The Explanation of
the Creed of Ibnu ^Asakir
< < Bismillahir-Rahmanir
- Explanation: Bismillahir-Rahmanir Rahim means I start
with the name of Allah, or my beginning is with the name of Allah.
Ar-Rahman means the One Who is extremely merciful to the believers
and the blasphemers in this world and to the believers exclusively
in the next world. Ar-Rahim means the One Who is extremely merciful
to the believers.
Shaykh Fakhrud-Din Ibn ^Asakir,
may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
- Explanation: The author is Fakhrud-Din Abu Mansur ^Abdur-Rahman
Ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Hibatullah Ibn ^Abdullah Ibn al-Husayn
ad-Dimashqiyy, known as Ibn ^Asakir, the famous Shafi^iyy faqih
The known faqih and historian, Abu Shamah, said: None of his paternal
grandfathers was named ^Asakir even though they were well-known by
this name at home. ^Asakir, possibly, is a name of some of his maternal
grandfathers." He is the nephew of Abul-Qasim ^Aliyy Ibn al-Hasan
Ibn Hibatullah Ibn ^Asakir, the Damascene scholar and memorizer of
hadith. He was born in the year 550 AH (as he wrote with his own hand),
in an honorable and grand house. He, may Allah have mercy on him, paid
close attention to obtaining knowledge at a young age. He learned the
knowledge of the Religion from Qutbud-Din, Mas^ud An-Naysaburiyy, whose
daughter Ibn ^Asakir later married. He also learned from his uncle,
al-Hafidh Abul-Qasim, Sharafud-Din ^Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu ^Asrun,
Asma' Bint Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Tahir and her sister, Aminah,
He taught fiqh (knowledge of the rules of the Religion) and narrated
hadith in Makkah, Damascus, and Jerusalem, as well as in other places.
In his book, As-Siyar, adh-Dhahabiyy related that a number of the known
scholars praised him. Ibn as-Subkiyy (Ibn as-Subkiyy is Tajud-din ^Abdul-Wahhab
Ibn ^Aliyy as-Subkiyy.) said in his book, Tabaqat ash-Shafi^iyyah: "He
is the last that combined knowledge and performance. The people of
his era agreed on regarding him greatly for his mind and religiousness."
Abu Shamah, in his book, Dhayl-ur-Rawdatayn, said: "One night
King al-Mu^adhdham sent for Ibn ^Asakir to assign him as the judge.
He sat Ibn ^Asakir next to him and offered him food, but Ibn ^Asakir
abstained. To al-Mu^adhdham's insisting that he be assigned with the
judiciary, Ibn ^Asakir replied that he would make 'istikharah (to pray
to Allah to guide him to the correct decision). Ibn ^Asakir returned
to his room that was by the mihrab of the Companions (in the Umayyad
Mosque) and went inside. He prayed at night in the mosque to Allah
and cried until Fajr. When the morning came, the king's assistants
came to him, but he was adamant in refusing the position and instead
recommended Ibn al-Harastaniyy. Ibn ^Asakir had feared that he would
be forced to accept this position and had prepared his family to leave
the city. His students had gone before him to Allepo. Al-^Adil, the
ruler of Allepo and the brother of al-Mu^adhdham, feeling pity for
Ibn ^Asakir, sent them back. His heart had softened for Ibn ^Asakir
and he told him to name someone else for that position. So Ibn ^Asakir
named Ibn al-Harastaniyy."
Among Ibn ^Asakir's poetry is:
"Be fearful at night when you are hopeful (of Allah),
and be hopeful (of Allah) if you wake up fearful.
So often time has brought hardships,
and with them, mercies (from Allah)."
Ibn ^Asakir compiled many works in fiqh and hadith. He died on the
10th of Rajab in the year 620 AH. Very few people did not attend his
funeral. He was buried in the Cemetery of the Sufis in Damascus.
Abu Shamah said: "I was told by one who witnessed his death that
he prayed adh-Dhuhr, and asked about ^Asr. He performed Wudu', uttered
ash-Shahadatayn, and while sitting, said: 'I have accepted Allah as
my Lord, Islam as my Religion, and Muhammad as my Prophet. May Allah
enable me to utter it, forgive me, and have mercy upon me in my grave
where I will be alone.' Then he said: 'wa ^alaykumus-salam' in salutation,
from which we knew that the angels came, then he turned and died." He
was ill with diarrhea. May Allah bestow mercy on him.
Know, may Allah guide us and you,
that it is obligatory upon every accountable person to know
that Allah is the only God in His Dominion.
- Explanation: The universe is subject to the Godhood,
management, and ownership of Allah. It is obligatory on every
accountable person (mukallaf) to believe with certainty and beyond
doubt, that Allah ta^ala, has no partner with Him in His Dominion.
