Description of The Believers a Compilation of Ghazzali, Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Rajab and Hanbali

>> Sunday, October 26, 2008

This piece is Attributed to Ali (ra) and is from "Taqwa: The Provision of Believers" a compliation of Imam Ghazzali, Imam Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Rajab and Hanbali published by Al-firdous Ltd, London.

In the Words of The Scholars

The people of taqwa on earth are those of virtue: their speech is correct (true); their garments are of moderate nature and their walk is one of humility. They lower their gazes when they see something that Allah has forbidden them to see and they give an ear to beneficial knowledge. They maintain their integrity in both adversity and prosperity.

Had it not been for the appointed time that Allah has written for them (death), their souls would not remain an extra second in their bodies out of yearning for reward and fear of punishment. The Creator ranks Supreme in their eyes, so everything else becomes immaterial to them. They are with Paradise as if they have already witnessed it and enjoyed its presence. They are with Hell as if they had seen it and tasted its torment. Their hearts grieve and their evil (if any) is non-contagious.

Their bodies are lean, their needs are few and their souls are chaste.

They observe patience for a few days and experience ever-lasting comfort. This is a profitable exchange that their Lord has made pleasant for them. The world tempts them, but they do not succumb. It imprisons them, but they ransomed themselves in exchange.

During the nights they stand in rows and read portions of the Quran. They recite with proper recitation which grieves their hearts and drink it (the Quran) like medicine.

If a verse of yearning comes along, they reach for it and believe it is their destination. If an intimidating verse comes along, they pour their hearts towards it and believe that Hell and its screams are in their ears. They sleep on their foreheads and elbows (i.e. they engage in prayers so much that it is as if they sleep in those postures) and implore Allah to deliver them.

In the day, they are tolerant and learned, kind and God-fearing. They are never content to do only a few actions (during the day), nor do they ask for a great deal. They condemn themselves and are apprehensive about their deeds. If one of them is called "pious", he fears what will be said of him and says: 'I know myself better than you do. My Lord knows me better than I do. O Allah! Do not take me to task for what they are saying about me and (O Lord) make me better than they think. Forgive my sins which they do not know about.

Their signs are that they are strong in Islam, resolute in their softness, firm in their belief. They crave for knowledge and are knowledgeable with tolerance; moderate in richness; pleasant in hunger; forbearing in distress; seeking halal; active in (pursuing) guidance and they abhor greed.

They perform good deeds in fear (of rejection). They spend the evening in gratitude and the morning in remembrance. They sleep in alarm and they awake in joy. They combine knowledge with tolerance and speech with action.

You will find their hopes are realistic their mistakes few; their hearts humble their selves content; their diet meager their matters simple; their Deen safe-guarded, their desires killed and their anger subdued. Goodness is expected from them and evil is shielded against them. If they are among those who are oblivious, they are accounted amongst those who remember (Allah). If they are among those who remember, they are not written among the oblivious. They pardon those who wrong them; they provide for those who deprive them and meet those who sever ties with them. They are never profane and always lenient. Their wrong doings are almost non-existent and their good deeds are always present. They are resolute when the earth quakes, steadfast in calamities and grateful in prosperity.

They are not prejudiced against those they dislike nor do they favor those they love. They acknowledge the truth before it appears and do not lose anything they are entrusted with. They do not call anyone names nor do they hurt their neighbors. They do not curse at the time of difficulties nor do they venture into falsehood.

Silence does not bother them and if they laugh they do not raise their voices. If they are treated with injustice they remain patient until Allah vindicates them. Their own selves live in toil while others are comfortable around them.

Their abstinence from those who stay away from them is their exoneration (from malice). Their proximity to those who are close to them is a means of mercy (for those who are close to them).


Proof of Belief (Fourth pillar of belief)

>> Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is the last post on proof of belief. I hope you all enjoyed and learned from this series. And now know what was Imam Ghazzali's real aqeedah and make your own judgment on it. Also please be sure to read my previous post because it has been corrected. Thank you!

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

Fourth pillar. It is to believe in the things accepted on authority and it is based on ten things. It is to believe in the truth of Resurrection, questions by Munkar and Nakir, punishment of grave, the Balance, the Bridge, Paradise, Hell, the true Imam, excellence of the companions in accordance with chronological order and qualifications of being an Imam.

