Importance of Aqeedah
Very nice summary of the Light of Guidance weekend lecture.
“Have you not seen how Allah has struck the parable of a beautiful Kalima [La Illaha Ila Allah] like a beautiful tree whose roots are firmly established, and whose branches tower in the sky? It gives fruit at all times by the permission of its Lord and Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember.” (Surat Ibraheem, 24-25)
What does the tree symbolize in the above ayah?
A tree symbolizes = growth and prosperty, life itself–for it is the basic fundamental building block of life in that it, among other things, takes our CO2 and gives us O2. Many organizations use it to symbolize life. So in other words, your Eman is what gives spiritual life to your body. Physically, the tree provides:
a) fruit for nourishment,
b) shade to protect us from the elements,
c) aesthetic nature/value,
d) wood to light fires for cooking, warmth, energy, building material for our homes etc.
So, we can neither live without trees nor without the kalimah [La Illaha Ila Allah].
What is the significance of the tree with roots firmly established in relation to the Kalimah?
La illah ila Allah keeps a person grounded, stable, steadfast, strong and anchored in the ground. He knows his purpose in life, and hence is a optimistic forward thinking person,
Indeed, our Islam has an amazing characteristic , it appeals to and is embraced by people of different backgrounds/faith. And the opposite is very rare, even if a Muslim leaves the fold of Islam it is hardly ever a scholar or intellectuals, and if it so happens we question whether they were really Muslim in the first place, or that they probably left it to follow their own desires. Islam today is a growing religion, and Christianity is ever increasingly becoming a cultural phenomena rather than a genuine commitment to it as a faith. Once has to look at the number of church goers in England today, which equals that of Friday-Masjed-goers–and why is this striking? Because Muslims make up 3% of the total population of England.
Even at the time of the Prophet (saw), Christians predicted that the religion of Islam would spread far and wide.The Prophet sent letters of invitation to Kings and Rulers of various countries in the world, propagating and inviting them to embrace Islam. Abu Sufyan a leader of the tribe of Quraish and the arch enemy of the Prophet was in Constantinople on a business trip, when the Prophet’s letter of invitation reached Hercules, the Byzantine emperor of Eastern Roman Empire. After reading Hercules asked the people in his court, to find out if there was someone in the city, who knew the Prophet. Abu Sufyan with his companions was brought into the court.
The emperor asked Abu Sufyan, “What kind of family does Muhammad belong to?” “Noble [Allah (SWT) chooses from the best of families]”, replied Abu Sufyan “Has there been a king in his family [usually those will royal ancestry have agendas to regain their royal inheritance]?” Hercules asked. “Are the people who have accepted his religion poor or rich ?”, Hercules questioned again. They are poor [they are not tied down by the wealth of this world]”, replied Abu Sufyan. Hercules was now becoming more and more interested and he went on asking questions. His next question was, “Are his followers on the increase or decrease?” “Increasing [and this was despite that fact that the Muslims were being persecuted–remember Bilaal, Ammar ibn Yasser and Sumaiyah. And they were on the increase meaning that one eman settled in the heart it was there to stay]”, Abu Sufyan replied shortly. “Have you known him to tell lies [if he never lied or cheated for the wealth of the world–gold and silver–then it is unlikely that he will lie about Allah]”? asked Hercules. “No”, admitted Abu Sufyan.”Does he ever go against his covenants?”, Hercules once again asked. “Does he ever go against his covenants?”, Hercules once again asked. “Does he ever go against his covenants?” “Not so far. But we have to see whether he carries out the new agreement made between us and him”, Abu Sufyan answered lengthily for a change.”Have you ever fought him in wars?” Hercules questioned. “Yes”, answered Abu Sufyan “What has been the result?” Hercules asked, getting more and more interested. “Sometimes we have won, sometimes he”, replied Abu Sufyan. “What does he teach?” asked Hercules “Worship One God, join no partners with Him, carry out your prayers, be chaste, speak the truth and keep union with your relatives”, answered Abu Sufyan, even surprised at his own answer as it sounded like he was preaching Islam.Hercules stood up and said, “If all you said is true, then I am sure that this Prophet’s Kingdom will reach here where I am standing.” (Bukhari)
What is remarkable about this hadith, is that this is a Kafer telling another Kafer that this is the true religion from Allah (SWT). Within 15 years, the Muslims conquered Jerusalem and 1000 years Constantinople. Unfortunately, Hercules never accepted Islam because he did not want to lose his Empire, and give up being the most power man in the world.
What does “it’s branches tower in the sky” symbolize?
It means it reaches lofty heights; causes us to ascend to Jannah. In our earthly lives, the sky is the limit. People look up to the person of Eman, which is a sign of power, might and excellence. A person of Eman has refuge in Islam from what goes on below–he is above the filth and Fitan. A person’s Eman stands out is manifested in actions. Large trees are more beneficial–like a believer who benefits society more than anyone else.
What about “it gives its fruits at all times by the permission of its Lord”?
It is of benefit the whole year round–as is the believer in all aspects and facets of his life. It’s benefits vary, hence the fact that ayah says that this single tree bears various fruits which is not possible in our real world. So it’s a never ending source of spiritual inspiration that provides a boost of optimism to all that come in contact with it.