That is, this universe has no owner other than Allah, no manager
other than Allah, and no God other than Allah. The One (al-Wahid)
when attributed to Allah, means the One Who has no partner with
Him in His Godhood and there is none similar to Him. The mukallaf
is the one who is pubescent, sane, and has heard the creedal
statement of Islam.
He created the entire world: the
upper and lower, the ^Arsh and Kursiyy, the heavens and earth,
and what is in them and in between them.
- Explanation: The upper world is what is in the heavens,
and the lower world is what is on earth. Everything in this universe,
whether it is in the heavens or on the earth, above the heavens
or underneath the earth, or between the heavens and the earth,
is a creation of Allah, the Exalted. He is the One Who brought
it into existence from a state of non-existence. This includes
the deeds of the slaves and their intentions since they are part
of this universe. Allah Ta^ala said in Surat al-Furqan, 2:
which means: [And He created everything.]
What is in the heavens, for example, are the angels. What is above
the heavens, for example, is Paradise. The moon and the stars are
examples of what is between the heavens and the earth. What is
on the earth, for example, are the humans. Under the earth is Hell,
which is under the seventh earth. The universe includes all these
and is a creation of Allah.
All the creation is subjugated
by His Power. No speck moves except by His Will. He has no
manager for the creation with Him, and has no partner in Dominion.
- Explanation: The ^Arsh, which is the greatest of the
creations of Allah in size, is subjugated to Allah, ta^ala. Allah
is the One Who created it and placed it in this very high place.
He is the One Who keeps it in that place and prevents it from
falling on the heavens and earth, thereby destroying them. Necessarily,
what is less in size than the ^Arsh is also subjugated to Allah.
Allah, ta^ala, said in Surat at-Tawbah, 129:
which means : [And He is the Lord
of the Grand ^Arsh.]
He, subhanahu wa ta^ala, is the Manager for everything. He is the One
Who makes things run according to His eternal Will and Knowledge. Hence,
nothing happens in the entire universe, whether it is motion or rest,
except by His management. He, ta^ala, is the One Who makes hearts and
things run as He willed. If He willed, He would stray the heart of the
slave, and if He willed, He would guide it. As Allah, ta^ala, said in
Surat al-An^am, 110:
This ayah means : [And We turn their
hearts and sights.]
Al-Bayhaqiyy related that the Prophet,
sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said: "O You Who makes the hearts
run, make our hearts run in obedience to You." If running
the hearts is by the power of Allah, then, necessarily, the external
deeds are creations of Allah. It is not like what the Mu^tazilah
say that the slave creates his own actions and Allah is not the
Creator of everything; May Allah denounce them. Allah, ta^ala,
said in Surat Az-Zumar, 62:
which means: [Allah is the Creator
The word "everything" includes the bodies, members, and actions.
The slave only acquires the deed and Allah creates it. The meaning of "acquires" is
to direct one's will and power (which are both created) to perform the
deed, and Allah creates that deed. Allah makes it happen out of non-existence
and hence renders it existing. It does not happen except by Allah creating
The slave who is guided to the acceptable deeds by the Mercy and Generosity
of Allah, would look at the true meanings of motions and rest. If I move
my hand, I will feel the motion, and know that I have directed my intention
toward it. However, the mind and the Religion rule that I am not the
creator, but rather Allah is the One Who created the motion that occurred
He is attributed with Life and
is Qayyum. He is not seized by somnolence or sleep.
- Explanation: The Alive (al-Hayy), when attributed to
Allah, means He Who has the eternal Life which is not a soul,
flesh, or blood. Al-Qayyum means the One Who manages the entire
creation. It does not mean that He dwells inside His slaves and
possesses them. Some scholars explained al-Qayyum by the Everlasting,
Whose Existence does not end. Somnolence means sleepiness. However,
sleep is defined as the state when the mind faints and one does
not hear those around him. Allah, ta^ala, is clear of all of
that, as He said in Ayatul-Kursiyy, Surat al-Baqarah, 255:
which means: [Allah is the only God,
the Alive and Qayyum. He is not subject to somnolence or sleep.]
He is the One Who knows about the
unforeseen and what is evidenced by His creation. Nothing on
earth or in the heaven is hidden from Him. He knows what is
on land and in sea. Not a leaf does fall but He knows about
it. There is no grain in the darkness of earth, nor anything
which is moist or dry but is inscribed in a clear book. His
Knowledge encompasses everything. The count of the numbers
of things is known to Him.
Explanation: Allah, ta^ala,
knows about things in totality and in details. He knows what
was (what has existed) and what shall be (what will exist).