To believe the Hadis of the Prophet involving ten basic Principles.
(1) First basic principle. It is to believe in the Resurrection of the dead and the Day of judgment as in the traditions. It is a settled fact like the beginning of our creation. God said: People say: Who shall give life to hones when they are rotten? Say, He shall give life to them who gave them life at first (36: 73). The beginning of creation is the proof of its resurrection. God said: Your creation and your resurrection are like a single soul (31 : 27). Resurrection
is the second stage of men and is possible like the first stage of creation.
(2) Second basic principle. It is the question of Munkar and Nakir which has been mentioned in traditions and therefore to believe it is compulsory. The second life will be in such a place where he will be questioned. This is possible naturally, as the stillness of the dead man's corpse or its failure to hear the questions put to it will refute it, because a sleeping man is openly still and dead-like but his soul feels pain and pleasure at that time in dream. Its effect can be seen when he wakes up from sleep. The Prophet used to hear the words of Gabriel and see him but the man surrounding him did not hear his words or see him. As God
did not give them such power of sight and hearing, they did not see and hear.
(3) Third basic principle. It is to believe in the punishment of the grave as it has come in Shariat. God said: They will be exposed to Me morning and evening and on the Resurrection Day. The supporters of Pharaoh will be given severe punishment (40 : 49). This is possible and to believe it is compulsory. Animals have got
special organs to feel pains and pleasure even though they are eaten by ferocious animals.
(4) Fourth basic principle. It is to believe that the Balance is true. God said: I will set up just balance on the Judgment Day (21: 48). God said: Those whose balances will be heavy will get salvation, and those whose balance will be light will be losers (7 : 7).
(5) Fifth basic principle. It is to believe in the Bridge which is spread on the back of Hell, thinner than a hair and sharper than the edge of a sword. God said: Guide them to the bridge of Hell and tell them to wait there, as they will be questioned (27 : 23). It is possible, because He who makes the birds fly in the horizon can take the people to travel on the Bridge.
(6) Sixth basic principle. It is the belief that Paradise and Hell have been created by God. God said: Vie in haste for pardon to your Lord and a Paradise, vast as the heavens and the earth, is prepared for those who fear God- 3 : 127. This proves that Paradise and Hell are created.
(7) Seventh basic principle. It is to believe that the rightful Imams after the Prophet are Hazrat Abu Bakr, then Umar, then Osman, and then Ali and that the Prophet's attention was not upon any particular Imam. As to the struggle which took place between Muawiah and Ali, it was the result of differences of opinion to discover truth by Ijtehad. Hazrat Muawiah did not do it for leadership. Hazrat Ali considered that the mode of punishment of the murderers of Osman was to be belated as they got relations in the army. Hazrat Muawiah considered that their arrest was better as their influence might help further bloodshed.
(8) Eighth basic principle.. It is to believe the excellence of the companions in accordance with their chronological order in which they succeeded the Prophet and the real excellence is in the sight of God and that it did not come to anybody except to the Holy Prophet. Several verses to that effect in praise of the companions were revealed and there are a number of traditions
(9) Ninth basic principle. It is to believe that an Imam, in addition to his qualifications of his being a Muslim, mature and intelligent must have five other qualities (1) he must be a male, (2) he must be a God-fearing man, (3) he must be learned, (4) he must be competent, (5) he must belong to the tribe of Quraish as the prophet said: The leaders are from the Quraish. When these qualities are found in a man, he is fit to become an Imam or ruler provided majority of the people swear allegiance to him. Those who oppose the majority of the people are rebels and it is incumbent to bring them under control.
(10) Tenth basic principle. It is that if a man who is invested with the power of rule is found lacking in God-fear and learning and if there is fear of disturbance and trouble in case of his removal, then his rule will stand, because if he is removed, two conditions will arise. (1) Another man will be reinstated in his place or the post will remain vacant. In the first case, the harms which will be caused to the Muslims in general will be greater than the harms of one who has got no God-fear and learning in him. The qualities of leadership are for the greater good of the people.
These four pillars involving forty basic principles are the articles of belief. He who believes in these things follows Hale Suntan or the people of the ways of the prophet.



InshAllah I have corrected the previous post. InshAllah now it will make more sense since I put the wrong pillar in and of itself and the 10 principles did not go with it. I ask Allah for forgiveness. And I thank you for your patience.


Proof of Belief (Third pillar of belief)

>> Friday, October 17, 2008

Well we are more than half way done with this series of post. Hoped you all finding learning about Imam Ghazzali's Aqeedah by himself and not from others fun and interesting.