Some fruits of this tree of Eman:
1. Jannah: To be qualified for Jannah one has to have Eman, and those who do not have it are disqualified. In Surat Al Kahf Allah (SWT) says:
“As for those who believed and performed good deeds–We waste not the wage of one righteous in works. to them belong the Gardens of Eden, beneath which rivers flow, and in which they shall be decked with bracelets of gold, and shall wear green raiment of silk and brocade, reclining therein on couches. Happy that reward and happy that place of rest. ” (30-31)
2. Protection from the fire of hell: Narrated by Anas: The Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever said ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah’ and has in his heart good (faith) equal to the weight of a barley grain will be taken out of Hell. And whoever said, ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah’ and has in heart good (faith) equal to the weight of a wheat grain will be taken out of Hell. And whoever said, ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah’ and has in his heart good (faith) equal to the weight of an atom will taken out of Hell.” (Bukhari)
Eman is levels–1st level is Muslim, 2nd is Mu’min, and 3rd is Muhsin–and there is a clear line that divides a person from Kufr, Fusuuq, Eman and Ihsan. Please see Chart for illustration of this concept.
What is meant by “bare minimum required”?
It is what is required to be saved from ever entering the hellfire. It is Wajib/Obligatory. Below that “bare minimum required” line a person is considered a Fasiq (sinner). He has the “bare minimum” so his sins will cause him to enter the hellfire, but not abide in it forever.
So, what are the actions that make up the “bare minimum required?
That we practice the five pillars of Islam, avoid major sins (murder, interest, fornication, intoxication etc.), and committing a sin is not a permanent state but a temporary one. This guarantees that we have reachesd the bare minimum.
The best and highest level is “beginning of perfection” [ihsan] and of those Allah (SWT) says in Surat Al Israa ayah 19:
“And he who desires the hereafter, and pursues it as it should be pursued, being a man of faith, these–their persuit shall be worthy of praise.”
3. The key to have all deeds accepted: It is important to note, that if you do good actions but have no Eman then it will not be accepted from. sometiems people find this problematic–they find it politically incorrect to say. But it is very simple: Why should those who had not faith in Allah (SWT) expect reward from Him whom they never beleived in? Yet Allah is All-Just and hence they receive their reward from the people of this world, they get the honor they craved. They wanted popularity and the lavishness of this world and they got it.
4. A means for forgiving sins: In Surat Al Furqaan ayah 70 Allah (SWT) says:
“Except one who repents, has faith and does good deeds, These–God shall replace their sins with favors. And God is All-Forgiving, Compassionate to each.”
5. Achieving the protection of Allah (SWT):
Surat Yunus ayah 62, “Surely the friends of God–no fear shall fall upon them, nor shall they grieve.”
6. Allah will fight on your behalf: Surat Al Haj ayah 38 in which Allah (SWT) promises constant support–past, present and future–“God safeguards the believers.”
7. Allah (SWT) will guide a person with Eman:
“They were youths who believed in their Lord, and whom We increased in guidance.” (Surat Al Kahf, 13)
8. Protection and comfort for the believers:
“Whoever does good, male or female , while having faith, We shall make him live a decent life, and We shall recompense the with their wages, in accordance with the bet of their deed.” (Surat Al Nahl, 97)
9. Good always occurs to him: “Whoso has done an atom’s worth of good shall see it.” (Surat Al Zalzala, 7)
10. Exit and escape from all sorrows and problems:
“Surely the friends of God–no fear shall fall upon them, nor shall they grieve. They who believed and were pious–to them glad tidings in this present world, And in the hereafter.” (Surat Yunus, 62)
11.Raised in this world and the hereafter: “And those among you who believe, and who are granted knowledge, God elevates by several degrees” (Surat Al Mujadala, 11)
12. Protected from falling into evil:
Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah observed: “The fornicator who fornicates is not a believer so long as he commits it and no thief who steals is a believer as long as he commits theft, and no drunkard who drinks wine is a believer as long as he drinks it.” (Muslim)
Which means that if the person truly had the bare minimum Eman required, then he would not have committed the sin. So, a person who commits these atrocious sins, do have the bare minimum required.
13. Allah provides a good life for the believer: A person has two choices: 1) to “enjoy” this world according to the definition that his desire provides for “enjoyment” and suffer the punishment or 2) or trust in Allah’s (SWT) definition of enjoyment, and truly enjoy it. This is what a believer does.
“Whoever does good, male or female , while having faith, We shall make him live a decent life [does not mean one becomes a multi-millionaire, but has more to do with the quality of your life. So quality rather than quantity. If we look closely those on Wall Street, celebrities in Hollywood, and world famous elites are not truly happy–their suicide and divorce rates run with the law], and We shall recompense the with their wages, in accordance with the bet of their deed.” (Surat Al Nahl, 97)
14. Angels give the person with Eman glad tidings: In other words, Eman brings about a sweet death,and the angels calm the person down as the soul is extracted from the body as expressed in Surat Fusilat:
“As for those who say ‘Our Lord is God’ and are upright in deed, angels shall be made to descend upon them: ‘Fear not, and do not grieve. Here are glad tidings of the Garden which you were promised. We are your guardians in tis life and the next. In it you shall have all that your souls desire, all that you pray for, hospitably received by One All-Forgiving, Compassionate to each.” (30-32)
15. Khalifah [power/political establishment on this earth]:
“God has promised those among you who believed and did righteous deeds to make them inherit the earth, as he caused those before them to inherit, and to establish their religion on firm foundations–the religion He sanctioned for them–and to instill peace of mind following their fear.” (Surat Al Nur, 55)
Remember, that in order to bring about change it has to begin from the bottom up–so from within first by perfecting ones Eman. This is a promise by Allah (SWT) and He does not have to promise for us to believe Him.