He knows, with His eternal Knowledge, the enjoyments of Paradise
that are continual and uninterrupted. He knows as necessary
that whose existence is an intellectual necessity; and as permissible
that whose existence is an intellectual permissibility; and
as impossible that whose existence is an intellectual impossibility.
Allah, ta^ala, is knowledgeable of His Self, His Attributes,
and His creatures by one eternal and everlasting Knowledge
that does not change.
- Some of the exaggerating Mu^tazilah, and among them Abul-Husayn
al-Basriyy, said: "Allah does not know what the slave will
do except after he does it." Hisham Ibn al-Hakam agreed
with them. This is an obvious blasphemy. May Allah protect us
Allah, ta^ala, revealed the Qur'an with different facets to differentiate
between the slaves, in which people are of two groups. One group would
interpret and apply those verses (ayahs) correctly and thereby win,
and the other group would interpret and apply them incorrectly and
thereby lose. An example of that is the saying of Allah in Surat al-'Anfal,
which means: [Now, Allah made it (rule
of jihad) lesser for you, for He knew (eternally) that you will
encounter a weakness.]
He who interprets the ayah by linking the knowledge of Allah to 'now',
to mean that Allah knew 'now' what He did not know before, has severely
strayed. He who understands the correct meaning of the ayah is rightful
and is guided to the correct path. The correct meaning of the ayah is
that Allah now has lessened for you what had been obligatory before (i.e.,
lessening the obligation of one Muslim to fight ten blasphemers to the
obligation of one Muslim to fight two blasphemers), for Allah knew eternally
that you will encounter a weakness.
Everything that happens in this world--in the heavens and on the earth,
on the land and in the sea, and what is under the ground is inscribed
in a clear book which is the Guarded Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfudh). It
is as at-Tirmidhiyy related about the Messenger of Allah that Allah ordered
the Pen to write in this Guarded Tablet what was and what shall be until
the Day of Judgment.
The meaning of 'His knowledge encompasses everything' is that He, Subhanahu,
knows what has existed and what shall exist by His eternal Knowledge.
The meaning of 'the count of the numbers of things are known to Him'
is that Allah knew by His eternal Knowledge the numbers of all things.
He knew it before the existence of any creature as He, ta^ala, said in
Surat al-Jinn, 28:
which means: [He knows the count of
He does whatever He wills.
- Explanation: He, subhanahu wa ta^ala, does what He willed.
Whatever He willed to happen by His eternal Will, He does with
His eternal Doing. His Will is eternal and the willed things
are creations. His Doing is eternal and the done things are creations.
The Will of Allah does not change because change occurs in creatures,
and change is the most significant sign of being a creation.
Allah, ta^ala, said in Surat Qaf, 29:
which means: [That which I have decreed
does not change.]
Imam Muslim related that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa
sallam, said: <<Allah said: O you Muhammad, if I decree a matter
it will not be stopped.>> Allah changes the creatures in accordance
with His Will that does not change. Whatever He willed to happen shall
occur at the time that He willed for it to exist, and that which He did
not will for to happen shall never exist. Abu Dawud related that the
Messenger of Allah said: <<Whatever Allah willed to be shall be
and whatever Allah did not will to be shall not be.>> Good and
evil, obedience and sinning, and blasphemy and belief are alike in that
all of them occur by the Will of Allah, His Knowledge, Decree, and Creating.
However, the good is by the love, acceptance, and order of Allah and
evil is not by His love, acceptance, or order.
He who is God-fearing is so by the guidance of Allah, and he who strays
and is sinful is so because Allah did not guide him to the acceptable
deeds. This is the meaning of la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah. No
one evades sinning except by the protection of Allah, and no one has
the power to be obedient to Allah except by His help. However, the slave
is not without a will. His will is under the will of Allah, ta^ala, as
He said in His Glorified Book in Surat at-Takwir, 29:
which means: [You do not will anything
unless Allah, the Lord of the worlds, wills.]
He has the power to do whatever
- Explanation: Allah, ta^ala, has an inclusive power with
which He creates things. Nothing renders Him weak, and He does
not need to seek the help of others, as He said in the Glorified
Revelation in Surat al-Ma'idah, 120:
which means: [He has power over everything.]
His power is not subject to weakness, inability, or shortage. Rather,
His power is complete, as He said in the Qur'an in Surat Adh-Dhariyat,
which means: [Allah is the One Who
Provides sustenance and is attributed with the Perfect Power.]
