sincerity, as we named it, has in very truth something of divine. The word of such a man is a Voice direct from Nature’s own Heart. Men do and must listen to that as to nothing else; — all else is wind in comparison.”

Carlyle continues: “We will leave it altogether, this impostor-hypothesis, as not credible; not very tolerable even, worthy chiefly of dismissal by us.”

He goes on to say: “And now if the wild idolatrous men did believe this, and with their fiery hearts lay hold of it to do it, in what form soever it came to them, I say it was well worthy of being believed. In one form or the other, I say it is still the one thing worthy of being believed by all men. Man does hereby become the high-priest of this Temple of a World. He is in harmony with the Decrees of the Author of this World; cooperating with them, not vainly withstanding them: I know, to this day, no better definition of Duty than that same. All that is right includes itself in this of cooperating with the real Tendency of the World: you succeed by this (the World’s Tendency will succeed), you are good, and in the right course there. Homoiousion, Homoousion vain logical jangle, then or before or at any time, may jangle itself out, and go whither and how it likes: this is the thing it all struggles to mean if it would mean anything. If it do not succeed in meaning this, it means nothing. Not that Abstractions, logical Propositions, be correctly worded or incorrectly; but that living concrete Sons of Adam do lay this to heart: that is the important point. Islam devoured all these vain jangling Sects; and I think had right to do so. It was a Reality, direct from the great Heart of Nature once more. Arab idolatries, Syrian formulas, whatsoever was not equally real, had to go up in flame, — mere dead fuel, in various senses, for this which was fire.”

Furthermore, he writes: “Forger and juggler? Ah, no! This great fiery heart, seething, simmering like a great furnace of thoughts was not a juggler. His Life was a Fact to him; this God’s Universe an awful Fact and Reality.”

He continues by saying: “Traits of that kind shew us the genuine man, the brother of us all, brought visible through twelve centuries, — the veritable Son of our common Mother.

Withal I like Mahomet for his total freedom from cant. He is a rough self-helping son of the wilderness; does not pretend to be what he is not. There is no ostentatious pride in him; but neither does he go much upon humility: he is there as he can be, in cloak and shoes of his own clouting; speaks plainly to all manner of Persian Kings, Greek Emperors, what it is they are bound to do; knows well enough, about himself, ‘the respect due unto thee.’ In a life-and-death war with Bedouins, cruel things could not fail; but neither are acts of mercy, of noble natural pity and generosity, wanting. Mahomet makes no apology for the one, no boast of the other.”

Carlyle goes on to say: “No Dilettantism in this Mahomet; it is a business of Reprobation and Salvation with him, of Time and Eternity: he is in deadly earnest about it! Dilettantism, hypothesis, speculation, a kind of amateur-search for Truth, toying and coquetting with Truth: this is the sorest sin. The root of all other imaginable sins. It consists in the heart and soul of the man never having been open to Truth; — ‘living in a vain show.’ Such a man not only utters and produces falsehoods, but is himself a falsehood. The rational moral principle, spark of the Divinity, is sunk deep in him, in quiet paralysis of life-death. The very falsehoods of Mahomet are truer than the truths of such a man. He is the insincere man: smooth-polished, respectable in some times and places; inoffensive, says nothing harsh to anybody; most cleanly, — just as carbonic acid is, which is death and poison.

We will not praise Mahomet’s moral precepts as always of the super-finest sort; yet it can be said that there is always a tendency to good in them; that they are the true dictates of a heart aiming towards what is just and true. The sublime forgiveness of Christianity, turning of the other cheek when the one has been smitten, is not here: you are to revenge yourself, but it is to be in measure, not over much, or beyond justice. On the other hand, Islam like any great Faith, and insight into the essence of man, is a perfect equalizer of men: the soul of one believer outweighs all earthly kingships; all men, according to Islam too, are equal.”

He concludes with the statement: “To the Arab Nation it was as a birth from darkness into light; Arabia first became alive by means of it. A poor shepherd people, roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world: a Hero-Prophet was sent down to them with a word they could believe: see, the unnoticed becomes world-notable, the small has grown world-great; within one century afterwards Arabia is at Grenada on this hand, at Delhi on that;—glancing in valour and splendour and the light of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a great section of the world.[485]

2. The testimony of Count Henry de Castries (1850-1927), a French politician, and a governor of Algeria says in his book ‘L'Islam Impressions et Études (1906) [Islam, Impressions and Studies]’ translated by Fathi Zaghlul Basha – may Allah have mercy upon him –: “The nation of Arabs prior to the coming of the Prophet were an idolatrous people for the most part, and within this predominantly idolatrous mass stirred a ferment monotheistic. The doctrine of monotheism was represented by a group of people called Hanifites[486], who remained upon the religion of Abraham; that of the simplest monotheism. The Christians, however, split into many sects – all of which had polytheistic dogmas, or the belief and worship of multiple gods. Muhammad received from them the first notion of one God; however as the Prophet possessed a religious soul he transformed this notion into a faith few souls had previously known. This profound faith completely transformed humanity.

It is not necessary to look elsewhere than in the path of the Hanifites for this fertile sprout. Muhammad could neither read nor write; he was – as he repeated often – an unlettered prophet.

This assertion has not been contradicted by any of his contemporaries, and it is certainly not in the East, where life goes on in the open, that he could have received clandestine instruction. The knowledge of reading and writing was at that time very rare in Arabia, and there was only one man in Mecca who knew how to write. We can conclude, then, from the aforementioned, that Muhammad did not consult any divine book, nor did he seek the guidance of a previous methodology.

Surmising that our sacred books were used in the composition of the Quran, and supposing that the Quran reproduced some passages even; the psychological phenomenon of the life of Muhammad, this faith in the unique God who explodes in his soul and raises all his being, remains deeply inexplicable.

The crisis which determined his vocation was long and terrible. He had received from heaven an eminently religious soul. Retirement was a double necessity for him. First of all, to escape the idolatry and polytheism of Christian heretics, which he also abhorred. "It was a thorn in his flesh," says Kuenen. Then be alone with the great thought that obsessed him: the Oneness of God. He retired to Mount Hira and his nights were spent in meditation and prayer; desert nights that invade the soul of emotion…

What could be in such an environment the meditation of this man of forty years, in all the maturity of his intelligence, but endowed with this intelligence of Semite, essentially intuitive and unfit for discursive reasoning? It must consist in repeating with force these words: “Allah is One! Allah is One!” That all Muslims have repeated after him, words whose profound meaning eludes us [i.e. the Christians], due to our farness from monotheism. His thought then revealed the multiple forms we read in the Quran: “He begets not, nor was He begotten. Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”[487]

All the energetic pleonasms of the Arabic language helped him to return again to an idea already expressed so powerfully. It is from such a meditation that the Islamic profession must have gone out: “There is no god worthy of worship but Allah!” Such was the genesis of this faith in the one God, as irreducible as a rock and which the mind can scarcely conceive, an energetic faith whose affirmations are still listened to today by the Muslims and which distinguishes them from the followers of all religions. They are well, as they call themselves, in all the strength of the term: the Believers. The explosion of this faith, we repeat, is the capital fact of the life of the Prophet and the best guarantee of his sincerity.”

Castries goes on to discuss revelation and the miraculous nature of the Quran in its eloquence and meanings – something that the articulate Arabs such as Utbah bin Rabi’ah, Musaylamah the liar and others attested to. He also demonstrated the fallacy of Musaylamah’s claim.

Then he said: “If the Quran is not the word of God, if it is only a purely subjective conception of the spirit of Muhammad, let us retain at least, for the honour of humanity, that the admirable wonders of the Arab Prophet are not those of an impostor. This was not the opinion of many who called him a false prophet. Our poor vocabulary is partly complicit in this calumny, forcing us to this blatant contradiction to call a perfectly sincere individual as a sincere prophet.”

He continues: “Muhammad is not an impostor; he is not a plagiarist, nor is he "a plundering prophet," as Mr. Sayous calls him. There are no doubt similarities between the Quran and certain passages of the Scriptures; but they have their natural explanation in that Muhammad directly linked Islam to Christianity and Judaism, just as Muhammad is the seal of the prophets and messengers.”

The Count follows on by saying: “However the most important point is that the Quran is the last divine book to be revealed to humanity, the one after which there shall be no other book; and Muhammad is the last of the prophets after whom Allah’s words will not be changed.

After lengthily analysing the preceding subjects and answering the slanders that the extremist orientalists invented about the Prophet of Islam, he writes: “Every land Islam entered it became the preponderant religion therein, despite never seeking to supplant them. It is not, therefore, to intolerance that Mohammedanism owed its rapid expansion, and it would be more correct to maintain that the religious toleration which it has shown has caused the ruin of the Western empires.”

He also states: “Let us remember that the religion of the Quran, without any pressure other than that resulting necessarily from Arab conquest and domination, without apparent conversion, was capable of capturing the hearts of all the Jewish, Christian, or idolatrous populations of northern Africa, as well as of a considerable part of Asia and that, even in Spain, enlightened Christians willingly abjured their faith to become Muslims.”

Here is a summary of the view that Count Henry de Castries had of Islam. His book ‘L'Islam Impressions et Études (1906) [Islam, Impressions and Studies]’, of which we have reproduced some excerpts, deals with various subjects and refutes slander invented by priests, missionaries and some extremist orientalists who do not lend any worry to fairness. Even though he claims to belong to Christianity, Henry de Castries has given fair opinions about Islam, the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad for two reasons:

1. He wanted to exercise his freedom of thought and his sense of fairness in speaking the truth – even if it went against the interests of his own religion.

2. He wanted to make the true nature of Islam known to the French people so that they were aware of its reality, and so that they would not be deceived by the slanders invented by the missionaries who swallowed up the wealth of the nation under the pretext of Christianisation, while the results were far from the reality which was: their wealth was being spent to satisfy the desires and endless greed of the priests.[488]

3. The testimony of Professor Louis Pierre Eugène Sédillot. Sédillot was a French orientalist, a European scholar, and French politician who wrote a book entitled: ‘Histoire des Arabes [The History of the Arabs]’ which was translated into Arabic by Ali Basha Mubarak – may Allah have mercy upon him –. After recalling the merits of the Arab peoples, he wrote in the introduction: "And when Muhammad came, he tightened the bonds and united the various tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, directing them to a common goal. Thus, their standing increased to the point that their empire extended from the River Tagus – which runs through Spain and Portugal – to the Ganges – the largest river in India. They carried the torch of civilisation in the East and in the West, whilst Europe, who were plunged into the darkness of the Middle Ages, seemed to have completely forgotten the traditions of Greeks and Romans.

The Abbasids in Baghdad; the Umayyads in Cordoba; and the Fatimids in Cairo all strove for scientific advancement and the development of the various knowledge branches before their Mamluk sultanates broke up and lost their political powers. Thus, they focussed on their religious influence which continued to be felt throughout their realms. The Christians of Spain borrowed from them their knowledge, their industry, and their discoveries which resulted in their expulsion; just as the Turks and the Mongols who defeated the Asian sultanates in Asia benefitted from the knowledge of those they conquered.”[489]

4. Testimony of the orientalist Professor Reinhart Dozy. Dozy said: “If, as the priests claimed, Muhammad was a false prophet, an imposter, how do we explain his victories? How did his adherents achieve innumerable conquests? How is this not indicative of the miracles of this Messenger? The Christians used to believe that disgrace of the Muslims would be achieved by a near miracle, as they had heard of the miracles of the Church occurring for the smallest of reasons. In vain, they awaited a miracle that would save the Christian lands from the conquests of the Muslims. There had been actual miracles, however, miracles greater than those of all the saints together: a previously unknown people had suddenly announced themselves to the world, conquering the largest countries one after the other; but far from testifying against the doctrine which he preached, they testified for it. If the apostasy of Christians must be attributed in part to self-interest and the desire to escape a humiliating situation, it is positive that many of them embraced Islam through personal conviction and true faith.”[490]

5. Testimony of the French poet Lamartine: Professor Muhammad Kurd Ali writes in his book of memoirs ‘al-Mudhakkirat’: “The most recent writings evoking the life of the Arab Prophet and analysing his eminent work I have read come from the great French poet Lamartine who said: “Never has a man consciously or unconsciously had divine intentions as this is something superhuman: to undermine superstitions interposed between the creature and the Creator; to render God to man and man to God; and to restore the rational idea of ​​worshipping a single God amid this chaos of twisted material idolatry.

Never has a man accomplished in such a short period of time such an immense and lasting revolution in this world, since less than two centuries after his preaching, Islam – through preaching and through use of arms – reigned over the three Arabian landmasses, calling to the worship of a Allah alone throughout Persia, Khorasan, Transoxiana, Western India, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia, all the known continent of northern Africa, several islands of the Mediterranean, Spain and part of the Gaul (France).

If the greatness of the goal, the smallness of the means, and the immensity of the result are the three measures of the genius of a man. Who, then, will dare to compare any human to Muhammad? The most famous people have merely navigated armies, laid down laws, and founded empires which often collapsed after their passing.

As for Muhammad: he wiped out armies; laid down legislation; established empires; reconciled between nations; founded countries; and united millions of men over a third of the inhabited globe. Moreover, he stirred ideas, beliefs, and souls. He came with a book of which every letter became law, a spiritual nationality inclusive of peoples of all languages ​​and all races. He set an indelible, distinguishing trait for the character of this Muslim nationality; he called to the abolishment of all fabricated gods and called to the belief in Allah – the One – alone. Intellectual, orator, caller, legislator, warrior, intelligent, reviver of imageless worship, founder of twenty earthly empires and a single spiritual empire – that was Muhammad. Every scale where human greatness is measured, who was greater than him?”[491]

The foregoing are some examples of the countless testimonies in this regard.[492]

Prologue

Believing in the unseen is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the believers; they believe in all that the Messengers of Allah transmit and inform of.

Existence is not limited to material things. Believing only what they physically sense and experience, atheists reject the existence of all else. Not only do they negate the unseen matters, they also deny that which the Messengers came with and the books revealed to them.

This false claim is belied by religion, reasoning and experience because things other than those perceived by the senses exist as truthful news the most eminent of which is: whatever Allah and His Messengers inform us of, since that contains an explanation of everything. Indeed, if we compare the knowledge acquired through perception to the knowledge brought by the Messengers, it would be like a drop of water in an immense sea.

There are also things that people believe without being able to see them – take the soul as an example. The soul is not something perceptible to the senses, but if it were to leave the body an inanimate object is all that would remain. Does one therefore question its existence on the pretext that it is not perceptible to the senses? Likewise, electricity: who has already seen it with their eyes? We only see its effect. Is it easier to believe in the existence of electricity than to believe in Allah who created it amongst all that He created in this vast universe?

Ironically, atheists contradict their restriction of belief to only what is perceived by the senses or experienced physically by firstly affirming a set of theories and experiments, and then leaving them for more recent findings which contradict the initial.[493]

Amongst his refutations of the atheists Shaikh Abdur-Rahman as-Sa’di – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "When atheists are asked why they reject what Allah and His Messenger tells us about the unseen, they say: because it is not proven by our sciences that rely on sense perception and experimentation.

The following arguments are to be made against them: Assuming what you say is true, the means of obtaining conviction are numerous – most of which escape your perceptions as they are deficient even by your own admission. Indeed, you claim that your senses perceive certain terrestrial truths – but even these truths, you confess to not knowing them fully. You do not stop researching and performing experiments which sometimes succeed but fail most of the time. If this is their condition regarding the earthly truths which all human beings perceive to differing degrees, how then can you reject the existence of celestial or unseen worlds? Even worse, how can you deny the attributes of the Lord and His greatness when your sciences do not tell you anything about Him? All those of intellect are unanimous in considering these rejections as illegitimate and merely out of arrogance.”[494]

That being said, some elements of the belief in the unseen have been mentioned under the section on the pillars of faith, further discussion of which shall follow in the coming sections.

 Part Four : Regarding the Knowledge of the Unseen

Prologue

Chapter One: The World of the Jinn and Devils

Chapter Two: Death, the Afterlife, and the Grave

Chapter Three: The Signs of the Last Hour

 Chapter One : The World of the Jinn and Devils

Section One: Defining the World of the Jinn

Section Two: The Purpose of the Creation of the Jinn; their Abodes; their Abilities and their Death

Section Three: Satan & the Son of Adam

Section Four: The Enmity between the Human Being & Satan

Section Five: The Underlying Wisdom Behind the Creation of Satan

Section One: Defining the World of the Jinn and Devils

Firstly: the meaning of the word ‘Jinn’: Ibn Manthur – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The Arabic verb root form ‘janna yajunnuhu jannann’ means: to conceal.”[495]

In order to clarify the meaning of the word Jinn we can say: the world of the Jinn is different to that of humans and angels. Like humans, they are endowed with intellect; the ability to reason; a conscience and a free will. However, they differ from humans in some ways such as their origin.

They are called Jinns because of their invisibility, just as Allah described them in His saying:

[إِنَّهُۥ يَرَىٰكُمۡ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُۥ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا تَرَوۡنَهُمۡۗ]

Sura al-A’raf; (7):27

[Meaning: Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them.][496]

Secondly: the origin of the Jinn: Allah – the Exalted and Most High – informs us that the Jinn were created from fire in the following verses:

[وَٱلۡجَآنَّ خَلَقۡنَٰهُ مِن قَبۡلُ مِن نَّارِ ٱلسَّمُومِ]

Sura al-Hijr; (15):27

[Meaning: And the Jinn We created before from scorching fire.]

Similarly, in Chapter 55, Allah says:

[وَخَلَقَ ٱلۡجَآنَّ مِن مَّارِجٖ مِّن نَّارٖ]

Sura ar-Rahman; (55):15

[Meaning: And He created the Jinn from a smokeless flame of fire.]

Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Ikrimah, Mujahid, al-Hasan and others say regarding Allah’s saying:

[مَّارِجٖ مِّن نَّارٖ]

 [Meaning: smokeless flame of fire.]

‘The end of a flame’; and in another narration: ‘The best and purest of flames.’[497]

an-Nawawi says in his commentary on Muslim's collection of hadiths: “The word maarij means a flame mixed with the blackness of the fire.”[498]

In a hadith reported by Muslim Aisha narrates that the Prophet  said: “The angels were created from light, the Jinn of a smokeless flame and Adam of what was described to you.”[499][500]

 Thirdly: The creation of the Jinn: the Jinn were created before human beings as Allah has informed us in His saying:

[وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ مِن صَلۡصَٰلٖ مِّنۡ حَمَإٖ مَّسۡنُونٖ ٢٦ وَٱلۡجَآنَّ خَلَقۡنَٰهُ مِن قَبۡلُ مِن نَّارِ ٱلسَّمُومِ]

Sura al-Hijr; (15):26

[Meaning: And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud. And the Jinn We created before from scorching fire.]

These verses show that the jinn were created before human beings.[501]

Fourthly: the meaning of the term ‘Satan (Shaytan)’: Ibn Manthur – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “It is said: ‘Shaytan (Satan) follows the verb form of ‘fay’aal’ from the trilateral [Arabic] verb ‘Sha-ta-na’ i.e. to be far removed. This is if we consider the letter ‘noon’ is part of the root, as the plural ‘Shayatin (devils)’ suggests. The word ‘Shaytan (Satan) is well-known and refers to any arrogant and rebellious being whether it be a Jinn, a human being, or an animal.”[502]

He later adds: “It is also said: the term ‘Shaytan (Satan)’ follows the verb form of ‘fa’laan’ from the trilateral verb root of ‘Shaa-ta, ya-shee-tu’ i.e. if something were to be destroyed and burnt.

Judge Abu Ya’laa – may Allah have mercy upon him – says about this word: "The ‘Shayatin’ are the rebellious and evil Jinn. It is also said: ‘marid (rebellious)’ and ‘shaytan (devil)’ can be used interchangeably to designate a demon."[503]

Fifthly: Satan and the Jinn: Satan whom Allah has informed us of throughout the Quran belongs to the world of the Jinn. He used to worship Allah; he lived in the Heavens with the angels; and he entered Paradise. But when his Lord commanded him to bow down to Adam, he refused to obey due to arrogance and pride. Thus, Allah distanced him from His mercy.

As we have seen, the Arabic word ‘Shaytan’ is used to refer to all rebellious and arrogant beings, and this is exactly how Satan behaved towards his Lord.

Satan has also been called ‘Tâghût (tyrant)’ in the Quran:

[ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ يُقَٰتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُقَٰتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱلطَّٰغُوتِ فَقَٰتِلُوٓاْ أَوۡلِيَآءَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِۖ إِنَّ كَيۡدَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):76

[Meaning: Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of the ‘Taghut [tyrant]’. So fight against the allies of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.]

He was called this because he overstepped his limits, rebelled against his Lord, and claimed the status of a deity worthy of worship.

Due to him despairing in Allah's mercy, Allah also called him Satan. In Arabic, the word ‘balas’ refers to the one who does not have any good in him and the verb ‘ublisa’ means to despair and be in a state of bewilderment. A group of scholars from amongst the pious predecessors mention that before his disobedience to Allah, Satan was called ‘Azazil, but Allah alone knows how true this is.[504]

Sixthly: Satan is a created being: Whoever reads the verses of the Quran and the Prophetic traditions that mention the devil will know that he is indeed a created being that comprehends, understands and moves. The ignorant people believe that he is a metaphor representing the evil, animalistic impulses of humans that distance them from their spiritual ideals.[505]

Seventhly: the origin of Satan: Satan belongs to the world of the Jinn as has already been mentioned, although this is a matter that the scholars of the past and present have differed regarding. They use the following verse as evidence for their opinion:

[وَإِذۡ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ ٱسۡجُدُواْ لِأٓدَمَ فَسَجَدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِبۡلِيسَ أَبَىٰ وَٱسۡتَكۡبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):34

[And mention when We said to the angels: “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for Satan. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.]

In the likes of these verses Satan is mentioned as an exception to the angels; and the exception ordinarily belongs to the group from which it is being distinguished.

However, this argument is not convincing as it is possible that it is a disconnected exception in which where both the antecedent and consequent clause are heterogeneous [i.e. not of the same category]. Rather this is indeed the case because Allah explicitly mentions that Satan is from the Jinn in His saying:

[وَإِذۡ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ ٱسۡجُدُواْ لِأٓدَمَ فَسَجَدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِبۡلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنۡ أَمۡرِ رَبِّهِۦٓۗ] Sura al-Kahf; (18):50

[Meaning: And mention when We said to the angels: "Prostrate to Adam" and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the Jinn; and he disobeyed the command of his Lord.]

The verifiers from amongst the scholars are of the opinion that Satan is from the Jinn. It is established by way of textual evidence that the Jinn are beings different from angels and mankind. The Prophet  said: “The angels were created from light, the Jinn of a smokeless flame and Adam of what has been described to you.”[506]

al-Hasan al-Basri said: “Satan has never been an angel even for the blink of an eye.”[507]

Ibn Taymiyyah’s analysis of this matter led him to conclude: “Satan was the same as the angels in appearance, however he was different to them in origin and did not follow their example.”[508]

Eighthly: Denying the existence of the world of Jinn and devils and a refutation of those who do so: Some people completely reject the existence of the Jinn, while some polytheists claim that the Jinn are the spirits of stars.

A group of philosophers are of the opinion that the Jinn are in fact evil impulses that occur within the human soul while the angels are representative of good impulses within humans.[509]

For some modernists, Jinn are simply bacteria and microbes discovered by the modern world. There are many other theories on this subject as invalid as the others.

The argument brought by those who deny the existence of the Jinn is that they have no evidence of their existence. However, this is not a valid argument, and it is shameful for a sensible person to reject something for the simple reason that it does not know of it. It is because of this attitude that Allah reproached the unbelievers in His saying:

[بَلۡ كَذَّبُواْ بِمَا لَمۡ يُحِيطُواْ بِعِلۡمِهِۦ] Sura Yunus; (10):39

[Meaning: Rather, they have denied that which they encompass not in knowledge.]

These modern inventions that it is impossible for anyone to reject – would it have been acceptable for a person who lived hundreds of years ago to deny the possibility of them occurring if he were informed of such by someone truthful? Does the fact we cannot hear the waves that fill the air mean they did not exist until the radio was invented and could receive them so that we could hear them?

Could it have been thought a few centuries ago that one day it would be possible to speak to someone while seeing them from the other side of the world?

The truth, then, is that the world of the Jinn is a world different to that of humans or angels, and that the Jinn are beings endowed with intellect and conscience. They are not apparitions or microbes; rather they are responsible beings whom have been commanded with certain matters and forbidden from others.[510]

This is proved by – among other things –: unanimous agreement of the community of Muhammad. Ibn Taymiyyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – says: "No Muslim sect rejects the existence of the Jinn, nor do they deny that Allah sent Muhammad to them as a Messenger. The majority of the disbelievers also affirm their existence.

As for the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and Christians), they believe in the existence of the Jinn just as the Muslims do; and even if a small minority do reject this belief, they are comparable in this matter to some of the Jahmites and the Mu’tazilites who claim to be Muslim while rejecting the existence of the Jinn, although most of the followers of these sects and their imams acknowledge this.

This is because the existence of the Jinn was something continuously mentioned and taught by the prophets such that it became essential knowledge. We know they are living beings, endowed with intellect, possessing a free will and that they are commanded with certain matters just as they are prohibited from others. They are not merely representations for human attributes or states as is claimed by some atheists.

Since the existence of the Jinn is something firmly established by the continuous teaching of the prophets throughout the ages, and because it is something known by scholars and laymen alike, then it is not possible for any sect that ascribes themselves to the noble prophets to deny them.”[511]

Ibn Taymiyyah also said: "All Muslim sects acknowledge the existence of the Jinn as do a large majority of disbelievers, such as: most of the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and Christians); majority of the Arab and Hamitic polytheists; a large majority of the Canaanites, Greeks and descendants of Japheth. The overwhelming majority of the followers of all religions therefore recognize the existence of the Jinn.”[512]

Moreover, the existence of the Jinn is established by many verses of the Quran, such as the saying of Allah:

[قُلۡ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ أَنَّهُ ٱسۡتَمَعَ نَفَرٞ مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ]Sura al-Jinn; (72):1

[Meaning: Say: "It has been revealed to me that a group of the Jinn listened.”]

And His saying:

[وَأَنَّهُۥ كَانَ رِجَالٞ مِّنَ ٱلۡإِنسِ يَعُوذُونَ بِرِجَالٖ مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ فَزَادُوهُمۡ رَهَقٗا]

Sura al-Jinn; (72):6

[Meaning: And there were men from mankind who sought refuge in men from the Jinn, so they only increased them in burden.]

There is so much textual evidence in this regard that due to its fame and sheer volume spares us their mention.[513]

Section Two: The Purpose for the Creation of the Jinn; their Abodes; their Abilities; and their Death

Firstly: The Death of the Devils and their Lifespans: There is no doubt that the Jinn – including the devils – die; as they enter under the generality of Allah’s saying:

[كُلُّ مَنۡ عَلَيۡهَا فَانٖ ٢٦ وَيَبۡقَىٰ وَجۡهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو ٱلۡجَلَٰلِ وَٱلۡإِكۡرَامِ ٢٧ فَبِأَيِّ ءَالَآءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ] Sura ar-Rahman; (55):26-8

[Meaning: Everyone upon it (i.e. the earth) shall perish. And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honour. So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?]

It has been reported by Ibn ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – that the Prophet  used to say: “I seek refuge with You through Your Power; there is none worthy of worship except You alone; the One Who never dies, whereas human beings and the Jinn die.”[514]

As for their lifespans, then we do not know except what Allah has informed us regarding Satan – that he shall remain alive until the Hour is established. Allah – the Exalted and Most High – says regarding him:

[قَالَ أَنظِرۡنِيٓ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ يُبۡعَثُونَ ١٤قَالَ إِنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُنظَرِينَ]Sura al-A’raf; (7):14-5

[Meaning: He said, “Then give me respite until a day when all will be resurrected.” (Allah) said: "You are of those allowed respite.”]

As for other than him, then we do not know their lifespans.[515]

Secondly: the dwelling places of the Jinn: the Jinn live upon this earth just like us, congregating in ruins, deserted lands, and unclean places such as: toilets; animal pens; dumps; cemeteries and the like of these places – all of which are abodes for devils.[516]

The Prophetic traditions forbid us from praying in toilets; due to the impurities found there and the fact devils reside there. We are also forbidden from praying in cemeteries as it can lead to polytheism.

Jinns also often gather in places where it is easy to cause corruption, such as marketplaces. The Companion of the Prophet Salman al-Farisi advised one of his friends: “Try not to be the first person to enter the marketplace, nor the last one to depart from it, as it is the battlefield of the devils and it is there he raises his banner.”[517]

Devils also spend the night in houses occupied by humans but can be driven out by mentioning Allah’s name; making remembrance of Him; and recital of the Quran, especially Chapter 2 and Ayatul-Kursi (Verse 255 ‘the verse of the Throne’) more specifically. The Messenger of Allah  informed us that the devils come out in number and spread out from the onset of darkness.

The devils flee upon hearing the call to prayer and cannot bear to hear it; and in Ramadan they are fettered.[518]

Thirdly: the abilities of the Jinn: Allah endowed the Jinn with abilities that He did not give to humans just as He informed us of some of their abilities; such as swift movement and travel. An afreet from among the Jinn promised Prophet Solomon that he would bring the throne of the Queen of Sheba (Yemen) back to Jerusalem before he rose from his seat.

Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – said regarding this:

[قَالَ عِفۡرِيتٞ مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ أَنَا۠ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِۦ قَبۡلَ أَن تَقُومَ مِن مَّقَامِكَۖ وَإِنِّي عَلَيۡهِ لَقَوِيٌّ أَمِينٞ ٣٩ قَالَ ٱلَّذِي عِندَهُۥ عِلۡمٞ مِّنَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ أَنَا۠ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِۦ قَبۡلَ أَن يَرۡتَدَّ إِلَيۡكَ طَرۡفُكَۚ فَلَمَّا رَءَاهُ مُسۡتَقِرًّا عِندَهُۥ قَالَ هَٰذَا مِن فَضۡلِ رَبِّي...]

Sura an-Naml; (27):39-40

[Meaning: A powerful one from among the Jinn said, "I will bring it to you before you rise from your place, and indeed, I am for this task strong and trustworthy.” One who had knowledge of the Scripture said: "I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you." And when Solomon saw it placed before him he said: “This is from the favour of my Lord.”]

Fourthly: the purpose of the creation of the Jinn: Allah created Jinn for the same purpose that he created mankind:

[وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ]Sura adh-Dhariyat; (51):56

[Meaning: And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me alone.]

Based on this, the Jinn are required to carry out certain commands and refrain from certain prohibitions. If they comply Allah will be pleased with them and enter them into Paradise, and if they disobey and rebel then for them is the Fire – as is indicated by many textual evidences.

On the Day of Resurrection Allah will rebuke and admonish the disbelieving Jinn and humans by saying:

[يَٰمَعۡشَرَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِ أَلَمۡ يَأۡتِكُمۡ رُسُلٞ مِّنكُمۡ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ ءَايَٰتِي وَيُنذِرُونَكُمۡ لِقَآءَ يَوۡمِكُمۡ هَٰذَاۚ قَالُواْ شَهِدۡنَا عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِنَاۖ وَغَرَّتۡهُمُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَشَهِدُواْ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمۡ أَنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ كَٰفِرِينَ] Sura al-An’am; (6):130

[Meaning: O you assembly of jinns and mankind! "Did not there come to you Messengers from amongst you, reciting unto you My Verses and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" They will say: "We bear witness against ourselves." It was the life of this world that deceived them. And they will bear witness against themselves that they were disbelievers.]

The aforementioned verses serve as proof that Allah’s Legislation has reached the Jinn, and that they were sent warners and tellers.

The proof that they will be punished in Hellfire is the saying of Allah – the Almighty –:

[قَالَ ٱدۡخُلُواْ فِيٓ أُمَمٖ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِن قَبۡلِكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِ فِي ٱلنَّارِۖ]

Sura al-A’raf; (7):38

[Meaning: Allah will say: "Enter you in the company of nations who passed away before you, of men and Jinns, into the Fire.”]

And He said:

[وَلَقَدۡ ذَرَأۡنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرٗا مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِۖ]Sura al-A’raf; (7):179

[Meaning: And surely, We have created many of the Jinns and mankind for Hell.]

And He said:

[لَأَمۡلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنَ ٱلۡجِنَّةِ وَٱلنَّاسِ أَجۡمَعِينَ] Sura as-Sajdah; (32):13

[Meaning: “I will surely fill Hell with Jinn and people altogether.]

The proof that the believing Jinn will enter Paradise is the saying of Allah – the Almighty –:

[وَلِمَنۡ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِۦ جَنَّتَانِ ٤٦ فَبِأَيِّ ءَالَآءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ]

Sura ar-Rahman; (55):46-7

[Meaning: But for he who fears the standing before his Lord are two gardens. Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (i.e. Jinn and men) deny?]

The address is to the Jinn and mankind alike as the beginning of the chapter addresses them both. Allah will confer the favour of entering the believing Jinn into Paradise, and were it not for the fact they would be granted such then Allah would not have promised them it through His grace.[519]

Section Three: Satan & the Son of Adam

Satan can influence the sons of Adam, and the devil associates with some humans that submit themselves to him and obey him in disobedience to Allah.

With others, though, he has conflicting and antagonistic relations. What follows is a mention of some of the matters concerning the relationship between the sons of Adam and Satan.

Firstly: Satan flows through the human body just as blood does: there occurs a narration in the Sahihayn (the hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Anas that he said: the Messenger of Allah  said: “Satan circulates in the human body like blood.”[520]

There is another narration that also occurs in the two canonical collections of prophetic traditions, Al-Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Safiyyah bint Huyayy, the wife of the Prophet , that she said: “I came to visit the Prophet  one night while he was in a state of seclusion inside the mosque. After having talked to him, I got up to return. The Prophet  also got up with me and accompanied me for part of the way, as she lived in the house of Usama bin Zayd. At that moment two men from the Ansar passed by. When they saw the Prophet  they quickened their pace. The Prophet  said to them: “Do not hurry. She is Safiyyah, the daughter of Huyayy.” They said: “Allah is free from all imperfections! O Messenger of Allah! [i.e. you are far removed from suspicions] The Messenger of Allah  said: “Satan circulates in a person as blood does through the veins. I apprehended lest Satan should place some evil thoughts into your hearts.” Or he said: “Something.”[521]

Secondly: the strengths and weaknesses of Satan: Satan tries to influence the sons of Adam to lead them astray. This is something Allah has enabled them to do through His wisdom and comprehensive, universal decree.

Despite this, the influence of Satan varies based on the strength of a person’s faith and their vigilance. Thus, if a person had strong faith and was vigilant, the influence of Satan over him would be weak; and vice versa. We know then, that the devils have strengths and weaknesses just as Allah informed us in His saying:

[إِنَّ كَيۡدَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا] Sura an-Nisa·; (4):76

[Meaning: Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.]

Allah – the Exalted – did not give Satan the ability to compel or force people against their will into misguidance and disbelief. Allah says:

[إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيۡسَ لَكَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ سُلۡطَٰنٞۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِرَبِّكَ وَكِيلٗا]Sura al-Israa; (17):65

[Meaning: Indeed, over My [believing] servants there is for you no authority. And sufficient is your Lord as a guardian.]

And He said:

[وَمَا كَانَ لَهُۥ عَلَيۡهِم مِّن سُلۡطَٰنٍ إِلَّا لِنَعۡلَمَ مَن يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ مِمَّنۡ هُوَ مِنۡهَا فِي شَكّٖۗ]  Sura Saba; (31):21

[Meaning: And he had no authority over them, except that We might test him, who believes in the Hereafter from him who is in doubt about it.]

This means that Satan cannot overcome them as he does not possess convincing evidence, nor does he have a power of his own, but rather through deception and the embellishment of sin.

Satan himself is aware of this reality, just as Allah says:

[قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَآ أَغۡوَيۡتَنِي لَأُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَأُغۡوِيَنَّهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ ٣٩ إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنۡهُمُ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ]Sura al-Hijr; (15):39-40

[Meaning: Satan said: "O my Lord! Because you misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them on the earth, and I shall mislead them all. Except Your chosen, guided slaves among them.]

His influence is thus exercised on those who voluntarily submit to his deception, just as Allah says:

[قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَآ أَغۡوَيۡتَنِي لَأُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَأُغۡوِيَنَّهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ ٣٩ إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنۡهُمُ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ]Sura al-Hijr; (15):42

[Meaning: Indeed, My servants - no authority will you have over them, except those who follow you of the deviators.]

On the Day of Resurrection Satan will say to His followers whom he led astray to destruction:

[وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيۡكُم مِّن سُلۡطَٰنٍ إِلَّآ أَن دَعَوۡتُكُمۡ فَٱسۡتَجَبۡتُمۡ لِيۖ]Sura Ibrahim; (14):22

[Meaning: But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me.]

In another verse Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – clarifies that the influence of Satan is over those whom ally themselves with him:

[إِنَّمَا سُلۡطَٰنُهُۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوۡنَهُۥ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم بِهِۦ مُشۡرِكُونَ]

Sura an-Nahl; (16):100

[Meaning: His power is only over those who take him as an ally and those who through him associate others with Allah.][522]

The power given to Satan is his ability to deceive, mislead, and influence humans. He incites them doggedly to disbelief and polytheism, just as Allah – the Almighty says:

[أَلَمۡ تَرَ أَنَّآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا ٱلشَّيَٰطِينَ عَلَى ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ تَؤُزُّهُمۡ أَزّٗا]

 Sura Maryam; (19):83

[Meaning: Do you not see that We have sent the devils upon the disbelievers, inciting them to evil with constant incitement.]

‘Inciting them’ means: to stir them; to instigate them; to bother them greatly.

It is Satan’s allies who are blameworthy and at fault for answering his call just because it coincides with their passions and desires. They are the ones who help him against themselves and allow their enemy to overpower them by following him and agreeing with him. As a punishment for them, when they surrender themselves to him, he is given a grip over them.

Allah does not let Satan have any power over a servant of His, until they allow him to dominate them by their obedience of him and by committing polytheism. Only then will Allah allow him to control and subdue them.

It is also possible that Satan is able to overcome believers because of their sins. Allah informs us in the Quran about a person whom He showed His signs to until became aware of them. However, he disregarded them, so Allah caused Satan to overcome him, such that he deceived and misled him. Allah made him into an eternal example and his story is mentioned in the Quran:

[وَٱتۡلُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ نَبَأَ ٱلَّذِيٓ ءَاتَيۡنَٰهُ ءَايَٰتِنَا فَٱنسَلَخَ مِنۡهَا فَأَتۡبَعَهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ فَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡغَاوِينَ ١٧٥ وَلَوۡ شِئۡنَا لَرَفَعۡنَٰهُ بِهَا وَلَٰكِنَّهُۥٓ أَخۡلَدَ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَىٰهُۚ فَمَثَلُهُۥ كَمَثَلِ ٱلۡكَلۡبِ إِن تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَيۡهِ يَلۡهَثۡ أَوۡ تَتۡرُكۡهُ يَلۡهَثۚ ذَّٰلِكَ مَثَلُ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِ‍َٔايَٰتِنَاۚ فَٱقۡصُصِ ٱلۡقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ]Sura al-A’raf; (7):175-6

[Meaning: And recite to them, the news of him to whom we gave knowledge of Our signs, but he detached himself from them; so Satan pursued him, and he became of the deviators. And if We had willed, we could have elevated him thereby, but he adhered instead to the earth and followed his own desires. So, his example is like that of the dog: if you chase him, he pants, or if you leave him, he still pants. That is the example of the people who denied Our signs. Relate the stories so that perhaps they will give thought.]

It is clear that this parable refers to those who know the truth but reject it, like those who know Muhammad  was sent by his Lord but they still disbelieve.

This category of people – those who are shown Allah’s signs, yet they disbelieve – are a group of people in grave danger, bearing some resemblance to Satan, as Satan himself disbelieved after knowing the truth.[523]

On the other hand – if a servant is well-grounded in Islam, and faith is rooted in his heart and he adheres to the limits set by Allah – then Satan is fearful of him and flees from him. The Messenger  said to Umar bin al-Khattab: “Indeed Satan is afraid of you, O Umar!”[524]

In another narration reported by the authentic collection of al-Bukhari, on the authority of Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Messenger of Allah  said to Umar bin al-Khattab: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul! Satan does not see you taking a path except that he takes a path other than yours.”[525]

This merit is not something unique to Umar alone. Whoever is strong in faith dominates his devil and humiliates him, as is indicated by a narration referenced by Imam Ahmad: “The believer wears his devil out just as one of you wears his camel out upon a journey.”[526]

Ibn Kathir – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: ‘Wears his devil out’ meaning he weakens and enfeebles it due to his humiliation of it, making it his prisoner under his control and dominance.”[527]

In a variant narration it mentions the term: ‘Seizes his devil’s forelock’ which means: he takes hold of its forelock, overpowering and subduing it – just as is done with a camel when it is recaptured after escaping.[528]

Section Four: The Enmity between the Human Being & Satan

Firstly: the origins of this enmity and its history: The hostility between humans and Satan is old and deep-rooted, going back to the day that Allah formed Adam – before the soul was blown into him. Satan circled him, as is mentioned by the narration that occurs in the authentic collection of Muslim on the authority of Anas that the Messenger of Allah  said: “When Allah fashioned Adam in Paradise, He left him for as long as He wished to leave him. Then Satan circled him to see what he was. When he saw that he was hollow, he knew that he had been created with a disposition such that he would not have control over himself.”[529]

Then when Allah breathed the soul into Adam, He commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam. Satan was also included in this command as he used to worship Allah along with the angels of the Heavens. However, he was arrogant and haughty, and refused to prostrate to Adam. Allah says:

[قَالَ أَنَا۠ خَيۡرٞ مِّنۡهُ خَلَقۡتَنِي مِن نَّارٖ وَخَلَقۡتَهُۥ مِن طِينٖ]Sura al-A’raf; (7):12

[Meaning: Satan said: "I am better than him; You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.]

Upon opening his eyes, our father Adam found before him the greatest honour; he saw the angels prostrating to him. He also saw a clear enemy who threatened him with destruction and misguidance.

Allah expelled Satan from the Eternal Gardens of Paradise due to his pride and was granted a reprieve until the Day of Resurrection. Allah says:

[قَالَ أَنظِرۡنِيٓ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ يُبۡعَثُونَ ١٤ قَالَ إِنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُنظَرِينَ]Sura al-A’raf; (7):14-15

[Meaning: He said: "Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up.” Allah said: "You are of those allowed respite.”]

The accursed then made a commitment to himself to mislead the descendants of Adam, just as Allah informs us in His saying:

[قَالَ فَبِمَآ أَغۡوَيۡتَنِي لَأَقۡعُدَنَّ لَهُمۡ صِرَٰطَكَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ ١٦ ثُمَّ لَأٓتِيَنَّهُم مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ وَعَنۡ أَيۡمَٰنِهِمۡ وَعَن شَمَآئِلِهِمۡۖ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ شَٰكِرِينَ] Sura al-A’raf; (7):14-5

[Meaning: Satan said: "Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful to You.]

These words are indicative of Satan’s diligence in leading the descendants of Adam astray. He comes to him from every direction: from the right and from the left, from in front and from behind; from every angle possible.”[530]

Secondly: The warning given to us by Allah against Satan: The Quran contains plentiful warnings against Satan due to the greatness of his trial, his proficiency in misguiding, his determination and doggedness in doing so.

Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – said:

[يَٰبَنِيٓ ءَادَمَ لَا يَفۡتِنَنَّكُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ]Sura al-A’raf; (7):27

[Meaning: O children of Adam! Let not Satan tempt you.]

And He said:

[إِنَّ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنَ لَكُمۡ عَدُوّٞ فَٱتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّاۚ] Sura Fatir; (35):6

[Meaning: Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy.]

And His saying:

[وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنَ وَلِيّٗا مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ فَقَدۡ خَسِرَ خُسۡرَانٗا مُّبِينٗا]

Sura an-Nisa·; (4):119

[Meaning: And whoever takes Satan as an ally instead of Allah has certainly sustained a clear loss.]

Satan’s enmity will not diminish or disappear because he considers Adam to be responsible for his curse, banishment, and expulsion from Paradise. He believes he must therefore take revenge on Adam and his progeny. Allah says:

[قَالَ أَرَءَيۡتَكَ هَٰذَا ٱلَّذِي كَرَّمۡتَ عَلَيَّ لَئِنۡ أَخَّرۡتَنِ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ لَأَحۡتَنِكَنَّ ذُرِّيَّتَهُۥٓ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا]  Sura al-Isra; (17):62

[Meaning: Satan said: "Do You see this one whom You have honoured above me? If You give me respite until the Day of Resurrection, I will surely destroy his descendants, except for a few.]

Thirdly: Satan’s ultimate goal: Satan’s ultimate goal is to cause all of mankind to enter Hellfire and ensure they not enter Paradise.

If he is not able to do so, he tries to achieve what is lesser than that. His goal – in origin – is to cause servants to fall into polytheism and disbelief; but if he does not succeed, he makes them commit sins of lesser severity. Thus, he sows discord among them, dissuades them from obeying Allah, corrupts their acts of obedience, makes them fear poverty and incessantly encourages them to commit reprehensible and wicked acts. Whenever they obey him, he strives to make them commit an even more serious sin. He does not cease from doing so until he gets them to the lowest depths possible.

Fourthly: Satan’s army: Satan leads the war against humankind and has soldiers from amongst the Jinn. Every person is accompanied by a Jinn who never leaves him, as is indicated by the narration of Aisha reported by Muslim in which she narrates: ‘The Messenger of Allah left her house one night. She said: “I felt jealous.” When the Prophet returned, he saw how I was [i.e. the state I was in]. He said: “What is up with you, O Aisha? Did you feel jealous?” I said: “How can it be that a woman like me should not feel jealous with regards to a husband like you?” He said: “It was your devil who came to you.” I said: “O Messenger of Allah! Is there a devil with me?” He said: “Yes.” I said: “Even with you O Messenger of Allah?!” He said: “Yes, but my Lord helped me against him until he aslam.”[531]

The last word of the narration is subject to interpretation depending on the vowel ending. It is said the ‘aslama’ means: the devil became Muslim, in which case the verb is past tense. Alternatively, it could be read: ‘aslamu’ which means ‘so that I am safe from his evil’. Based on this interpretation the verb would be present tense.[532]

Satan also has human soldiers who follow his path, just as Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَوۡلِيَآؤُهُمُ ٱلطَّٰغُوتُ يُخۡرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ ٱلنُّورِ إِلَى ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِۗ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلنَّارِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):257

[Meaning: And those who disbelieve - their allies are the Taghut (Satan and the false deities). They take them out of the light into darkness. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.][533]

Fifthly: Satan’s schemes to mislead mankind: Satan does not come to a person directly, saying: ‘Forsake good and commit evil so that you are miserable in this life and the next’. If he were that direct, then nobody would obey him.

Rather he uses various means through which he misguides, such as: embellishing falsehood; giving illicit matters enticing names; playing on the human tendency to either be lax or excessive; discouraging the servants from action; encouraging procrastination and laziness; making false promises and giving people false hopes – all in order that he causes them to fall into misguidance. Allah says:

[يَعِدُهُمۡ وَيُمَنِّيهِمۡۖ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا]Sura an-Nisa·; (4):110

[Meaning: Satan promises them and arouses desire in them. But Satan promises are merely deceptions.]

In misguiding mankind, Satan has other schemes which he uses, such as: gradually misleading them; making them forget what is good for them and will lead to their success; and by making them fear his allies. He comes to a person via the things they love, and he exploits their weaknesses, such as sickness, desire, anger; despair; ignorance; heedlessness; stinginess; their love of women; joy; depression; and similar matters.

Sixthly: Satan’s method in reaching the heart of a human being: Satan uses whispering, by way of which he is able to reach a person’s mind and heart. We do not know the manner in which he does so, but his nature and creation aid him in doing so. This is known as ‘waswasah (whispering)’; and Allah names him in the Quran:

[ٱلۡوَسۡوَاسِ ٱلۡخَنَّاسِ٤ ٱلَّذِي يُوَسۡوِسُ فِي صُدُورِ ٱلنَّاسِ]Sura an-Nas; (114):4-5

[Meaning: The retreating whisperer who whispers into the breasts of mankind.]

Satan watches the heart of the sons of Adam attentively; when he forgets and is heedless then he whispers to him, and when he remembers Allah he withdraws.

It is authentically established in the two authentic collections of hadith that the Messenger  said: “Satan circulates in the human body like blood flows through veins.”[534]

A person can feel inside themselves the effects of this whispering which lures and tempts them to commit sin while making them forget about the consequences.

Due to this whispering Satan caused Adam to slip up and err by eating from the tree. Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – says:

[فَوَسۡوَسَ إِلَيۡهِ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ قَالَ يَٰٓـَٔادَمُ هَلۡ أَدُلُّكَ عَلَىٰ شَجَرَةِ ٱلۡخُلۡدِ وَمُلۡكٖ لَّا يَبۡلَىٰ]

Ta-Ha; (20):120

[Meaning: Then Satan whispered to him; he said: "O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and to a kingdom that will not perish.”[535]

Seventhly: The Believer’s armoury against Satan: Despite the severe enmity of Satan, his extraordinary plot, and his determination to mislead mankind, he can be repelled and made to withdraw such that he returns to being humiliated and submissive. This is the case when a believer takes the means to protect himself from the accursed devil, for example: being vigilant and taking precaution; adhering to the Quran and the way of the Prophet ; sincerely seeking refuge in Allah – the Exalted and Most High – from the evil of Satan; constantly making remembrance of Allah; having knowledge of Satan’s schemes and plots; increasing in beneficial knowledge; hastening to repent and seek Allah’s forgiveness; and other than that from the means which help to banish Satan.[536]

Section Five: The Underlying Wisdom Behind the Creation of Satan

Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – created Satan who is the source of the corruption that feeds all the corruption in this world – be it regarding religion, belief, desires or doubts. He is also the cause of the misery of the servants of Allah, and of them carrying out that which angers Allah. Allah created him due to many great wisdoms, such as:

1. The ability of Allah – the Exalted –  to create opposing and conflicting things becomes apparent to His servants: Allah created this being – Satan – who is the vilest of beings and the reason behind every evil, just as He created the angel Gabriel who is from the most noble and purest of beings; the source of all good. Exalted is He Who created them both, just as he created night and day; hot and cold; water and fire; medicine and disease; life and death; and beauty and ugliness. It is thus that the beauty of all things is made apparent by the contrast of its opposite.

This ability is the best proof of the perfection of His ability, might, dominion and power. He created all these opposites in contrast to each other, making them battle each other. He does with them as He pleases and arranges them as He wishes. If one of these opposites were to disappear altogether from the universe, it would contradict His wisdom and the perfect disposition and arrangement of His kingdom.

2. By way of Satan, Allah perfects the levels of servitude for His allies. This is due to their striving against Satan and his party; and by angering him through their obedience to Allah; seeking Allah’s refuge from him and turning to Allah in order that He saves them from him and his plot. Thus, they gain benefits in this world and in the Hereafter in ways that would not have been possible otherwise.

Furthermore, loving Allah; turning to Him; relying upon Him; having patience, being content, and other than that are from the most beloved forms of servitude to Allah. We can only achieve these virtues by striving and giving up our souls in the way of Allah, and by giving precedence to the love of Him over all else. The creation of Satan was a cause for the existence of these matters.[537]

3. Tribulation is achieved: Satan was created to serve as a touchstone for the creation, in order that good and evil are distinguished. Allah created the human race from clay which can either be good or bad, thus He makes the substance of each person known to the rest of them.[538]

4. Allah makes manifest the effects of His Names, their necessary implications, and what is linked to them. From Allah’s names is: ‘ar-Raafi’ (the Uplifter)’; ‘al-Khaafidh (the Abaser)’; ‘al-Mu’izz (the Honourer)’; ‘al-Muthill (the Humiliator); ‘al-Hakam (the Judge); ‘al-Adl (the Just).[539]

These names have implications which make manifest their rulings. Thus, the creation of Satan was a cause for the manifestation of the effects of these Names. If all of creation were obedient and believing, the effects of these names would not be apparent.

5. Exposing the good and evil aspects of human nature: Human nature is made up of good and evil aspects like a bullet whose dormant fire power is waiting to be released by a simple pull on the trigger. Satan was created to expose the nature of evil people by translating their inclinations into action, just as the messengers were sent to manifest the nature of good people by translating their inclinations into action. Allah, the Most Just of Judges, makes manifest the latent good or evil in an individual in order to give rise to reward or punishment. In this way, Allah’s wisdom is manifested, and His judgement shall be passed as it relates to each of the two groups; just as that which He eternally knew will occur.[540]

6. The manifestation of many of Allah’s signs and miracles: Many signs and miracles have become apparent due to the presence of evil and disbelief in the souls of the unbelieving, oppressive peoples; such as: the deluge, the wind, the destruction of the nations of Thamud and Lot, the fire which was cool and safe for Abraham, the miracles performed by Moses, and other than that.

If the disbelief of the disbelievers and the denial of the deniers had not been decreed, then all these wonderous miracles – which have and shall continue to be reported for generations –would not have taken place.

As for the fact that Allah gave Satan a respite until the Day of Resurrection, it is not out of honour for him – on the contrary – it is a dishonour so that his sins accumulate and in turn his punishment is greater and more severe. In addition to this, Allah made him a touchstone for good and evil – as has preceded – so until the Day of Resurrection and for as long as mankind and creation remain, mankind’s existence necessitates the existence of Satan, and Allah knows best.[541]


 Chapter Two : Death, the Afterlife, and the Grave

Section One: Death; the Afterlife; the Grave and it’s Trial

Section Two: The Bliss and Punishment of the Grave

Section Three: A Refutation of those who Deny the Bliss and Punishment of the Grave

Section One: Death; the Afterlife; the Grave and its Trial

Firstly: Death

1. The definition of death: Death is the opposite of life.

Al-Qurtubi defined death by saying: "Scholars say that death is not absolute nothingness or complete disappearance. Rather it is only the end of the union between the body and the soul and their separation. It is therefore a change of state, and transition from one residence to another.”[542]

2. Death occurs suddenly: Al-Qurtubi – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The community of Muhammad  are unanimous in their agreement that here is no fixed age for death; that death can occur at any time; and that it does not necessarily occur due to illness. This is so a person is always in a state of readiness and must always be prepared for such.[543]

Secondly: The Afterlife

1. The linguistic definition of the afterlife (barzakh): the Arabic term barzakh means: a barrier between two things.

Allah – the Almighty – said:

[وَجَعَلَ بَيۡنَهُمَا بَرۡزَخٗا] Sura al-Furqan; (25):53

[Meaning: And He placed between them a barrier (barzakh).] i.e. a partition.

2. The technical definition of the afterlife (barzakh): It is the state that follows death and ends at resurrection.

Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَمِن وَرَآئِهِم بَرۡزَخٌ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ يُبۡعَثُونَ]Sura al-Mu·minun; (23):100

[Meaning: And behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected.]

Mujahid said: It is [the life] between death and resurrection.

It was said to ash-Sha’bi: ‘Such and such has died.’ He said: “He is no longer of this world, nor is he in the Hereafter.”[544]

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: "The afterlife (barzakh) is the intermediary life between the life of this world and the hereafter. The people therein overlook both this world and the afterlife.”[545]

Thirdly: The Grave and its Trial

1. The definition of the grave: The grave (Qabr) is the place where humans are buried; its plural is ‘graves (Qubur)’. A cemetery is called ‘maqbarah’ or ‘muqbarah’ and is a place where graves are located. Similarly, ‘maqbar’ means: the location of a grave.[546]

2. The trial of the grave: The word trial ‘fitnah’ has many meanings, including: a test or examination, just as Allah says:

[لِنَفۡتِنَهُمۡ فِيهِۚ]Sura Ta-Ha; (20):131

[Meaning: That we may test them thereby.]

It can also mean polytheism, just as Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَقَٰتِلُوهُمۡ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتۡنَةٞ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):193

[Meaning: And fight them until there is no more worshipping of others along with Allah (fitnah).]

It can also mean burning and punishing with fire, as occurs in the saying of Allah:

[إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ فَتَنُواْ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَٰتِ ثُمَّ لَمۡ يَتُوبُواْ]Sura al-Buruj; (85):10

[Meaning: Verily, those who put into trial the believing men and believing women by torturing them and burning them, and then do not repent.]

The trial of the grave refers to: the three questions posed by the two angels to the deceased after their burial regarding their Lord, their religion, and their prophet.

3. A description of the trial of the grave: After the burial, the soul of the deceased returns to the body and is asked three questions: ‘Who is your Lord? What is your religion? Who is your prophet?’

The believer will answer by saying: ‘My Lord is Allah; my religion is Islam; and my prophet is Muhammad.

Allah will cause the wrong-doers to go astray, such that a disbeliever will say: ‘Uh, uh… I do not know.’

Similarly, the hypocrites and the doubters will say: ‘I do not know. I heard the people say something, so I repeated it.

A description of the trial of the grave occurs in numerous Prophetic traditions, such as the famous narration of al-Bara bin ‘Aazib – may Allah be pleased with him – who said: ‘We were accompanying a funeral procession in the cemetery of Baqi’ al-Gharqad when the Messenger of Allah  came to us and sat down. We sat around him while the grave was being prepared. You would have thought that birds were upon our heads from our silence, then he said thrice: "I seek Allah’s refuge from the trial of the grave.”

Regarding the believing servant it mentions: “So his soul is returned to his body, and two angels shall come to him, sit him up, and ask him: “Who is your Lord?” He will answer: “My Lord is Allah.” They will then ask him: “What is your religion?” He will reply: “My religion is Islam.” They will then ask him: “Who is this man that was sent among you?” He will reply: “He is the Messenger of Allah.” They will then ask him: “How did you come to know of this?” He will say: “I read the Book of Allah, believed in it, and attested to it.” Then a caller will call out from the Heavens, saying: “My servant has spoken the truth, so lay out bedding for him from Paradise, and open a door to Paradise for him.”

In stark contrast, describing the situation of the disbeliever it mentions: “Two angels shall come to him, sit him up, and say to him: “Who is your Lord?” He will reply: “Uh, uh… I do not know.” They will then ask him: “What is your religion?” He will say: “Uh, uh… I do not know.” They will then ask him: “Who is this man that was sent among you?” He will say: “Uh, uh… I do not know.” Then a caller will call out from the Heavens, saying: “He has lied! Lay out bedding for him from the Fire and open a door to the Fire for him. It’s heat and poison will reach him, and his grave will constrict to the extent that his ribs intertwine.”[547]

4. A description of the two angels and their names: A description of the two angels entrusted with the questioning of the grave are mentioned in some narrations, as well as their names.

