Answered by: Aalimah Nasima Umm Hamza
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
I am reading the beautiful book Maraqi Al-Sa’adat, and I am amazed by its insights. There are some places where I want to know if I have understood correctly, and others where I want a better understanding. Please kindly let me know. I deeply apologize for any trouble from the length of this email. Jazakumullahu khairan Kathiran.
1) Page 23 Line 3/4 says: we *must* base our knowledge of Iman and Islam on proofs. What is meant by “proofs”? (especially considering that this book and other starter hanafi books do not give proofs of everything, from Quran & hadith as the Salafis do – I truly do not mean this as a criticism but I only wanted to correct my faulty understanding.)
2) Page 24, Note 2 says: Allah’s essence (Dhat) is not made up of constituents. However, Quran and Hadith do mention His Face and Hands etc. Please explain.
3) Page 24, Note 2 mentions Tawheed of Allah’s actions, with no partners and associates, in reference to creation and cause-effect. Does this not apply to *all* actions of Allah? Example: Quran says that Allah “Istawa” (rose / installed Himself) on the Arsh (Throne). I would imagine that the concept of Tawheed would also apply to His action of “Istawa” and that there can be no partners or associates to it. (I understand that we do not question the “how” in such matters, but my question is related to the nature of belief in it which is obligatory). I would think the same about other actions of Allah, such as “Wa Jaa’a Rabbuka wal malaku…” or the questioning the people on the day of judgment etc. Please clarify / correct if I am wrong.
4) Page 24, Note 5: Please correct / clarify – What I understood is: “Iradah” can be translated as His desire/intent. For example, Allah revealed the deen to us desiring all people to accept it. On the other hand, “Mashi’a” is His will, and whatever He wills absolutely comes to pass. Thus only those persons for whom He wills guidance to accept and utter the shahadah. But my understanding of iradah and mashi’ah stems from my Urdu background, which may not be the same as in Arabic so please make it clear.
5) Note 6, Page 24 says: “These three phrases all express…” I understand it to mean the three phrases in the main text i.e. “Thoughts cannot reach Him,” “minds cannot grasp Him,” “Creation cannot resemble Him.” My confusion stems from the fact that the first two are in a separate sentence followed by a period, while the third is alone in a separate sentence and it is the one that refers to the footnote. Just want to make sure that it is as I understood.
6) Page 24, Footnote #2: It says “His essence is not made of composite parts.” I see two possible understandings of the words “composite parts.” The first understanding is in terms of parts of body like His Hands, His Eyes etc. which are mentioned in the Quran (Although these organ words may be understood in the metaphorical sense as well.) The second understanding is essence being composite itself; such as when Christians illustrate their concept of trinity using example of an egg which has a shell, and a white, and a yolk but it is still one egg. Please explain if the “composite parts” is to be understood in any of these senses or something else.
7) Page 25 Paragraph 3: The term “preeternal” what does that mean. The word “eternal” in dictionary has meanings like existing throughout time, without beginning or end. These meanings have connotations of being connected to notion of time. So I understand that since time is a creation of Allah, He existed even before time itself therefore the word preeternal. But by the same token He will be after “time” is also destroyed (Huwal Akhiru). Therefore is He not “post-eternal” too just as He is “pre eternal”. But the latter is not mentioned. please let me know if I am wrong.
8) Page 25 Last Paragraph: Are man’s actions not his, but creations of Allah? The Quran mentions several places wods like: “ya’maloon / ta’maloon”, ” Sulayman’s (A.S) jinns used to work on making various things etc. does not just mention it only as a choice that the made, but seems like it refers to actual action. Other than that I fully understand the conceptss about mans choice, man’s actions being creation of Allah, and the acquisition being man’s. I am just trying to reconcile with what I am reading in the Quran so that my mind is setteled on it. Please clarify.
9) Page 26 Paragraph 1: says, “Allah did not burden them with more than they can bear, yet they cannot bear more than what He has burdened them with.”
a) The latter part of the sentence seems to imply that Allah has burdened man to the max, which seems different than the concept that I previously understood which is simply the first part.
b) Sometimes people indeed to go to extremes in worship (like monks, celibates etc.) beyond what Allah has ordered. So this common observation also does not seem to match up to the latter part. Please explain.
10) Page 26 Paragraph 5: says: “The ability that refers to health, capacity, however, proceeds actions.” This seems generally true except the case of miracles and karamaat. please confirm.
May Allah accept your deeds and grant you highest jannah ameen.
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
1- Our Iman is built on a rational understanding of the existence of Allah Ta’ala and the need for a Messenger to deliver the message. Once Iman is established all other acts are built on daleel (evidence/proof) which are taken from Quran, Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyaas.
2- This point is referring to Allah (swt)’s Divine Names and Attributes, which cannot be divided into composite parts. If this were possible then, he would not be Eternal and Unlimited, like the creation. This is not a discussion of Allah (swt)’s mentioning of His Hands, Face etc.
3- Istawa is part of Allah Ta’ala’s Divine attributes. We do not know the details of it, but we believe in it, because it is part of Tawheed.
4- Mashi’a is from Allah Ta’ala’s Divine Will in all areas: nothing happens without His Will, and not happening is from His will as well. Iradah- Encompasses both Allah Ta’ala’s Divine Will in terms of mashi’a and also what is beloved to Him.
5- Thoughts and mind are connected, hence mentioned in the same sentence. The resemblance is mentioned separately due to not being connected with intellect.
6- If Allah Ta’ala was made up of composite parts, it would take away from his unlimitedness, his eternal being and away from His Essence, which is that He is One- Al-Ahad. We understand that He has different Names and Attributes, but they are all part of Him as One, with no other association in this. The first part of the sentence on footnote makes it very clear – Allah Ta’ala has no partner in His essence.
7- Please not some things are lost in translation, and therefore we should not look too much into the words being used. It is enough to know that Allah Ta’ala along with His Divine names and attributes, always was, is, and will be.
8- Everything happens by Allah Ta’ala’s Divine Will alone. If He did not want it to happen, then it wouldn’t happen. This is a sphere over which we have little knowledge and no control. However, we have control over our own actions – known as Free Will. There is no contradiction between the two, as we only have knowledge over our own actions, but not Allah Ta’ala’s. Free will is required for accountability, and this is why Allah Ta’ala gave us the Free Will, yet He has knowledge over everything which will come to pass.
9- a) Meaning if He had burdened you with more then you would not have been able to bare it. A good example of this is when Allah Ta’ala prescribed the five daily prayers upon the Muslims, after reducing it from 50. It is from Allah Ta’ala’s Mercy that he did not give us more than we can bare, as we would not be able to bare it, if it had been made obligatory. Another example is when the Prophet (peace be upon him) wished that using miswak was made obligatory, but had it been made obligatory, he knew the people could not bare it.
b) They are still within what they can bare. Had they gone beyond, then surely they would have died? Allah Ta’ala’s Shariah is most just and easy, and does it not place a burden upon us, as opposed to people who follow their desires in how to worship or show zuhd.
10- Karamaat have nothing to do or not do with a person’s physical health, they are completely separate. Both a healthy, and unhealthy person can also receive karamaat.
Please also read footnote 13.
I would advise that you go and seek further knowledge in these matters by enrolling in a course or lesson where you can learn from scholars in matters related to aqeedah. Not all matters can be explained deeply by reading a book or asking for a fatwa. With Allah Ta’ala lies all tawfeeq.
Only Allah Ta’ala knows best
Answered by Aalimah Nasima Umm Hamza
Checked and approved Ustadha Siddiqa al-Farsiyyah
Darul Ilm Birmingham