To Him is the Dominion
- Explanation: Allah has the complete ruling over the
universe with no one to contend for it with Him. His Dominion
is unlike the created dominion that He gives to whomever He willed
among His slaves. The latter comes to an end. The Dominion of
Allah is His Attribute, and it does not end.
and He needs none;
- Explanation: It means He does not need others. He attributed
the name al-Ghaniyy to Himself in the Qur'an. Al-Ghaniyy was
also mentioned in the hadith related by Ibn Hibban, At-Tirmidhiyy,
al-Bayhaqiyy, and others which reports ninety-nine of the perfect
names of Allah. (Perhaps the mentioning of al-ghana' in the Arabic
text is a result of the perversion of some of those who copied.)
To Him belong the Glory
- Explanation: He, Subhanahu wa ta^ala, is ^Aziz, as He
said in Surat 'Al ^Imran, 4:
which means: [Allah is the One Who
Al-Halimiyy said that ^Aziz means the One Who cannot be reached, and
harm cannot be inflicted upon Him. Al-Khattabiyy said al-^Aziz means
the One Who is not defeated, as reported by al-Bayhaqiyy.
- Explanation: It means that Allah, ta^ala, is attributed
with Everlastingness which is to remain existing without annihilation.
His Everlastingness is an intellectual necessity, that is, intellectually
it is not permissible to be otherwise. No one is everlasting
with this meaning except Him. It is intellectually permissible
for Paradise and Hellfire to be annihilated as far as their selves
are concerned. However, their existence shall remain because
Allah willed for them to remain. The Everlastingness of Allah
pertains to His Self and, by necessity, it means that all His
attributes are also everlasting, whether His Power, Knowledge,
Hearing, Sight, Will, or any other of His attributes. It is not
permissible to attribute to Allah any of the attributes of creatures.
To Him are the Ruling
- Explanation: To Him are the Ruling means that Allah,
subhanahu wa ta^ala, rules with what He willed.
and al-Qada' (the Creating).
- Explanation: Al-Qada' means creating. Allah said in
Surat Fussilat, 12:
which means: [Allah created seven
That is, He, the Exalted, creates what
He willed; He brings it into existence from a state of non-existence.
Also, al-Qada' bears the meaning of ordering. Allah said in Surat
which means: [Allah ordered that you
do not worship but Him.] Similarly, the saying of Allah in
Surat adh-Dhariyat, 56:
which means: [I have created the jinns
and the humans to order them to worship Me.]
This does not mean that Allah willed that everyone of them would worship
Him. Had He willed that, all of them would have worshipped Him and no
other, and there would have been no blasphemers. Allah said in Surat
which means: [The hearts are not under
your control (O Muhammad--rather they are under Allah's control.)
Had Allah willed the guidance for all the people, they all would
have been among the believers.] However, Allah did not will
that to happen. Henceforth, some are believers and some are blasphemers.
He has the Names of Perfection
- Explanation: It means that Allah has the Perfect Names,
that is, the names which pertain to perfection. All the Names
of Allah are that of perfection. All of His Names signify perfection
and none of them denote non-befitting attributes. The name al-Qadir
pertains to His attribute of Power. Al-^Alim pertains to His
attribute of Knowledge. Ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim pertain to His
attribute of Mercy. Al-^Aziz pertains to His attribute of being
non-defeatable. As-Sami^ pertains to His attribute of Hearing.
Al-Wahid pertains to His attribute of being without a partner.
Al-Khaliq pertains to His attribute of Creating. Al-Basir
pertains to His attribute of Sight, and so on. All of His names
pertain to perfection. It is impossible that there will be among
His names what denotes non-befitting attributes. Therefore, it
is not permissible to call Him by 'ah as some people think. Many
of the Shadhiliyy people believe and mention in their books that
'ah is among the names of Allah, even though this term is an
expression of pain and complaint. By the agreement of the Arab
linguists and the statements of the scholars of the four schools,
moaning invalidates the prayers. Of the twenty names linguists
mentioned that express moaning, the most famous is 'ah. Those
who said 'ah is one of the names of Allah depend on a fabricated
hadith which says: 'Let him moan, for moaning is one of the names
of Allah.' There is no mentioning in any hadith, neither Sahih
nor fabricated, that 'ah is one of the names of Allah. It is
astonishing how those people have selected this particular term
of moaning from among the twenty and disregarded all the others,
among which are 'awuh, and 'awtah. If one takes by their reliance
on the aforementioned fabricated hadith, then 'awuh, and 'awtah
would be among the Names of Allah as would be the rest of the
terms of moaning, a choice which the sound mind does not accept.
Similarly, it is not permissible to call Him by al-muqim, which means
'the residing', as some utter when they say subhan al-muqim. Also,
it is not permissible to call Allah 'a soul' or 'a mind,' as Sayyid
Qutb did when he called Allah, ta^ala, 'the managing mind.' Both the
soul and the mind are creations. How does this man leave out the Names
of Perfection and on his own invent names for Allah?