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: “When the deceased - or he said when one of you - is buried, two black angels with blue eyes come to him. One of them is called al-Munkar, and the other an-Nakir.”[548]

5. Are the previous nations tested in their graves or is the trial of the grave something specific to this nation? Some of the scholars are of the opinion that the previous nations are not tested in their graves because they did not accept the call of their messengers, so their punishments were hastened [i.e. in this world]. However – they say – the punishment of this nation has been suspended as the Messenger was sent to fight those who disbelieved with the sword. Thus, whoever enters Islam purely out of fear of being killed and then apostates shall be punished in his grave.

This opinion is debatable; what is more authentic is: the previous nations are tested in their graves; following which they are rewarded or punished.

Evidence to support this saying is found in the saying of Allah regarding the people of the Pharaoh:

[ٱلنَّارُ يُعۡرَضُونَ عَلَيۡهَا غُدُوّٗا وَعَشِيّٗاۚ وَيَوۡمَ تَقُومُ ٱلسَّاعَةُ أَدۡخِلُوٓاْ ءَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ أَشَدَّ ٱلۡعَذَابِ] Sura Ghafir; (40):46

[Meaning: The Fire, they are exposed to it morning and evening. And the Day the Hour is established it shall be said: “Make the people of Pharaoh enter the severest punishment.”]

Muslim reports in his authentic collection of hadith a narration on the authority of ‘Urwah bin az-Zubayr that his maternal aunt, Aisha – may Allah be pleased with her –, said: “The Messenger of Allah  entered upon me while a Jewess was in my presence. She said: ‘Do you know that you will be tested in your graves?’ Aisha said: The Messenger of Allah  trembled upon hearing this and said: “Rather it Is the Jews who are tested.”

Aisha said: ‘Some nights passed before the Messenger of Allah  said: “Do you know that it has been revealed to me: we shall be tested in our graves.”

Aisha said: “Thereafter I used to hear the Messenger of Allah  seeking Allah’s refuge from the punishment of the grave.”

After mentioning the difference of opinion regarding the matter, Ibn Al-Qayyim comments by saying: “It appears – and Allah knows best – that every nation will be questioned regarding their prophet in this way and they shall have the proof established against them after which they shall be punished in their graves, just as they will be punished in the Hereafter after being questioned and having the proof established against them. And Allah – the Exalted and Most High – knows best.”[549]

6. Are the disbelievers tested in their graves? What is most correct is that they will be tested in their graves, as the test in the grave is something general encompassing disbelievers and believers alike. The narrations mentioning the answer of the disbelievers and hypocrites as being ‘Uh, uh… I do not know’ has preceded.

7. Are infants tested in their graves? There are two scholarly opinions pertaining to this matter:

(a) There are those who say: They are tested; based on the fact the funeral prayer is performed over them and because Allah is asked on their behalf to save them from the trial and punishment of the grave.

(b) There are also those who say: They are not tested; as the test in the grave is something specific to those who are able to comprehend who the Messenger and his sender are. Only then are they asked if they believed in the Messenger and obeyed him or not. As for an infant who is not able to discern – on what basis would they be questioned?[550]

The writings of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim show that they are inclined to the first opinion, as we will see in the following paragraphs.

8. Will the non-responsible people be tested? The scholars are of various opinions regarding this matter:

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The Prophetic narrations regarding the test of the grave conveyed by narrators are so numerous that it is not conceivable that they could have agreed upon a lie and are therefore accepted as unquestionable in their veracity; such as the narrations of al-Baraa bin ‘Aazib, Anas bin Malik, Abu Hurayrah, and others – may Allah be pleased with them all.

This is as it relates to every responsible person, except for the prophets whom there is a difference of opinion regarding. Similarly, there is a difference of opinion concerning the non-responsible people; such as children and the insane. Some argue that they will be tried, while others – such as the Judge [Abu Ya’laa] and Ibn Aqil – are of the opinion that they will not be tried as trials are something specific to discerning, responsible people. Based on this opinion they are not to be tried after death.

It is also said: they are to be tried after death, just as they are tested. This was the opinion of Abu Hakim, Abul-Hasan bin Abdoos who related it as being the saying of his companions. This opinion is concurrent with the opinion of those who say: ‘They will be encharged and made responsible on the Day of Resurrection’ as is the view of the majority of the people of knowledge, and the Sunnite jurists and scholars of hadith. Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari mentioned it as being the saying of the Sunnites, and he adopted it as his opinion. Imam Ahmad’s writings indicate he was also of this opinion.[551]

Ibn Taymiyyah said in another place after mentioning similar speech to the foregoing, following a mention of the evidences of those who say non-responsible people will be tested: “Those of the first opinion use as evidence the narration reported in al-Muwatta on the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that he prayed over an infant who had never committed a single sin, saying: “O Allah! Save him from the torment of the grave, and the test of the grave.” This indicates that he is tested.

Furthermore, this opinion is based on the fact that the children of the disbelievers who are not responsible in this world will be encharged and made responsible in the Hereafter as is mentioned by numerous narrations.

This is also the saying that Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari mentioned as being the opinion of the Sunnite scholars. The sayings of the illustrious imams – such as Imam Ahmad – show they withheld from having an opinion regarding the deceased children of the disbelievers. They base this on the narration in which the Prophet  was asked regarding them to which he replied: “Allah knows best what they would have done (were they to live).”

It is authentically established in Sahih al-Bukhari that among them are those who enter Paradise. It is also authentically established in Sahih Muslim that the boy al-Khadir killed was a disbeliever by his very nature.

Just as it is possible for infants to be afflicted with happiness or misery in this world in the same way as the rest of human beings, there is nothing to prevent them being tested in their graves.

However, this does not mean that we can say individually regarding each child born to believing parents they will be in Paradise, because even though we know that in general, it is possible an infant may be a hypocrite among true believers – and Allah knows best.”[552]

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “As for the narration[553] of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – then what is intended by the torment of the grave is not that an infant is punished for neglecting an obligatory duty or for committing a sin, as Allah does not punish anyone for a sin they have not committed.

Rather what could be meant by the torment of the grave here is: the pain a deceased person feels due to the actions of other people, even if it is not a penalty for something which they did themselves.

For example, the saying of the Prophet : “The dead are tormented due to the weeping of their families for them.” This means they feel pain and suffer due to that, not that they are chastised due to the sins of the living. Allah says:

[وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٞ وِزۡرَ أُخۡرَىٰۚ] Sura al-An’am; (6):164

[Meaning: And no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another.]

This verse is similar to the saying of the Prophet : “Travelling is a form of torment.”

From this we can deduce that torment is broader and more general than punishment.

There is no doubt that a grave contains pain, worry and regret which it is possible the child may be affected and hurt Thus it is prescribed for a person praying the funeral prayer to ask Allah – the Almighty – on his behalf to save him from such torment. And Allah knows best.”[554]

Section Two: The Bliss and Punishment of the Grave

Firstly: Its definition: The bliss or punishment of the grave is a term used to refer to that which occurs in the afterlife from delight or torment experienced by a person following the questioning in the grave; bliss being granted to the sincere believers and punishment to the wrong-doing hypocrites and disbelievers.

Secondly: The reports regarding the bliss and punishment of the grave are conveyed by narrators so numerous that it is not conceivable that they could have agreed upon a lie and are therefore accepted as unquestionable in their veracity:

The explainer of ‘at-Tahawiyyah’s’ creed wrote: “The Prophetic narrations which establish the bliss and punishment of the grave for those deserved of it are so great in number and conveyed by such a large number of narrators at every level of the chain are so numerous that it is inconceivable they could have agreed upon a lie. It is therefore obligatory to believe and have faith in it.”[555]

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah says: “The Greater Resurrection is something which all Muslims – rather people of all religions – believe in. They hold that the people will be resurrected from their graves just as they believe people shall be rewarded and punished thereafter. Likewise, the reward and punishment in the afterlife – between death and the Hereafter – is the creed of all of the pious predecessors and the Sunnites. The only ones to deny this were a few of the people of innovation.[556]

Thirdly: The bliss and punishment of the grave in the Quran: The bliss and punishment of the grave in the afterlife is mentioned in a number of Quranic verses and there are numerous indications that it indeed occurs.

Similarly, al-Bukhari mentions a chapter heading under the book of funerals entitled: ‘Chapter: The punishment of the grave’. He then mentioned the following verses:

[وَلَوۡ تَرَىٰٓ إِذِ ٱلظَّٰلِمُونَ فِي غَمَرَٰتِ ٱلۡمَوۡتِ وَٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ بَاسِطُوٓاْ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ أَخۡرِجُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمُۖ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ تُجۡزَوۡنَ عَذَابَ ٱلۡهُونِ]Sura al-An’am; (6):93

[Meaning: And if you could but see when the wrong-doers are in the agonies of death, while the angels are stretching forth their hands, saying: “Deliver your souls! This day you shall be recompensed with the torment of degradation.”]

[وَمِمَّنۡ حَوۡلَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡأَعۡرَابِ مُنَٰفِقُونَۖ وَمِنۡ أَهۡلِ ٱلۡمَدِينَةِ مَرَدُواْ عَلَى ٱلنِّفَاقِ لَا تَعۡلَمُهُمۡۖ نَحۡنُ نَعۡلَمُهُمۡۚ سَنُعَذِّبُهُم مَّرَّتَيۡنِ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍ عَظِيمٖ]

Sura at-Tawbah; (9):101

[Meaning: And among the bedouins round about you, some are hypocrites, and so are some among the people of al-Madinah, they exaggerate and persist in hypocrisy. You do not know them, rather We know them. We shall punish them twice, and thereafter they shall be brought back to a great, horrible torment.]

[وَحَاقَ بِ‍َٔالِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ سُوٓءُ ٱلۡعَذَابِ ٤٥ ٱلنَّارُ يُعۡرَضُونَ عَلَيۡهَا غُدُوّٗا وَعَشِيّٗاۚ وَيَوۡمَ تَقُومُ ٱلسَّاعَةُ أَدۡخِلُوٓاْ ءَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ أَشَدَّ ٱلۡعَذَابِ] Sura Ghafir; (40):45-6

[Meaning: And an evil torment encompassed the Pharaoh’s people. The Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and evening, and on the Day when the Hour will be established it will be said to the angels: “Cause the Pharaoh’s people to enter the severest torment!”][557]

The first verse quoted by al-Bukhari refers to the angels inflicting punishment upon the disbelievers at the point of death, while the second verse indicates that the hypocrites undergo two types of torment before the punishment on the Day of Resurrection; the first being that which Allah Himself afflicts them with in the life of this world, or that He causes to occur at the hands of the believers. The second torment is that of the grave, just as al-Hasan al-Basri said: “‘We shall punish them twice’ refers to: the torment of the worldly life and the torment of the grave.”[558]

at-Tabari commented by saying: “What is most likely meant is that one of the two times refers to the punishment of the grave, while the other refers to one of the aforementioned – either hunger, captivity, killing and humiliation, and other than that.”[559]

The third verse serves as clear evidence for the Sunnites who affirm the punishment of the grave, because Allah – the Majestic and Most High – states that the people of Pharaoh will be exposed to it each morning and evening before the Day of Resurrection. Then He – the Mighty and Majestic – followed it with His saying:

[وَيَوۡمَ تَقُومُ ٱلسَّاعَةُ أَدۡخِلُوٓاْ ءَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ أَشَدَّ ٱلۡعَذَابِ]Sura Ghafir; (40):46

[Meaning: And on the Day when the Hour will be established it will be said to the angels: “Cause the Pharaoh’s people to enter the severest torment!”]

al-Qurtubi said: “Majority of the scholars are of the opinion that their exposure is in the afterlife, and it is a proof establishing the punishment of the grave.”[560]

There are verses other than those mentioned which also indicate the bliss and punishment of the grave.[561]

Fourthly: To believe in the punishment of the grave and its bliss without discussing how it occurs: There is nothing in the Islamic legislation that the intellect holds to be impossible, however it is possible that there may be matters difficult to comprehend. The soul will not be returned to the body in the same way that we are aware of in this world. Rather it will occur in a completely different way.[562]

Fifthly: Is the punishment of the grave and its bliss something specific to people buried in graves, or is it inclusive of all dead people? The punishment of the grave and its bliss are inclusive of all dead people – whether they are buried in graves or not. Thus, everyone that dies and is deserving of punishment or reward will receive such, whether they are buried in a grave or not; regardless of their location – be it in the wilderness, or a morgue, – and regardless of the circumstances of their death – whether they had been mauled to death by wild animals, or they had burned to ashes scattered by the wind, or they had been crucified, or drowned, or other than that. Punishment or bliss will reach these peoples the same way it reaches those in the grave.

‘The punishment and bliss of the grave’ is so called because in most cases the deceased are buried in graves and that is the norm.[563]

Sixthly: Is the punishment of the grave and its bliss something experienced by the body or by the soul of a person?

Both a person’s body and soul experience the punishment and bliss within the grave.

Ibn Taymiyyah says regarding this: "The pious predecessors and the eminent imams of this nation are of the opinion that after a person dies, both their body and soul experience either bliss or punishment, such that the soul is perpetually blissful or tormented. They also hold that the soul sometimes returns to the body and that both of them experience bliss or punishment.”[564]

He further states: “Punishment and bliss are experienced by the soul and body together; this is something the Sunnites are in unanimous agreement regarding. The soul experiences torment or bliss independent of the body sometimes, and sometimes it both the body and the soul experience such. In this case, punishment or bliss are experienced by both entities, just as it is possible that the soul alone experiences that.”[565]

Seventhly: Is the punishment of the grave permanent or temporary?

Punishment of the grave is of two categories:

(a) Permanent; as is indicated by the saying of Allah – the Almighty –:

[ٱلنَّارُ يُعۡرَضُونَ عَلَيۡهَا غُدُوّٗا وَعَشِيّٗاۚ وَيَوۡمَ تَقُومُ ٱلسَّاعَةُ أَدۡخِلُوٓاْ ءَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ أَشَدَّ ٱلۡعَذَابِ] Sura Ghafir; (40):46

[Meaning: The Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and evening, and on the Day when the Hour will be established it will be said to the angels: “Cause the Pharaoh’s people to enter the severest torment!”]

Likewise, in the narration of al-Baraa bin ‘Aazib wherein it mentions a description of the condition of the disbeliever in their grave following their questioning, it states: “Then a door to the Hellfire is opened for him, such that he sees his seat within it until the Hour is established.”

A detailed discussion of the foregoing narration has preceded.

(b) Temporary: this type of punishment is experienced by some sinful people who have committed lesser sins. They will then be punished in accordance with the severity of their crimes after which their punishment will be lightened, just like they will be punished in the Fire for a period after which the punishment will cease.

It is also possible that the punishment of the deceased may cease due to supplication, giving alms, or pilgrimages made on behalf of the deceased by their relatives or other people.[566]

Eighthly: The reasons for the punishment of the grave, and how to ensure salvation from it:

Broadly speaking, the punishment of the grave is due to three factors: being ignorant of Allah; neglecting His commands; and performing prohibited matters.

It is possible to ensure salvation from the punishment of the grave by doing the opposite of these.[567]

Section Three: A Refutation of those who Deny the Bliss and Punishment of the Grave

Some deviant atheists, heretics, and those who follow them deny the punishment of the grave; its expansion and its constriction; that it can either be a pit from the pits of Hellfire or a garden from the gardens of Paradise; and the fact that the deceased is made to sit up and placed in a sitting position inside the grave.

Refuting these claims is easy – and all praise is for Allah – as they are false and rejected by the Islamic legislation as well as by perception and logical reasoning.

It is possible to refute the likes of these claims from a number of angles, such as:

1. The punishment of the grave and its bliss are established by textual evidence: Among the textual proofs affirming the punishment of the grave – in addition to those mentioned previously – is the narration of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet  passed by two graves and said: “They are being punished, but they are not being punished for anything great. One of them did not take care in preventing urine from getting on himself, and the other used to walk around talebearing. He then asked for a fresh palm leaf, broke it in half and said: ‘I hope that their punishment will be reduced for them so long as these two do not dry out’.”[568]

2. Whatever occurs in the afterlife is from the world of the unseen and is not perceptible to the human senses: If it were perceptible by the senses then belief in the unseen would be pointless and it would be impossible to distinguish between those who believed in the unseen and between those who refused to believe in it.

3. We know intuitively that the punishment of the grave will take place: A sleeping person may see in a dream that he is in a spacious, pleasant place and feel delighted due to that. Similarly, a person may dream they are in a narrow, eerie place and feel pain due to that. Sometimes a person may wake up due to a nightmare and even feel the imaginary pain despite sleeping quietly in their bedroom.

Sleep is the brother of death, and this is why Allah – the Almighty – calls it ‘wafat (passing)’ in His saying:

[ٱللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى ٱلۡأَنفُسَ حِينَ مَوۡتِهَا وَٱلَّتِي لَمۡ تَمُتۡ فِي مَنَامِهَاۖ فَيُمۡسِكُ ٱلَّتِي قَضَىٰ عَلَيۡهَا ٱلۡمَوۡتَ وَيُرۡسِلُ ٱلۡأُخۡرَىٰٓ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٖ مُّسَمًّىۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَٰتٖ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ] Sura az-Zumar; (39):42

[Meaning: It is Allah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those souls for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who ponder.]

4. Belief in the punishment of the grave is not incompatible with logical reasoning: This is demonstrated in part by the previous point. Additionally, it is possible that a person has a true dream that coincides with reality – such as if a person were to see an accurate description of the Prophet  in their dream, for whoever sees him according to his description has indeed seen him.

This is possible even though a sleeping person is in their room, far away from that which he dreamt.

If it is possible for all of this to take place in this life, how is it not possible for it to occur in the Hereafter?

5. The bliss and the punishment of the grave, as well as its vastness and its narrowness, are things experienced only by the deceased person:

It is possible again to make the analogy with sleep. A person may have a dream that he is in a narrow and eerie place, or in a wide and pleasant place, while we witness him unchanged; merely asleep in his bed.

6. The perception of the creation is limited to that which Allah has allowed them to perceive: Human beings cannot perceive everything. Just as their vision, hearing and physical strengths are limited, so are their intellects. Take as an example the glorification of the seven Heavens, the Earth, and all that they contain. Allah allows whomever He wishes to hear such glorification on particular occasions.

As human beings cannot perceive everything that exists, they are not allowed to deny the existence of the unseen simply because they cannot grasp the concept of it.[569]

 Chapter Three :The Signs of the Hour

Prologue

Section One: The Meaning of the Signs of the Hour

Section Two: The Order and Sequence of the Major Signs of the Hour

Section Three: The Major Signs of the Hour indicative of its Nearness

Section Four: The Signs of the Hour indicative of its Imminence

Prologue

Firstly: General fundamental principles regarding the Hour

1. The Hour is undoubtedly approaching, just as Allah says:

[إِنَّ ٱلسَّاعَةَ ءَاتِيَةٌ] Sura Ta-Ha; (20):15

[Meaning: Verily, the Hour is coming.]

2. The Hour is near, just as Allah – the Almighty – says:

[ٱقۡتَرَبَتِ ٱلسَّاعَةُ وَٱنشَقَّ ٱلۡقَمَرُ] Sura al-Qamar; (54):1

[Meaning: The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has cleft asunder.]

3. No one knows when the Hour will occur except Allah. He – the Almighty – said:

[يَسۡ‍َٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلسَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ مُرۡسَىٰهَاۖ قُلۡ إِنَّمَا عِلۡمُهَا عِندَ رَبِّيۖ لَا يُجَلِّيهَا لِوَقۡتِهَآ إِلَّا هُوَۚ] Sura al-A’raf; (7):187

[Meaning: They ask you (O Muhammad), about the Hour: when is its arrival? Say, "Its knowledge is only with my Lord. None can reveal its time but He.]

4. The Hour is from the knowledge of the unseen and believing in it constitutes part of having belief in the unseen.

5. It is not permissible to attempt to determine when the Hour will occur.

6. The Hour has signs which indicate its nearness and advent.

Secondly: The correct stance to be had in relation to the signs of the Hour:

We must believe in what the texts mention regarding the Hour, just as we must not overburden ourselves by seeking to explain them in light of current affairs.

Rather we leave reality to explain their meaning. In other words, their occurrence as mentioned by the texts of the Islamic legislation is what explains them. This ensures that we do not try and guess the unseen or peruse that which we have no knowledge of.

By adopting this stance, we are guaranteed safety and success, and in doing so, we adhere to the way of the pious predecessors who believed in such texts and transmitted them to us accurately and truthfully, without introducing personal opinion or conjecture in applying them or in determining their chronological order.

Similarly, in doing so, we are saved from what some people have fallen into – namely: they attempt to relate the texts of the legislation regarding the end of the world and the signs of the Last Hour to the modern world, basing occurrences on textual evidence. This has resulted in many great tragedies and much transgression.

In summary: we must believe in the textual evidences in relation to this matter without explaining them in light of present occurrences.[570]

Thirdly: Believing in the signs of the Hour does not mean we are idle and leave off taking the means:

The signs of the Last Hour are part of Allah’s comprehensive, universal will, and we are commanded by the Islamic legislation to fulfil our religious duties such as: obeying Allah; striving in His cause; seeking knowledge; calling to Him; enjoining the good and forbidding the evil and enduring any difficulties encountered in doing any of the aforementioned.

This is the correct methodology – contrary to what some ignorant, jobless people foolishly claim: that the appearance of signs such as the coming of the Mahdi or the descent of Jesus – peace be upon him – are the start of laziness and inactivity.

Rather the texts indicate that such signs signal the beginning of conquest, fighting, and exertion for the cause of making triumphant the word of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic.[571]

Section One: The Meaning of the Signs of the Hour

Although Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – has not informed His servants the precise time the Hour will occur, He informed them of its signs which indicate its nearness. He called them ‘Ashrat as-Sa’ah (Signs of the Hour)

[فَهَلۡ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا ٱلسَّاعَةَ أَن تَأۡتِيَهُم بَغۡتَةٗۖ فَقَدۡ جَآءَ أَشۡرَاطُهَاۚ فَأَنَّىٰ لَهُمۡ إِذَا جَآءَتۡهُمۡ ذِكۡرَىٰهُمۡ] Sura Muhammad; (47):18

[Meaning: Do they then await anything other than the Hour, that it should come upon them suddenly? But some of its signs have already come, and when it actually is upon them, then what good to them, when it has come, will be their reminder?]

What follows is a mention of some matters pertaining to these signs.

Firstly: Defining the term ‘Ashrat (signs)’: The word ‘Ashrat (signs)’ is plural and comes from the root ‘sha-ra-ta’.

Ibn Faris – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The [Arabic] letters ‘Sheen’, ‘Raa’, and ‘Taa’ form a root which means: a mark or indication, and the like.”[572]

Ibn Manthur – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The word ‘Sha-rat (sign)’ means: an indication; the plural of which is ‘Ashrat (signs)’.”[573]

Secondly: Defining the term ‘as-Sa’ah (the Hour)’:

1. The linguistic definition of the term ‘as-Sa’ah (the Hour): The origin of the word ‘Sa’ah (hour)’ comes from the root ‘Sa-wa-‘a (time).’[574]

The word ‘Sa’ah (hour)’ has various meanings – all of which revolve around time, a measure of it, or the present moment.

al-Qurtubi – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “‘as-Sa’ah (the Hour)’ is a term used to describe an indefinite period of time.

Customarily it is a basic division of time and refers to one out of twenty-four parts of a day.

The Arabs say: ‘I will do such-and-such this hour’ and ‘This hour I am doing such-and-such’ to designate the present or immediate future.

The definite article ‘as-Sa’ah (the hour)’ actually refers to the present moment and is synonymous with the word ‘al-Aan (now)’.”[575]

The technical definition of the word ‘as-Sa’ah (the Hour): It is the time when the Resurrection will occur.[576]

Thirdly: Why is the Hour so-called? Either due to its imminence, as every future event is near in the grand scheme of things; or due to the swiftness of the reckoning on that day; or due to the suddenness of its advent; or due to the speed which the souls will re-join their respective bodies on that day; and other reasons are also mentioned.[577]

Fourthly: Defining the term ‘Signs of the Hour’: They are its portents and indications that foretell its coming, and indicate its nearness and imminence, and signal the end of this worldly life.[578]

Fifthly: The categories of ‘as-Sa’ah (the Hour)’:

1. The Minor Hour, which is the death of an individual. Whoever dies has entered into the afterlife and his Hour has been established.

2. The Intermediate Hour, which is the death of a generation.

3. The Major Hour, which is when the people will be resurrected from their graves before being judged and recompensed. [579]

Sixthly: What is meant when the term ‘as-Sa’ah (the Hour)’ appears in the Quran?

It refers to the Major Hour.[580]

Seventhly: The signs of the Hour can be categorised into two groups:

1. Minor signs: These signs long precede the Hour and are ordinary occurrences; such as: the death of the scholars; the appearance of ignorance; the consumption of alcohol; competing to build lofty structures, and the like. It is possible that some minor signs may accompany major signs.

2. Major signs: These are great, extraordinary events that occur near to the time of the Hour; such as: the appearance of the Antichrist; the descent of Jesus; the emergence of Gog and Magog; and the rising of the Sun from the West.[581]

Eighthly: Why are we informed of the Signs of the Hour and what is the wisdom behind their occurrence prior to the Hour?

al-Qurtubi – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The wisdom behind the signs occurring prior to the Hour and the people being informed of such is: to awaken the people from their heedlessness and encourage them to repent and turn to Allah before it is too late. They must act appropriately by renouncing this worldly life and preparing for the Hour promised to them. And Allah knows best.”[582]

Section Two: The Order and Sequence of the Major Signs of the Hour

Firstly: The order of the Major Signs of the Hour:

The Prophetic narrations that mention the major signs of the Hour enumerate them in an unordered fashion; and the fact they are mentioned in a particular order does not necessitate that such is their actual chronological order. We know this is the case because the conjunction ‘waw (and)’ – which does not connote chronology – is used. Moreover, their order differs between the various narrations.[583]

Here are some narrations that list the Major Signs of the Hour, either exhaustively or partially.

Imam Muslim reports in his Sahih (authentic collection of hadith) a narration on the authority of Hudayfah bin Usayd al-Ghifari that he said: Allah's Messenger came to us while we were in discussion. He said: What are you discussing? They said. “We are discussing the Last Hour.” Thereupon he said: “It will not come until you see ten signs beforehand.” He then mentioned the smoke; the Antichrist; the Beast; the rising of the sun from the west; the descent of Jesus the son of Mary – peace be upon him –; Gog and Magog; and three cataclysms[584]: one in the east, one in the west and one in the Arabian Peninsula – following which a great fire shall appear in Yemen and drive the people to the place of their assembly.[585]

Similarly, Muslim reports the same narration with a variant wording, on the authority of Abu Sarihah, Hudayfah bin Usayd that he said: ‘The Prophet  was in a room and we were beneath him, he looked upon us and said to us: “What are you discussing?” We said: “The Hour.” Thereupon he said: “The Hour shall not occur until ten signs appear: a cataclysm in the East, a cataclysm in the West, and a cataclysm in the Arabian Peninsula, the smoke, the Antichrist, the beast of the earth, Gog and Magog, the rising of the sun from the west and the great fire which shall originate from the lower part of Aden, driving the people out.”

In another narration he mentioned the tenth sign as being the descent of Jesus the son of Mary.

In yet another narration it mentions: the blowing of a violent gale which will blow the people into the ocean.[586]

Muslim also reports a narration on the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Messenger of Allah  said: “Hasten to do good deeds before six things happen: the rising of the sun from the west; or the smoke; or the Antichrist, or the beast; or that which will happen to each of you individually [i.e. death]; or the general affair [i.e. the establishment of the Hour].”[587]

In a variant narration it states: “Hasten to do good deeds before six things happen: the Antichrist, the smoke, the beast of the earth, the rising of the sun from the west, the general affair that concerns everyone [i.e. the establishment of the Hour], and that which is specific to each of you [i.e. death].”[588]

There also occurs a narration on the authority of Abdullah bin Amr – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: I memorised a hadith from the Messenger of Allah which I have not yet forgotten: I heard the Messenger of Allah  saying: “The first sign to appear will be the rising of the sun from the west and the emergence of the beast before the people at (the time of) forenoon. Whichever of these two happens first, the second one shall follow immediately after that.[589]

It is able to deduce from these narrations that some of the signs are ordered and shall appear after others, due to the fact they are separated by the conjunction ‘or’ in one narration, whereas in the other, the conjunction ‘and’ is used. However, neither of these conjunctions connote chronology.[590]

Due to this reason, the scholars of Islam differed regarding the exact order of the Signs of the Hour. Ibn Hajar – may Allah have mercy upon him – reconciled between the narrations stating the Antichrist as the first sign and the narrations mentioning the rising of the sun from the west as the first sign by saying: “That which appears to be most correct when analysing all of the narrations is: the first major sign causing upheaval on most of the earth is the emergence of the Antichrist. This upheaval shall end with the death of Jesus – peace be upon him.

As for the sun rising from the west then that is the first major sign causing upheaval in the celestial world, and this upheaval shall end with the onset of the Hour.

It is also possible that the emergence of the beast occurs on the same day that the sun rises from the west.”

He went on to say: “The wisdom behind that is: when the sun rises from the west, the door to repentance is closed. Then the beast emerges in order to distinguish the believers from the disbelievers and thus the wisdom in closing the door to repentance is achieved.

The first sign announcing the imminence of the Hour is the great fire which drives the people to their place of gathering.”[591]

at-Teebi – may Allah have mercy upon him – says: “The Signs are indicative of the Hour – either of its proximity or of its imminence.