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

(3) Third pillar. It is to have knowledge and faith in His works which are established over ten bases. They are that men's actions are created, willed and fixed by God, that He is kind to creatures free from imposing works beyond power of men, that He punishes men, does what He wills, that there is nothing obligatory on Him, that He sent apostles and that our Prophet was helped by miracles and that his prophethood will last till the Day of Resurrection.
God is ever-living based in 10 principles.
First basic principle. It is the knowledge that every event in the world is His action, creation and invention. There is no creator or it except He. He well regulated the creation and gave it its due power and motion. All the actions of His servant are His creations and keep connection with His power, confirming thereby His words -God is the creator of everything (9 : 102). God created you and what you make(37 : 96). Whatever is your conversation, hidden or open, He truly knows the innermost recess of your hearts. "What! does He not know when He has created, when He is the subtle, the cognizant?" He ordered men to take precaution in their actions, words, secret matters and thoughts as He knows the orientation of their actions and gave proof of His knowledge by creating creations. How will He not be the Creator of the actions of men when He has got full power without any decrease? His power is connected with the movements of men. All motions are h Millar and are connected with power of God. What then would prevent its connection in the case of some actions and would not prevent it in the case of other actions when all are similar? How could animals be independent of the Creator when the wonderful workmanship of spiders, bees and other animals amaze the wisest and intelligent minds? Who has got power of speciality in these creations except God? Then animals themselves do not know the benefits they produce. So they cannot be called the causes of workmanship. Now think that all creations bow down to One who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
(2) Second basic principle. It is that God being the Creator of I the power of men, does not prevent them from doing voluntary actions by way of acquisition, for God created power and the container of power, choice as well as the container of choice. ' Power is an attribute of a man though it is the creation of God and not acquired by man. Motion is also the creation of God and an attribute of man acquired on the strength of power, because the power with which he was created is his attribute, but motion is connected with the attribute of power and for this reason of connection, it has been named power of motion. The power of motion is not the result of compulsion on any man as he can move according to his will and knows the difference between compulsion and volition. How can this motion be his creation when he does not know the different parts of acquired actions and their numbers'' When these two matters are disproved, namely the matter that actions are the result of compulsion and the matter that they are the result of volition, there remains the middle position which is this that actions are voluntary in a fixed manner through power of God by invention and through the power of a man by acquisition. God has no necessity of keeping connection with the container of power in the matter of creation because the power of God is eternal and its connection with the world is eternal.
(3) Third basic principle. It is the knowledge that though the actions of man are his acquisitions, they are nevertheless nil outside the will of God. Neither a twinkling of an eye, nor a sudden rise of thought in mind in the visible and invisible world occurs except through His order, power and will. Good or evil, benefit or loss, belief or infidelity, knowledge or ignorance, success or failure, guidance or misguidance, sin or virtue, Shirk or Iman come from Him. There is none to reject His command, none to disobey his decree. He guides whom He wishes and misguides whom He wishes. There is none to question Him of what He does, but the people will be questioned (21 : 33). All say: What He wills occurs and what he does not will does not occur. God says: If God willed, He would have guided all men rightly (3 : 30). Had I wished, I would have given every soul its guidance (31 13). He who thinks that God does not will sins and evils as they are evils and that it is the devil who wills them is cursed. Tell me how a Muslim can deny the supreme rule of God. If the power of a village chief is curtailed, he will think it dishonourable. He will think it derogatory to his position if actions are conducted according to the wishes of his enemy in the village. The result will be that many will be out of his control. Now it is seen that evil deeds are predominant in men. If every sin is done against the will of God, God's helplessness is seen. When it is established that all actions of men are creations of God, it follows thatt the evil actions are also the result of His will.
Question may be asked how God commands to do what He does not wish and how He prohibits what He wishes. In reply we shall say that command is one thing and will is another thing. Thus if a master beats his slave, the ruler rebukes the
master for beating his slave. The master shows reason that his slave does not obey him. As a proof he orders his slave to arrange the bridle of his horse before the ruler though he knows that the slave will not obey it. If he does not order him, his objection before the ruler does not stand and if he wishes that his order should be obeyed it amounts to his murder. It is impossible.
(4) Fourth basic principle. It is that God is generous in inflicting trouble on men by His command. Neither creation, nor imposition of obligations is necessary for Him although the Mutazalites hold that they were necessary for the welfare of men. But this is impossible since He is the only being to enjoin and prohibit. How will it be limited by compulsion? The object of compulsion is of two things, such a work which if given up will cause harm in future as it is said that it is compulsory on men to obey God who will punish him in the hereafter by the fire of Hell; or it is to avoid such present harm which is injurious as it is said that to drink water for a thirsty man is compulsory so that he may not die. Secondly it is such a work the negation of which seems impossible. Thus it is said that the existence of a thing which is known is necessary because if it does not exist, it becomes an impossibility. If it occurs, knowledge becomes ignorance.
(5) Fifth basic principle. It is that God can inflict on man what is beyond his capacity. If it were not possible, it would have been impossible for , men to pray for removing it. The people prayed: 0 our Lord, lay not on us that for which we have no strength- 2: 246 This is against the belief of the Mutazalites.
(6) Sixth basic principle. It is that God is free to punish a man in spite of his virtues and to reward a man in spite of his sins. The Mutazalites hold the contrary view. God has got freedom of action among His servants and it is impossible that His servants will oppose His freedom. Tyranny means to dispossess a man from his possession but it is impossible in the case of God as He does not dispossess others in view of the fact that the kingdom of heaven and earth is His. It is proved by this. Slaughter of animals is infliction of pain on animals and men Various tortures inflicted on animals have not been preceded by any offence or crimes committed by the animals. If it is said that these animals would be raised up again and rewarded for this which is incumbent upon God, then we would say that every ant killed under feet and every bug crushed would be brought back to life. It would violate the dictates of reason and law as nothing is incumbent upon God.
(7) Seventh basic principle. It is that God does with regard to men what He wills and it is not incumbent on Him to do whatever is good for them. It has already been stated that nothing is compulsory on God but His dealings are not intelligible to men, because there is nobody to question Him what He does but men are subject to questions. The Mutazalites say that it is incumbent upon God to do whatever is salutary for men.
(8) Eighth basic principle. It is that to have knowledge of God and to obey His commands are compulsory on men, not on account of the reason as the Mutazalites say, but on account of Shariat. Shariat declared poisonous serpents beyond death, while reason in realising what Shariat foretells thinks it possible and urges that precautions should be taken against any possible punishment. But reason itself does not lead to that knowledge of harm. If a man warns by saying: A lion stands behind you, he should at once take to his heels without searching reason.
(9) Ninth basic principle. It is that sending Prophets to men is not impossible. Some say that there had been no use in sending them, because reason renders' it unnecessary. This is false, because reason does not support the actions which will lead to salvation in the hereafter just as it does not guide them to discuss the medicines which are useful for health. The necessity of Prophets for men is like that of the physicians for men. The integrity of the physicians is known by experience and the truthfulness of the Prophets is known by miracles.
(10) Tenth basic principle. It is that God sent Muhammed as the last Prophet and as an abrogator of all previous laws of the Jews, Christians and the Sabians and God helped him with open miracles and wonderful signs, such as splitting up the moon into two parts, the praise of the pebbles, causing the mute animals to speak, water flowing from his fingers etc. The open miracle with which he guided the Arabs is the ()Iran as the beauty of the language throughout the Quran is paralleled and the Arabs could not surpass it in spite of then eloquence and rhetoric. Though the Prophet was illiterate arcs did not learn how to read and write, yet God informed him in the Quran about the histories of the previous nations, the informations which he gave about the previous nations in the Quran being an illiterate person, the prophecies he made about the future events and the clue he gave to the unknown things are his miracles. For instance God says: You will enter the sacred mosque if God wills having your heads shaved and your hair short (48 : 27). The verse: The Romans have been vanquished in a land nearby but after their defeat they defeat them in a few years (30 : 1). The object of these verses is to prove the truth of the messenger of God by miracles.