At-Tirmidhiyy and others narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu
^alayhi wa sallam, said: <<Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred
less one. He who memorizes them is admitted to Paradise.>> Many
narrations listing the Names were related. Among them is what al-Bayhaqiyy
related from the route of Abu Hurayrah: <<He is Allah the One
Who alone is God, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, Al-Malik, Al-Quddus, As-Salam,
Al-Mu'min, Al-Muhaymin, Al-^Aziz, Al-Jabbar, Al-Mutakabbir, Al-Khaliq,
Al-Bari', Al-Musawwir, Al-Ghaffar, Al-Qahhar, Al-Wahhab, Ar-Razzaq,
Al-Fattah, Al-^Alim, Al-Qabid, Al-Basit, Al-Khafid, Ar-Rafi^, Al-Mu^izz,
Al-Mudhill, As-Sami^, Al-Basir, Al-Hakam, Al-^Adl, Al-Latif, Al-Khabir,
Al-Halim, Al-^Adhim, Al-Ghafur, Ash-Shakur, Al-^Aliyy, Al-Kabir, Al-Hafidh,
Al-Muqit, Al-Hasib, Al-Jalil, Al-Karim, Ar-Raqib, Al-Mujib, Al-Wasi^,
Al-Hakim, Al-Wadud, Al-Majid, Al-Ba^ith, Ash-Shahid, Al-Haqq, Al-Wakil,
Al-Qawiyy, Al-Matin, Al-Waliyy, Al-Hamid, Al-Muhsi, Al-Mubdi', Al-Mu^id,
Al-Muhyi, Al-Mumit, Al-Hayy, Al-Qayyum, Al-Wajid, Al-Majid, Al-Wahid,
As-Samad, Al-Qadir, Al-Muqtadir, Al-Muqaddim, Al-Mu'akhkhir, Al-'Awwal,
Al-'Akhir, Adh-Dhahir, Al-Batin, Al-Wali Al-Muta^ali, Al-Barr, At-Tawwab,
Al-Muntaqim, Al-^Afuww, Ar-Ra'uf, Malikul-Mulk, Dhul-Jalal Wal-'Ikram,
Al-Muqsit, Al-Jami^, Al-Ghaniyy, Al-Mughni, Al-Mani^, Ad-Darr, An-Nafi^,
An-Nur, Al-Hadi, Al-Badi^, Al-Baqi, Al-Warith, Ar-Rashid, As-Sabur.>>
No one hinders what He decreed.
- Explanation: This is understood from the hadith of Thawban
related by Muslim in which he said: <<The Messenger of
Allah said Allah said: 'If I decree a matter it cannot be hindered'.>>
This Qudsiyy hadith clearly states that no one stops the fulfillment
of the will of Allah. This is a proof to the invalidity of what some
people say that Allah wanted to create a certain being as a male but
instead He created him as a female. Also it is a proof to the invalidity
of the conviction that Allah changes His will if a person makes a supplication
to Him or pays a charity from a halal source. These sayings and/or
convictions are untrue and non-befitting to Allah, ta^ala.
No one prevents what He gives.
- Explanation: The meaning of this statement appeared
in the hadith of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa
sallam. Al-Bukhariyy and Muslim related that the Prophet used
to say after each prayer: "No one is God except Allah, alone
without a partner. To Him belong the Dominion and the praising,
and He has the Power over everything. O Allah, no one prevents
that which You gave, and no one gives that which You have prevented.
To You, the richness of the rich does not benefit him but rather
his obedience to You shall benefit him." If Allah, ta^ala,
willed for a slave to be endowed with something, Allah enables
him to acquire it. No one can stop that endowment from reaching
him. At-Tirmidhiyy, among others, related this saying of the
Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, from the route
of ^Abdullah Ibn ^Abbas: <<If the creation gathered to
benefit you with something that Allah did not decree for you,
they would not be able to do so. And if they wanted to harm you
with something that Allah did not decree for you, they would
not be able to. The pens were lifted and the journals did dry
He does in His dominion whatever
- Explanation: Whatever Allah willed eternally to exist
must exist. Allah willed for it to happen by His eternal Will
and He creates it with His eternal Creating, without Him being
obligated to do anything. As Allah, ta^ala, said in Surat al-Qasas,
which means: [and Your Lord creates
what He willed at no obligation.]
He rules His creation with whatever
- Explanation: Allah renders whatever He willed as forbidden
and whatever He willed as obligatory.
He does not hope for reward and
does not fear punishment.