Signs indicative of its proximity include: The Antichrist, the descent of Jesus, Gog and Magog, and the cataclysms.

Signs which indicate its imminence include: the smoke, the rising of the sun from the west, the emergence of the Beast, and the great fire which gathers the people.”[592]

This is a good and precise categorisation which we shall follow in the next section when discussing the Major Signs of the Hour in further detail.

Secondly: The successive appearance of the Major Signs of the Hour:

Regardless of the chronological order in which the Signs will occur, one must know that when the first of them appears, the rest will follow in quick succession – almost without a break, just like the beads in a necklace when it breaks.[593]

at-Tabarani reports in ‘al-Awsat’ a narration on the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: “The signs shall appear one after the other like the beads on a string follow one another (when the string is cut).”[594]

Imam Ahmad reports a narration on the authority of Abdullah bin Amr who said: The Messenger of Allah  said: “The Signs are like beads on a string. When the thread is cut, they fall one after another.”[595]

What is apparent – and Allah knows best – is that the signs in question are the Major Signs of the Hour. These narrations indicate that they will occur extremely close to each other in time.[596]

Ibn Hajr – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “It is authentically established in a narration reported by Ahmad that the Major Signs are like a necklace – which, when it breaks the beads fall quickly [one after the other].”[597]

Section Three: The Major Signs of the Hour indicative of its Nearness

The Appearance of the Antichrist

Firstly: Defining the term ‘the Antichrist’: He is the false Messiah who will emerge at the end of time and will test the people with the signs and miracles he will be granted; such as: bringing down rain, reviving dead land by bringing forth vegetation, and the like.

Secondly: A description of the Antichrist: The Antichrist is a human being who is described by various Prophetic narrations so that people are aware of him and so they are warned from his evil. Thus, when he emerges the believers will recognise him and will not be confused by him. Rather they will be acquainted with his reality.

His traits distinguish him from the rest of humans, and therefore only the ignorant people doomed to wretchedness are fooled by him.

Some of his attributes are: He is a young man with reddish complexion; he is short, bow-legged, curly-haired, wide-necked and has a broad forehead. He is blind in his right eye which is neither prominent nor sunken and will look like a floating grape. His left eye is covered by a thick piece of flesh, and written between his eyes the letters ‘Kaaf, Faa, Raa (disbelief)’ will be written either separately or altogether as ‘Kafir (disbeliever)’ which every Muslim will be able to read, literate and illiterate alike. Another of his attributes is that he will be sterile and will be unable to reproduce.

These are some of his attributes as mentioned by various narrations.[598]

Thirdly: The place from which he will emerge: The Antichrist will emerge from Khorasan in the East, among the Jews of Isfahan.

Fourthly: The speed with which he travels throughout the Earth: After the appearance of the Antichrist, he will travel throughout the whole world, not leaving a single place except for Makkah and Madinah which he will not be able to enter as they are guarded by angels.

Fifthly: The claims of the Antichrist: The Antichrist will initially claim prophethood, after which he will claim lordship and the right to be worshipped.

Sixthly: His goal: The Antichrist will seek to put people to trial and divert them from their religion. He shall call the people to believe that he is the Lord worthy of worship because of the signs and miracles he will perform.

Seventhly: The magnitude of the trial of the Antichrist: The trial of the Antichrist will be the severest of all trials and tribulations ever to occur – from the creation of Adam until the establishment of the Hour. This is due to the great miracles Allah will enable him to perform which will cause amazement and bewilderment.

It is authentically reported that he has with him a paradise and a hell, however his paradise is a hell and his hell is a paradise. He will also have rivers of water and mountains of bread at his disposal. When he commands the sky to rain, it will rain, and when he commands the Earth to sprout, it will sprout.

It is also reported that the treasures of the Earth will follow him and that he will travel at great speed – as fast as wind-driven rain; that both animals and inanimate objects will obey him; that he will kill a young man before resurrecting him; as well as performing other miracles authentically established in various narrations.

It is for this reason that all of the prophets warned their peoples against the trial of the Antichrist in general, and our Prophet  was the most severe in warning against him in particular.

There occurs in Sahih Muslim a narration on the authority of Imran bin Husayn – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah  saying: “From the time of the creation of Adam until the Hour begins, there will not be a bigger creation than the Antichrist.”[599]

Sahih al-Bukhari reports a narration on the authority of Anas – may Allah be pleased with him – “There has not been a Prophet except that he warned his nation of that one-eyed liar. Indeed, he is blind in one eye, however your Lord is not blind. On his forehead there will be written: ‘Kafir (disbeliever)’.”[600]

Eighthly: The duration of his presence on the Earth: The Antichrist will remain on Earth for forty days: the first day will be as long as a year, the second day will be as long as a month, the third day will be as long as a week, and the rest of the days will be as long as the days that we know. According to the days we are accustomed with, this corresponds to a total duration of fourteen months and about fourteen days approximately.

In a narration of an-Nawwas bin Sam’an – may Allah be pleased with him – the Companions questioned the Prophet  regarding the Antichrist, asking: ‘O Messenger of Allah! How long will he stay on the earth?’ He  said: “For forty days: one day will be like a year, and one day like a month, and one day like a week, and the rest of the days would be like your days.”[601]

Ninthly: The death of the Antichrist: The death of the Antichrist will occur at the hands of Jesus the son of Mary – peace be upon him – as is indicated by authentic narrations.

After his appearance, the Antichrist will travel the entire Earth except for Makkah or Madinah. He will gain many followers and his trial will become widespread such that only a minority of the believers will be saved.

At this point Jesus – peace be upon him – will descend from Heaven and land on the minaret in the east of Damascus. The believing servants of Allah will gather around Jesus who will lead them to the Antichrist while he is on his way to Jerusalem.

Jesus will intercept the Antichrist at the Gate of Lud and upon seeing him, the Antichrist will begin to melt like salt in water. Jesus – peace be upon him – will then say to him: “I must deliver you a blow which you shall not escape.” He will then catch the Antichrist and kill him with a spear. The followers of the Antichrist will flee, pursued by the believers who will kill them. The trees and the rocks will say: ‘O Muslim! O servant of Allah! There is a Jew behind me, so kill him!’ Only the boxthorn tree will not do so, as it is from the trees of the Jews.”[602]

The Descent of Jesus the Son of Mary – peace be upon him – at the End of Time

It has already been mentioned that from the Major Signs of the Hour is the descent of Jesus the son of Mary – peace be upon him. The following is a more detailed discussion regarding the event of his coming.

Firstly: The description of Jesus – peace be upon him: The authentic narrations inform us that he is a man of average height: neither tall nor short. He has a reddish complexion as if he had just come out of a bathroom, a sturdy build, a wide chest and long, straight hair that falls between his shoulders.[603]

Secondly: The recurrent mention of Jesus’ descent from Heaven by the authentic texts: It is possible to conclude from the texts mentioning Jesus – peace be upon him – that he shall certainly descend. The evidences in this regard are conveyed by so many narrators that it is not conceivable that they could have agreed upon a lie and are therefore accepted as unquestionable in their veracity. Thus, disbelieving in them constitutes disbelieving in the Messenger .

Rather it is tantamount to disbelieving in the Noble Quran which indicates the descent of Jesus – peace be upon him.[604]

Some of the evidences proving his coming descent have preceded. Further proof occurs in the saying of Allah – the Almighty:

[وَلَمَّا ضُرِبَ ٱبۡنُ مَرۡيَمَ مَثَلًا إِذَا قَوۡمُكَ مِنۡهُ يَصِدُّونَ]Sura az-Zukhruf; (43):57

[Meaning: And when the son of Mary was presented as an example, immediately your people laughed aloud.]

Until His saying:

[وَإِنَّهُۥ لَعِلۡمٞ لِّلسَّاعَةِ فَلَا تَمۡتَرُنَّ بِهَا وَٱتَّبِعُونِۚ هَٰذَا صِرَٰطٞ مُّسۡتَقِيم]

Sura az-Zukhruf; (43):57

[Meaning: And indeed, he shall be knowledge for the coming of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is the straight path.]

i.e. the descent of Jesus – peace be upon him – before the Day of Resurrection is a sign of the proximity of the Hour.

According to another mode of recital, the same verse reads:

[وَإِنَّهُۥ لَعِلۡمٞ لِّلسَّاعَةِ] [Meaning: And indeed, he shall be a sign for the coming of the Hour.]

i.e. An indication and a signal for the coming of the Hour. This was mode of recital of Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, and other scholars of exegesis.[605]

Imam Ahmad reports a narration with a chain to Ibn Abbas – may Allah be pleased with both of them – regarding the explanation of the foregoing verse:

[وَإِنَّهُۥ لَعِلۡمٞ لِّلسَّاعَةِ]

[Meaning: And indeed, he shall be a sign for the coming of the Hour.]

He said: “It refers to the coming of Jesus the son of Mary – peace be upon him – before the Day of Resurrection.”[606]

Evidence from the Prophetic traditions indicative of the coming of Jesus – peace be upon him - include the narration reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Messenger of Allah  said: “By Him in Whose hand is my soul, the son of Mary will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break the crosses, kill swine and abolish the tax paid by non-Muslim subjects to their Muslim rulers. There will be such an abundance of wealth such that no-one will accept it, and a single prostration to Allah will be better than the whole world and whatever it contains.” Abu Hurayrah added: ‘You may recite if you wish:

[وَإِن مِّنۡ أَهۡلِ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ إِلَّا لَيُؤۡمِنَنَّ بِهِۦ قَبۡلَ مَوۡتِهِۦۖ وَيَوۡمَ

ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ يَكُونُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ شَهِيدٗا] Sura an-Nisa·; (4):159

[Meaning: And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.]

This is Abu Hurayrah’s interpretation of this verse– may Allah be pleased with him –; namely: some of the people of the Book shall believe in Jesus – peace be upon him – before his death, when he descends at the end of time – as has preceded.[607]

Thirdly: A description of his descent: After the appearance of the Antichrist and the spread of his corruption on Earth, Allah will send Jesus – peace be upon him – so he will descend near the white minaret east of Damascus in the region of Greater Syria. He will be wearing two ochre-dyed[608] garments and placing his hands on the wings of two angels. When he lowers his head it will drip water, and when he raises it beads like pearls will fall from it. Every disbeliever who smells his breath shall die, and his breath shall reach as far as his eye can see.

Jesus will descend amongst the victorious group who fight in the way of the truth while they are waiting to kill the Antichrist. His descent will be at the time of the dawn prayer and he will pray behind the commander of the group after it is said to him: ‘Come and lead us in prayer’ to which he – peace be upon him – shall reply: “No, you are leaders over each other. This is an honour from Allah for this nation.”[609]

Fourthly: The dawn of an era of bliss, prosperity, peace and blessings: The rule of Jesus – peace be upon him – will be a time of peace, safety, prosperity and blessings as Allah will send down plentiful rain, the earth will produce crops and fruits, and there will be an abundance of wealth. Furthermore, hatred, hostility and envy will all disappear.

In the long narration of an-Nawwas bin Sam’an it states: “Then Allah will send upon them a rain which no house of hide or mud will bear. The earth will be washed, leaving it like a mirror. Then it will be said to the earth: “Bring forth your fruits and restore your blessings." On that day, a whole group of people would eat from a pomegranate and seek shade under its skin. Milk will be blessed such that a large group of people will be sufficed by the milking of one camel; and a tribe will be sufficed by the milking of one cow; and an entire family will be sufficed by the milking of one goat.”[610]

There are many other narrations in this regard, however, for the sake of brevity we will suffice with the foregoing.[611]

Fifthly: The length of his stay on Earth: Some narrations mention that he will remain for seven years while others mention forty years. Imam Muslim reports a narration on the authority of Abdullah bin Amr – may Allah be pleased with him – which states: “Allah will send Jesus the son of Mary. Then the people will remain for seven years not having any rancour between them. Then Allah will send a cool breeze from the direction of the region of Greater Syria to take the souls of everyone possessing an atom’s-weight worth of good or having true faith in their heart such that no-one will remain upon the face of the earth.”[612]

In another narration reported by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud, it states: “He will remain on Earth for forty years, then he will die, and the Muslims will pray over him.”[613]

Both of these narrations are authentic which is problematic and may appear to be contradictory unless we interpret the narration mentioning seven years to mean the duration of his stay on earth after his descent from Heaven. Then if we add that to his stay upon Earth prior to his ascension to Heaven – which was thirty-three years according to the most famous saying. And Allah knows best.[614]

The Emergence of Gog and Magog

Believing in the emergence of Gog and Magog is an integral part of believing in the Last Day as it is from the Major Signs of the Hour.

Firstly: The origin of Gog and Magog: They belong to the human race and are from the descendants of Adam and Eve.[615]

On the authority of Abdullah bin Amr that the Messenger of Allah  said: “Gog and Magog are from the progeny of Adam. If they were to be sent upon the rest of mankind, they would spoil their livelihood. Not one of them shall die except that he leaves a thousand or more of his descendants behind.[616]

Secondly: Their description: The narrations describe them as resembling their Turk and Mongol cousins. Their eyes are small, their noses are small and flattened, their hair is dark, their faces are wide and look like a hammered shield. They look similar to the Turks and are the same colour as them.[617]

The authentic narrations also inform us that they are strong men whom no-one can kill. In the narration of an-Nawwas bin Sam’an reported by ‘Sahih Muslim’ it mentions that Allah – the Almighty – will inform Jesus – peace be upon him – through revelation of the emergence of Gog and Magog and that nobody has the capacity to fight them. He will command him to move the believers from their path, saying: “Take My servants to safety at Mount Sinai.”[618]

Thirdly: Gog and Magog shall wreak havoc upon Earth: When Gog and Magog emerge, great evils and severe tribulations shall occur at their hands. They shall be so numerous that after they emerge, they shall pass the Sea of Galilee and drink from it, and the last ones will say: “This lake used to contain water.”[619]

Ibn al-Arabi wrote: “As for the emergence of Gog and Magog, then it shall occur after the descent of Jesus – peace be upon him – from Heaven. They are two disbelieving, corruptive and harmful peoples.”[620]

Fourthly: The Demise of Gog and Magog: The annihilation of Gog and Magog will occur after Jesus – peace be upon him – kills the Antichrist, due to the blessing of his invocation. This is mentioned by the long narration of an-Nawwas bin Sam’an wherein the Prophet  says: “Allah will send down revelation upon Jesus, saying: I have brought forth servants of mine whom no-one shall be able to kill, so take My servants to safety at Mount Sinai.

Allah will send Gog and Magog who will descend from every elevation. They will pass the Sea of Galilee and drink all its water such that when the last ones of them pass they will say: ‘There was once water here.’ The Prophet of Allah, Jesus, and his companions will be besieged to the extent that the head of an ox would be dearer to one of them than a hundred dinars are to one of you today. The prophet of Allah – Jesus – and his companions will supplicate to Allah Who will send upon them maggots in their necks until they perish altogether. Then the prophet of Allah – Jesus – and his companions will come down and they will not even be able to find a handspan except it will be filled with their corpses and their stench. The prophet of Allah – Jesus – and his companions will invoke Allah again, and Allah will send birds like the necks of Bactrian camels who will carry and place them wherever Allah wills.” Reported by Muslim.

In a variant narration there is an addition after his saying: ‘There was once water here’: “Gog and Magog will walk until they reach the mountain of al-Khamar[621] which is in Jerusalem, They will then say: ‘We have killed the inhabitants of the Earth, now let us kill the inhabitants of the Heavens.’ They will fire their arrows towards the sky and Allah will cause them to return to them besmeared with blood.”[622]

Section Four: The Signs of the Hour indicative of its Imminence

The Smoke

The appearance of smoke near the end of time is from the major signs of the Hour established by the Quran and Prophetic traditions.[623]

Firstly: Quranic evidence proving the appearance of the Smoke: Allah – the Almighty – said:

[فَٱرۡتَقِبۡ يَوۡمَ تَأۡتِي ٱلسَّمَآءُ بِدُخَانٖ مُّبِينٖ ١٠ يَغۡشَى ٱلنَّاسَۖ هَٰذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيم] Sura ad-Dukhan; (44):10

[Meaning: Then wait you for the Day when the sky will bring a visible smoke. Covering the people, this is a painful torment.]

The scholars differ regarding what is meant by this smoke:

The first opinion: Some scholars hold that this smoke refers to the famine and hardships that befell the tribe of Quraysh after the Prophet  invoked Allah against him when they did not answer his call. This led them to see a smoky haze in the sky.

This opinion was that of Ibn Mas’ud – may Allah be pleased with him – as well as a group of the pious predecessors.[624]

The second opinion: The smoke being referred to is from the awaited signs which have not yet appeared but shall occur closer to the coming of the Hour. This was the opinion of Ibn Abbas as well as some of the Companions and their successors.[625]

Secondly: Evidence from Prophetic traditions proving the appearance of the Smoke: Some narrations mentioning the smoke have preceded, such as the narration reported by Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah  said: “Hasten to do good deeds before the occurrence of six things: the Antichrist, the smoke…”[626]

In the narration of Hudayfah regarding the major signs of the Hour, it mentions: “And the smoke.”[627]

The Rising of the Sun from the West

The rising of the sun from its place of setting is another major sign of the Hour established by the Quran and Prophetic traditions.

Firstly: Evidence proving the Sun will rise from the West: Allah – the Almighty – says:

[يَوۡمَ يَأۡتِي بَعۡضُ ءَايَٰتِ رَبِّكَ لَا يَنفَعُ نَفۡسًا إِيمَٰنُهَا لَمۡ تَكُنۡ ءَامَنَتۡ مِن قَبۡلُ أَوۡ كَسَبَتۡ فِيٓ إِيمَٰنِهَا خَيۡرٗاۗ] Sura al-An’am; (6):158

[Meaning: The Day that some of the signs of your Lord do come no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he had not believed before nor earned through its faith some good.]

The authentic narrations indicate that what is meant by ‘some of the signs of your Lord’ is the rising of the sun from the west, and this is the view of majority of the scholars of exegesis.[628]

There occurs a narration in the two authentic collections of Prophetic traditions (Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Messenger of Allah  said: “The Hour will not be established until the sun rises from the West. When that happens and the people see it, they will all believe, and that is the time when it will not be of benefit for a soul to believe then, if it had not believed before.”[629]

Muslim reports a narration on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah  said: “Hasten to do good deeds before the occurrence of six things: the rising of the sun from the west…”[630]

Secondly: The reason Belief will not avail after the Sun rises from the West: al-Qurtubi – may Allah have mercy upon him – wrote: “The scholars mention that the reason belief will not be of any benefit after the sun rises from the west is because the terror in the hearts of the people will extinguish all of the soul’s impulses and desires and cause every bodily strength to subside. Everyone will be in a near-death state due to their certainty of the proximity of the Day of Resurrection. All sources of temptation shall be cut off from them and they shall lose their inclinations. The repentance of a person in such a state will not be accepted just as the repentance of a dying person is not accepted.”[631]

The Beast

The appearance of the Beast is from the major signs of the Hour and is established by the Quran and Prophetic traditions.

Firstly: Evidence from the Quran: Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَإِذَا وَقَعَ ٱلۡقَوۡلُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ أَخۡرَجۡنَا لَهُمۡ دَآبَّةٗ مِّنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ تُكَلِّمُهُمۡ أَنَّ ٱلنَّاسَ كَانُواْ بِ‍َٔايَٰتِنَا لَا يُوقِنُونَ] Sura an-Naml; (27):82

[Meaning: And when the word befalls them, We shall bring out from the Earth a beast to them, saying that the people did not believe in Our verses with certainty.]

This noble verse clearly states that the Beast will emerge when mankind is in a state of corruption, having abandoned the commands of Allah and forsaken the true religion. Allah will then bring out a beast from the earth that will speak to them regarding that.

al-Qurtubi – may Allah have mercy upon him – wrote: “The scholars have said regarding Allah’s saying:

[وَقَعَ ٱلۡقَوۡلُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ]Sura an-Naml; (27):82

[Meaning: The word befalls them.]

It means: the threat has become binding upon them due to their excessive wickedness, disobedience and transgression, as well as their turning away from Allah’s signs and abandoning contemplation of them and their non-compliance to act according to them. Their sinfulness has reached the point where admonitions benefit them not, and reminders will not dissuade them from their misguidance.

Allah – the Mighty – says regarding the people when they reach that state:

[أَخۡرَجۡنَا لَهُمۡ دَآبَّةٗ مِّنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ]

[Meaning: We shall bring out from the Earth a beast to them.]

i.e. a beast possessing intellect and the ability to speak. This is so that the people are aware – and Allah knows best – that he is definitely a sign sent by Allah – the Almighty – because customarily animals do not possess intellect or the ability to speak.[632]

Secondly: Evidence from Prophetic traditions proving the coming of the Beast: There is much evidence from Prophetic traditions in this regard, some of which has preceded, such as the narration of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Messenger of Allah  said: “When three things occur faith will not benefit one who has not previously believed or not derived any good from his faith: the rising of the sun from its place of setting, the Antichrist, and the Beast of the Earth.”[633]

Imam Ahmad also reports a narration on the authority of Abu Umamah – may Allah be pleased with him – which is traceable as being from the Prophet  that he said: “The Beast will emerge and it will brand people on their noses, then they will continue to live with this mark such that a person will buy a camel and when he is asked: ‘From whom did you purchase it?’ he will reply: ‘From one of the branded people.”[634]

Thirdly: The place from which the Beast shall appear: It is said: It will appear in the Great Mosque of Mecca; and it is said: It will appear thrice – the first time in a desert, the second time in a village, and the third time in the Great Mosque of Mecca.

There are various other opinions, most of which suggest that the Beast shall emerge from the sacred precincts of Mecca.[635]

Fourthly: The Mission of the Beast: When the Great Beast appears, it shall mark both the believers and unbelievers.

As for the believers, their faces will brighten to the extent that they shine, and this will serve as a sign of their faith.

The disbelievers, however, will be branded on their noses which will serve as a sign of their disbelief.[636]

The Fire which will Gather the People

The appearance of the Great Fire is the last of the major signs of the Hour and the first of the signs indicating the imminent coming of the Hour.

Firstly: The place from which the Fire shall emerge: Some narrations mention that the Fire shall emerge from the lower part of Aden in Yemen while others state it shall appear from the sea of Hadhramaut.

The narration of Hudhayfah bin Usayd reported by Muslim in his authentic collection when discussing the signs of the Hour includes the saying of the Prophet : “The last of them will be a fire which will emerge from Yemen and will drive the people to their place of gathering.”

In a variant wording it states: “A fire will emerge from the lower part of Aden, driving the people.”[637]

Secondly: A description of how the Fire will gather the people: After this Great Fire emerges from Yemen, it will spread throughout the Earth, driving the people to the gathering place. People will be gathered in three droves:

The first group will each have a mount and be willing, satiated, and clothed.

The second group will sometimes walk and sometimes ride, sharing a camel between them.

The third group will be surrounded by the Fire which will drive them from behind to the gathering place. Those who straggle shall be devoured by the Fire.

All of this is mentioned in the authentic narrations.[638]

Thirdly: The Place of Gathering: The people will be gathered at the end of time in the region of Greater Syria, as is indicated by the authentic narrations.[639]

Fourthly: The gathering will take place in the life of this World: The gathering being referred to here is different to that which will take place after the people are resurrected from their graves.[640]


Prologue

Islamic legislation takes into account the imperfections of human beings and that which befalls them from heedlessness, shortcomings and weaknesses which result in them committing sin. Sin is from the greatest causes of calamities and punishment in this life and the Hereafter.

For this reason, the Islamic legislation clarifies the meaning of sin and mentions the various categories of sin as well as its harmful effects and consequences in order that the believers can take precautionary measures to escape their harmful outcomes.

Remedies for both minor and major sins are also contained in Islamic legislation; the greatest remedy being turning to Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – in repentance.

Furthermore, the servants need to invoke their Lord is great, rather it is dire. Invocation is a crucial part of worship just as it is the path to happiness. Whoever constantly invokes their Lord will see the doors of good open for them and will witness evils and tragedies avoiding them.

In the following chapters we will discuss the definition of sin, repentance and invocation as well as issues related to each of them. We will also cover the rulings of repentance and the wisdoms behind it.

  Part Five : Regarding Sin, Repentance, and Invocation

Prologue

Chapter One: The Meaning of Sin and other Related Matters

Chapter Two: The Meaning of Repentance; the Wisdom behind it, and its Rulings

Chapter Three: Regarding Invocation

 Chapter One : The Meaning of Sin and other Related Matters

Section One: The Definition of Sin and its Origins.

Section Two: Dividing Sin into Major and Minor Categories.

Section Three: The Consequences of Sin, its Harmful Effects, and its Outcomes.

Section One: The Definition of Sin and its Origins

Firstly: The Meaning of Sin

Sins is the plural of sin, which is: a wrongdoing; a crime, or an act of disobedience. In Arabic, the double plural is ‘Dhunubat (sins)’.[641]

The word sin originally means to hold the tail of something. It is said: ‘I stuck its tail’. We use this word to express every action whose consequences we dread, and it is for this reason a sin is referred to as an outcome – because of what it results in. Sin and its plural are mentioned in the Quran in numerous places, such as the sayings of Allah:

[فَأَخَذَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِذُنُوبِهِمۡۗ]Sura aali-Imran; (3):11

[Meaning: Allah seized them for their sins.]

[فَكُلًّا أَخَذۡنَا بِذَنۢبِهِۦۖ] Sura al-Ankabut; (29):40

[Meaning: Each of them We seized for his sin.]

[وَمَن يَغۡفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ]Sura aali-Imran; (3):135

[Meaning: And who can forgive sins except Allah.][642]

Sins, then, are acts of disobedience and violations of the commands of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic.

Secondly: The Origin of Sin

There are various categories of sin by way of which we know the origin of sins.

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – said regarding this topic: “In the same way that the degree and severity of sins vary, so does their corresponding punishment both in this life and the Hereafter.

Regarding the topic of sin, I will explain – with Allah’s aid and His guidance – the following:

Sins have two origins: The abandonment of one of Allah’s commands or the performance of a prohibited act.

These are the two sins that Allah – the Exalted – tested the father of jinn and mankind with.

Both of these two sins can be divided into a further two categories according to which part of the body commits them; either by limbs in an apparent manner or by the heart in a concealed manner.

Based on who it concerns, we can also categorize sin into whether it concerns Allah’s rights or the rights of a created being. The rights of created beings ultimately belong to Allah’s rights and are so-called only because it is down to a human’s decision if they wish to claim or renounce such rights.”[643]

The author – may Allah have mercy upon him – presented another classification for sin, saying:

“Sin can be confined to four categories: kingly, satanic, predatory and bestial.”[644]

What follows is a concise description of each of these categories.

1. Kingly or lordly sins: when a person assumes some godly attributes, such as greatness, majesty, boasting, power, highness, lordship etc.

These sins are subdivided into many major sins that many humans neglect and do not even consider as being sins – when in reality they are the grave, destructive sins that give birth to most other acts of which disobedience originate from. Among these deadly sins are polytheism and speaking about Allah without knowledge.

2. Devilish sins: when a person has attributes that resemble the devil, such as: envy, oppression, cheating, spite, deception, plotting, inciting corruption, enjoining sin, forbidding good and demeaning it, innovating in religion, and calling to misguidance.

This category – although less severe – is close to the first in evil.

3. Predatory sins: this is subdivided into: anger; spilling blood; envy; murder; and being tyrannical and oppressive towards weak and helpless people.

4. Bestial sins: this is subdivided into: gluttony; rapacity; becoming preoccupied with fulfilling one’s lust and greed which leads to adultery and homosexuality; stealing; devouring the wealth of orphans; miserliness; stinginess; cowardice; panic; fright; and amassing wealth for the purpose of using them to fulfil one’s desires.

This type of sin is the most common among people as they are unable to commit predatory or kingly sins. However, it is through this type that they end up falling into the other types of sin as they lead onto one another. Thus, a person begins by committing bestial sins, then progresses onto predatory sins before progressing onto devilish sins and finally ends up trying to vie with God in His Lordship and in His right to be singled out with worship.[645]

Section Two: Dividing Sin into Major and Minor Categories

Sin can be categorized into major and minor categories, just as al-Ghazali – may Allah have mercy upon him – wrote: “Know that sin can either be major or venial although this distinction is a matter the people differ regarding, with some claiming that every non-observance of Allah’s laws is a major sin and there is no such thing as major and venial sins.

This opinion is weak as Allah – the Almighty – Himself says:

[إِن تَجۡتَنِبُواْ كَبَآئِرَ مَا تُنۡهَوۡنَ عَنۡهُ نُكَفِّرۡ عَنكُمۡ سَيِّ‍َٔاتِكُمۡ وَنُدۡخِلۡكُم مُّدۡخَلٗا كَرِيمٗا]

Sura an-Nisa; (4):31

[Meaning: If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance.]

Likewise, He – the Exalted – says:

[ٱلَّذِينَ يَجۡتَنِبُونَ كَبَٰٓئِرَ ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَٱلۡفَوَٰحِشَ إِلَّا ٱللَّمَمَۚ]Sura an-Najm; (54):32

[Meaning: Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only committing slight ones.]