Proof of Belief (Second pillar of belief)

>> Monday, October 13, 2008

This is the second pillar of belief. Now again I stress I neither support nor attack this position. I only wish show what Ghazzali believed in his own words and voice.

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

Second pillar: It is to have knowledge of His attributes and to believe them. It is founded on ten bases-He is All-powerful, All-knowing, living for ever, willing, hearing, seeing, speaking, eternal in words, knowledge and will and free from changes of events.

God's Attributes based on Ten Principles (10 bases of the second pillar)
(1) First basic principle. It is that God is Almighty as He said: He is power over all things (15 : 120). He is truthful as the world is perfect with His designs and well regulated. He who sees a garment of silk of which the weaving and texture are fine and says that it has been made by a dead man or a man who has got no power, would be lacking in natural intellect and is utterly foolish.
(2) Second basic principle. It is that whatever exists is within His knowledge and under His control. Even an atom in heaven and earth is not outside His knowledge. He is truthful in all His promises and has got knowledge of everything. This is attested by the verse: Does He not know who has created? He is subtle, cognizant (77 : 14). Take this proof by your intellect that there is nothing like of what He created with wonderful design. This shows the deep knowledge of the Designer and wonderful intricacies. He is the end of praise and guidance as He described Himself
(3) Third basic principle. It is that God is Ever-living, because it has been established that He has got knowledge and power anti that He has got life. If it were conceived that a powerful and knowing designer is without life, then it is possible also to doubt the lives of animals in spite of their motions and rest. This is the height of foolishness.,
(4) Fourth basic principle. It is that every action happens according to the will of God. In other words every existing thing lives according to His will. He is the original Creator and repeats creations and whatever He wills, He does. When every action happens according to His will, the opposite thing also comes into being according to His will. So power leads His will to two different directions.
(5) Fifth basic principle. It is that God is hearing and seeing and it is impossible to evade His sight and hearing. He is the bridge of mind and lies secretly in thoughts and reflections. The thinnest sound of the creeping of a black ant on a solid stone in the deep darkest night does not evade His hearing. How will it not be when His sight and hearing are perfect beyond doubt and there is no decrease of this power? How can the power of the created become perfect in relation to the power of God? How can a designer become perfect in relation to the great Designer? How can a portion become equal to one whole?
(6) Sixth basic principle. It is that God speaks without words and sounds and letters. It does not resemble the speech of other beings. In reality His speech is speech of the mind. Just as speech of mind has got no sound or words, so His speech has got no sound or words. A poet says:
Speech is of the mind. Tongue is the vehicle of mind.
He who cannot conceive it is a fool. Pay no attention to one who does not understand that the eternal is that before which nothing existed. Thus in the word `Bismillah' the word 'B' precedes 'S' and consequently 'S' cannot be eternal. God has got a secret for leading some men astray as He says: There is no guide for one whom God misguides (13 : 33). Whosoever thinks it impossible the Prophet Moses heard God's words which had no sound or words, it becomes impossible for him to believe that he will see in the next world such a thing as has got no body though he understands that a thing can possibly be seen which has got no colour, body or size, even though he has not seen such a thing. Similarly conceive of hearing what is applicable to sight. If you understand that God has got knowledge of everything, understand it also that along with His being, He has got attribute of speech. Understand it also that all the words represent His speech. If it is possible to conceive of the existence of the seven heavens and Paradise and Hell all written in a small piece of paper and that Tardier of men is preserved in the minutes part of heart and seen with an eyeball without the things existing in the eye ball, it is also possible to conceive the speech of God as being read with tongue, preserved in mind, written on paper, but the essence of speech does not come down on these things, because if it comes down on paper on account of writing, then the essence of fire would come down on paper on account of its writing and would burn it.
(7) Seventh basic principle. It is that the words emanating from God are eternal along with His attributes, since it is impossible that He is subject to change. Rather it is necessary that His attributes should become eternal as His being is eternal. He is without change and without novelty. He exists with His attributes from eternity. What is not free from change is originated. Origination is an attribute of body as it is subject to change and the attribute of body is also subject to change. How can the Creator be sharer with it in the attribute of change? For this it can be said that He is eternal. His words are eternal but our words and sounds are new and originated.
(8) Eighth basic principle. It is that His knowledge is eternal. Whatever occurs in His creation is within His knowledge from eternity and not His new knowledge. Whenever any animal is born, His knowledge about it is not new but eternal and ancient. For instance, if I know that laid will come at sunrise, his arrival at sunrise and to welcome him would be owing to that foreknowledge and not for any new knowledge. The eternal knowledge of God should be understood in this way.
(9) Ninth basic principle. It is that His will is eternal. His will to make an event at the appointed time has ,got connection with His eternal knowledge, because if there is rise of a new will, it remains confined to the place of event. If His will rises in another object and not in His being, He cannot will just you cannot execute an action which is not in yourself. How can you do it when it depends on the will of another which again depends on the will of another and so on to infinity and there is no end to it. If it is possible for a will to come into being without another will, it would be possible for the world to come into being without a will.
(10) Tenth basic principle. It is that God is wise by His knowledge, living with His life, mighty with His power willing with Ills will, speaking with His words, seeing with His light and hearing. These attributes belong to His eternal attributes. If one says that He is wise without wisdom, his words will be like those of a man who says that he is wealthy without his wealth, learned without his learning and the object of learning. Learning, object of learning and the learned man are inseparable, as murder, murderer and one murdered are inseparable. As murder can not be conceived without the killer and one killed, a learned man cannot he conceived without learning and an object of learning.