- Explanation: Allah, subhanahu wa ta^ala, does not hope
for reward nor benefit from His slaves. Allah, ta^ala, said in
Surat adh-Dhariyat, 57:
which means: [I do not want from them
any sustenance nor to feed Me.]
Allah did not make it incumbent upon
His slaves to worship Him because it benefits Him. Nor did He forbid
them from things because He fears harm or punishment from any of
them. How would He hope for benefit or fear punishment from His
worshipers when He is their Creator and the Creator of their doings?
There is no right on Him that is
binding and no one exercises rule over Him.
- Explanation: There is no obligation on Allah, ta^ala,
that He is bound with, and no one is entitled to or can exercise
a rule over Him. No one orders Him with anything and no one stops
Him from anything.
Every endowment from Him is due
to His Generosity
- Explanation: The endowment is a generosity from Allah.
It is not obligatory on Allah to give His worshipers any endowments.
Rather, He gives them out of His generosity and would not be
unjust if He did not give them any. As Allah, subhanahu, said
in Surat an-Nur, 21:
which means: [If it had not been for
the Generosity and Mercy of Allah on you, none of you would have
and every punishment from Him is
- Explanation: An-Niqmah in the original text means punishment.
Allah rewards the slave out of His Generosity and punishes the
slave out of His Justice. Allah does not do anyone or anything
injustice. One should not object to Allah by questioning why
He creates pain in children and animals and inflicts them with
diseases when they are not sinful. He who says that has blasphemed
for objecting to Allah, unless his questioning is for the purpose
of knowing the wisdom in His doing. The author proved this case
by stating the saying of Allah (Al-Anbiya', 23):
He is not questioned about what
He does, but they are questioned.
- Explanation: One should not object to the Will of Allah,
nor question His doings. Rather, the slaves are to be questioned
because Allah is the true Owner of all things without any partners
to Him. He owns the slaves and He owns that which He gave them
to own. He does whatever He wills with that which He owns. Injustice
is not conceived from Him because He is Wise and does not place
things in other than where they belong. Injustice can only be
attributed to he who is ordered and forbidden with things--as
in the case with the slaves. Injustice, then, is to violate the
orders and prohibitions of He Who is entitled to order and prohibit.
This is why the slave is questioned about his doings as was mentioned
in the hadith reported by at-Tirmidhiyy: <<After the people
assemble on the Day of Judgment, one does not move to another
post until he is questioned about four things: How did he spend
the years of his life? With what did he wear his body out? From
where did he earn his money and on what did he spend it? and
What did he do with his knowledge?>>
There is no one to order Allah, ta^ala, nor to prohibit Him. Therefore
He is not questioned, and injustice and negligence are not attributed
to Him. Allah said in Surat al-'Anbiya', 23:
which means: [He is not questioned
about what He does, but they are questioned.]
He existed before the creation.
- Explanation: The existence of Allah, ta^ala, is eternal.
He was existing in eternity, prior to the creation. It was mentioned
in the hadith of ^Imran Ibn al-Husayn which was related by al-Bukhariyy,
al-Bayhaqiyy, and others: <<Allah existed and there was
nothing other than Him.>> There is no one else eternal
except Him. Allah, ta^ala, said:
which means: [He is The First.]
The Arab linguists said: "If both
the subject of a nominal sentence and its predicate are definite
nouns, then this entails ultimate exclusivity for that subject." In
this verse, both the subject of the nominal sentence (Huwa, which
means He) and the predicate (al-'Awwal, which means the First,
i.e., the One Whose Existence has no beginning) are definite nouns.
Hence this entails that only Allah's existence is without a beginning.
He who believes that the existence of this world, whether by its
kind or elements, has no beginning, has, by the consensus of the
Muslim scholars, belied this ayah, departed from Islam, and joined
the philosophers and ad-Dahriyyah. Ibn Taymiyah reported in five
of his books that the kind of the world, like Allah, is eternal
with no beginning to its existence. This is clear blasphemy.
He does not have a before or an
- Explanation: This is to negate that Allah's existence
was preceded by non-existence or that it would be followed by
annihilation. All that which negates the attributes of Eternity
and Everlastingness of Allah is invalid, since the state of Godhood
would be invalid for he who is not attributed with them. Among
the attributes of Allah is that His existence is a necessity.
Hence it is not permissible intellectually that His existence
would be preceded or followed by non-existence.