Similarly, the Prophet  said: “The five daily prayers, and one Friday prayer to the next Friday prayer expiates the sins committed in-between them, as long as the major sins are avoided.” In a variant wording it mentions: “They are expiations for sins committed between them except the major ones.”[646]

He  also said in a narration on the authority of Abdullah bin Amr bin al-Aas – may Allah be pleased with both of them –: “The gravest of major sins are: associating partners with Allah in worship; showing disobedience to one’s parents; murder; and to intentionally take a false oath.”[647][648]

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – wrote: “The Quran and Prophetic traditions, as well as the consensus of the Companions and their successors – including the illustrious scholars of Islam – are all unanimous regarding the fact that sin can either be major or minor.”[649]

He – may Allah have mercy upon him – also wrote: “Those who do not differentiate between major and minor sins say: ‘All sins are major when we consider the doer’s recklessness in disobeying and contradicting the commands of Allah. Thus, when one looks at the One Whose commands are disobeyed and Whose prohibitions are violated, all sins are major and the same from this perspective.”[650]

Ibn Al-Qayyim – after discussing some of the arguments brought by those who see all sin as major – says: “Polytheism is the worst of injustices while monotheism is the best justice. Therefore, whatever is most discordant with this monotheistic purpose is the gravest of major sins – the severity of a sin being proportional to its discordance with this purpose. In the same way, whatever is most concordant with this purpose is the most important of obligations and the most imperative act of obedience. One should truly reflect regarding this principle and carefully consider its details. This will lead a person to know the reasons behind the commands and prohibitions Allah placed upon His servants as well as why they differ in their levels.”[651]

The topic of exactly what constitutes a major or minor sin is lengthy, but it can be concluded that: Any sin that carries a penalty in this life, or there occurs a threat regarding the Hereafter – then it is from the major sins, while all other sins are minor.[652]

Section Three: The Consequences of Sin, its Harmful Effects, and its Outcomes

Sins and disobedience have harmful and destructive consequences. In addition, they give rise to various punishments – both individual and collective – in this world and the Hereafter.

The harmful effects of sin include deprivation from knowledge and sustenance, desolation a sinner experiences and the isolation from his Lord and from people in general that they feel.

Sin makes daily life more difficult; darkens the face of a person; weakens the body; prevents acts of obedience; shortens one’s lifespan; and makes blessings disappear.

They bring darkness to the heart and cause it to feel constricted. They are also the cause of sadness, heartache, pain, distress, anxiety, uncertainty, weakness and vulnerability.

Sin leads to the performance of more sin and gradually becomes harder to give up. A person’s resolve for repentance weakens until it is completely eliminated from their heart. Eventually a person no longer considers sin evil or vile.

A sinner is cursed and is small in the sight of Allah and the misfortunes that result from sin transcend the sinner, even affecting the people and animals around him.

Sins cause disgrace, in addition to corrupting the intellect and depriving the sinner from the supplication of the Prophet , the angels and the believers.

Sins extinguish a person’s jealousy and modesty and also weaken the reverence a person has for their Lord. A sinner is deserving of being forgotten by Allah and left alone with their devil.

Sin causes the sinner to feel afraid, insecure, and worried. Thus, the most frightened of people are the greatest of them in transgression.

Sin also exits a person from the realm of piety and strips him of the garments of piety. It weakens his longing for Allah and for the Hereafter; diminish his worth; seal his heart; debase his rank; strip him of honourable and praiseworthy titles; earn him dishonourable and shameful names; and make him from the needy peoples when before he was from the affluent. It also makes the sinner a target for the devils of mankind and jinn who control him when previously they were afraid of him.

Sinful people live in a state of perpetual frustration and continue to commit a sin until they grow bored, then they move onto another sin, and so on. However, the desires he is unable to satisfy are far more than those he is able to, and consequently, he realizes his inability while his desires grow more severe. This leads to increased frustration and upset.

How cruel the fire that torments the heart of such a person in this life is – long before the one that will engulf their hearts in the Hereafter.

Yet another of the negative effects of sin is its wastage of the most precious and valuable resource – time – which, once it passes, will never return.

In summary: the hideous outcomes of sin are innumerable as are the benefits of obedience to Allah. What is known – however – is that all good lies in the obedience to Allah and all evil lies in disobedience to Him.[653]

 Chapter Two :The Meaning of Repentance; the Wisdom behind it, and its Rulings

Section One: The Meaning of Repentance.

Section Two: The Door to Repentance is Open.

Section Three: The Excellence of Repentance and its Benefits.

Section One: The Meaning of Repentance

Firstly: the linguistic definition of repentance: In the Arabic language repentance means returning; going back; penitence; and regret.

In usage, we can either say: ‘the repentance was accepted by Allah’ – in which case the preposition ‘by’ is used, or we can say: ‘the repentance of the servant to Allah’ – in which case the preposition ‘to’ is used.

Allah – he Most High – says:

[إِنَّمَا ٱلتَّوۡبَةُ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعۡمَلُونَ ٱلسُّوٓءَ بِجَهَٰلَةٖ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٖ فَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ يَتُوبُ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡهِمۡۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمٗا]Sura an-Nisa; (4):17

[Meaning: The repentance accepted by Allah is only for those who do wrong in ignorance or carelessness and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is all- Knowing, all-Wise.]

He – the Mighty and Majestic – also says:

[وَتُوبُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ]Sura an-Nur; (24):31

[Meaning: And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you may be successful.]

Similarly, He says:

[وَمَن تَابَ وَعَمِلَ صَٰلِحٗا فَإِنَّهُۥ يَتُوبُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ مَتَابٗا]Sura al-Furqan; (25):71

[Meaning: And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds, then verily, he repents to Allah with true repentance.][654]

Secondly: the technical definition of repentance: It is possible to define repentance as being: The abandonment of sin due to its ugliness; out of regret for having committed it; having firm resolve not to return to it and making up for it if possible; and fulfilling any obligations missed, while also having sincerity to Allah, hoping for His reward and fearing His punishment – providing this is done before the onset of death and before the rising of the sun from the west.[655]

This definition is inclusive of all the conditions of repentance.

There are more concise definitions for repentance, such as the definition of Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – who wrote: “The reality of repentance is having regret for that which a person has committed in the past, to stop doing so in the present, and being determined not to return to it in the future.”[656]

He also defines it by saying: “The reality of repentance is that a person returns to Allah by committing to carry out that which He loves and forsaking that which He hates. Thus, it is returning from something disliked to something beloved – returning to what is beloved to Allah constitutes half of repentance and giving up that which He hates constitutes the other half.”[657]

Thirdly: What things should a person repent from? A person should repent from all sins – minor and major alike. The person who repents must know which sins he is repenting from, even if it is in a general manner.

al-Ghazali – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Know that repentance is the abandonment of a sin. However, it is not possible to abandon something except after having knowledge of it. As repentance is obligatory, so too are the prerequisites required to reach such an obligation. Thus, having knowledge of sin also becomes obligatory. Sin refers to everything that opposes Allah’s commandments, be they orders or prohibitions. Studying this in detail would require explaining the concept of legal responsibility in its entirety, but as this is not our objective, we will suffice with a mention of it in broad terms and outline its categories; and Allah is the One Who grants success through His mercy.”[658]

He – may Allah have mercy upon him – then went on to clarify the types of sin.[659]

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – dedicates a chapter in his book ‘Madarij as-Salikin’ to the types of sin that repentance is to be made from.’

He writes: “A servant does not deserve to be called repentant until he abandons them.

There are twelve types of sin mentioned in the Quran which are the basis for all prohibitions, namely: disbelief; polytheism; hypocrisy; debauchery; disobedience; transgression; aggression; immorality; wickedness; oppression; speaking about Allah without knowledge; and following other than the way of the Believers.

Everything that Allah has made forbidden is represented by these twelve types of sin which all of mankind except for the followers of the Messengers – peace be upon them – are immersed in.

A person – knowingly or unknowingly – may engage in most of them, some of them, or one of them.

Sincere repentance is that a person renounces them entirely and protects themselves by abstaining from such environments – something which is only possible if we have knowledge of them.”[660]

Section Two: The Door to Repentance is Open

Allah – through His grace and generosity – has opened the door to repentance, commanding with it and encouraging it while promising its acceptance – regardless of whether it be performed by a disbeliever, a polytheist, a hypocrite, an apostate, a tyrant, an atheist, an oppressive, or a sinful person.

Through the following points we shall glimpse some of Allah’s favours upon us by His opening of the door to repentance.

1. Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – commanded us with repentance. He – the Almighty – says:

[وَأَنِيبُوٓاْ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمۡ وَأَسۡلِمُواْ لَهُۥ مِن قَبۡلِ أَن يَأۡتِيَكُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ] Sura az-Zumar; (39):54

[Meaning: And turn to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.]

Ibn Kathir – may Allah have mercy upon him – says in explanation of this verse: “i.e. return to Allah and yield to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped – meaning: hasten to repent and perform righteous deeds before His wrath befalls you.”[661]

2. Allah has promised to accept the repentance of a person however grave the sin may be. He – the Almighty – says:

[وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي يَقۡبَلُ ٱلتَّوۡبَةَ عَنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ وَيَعۡفُواْ عَنِ ٱلسَّيِّ‍َٔاتِ وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تَفۡعَلُونَ]

Sura ash-Shura; (42):25

[Meaning: And it is He who accepts repentance from his servants and pardons misdeeds, and He knows what you do.]

Similarly, Allah says:

[وَمَن يَعۡمَلۡ سُوٓءًا أَوۡ يَظۡلِمۡ نَفۡسَهُۥ ثُمَّ يَسۡتَغۡفِرِ ٱللَّهَ يَجِدِ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٗا

رَّحِيمٗا]Sura an-Nisa; (4):110

[Meaning: And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah's Forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.]

Likewise, Allah says concerning the hypocrites:

[إِنَّ ٱلۡمُنَٰفِقِينَ فِي ٱلدَّرۡكِ ٱلۡأَسۡفَلِ مِنَ ٱلنَّارِ وَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُمۡ نَصِيرًا ١٤٥ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ تَابُواْ وَأَصۡلَحُواْ] Sura an-Nisa; (4):145-6

[Meaning: Indeed, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire - and never will you find for them a helper - except for those who repent and rectify themselves.]

Regarding the Christians, He – the Exalted – says:

[لَّقَدۡ كَفَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ثَالِثُ ثَلَٰثَةٖۘ وَمَا مِنۡ إِلَٰهٍ إِلَّآ إِلَٰهٞ وَٰحِدٞۚ وَإِن لَّمۡ يَنتَهُواْ عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ لَيَمَسَّنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنۡهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ]Sura Maidah; (5):73

[Meaning: They have certainly disbelieved, those who say: “Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god who has the right to be worshipped except One God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.]

He then encourages them to repent by saying:

[أَفَلَا يَتُوبُونَ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَيَسۡتَغۡفِرُونَهُۥۚ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيم]Sura al-Maidah; (5):74

[Meaning: Will they not repent to Allah and ask His Forgiveness? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.]

He – the Almighty – says regarding the people who dug the trench to torture and burn the believers alive:

[إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ فَتَنُواْ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَٰتِ ثُمَّ لَمۡ يَتُوبُواْ فَلَهُمۡ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابُ ٱلۡحَرِيقِ] Sura al-Buruj; (85):10

[Meaning: Indeed, those who have tortured the believing men and believing women and then have not repented will have the punishment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the Burning Fire.]

al-Hasan al-Basri – may Allah have mercy upon him – commented on this verse, saying: “Look at this generosity and munificence – they killed His allies and He invites them to repent and seek forgiveness.”[662]

3. Allah warns us against despairing in His mercy. He – the Almighty – says:

[قُلۡ يَٰعِبَادِيَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسۡرَفُواْ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمۡ لَا تَقۡنَطُواْ مِن رَّحۡمَةِ ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَغۡفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًاۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلۡغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ]Sura az-Zumar; (39):53

[Meaning: Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves by sinning, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He Who is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.]

Ibn Kathir – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Ali bin Abi Talhah narrates that Ibn Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – said regarding this verse: “Allah – the Almighty – invites all people to seek His forgiveness: those who claim that the messiah is God himself; those who claim that he is the son of God; those who claim that Ezra is the son of God; those who claim that Allah is poor; those who claim that Allah’s Hand is chained (a  miser) and those who claim that Allah is the third of three. He addresses all of them with His saying:

[أَنَا۠ رَبُّكُمُ ٱلۡأَعۡلَىٰ] Sura al-Ma·idah; (5):74

[Meaning: Will they not repent to Allah and ask His Forgiveness? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.]

He even invites the one (pharaoh) who says: ‘I am your Lord the Almighty’ and who says: ‘I know of no other god for you besides myself’ to repent.

Ibn Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – said: “Whoever causes the servants of Allah to despair of His mercy after this, then he has disbelieved in the Book of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic.”[663]

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – says regarding the previous verse mentioned in Sura az-Zumar (Chapter 59: The Troops): “This verse forbids us from despairing of Allah’s mercy, even if a person’s sins are serious and grave. It is impermissible for anyone to despair of the mercy of Allah themselves or to incite others to despair in His mercy. It is for this reason some of the pious predecessors used to say: ‘The true jurist is the one who does not cause the people to despair of Allah’s mercy, nor does he encourage them to disobey Allah.’

Desperation is if a person believes that Allah will not forgive them, either because they think He will not accept their repentance or forgive their sins; or because they convince themselves that they are unable to repent, and Satan has control over them. Such a person despairs in his own repentance although he knows that if he were to repent then Allah would forgive him. This is something many people are beguiled by.”[664]

4. Allah outstretches His Hand during the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and He outstretches His Hand during the day so that the sinners of the night may repent. The Prophet  said: “Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – will continue to outstretch His Hand during the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and He will continue to outstretch His Hand during the day so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west.”[665]

5. Allah has placed a generous reward for repentance and has promised the people who repent plentiful good. Further discussion regarding this shall follow in the coming chapter – if Allah wills.

Section Three: The Excellence of Repentance and its Benefits

Repentance has many virtues and immense benefits such as:

1. Repentance is a means to salvation and success: Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَتُوبُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ]Sura an-Nur; (24):31

[Meaning: And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you may be successful.]

Abu as-Sa’ud – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “By way of this, you will be victorious in both abodes (i.e. in this worldly life as well as the Hereafter).”[666]

2. Repentance remits sin: When a servant sincerely repents to Allah, He wipes out all of their sins and wrongdoings.

Allah – the Almighty – says:

[قُلۡ يَٰعِبَادِيَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسۡرَفُواْ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمۡ لَا تَقۡنَطُواْ مِن رَّحۡمَةِ ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَغۡفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًاۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلۡغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ] Sura az-Zumar; (39):53

[Meaning: Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves by sinning, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He Who is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.]

Likewise, He says:

[يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ تَوۡبَةٗ نَّصُوحًا عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمۡ أَن يُكَفِّرَ عَنكُمۡ سَيِّ‍َٔاتِكُمۡ وَيُدۡخِلَكُمۡ جَنَّٰتٖ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُ]Sura at-Tahrim; (66):8

[Meaning: O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! Perhaps your Lord will remit from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow.]

3. Repentance causes bad deeds to be replaced with good ones: If a person repents correctly, Allah will replace their bad deeds with good deeds through His bounty and His favour.

He – the Almighty – says:

[إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلٗا صَٰلِحٗا فَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ ٱللَّهُ سَيِّ‍َٔاتِهِمۡ حَسَنَٰتٖۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَفُورٗا رَّحِيمٗا]Sura al-Furqan; (25):70

[Meaning: Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.]

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – said regarding the aforementioned verse: “This is from the greatest of glad tidings for the penitent whose repentance is coupled with true faith and righteous action. This is true repentance.

Ibn Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both – said: “I did not see the Prophet  happier than he was on these two occasions: when this verse was revealed, and when the following verses were revealed:

[إِنَّا فَتَحۡنَا لَكَ فَتۡحٗا مُّبِينٗا ١ لِّيَغۡفِرَ لَكَ ٱللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنۢبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ]Sura al-Fath; (48):1-2

[Meaning: Indeed, We have given you, O Muhammad, a clear conquest. That Allah may forgive you what preceded of your sin and what will follow.][667]

4. Allah loves repentance and the penitent: The servitude demonstrated by repentance is from the most beloved and noble forms of worship in the sight of Allah. Allah – the Exalted – loves the penitent, as He informs us in His saying:

[إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلتَّوَّٰبِينَ وَيُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُتَطَهِّرِينَ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):222

[Meaning: Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.]

5. Allah is pleased with the repentance of the penitent: Repentance is greater in the sight of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – than many other forms of worship. For this reason, Allah rejoices greatly at the repentance of His servant when he turns to him. Allah is more pleased with His servant’s repentance than a person who finds his mount loaded with provisions in a barren desert after having lost it and despairing of living, as the Prophet  said: “Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His servant than a person whose mount is carrying his provisions from food and drink in a barren desert. He then rests his head and sleeps for a short while only to find his riding beast gone when he awakens. Overwhelmed by the heat and thirst or whatever Allah wills him to endure, he says to himself: ‘I will return to my place.’ He returns and sleeps again, and when he raises his head he finds his riding beast standing beside him.”[668]

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – comments on this narration, saying: “There is no such joy associated with any other form of worship except for repentance, and it is evident that this joy has a great effect on the state of the repentant, his heart, and much more than is able to be described.

This is from the wisdoms of the predestination of sin upon mankind. By way of repentance, a person reaches and attains the station of being loved by Allah. Indeed, Allah loves the penitent and He loves the servant who repents after succumbing to temptation.”[669]

 Chapter Three : Regarding Invocation

Section One: The Meaning of Invocation and its Merits.

Section Two: The Conditions of Invocation.

Section Three: The Etiquettes of Invocation.

Section One: The Meaning of Invocation and its Merits

Firstly: The Meaning of Invocation

1. The linguistic definition of invocation: The word ‘du’aa (invocation)’ is the Arabic verbal noun from the verb ‘da’a (to invoke)’. Ibn Manthur said: “The (Arabic) verb: ‘da’a (to invoke)’ means: to call– the verbal noun of which is: ‘da’wah (call)’. It is said: ‘I invoked so-and-so’ meaning: ‘I called out to him’ or ‘I summoned him’.[670]

2. The technical definition of invocation: There are several technical definitions for the word ‘invocation’, such as:

(a) It is: Having a strong desire for what lies with Allah – the Mighty and Majestic.[671]

(b) al-Khattabi – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Invocation means: That a servant calls upon his Lord – the Mighty and Majestic – to take care of his affairs and to ask Him for His aid.

The reality (of invocation) is that a servant expresses his dependence upon Allah while acknowledging his own helplessness – which is a sign of servitude – as well as feeling a sense of humility – which implies praise of Allah and an attribution of munificence and generosity to Him.”[672]

(c) Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – defined it is being: “The request of suppliant either for something beneficial, or for the removal of harm or its deflection.”

(d) He also defined it as: “Beseeching Allah, desiring the good that lies with Him, and imploring Him to help us achieve what we seek and save us from what we fear.”[673]

Secondly: The Merits of Invocation

Invocation has many great virtues and benefits, such as:

1. Invocation is an act of obedience to Allah and a compliance to His command: He – the Almighty – said:

_:[وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ٱدۡعُونِيٓ أَسۡتَجِبۡ لَكُمۡۚ]Sura Ghafir; (40):60

[Meaning: And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your invocation.”]

[وَٱدۡعُوهُ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَۚ] Sura al-A’raf; (7):29

[Meaning: And invoke Him, being sincere to Him in religion.]

An invoker is obedient to Allah and in compliance with His command.

2. Invocation saves a person from pride: Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ٱدۡعُونِيٓ أَسۡتَجِبۡ لَكُمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ عَنۡ عِبَادَتِي Sura Ghafir; (40):60 سَيَدۡخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ]

[Meaning: And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your invocation. Verily! Those who disdain My worship will surely enter Hell in humiliation.”]

Imam ash-Shawkani – may Allah have mercy upon him – said regarding this verse: “This noble verse indicates that invocation is an act of worship, as He – the Exalted and Most High – commanded His servants to invoke Him before saying:

[إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ عَنۡ عِبَادَتِي]

[Meaning: And your Lord said: “Verily! Those who disdain My worship.”]

It is possible to deduce from this that invocation is an act of worship and its abandonment constitutes the most hideous form of arrogance.

How can a servant possibly disdain invoking the One Who created them as well as the entire universe? He provides for them and has brought him into existence from nothingness; He is the One Who gives them life and shall cause them to die; and He is the One Who will reward or punish them.

There is no doubt that such arrogance is a part of madness and a branch from the branches of ingratitude.”[674]

3. Invocation is an act of worship: This is indicated by the previous verse as well as well as by the narration of an-Nu’man bin Bashir – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Messenger of Allah  said: “Invocation is worship.”[675]

4. Invocation is the most noble thing in the sight of Allah: On the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: “There is nothing more noble with Allah – the Almighty – than invocation.”[676]

5. Invocation is beloved to Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –: as occurs in the narration of Ibn Mas’ud – may Allah be pleased with him – that is traceable as being from the Prophet : “Ask Allah of His Bounty. For indeed, Allah loves to be asked.”[677]

6. Invocation causes a person to feel uplifted as it removes anxiety and worry and makes a person’s affairs easy.

7. Invocation prevents Allah’s anger: Whoever does not ask of Allah, He becomes angry with them; just as the Messenger of Allah  said: “He who does not ask Allah, He becomes angry with him.”[678]

8. The fruits of invocation are guaranteed – with the permission of Allah –: If an invoker meets all the conditions for his invocation to be answered, he is guaranteed good and shall reap a large share of the fruits of invocation.

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah  say: “There is no-one who utters an invocation except that Allah gives him what he asked for, or prevents evil from him that is equivalent to it – as long as he does not supplicate for a sin or severing of the ties of kinship.”[679]

This narration indicates that the supplication of a Muslim is not in vain, rather he is given that which he requested – either sooner, or later – by the grace of Allah.

Ibn Hajr – may Allah have mercy upon him – says: “Every invoker is responded to – however this response differs: sometimes it is exactly what is asked for, and sometimes it is something equivalent to it.”[680]

9. Invocation causes calamities to be averted before they befall a person: The Prophet  said: “Whomsoever of you the door of supplication is opened for, then the doors of mercy have been opened for him. And Allah is not asked for anything – meaning – more beloved to Him than being asked for well-being. Invocation benefits against that which has already occurred and that which is yet to occur (from adversity). So upon you – O servants of Allah – is invocation.”[681]

Thus, when a servant feels motivated and wishes to invoke Allah, he should do so plentifully as it will undoubtedly be granted, and his needs shall be taken care of by Allah’s grace and His mercy. The opening of the doors of mercy is indicative of the acceptance of invocation.”[682]

The Prophet  also said: “Prudence does not hinder fate; and invocation benefits against that which has already occurred as well as that which is yet to occur (from adversity). Verily, invocation meets a calamity and the two of them clash until the Day of Resurrection.”[683]

‘Clash’ means: they grapple and they struggle.

11. Invocation opens the door to beseechment and its joys: When a servant beseeches his Lord and asks for his need to be fulfilled, he finds his heart filled with love for Allah and awareness of Him, as well as feeling humility, humbleness and submissiveness to Him to the extent he forgets his need. This pleasure surpasses that of the fulfilment of his need, and he wishes to experience such joy permanently, preferring it over his need if it were to be presented to him in place of the joy he experiences.[684]

Section Two: The Conditions of Invocation

Invocation has many conditions which must be present so that it can be accepted and answered by Allah. From these conditions are:

1. The invoker must know that Allah alone is the One Who is able to answer his invocation: No-one can benefit him except Allah, just as no-one can relieve his suffering except Him. He – the Almighty – says:

[أَمَّن يُجِيبُ ٱلۡمُضۡطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكۡشِفُ ٱلسُّوٓءَ]Sura an-Naml; (27):62

[Meaning: Is not He (best) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil.]

This is the concept of monotheistic belief which means: to single Allah out in Lordship.

2. The invoker must not invoke anyone except Allah: It is impermissible to supplicate to other than Allah or to invoke other than Him alongside Him, as this is polytheism and setting up partners in worship besides Allah – the Mighty and Majestic. He – the Almighty – says:

[وَأَنَّ ٱلۡمَسَٰجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدۡعُواْ مَعَ ٱللَّهِ أَحَدٗا Sura al-Jinn; (72):18

[Meaning: And the mosques are for Allah alone, so invoke not anyone along with Allah.]

The Prophet  said to Ibn Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them both –: “If you ask, then ask of Allah; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah.”[685]

3. Not being hasty: A servant should not be hasty for his invocation to be answered when he supplicates, nor should he be impatient if it is delayed. Impatience is from the things that prevent the effects of invocation.

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said:  “The invocation of every one of you is granted if he does not grow impatient and says: ‘I supplicated but it was not granted.’”[686]

Ibn Al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – said in this regard: “From the things that prevent the effectiveness of invocation is that a servant is hasty and impatient regarding its answer, which leads him to feel discouraged and abandon invocation altogether.

This is like a person who sows a seed or plants a cutting while maintaining and watering it, but soon grows impatient due to the rate it grows at and ends up neglecting and abandoning it.”[687]

4. Supplicating for good and lawful matters: In order that an invocation is accepted by Allah, a person must request only good and lawful matters and must not ask for something sinful or for the cutting of ties. The Prophet  said: “The supplication of a servant is answered as long as he does not supplicate for a sin or severing of the ties of kinship.”[688]

5. Having good thoughts of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –: On the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: ‘The Messenger of Allah  said: “Call upon Allah while being certain of being answered.”[689]

Similarly, there occurs a narration on the authority of Jabir – may Allah be pleased with him – who said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah  say three days before his death: “Let not one of you die except that he has good thoughts regarding Allah – the Mighty and Majestic.”[690]

Likewise, the Prophet  said: “Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – says: ‘I am as My servant thinks of Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me.’”[691]

Imam ash-Shawkani – may Allah have mercy upon him – wrote regarding the saying of Allah in the aforementioned divine narration: ‘I am as My servant thinks of Me’: Allah encourages His servants to have good thoughts [of Him], and how He is with them is based on that. So whoever thinks good of Allah, then He will bestow upon them from His plentiful bounty, beautiful favours, abundant gifts, and endless munificence.

Whoever does not think of Allah in this way, then neither will Allah – the Almighty – be like that with them.

This is the meaning of Allah – the Exalted and Most High – being as His servant thinks of Him. Thus, it is upon a servant to have good thoughts of his Lord regardless of his circumstances, while keeping in mind the proofs mentioning the vastness of the mercy of Allah – the Exalted and Most High.”[692]

6. Having an attentive heart: An invoker should have an attentive heart and pay attention to what he is saying while being aware of the greatness of the One he is invoking. It is not befitting for a mere servant to address his Lord and Master with words he himself does not understand, or with phrases he has picked up without having comprehended, or that he does so just out of habit.

The Prophet  said: “Know that Allah does not respond to the invocation from a distracted heart.”[693]

Section Three: The Etiquettes of Invocation

There are certain etiquettes that it is befitting for an invoker to observe so that their invocation is perfected; such as: praising Allah before invoking; sending peace and blessings upon the Prophet ; acknowledging and confessing one’s sins; having humility and humbleness; desiring that which lies with Allah; dreading Allah’s punishment; having determination and firm resolve in one’s request; being insistent in one’s invocation; invoking Allah in all circumstances; repeating an invocation thrice; facing the qibla (Kaaba); raising one’s hands; brushing one’s teeth (with a twig from the arak tree); making ablution; and selecting the name or attribute of Allah most suitable to the invocation – for example: “O Most Merciful, have mercy upon me; by Your mercy I beseech!

The etiquettes of invocation also include: lowering one’s voice; selecting the finest and most comprehensive of invocations; refraining from overexertion, artificiality, and forced rhyming; to invoke for oneself firstly; and to supplicate for the Muslims in general.

Furthermore, from the means is: being sincere to Allah when invoking; having strong hope; being diligent; patiently waiting for Allah’s relief; being repentant; correcting injustices done to others; not being heedless; performing plentiful righteous action; enjoining good and forbidding evil; preforming supererogatory acts of worship in addition to observing the obligatory acts; being kind to one’s parents; and making the most of occasions by seeking out the times, places, and instances wherein invocation is more likely to be answered.

This is a short summary of some of the etiquettes of invocation – the evidences for which can be found in the Quran and Prophetic traditions, as it is not possible to mention them in detail here due to the need for brevity. Nonetheless, fulfilling the conditions of invocation and observing its etiquettes are from the greatest of means that lead to an invocation being answered.[694]

  Part Six : Political, Economic, & Social Systems in Islam & the Role of the Family Unit

Chapter One: The Political System in Islam.

Chapter Two: The Economic System in Islam.

Chapter Three: The Social System in Islam.

Chapter Four: The Role of the Family Unit in Islam.


 Chapter One : The Political System in Islam

Section One: The Meaning of the Political System in Islam

Section Two:  The Distinguishing Features of the Islamic Political System

Section Three: Islamic Legislation versus Man-Made Law

Section Four: The Judicial System in Islam

Section Five: The Consultative Council in Islam

Section One:   The Definition of the Islamic Political System

Defining this term requires that we first define its individual components – namely the words ‘politics’ and ‘system’ – before defining it altogether as a compound term.

Firstly: The linguistic meaning of the word ‘system’: The Arabic word for ‘system’ is a verbal noun from the trilateral root ‘na-tha-ma yan-thi-mu (to organize)’ – the gerund for which is: ‘nathmann (organization)’, with the verbal noun being: ‘ni-tha-mann (system)’.

The word ‘nathm (organization)’ is used to denote collection and assembly. It is said: ‘I organized the pearls [on the necklace].’ i.e. I assembled them on the chain.

Everything that is coupled with something else or joined together has been organized systematically.

A system is something wherein other things are organized, such as a thread for example.