Proof of Belief (First pillar of belief)

>> Saturday, October 11, 2008

The next series of posts will be entitled the proof of belief and give the four pillars of belief and their 10 bases. Today we deal with only the 1st pillar and its 10 bases. In the original text Imam Ghazzali 1st tells all the pillars and then gives us the 10 bases for each. However for the sake of organization I will give you one pillar at a time and all of its 10 bases. Furthermore as with our posts of volume one chapter one which dealt entirely about knowledge, volume one chapter two deal entirely on the topic of Aqeedah. And just as I said in my last post, I neither deny nor confirm if this is what I follow, nor will I support or attack Imam Ghazzali's work. I only wish to provide Imam Ghazzali's words so you may make a descision about him and not just listen to certain people who attack him without even refering to his texts and his words perverting your views on a great man.

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

Proof of Belief
Iman or belief is founded upon four pillars, each of which has got ten bases:

First pillar. It is the knowledge of essence of God and it is established upon ten bases. They are the knowledge and belief that God is existing, eternal, ancient, without form, without body, without length and breadth, without any special direction, occupying no space, object of vision in the next world and He is one without any partner.
The basic principles of faith for knowledge of God (10 bases of the 1st pillar).
The first basic principle is to have knowledge of the existence of God. The first light which illumines faith and the first thing to be followed is the Quran and there is no word better than the word of God. God says: Have I not made the earth a couch, mountains its tents? I have created you of two sex and ordained your sleep for rest, night as a mantle and day for gaining livelihood. I created above you seven solid heavens and placed therein a burning lamp and I sent down waters in abundance from clouds that I might bring forth by it corns and herbs and gardens thick with trees (78 : 6). God says: In the creation of the heaven and the earth and in the alternation of night and day and in the ships which pass through the sea with what is useful to man and in the rain which God sends down from heaven, giving life by it to the earth after its death and by scattering over all kinds of earth and in the change of the winds and in the clouds that are made to do service between heaven and earth, are signs for those who understand (2 : 159). God says: Don't you see how God created the seven heavens one over the other, placed therein the moon as a light and the sun as a torch and God caused you to spring forth from the earth like a plant. He will turn you back into it again and will bring you forth main (71 : 14). God said: Don't you see the germ of life? Is it you who created it or I? I have decreed death among you and I shall not be overcome to change your forms and create you what you know not (56 : 58).
It is clear that if he who has got a little intellect and ponders over these verses and looks to the wonderful creations of the heavens and the earth will realise that without a great Designer these workmanship are impossible. The human soul naturally testifies that God exists and that everything is governed by His Laws. For this reason God says: Is there any doubt about God, the Creator of heavens and earth ? (14 : 11) The Prophets were therefore sent by Him to call the people towards monotheism 'there is no deity but God.' They were not commanded to say: For us there is one God and for the world another God, because such a thing was inborn in their minds from the time of their birth. God said: If you ask them who has created the heavens and the earth they will reply 'God'. God said: Turn your face then towards the true faith, the natural religion whereon God created men 30 : 30. Therefore there are testimonies of the Quran and human nature which are sufficient proofs. All other proofs are unnecessary but still we shall prove by the proof of knowledge that God exists.
Proof of Knowledge
A new thing cannot come into existence without a cause. The world is an originated new thing and it did not come into existence without a cause. That a thing cannot come into existence without a cause is clear, for such a thing belongs to a certain definite time and it also comes to our intellect that it comes at a fixed time without precedence or subsequence, because of the urgency of its fixed time. The world is a new or originated thing. Its proof is found in the fact that it is not free from motion and rest which are the characteristics of every new material thing. Even motion and rest are two new originated things not free from changes. The world and whatever exists in it are originated things. There are three matters in this argument. Firstly, a body is not free from motion and rest. It requires no meditation. Secondly, motion and rest themselves are originated things. Its proof is that one comes after another. It is found in all bodies. What is static can move and what is moving can become static according to the dictates of intellect. If any of the above two things is predominant over the body, it becomes a new even. A new thing is originated because of its emergence, an old thing is distant because of its extinction. If the eternity of a thing is established, its extinction is impossible as we shall prove it by the subsistence of the creation. Thirdly, what is not free from changes is an originated or new thing or whatever is not independent of originated things is itself originated. Its proof is that if it were not so, the world before every new thing may change which has got no beginning and unless these new things come to nought, the turn for the present new things to come into being would never come. But it is impossible for a thing which has no end to come to nought.
Another reason is that if there is no end of the motion of heavenly bodies, three conditions would arise-their numbers would be either odd or even, or both odd and even, or neither odd nor even. The last two are impossible, as positive and negative are united therein, since the affirmation of one is the negation of another and negation of one is the affirmation of another. They cannot be even, as even number becomes odd by the addition of one. That which has no end cannot be even without change. They cannot be odd, because the number becomes even with the addition of one. How can it change into odd when its number has got no end? From this, it is concluded that the world is not free from changes and therefore it is an originated thing. When it is an originated thing, it requires a Creator to bring it into existence. The second basic principle is the knowledge that God is eternal. He has got no beginning and no end; He is the final of everything and before everything living or dead. Its proof is this. If lie were an originated thing and not eternal. He would have need of a Creator who would also have need of a Creator. Thus it would have continued without end. Whatever comes in succession ends in an ancient creator which is the first. For this reason, the Creator is the First and the Last, the Creator of the world and its Fashioner.