He does not have an above or a
below, a right or a left, an in front of or a behind,
- Explanation: This is one of the fundamentals of the
creed, which is clearing Allah, ta^ala, of being in any or all
directions. It is not the case, as some ignorant people believe,
that Allah exists in the above direction. Some believe that Allah
is in the in front of direction, bound between the slave and
the Ka^bah. Others believe He is like air that is spread and
occupies all places. Some, like the so-called Nasiruddin al-'Albaniyy,
believe that Allah is surrounding the world from all directions
just as the hand surrounds that which it has in its grip. All
of that is invalid and negates the correct creed of tawhid. Imam
Abu Ja^far at-Tahawiyy authored a book called An Elucidation
of the Creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama^ah. In it he said: "Allah
is clear of limits, ends, parts, limbs, and instruments; and
the six directions do not contain Him."
His words are of pure tawhid and are jewels that pertain to the creed.
He who is attributed with limits, ends, parts, limbs, organs, or directions
would have a size and a format--all attributes of bodies. Allah, ta^ala,
is not a body as He, subhanahu, said in Surat ash-Shura, 11:
which means: [Nothing is like Him.]
Attributing to Allah the direction of above is not perfection,
contrary to what some ignorant people think. The importance of
one's status is not measured by places and limits. The physical
place of the angels around the ^Arsh is much higher than that of
the Prophets of Allah. However, the status of the Prophets is better
and much higher to Allah, the Creator.
a whole or a part.
- Explanation: Allah, ta^ala, is not a body composed of
parts and therefore is not attributed with wholeness or partness.
Al-Bayhaqiyy reported in his book Al-'Asma' was-Sifat that al-Halimiyy,
in explaining the name of Allah, Al-Muta^ali, said: "It
means the One Who is above being attributed with the attributes
of the creatures like marriage, children, limbs, organs, sitting
on the sarir (i.e., the ^Arsh), being hidden behind veils so
that the eyes would not see Him, moving from one place to another,
and the like. Some of these attributes dictate ending, some dictate
need, and some dictate change. All of that is non-befitting and
not permissible to attribute to He Whose Existence is without
It must not be said: When was He?
Or where was He? Or how is He?
- Explanation: It is not permissible to say, 'When was
Allah?' because it attributes to Him a beginning, (an existence
after a state of non-existence), and a lapsing of time on His
existence. It is not permissible also to say, 'Where was Allah?'
i.e., asking about a place. Nor is it permissible to say, 'How
was He?' because it attributes to Him the attributes of the creation.
After he mentioned the prohibition from all that, Ibn ^Asakir, may
Allah have mercy on him, established the correct creed, and said:
He existed without a place. He
created the universe and willed for the existence of time.
He is not bound to time and is not designated with place.
- Explanation: When the author said 'He is not designated,'
he does not mean that Allah is in all directions, because this
is invalid as we have mentioned earlier. Directions are other
than Allah. He existed and there was nothing other than Him existing.
The meaning is that Allah exists without a place. This is the
creed of Ahlus-Sunnah and all the Muslims, their Salaf and Khalaf.
Al-Bukhariyy, al-Bayhaqiyy and Ibn al-Jarud related that the
Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said: <<Allah
existed and there was nothing else existing.>> Allah existed
eternally and there was no place or any other creature. After
creating the place, Allah, subhanahu, did not change from what
He was. From this hadith and what is similar among the texts,
Ahlus-Sunnah took their saying that Allah exists without a place.
Al-Bayhaqiyy, may Allah have mercy on him, related the hadith of the
Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam: "You are adh-Dhahir
(the One Whose existence is obvious by proofs). Hence there is nothing
above You, and You are al-Batin (the One Who is clear of the delusions
of bodily attributes). Hence there is nothing underneath You." Then
he said: "Some of our companions took that hadith as a proof to
clear Allah of places. If there is nothing above Him and nothing underneath
Him, then He is not in a place."
Ar-Ramliyy and others narrated the saying of ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib,
may Allah honor him: "Allah existed eternally without a place,
and now He is as He was." Az-Zabidiyy narrated in the explanation
of al-'Ihya' by the continuous chain to ^Aliyy, Zayn al-^Abidin: "O
Allah, the One Who is clear of non-befitting attributes, You are not
contained in a place." ^Aliyy, Zayn al-^Abidin was the best of
the family members of the Prophet at his time. Moreover, this statement
was established by many other Muslim scholars like Abu Hanifah, Ibn
Jarir at-Tabariyy, al-Maturidiyy, al-'Ash^ariyy, and others. Moreover,
at-Tamimiyy related the consensus of Ahlus-Sunnah that Allah exists
without a place. He mentioned it in his book, Al-Farqu Bayn al-Firaq.