16. Brotherhood and Sisterhood: Eman brings about an international fraternity and sorority of people.
“The believers are indeed brothers, so make peace among your brothers, and fear God–perhaps you will be shown mercy.” (Surat Al Hujuraat, 10)
17. Love is written for him on this earth:
“But those who believed and did good deeds, the all Merficul shall show them affection.” (Surat Maryam, 96) So, basically Allah (SWT) says that those who have Eman and translate their faith into good deeds, Allah (SWT) shall write for them love–the love of Allah, the angles, and people. Where ever they are there will always be a genuine love for them.
18. A believer will benefit from advice: A sinner is too arrogant to accept advice, but the believer benefits from it, ” And remind–reminding is good for the believers.” (Al Dhariyaat, 55)
19. Light on the day of judgment: Allah (SWT) will destroy all sources of light and humanity will be immersed in utter darkness. After being handed their results, they are told to find their way to Jannah to which they come to a bridge called the Sirat that is thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword. Allah (SWT) will bless everyone with a personal flashlight [your body will begin to emanate light] in proportion to a person’s Eman–the stronger your Eman in this life the stronger the light and vice versa. Whole bodies will light up, and some only their toes will flicker.
” A Day shall come when you shall observe believing men and believing women, with their light shimmering before them upon their right hands: ‘The good news to you today is Gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever, And this is the greatest of triumphs. That Day, the Hypocrites, men and women, shall say to those who believed: ‘Please allow us to obtain a ray from your light,’ and it shall be said to them: ‘Turn back, and search for a light!'” (Al Hadeed, 12-13)
20. Every blessing in this world and the next can only be obtained through Eman: this is the only pure means, any other way is tainted. One blessing in particular outshines others, and that is:
In Surat Al-Qiyaama, ayah 23 Allah (SWT) says, “On that Day, some faces will be resplendent, To their Lord their eyes are lifted.”
And in Surat Yunus ayah 26 the righteous will be given Jannah and some more. What can possibly be more than Jannah? Gazing continuously at Allah (SWT): “To those who do good belongs the fairest reward–and then some more.”
What is the term for ‘theology’ in our Deen?
In Latin ‘theo-‘ means god; and ‘-ology’ means science. The most popular term is Aqeedah in Islam, and it comes it comes from the root word ‘aqad’ which means ‘to tie down, to knot.’
Why this word in particular?
It is appropriately called ‘aqeedah’ because is is what ties us down to our faith; it solidifies and fortifies it; it’s what you firmly stick to. It is important to note that term does not appear in the Qur’an but presented no problem since the Prophet (saw) did not have session called “Tafseer (Exegesis/Interpretation of the Qur’an)” “Ilm Al Hadith (Science of Hadith)” of “Tajweed (Science of Qur’anic recitation.”
Others tried to come up with different terms, among which are the following:
1) Al Shariah: which literally means in Arabic ‘path to the waterway’; 2) As-Sunnah; 3) Al-Fiqh al-Akbar: Abu Hanifah said this is the greatest fiqh, and Al fiqh al-asghar is law; 4) Sharh as-Sunnah–explanation of the Sunnah; 5) Aqidah, or I’tiqad; 6) Usool as-Sunnah–fundamentals of Sunnah; 7) Al-Mahajjah–means the shining path, the clear evidence. The Prophet (saw) said, “I have left you upon the shining path, its night is like its day. No one will deviate from it except that he wishes to be destroyed.” So, the path of Islam is crystal clear and if you follow it, you will be saved and if you choose not to follow it then you begging for destruction.
Note: What you believe and what you do are both important, but in instances, what you believe is more important.
What is ‘Tawheed’?
‘Tawheed’ is one branch of Aqeedah, and comes from the root word “Wahad’ from which are derived ‘Wahed’ and ‘Ahada” (the one; the unique). ‘Wahada’ [with shaddah] means to make something one. So linguistically speaking, ‘Tawheed is’ the concept of making something one. As a concept it means ascribing unity to something. More definitively in Aqeedah it means:
To believe in the untiy of Allah (SWT) but not any kind of unity but “Believing that Allah is One and Unique in His Lordship, His Names and Attributes, and His Right to be worshiped. These are three distinct and separate issues that we unify Allah (SWT) in. We need to learn the three terms in both English and Arabic:
1) Tawheed Al Rububiyyah: This is making Allah (SWT) one in the concept of Lordship (Al Fatiha starts with: “Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds” )
2) Tawheed al-Asmaa wa al-Sifaat: This is to unifiy Allah (SWT) in the perfection of His Names and Attributes (“Lord of the Day of Judgment” )
3) Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah: Is to unify Allah (SWT) in the concept of deity, and the right to be worshipped (“It is You we worship, and upon You we call for help” )
Note: These three categories, are mentioned implicitly and not explicitly in the Qur’an. Surat Al Ikhlas is another good example for these three essential categories of Tawheed.