The system of something is its backbone. In Arabic the word ‘nitham (system)’ has three plural forms; ‘anthimah’, ‘anatheem’, and ‘nuthm’ (or ‘systems’ in English).

The derivative ‘intithaam (regulation)’ signifies consistency.[695]

The word ‘system’ is used to refer to the rulings and regulations that organize and order the components of a particular matter, just like individual pearls are ordered on a necklace.[696]

Secondly: The linguistic meaning of the word ‘political’: The word ‘political’ is a derivative of the word ‘politics’ which – in the Arabic language – is derived from the trilateral root verb: ‘saa-sa, ya-soo-su (to govern)’.

The Arabic terms ‘siyasah (politics)’ and ‘saus (government)’ carry the meanings of: leadership, disposition, and temperament.

The word ‘siyasah (politics)’ also means: To manage something in a way that improves it.

It is said: ‘sawasahum, susann (he governed them)’. If someone is nominated, we say: ‘sawwasahu or asasoohu (they appointed him)’.

Regarding a particular affair, we say: ‘saasa’ (he managed such-and-such)’, meaning: he handled it. When referring to a group of people, it is said: ‘sawwasa (appointed)’ which means: they nominated him to be in charge of them. We can also use the same verb root to say: ‘so-and-so ruled over such-and-such a tribe’ – meaning: he was encharged with governing over them.[697]

There occurs a narration in al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that he said: Allah’s Messenger  said: “The Sons of Israel were ruled over by prophets. When one prophet died, another succeeded him; but there will be no prophet after me.”[698]

Ibn al-Athir writes in explanation of the phrase: ‘they were ruled over by prophets’ “i.e. they administered their affairs just as rulers and leaders administer the affairs of their subjects.”[699]

Thirdly: The meaning of a ‘political system’: As a compound term, ‘political system’ can have several meanings depending upon context. Thus, it can refer to:

1. Everything related to the government and policies of a state in general.

2. The leadership of a state in particular; since government comprises of various systems such as: political, administrative, financial, and judicial.

3. The various rules, laws, and legislations that are necessary to maintain a regime.[700]

Fourthly: the meaning of ‘The Political System in Islam’: Islam gives great attention to the political system. What is meant by this is: the organization of the affairs of a nation and having their best interests at heart – not deception, deceit, trickery or exploitation. Politics in Islam means being in administration over a nation and directing it in the best way according to Islamic legislation. This is what is referred to by the term ‘Islamic politics’ which – in reality – is both a concept and a practice. It comprises of two aspects; politics, which means: to manage something in a way that improves it, and: Islamic legislation – which is a practical implementation of the religious rulings mentioned in textual evidences for those matters which there is proof regarding, and considering public interest in matters that there is no specific textual proof regarding.

Thus, it is possible to define ‘Islamic politics’ as being: management of the general affairs of an Islamic state in light of public interest, within the limits defined by Islamic legislation and its universal principles.

Government in Islam is part of Islamic politics, and it consists having knowledge of: the type of regime to be adopted and its policies; the process of choosing a leader as well as his rights and the duties upon him; the rights of the subjects and the duties upon them; the relationship between a leader and his subjects; and international relations with other allied, non-allied, and enemy nations in times of peace or war – in light of Islamic legislation.[701]

Section Two:   The Distinguishing Features of the Islamic Political System

Islam is the religion of a person’s innate nature, just as it is a religion of peace and security. It has many distinguishing features which set it aside from other than it.

What is true of Islam as a whole is also true of its components, and thus, the Islamic political system has many qualities which highlight its importance while distinguishing it from other political systems.

Some of the most important of these aspects are:

1. Divinity: The Islamic political system is divine in terms of its origin and purpose.

Divine origin means it comes from Allah (the One true God) Who knows whatever is best for His servants:

[أَلَا يَعۡلَمُ مَنۡ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ ٱللَّطِيفُ ٱلۡخَبِيرُ]Sura al-Mulk; (67):14

[Meaning: Does He Who created not know? And He is the Subtle, the All-Aware.]

This aspect means that the Islamic political system is free from contradiction, partiality, and injustice and cannot be accused of being biased in serving the interests of a particular party or land to the detriment of others.

Furthermore, this aspect of the Islamic political system frees humans from being enslaved to their peers – something which is rife in man-made political systems wherein the elite do as they please while forbidding their followers from the very same things.

When we describe the Islamic political system as having a ‘divine purpose’ we mean: that a person intends by way of their action the countenance of Allah – the Exalted – just as He – the Mighty and Majestic – says:

[قُلۡ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحۡيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ]

Sura al-An’am; (6):162

[Meaning: Say: “Indeed, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.]

The believing person dedicates everything he does to Allah – the Exalted – including the political system he follows.

Complying with the Islamic political system is an act of worship, because a Muslim politician who sincerely follows Allah’s legislation will be rewarded by Allah for that. The Prophet  said: “Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His.” Amongst them, he mentions: “a just ruler.”[702]

In contrast, whoever adopts a political system which rules by other than what Allah has revealed is in danger of His punishment. The Prophet  said: “Any servant whom Allah has given the authority of rulership over a people, but he does not serve them sincerely, will never even smell the fragrance of Paradise.”[703]

2. Comprehensiveness: Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – said:

[مَّا فَرَّطۡنَا فِي ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ مِن شَيۡءٖۚ] Sura al-An’am; (6):38

[Meaning: We have neglected nothing in the Book.]

Thus, the Islamic political system is not confined only to that which concerns a leader or his subjects; rather it is a complete system encompassing everything to do with the rights and duties of a leader and his subjects, as well as international relations with other Muslim and non-Muslim nations.

Islamic legislation and its foundations offer a solution to every problem as they provide rulings and regulations for every matter, including contemporary affairs.

The following saying of Allah – the Exalted – indicates this comprehensiveness:

[وَنَزَّلۡنَا عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ تِبۡيَٰنٗا لِّكُلِّ شَيۡءٖ وَهُدٗى وَرَحۡمَةٗ وَبُشۡرَىٰ لِلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ] Sura an-Nahl; (16):89

[Meaning: And We have sent down to you the Book as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves to Allah as Muslims.]

Ibn al-Jawzi – may Allah have mercy upon him – said in exegesis of the foregoing verse: “All religious matters are either mentioned explicitly within it (i.e. the Quran), or by referring us to another indisputable source of religious knowledge, such as the teachings of Allah’s Messenger or the consensus of the Muslim community.”[704]

3. Universality: The Islamic political system is universal as it was revealed to all people and applies to them all equally. It is befitting for any time period, any place, any people, and any situation. Its legislation contains the most perfect government system and the most just of judicial systems for settling disputes between people.

It is universal in two ways: temporally – which means it is suitable for all time periods until the Day of Resurrection, and spatially – which means it is suitable for all places and for all people, regardless of their race, language, or circumstances.

The religious texts are filled with evidence proving this. Take – for example – the saying of Allah:

[قُلۡ يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيۡكُمۡ جَمِيعًا] Sura al-A’raf; (7):158

[Meaning: Say O Muhammad: “O mankind! Verily, I am the Messenger of Allah to you all.]

Likewise, we have the statement of the Prophet  regarding the features Allah made unique to him: “Every Prophet used to be sent specifically to his nation, but I have been sent to all mankind.”[705]

This is not surprising since Islam is the last religion – no religion shall come after it. It must – therefore – be suitable for all times, places, people, and for all circumstances: war, peace, strength, weakness, prosperity, poverty, and so on.

4. Moderation: Islam is moderate in its creed and its legislation which are neither excessive nor defective.

The Islamic systems – such as its political system – are also moderate; being neither as excessive as a dictatorship, nor as lax as a democracy.

Allah describes this nation as moderate in His saying:

[وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلۡنَٰكُمۡ أُمَّةٗ وَسَطٗا لِّتَكُونُواْ شُهَدَآءَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ ٱلرَّسُولُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ شَهِيدٗاۗ] Sura; (2):143

[Meaning: And thus, we have made you a community of the middle way that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.]

‘The middle way’ means: the best; balanced and just; excellent.

The clearest manifestation of the suitability between the Islamic political system and human needs is the fact it is well-balanced and moderate. It is uncompromising regarding the affairs which must remain unchanged, but flexible regarding the affairs which it is possible to alter and develop further.

5. Pragmatism and compatibility with one’s innate nature: This is another of the distinguishing features of the Islamic political system. It is implementable and applicable in everyday human life as it is in line with reality. It is not an abstract concept that exists only in theory; rather it is a system that takes into account human nature and does not treat people as mere soulless beings.

The practicality of the Islamic political system surpasses that of other political systems, such as those of Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and other philosophers – all of whom did not regard reality or human nature in the systems they proposed which were based on pure theory without any consideration for reality or life’s problems.

From the greatest displays of pragmatism in the Islamic political system is the way it deals with the reality of life and that which it contains from good and evil, in addition to the fact it recognises humans as physical and spiritual beings.

Allah – the Almighty – says:

[لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَاۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتۡ وَعَلَيۡهَا مَا ٱكۡتَسَبَتۡۗ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذۡنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوۡ أَخۡطَأۡنَاۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَيۡنَآ إِصۡرٗا كَمَا حَمَلۡتَهُۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِنَاۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلۡنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِۦۖ وَٱعۡفُ عَنَّا وَٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَٱرۡحَمۡنَآۚ أَنتَ مَوۡلَىٰنَا فَٱنصُرۡنَا عَلَى ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):286

[Meaning: Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that good which he has earned, and he is punished for that evil which he has earned. “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us; our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.]

He - the Exalted – also says:

[زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ ٱلشَّهَوَٰتِ مِنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلۡبَنِينَ وَٱلۡقَنَٰطِيرِ ٱلۡمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ ٱلذَّهَبِ وَٱلۡفِضَّةِ وَٱلۡخَيۡلِ ٱلۡمُسَوَّمَةِ وَٱلۡأَنۡعَٰمِ وَٱلۡحَرۡثِۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَٰعُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَاۖ وَٱللَّهُ عِندَهُۥ حُسۡنُ ٱلۡمَ‍َٔابِ ١٤ ۞قُلۡ أَؤُنَبِّئُكُم بِخَيۡرٖ مِّن ذَٰلِكُمۡۖ لِلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوۡاْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ جَنَّٰتٞ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا وَأَزۡوَٰجٞ مُّطَهَّرَةٞ وَرِضۡوَٰنٞ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِۗ وَٱللَّهُ بَصِيرُۢ بِٱلۡعِبَادِ]

[Meaning: Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire - of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return. Say: “Shall I inform you of better than that? For those who fear Allah will be gardens in the presence of their Lord beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and purified spouses and approval from Allah. And Allah is all-Seeing of His servants.]

These are some of the Quranic verses that describe the weakness of human nature and define the Islamic methodology of life. The likes of these evidences indicate the practicality of Islam and its concurrence with human nature, as well as its consideration of human limits and ability. Islam does not suppress human potential or desist from action – nor does it burden a soul more than it can bear.[706]

Section Three:   Islamic Legislation versus Man-Made Law

In the previous section, the distinguishing traits of the Islamic legislation and its political system were discussed.

Sufficient is the fact that the Islamic legislation was revealed by the Lord of mankind, the One Who created them and knows best what is beneficial for them. This virtue alone makes it superior to all man-made systems, which are affected by desires, heedlessness, ignorance, imperfection, and the like.

When demonstrating the superiority of Islamic legislation in comparison with other than it one does not need to discuss such a topic at length, nor provide plentiful evidence, as this is something obvious to every sane, impartial person. Discussion of all of the merits and distinguishing features of the Islamic legislation would be lengthy, however for the sake of brevity we shall mention a few points summarising the comparison between both Islamic and man-made political systems:

1. In Islam, the relationship between a ruler and his subjects is direct. There is no intermediary between the two parties, nor are there any social or bureaucratic obstacles between them.

2. The political relationship stems from religion and is determined by it; meaning that the Book of Allah and the teachings of His Messenger define the political relationship between a governor and his subjects.

3. The responsibility is shared; meaning that the responsibility of calling to Allah and spreading Islam via permissible means in accordance with one’s ability is shared between the Islamic state and its Muslim subjects.

4. The political relationship in Islam is not restricted to a particular group or social class. The difference between a ruler and his subjects is only functional.

5. The political relationship in Islam is a simple one and does not claim to promote absolute equality as the ancient Greek model does, nor is it characterised by bureaucracy as the Roman and Catholic models are, nor does it advocate assimilation as in the nationalist model.[707]

Section Four:  The Judicial System in Islam

Firstly: the definition of Judiciary:

(a) The linguistic definition of ‘judiciary’: Linguistically, the Arabic term for ‘judiciary’ is a verbal noun from the trilateral verb ‘qa-da, yaq-di (to judge)’.

Ibn Faris said regarding the root word ‘qa-da (to judge): “The [Arabic] letters ‘qaf’, ‘dhad’ and the weak letter form a regular root that connotes the meanings of completion, perfection, and execution of an affair.”[708]

The Arabic for ‘judiciary’ designates judgement; production; ruling; and clarification.

In origin it means severance; separation; to determine; to adjudicate; to enforce; to complete something.[709]

(b) The technical definition of ‘judiciary’: Clarifying the religious ruling regarding an affair, enforcing it, and adjudication between two disputing parties.[710]

Secondly: The Scope of the Judicial System and its Importance in Islam: The judicial system has great importance in Islam as it is an essential part of rulership and from the most important foundations of a state. It is, therefore, in the interest of a nation to have a competent and efficient judicial system.

Without a judicial system, society would sink into anarchy and disorder, and people would lose their rights.

It is for this reason that Islam pays great attention to its judicial system and counts it as being from the greatest of responsibilities. Due to this, whomever is encharged with judicial duties must fulfil certain criteria so that the objectives of the judicial system are achieved.

The Companions of the Messenger  – may Allah be pleased with them – unanimously agreed upon the establishment of a judicial system in society, and they did so in the lifetime of the Messenger  and after his passing.

During the early part of Islam, the caliphs themselves undertook the judiciary.

Ibn Khaldun – may Allah have mercy upon him – wrote regarding this: “In the early days of Islam, the caliphs themselves dealt with judiciary and did not delegate such powers to anyone else.

The first person to delegate this role to someone else and assign them in place of himself was Umar bin al-Khattab – may Allah be pleased with him.

The reason they would delegate this power to other than them – even though it was from their duties – was because they were busied with other political and administrative affairs which had increased in complexity.”[711]

Judiciary is from the greatest of responsibilities as is highlighted by various narrations which both encourage and discourage from it. The Messenger  encouraged with it due to the great benefit that results from it and because of the importance of establishing justice.

He  discouraged those who are unable to bear such a burden or do not possess the capacity to take on such a responsibility

The Prophet  said: “Judges are of three types; two of whom will be in Hell and one of whom will be in Paradise. A judge who knowingly judges by other than the truth will be in Hell; and a judge who judges upon ignorance such that the rights of the people are lost will [also] be in Hell. The one who will be in Paradise is a man who knows the truth and judges according to it.”[712]

He  also said: “Indeed Allah is with the judge as long as he is not unjust. If he becomes unjust, He leaves him and imposes Satan on him.”[713]

Many scholars have praised and commended the role of a judge, such as as-Sarkhasi – may Allah have mercy upon him – who wrote: “Judging in accordance with the truth results in the establishment of justice. It is by way of justice that the Heavens and the Earth were established, and by way of it oppression is abolished. The intellect of every sane person calls for justice, helping the oppressed, restoring people’s rights to them, commanding with good and forbidding from evil.

It is for this reason the prophets and the messengers – peace be upon them – were sent, and it is for this cause that the rightly-guided caliphs strove.”[714]

This is also why many of the scholars themselves were judges, establishing justice and flying its banner. Others, however, refrained from partaking in the judicial system, due to the great responsibility that such a role entailed.[715]

Thirdly: The Aims of the Judicial System in Islam: The preceding paragraphs clarify some of the aims of the Islamic judicial system; but for further clarification we shall outline the main objectives in point form:

1. To end disputes either by reconciling between the two parties, or by a court decree.

2. To take the rights from those whom they are due and to restore them to those deserving of them.

3. To assess the wealth of orphans, the insane, and the spendthrift, and imposing interdiction upon those who are incapable of managing their own wealth due to reasons such as irresponsibility and the like.

4. To fight against corruption and to repress those who initiate it by sentencing them to the legislated punishments in order to dissuade them from causing mischief.

5. To establish justice; to aid the oppressed; and to bring about order.

6. To execute bequests in accordance with the wishes of the deceased and in conformance with Islamic legislation.

7. To manage, preserve and tend to endowments and spend their profits upon deserving beneficiaries.

8. To implement the Islamic laws related to marriage and divorce; guardianship over women who do not have guardians, and other civil affairs.

9. To assess blood related crimes such as murder and injury and sentence accordingly, for example retribution.

10. To ensure the suitability of witnesses, and to request replacements if they are proven to be incredible.

These are the aims of the Islamic judicial system in short.[716]

Fourthly: The Requirements of Becoming a Judge: Judiciary – as has been mentioned – is a precarious occupation, which is why the scholars have outlined certain conditions that a judge must meet prior to his appointment. These conditions are extrapolated from the Quran and from Prophetic traditions.

Some of the basic conditions include: Islam; adulthood; intellect; freedom; being just; chastity; integrity; having knowledge of those Islamic rulings derived from the Quran and Prophetic teachings; having knowledge of the concepts of consensus and analogical reasoning; having unimpaired senses – hearing, speech, and sight – so that he may grasp and understand matters.

These conditions are to be considered as much as possible, and the most suitable candidates are to be given precedence over other than them in being appointed the role of judge.

These conditions are based upon two pillars that a judge must possess: firmness and integrity, for which the proof is the saying of Allah:

[يَٰيَحۡيَىٰ خُذِ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ بِقُوَّةٖۖ] Sura Maryam; (19):12

[Meaning: “O John, hold on to the Book firmly.” And We gave him judgement while yet a child.]

And His saying:

[يَٰدَاوُۥدُ إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَٰكَ خَلِيفَةٗ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱحۡكُم بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ ٱلۡهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِۚ]

Sura Saad; (38):26

[Meaning: O David! Indeed We have made you a successor upon the earth, so judge between the people in truth and do not follow your own desire for it will mislead you from the way of Allah.]

As the judge must oversee the execution of judicial sentences, he must be firm, or the judicial rulings would not be implemented, and people’s rights would be lost.

Judiciary requires integrity more than any other occupation; because if a judge were not righteous and Godfearing then he would make lawful prohibited matters and wrongfully grant people’s rights to those undeserving of them while refusing them their rightful owners, based on personal desires or for materialistic benefit.[717]

Fifthly: The Rules a Judge Should Abide by: The scholars have mentioned certain manners that a judge should adorn themselves with so that their rulings are complete, and so that the intended result is achieved without any negative outcomes. These manners include:

1. A judge must strike a good balance between strictness and tolerance. He should be firm without being harsh, and lenient without being weak.

2. He should be forbearing, patient, withstanding, and calm.

3. He should be astute and vigilant – not heedless such that he is taken advantage of, or inattentive such that he is deceived.

4. He should be chaste, pious, abstinent, and not tempted by desires.

5. He should be truthful, not deceptive.

6. He should be wise, consult others and continually seek Allah’s guidance. He should not be misleading, unfair, or oppressive.

7. He should know the rules associated with judiciary and its procedures. He should also be acquainted with previous judicial rulings so that he may judge unprecedented cases in light of that.

8. A judge should be aware of the customs of the people he is in authority over. He should also be acquainted with the jurists, the righteous, and the trustworthy people residing in such a land, so that – in turn – he becomes familiar with the situation of that place. He may also seek their assistance in when reconciling between two parties.

9. When exercising his judicial powers, a judge should appear in public with neutral feelings. He should not be angry, unsettled, hungry, or troubled; neither should he let feelings of pleasure, anger, approval or disapproval affect him.

10. He should seek Allah’s aid, rely upon Him, ask of Him and invoke Him that He guides him to the truth and saves him from error and mistakes.

11. He should abstain from doubtful matters and places of suspicion, as well as anything that would cause his dignity or integrity to become questionable.

12. He should strike a good balance between being modest and having self-esteem.

13. He should take care of his appearance and his surroundings in accordance with his circumstances, without being excessive or superficial.

14. He should have a courtroom; be precise in recording case details and judicial decrees; and have tipstaff.

These are some of the rules that a judge should abide by, details of which we have omitted for the sake of brevity.

Sixthly: The Conditions of the People as it Relates to the Judiciary: This point has already been mentioned in part under the discussion regarding the judicial system and its importance. Nonetheless, it is possible for us to categorise the conditions of the people as it relates to the judiciary into three:

1. Amongst the people are those not allowed to become judges as they do not have the ability, or they do not meet the requirements.

2. Some people are allowed to become judges, but it is not obligatory upon them to do so. This is the case if a person is trustworthy and has reached the level of independent reasoning, however there are others who have reached the same level as him.

3. It is obligatory upon some people to become judges. This is the case if a person is eligible and there is nobody else who will replace him if he does not do so. It is binding upon such a person to do so in this scenario, as it is from the communal obligations which become an individual duty if there is no-one else suitable who will assume the responsibility.[718]

Seventhly: The Independence of the Judicial System in Islam: The Islamic legislation emphasizes the independence of the justice system and judges.

What is meant by this is the immunity of the justice system and of judges, and their freedom in passing judgements and affirmation of the truth; the non-intervention of any third party in cases that have been closed; and the absence of external influences – whether they be political or personal.

The reason for this is because a judge acts as a refuge for those who are oppressed. He gives each person their rights fairly and he represses the people of falsehood. His aim is to give each person their due, to judge fairly in accordance with the truth without being influenced in any way.

Allah – the Mighty and Majestic says:

[وَلَا يَجۡرِمَنَّكُمۡ شَنَ‍َٔانُ قَوۡمٍ عَلَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعۡدِلُواْۚ ٱعۡدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقۡرَبُ لِلتَّقۡوَىٰۖ]

Sura al-Ma×idah; (5):8

[Meaning: Let not the enmity of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to piety.]

He – the Exalted – also says:

[وَأَنِ ٱحۡكُم بَيۡنَهُم بِمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ]Sura al-Ma×idah; (5):49

[Meaning: And judge between them by what Allah has revealed.]

He – the Mighty and Majestic – also says:

[وَلَا تَكُن لِّلۡخَآئِنِينَ خَصِيمٗا] Sura an-Nisa×; (4):105

[Meaning: And do not be for the deceitful an advocate.]

Thus, a ruler is not allowed to interfere in the judicial matters of a judge unless the judge were to stray from the truth. If this is proven to be the case, the judge in question must be dismissed from office.

Islamic history – from its very beginning – is replete with examples illustrating the independence of the judicial system and the integrity of judges.[719]

Section Five:    The Consultative Council in Islam

Firstly: The Meaning of the term ‘consultation’

1. The linguistic definition: The Arabic word for ‘consultation’ comes from the trilateral root ‘shura’; which comprises the letters ‘sheen’, ‘waw’, and ‘ra’.

Ibn Faris – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “The [Arabic] letters ‘sheen’, ‘waw’, and ‘ra’ form a root that has two meanings; the first of which is: the manifestation and display of a thing, while the second is: taking something.”[720]

He elaborates further by saying: “Some linguists say that the phrase ‘I consulted so-and-so regarding such-and-such a matter’ comes from the phrase ‘honey extraction’, because it is as if the one seeking consultation takes the opinion of someone else.”[721]

It is therefore possible to conclude that the meaning of the term ‘consultation’ revolves around the manifestation, revelation and extraction of a thing.

The reason that the term Arabic term for ‘consultation’ comes from the phrase ‘honey extraction’ is: the one who is consulted is comparable to a honeybee that forages from various kinds of nectar and pollen to produce honey.

The consultation and advice given is like honey which is from the best of foods. Thus, the one seeking consultation is similar to the one who takes honey from a hive and purifies it from wax and other impurities.[722]

2. The technical definition: There are several technical definitions for the term ‘consultation’.

It can be defined as: Obtention of the opinions of the people of sound reasoning and their consultation with one another in order to reach the truth regarding a particular issue.[723]

It may also be defined as: The deliberation of experts regarding a matter in order to manifest the underlying religious purpose it serves and to comprehend it.[724]

From the foregoing definitions it can be deduced that consultation takes place between two parties – one that advises, and another that listens – regarding a particular issue, within the framework of a constructive exchange of opinions, and it ends with the selection of the most suitable view.

The purpose of such a discussion is, therefore, to ensure that the decisions are well-informed and are made jointly rather than individually.

The opinions of specialists who are both knowledgeable and experienced in their fields should be sought, particularly when public affairs are concerned. If the matter relates to a specific field, experts from that field should be consulted. For example, if the matter is medicine-related, then doctors should be consulted, and if the matter is military-related, soldiers and military personnel should be consulted. This procedure must be followed for all matters requiring consultation, as they are numerous and varied in nature and encompass all areas of human life, such as: governance, judiciary, administration, domestic and personal affairs.[725]

Secondly: Consultation in the Noble Quran

The word ‘consultation’ in reference to its wider meaning – that of relating to governance – appears in two verses of the Noble Quran:

The first verse is in Sura ash-Shura (Chapter of The Consultation), which was revealed before the emigration and the founding of the Islamic state in Madinah. Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱسۡتَجَابُواْ لِرَبِّهِمۡ وَأَقَامُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَأَمۡرُهُمۡ شُورَىٰ بَيۡنَهُمۡ وَمِمَّا رَزَقۡنَٰهُمۡ يُنفِقُونَ] Sura ash-Shura; (42):38

[Meaning: And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is determined by consultation among themselves, and who spend of what We have provided them.]

Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahman as-Sa’di – may Allah have mercy upon him – said in explanation of this noble verse:

{And whose affair} i.e. religious and worldly {is determined by consultation among themselves} i.e. none of them makes an individual decision regarding a communal matter. This is something that results from their solidarity, harmony and the mutual love and affection between them. They meet, consult and research matters that require deliberation due to their sound intellects, and when the common good becomes apparent they are quick to choose it. This is how they proceed in matters such as warfare, combat, appointment of officials to the judiciary or to government, and the like.”[726]

In the foregoing verse, Allah – the Exalted and Most High – mentions consultation among the distinguishing characteristics of the believers, which means that consultation is something specific to the Muslims that they must adopt, regardless of whether they happen to be a group without their own official state, as was the case with the Muslims in Mecca, or they have their own official state, as was the case after the emigration to Medina.

Some scholars, after pondering the verse, concluded that consultation is an inherent characteristic of believers, just like prayer. Thus, in the same way it is impermissible for a Muslim to abandon the prayer, it is likewise impermissible for a Muslim to abandon consultation, particularly with regard to public affairs. The importance of consultation in Islam can be inferred from the fact Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – mentioned consultation immediately after mentioning the prayer and before mentioning almsgiving, both of which are pillars of Islam.[727]

The second verse occurs in Sura aali-‘Imran (Chapter of the Family of Imran), which was revealed after the emigration to Madinah. Allah – the Almighty – says:

[فَبِمَا رَحۡمَةٖ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمۡۖ وَلَوۡ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ ٱلۡقَلۡبِ لَٱنفَضُّواْ مِنۡ حَوۡلِكَۖ فَٱعۡفُ عَنۡهُمۡ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَهُمۡ وَشَاوِرۡهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَمۡرِۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمۡتَ فَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُتَوَكِّلِينَ] Sura aali-‘Imran; (3):159

[Meaning: So, by mercy from Allah, O Muhammad, you were lenient with them. And if you had been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have disbanded from about you. So, pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. Then, when you have decided, put your trust in Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.]

In this verse Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – commands His noble Messenger e to take counsel from the believers who were with him. If Allah commanded His Messenger e – the wisest and most knowledgeable human being, the one whom divine revelation was sent down upon, the one whom all of humankind, willingly or reluctantly, are obliged to obey – to seek counsel, then how about those besides him?![728]

This divine command appears in a context of guidance for the Messenger e to unite the community of Muslims as head of the Islamic state. It is for this reason consultation is mentioned alongside mercy and leniency and dissociated from severity and harshness. Rather the Prophet e is instructed to pardon them and seek forgiveness for them. Therefore, a surface level analysis of this verse reveals the behaviours which result in a leader being loved and appreciated by the people.[729]

Anyone who contemplates the Quranic injunctions regarding consultation and the benefits that derive from it will realise its significance in the Islamic political system. This significance can be summarised in the following points:

1. Consultation is mentioned as a praiseworthy characteristic of the believers between two great pillars of Islam, prayer and almsgiving, as has preceded under discussion of the first verse. The context it is mentioned in is indicative of its great importance.

2. When a decision is made following consultation, it is less likely to be erroneous and more likely to be correct. However astute, intelligent and experienced a leader may be, they remain fallible due to their human nature.

3. Consultation, in reality, is a shared responsibility. For this reason, the consequences of a decision taken following consultation do not fall upon any single person in isolation but are instead shared by everyone. This prevents inconsonance, argumentation and blame when the outcome is disappointing.

4. In a society where there is consultation under Islamic law, individuals feel a sense of responsibility towards the management of their religious or worldly affairs. Such a society will not experience a lack of social responsibility.

5. Consultation preserves society from unrest and instability and puts an end to disagreements and disputes, as it establishes a relationship of trust between leaders and their citizens. It acts as a safety barrier against disorder and unrest since it allows for matters to be deliberated by scholars, specialists and people of authority. The decisions reached can then either be acted upon or left, but in both cases the souls are at ease and dissentions cease, allowing for a relationship filled with harmony, fraternity, love, affinity and mercy between a leader and their subjects.