Third basic principle. It is that God is everlasting without end. lie is the first and the last, the open and the secret. When the attribute of eternity has been established his end becomes impossible. Its proof is this. If He had an end, He would have remained in two conditions, either he would come to nought by Himself or through an opposing annihilating agent. If it is possible lot a thing which is self-existing to come to nought, it is also possible for that thing to come into existence. The reason is that if a thing requires a cause to come to existence, it also requires a cause to come to nought. It is not possible that a thing comes to nought after meeting with an opposing agent. If that thing which comes to nought is eternal, how does the form of existence of a thing become? It is not also possible that an originated thing coming before an eternal thing loses its identity and existence. God is eternal as we have learnt it from previous discussions. How then did He exist in eternity with His opposites? If the opposite is an originated thing, its existence from eternity is impossible.
Fourth basic principle. It is that God is without form, not copying any space and free from space, motion and rest. Its proof is this. Every form occupies a space and moves and stays in it. Body has got motion and rest which are the character of originated things. What is not free from changes is an originated thing. If any form is limited by space and is eternal, it is understood the substance of the creation of the world is eternal. If a man Mays that God has got body and occupies space, he commits blonder for using such word and not for its meaning.
Fifth basic principle. It is that God is not composed of a body having different substances. When He does not occupy any space, He has got no body as every body is limited by space and composed of different substances. The substances of the body are not free from division, composition, motion, rest, form and quantity. These are the qualities of an originated thing. If it were possible to believe that the Creator of the world has got a body, then it would be possible to attribute divinity of the sun and the moon and other heavenly bodies. If a designer wishes to make a body without the substance of body, he will commit mistake.
Sixth basic principle. God has got no length and breadth as these are attributes of a body which is an originated thing. Its Creator existed from before it. So how will He enter in a body as He existed by Himself before all originated things and there was nobody along with Him. He is All-knowing, Almighty, Willing Creator. These attributes are impossible for a body. He exists by Himself without the substances of a body. He is not like any worldly thing, rather He is ever-living, everlasting and nothing is like Him. Where is the similarity of the Creator with the created, the Fashioner with the fashioned? Hence it is impossible that anything is like Him.
Seventh basic principle. It is that God is not confined within any direction as He created directions, either above or below, right or left, front or behind. He created two directions for man. one
rests on earth called the direction of feet and one above his head What rests above head is above and what rests below feet is below. To an ant, below the roof, the above portion is its lower side and the lower side is its upper side though they are contrary in out case. He created for man two hands one right hand and another left. Accordingly there is right hand direction and the left hand direction. Then there are front direction and back direction. When direction is an originated thing, how can He be governed by that? Along with the creation of men, directions have been created. There is nothing above God, because He has got no head and the word 'above' is connected with head. There is nothing below Him as the word 'below' is connected with feet and God has no feet. If He is above the world, there is a direction opposite to it and every opposite thing has got a body like it or similar to it. But God is free from it. He is unique, He is the Designer. Eighth basic principle. It is that God is seated upon His Throne, that is upon power. It is not inconsistent with the attribute of His grandeur and the symptoms of origination and annihilation. This is what is meant by the following verse of the Quran: Then He ascended to heaven and it was then but smoke-(4 1 : 10). It means His dominion and power as the poet said:
Bishr has gained power in Iraq,
Without sword and shedding blood.
The people of truth accepted this interpretation as the people of untruth were compelled to accept the interpretation of these words of God: He is with you wherever you are (57 : 4). This means that Ile encompasses everything. This is supported by the following Hadith: `The heart of a believer is within two fingers of the Merciful,' meaning within His power or might. It is also supported by the following Hadis: 'The Black Stone is the right hand of God In the earth,' meaning it is established on honour in the earth. If its meaning is taken literally, the result would be impossible. His taking rest on the Throne means this. If it is taken literally, it becomes possible to believe that He has got a body and the Throne is also a body limited by space. It is impossible.
Ninth basic principle. It is that although God is free from form, space and direction. He is an object to be seen in the hereafter as He said: On that day shall faces beam with looking towards their Lord (75 : 22). He is not visible in this world as God Maid: Vision does not comprehend Him, but He comprehends vision (6: 103), also because of the following verse: God addressed Muses saying: You cannot see Me (7 :109). I don't understand how the Mutazalites hold that God is visible in this world also though Moses could not see Him. Insight is a kind of Kashf and knowledge, and Kashf is more clear than knowledge. When God has got connection with knowledge and not with direction, He has sot connection also with insight without any direction. As God sees Ills creation though not in front, the creation also sees Him though not in front. As it is possible to know Him without modality or lot in, it is also possible to see Him likewise.
Tenth basic principle. It is that God is without any partner, single without any like. He is unique in ever new creations, innovations, and inventions. There is nothing like Him. The Quran says: Had there been any other God therein, they would have gone to ruin (21 : 22). If the first God willed something, the second would have been compelled to aid the first and thus he would have been subordinate to him. This means that he would have no supreme power. If the second is to oppose the first, he would be powerful and the first would be weak rather than an Almighty God.