Some early scholars of Islam, divided Tawhid into 2 categories (bipartite as opposed to tripartite):
1) Knowledge [Al-Ilm]: This is further divided into: 1) Al Rububiyyah; and 2) Asmaa wa Sifaat.
2) Action [Amalee]: which includes Al Uluhiyyah.
What are the blessings of Tawheed?
Please see Al Bukhari’s Book of Tawheed.
Why should we study Tawheed?
1. Purpose of Creation: because of Tawheed Allah (SWT) created the creation and if it were not for that we would not have been here. Every human being questions the wisdom of being here and Allah (SWT) explicitly said in Surat Al Dhariyaat 56, “I created the Jinn and humans but to worship Me.” If anyone should ever ask you for the purpose of life, this should be your immeidate response. It is one of the most explicit verses in the Qur’an, and hence we should never be in doubt about why we are here. Allah (SWT) created us for Tawheed, and since that is the case the rest of the points we will discuss will explain this point further Insha Allah.
2. Reason for sending Prophets: to tell us to worship him. We believe that every single prophet’s message was exactly the same. We firmly believe that Essa [Jesus} came to ask people to worship Allah (alone). “To every nation We sent a messenger: ‘Worship God and keep away from idol worship.” (Surat Al Nahl, 36)
Reason for revealing books: “He sends down the angels with the Spirit, by His command, upon whomever He wishes of His worshipers: ‘Be warned! There is no god but I, so fear Me.'” (Al Nahl, 2)
Side Note! What is the difference between a Messenger and a Prophet?
There are a number of opinions about this, but the strongest position is that a Messenger is someone who is sent to a nation that does not believe and who do not accept him, so he has to establish the law in the land. But a Prophet is sent to a nation that is expecting him. Adam (as) is a prophet for that reason. A messenger changes an existing Shariah through Wahiy [revelation].
How many Messengers and Prophets were sent?
Narrated by Abu Dhar Al Ghifari “‘O Messenger of Allah how many Anbiyaa [Prophets] are there?’ The Prophet said, ‘ 124,000.’ ‘And how many Rusul [Messengers]? The Prophet responded, ‘310 and something [bid’i and Jamun Ghafeer].'” (Musnad Ahmed)
Every Nabee and Rasool received Wahiy [inspiration; revelation] so they all technically received written revelation. Some revelation was meant to be recited and dictated to the people. How many books were revealed? Allah knows the quantity but five have been mentioned to us: Papers [Suhuf] of Ibrahim; The Psalms of David; The Torah of Moses; The Gospel of Jesus; and The Qur’an revealed to Muhammad.
3. It is Tawheed that differentiates between a Muslim and Non Muslim: The term ‘Kafer’ is not a curse word, it is in actuality a factual word. Islam prohibits us to differentiate based upon ethnicity, color, color passport etc. But we do differentiate based in belief, and we have in the Qur’an clearly two standards– Either Muslim or Non-Muslim. (Please Click here to listen to Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s lecture ‘Ummah Vs the Nation State’) The world has to discriminate, but not in a childish way in which they discriminate based on what one has no control over–you do not choose where you are born, or what color your skin is, or what ethnicity you belong to. But you can choose to be a Muslim or a Kafer. Islamic State depends on whether you choose or reject Islam, and if you you refuse you suffer the consequences thereof. Allah (SWT) discriminates in the Qur’an between those who reject and those who accept.
4. Following Tawheed brings about peace and contentment in this life and the hereafter.
5. Taweed is the first call that we have been commanded to respond to: In our Dawah we should always begin by talking about Tawheed. The Prophet (saw) sent Mu’adh bin Jabal to Yemen, “Avoid harsh treatment with the people, and inform them of Divine blessings which are meant for the true believers. When you face the people of the Scriptures in Yemen, and they inquire from you about the key to Paradise, you should tell them that it is the acknowledgment of the Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah.” We should not delve in tertiary issues, but rather take them to Tawheed–this is the logical, irrefutable method of doing Dawah (Please click here to listen to Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s “Debunking the Male Bias Myth”) Don’t tell them about the existence of a leaf, if they do not believe in the existence of a tree first. Surat Al Baqara ayah, 21, “O people! Worship your Lord Who created you as well as those who came before you. Perhaps you will fear Him. It is He Who made the earth as bed for you, the sky a canopy. . . ” (21)
7. Tawheed is the right that Allah has over us: It is narrated on the authority of Mu’adh bin Jabal that he observed: “I was riding behind the Messenger of Allah (saw) on an ass known as ‘Ufair. He (Mu’adh) observed: He (the Holy Prophet) said: ‘Mu’adh, do you know what right has Allah over His bondsmen and what right have His bondsmen over Him?’ Mu’adh added: ‘I replied: Allah and his Messenger know best.’ Upon this he (the Holy Prophet remarked: ‘The right of Allah over His bondsmen is that they should worship Allah and should not associate anything with Him, and the right of His bondsmen over Allah, Glorious and Sublime, is that He does not punish him who associates not anything with Him.’ He (Mu’adh) added: ‘I said to the Messenger of Allah: Should I then give the tidings to the people?’ He (the Holy Prophet) said: ‘Do not tell them this good news, for they would trust in it alone.'” (Sahih Muslim)
8. Is a cause for entering Jannah: Whoever says la illaha ilah enters jannah. and otherwise if also true. it is the only way to jannah.