After that, no consideration is due to anyone who likens Allah to the
creation and objects to the author and other pioneers among the people
of knowledge for stating that truthful statement. He who negates that
and confirms a place to Allah has likened Allah to the creation and
made Him equal to them. Also, he has negated the explicit verses of
the Qur'an, the sahih hadith, and the mind. Allah is the Creator of
place. Allah is the Manager of time and the One Who runs it. Allah
is the Creator of the universe, that is, the Creator of the creatures,
the One Who brings things into existence from non-existence. He does
not need them and is not attributed with their attributes, as Imam
Abu Hanifah, may Allah have mercy on him, mentioned: "The Creator
does not resemble His creation." This is why it is not permissible
to attribute to Him the occupation of a place or all places, or the
designation of time or all times. He is clear of the meanings and attributes
of the creatures.
His Managing one matter does not
distract Him from another.
- Explanation: Allah, ta^ala, brings things into existence
from non-existence by His eternal Will and Power and by His eternal
Creating without a need for a limb or using an instrument. Simply
by His Will and Power, that are related to the happenings, the
things occur at the time and place He willed for them to exist.
Nothing delays or stops them. As Allah said in Surat Yasin, 82
which means: [If He willed something
to be, He would order it to be and it would be.]
The One Who is attributed with such attributes is not distracted from
one matter by another. Distraction happens to he who works with limbs
and uses instruments. If the limbs or instruments were occupied with
one matter it is hard to make them engage in another. Allah, the Exalted,
is clear of this.
Delusions do not apply to Him,
and He is not encompassed by the mind. He is not conceivable
in the mind. He is not imagined in the self nor pictured in
delusions. He is not grasped with delusions or thoughts.
- Explanation: This is summarized by the saying of Dhunun
al-Misriyy Ibrahim Ibn Tawbah, may Allah have mercy on him as
related by al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad: "Whatever you imagine
in your mind, Allah is different from it." This is so because
whatever you imagine is a creation, and the Creator does not
resemble the creation.
Imam ash-Shafi^iyy said: "Whoever seeks to know his Creator, and
concludes that his Creator is something that exists which his mind
can imagine, then he is a person who likens Allah to the creation.
If he settles on pure non-existence, then he is an atheist. If he concludes
that He exists, and admits that his mind cannot conceive Him, then
he is practicing tawhid." Since no one knows the Reality of Allah
except Allah, the Salaf prohibited thinking about the Self of Allah
in an attempt to seek the Reality of Allah.
Our knowledge of Allah is by knowing what is obligatory to be of His
attributes, what is impossible to be of His attributes, and what is
permissible to be of His attributes. As related by al-Bayhaqiyy, Ibn
^Abbas said: "Think of the creation of Allah and do not think
of the Self of Allah."
He who thinks about the Self of Allah and imagines a picture or has
a delusion and believes that this is Allah, is not a Muslim practicing
tawhid. There is no difference between him and the idol worshipper.
The idol worshipper worships a picture that he sculptured, and this
one worships a picture that he imagined. The true believer worships
the One to Whom there is none similar. As Imam ar-Rifa^iyy, may Allah
have mercy on him, said: "The ultimate knowledge about Allah is
to be certain that He exists without a how and without a place." All
of that is taken from the saying of Allah, ta^ala, in Surat ash-Shura,
which means: [Nothing is like Him]
This is why Ibn ^Asakir, may Allah have mercy on him, ended his beneficial
creed with producing this ayah, so he said:
which means: [Nothing is like Him
and He is attributed with Hearing and Sight.]
- Explanation: Allah mentioned the part of clearing Himself
of resembling the creation before the part on the attributes
of Hearing and Sight so that it would be known that His Hearing
and Sight are not like the hearing and sight of others. Allah's
hearing is not with an ear or any other instrument and His Sight
is not with a pupil or any other instrument, because He, subhanah,
is unlike anything.
It is suitable here to end this short explanation of the terms of this
text by producing what Abu Nu^aym reported in his book, Al-Hilyah.
In the biography of ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib, he said that Nawf Ibn ^Abdullah
entered the quarters of the Emirate in Kufah, that is, the house of
^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib and said: "O Amir of the Believers, there
are forty Jews at the door." To this, ^Aliyy replied: "Let
them in." When they entered, they said to ^Aliyy: "Describe
your Lord for us, the One Who is in the sky. How is He? How was He?
When was He? On what is He?" ^Aliyy sat up and said: "You
Jews, hear me out and you would not have to ask anyone else. My Lord,
the Exalted, is al-'Awwal (i.e., the One Whose Existence is without
a beginning). He is not from anything, nor mixed with anything, nor
deluded about, nor a person that would be sought, nor is veiled, thus
contained, nor did He exist after He had not been existing." And
he said: "Allah spoke to Moses without limbs or instruments or
lips nor uvulas.............. He who claims that our God is limited,
then he is ignorant about the Creator Who is worshipped."
Praise be to Allah. We clear Allah
of all non-befitting attributes, and Allah knows best.