The Brilliance of the Minarets - Explanation of Aqeedah of Ibn Asakir
In the name of Allah, The Merciful to the believers and non-believers in this world and to the believers only in the next world. Praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds. To Him belong the endowments, generosities, and proper commendations. May Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad and his pure and kind Al and Companions, and protect his nation from that which he fears for it.
Thereafter; the knowledge of the Religion is among the best of the acts of obedience; and it is the most worthy of allocating the precious time it takes to acquire it. This is especially so because at-Tirmidhiyy related that the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said: <<Allah facilitates a route to Paradise for he who follows a route to seek knowledge.>>
The greatest of all knowledge is that of the fundamentals of the creed. This is why the Messenger of Allah taught it to the Companions prior to teaching them the rules of the Religion. In his book, Misbah az-Zujajah, al-Busiriyy classified as sahih what Ibn Majah related that Jundub Ibn ^Abdullah, may Allah raise his rank, said: "We were with the Prophet of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, as young men. We learned the matters of the belief before we learned the Qur'an. Then we learned the Qur'an which added to our belief."
We have found the ^Aqidah (creed) advocated by Shaykh Fakhrud-Din Ibn ^Asakir, may Allah endow mercy on him, to contain a multiplicity of meanings in spite of its brevity. In it, the author summarized the creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama^ah with a few brief terms. Its words are easy for children to memorize and enjoyable for adults to study. Furthermore, it became famous among the Muslims. These qualities inspired us to explain its terms in order to facilitate learning and to propagate its message without using lengthy explanations.
We presented what we wrote to the Renewer of the Century, the Shafi^iyy of this Era, the Rifa^iyy of the Time, the Defender and Reviver of the Sunnah, the Negator and Eliminator of the Innovations of Misguidance, the Faqih and Scholar of Hadith, the Adherer to the Fundamentals of the Religion, the Linguist, ash-Shaykh ^Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ash-Shaybiyy, al-Qurashiyy (by lineage), al-Harariyy (by home country), known as al-Habashiyy (Al-Habashiyy: refers to the fact that he is from al-Habashah, a country in Africa known as Abyssinia. The companion and cousin of the Prophet, Ja^far Ibn Abu Talib, immigrated there along with other companions.), may Allah protect him.
He changed certain parts, added words to others, and approved the rest. We attempted to translate this document to some of the many languages in existence. We were assisted in our endeavors by the translation teams of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects (A.I.C.P.) in North America, France, Ukraine, Australia, and China. We succeeded in producing translations in English, French, Spanish, Urdu, Russian, Turkish, and Chinese.
We did this in the hope of earning the reward promised in the hadith of the Prophet that was related by al-Bukhariyy: <<When the [Muslim] son of Adam dies, his deeds stop except for three: a charity resulting in continuing benefit, a beneficial knowledge, and a pious offspring that makes supplications to Allah for him.>>
We named this treatise The Brilliance of the Minarets. May Allah make it useful and widespread.
The ^Aqidah of Ibn^Asakir
Shaykh Fakhrud-Din Ibn ^Asakir, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
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.
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.
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.
He is attributed with Life and is Qayyum. He is not seized by somnolence or sleep.
He is the One Who knows about the unforeseen and what is evidenced by His creation. Nothing on earth or in 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. He knows the count of all things.
He does whatever He wills. He has the power to do whatever He wills.
To Him is the Dominion and He needs none; To Him belong the Glory and Everlastingness. To Him are the Ruling and al-Qada' (the Creating). He has the Names of Perfection. No one hinders what He decreed. No one prevents what He gives. He does in His dominion whatever He wills. He rules His creation with whatever He wills.
He does not hope for reward and does not fear punishment.
There is no right on Him that is binding, and no one exercises rule over Him.
Every endowment from Him is due to His Generosity and every punishment from Him is just. He is not questioned about what He does, but they are questioned.
He existed before the creation. He does not have a before or an after. He does not have an above or a below, a right or a left, an in front of or a behind, a whole or a part.
It must not be said: When was He? Or where was He? Or how is He? 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.
His management of one matter does not distract Him from another. 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.
< < Bismillahir-Rahmanir Rahim> >
* 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 (great scholar).
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, among others.
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:
(وخلق كل شىء)
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:
(وهو رب العرش العظيم)
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:
(ونُقلب أفئدتهم وأبصارهم)
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:
(الله خالقُ كل شىء)
which means: [Allah is the Creator of everything.]
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 it.
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 in me.
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:
(الله لا اله الا هو الحي القيوم لا تأخذه سنة ولا نوم)
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 from it.
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, 66:
(الآن خفف الله عنكم وعلم أن فيكم ضعفا)
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:
(وأحصى كل شىء عددا)
which means: [He knows the count of all things.]
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:
(ما يُبدل القول لدي)
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:
(وما تشاءون الا أن يشاء الله ربُ العالمين)
which means: [You do not will anything unless Allah, the Lord of the worlds, wills.]
He has the power to do whatever He wills.
* 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:
(وهو على كل شىء قدير)
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, 58:
(ان الله هو الرزاق ذو القوة المتين)
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 is ^Aziz.]
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:
(فقضاهن سبع سماوات)
which means: [Allah created seven heavens.]
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 al-'Isra', 23:
(وقضى ربك ألا تعبدوا الا اياه)
which means: [Allah ordered that you do not worship but Him.] Similarly, the saying of Allah in Surat adh-Dhariyat, 56:
(وما خلقت الجن والانس الا ليعبدون)
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 Yunus, 99:
(وَلَوْ شَاء رَبُّكَ لآمَنَ مَن فِي الأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا أَفَأَنتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَكُونُواْ مُؤْمِنِينَ)
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 out.>>
He does in His dominion whatever He wills.
* 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, 68:
(وربك يخلق ما يشاء ويختار)
which means: [and Your Lord creates what He willed at no obligation.]
He rules His creation with whatever He wills.
* 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:
(ما أُريد منهم من رزق وما أريد أن يُطعمون)
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:
(وَلَوْلا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكَا مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَدًا)
which means: [If it had not been for the Generosity and Mercy of Allah on you, none of you would have been guided.]
and every punishment from Him is just.
* 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:
(لا يُسئل عما يفعل وهُم يُسئلون)
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 after.
* 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:
(ليس كمثله شىء)
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 a beginning."
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
(انما أمرُهُ اذا أراد شيئا أن يقول لهُ كُن فيكُون)
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, 11:
(ليس كمثله شىء)
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:
(ليس كمثله شىء وهو السميع البصير)
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.
By the generosity of Allah, the translation of this creed of Shaykh Fakhrud-Din Ibn ^Asakir was accomplished this night of 24 Jumadal 'Akhirah 1414 AH in the city of Philadelphia in the United States of America.
To Allah belong the generosities and the commendations.