6. History testifies that the happiest time experienced by this nation was when the Islamic legislation was implemented and when consultation was prevalent. In contrast, the most miserable times experienced by this nation were those in which consultation was abolished and despotism was rife. This gave rise to conflict and unrest.[730]

Thirdly: Practical Examples of Consultation from the Quran

The two aforementioned verses are not the only instances consultation occurs in the Noble Quran. It is important to mention this as many writers discussing the topic of consultation in the Quran concentrate only on those two verses and the rulings and wisdoms which they contain. Needless to say, they are fundamental proofs on the topic. However, there are many more verses, throughout various chapters of the Quran, which mention consultation.

1. Among these verses is that which occurs in the story of the beginning of the creation of humankind, wherein Allah – the Exalted and Most High – addresses His angels. Allah says:

[وَإِذۡ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٞ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ خَلِيفَةٗۖ قَالُوٓاْ أَتَجۡعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفۡسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسۡفِكُ ٱلدِّمَآءَ وَنَحۡنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمۡدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَۖ قَالَ إِنِّيٓ أَعۡلَمُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ ٣٠ وَعَلَّمَ ءَادَمَ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنۢبِ‍ُٔونِي بِأَسۡمَآءِ هَٰٓؤُلَآءِ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَٰدِقِينَ]Sura al-Baqarah; (2):30-1

[Meaning: And when your Lord said to the angels: “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority”. They said: “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said: “Indeed, I know that which you do not know”. And He taught Adam the names - all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said: “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.”]

This dialogue regarding the creation of mankind serves as a model for humankind to follow from their very beginning. The consultation of the angels was a way of honouring them whilst teaching them and drawing their attention to the secret intricacies of Allah’s wisdom.

Consultation was amongst the first social traditions that Allah established for His creation so that they may imitate it and take inspiration from its guidance.[731]

2. The consultation of Abraham – peace be upon him. Allah – the Almighty – said:

[فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ ٱلسَّعۡيَ قَالَ يَٰبُنَيَّ إِنِّيٓ أَرَىٰ فِي ٱلۡمَنَامِ أَنِّيٓ أَذۡبَحُكَ فَٱنظُرۡ مَاذَا تَرَىٰۚ قَالَ يَٰٓأَبَتِ ٱفۡعَلۡ مَا تُؤۡمَرُۖ سَتَجِدُنِيٓ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ]

Sura as-Saafaat; (37):102

[Meaning: And, when his son was old enough to walk with him, he said: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you, so see what you think.” He said: “O my father! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, from patient.”]

Although the matter had already been pre-decided, Abraham consulted his son, saying: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you”, to which his son replied: “O my father! Do as you are commanded.”

These verses clarify that there is nothing to prevent consultation even when a decision has already been made. In the foregoing example, despite Abraham – peace be upon him – being given a non-negotiable command, he still consulted his son, out of good manners and due to his knowledge of the positive impact of consultation upon the souls.

A person who becomes accustomed to consultation regarding even those matters that are clear and obvious will not neglect it when it comes to matters that are ambiguous and unclear. Thus, the fact that consultation is prescribed, commendable and beneficial in matters that are apparent highlights its necessity and indispensability in problematic and divergent cases wherein there are various opinions and possibilities.[732]

It should be noted that there are further examples of consultation in the Quran which, due to space constraints, cannot be mentioned here.

Fourthly: How should consultation take place in Islam?

There is no textual evidence in the noble Quran or the Prophetic traditions that specifies how consultation should be practiced or carried out. Similarly, there is no textual evidence that constrains the community of Muslims to a particular number of consultees, nor is there any proof that specifies how they are chosen or consulted.

This is all indicative of the flexibility of Islam and demonstrates that consultation should comply with the temporal and spatial situation of a society. The means are irrelevant, provided they do not conflict with any religious matters; rather what is important is that consultation is practiced and upheld in a Muslim society.[733]

Fifthly: Consultation vs Democracy

Consultation and dialogue are practiced by Muslims as a way of life and enable them to arrive at the most correct decisions by eliciting the opinions of knowledgeable, experienced and trustworthy individuals. However, consultation only concerns those affairs regarding which there is no explicit textual evidence, as there is no room for independent reasoning with the existence of explicit textual proof.

The scope of consultation is mainly public affairs, though it also includes the extrapolation of religious affairs from textual evidences.

Conversely, the West have relied upon democracy as a system of governance. The term democracy is made up of two Greek words: ‘demes’, meaning common people, and ‘cratos’, meaning strength. It therefore carries the literal meaning: ‘rule of the commoners’. Its opposite is aristocracy, which means ‘rule of the nobility’. The word ‘democracy’ has evolved to mean ‘rule of the citizens’ and it can now be defined as being a system wherein the majority will of citizens forms the basis of governance and the citizens form the government.

Democracy has taken many forms over time, however two forms of it are most prominent: pluralist democracies, which combine liberal democratic political systems with capitalist economic systems. A democratic capitalist state aims to be self-governed through its election of representatives and government, as well as by exercising its freedoms. On the other hand, there are uni-party socialist democracies which are on their way to demise, having disappeared from Europe and currently only existing in China and Cuba.

Consultation and democracy have some points in common between them, such as:

1. The nomination and selection of a leader from among the citizens of a nation.

2. The rejection of all dictatorships, tyrannies, tribalism and theocracies (priestly rule). Islam is not a clerical religion and does not recognise clerics or religious bodies. In Islam there are scholars and jurists, and every Muslim who affiliates themselves with Islam is religious.

3. The plurality of parties both in Islam, under Islamic law, and in democracy, within the limits of constitutional law and in accordance with the terms of the various treaties.

4. The recognition of individual ownership of property is present in consultation and is from the teachings of Islam that favour public interest. A democracy also protects individual property ownership by making it a constitutional right of citizens.

5. Civil liberties, particularly political freedom, are guaranteed within the limits of public order.

6. The election of a representative by citizens of a nation to express their views.

The points they differ concerning are as follows:

1. Consultation derives from divine revelation; to contravene it is therefore an opposition of religious rulings and an act of disobedience to Allah. A democracy, on the other hand, is based on the approval of the people who are prone to error.

2. Consultation grants authority to the people but does not provide them with sovereignty. In Islam, sovereignty belongs to Islamic law and the people only have the authority to choose their leaders and representatives. In a democracy, however, authority and sovereignty both belong to the people.

3. Consultation is dependent upon the development of a citizen in line with Islamic precepts, such that they are nurtured to be God-fearing, to give advice to the ruler and to be honest while remaining within the limits of propriety and wisdom. The relationship between a ruler and his citizens is therefore one of an ethical nature.

4. The constitution, treaties, laws and statutes resulting from consultation derive from Islamic legislation – the Quran, Prophetic traditions and the consensus of the Muslim community. A further source of Islamic legislation is the discretionary judgements of scholars whose reasonings are based on the underlying principles of Islam and are used to provide solutions to contemporary issues faced by society. In a democracy, all of this is left entirely to the opinions of the people who are likely to constantly change their minds due to them not having solid foundations to rely upon.

5. The concept of freedom in Islam must not transgress Islamic values or behaviours, meaning that it is governed by divine commands and prohibitions. In a democracy, freedom is limited only by the values a society agrees upon.

6. Islamic law determines the authorities in a consultative council. It gives the people executive power as well as the right to choose their own laws from among the opinions of jurists, either directly or by way of a representative. Alternatively, a ruler may be given choice of law in accordance with the Islamic legal maxim ‘the opinion of the ruler puts an end to disagreement’.

In a democracy, the people are regarded as the source of authority. Moreover, democracies are implemented in different ways using various instruments, such as by use of the imperative mandate which allows voters to monitor and recall representatives, popular referendums, or bills which are submitted to parliament to pass new laws or change existing ones.

Islam allows consultation to be implemented using various methods which may be developed under a precise, decisive framework which implements Islamic legislation. Likewise, it allows for the adoption of modern systems and means employed by democracies, such as the selection of representatives, the setting of constitutions and treaties, the appointment of a council made up of scholars, notables, specialists, politicians, chiefs, judges and other officials, as well as the choice and election of a leader. Gaps and shortcomings must be rectified; all forms of deception, fraudulence, falsification, demagoguery, vote buying, electoral fraud and exploitation of the masses are strictly forbidden.[734]

Sixthly: Practical Examples of Consultation in the Prophetic Biography

The Prophetic biography provides many examples of the practical application of consultation. Whenever the Prophet e was faced with a situation that required consultation, he would discuss it with his companions and gather their opinions. He was thus acting upon the following command of Allah:

[وَشَاوِرۡهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَمۡرِۖ] Sura aali-‘Imran; (3):159

[Meaning: And consult them in the affairs.]

Allah gave him permission to confer with his companions even though he was not in need of doing so, due to the revelation that was being sent down to him from the heavens. Rather he did so out of kindness to his companions, and in order to set consultation as a model for his nation to follow after him. The Arabs at that time despised despotism and they hated leaders who would not consult them regarding matters that concerned them all.

An example of consultation can be found in the story of the prisoners of Badr. Muslim reports a tradition on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas who retells the story as he heard it from ‘Umar: “When they captured the captives, the Messenger of Allah e said to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar: “What is your opinion regarding these captives?”

Abu Bakr said: “O Prophet of Allah! They are our kith and kin. I think you should release them after taking a ransom from them. This will be a source of strength for us against the disbelievers. Perhaps Allah may guide them to Islam.

Then the Messenger of Allah said: “What is your opinion O Ibn al-Khattab?”

Umar replied: “No by Allah, O Messenger of Allah! I do not hold the same opinion as Abu Bakr. I am of the opinion that you should hand them to us so that we may behead them. Let ‘Ali deal with ‘Aqil that he may behead him and let me deal with so-and-so – a relative of ‘Umar’s – that I may behead him. These are the veterans and heads of disbelief.”

The Messenger of Allah favoured the opinion of Abu Bakr over my opinion.

The next day, when I came, I found the Messenger of Allah and Abu Bakr both sitting, shedding tears, so I said: “O Messenger of Allah! Inform me why you and your companion are shedding tears; I shall either weep for the same reason or I shall weep because of your weeping.”

The Messenger of Allah said: “I am weeping because of that which your companions suggested regarding taking ransom from the captives. Their punishment was shown to me closer than this tree –a tree nearby the Prophet of Allah–. Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – revealed the verses:

[مَا كَانَ لِنَبِيٍّ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُۥٓ أَسۡرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ يُثۡخِنَ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِۚ تُرِيدُونَ عَرَضَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَٱللَّهُ يُرِيدُ ٱلۡأٓخِرَةَۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٞ ٦٧ لَّوۡلَا كِتَٰبٞ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ سَبَقَ لَمَسَّكُمۡ فِيمَآ أَخَذۡتُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٞ ٦٨ فَكُلُواْ مِمَّا غَنِمۡتُمۡ حَلَٰلٗا طَيِّبٗاۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ ٦٩ يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِيُّ قُل لِّمَن فِيٓ أَيۡدِيكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡأَسۡرَىٰٓ إِن يَعۡلَمِ ٱللَّهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمۡ خَيۡرٗا يُؤۡتِكُمۡ خَيۡرٗا مِّمَّآ أُخِذَ مِنكُمۡ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ]  Sura al-Anfal; (8):67-70

[Meaning: It is not for a prophet to have captives of war until he inflicts a massacre upon Allah 's enemies in the land. Some Muslims desire the commodities of this world, but Allah desires for you the Hereafter. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took. So enjoy what you have gotten of booty in war, lawful and good, and be afraid of Allah. Certainly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. O Prophet! Say to the captives that are in your hands: “If Allah knows any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”][735]

In this incident, as in others, the Messenger of Allah establishes consultation through discussion because of the way it brings the hearts together while increasing the likelihood of making correct decisions by bringing different opinions to the fore. An opinion reflects the reasoning of a person just as a mirror reflects their outward image.

By the Prophet e consulting his companions, he nurtured in them self-confidence while showing them he considered them as wise and sincere. What honour is greater than that of being consulted by a prophet who receives revelation from the heavens and is provided with superior intellect and insight?

It is for this reason that his companions and the great leaders who succeeded them implemented this great precedent. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, even with his great knowledge of Islamic law and political expertise, would not pass a judgement regarding an affair until he had received the opinions of a number of other companions.[736]

‘Umar was the same in this regard. Ibn Taymiyyah – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “‘Umar used to consult ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Talhah, az-Zubayr, ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf, Ibn Mas’ud, Zayd bin Thabit and Abu Musa, among others. He would even invite Ibn ‘Abbas to the consultations in spite of his young age.

‘Umar thus conformed to the command of Allah wherein He praised the believers in His saying:

[وَأَمۡرُهُمۡ شُورَىٰ بَيۡنَهُمۡ] Sura ash-Shura; (42):38

[Meaning: And whose affair is determined by mutual consultation.]

It is due to ‘Umar’s consultation that his decisions, judgements and policy have since been unparalleled. There has not been anyone like ‘Umar since his time, and Islam was never more victorious or more expansive than under his rule. It was his army who defeated Khosrow and Caesar and ended their empires through the agency of his generals, Abu ‘Ubaydah and Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, in the Levant and in Iraq, respectively. Following the caliphate of Abu Bakr, there was no one who had better ministers, emissaries, delegates, soldiers or advisors than ‘Umar.[737]

Imam al-Bukhari entitled a chapter of his book ‘Chapter: Regarding the saying of Allah {And whose affair is determined by mutual consultation} and {And consult them in the affairs}’. In it, he establishes the practice of consultation from the discussions of the Prophet e and the caliphs after him.

He writes: “The Prophet e consulted his companions on the day of Uhud regarding whether they should remain or go out to fight, so they advised him to go out and fight. After wearing his armour and preparing to go out they changed their minds and asked him to remain. However, after he had made up his mind he was not inclined to follow their advice to remain, but instead he told them: “It is not befitting for a prophet who has put on his armour to remove it until Allah’s judgement comes to pass.

On another occasion, he consulted ‘Ali and Usamah regarding the great slander made against Aisha and listened to their advice until the Quranic verses commanding him to flog the slanderers were revealed.

Similarly, the great leaders after the Prophet e also used to consult trusted scholars regarding the permissible affairs in order to make the simplest decisions. However, if it was the case that something was mentioned clearly in the Quran or in the Prophetic traditions, they would emulate the Prophet e and not seek the opinions of others.

When Abu Bakr decided to fight against those who refused to pay alms, ‘Umar said to him: “How can you fight the people while we have the saying of the Prophet e: ‘I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah. If they testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, their blood and their wealth will be protected from me except if it is justified, and their reckoning will be with Allah?’”

Abu Bakr persuaded ‘Umar with his reply: “By Allah! I will fight everyone that differentiates between that which the Messenger of Allah considered to be one and the same”. In this instance, Abu Bakr did not turn to consultation in this instance, as he knew the ruling of the Messenger of Allah e regarding those who differentiate between the prayer and almsgiving and want to change the religion and its laws.”[738]

The Prophet – peace be upon him – used to adopt the opinion of the first person he consulted, provided it was valid. There are many instances of this occurring, but the most striking example is contained in the story of Al-Hubab bin al-Munthir – may Allah be pleased with him – during the battle of Badr. It is reported that before the battle, Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – sent down a rain which made the ground firm for the Messenger of Allah e and the believers but hindered the disbelievers. Then the Prophet e led the Muslims, saying: “March with the blessing of Allah, for Allah has indeed promised me victory over one of the two parties. By Allah! It is as if I am now looking at the places where the people will be killed.”

He continued to hasten to the wells and set up camp before the Quraysh tribe arrived. After the camp had been set up, Al-Hubab bin al-Munthir bin al-Jamuh, a man from the tribe of Banu Salamah, came to the Messenger of Allah e and said: “Did Allah instruct you to take this as a place of encampment, such that we have not move from it? Or was it a choice made through cunningness and the art of war?”

The Prophet replied: “Rather, it was a choice made through cunningness and the art of war.”

Al-Hubab then said: “O Messenger of Allah, if that is that case, this is not a good place to set up camp. Let us move to the closest well to the enemy and fill in all of the other wells. We can build a basin and fill it with water, then we can fight. We will be able to drink while our enemy goes thirsty.”

The Messenger of Allah e said to him: “Your opinion is sound.” Then he ordered Al-Hubab’s proposal to be implemented, so the encampment was moved, and the wells taken ownership of before half the night had passed.[739]

This story illustrates one of the great Prophetic manners concerning dialogue: The Prophet e listened to the proposal of Al-Hubab after he verified that the decision was not of a divine nature, out of his respect for the revelation. The adoption of Al-Hubab’s opinion is indicative of his high status and highlights his wisdom and insight.

 Chapter Two : The Islamic Economic System

Section One: The Definition of the Islamic Economic System and its Sources

Section Two: The Fundamental Beliefs Underlying the Islamic Economic System, its Objectives & Distinctive Qualities

Section Three: The Foundations of an Economy and Finance in Islam

Section Four:  Usury

Section Five: Monopoly

Section One:   The Definition of the Islamic Economic System and its Sources

Firstly: The linguistic definition of the term ‘economy’: In Arabic, this word derives from the trilateral root ‘qa-sa-da, yaqsidu, qasdann’ and has several meanings, including: a straight path, justice, ease, nearness, temperance, moderation and purpose.[740]

The word ‘economy’ carries a similar meaning and signifies moderation and temperance. These meanings are indicative of the way Islam views economy and are reflected by numerous verses of the Quran, such as the sayings of Allah – the Almighty –:

[وَٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَنفَقُواْ لَمۡ يُسۡرِفُواْ وَلَمۡ يَقۡتُرُواْ وَكَانَ بَيۡنَ ذَٰلِكَ قَوَامٗا]

Sura al-Furqan; (25):67

[Meaning: And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium way between those extremes.]

[وَلَا تَجۡعَلۡ يَدَكَ مَغۡلُولَةً إِلَىٰ عُنُقِكَ وَلَا تَبۡسُطۡهَا كُلَّ ٱلۡبَسۡطِ فَتَقۡعُدَ مَلُومٗا مَّحۡسُورًا] Sura al-Isra·; (17):29

[Meaning: And let not your hand be tied like a miser to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach like a spendthrift, so that you become blameworthy and insolvent.]

[وَكُلُواْ وَٱشۡرَبُواْ وَلَا تُسۡرِفُوٓاْۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ] Sura al-A’raf; (7):31

[Meaning: O children of Adam, take your adornment at every mosque, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.]

The scholars also mention moderation and temperance, which lie between profligacy and parsimony, in their definitions of economics.[741]

Secondly: The technical definition of the Islamic economic system: Perhaps the most appropriate definition for the Islamic economic system is: ‘it is the set of rulings and policies that govern wealth and how a person utilizes it’.[742]

The ‘set of rulings’ refers to Islamic rulings, i.e. that which Allah has explicitly made mention of.

‘Policies’ refer to those laws which the ruler or state decide upon in order to maintain an organized society. They must not contradict any of the rulings derived from textual evidence contained within the Quran or the Prophetic traditions.

‘Wealth’ refers to everything that is useful goods that are lawful and have market value.

‘How a person utilizes it’ refers to how a person manages wealth, and includes, among other transactions: giving, buying and selling.[743]

Thirdly: the sources of the Islamic economic system: the Islamic economic system derives its principles from the sources of the religion of Islam, which are:

1. The Noble Quran.

2. The Prophetic traditions.

3. Unanimity, i.e. the consensus of the scholars of Islam which occurs after the prophetic era regarding a religious ruling.[744]

4. Analogical inference, i.e. the extension of a ruling to a new problem provided that the precedent and the new problem share the same operative or effective cause.[745]

An example of analogical inference is modern-day currencies, such as riyals, pounds and dollars, which are similar to the money used in the time of the Prophet e, the common operative being growth.

5. The principle of blocking the means to evil, which refers to refraining from permissible means which lead to evil.[746]

6. Custom: every widespread habit that a people have grown accustomed to and are familiar with, such that it is well known in their everyday lives.[747]

Provided the customary practices of a people do not oppose any religious texts, they are to be regarded unless the contracting parties explicitly mention otherwise.

An example of the customary practices of a people being regarded in an economic context is the financial obligation a husband has towards his wife and children, wherein the exact amount is decided according to the customs of a people. Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَعَلَى ٱلۡمَوۡلُودِ لَهُۥ رِزۡقُهُنَّ وَكِسۡوَتُهُنَّ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِۚ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):233

[Meaning: The father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother's food and clothing on a reasonable basis][748]

Section Two:   The Fundamental Beliefs Underlying the Islamic Economic System, its Objectives & Distinctive Qualities

Firstly: The Fundamental beliefs Underlying the Islamic Economic System

Every economic system is based on foundations and ideological principles which define its economic policies and rules.

The capitalist and socialist systems are both based on materialism and the sanctification of wealth, whereas the Islamic economic system differs from them in this regard. It bases itself on a much more noble and important foundation: faith. In reality, economics is merely an offshoot of faith and its role is to safeguard it, to firmly enroot it, to spread its light, to provide practical examples of its application in everyday life.

It is for this reason that when Allah – the Exalted and Most High – mentions verses containing legal rulings, including those pertaining to dealings and transactions, the address is to those who believe.

For example, in the verses pertaining to usury, Allah – the Almighty – says:

[يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَذَرُواْ مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ ٱلرِّبَوٰٓاْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):278

[Meaning: O you who believe, fear Allah and give up what remains due to you of interest, if you are believers.]

In this verse, Allah addresses His believing servants and commands them to fear Him by abandoning usury if they are truly believers. The last of these verses reiterates the command to fear Allah and warns of His punishment in the hereafter:

[وَٱتَّقُواْ يَوۡمٗا تُرۡجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّىٰ كُلُّ نَفۡسٖ مَّا كَسَبَتۡ وَهُمۡ لَا يُظۡلَمُونَ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):281

[Meaning: And fear a Day when you will be returned to Allah. Then every soul will be compensated for what it earned, and they will not be treated unjustly.]

These verses are indicative of the fact all economic obligations stem from faith and belief in origin. When a Muslim adheres to Allah’s commands and prohibitions in this regard, such as giving alms and charity and abandoning usury and fraud, they are doing so because they originate from Allah – the Mighty and Majestic. A Muslim is conscious of the fact that such rulings are better for them in this life as well as the hereafter.

The relationship between Islamic economics and belief is manifested in its direct connection to the pillars of faith, especially belief in Allah, belief in the last day and belief in predestination, both its good and evil aspects.[749] A Muslim believes that Allah sees all of their actions; that this worldly life is merely a preparation for the hereafter; that they will be rewarded in the hereafter in accordance with the deeds they have committed and that they will only receive provisions according to whatever Allah has preordained for them.

Thus, Muslims strive via lawful means to earn a livelihood and they are content with whatever Allah has allotted to them. They are not discontent, nor do they express displeasure if they experience any loss, provided they have taken the correct means.

Secondly: The Objectives of the Islamic Economic System

The Islamic economic system seeks to achieve various goals which can be summarized as follows:

1. Adequate living standards: the Islamic economic system aims at achieving an adequate standard of living for all human beings. For this reason, there are certain obligatory measures in Islam, such as almsgiving, which ensure that a suitable standard of living is available to everyone.

Islamic history is full of examples that prove the Islamic state used to spend upon the poor and needy, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. ‘Umar bin al-Khattab used to say to those charged with distributing alms: “When you give to the people, enrich them.”[750]

Other measures in place to ensure adequate living standards for all humans include government intervention in the labour market to create job opportunities for the unemployed, to ensure a fair minimum wage is imposed for all employees and to allocate economic resources efficiently in accordance with the actual needs of society.

These are some of the measures in place in the Islamic economic system to ensure adequate living standards for all.[751]

2. Investment of economic resources in the best possible way: Investing economic resources in the best possible way is from the main objectives of the Islamic economic system. There are a number of ways this can be achieved, such as:

(i) Utilising economic resources to produce lawful and useful goods and abstaining from the production of harmful and unlawful goods.

(ii) Prioritising production of the essentials and necessities which safeguard the higher objectives of Islamic law.

(iii) Refraining from the production of goods and offering of services which require expenditure so great that it would be a squandering of wealth.[752]

3. Reduction of any large disparity between income and expenditure: Islam rejects any great disparity between income and expenditure due to the unjust distribution of wealth that it results in. Wealth inequality, wherein a minority of people own majority of wealth, leads to the overwhelming majority of people struggling to meet their basic needs. For this reason, Islam does not allow wealth concentration or monopolization of markets, contrary to human-inspired economic systems.

Islam also forbids all forms of social injustice, such as extreme poverty, deprivation of humans from sustenance, neglection of the poor and destitute, the purposeless accumulation and the excessive hoarding of wealth.

Rather, the Islamic economic system strives to reduce wealth inequality and minimise the gap between the rich and the poor. It prohibits the aimless amassment of wealth which gives rise to immoral oppressive practices, just as Allah says:

[كَيۡ لَا يَكُونَ دُولَةَۢ بَيۡنَ ٱلۡأَغۡنِيَآءِ مِنكُمۡۚ]Sura al-Hashr; (59):7

[Meaning: So that it does not circulate only among the rich from amongst you.]

For this reason, Islam forbids excessive hoarding, monopolies, usury, betting, bribery, fraud, exploitation and selfishness of which the poor are victims. In addition, it prescribes almsgiving and financial support and encourages wills, endowments and charity, all of which contribute to even wealth distribution in society and improve quality of life for poor people.[753]

4. Increase the material capabilities and defensive powers of the Islamic nation: In addition to reducing poverty and providing an adequate standard of living for all citizens, the Islamic economic system also aspires to increase the material capabilities and defensive powers of the Islamic nation in order to ensure peace and security from enemies who pose a threat to its economic power. Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَأَعِدُّواْ لَهُم مَّا ٱسۡتَطَعۡتُم مِّن قُوَّةٖ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ ٱلۡخَيۡلِ تُرۡهِبُونَ بِهِۦ عَدُوَّ ٱللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمۡ وَءَاخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُهُمۡۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِن شَيۡءٖ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيۡكُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ لَا تُظۡلَمُونَ] Sura al-Anfal; (8):60

[Meaning: And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know but whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.][754]

Thirdly: The Distinctive Qualities of the Islamic Economic System

The Islamic economic system has a number of qualities which distinguish it from other economic systems, such as:

1. The Islamic economic system is characterised on the recognition of both private and public property. Public property includes common property, such as shared resources, property of the state and the Islamic House of Money. The Islamic conception of wealth is another distinctive quality of the Islamic economic system.

2. Economic activity in Islam is based on the principle of regulated freedom.

3. The Islamic economy places emphasis on mutual aid between members of the Islamic community.

4. The Islamic economy constitutes part of Islamic law and is part of the religion of Islam.

5. Economic activity in Islam is considered to be part of worship.

6. Economic activity in Islam unites between the goodness of this life and the goodness of the hereafter.

7. Economic activity in Islam is predominantly self-regulated.

8. The Islamic economic system lies between the philosophies of scarcity and abundance.

9. The Islamic economic system reconciles between individual interest and public interest.[755]

Section Three: The Foundations of an Economy and Finance in Islam

The Islamic economy is built on the following pillars and fundamental principles:

1. Wealth and economic ownership: Wealth and ownership are fundamental aspects of all economic systems and form the heart of economic activity in every society. It is possible to distinguish between different economic systems based on their outlook on these concepts. Islam recognises all forms of individual ownership and does not place any limits on how a person utilizes, invests or benefits from their own wealth. Rather, it takes into account humans innate desire for personal ownership and possession of property.

Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – says:

[وَأَعِدُّواْ لَهُم مَّا ٱسۡتَطَعۡتُم مِّن قُوَّةٖ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ ٱلۡخَيۡلِ تُرۡهِبُونَ بِهِۦ عَدُوَّ ٱللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمۡ وَءَاخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُهُمۡۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِن شَيۡءٖ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيۡكُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ لَا تُظۡلَمُونَ] Sura aali-‘Imran; (3):14

[Meaning: Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver wealth, branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world's life; That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.]

The Prophet e said: “The son of Adam grows old, but two desires in him remain young: desire for wealth and desire for life.”[756]

The Islamic legislation recognises this inclination in humans and as a result, it established individual property rights and granted people with the right to dispose of their wealth as they please, provided all transactions remain within the limits of Islamic legislation.

The Islamic economic system differs from capitalist systems wherein private ownership is central while other types of ownership are exceptions, and it differs from socialist systems wherein social ownership is central and private ownership is severely restricted.[757]

2. Regulated economic freedom: Within the Islamic economic system, an individual is granted the freedom to acquire wealth and enjoy its profits, as well as to practice all forms of economic activity, provided it remains within the boundaries Islamic law and values.

Islam regulates this economic freedom by placing certain restrictions on it, the positive effects of which are experienced by both individual members of society and society as a whole. For example:

(i) Economic activity in Islam must be beneficial to those engaging in it as well as to society in general.

(ii) It is forbidden to produce or utilize products or services which are malignant or harmful in nature, due to the saying of Allah – the Almighty –:

[وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَٰتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡخَبَٰٓئِثَ] Sura al-A’raf; (7):157

[Meaning: And he makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil.]

Thus, the freedom to produce and consume goods is regulated by lawfulness; harmful goods and services, such as alcohol and narcotics, are strictly forbidden.

(iii) The ways of acquiring wealth which are unrecognised by Islamic law are all impermissible, such as through usury, fraud, bribery and forgery.[758]

3. Social support: This means that a society supports both the individuals and groups it consists of, such that individual interests do not override the common good, as is the case in capitalism, nor are individual interests neglected, as is the case in socialism.