9. It forgives all sins: The hadith of al-Bitaaqah from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas who said, the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said:
“Allaah will separate a man belonging to my ummah in the presence of all creatures and will spread ninety-nine scrolls for him, each scroll extending as far as the eye can see. Then He will say, ‘Do you object to anything in this? Have my scribes who keep note wronged you?’ He will say, ‘No, my Lord.’ He will ask him, ‘Do you have any excuse?’ He will say, ‘No my Lord.’ Allaah will say, ‘On the contrary, you have with Us a good deed, and you will not be wronged this Day.’ A slip of paper will then be brought out, on which are the words ‘Ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger).’ Allaah will say, ‘Bring your weight (i.e., the scrolls).’ The man will say, ‘O Lord, what is this slip of paper in comparison to these scrolls?’ And He will reply, ‘You will not be wronged.’ The scrolls will then be put in one side of the Balance and the slip of paper in the other, and the scrolls will become light and the slip of paper heavy, for nothing could compare in weight to the name of Allaah.” (Al-Tirmidhi, 2127)
10. Dangers of it’s opposite: We don’t appreciate light if we haven’t seen the dark, so similarly without studying shirk we cannot understand Tawheed. The two exist in the vacuum of the other; they do not in any way exist at the same time. Allah (SWT) says in Surat Al Nisa ayah 48: “God forgives not that He be the associate of anyone, but fogives what is less than this to whomsoever He pleases.”
Every word in the Qur’an calls to and is directly linked to Tawheed. We can divide Tawheed as expressed in the Qur’an as falling into one of five categories:
1. Regarding Allah: Names and attributes that describe Him (SWT), as in Surat Al Ikhalas
2. Command to worship Allah: calls for the action to worship Allah (SWT)–Uluhiyyah– as expressed in Sura Al Kafiroon, and in Surat Al Baqara in which Allah (SWT) says:
“Alif Lam Mim. Behold the Book! No trace of doubt in it. A guide to the pious. To those who believe in the Unseen, who perform prayer, and who spend of Our bounty; those who believe in what has been revealed to you, and what has been revealed before you.” (1-4)
3. Prohibitions or commandments from Allah: Shariah and Fiqh–knowledge of the halal and haram– tell us how to worship Allah and perfect our Tawheed. There are 500 verses that deal with Shariah laws, the majority of the Qur’an is not law.
4. Narrating the rewards of the people of Tawheed: through the stories of the Prophets [those of the past] or what the righteous expect to be rewarded/ Jannah [future].
5. Narrating the punishments of the people who rejected Tawheed: Person’s such as: Nimrod in the Qur’an:
Have you not thought about him who disputed with Abraham about his Lord (Allah), because Allah had given him the kingdom? When Abraham said (to him). ‘My Lord (Allah) is He Who gives life and causes death.” He said: “I give life and cause death.” Abraham said: “Verily! Allah causes the sun to rise from the east; then cause it you to rise from the west.” So the disbeliever was utterly defeated. And Allah guides not the wrongdoers.” 2: 258
And of course, the infamous Pharaoh who said, “O council, I know no other god for you than me. O Haman, fire some clay for me, and built me a tower that I may climb up to the god of Moses. I consider him a liar. And he and his troops grew arrogant in the land, unjustly, imagining they would not be restored to Us. So, we seized him and his troops and flung them into the sea–behold what end they met, those evildoers.” (28:38-42)
In addition, punishment of past nations and the lamentations of those in the hellfire [futuristic yet certain lamentations of those of the hellfire] narrate the grave punishments of the rejection of Tawheed.
What is the first of the three pillars of Tawheed?
Tawheed Al Rububiyyah
Definition of Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah
What is the meaning of Rabb?
The great lexicographer Ibn Mandhoor in his Lisaan al-Arab [a standard reference of classical Arabic] dedicated five pages to the word “Rabb.”But to summarize, Rabb linguistically denotes the complete owner [Rabb Al Bayt–the owner of the house. Rabb Al Jamal–the owner of the camel); the king; the one who is obeyed; is in charge of; nourishes; sustains and provides.
1. So, we affirm that it is only Allah (SWT) who has true, complete and ultimate ownership, which implies that He is also the Creator of the Universe and everything in it and beyond it. This is an attribute that no created being has, for whatever a person own makes him a partial owner since it was acquired, purchased or a blessing form Allah (SWT) . That includes any genius who has invented something, since the material was created by Allah (SWT) and was not invented from nothing. Allah has ultimate ownership means that Allah is not in favor of anybody, He created it from nothing therefore; He is the ultimate owner and master of the universe which is His creation from nothing.
2. Allah is also Al Sayed, so He is the one who must be obeyed. In Arabic the word al Sayed means “slave owner.” Allah (SWT) has the ultimate right to be obeyed. Not a condition of obedience like parents for instance. He (SWT) has to be obeyed unconditionally.
3. The third meaning of Rabb is the Care Taker of the universe, the Nourisher, Master, Sustainer, and Nourisher [al-Murabiyy, al Qayyum, and Al Razaaq]
Tawheed [unifying] of Allah in His actions is called Tawheed Al Rububiyyah, and it involves the belief in the following:
— Allah’s actions are unique, in that only He can perform it. If he sustains then He is the only one who sustains. If He creates then he is the only one who creates. So, it is Allah and only Allah who can do it.