The Belief in God (Aqeedah) by Imam Ghazzali

>> Friday, October 10, 2008

We have now finished Chapter 1 of Volume 1 of the Ihya Ulum-Id-Din which was entitled Knowledge. We now come to Chapter 2 of Volume 1 which is Foundation of Belief. Imam Ghazzali starts of this chapter talking about the belief in god and over here we see his Aqeedah. Now keep in mind this is Imam Ghazzali's Aqeedah and I will neither defend nor attack him for it. It is our choice to agree or disagree with his views on this subject. Furthermore for the sake of being unbiased in this blog I will not tell which school of Theology I follow. However I will say traditionally out of the 4 schools of Theology Mu'tazili, Ash'ari, Maturidi and Athari (better known as salafiyyah/Wahabiyyah today) three were considered to be under the sunnah, while one was considered off the sunnah. That one which was off the Sunnah was Mu'tazili. Now no one E-mail me arguing with me because I will nto argue who is right or wrong I just wish to show what Imam Ghazzali believed in his own words. Most of you only know what he believed in the words of Yasir Qadhi or some other Al-Maghrib instructor who dislike the Imam or in the words of Imam G.F. Haddad or someother supporter of Imam Ghazzali. I am here allowing the dead to speak for themselves. Furthermore if you take a second to look past the differences in aqeedah and see the applications of aqeedah (which can be applied to any school of theology) and excellence of belief (which can also be applied to any school of theology) you will inshAllah benefit from this post.

In the Words of Imam Ghazzali

Praise be to God, the Creator, the First, the Last, the Doer of whatever He wills, who guides His servants towards the true path, who makes Himself known to men that He exists by Himself without any partner, He is single without any associate, the Eternal without any before Him and without any beginning, the Everlasting without any end. He is the First, the Last, the External and the Internal, the All-knowing. The following beliefs about God are necessary

(1) To believe in His Transcendence. He is without body and form, free of restriction, limitation and resemblance, not divisible. Nothing is like Him and He is not like anything. He is not limited by measure, space and time. He is free from diligence, rest and change. Everything is in His grasp. He is above Arsh, above heaven and above everything. He is nevertheless below the deepest depth, yet He is near, very close to a thing, nearer to the jugular vein of a man. He is not in anything and nothing is in Him. Ile is beyond space and beyond time. His is now as He was before. He expresses Himself through His creatures and not by existence. He is free from change, increase or decrease.

(2) To believe in His power and existence. He is Ever-living, All-powerful, Almighty, the great Destroyer. He is free from faults and failures, slumber, sleep, disease, death. He is the Lord of the entire universe, angels and everything. The heavens are rolled in his hands. He is unique in creation and unrivalled in ever new creations. He fixed the provision and death of created beings and nothing can escape from His power. His power and might are above counting.

(3) To believe in His knowledge. His knowledge is without limit and He knows everything. Whatever happens between the deepest abyss of the earth to the highest heaven is within His knowledge. The smallest atom in the earth or in heaven is not outside His knowledge. He knows the creeping of an ant on a solid stone in intense dark night or in the movement of a mote in the air. Everything open and secret is within His knowledge. Every thought in mind, every contrivance of the devil and every thought good or bad is within His knowledge. His knowledge is eternal and unlimited without any increase or decrease and without any defect.

(4) To believe in His will. Nothing comes into being small or great, good or evil, benefiting or not benefiting, faith or infidelity, known or unknown, profit or loss, sin or virtue without His order, power and will. What He wills comes into being. What He does not will comes not into being. Not a glance of the eye, not a stray sudden thought in mind is outside His will. He does what He wills. There is none to rescind His command, there is no obstacle to it. There is no refuge of one who is disobedient to him. There is none to follow His command without His will. If mankind, jinn, angels and devil want to remove an atom from its proper place, they won't be able to do it without His will. His will lies naturally in His attributes which are unlimited. There is no precedence or subsequence of any event from its appointed time.

(5) To believe in His hearing and sight. He hears and sees. His hearing and sight are all pervading. Nothing however scanty can escape His hearing and nothing however subtle can go from His sight. Distance is no bar to His hearing and seeing, rather distance and nearness are all equal to Him. Darkness can not obstruct His sight. He sees without eye, catches without hands and creates without instrument. His attributes are not like those of the created beings, His being is not like that of the created.

(6) To believe in His words. God speaks without sound. It is eternal, ancient and self-existing unlike the talks of the created. His talk is without sound. It has got no connection with circulation of air. It does not take the help of words and language through the movement of lips. The Quran, the Bible, the Gospel and Psalms are His created books to His Prophets. The Quran is recited by tongue, written on papers and preserved in heart, nevertheless it is eternal existing with the eternity of God. Hazrat Moses heard His words without sound and language and the righteous will see Him in the hereafter without body and space.

(7) To believe in His actions. There is no creator of actions except He and nobody is outside His judgment. He created everything in its best of make and form and no other form is better than it. He is wise in His actions and just in His judgments. His justice is not comparable to that of men. Whatever exits in the world, men, jinn, angels, devils, heaven, earth, animals, plants, inanimate things comes out of nothing but by His power. He existed in eternity by Himself and there was nothing along with Him. Thereafter He originated creations not because of His necessity. He has got no fatigue or languor. Whatever He does is from a sense of justice, not of oppression or injustice. Obedience to Him is binding on all His creatures and He expressed it through His Prophets. He gave them miracles and conveyed His injunctions and prohibitions through them.

