May 11, 2012


By Amatullah Aminah

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5


Flashback: Part one of this series threw light on what Aqeedah al Wasitiyyah is, why it is called so and the three very important inaugural segments.

In this, and subsequent parts, we will learn more about the contents of this beautiful, imaan- invigorating aqeedah. Stay with me as we undertake this journey to discover Aqeedah al Wasitiyyah.

The Pillars of Imaan

...That you affirm Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and that you affirm the Decree, the good of it and the bad of it...” –The Hadith of Jabril [1]

To have a sound and correct faith, it is essential for a person to have concrete belief in all the six pillars of Imaan. Neglecting or discounting even one of them will make the Imaan incomplete and fundamentally flawed. The six pillars of Imaan are as follows:
  1. Belief in Allah: To believe that Allah alone is the Lord of the worlds- seen and unseen, known and unknown. He is the Creator, Owner, Cherisher and Sustainer of all things and beings. He is free of any deficiencies and possesses attributes of perfection. All praises are due to Him alone. He holds no partners and is the exclusive owner of all veneration, praise and worship. 
  2. Belief in Angels: This means to believe in the existence of angels as described in the Quran and Hadith. There are verses which speak of their nature, what they are made of, how they carry out the assigned tasks, and that Allah has designated specific angels for specific tasks.

    ...And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.” (Surah An-Nisa (4):136) 
  3. Belief in the Books: This means to believe in the phenomena of sending books. Allah has sent books before the Qur’an and these are:
    • As-Suhuf of Ibrahim and Musa. 
    • Az-Zaboor given to Dawud. 
    • At-Taurat revealed to Musa. 
    • Al-Injeel revealed to Isa.
    However, the final and uncorrupted revelation remains the Qur’an. It abrogates all the scriptures sent before it.
  4. Belief in the Prophets (peace be upon them): The basic belief demands that we believe in the concept of prophethood and, consequently, in all the prophets Allah sent. Allah did not leave His creation without guidance. In every era and time, for every nation, there came a prophet, with the message of Allah, to guide, to warn, to give glad tidings and to tell of a world unseen.
  5. Belief in day of Resurrection: We have to believe in the last day when bodies and souls will be resurrected. This should not be looked upon as some metaphysical resurrection of the soul only; it is a complete reconstruction of body and soul together. There are various verses in the Qur’an and authentic narrations which speak of the last day pictographically, delivering vivid details to the reader and repeatedly confirming the day of Judgement and resurrection of creation.
  6. Belief in predestination and decree: As believers, we are expected to believe in Allah’s predestination of all things and events (Qadhaa) and His decree (Qadr). The good and bad, as we see, all are encompassed by His knowledge and will. We must believe, and for sure He is, All-Wise and Just. Nothing occurs without his knowledge and will.

How to Believe in the Names and Attributes of Allah

"And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing." [Surah Al-A’raaf 7:180]

It is very important to understand the correct methodology of believing in the names and attributes of Allah. Incorrect and incomplete understanding has lead to defects in imaan and creation of deviant sects. Ibn Taymiyyah devoted many parts of his treatise in explaining how exactly these attribute should be understood and what are the common mistakes people make. Due to my commitment to the word limit, I would explain these points briefly and I pray, in the process, I do not compromise the magnificence and the message they hold.

We must affirm to the attributes of Allah in the precise manner they are mentioned in the Book and Sunnah, with the same words and intended meanings...
  • ...Without changing the words or meaning (Tahreef)
  • Without denying any attribute (Ta’teel)
  • Without taking them literally and making assumptions (Takyeef)
  • Without comparing them to the creation (Tamtheel)
  • And without believing or endorsing deviant and heretical ideas regarding then (illhad)
Tahreef is practiced in two ways, a) changing the word and b) changing the meaning.

a) Changing the word: This is done by not accepting the word as it is given and adding or taking away a letter or word or by changing a vowel point to alter its meaning. An example would be:

"The Most Merciful [who is] above the Throne established." [Surah Taha 20:5]

Some sects have introduced a letter in the word istawaa in the ayah above, making it istawlaa hence corrupting its meaning to ‘conquered’.

b) Changing the meaning: This means to refrain from accepting the established and apparent meaning (without changing the original text). An example would be, saying of innovators: “The meaning of mercy (rehmaa) is: the desire to bestow favors and the meaning of anger (ghadab) is: the desire to seek revenge”.