— The entire creation is under the Rububiyyah of Allah, which means that as created beings we are dependent on our creator for our needs. We do not intrinsically have the ability to take care of ourselves; we don’t have the ability to control our matters either [there are those we are not in control of, and those we are in control of with Allah’s will]. So, when in distress we call out to Allah. All of Allah’s creations–animate or inanimate– are under the Rububiyah of Allah.
The term Rabb implies at times a specific meaning and at others a general meaning:
1) General: Allah is the Rabb of the alameen [universe]–Rabb of all the species. Rabb of the creation. Every single human being, animal and object is dependent on Allah. No being can exist/work/function outside the Lordship of Allah. So it is an inclusive state, i.e for the Muslim and non Muslim– including Shaytan of course.
2) Specific: Allah is the Rabb of only those willingly to acknowledge and submit to Him as their Rabb, and when they do they form a special relationship with Allah (SWT). Allah as a Rabb will take care, nourish and sustain their needs but in a special way. The most common name used to call out in dua to Allah, is Rabb because the believer feels a special bond between himself and Allah. The servant genuinely feels he is calling the master, owner, the one who cares about him, one who has the power to nourish and sustain him. He understands that he brought him from non-existence to existence.
This leads us to a very profound question, that has challenged philosophers since the beginning of time: What is the proof that there is a god out there?
It is imperative for us in our time to know how to respond to this question since we are living at a time when it is being asked too often. But how?
First, we turn to the Qur’an and extract all evidences that Allah (SWT) provides as evidence/proof of His existence–in other words, Islamic Proofs for Rububiyyah. We realize that that there are many verses that refute Jews, Christians, and idol worshipers, but there are only a few verses that respond to atheists, and we wonder why there isn’t much emphasis on this concept. Why is paganism refuted in 1/6th of the verses, but atheism hardly gets the time of day [why is it short changed] in the Qur’an?
First evidence is Creaton: Allah provides the creation itself as evidence; Allah challenges humankind to look around and marvel at the creation. Consider Surat Luqman ayah 11,” He raised up the heavens without pillars that you can see, and cast upon the earth towering mountains, lest it should shake you violently, and He set loose in it every sort of animal. From the heavens We send down water and caused to grow therein of every noble species. This is God’s creation–now show Me what they created, those other than Him! Indeed, the wicked are in manifest error.”
Consider also in al-Tur ayah 35, “Or is it that they were created from nothing? Or could it be that they are the creators? Or was it them who created the heavens and the earth? Rather, they possess no certainty.” [only 3 options]
Atheism is a new/contemporary/modern human foolishness, because we humans we do not entertain the possibility that something happens out of nothing. Indeed, we live our lives with the basic assumption that every cause has an action that resulted in it and to claim otherwise for our whole creation is heightened foolishness. A simple Bedouin was asked, “How do you know that your god exists? He said, ” A camel dung tells me a camel was here. And footsteps in the sand tell me a traveler has passed by. And a sky full of stars, and lands full of mountains indicate to me that Allah created them.” Ibn Taymiyyah said, “How do they expect to look for signs of Allah’s existence when every single sign is already [on its own] screaming that Allah exists.”
Second Evidence is the Concept of Fitrah: The word Fitrah comes from the word “fatarh,” which means to carve open and embed something. So it was put into us when we were created it. Allah and His Messenger, reference Al Fitrah in both Quran and Sunnah. Consider Surat Al Rum: “So set your face to the true religion, in pristine faith. This is the primordial nature that God implanted in mankind–there can be no changed in God’s creation. This is the religion unswerving, but most people know it not.” (30) And the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Each child is born in a state of ‘Fitrah’, then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian.” (Collected by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim). So, every human being has ingrained subconscious knowledge–not taught or acquired–but born with and this knowledge of the existence of Allah (SWT) [Fitrah] is exactly compatible with Islam.
So, let us suppose that a child ends up in a deserted island and as a result is cut off from all of humanity, what would this young adult know?
The Fitrah will tell him the following:
a. that there is a God
b. That that God is one, and not more than one.That there is a Creator and He is One.
c. That this Creator has the perfect Names and Attributes. Indeed, no cult says that their god is imperfect, that their gods are deaf, dumb etc.
d. That this God is worthy of being praised and worshipped. And hence every single person will have some form of servitude to this god.
e. They will have the broad essentials of morality. One does not need to be told that lying, stealing etc is wrong or that helping the poor is a virtue. It does not matter what society we are talking about, there are certain virutes that are ingrained.
This Fitrah was manifested, from the beginning of creation. The Qur’an mentions an incident that happend at the beginning of time, called Al Mithaq [covenant] in Surat Al Araaf ayah 172,
“When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): ‘Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)'”- They said: ‘Yea! We do testify!’ (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: ‘Of this we were never mindful.’