(8) To believe in other world. It is to attest to the prophethood of Muhammad. God sent the unlettered Quraishite Prophet Muhammad as an apostle to all the Arabs and non-Arabs, to the jinn and men and by his law he abrogated all other laws. He gave him superiority to all other Prophets and made him leader of mankind and did not make complete any faith with the words of Tauhid till it was followed by the attestation that Muhammad is His servant and apostle. He made compulsory to believe whatever he said about this world and the next world. He does not accept the faith of a man unless he believes in these articles of faith along with the following.

(a) To believe in Munkar and Nakir. They are two terrible angels. They will make the dead one sit up with his soul and body and ask him about his religion and his Prophet. This is the first examination after death. (b) To believe in the punishment of grave as true. (c) To believe in the Balance with two scales and a tongue the magnitude of which is like the stages of heaven and earth. Therewith the actions of men will be weighed. The weight would be like a mote or mustard seed to establish exact justice. (d) To believe in the Bridge. It is a bridge stretched over Hell, sharper than the edge of the sword and thinner than a hair. The feet of the unbelievers will slip and they will fall down into Hell. The feet of the believers will be firm upon it by the grace of God and so they will cross it to Paradise. (e) To believe in the Fountain. It is a fountain of the Prophet. The believers will take drink from it and enter Paradise after crossing the bridge. Whoever will drink therefrom once will never be thirsty. Its water will be whiter than milk and sweeter than honey. There will be so many pitchers around like so many stars in firmament. (f) To believe in the judgment. Some will render little account, some great and some will enter Paradise without account. They will be in the neighbourhood of God. Those who believe in Tauhid will come out of Hell after their due punishment in Hell. (g) To believe in the intercession of the Prophets, then the learned, then the martyrs, then the rest of the believers. They will have the right of intercession in proportion to their ranks to God. (h) To believe in the goodness of the companions, first of Abu Bakr, then of Umar, then of Osman and then of Ali. You will have good idea about them and praise them as God and His Apostle praised them.

Excellence of Belief

What has been said above about belief is applicable to a boy in his early years in order that he may commit them to memory. Its meaning will be gradually unfolded to him. The first duty of a boy is to commit them to memory, then to understand them and then to believe them and then to know them as certain and sure. It comes to his mind as a matter of course without proof. The root of faith of the ordinary people is Taqlid or blind belief in authority. True it is that the belief which is based on authority is not free from some weakness, but when it is certain and sure, it becomes perfect. To achieve this end, one should not resort to scholastic theology but to reading the Quran, Tafsir and Hadis and to understand their meaning, because in that case the light of divine service appears in him, and the advices of the pious, their company, their character and conduct, their God-fear and their asceticism spread effect in his mind. Instruction to the boy is like the sowing of seed in his heart. The above actions are like the serving of water and tending to seed. It grows, becomes strong and thrives to a tree and its root becomes strong and firm and its branches rise high. The boy should also be guarded against argumen tation and speculation as their harms are greater than their benefits. To make faith strong by argumentation is like striking a tree with an iron matter. To teach by proof is one thing and to see proof by eyes is another thing. If the boy wants to be included within the travellers of the hereafter with Taufiq or God's grace as his friend, the doors of guidance are opened up for him till he remains engaged in actions attached to Godfear and restrains himself from passions and lusts making efforts in discipline and self-mortification. Owing to these efforts, a light from God falls in his heart as God says: Whoso strives for Us, We shall guide them in our paths, for God is assuredly with those who do right- 29: 69. That is the most valuable jewel and the ultimate goal of the saints and favour ites of God. That is the secret matter which rested in the breast of Hazrat Abu Bakr and for which he was superior to all others. The expression of this secrecy has got different stages.

It will be open to one in proportion to one's efforts and striving and the more one makes his soul clean and pure. It is like the learning of the mysteries of medicines, jurisprudence and other sciences. They differ in proportion to the differences of intellect and knowledge. As there is no limit to these stages, there is also no limit to the degrees of secrets.


Quotations of Imam Ghazzali we should take note of.

>> Sunday, October 5, 2008

I am very busy right now to give you guys a full excerpt of any works of any scholar. Furthermore the next sections of Ihya Ulum id-Din are very complicated and I am deciding on what is the most beneficial part of the section to post. However I ran across 3 quotes, 2 of Imam Ghazzali and 1 of Hatem Asem to Imam Ahmed Hanbal, (which if you read my past posts you should of already read it. Reason I'm putting up again is because it is important and we need to be reminded of it.) that I believe are very important and need to be stressed. Please note as with all my posts the Italics is the actually written work or the said quote of the scholar, I do this so you may differentiate between what I say and what they have said and this is the 1st post I will actually write my own comment which is NOT in italics.

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

"Muslims are so good at dividing that they can divide the atom. If you see two Muslims, probably they belong to 3 parties." It is a quote from his work dealing with atomism

"The hypocrite looks for faults; the believer looks for excuses." When refering to another Muslim brother who seems to have short comings

In The Words of Hatem Asem

You are not safe in this world unless you possess four characteristics-(1) overlook the ignorance of man, (2) conceal your ignorance from them, (3) seek their good, and (4) don't seek anything from them. This was the answer to Imam Ahmed's question, "What will ensure salvation in the world."


Eid Mubarak From The Ghazzali Blogger

>> Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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