Ta’teel is altogether denying an attribute of Allah. The difference between Tahreef and Ta’teel is that Tahreef is denying the correct meaning of the text and substituting it another meaning while Ta’teel is merely denying the correct and established meaning without substituting it with any other meaning.

Takyeef is to take the attributes of Allah in the precise shape, manner and condition they are mentioned. Taking them literally and attributing a physical form to His attributes is not correct as it is part of that knowledge which Allah has not revealed upon His creation and kept it with Himself. Imam Malik very eloquently explained, when someone asked how Allah ‘ascends’ to His throne, he replied: "The ascending is known, its reality is unknown, having eemaan in it is obligatory and asking about it is an innovation."

Tamtheel means to resemble or bearing resemblance. Allah- the Most High and Perfect is nothing like what He created. His hearing is not like our hearing, His hands are not like our hands, His sight is not like ours. He is above His creation and beyond our comprehension.

"...There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing." [Surah Ash-Shuraa 42:11]

In Arabic, Illhad means to bend or turn away from something, with regard to the names and attributes of Allah it means turning away or deviating from the their true nature and intended meaning. Illhad can be of many kinds:
  1. When idols are given the Names of Allah such as the derivation of alLaat from al-Ilaah, al-Uzzaa from al-Azeez and Munaat from al-Mannaan.
  2. Naming Him, far is He from all imperfections and Exalted, with what does not befit Him, like the Christians calling Him ‘Father’.
  3. Describing Him, far is He from all imperfections and Exalted, as imperfect such as the Jews said :
    "...Indeed Allah is poor (needy) and we are rich..." [Surah Aali Imran 3:181]
    "...The hand of Allaah is chained..." [Surah Maa’idah 5:64]
    and that He rests on the sabbath. Exalted is He above what they say.
  4. Refusing and denying their meanings and their realities such as the saying of the Jahmiyyah that these attributes are but mere words which do not compromise characteristics or meanings. To them, the name as-Samee’ does not give evidence for the characteristic of hearing, al-Baseer does not give evidence for seeing and al-Hayy does not give evidence for life.
  5. Likening His characteristics with those of the creation such as the saying of a mumaththil (one who likens Allah to the creation): His hand is like my hand and other such similar statements. Exalted is Allah above such things.

Allah Has No Equals or Rivals

I could not resist quoting Ibn Taymiyyah in regard to explaining the Majestic and Unique Being of Allah Subhaan wa Ta’la. He wrote:

“Because He, the one free from all imperfections, has no namesake, no equal and no rival and He, the One free from all imperfections and Exalted, cannot be compared with His creation. Since He, the one free from all imperfections is the most-knowledgeable of Himself and of others, He is more truthful in speech and more excellent in narration than His creation.”

This Aqeedah is the faith of those who do not enquire into the exact nature of His attributes, do not compare them to the creation, accept them as they are given, do not set up partners or rivals with Allah, submit to Him and believe that He is free from all defects, none can praise Him like He praises Himself and whatever He reveals (His speech) is nothing but the truth, even if at times our limited and flawed knowledge fails to comprehend it.
"...Do you know of any who is similar to Him?" [Surah Maryam 19:65]

Allah is beautiful and He has the Most beautiful attributes. Learning and understanding them will only bring us closer to Him, obey Him and love Him more. Learn about His beautiful names until part 3 of this series comes up here on Habibi Halaqas. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala, the changer and opener of hearts, open our hearts and light them up with the knowledge of His Most High Being. Ameen

[1] Hadith of Jabriel


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