And the Prophet (saw) said, “Allah took the covenant from the offspring of Adam in Na’maan, i.e. Arafah. He brought forth all his offspring and spread them before Him. Then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord? [rhetorical for affirmation, to drive the point home; not a question they need to think about or provide an answer–it is affirmation of their ‘factory setting’]’ They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers afore time who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practiced Al-Baatil (i.e., polytheism, sins, invoking and worshiping others besides Allah)?'” [Ahmad]
[An analogy I used to explain the concept of Fitrah to a student was like a still in it’s box computer, fresh from the factory/manufacturer. This computer once it hits the store has it’s ‘factory setting’ but later on customized through downloading, upgrading, updating of software etc. and this is like the family. Once the computer is taken home, during its life , more changes are made for the duration of the computer’s life–through family, individuals, companies, etc . Such are we, we are created with “the Creator’s settings” and through family, and then through the choices we make, and our lifestyles either alter or preserve the ‘original’ settings we were created with–and the best and only way to preserve it is Islam]
Third evidence is the manifestations of the Fitrah during times of distress/helplessness: When in distress all humans [Muslim and non-Muslim] find themselves invoking Allah (SWT). And this is not always a conscious decision, but comes out despite themselves, even if they don’t believe in it. 12 verses in the Quran. With utmost sincerity, they do that. (yunus, 12) See the conversion story of Lawrence Brown aka Abdullah Brown–part 1, part 2, part 3. Winston Churchill is thought to have said, “There are no athesit in trenches [foxholes in America]” but who this quote is originally attributed to, is up for grabs. But the idea dates back in some minds to World War I but for us Muslims dates back way further than that.
Fourth evidence is the history of the prophets: It is no coincidence that the largest civilizations, movers and shakers of the world have come from the three major religions. And many of them and their revelations are still popular, while those of other civilization have not been as widely propagated. All the miracles of the Prophets such as: the flood, the Qu’ran, miracles of Prophet Sulaiman etc. are widely known in every culture. It is a phenomenal fact, that never in the the history of religion, did backward, uneducated,and ignorant Bedouins expand their religion to such an extent. It is completely unprecedented. To add to that, where ever Islam went it gained foothold, stayed and remained. Not only that, but wherever it went people became proud followers of it–see for instance Egypt, where the most popular name is “Amr” because it was Amr ibn Al Aas who brought Islam to them. Alexander the Great achieved huge success but after he died in a short period his ideology was forgotten and gone.
So, then why does the Qur’an not have a lot of refutations against atheism?
Belief in a Creator is so powerful, prevalent, and so embedded in every human that the fact of the matter is that there is no need to offer exhaustive refutations–it is sheer, utter and complete waste of time. It is the excuse of all excuses so to speak. Atheists have chosen to shut off all reason. How should we deal with them? Use the five-minute-rule–quote the five verses in the Qur’an and them move on to something more pragmatic and productive.
What is your take on Interfaith Dialogs?
As a term, it is vague; sometimes even theologically incorrect. There is nothing wrong about going to a church or synagogue to tell them about our religion. But to come together, to say that you are okay, I am okay and we are all okay is problematic.
Western Proofs for Existence of God
We have talked about Eastern Islamic proof of the existence of God, but now we are going to talk about Western proof.
Pre-Socrates there was no need for proof that there is a God, but since then up until now theories to prove the existence or non-existence of God have surfaced–so maxims, premises, theorems have been developed for the purpose, and some are considered philosophical.
Note: Most scholars agree that the average Muslim should not study philosophy. They had a wise reason for this–although we have been exposed to it–they viewed philosphy as the science of misusing and abusing intellectual powers. The premise of philosophy is opposed to the premise of Islam. We believe that without Islam, you cannot know or reach the truth; you will reach general truths but not the absolute truth. Allah (swt) said to Prophet Muhammad (saw) in the Qur’an in Surat Ad-Duha, “And He found thee wandering [not upon guidance], and He gave thee guidance.” (7) Do you think that if Muhammad (saw) did not find guidance except through Allah and through revelation, do you think the Philosophers will find guidance trough their own intellect? Philosophers says we do not need guidance, our minds can take us to the truth. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “No two philosophers have agreed on a fundamental truth.” And none come to the absolute truth. So for that reason, many scholars view that philosophy puts ones mind in such a state of vacuum and expect it to operate and function to come to a truth. Click here for the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Also, the fact of the matter is that everything positive in philosophy is in Islam. Fatwa by scholars agrees that philosophers are to be avoided to the best of our ability in order to strengthen our Eman [faith]. Decartes became famous when he came to the conclusion: “I think therefore I am.” Regardless of the that fact, that Descartes originally published this thought in French, not English [“Je pense donc je suis.”] So, he is wondering whether or not they exist, that is in and of itself proof that they do exist because, at the very least, they are thinking about it.
St Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) writes in Chapter III of the Proslogium ” . . . we believe that thou art a being than which nothing greater than be conceived.” So, in other words, one cannot imagine something greater than God. What is greater? Something that only exists in your mind [conceptual god], or actual living god [or existing god]? Therefore, the notion of the greatest conceivable being cannot be conceived of as existing. Otherwise, the ‘concept’ of god would actually be contradictory since an existing god would be more perfect than a conceptual god. In other words, God must exist by definition. See also Karl Barth’s argument (Swiss Reformed Theologian)
Non-Sunni groups adopted this mechanism/theory to prove the existence of God (such as the Mu’tazilah for instance), as well as many other non-Muslim groups. It has three primary forms:
1. Argument from Motion
2. Argument from Cause
3. Argument from Contingency (existence)
This theory divides the words into bodies and accident [please see entry]:
What is a body? That which exists by itself, such as a pen, rock, and table etc. I am a body. It is the vessel that holds the accident. We need a Creator to create this body.