Instead, the Islamic economic system marries the distinctiveness and creativity of individuals with structure and control of direction of groups. In this way, individuals live within a supportive social network which cares for them and has their best interests at heart. This is clearly stated in the Quran wherein Allah – the Almighty – says:

[وَإِنَّ هَٰذِهِۦٓ أُمَّتُكُمۡ أُمَّةٗ وَٰحِدَةٗ وَأَنَا۠ رَبُّكُمۡ فَٱتَّقُونِ]Sura al-Mu·minun; (23):52

[Meaning: And surely, this nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord, so fear Me.]

The meaning of this verse can also be found in many Prophetic traditions, such as the saying of the Prophet e: “The believers to one another are like a building whose parts support each other.” The Prophet e interlocked his fingers whilst making this statement.[759] Likewise he e said: “None of you will truly believe until you love for his brother that which you love for yourself.”[760]

Section Four:  Usury

Firstly: The Definition of Usury

(i) The linguistic definition: the term ‘usury’ in Arabic derives from the trilateral root ‘ra-b-aa, yarbu’ whose verbal noun is both ‘rabwann and ribann’ which means increase, growth and elevation.[761]

(ii) The technical definition: It is the unlawful demand for excess in a transaction.[762]

Secondly: Types of Usury

There are two main types of usury:

1. Usury due to postponement which may take various forms, including:

(i) A deferment of the repayment of a loan in exchange for a sum additional to the principal loan amount.

For example, when a debtor unable to repay their debt upon maturity requests a delay from their creditor who stipulates a premium in return. This type of usury was prominent in the period of pre-Islamic ignorance and characterised majority of their transactions.

(ii) Loans with a fixed interest rate.

This occurs when a creditor specifies the maturity date of a loan and stipulates a fixed interest rate in case of late repayment as part of the initial loan agreement.

2. Usury due to surplus which is definable as: the unequal exchange of usurious commodities of the same type. Some of these commodities are mentioned in the narration of ‘Ubadah bin as-Samit – may Allah be pleased with him – wherein he says: the Prophet e said: “Gold is to be exchanged with gold, silver with silver, wheat with wheat, barley with barley, dates with dates and salt with salt, like for like, equal for equal and hand by hand. Anyone who gives something additional or asks for surplus has fallen into usury.  However, if the types of commodity are different to each other, then sell as you wish as long as payment is immediate.”[763]

Through the process of analogical inference, the same ruling can be extended to include commodities which share the same operative cause. For example: the exchange of fifty grams of gold for seventy grams of gold in a spot trade, or the exchange of fifty dollars for seventy dollars in a spot trade.[764]

Thirdly: The Operative Cause of Usury

Although the Prophet e mentioned six types of commodity in the foregoing narration of ‘Ubadah, the operative cause for the occurrence of usury in these items can likewise be found in other items, meaning the ruling can be extended to include everything that shares the same operative cause.

The operative cause for the occurrence of usury in gold and silver is that they constitute currencies. Therefore, the ruling can be extended to everything with the same effective cause, i.e. everything that is used as currency, such as banknotes.

As for the other four commodities mentioned, their operative cause – according to what is correct – is the fact they are weighable or measurable foodstuffs. Thus, all weighable or measurable foodstuffs are encompassed by the same ruling as the four commodities mentioned in the narration of ‘Ubadah; namely wheat, barley, dates and salt.

Fourthly: Regulations related to Transactions involving Usurious Commodities

Transactions involving usurious commodities are of two types:

1. The exchange of usurious commodities of the same type, such as the exchange of gold for gold. This type of transaction is permissible provided the following two conditions are met:

(i) The quantities exchanged must be the same.

(ii) The exchange must be immediate, without delay, due to the saying of the Prophet e: “like for like, equal for equal and hand by hand.”

2. The exchange of usurious commodities of different types, such as the exchange of wheat for dates. In this case, for the transaction to be permissible, the exchange must occur immediately before the two parties depart from the place of contract. Furthermore, in this case it is permissible that the quantities of the two commodities differ, due to the saying of the Prophet e: “However, if the types of commodity are different to each other, then sell as you wish as long as payment is immediate.”

Fifthly: Evidence for the Prohibition of Usury

Usury is prohibited and it is considered to be from the major sins, as is indicated by the Quran, Prophetic traditions and consensus of the Muslim community.

Evidence from the Quran: Allah – the Almighty – says:

[ٱلَّذِينَ يَأۡكُلُونَ ٱلرِّبَوٰاْ لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ ٱلَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ مِنَ ٱلۡمَسِّۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمۡ قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡبَيۡعُ مِثۡلُ ٱلرِّبَوٰاْۗ وَأَحَلَّ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡبَيۡعَ وَحَرَّمَ ٱلرِّبَوٰاْۚ فَمَن جَآءَهُۥ مَوۡعِظَةٞ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦ فَٱنتَهَىٰ فَلَهُۥ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمۡرُهُۥٓ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ وَمَنۡ عَادَ فَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلنَّارِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ ٢٧٥ يَمۡحَقُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلرِّبَوٰاْ وَيُرۡبِي ٱلصَّدَقَٰتِۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):275-6

[Meaning: Those who consume interest will not stand on the Day of Resurrection except as a person who is being beaten by Satan into insanity stands. That is because they say: “Trade is just like usury.” But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. So whoever receives an admonition from his Lord and desists shall not be punished for what has passed, and his affair rests with Allah. But whoever returns to dealing in usury - those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein. Allah destroys interest and gives increase for charities. And Allah does not like every sinning disbeliever.]

In another verse, Allah – the Exalted and Most High – says:

[يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَذَرُواْ مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ ٱلرِّبَوٰٓاْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ]

Sura al-Baqarah; (2):278

[Meaning: O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains [due to you] of interest, if you are truly believers.]

Evidence from the Prophetic traditions: On the authority of Jabir – may Allah be pleased with him – who said: “The Messenger of Allah e cursed the one who consumes usury, the one who pays it, the one who witnesses it and the one who records it. He said: ‘They are all equal.’”[765]

In another narration, Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – said: I heard the Prophet e saying: “Avoid the seven destructive sins.” Those present asked: “And what are they, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “Associating anything with Allah in worship, sorcery, the unjustified killing of a soul which Allah has made sacred, the devouring of an orphan’s property, the eating of usury, fleeing from the battlefield and the slandering of innocent, chaste believing women.”[766]

Evidence from the consensus: The Muslim community is in unanimous agreement regarding the forbiddance of usury.[767]

Sixthly: Reasons for the Prohibition of Usury in Islam

Among the reasons for the prohibition of usury in Islam is:

1. That which it contains of oppression and the unlawful consumption of the wealth of people. Allah – the Almighty – says:

[فَإِن لَّمۡ تَفۡعَلُواْ فَأۡذَنُواْ بِحَرۡبٖ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦۖ وَإِن تُبۡتُمۡ فَلَكُمۡ رُءُوسُ أَمۡوَٰلِكُمۡ لَا تَظۡلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظۡلَمُونَ] Sura al-Baqarah; (2):279

[Meaning: And if you do not, then be informed of a war against you from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.]

2. Usury encourages laziness and unemployment and is one of the greatest contributing factors to laziness and unemployment, due to the human tendency to desire maximum income for minimum effort. This is something disapproved of by the Islamic legislation which encourages people to work and earn a living. All of the prophets – peace be upon them – loved work and would urge the believers to do so; Prophet Muhammad e himself worked as a shepherd and as a trader and ate from that which had earned with his own hands.

3. Usury encourages selfishness and greed and destroys rapport between people as creditors engage in predatory lending rather than loaning out of kindness and goodwill.

4. Usury can lead to crime and bad investments as pressure is placed on debtors to meet burdensome loan repayments. This can tempt desperate debtors to resort to crimes such as theft and drug trafficking which impact negatively on society.

5. Usury causes creditors to become enslaved to wealth, which leads to them seeking to obtain by any means possible, even if they are unlawful. An opinion held by some doctors is that many of the diseases of the heart, such as high blood pressure, angina, the formation of blood clots, brain haemorrhages and even cardiac arrest, are caused by economic troubles which render people unable to satisfy their greed.

This is observable when companies or stocks experience losses on a large scale.

The former dean of internal medicine at Cairo University, ‘Abdul-Aziz Isma’il, in his book ‘Islam and Medicine’, mentions that usury is the cause of many illnesses of the heart.

Lastly, usury destroys social cohesion, brotherhood and mutual aid between people and has detrimental effects on individuals and society as a whole.[768]

Section Five:    Monopoly

Firstly: the technical definition of the word ‘monopoly’: Stockpiling food or other commodities needed by people, in anticipation of a price increase.

In human-inspired economic systems, it is defined as the unethical practice of dominating the supply and demand of goods in order to manipulate prices and maximise profits.[769]

Secondly: the adverse effects of a monopoly include:

1. Increase in the cost of goods and services for consumers.

2. Control over the price of raw materials and manufactured goods.

3. Lack of technological advancement and low quality of goods and services due to the lack of competition and lack of incentive to work.

4. Production is limited and may be insufficient in many cases.

5. The needs of many people are not met adequately.

6. Manipulation and exploitation of consumers, which can result in the occurrence of practices such as commodity destruction, wherein excess goods are stored or even destroyed in order to maintain prices despite the costs involved in such processes. This is carried out with the intention of having control over the basic needs of people in an era characterized by globalization.

Another way in which companies monopolise markets is through group boycott, wherein monopolists abandon trade with countries, particularly those in the developing world, in order to lower prices of raw materials.[770]

Thirdly: the ruling on monopolization: numerous Prophetic traditions mention the forbiddance of monopolies in Islam, such as the saying of the Prophet e: “No one monopolises except a wrongdoer”, and in a variant narration it mentions: “Whoever monopolises is a wrongdoer.”[771]

Ash-Shawkani comments on the foregoing narrations, saying: “There is no doubt these narrations are indicative of the prohibition of monopolisation. The fact monopolisers are described as sinners is sufficient proof for its prohibition, because the word ‘wrongdoer’ means: a sinful, disobedient person.”[772]

Fourthly: cases wherein stockpiling is permitted:

1. Provisions stored by a person for themselves and their family, provided it is not a time of crisis wherein people go to extreme measures in hoarding essentials such that it is considered a monopoly.

2. Products and commodities that are stored for later consumption, as is the case with seasonal products which are needed throughout the year, such as grains or dates.

3. The strategic reserves of a country which are stored in case of emergency. These reserves aim at protecting producers and consumers and include fuel and grain reserves.[773]

 Chapter Three :The Islamic Social System

Section One: The Meaning of Society and Social Life in Islam

Section Two: The Status of a Neighbourhood in Islam

Section Three: Maintaining Ties of Kinship

Section Four: Human Dignity and the Islamic Criteria for Justice and Superiority

Section Five: The Core Ethical Values of Islam and the Role of Ethics in Creating Social Cohesion

Section Six: Friendship and Companionship in Islam and the Relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims

Section One: The Meaning of Society and Social Life in Islam

Firstly: The Meaning of Society and Related Issues

Before discussing the Islamic social system in detail, it will be useful to define terms related to the topic’s specific vocabulary such as ‘society’, ‘community’ and ‘nation’.

1.  The linguistic definition of society: the Arabic word for society derives from the trilateral root ‘ja-ma-‘a’ which means to gather something which is scattered or to collect it.

Something which is collected has been brought together from various places. Ibn Manthur mentions the idiomatic phrase of the Arabs ‘the people gathered’, meaning they assembled and came together from various places.[774] The way in which societies are formed can be inferred from this usage.[775]

2. The technical definition of a society: the aggregate of people living together.[776]

A society may also be defined as: a large group of people who live within the same geographical territory and share a social bond and common interests under a regulatory authority.[777]

3. The definition of an Islamic society: an Islamic society differs from other societies in only a few respects, as will be discussed later.

An Islamic society is one wherein Muslims live harmoniously together within the same geographical territory and are governed by Islamic law under the supervision of a ruler from amongst them.[778]

4. The definition of a community: a group of people united by one or more common characteristics, such as kinship or gender. According to this definition, communities are a component of society.[779]

5. The definition of a nation: The Arabic word for nation, umma, has various meanings including: a period of time, a body of people, and religion.

In sociological terms, the word nation refers to a large group of people united by something they share in common, such as religion, place or time. The traits shared by a nation may be either chosen, such as belief and location, or given, such as gender and colour.[780]

6. The definition of the Islamic Nation: In light of the religious texts, it is possible to define the Islamic Nation as being: groups of people united by Islamic creed, regardless of any other considerations.

This expansive definition is validated by the Quran, wherein Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – says:

[وَإِنَّ هَٰذِهِۦٓ أُمَّتُكُمۡ أُمَّةٗ وَٰحِدَةٗ وَأَنَا۠ رَبُّكُمۡ فَٱتَّقُونِ]

Sura al-Mu·minoon; (23):52

[Meaning: And surely, this nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord, so fear Me.]

Despite the best efforts of the most countries, they fail to merge as a single coherent nation. For example, in spite of the formation of the European Union, each of the twenty-eight member states retains their own state features and operates independently, such as by concluding international agreements in their own names, for instance. The same is true of the fifty-five nations of the African Union.

However, the term ‘Islamic nations’ is non-existent due to the fact that the Islamic nation is a single, unified body, regardless of the linguistic, ethnic and geographical diversity observable between Muslims. This means that the Islamic nation is made up of several communities which all unite on the basis of Islam.[781]

Secondly: Social Life in Islam

Divine religions share the distinctive characteristics of reforming souls, enlightening minds and unlocking the doors to wisdom. Islam has the greatest share of these merits as it is the final, best, most comprehensive and most complete religion. It is no wonder that all issues are covered by Islam in great detail, including those pertaining to creed, manners, jurisprudence, society and politics.

Islam instils morals in people and provides them with a complete code of conduct to abide by. It sets very high standards and lays solid foundations for society to function in accordance with. The religion of Islam recognises the nature of humans as social creatures who cooperate to achieve common objectives and consequently, it grants certain rights to close relatives such as the right to financial support, inheritance and fine treatment. Furthermore, it establishes specific marital rights and duties to ensure love and harmony between spouses, rights for neighbours and other regulations, all of which help to maintain social relations.[782]

The way the Islamic belief system is intertwined with the practical aspects of worship clearly sets Islam apart from other divine religions, which were in reality progressive preparation for its coming. The Islamic social system constitutes part of the religion of Islam and teaches unity and fellowship which contribute to its universality. Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – says:

[إِنَّ ٱلدِّينَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡإِسۡلَٰمُۗ] Sura aali-‘Imran; (3):19

[Meaning: Indeed, the religion with Allah is Islam.]

In another verse, He says:

[وَأَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ مُصَدِّقٗا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ مِنَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ

وَمُهَيۡمِنًا عَلَيۡهِۖ] Sura al-Ma·idah; (5):48

[Meaning: And We have revealed to you the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it.]

The greatest goal of the religion of Islam is the reform of society which can only be achieved if personal and community reform are achieved.

Allah – Mighty and Majestic – says:

[وَلَا تُفۡسِدُواْ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ بَعۡدَ إِصۡلَٰحِهَا] Sura al-A’raf; (7):56

[Meaning: And cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.][783]

Ibn ‘Ashur – may Allah have mercy upon him – wrote: “Among the extraordinary events decreed by Allah in support of this religion and in facilitating its emergence is that He caused it to appear in two tremendous stages; the Makkan period wherein the Messenger  resided in his birthplace prior to emigration, and the Medinan period after his emigration to Yathrib.

The two main purposes of Islamic legislation correspond precisely to these two periods, the first being characterised by personal reform and the second by social reform. By the start of the second period, at the time of emigration, the Prophet  had a group of people who were fully prepared to spread the message of reform. This group consisted of approximately fifty early Muslims who had resided with the Prophet  in Makkah, approximately eighty Muslims who had emigrated with him to Abyssinia and approximately four thousand Medinan Muslims from the Aws and Khazraj tribes. This number was able to propagate the reform message of Islam, to transmit its virtue to people and to openly invite to it, and at that point it was also fitting to establish and call to social reform.”[784]

The following sections will discuss the importance given to society in Islam, social relations and some qualities which help establish a flourishing society.

Section Two:   The Status of Neighbourhood in Islam

Firstly: The Meaning of Neighbourhood

1. The Definition of Neighbours:

(i) the linguistic definition of the term ‘neighbour’: Ibn Manthur – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: “Neighbourhood is synonymous with being in close proximity to something, and a neighbour is someone that lives close to you.

It is said: ‘He neighbours so-and-so’ meaning he lives in cohabitation with him.

Likewise, it is said: ‘so-and-so is neighbourly’ meaning they are good or model neighbours.”[785]

Ibn Manthur adds: “A neighbour means one who lives near to someone and its plural is neighbours.”[786]

(ii) the technical definition of the term ‘neighbour’: A neighbour is a person that lives within the proximity defined by Islamic law, regardless of whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim, pious or impious, friendly or unfriendly, amicable or hostile, harmless or harmful, related or unrelated, native or foreign.

Neighbourhood has varying degrees which differ depending on proximity, relatedness, religion, piety and other factors. These factors dictate how a person is to behave towards their neighbour.

2. The spatial limits of a neighbourhood: the scholarly opinions regarding the spatial limits of a neighbour in Islam differ as follows:

(i) Some scholars fix this limit to forty houses in each direction, such as Aisha – may Allah be pleased with her –, az-Zuhri and al-Awza’i – may Allah have mercy upon them –.

(ii) Other scholars limit it to ten houses in each direction.

(iii) ‘Ali – may Allah be pleased with him – considered the limit to be as far as the human voice travels.

(iv) Yet other scholars consider only adjoining houses to be one’s neighbours.

(v) Still others consider attendees of the same mosque to be neighbours.

What is correct – and Allah knows best – is that the spatial limit of a neighbour is to be determined by the traditions of a people. Thus, the customary practices of a people define who one’s neighbours are.[787]

3. The expansive meaning of neighbourhood in Islam: There is no doubt that neighbourhood refers primarily to residence, however the Islamic concept of neighbourhood is more comprehensive than this. The meaning of the term ‘neighbour’ is extended in Islam to include everyone encountered by a person in communal settings such as shops, marketplaces, parks, offices and classrooms. It also includes fellow travellers because of their spatial and temporal proximity to a person. Similarly, a person’s spouse is considered to be their neighbour as is indicated by the saying of Allah – the Almighty –:

[وَٱلۡجَارِ ذِي ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡجَارِ ٱلۡجُنُبِ وَٱلصَّاحِبِ بِٱلۡجَنۢبِ] Sura an-Nisa·; (4):36

[Meaning: The close neighbour, the distant neighbour and the companion by your side.]

Furthermore, neighbouring states and countries have rights of a neighbourhood over each other.

Lastly, protectors and protected are also referred to as neighbours because of the nearness between them.

Secondly: Islamic Instructions regarding Neighbours

Islam places great emphasis on the rights of neighbours. In Islam, contrary to other religions and man-made laws, a neighbour is granted sanctity alongside many other rights. Man-made laws neglect the rights of neighbours and allow for them to be undermined.

The status of the neighbour in Islam is such that Allah mentioned it in conjunction with His worship and oneness and alongside goodness to parents, orphans and relatives. Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – says in the verse of the ten rights:

[وَٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَلَا تُشۡرِكُواْ بِهِۦ شَيۡ‍ٔٗاۖ وَبِٱلۡوَٰلِدَيۡنِ إِحۡسَٰنٗا وَبِذِي ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَٰكِينِ وَٱلۡجَارِ ذِي ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡجَارِ ٱلۡجُنُبِ وَٱلصَّاحِبِ بِٱلۡجَنۢبِ وَٱبۡنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ] Sura an-Nisa·; (4):36

[Meaning: Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the close neighbour, the distant neighbour, the companion by your side, the wayfarer, and those slaves whom your right hands possess.]

‘The neighbour who is near’ refers to those whom one shares blood relations with. Or it means: those who are spatially nearby. Other scholars explain it to mean Muslim neighbours, while yet others say it means one’s spouse.

‘The distant neighbour’ is interpreted by some scholars to mean non-immediate neighbours who are still traditionally considered to be from among one’s neighbours. Or it is said to mean non-relatives. It is also said to refer to one’s spouse or non-Muslims.[788]

There are many Prophetic traditions which highlight the rights of neighbourhood and enjoin fine treatment of neighbours, such as by protecting their reputation, preserving their honour, concealing their faults, hiding their mistakes, maintaining their privacy and refraining from offensive behaviour towards them. One of best narrations in this regard is the statement of the Prophet : “Gabriel enjoined me with good treatment of neighbours to the extent I thought he would assign them as heirs.”[789] i.e. I thought a command would reach me from Allah granting neighbours the right to inherit from each other. This utterance is both eloquent and expressive as it not only instructs with refraining from harming one’s neighbour, but also implies a person should be helpful toward their neighbours. The saying of the Prophet  “…to the extent I thought he would assign them as heirs” is indicative of the great status of neighbours and the rights owed to them.[790]

Thirdly: The Rights a Neighbour is Owed in Islam

The rights a neighbour is due in Islam are many, however it is possible to group them into four main categories:

1. Refraining from harm: The high status of neighbours in Islam and their sanctity, which have previously been discussed, is further highlighted by the severe threat facing those who harm their neighbours. Harm is prohibited in Islam in general, however causing harm to one’s neighbours is even more strictly forbidden.

Imam al-Bukhari, in his authentic collection of Prophetic traditions, reports a narration on the authority of Abu Shurayh – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: “By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.”

It was asked: “Who, O Messenger of Allah?”

He replied: “One whose neighbour does not feel safe from their harm.”[791]

Imam Muslim reports a narration in his authentic collection of Prophetic traditions, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet  said: “One whose neighbour does not feel safe from their harm will not enter Paradise.”[792]

The narration of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – is referenced in both the authentic collections of Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim and mentions the statement of the Prophet : “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm their neighbour.”[793]

2. Assistance of neighbours: Assistance is another of the rights a neighbour is owed in Islam. Rushing to the aid of a neighbour who a calamity has befallen, be it bodily injury, financial loss or personal issues, is a sign of nobility in a person.

3. Showing kindness to neighbours: Good neighbourliness means more than merely refraining from harming one’s neighbours or assisting them. It includes all forms of kindness as kindness is proof of the goodness, faith and veracity of a person.

Another narration of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – which is also referenced in both the authentic collections of Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim records the statement of the Prophet : “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or remain silent; whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should treat neighbours with kindness; and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should honour their guests.”[794]

In a variant narration reported by Muslim, it mentions: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should treat neighbours well.”[795]

Showing kindness to neighbours includes comforting them in times of grief, congratulating them in times of happiness, visiting them in times of sickness, greeting them, smiling at them when meeting them, offering them beneficial advice regarding both their worldly life and their hereafter and carrying out favours for them as much as possible.

4. Enduring the harms of neighbours: Refraining from harming one’s neighbours, assisting them and showing them kindness are all meritorious acts, but in addition to these a person must overlook their neighbours’ faults and mistakes. They must tolerate the offensive behaviour of their neighbours, especially if a neighbour did not intend to cause offence or later regretted and apologized for their bad conduct.

Thus, enduring the harms of neighbours and taking the moral high ground by not retaliating is from the best of virtuous characteristics a person may possess. The pious predecessors perceived this meaning and would act accordingly. Al-Marruthi narrates the saying of al-Hasan: “Good neighbourliness is not merely to abstain from harm, rather good neighbourliness is to endure harm.”[796]

Section Three:   Maintaining Ties of Kinship

Firstly: The Meaning of Kinship Relations and How to Maintain Them

1. The meaning of maintaining kinship relations: Ibn Manthur – may Allah have mercy upon him – writes: “To maintain something is to join and connect it, and its opposite is abandonment.”[797]

He also writes: “It is said: ‘so-and-so maintains the ties of kinship’ and ‘between those two there is a kin tie’ meaning: a relation and a connection”.[798]

Furthermore, he mentions: “Maintaining is the opposite of severing.”[799]

He then defined the maintenance of kinship ties, saying: “Ibn al-Athir said: ‘It is a metaphor used to refer to treating those a person is related to via blood or marriage with kindness, affection, gentleness and care, even if they are distant and hostile.”[800]

2. How to maintain kinship relations: A person can ensure the maintenance of kinship relations in a number of ways, such as by visiting relatives, asking about them, giving them gifts, being considerate towards them, financially assisting the poor from among them and being amicable towards the rich among them, respecting the elders from among them and showing mercy towards the young and weak from among them, or keeping in touch by frequenting them with visits, through correspondence or by telephone.

Likewise, one may maintain ties of kinship by inviting relatives and hosting them, showing them affection, holding them in high regard and by making an effort with those who are distant from them. Other ways of maintaining family relations are by partaking in their celebrations, consoling them in times of grief, supplicating on their behalf, not holding grudges against them, reconciling between those of them who have fallen out, and by reinforcing the ties with those of them who are on good terms. Similarly, healthy kinship relations can be ensured by visiting relatives in times of sickness and responding to their invites. However, the best way of maintaining ties with relatives is by calling upon relatives to follow the right path and by enjoining them with good and forbidding them from evil.[801]

Secondly: The Virtues of Maintaining Kinship Relations in Islam

The Islamic legislation mentions the various virtues of maintaining family relations. There are many Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions, as well as the sayings of scholars and intellectuals, which state its merits. These include:

1. Maintaining ties of kinship is a sign of true faith in Allah and the Last day: On the authority of Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – who said: Allah’s Messenger  said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day then should honour their guests; and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should maintain good relations with their kin.”[802]

2. Maintaining the ties of kinship is from the means of increasing one’s provisions and lifespan: On the authority of Anas bin Malik – may Allah be pleased with him – who said: Allah’s Messenger  said: “Whoever wishes for their earnings to grow and for their lifespan to be prolonged, then they should keep ties with their kin.”[803]

The scholars have interpreted the prolongment of one’s lifespan and growth of earnings in the following ways:

(i) Prolongment in this context means Allah will bless the life of a person who maintains kinship relations, as well as granting them bodily strength, wisdom and determination. Thus, they will lead a life filled with good action.

(ii) Growth of earnings and prolongment of one’s lifespan are to be understood literally. According to this interpretation, the one who maintains the ties of kinship will be granted increased lifespan and greater earnings.

This is understandable because, just as longer life can be achieved by exposure to clean air, good food and other factors contributing to bodily and spiritual strength, Allah has made maintaining kinship relations another means to achieving an increased lifespan. There are two ways to achieve worldly longings: by physical means which are tangible to the senses, and by divine, lordly means which the One who has ability over all things and to Whom everything is subservient, decreed.[804]

3. Allah maintains ties with the one who maintains the ties of kinship: Allah’s Messenger  said: “Allah created the creation and when He finished it, kinship rose up and said: ‘In this place I seek refuge in you from the severance of ties.’ Allah said: ‘Are you not content that I maintain ties with the one who maintains the ties of kinship and I sever ties with the one who severs the ties of kinship? It said: ‘Yes, indeed.’ He said: ‘That is for you.’[805]

4. Maintaining ties of kinship is from the greatest means to entering Paradise: On the authority of Abu Ayub al-Ansari – may Allah be pleased with him – that a man said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, inform me of an action that will cause me to enter Paradise and be distanced from Hell.’ The Messenger of Allah  said: “Worship Allah and do not associate partners with Him in worship, establish the prayer, give alms, and maintain the ties of kinship.”[806]

5. Maintaining kinship relations is an act of obedience to Allah – the Mighty and Majestic –: Allah – the Almighty – said in praise of those who maintain kinship relations:

[وَٱلَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ ٱللَّهُ بِهِۦٓ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّهُمۡ وَيَخَافُونَ سُوٓءَ ٱلۡحِسَابِ] Sura ar-Ra’d; (13):21

[Meaning: And those who maintain the relationships Allah has commanded to be maintained and fear their Lord and are fearful of an evil reckoning.]

6. Maintaining ties of kinship is from the best of religious acts: Islam is a religion of social bonds, mercy and good conduct. It commands with the maintenance of kinship relations and forbids their severance, which leads to a unified and harmonious body of Muslims who share a feeling of mutual compassion. This is in contrast to man-made laws which do not account for such rights or pay them importance.

7. Maintenance of kinship ties is a principle shared by all divine religions: All of the divine religions regard maintaining the ties of kinship to be among their core values and forbid severance of family bonds. This is indicative of its significance and virtue.

Section Four: Human Dignity and the Islamic Criteria for Justice and Superiority

Firstly: Human Dignity in Islam

Islam establishes human dignity in a unique manner that is unrivalled by any other system, as is proven by the evidences of the Quran and the Prophetic traditions.

Sufficient in this regard is the saying of Allah – the Almighty:

[وَلَقَدۡ كَرَّمۡنَا بَنِيٓ ءَادَمَ وَحَمَلۡنَٰهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ وَرَزَقۡنَٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلطَّيِّبَٰتِ وَفَضَّلۡنَٰهُمۡ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٖ مِّمَّنۡ خَلَقۡنَا تَفۡضِيلٗا] Sura al-Isra·; (17):70

[Meaning: And indeed, We have honoured the children of Adam and carried them on land and sea and provided for them of the good things and greatly privileged them over much of what We have created.]

In this verse we see an example of Allah’s immeasurable grace and generosity, whereby He honoured the descendants of Adam in every sense; He honoured them with knowledge, moral sense, intellect, fine appearance, sending of the messengers, revelation of the holy books and subjugation of everything upon the earth.[807]

Shaikh Muhammad at-Tahir bin ‘Ashur – may Allah have mercy upon him – said in exegesis of the foregoing verse: “Children of Adam refers to all of humankind and the descriptio