What is an accident? Something that must exist in a body and cannot exist on its own such as: temperature, color, texture, motion etc. Every body must have multiple accidents simultaneously–motion and rest (Aristotle). Accidents are created, so in other words, every single accident could not be eternal–it must have been planted there. So, for instance a ball must have been put it in motion . So there’s a chain reaction, but it is impossible to have an infinite regression of causes. If the ball is Q then before it P, then O but you are bound to come back to A (that is not “caused”) there is a finite distance between Q and A. There was a beginning cause, which in itself was not moving, did not have an accident behind it. In Aristotles terms God is the “unmoved MOVER”. It so follows, according to Aristotle that if all accidents are created, and the body is composed of multiple accidents and all accidents are created then it must follow that the body must be created and it has a Creator. So complicated to an obvious conclusion–so basic to be ludicrous. See Yasir Qadi’s article “The Role of Atomism in the Groups of Kalam.”
This is from or conforms to the the Islamic proof from creation, which is that everything that is created has a Creator.
Paley’s Watch This is an argument for the existence of God. It goes as follows:
1. Human objects (e.g. a watch) are products of intelligent design.
2. The universe resembles human objects sufficiently to make an analogy and inferences between the two.
3. Therefore, the universe is also product of intelligent design like the watch.
4. But the universe is complex and gigantic, in comparison to human objects.
5. Therefore, there probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe.
It is a long standing argument and seems powerful, however it is now rejected as an argument for the existence of God by most people. They cite that the seeming analogy between a watch and the universe actually does not bear up once thought about in more than passing detail. From an Islamic point of view this is right. But in philosophy this is the most backward proof.
Brief History of Atheism
1. Atheism has hardly ever existed in the history of humanity. In fact, there has never been a society of Atheists since the beginning of time. If we were to look at the last 150 years, we find that atheism has been ever increasing (Scandinavian areas 60% and over have been reported as atheists, see) . It is becoming more and more popular across the world, although once upon a time they would have been ostracized. But today it is the opposite-reverse discrimination exists in which if one doesn’t believe in Darwinism etc. See the documentary Unholy War “Dispatches investigates the violence and intimidation facing Muslims who convert to Christianity in Britain. Dispatches reporter Antony Barnett meets former Muslims who now live under the threat of reprisals from their former communities. Many are still living in fear. He interviews a family who have been driven out of their home and a convert whose brother was beaten close to death..”
Why has atheism spread so recently [there were none before the 19th C–it’s a modern invention]?
The first self-proclaimed atheist is thought to be the English Romantic Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (self-proclaimed d. 1892). When he died The Courier wrote, “Shelley, the writer of some infidel poetry, has been drowned, now he knows whether there is God or no.” See Edmund Blunden, Shelley, A Life Story, Oxford University Press, 1965.
It was a human attempt to try to understand how we came here in the first place; what was the purpose of religion. Karl Marx believed that religion was “The opium of the people.” He believed religion consisted of plainly false fantasies being used to exercise power over the people by deceiving them. That was a popular belief during the age of enlightenment, a lot of other enlightenment philosophers held that same belief, which was instrumental in bringing about the modern, secular state. To him man created god; man created religion and not vice versa.
Another famous atheist is Friedrich Nietzsche, see his Nietzsche: The Gay Science or just read Friedrich Nietzsche’s “The Parable of the Madman” (1882) after which he literally lost his mind. When you you think of this passage in the “Parable of the Madman” it shows you how denying God is dangerous. When you deny God, then you have denied the human soul, and as a result humans have nothing to center themselves around.
Without religion there was no way to explain to the masses of how we came along, but then Darwin’s theory emerged. It was a whimsical, scientific jargon-istic theory of how we came along. Hence, the birth of the theory of natural selection. Or in other words a theory in which: “People go back to their family tree to when they were swinging from it” [Sh. Yasir Qadhi called Darwinism just that].
In all of this, the preconceived notion was: how can I figure out how I came without acknowledging the existence of God?
They have a basic supposition that god does not exist–so they try to scientifically prove it and it will all remain theories. True that we cannot scientifically prove that we are descendants of Adam and Eve, but we can prove that Allah (SWT) exists and then deduce that the Qur’an tells us we are descendants of them.
Note: we need to understand that when we affirm the Adam and Eve story, they view us as they do Fundamental Christians. We always have to say in public, “We have a modified version.” We do not have a timeline as in the Bible that says that the earth is “6000 years old.” The fact that we do not have a defined timeline, so we do have issues with affirming the existence of dinosaurs or Neanderthals. We also do not have a problem affirming adaptation of species–indeed evolution and development of species shows us the beauty of Allah . But we do not believe in, that that one species develops into another species.
Why is atheism spreading?
One of the main reasons is the failure of Christianity, which is not viable. Plus, churches did much harm by operating in such an evil manner. The notion is that because Christianity has failed, then there cannot be any other correct religion.
Another major reason, is science in that it had tried to explain the unexplainable, the mysterious. Science can only explain how but not why.
Atheism is spreading in developed nations not in Third World countries because it is so rich; they develop a sense of arrogance. They no longer need to beg for rain for their crops, their food is available in the Supermarket. They are dissociated from nature, which brings a person close to the Creator . Atheism is clearly a disease of the heart. It is the toot cause of rise of evil, wars etc.
Click here for Activity given out during the Light of Guidance Seminar (coming soon)