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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Some points of Aqida/Doctrine/Theology

This is a response to a request made by a brother a few months ago.

I was recently in a debate with someone who I had met, about Aqida/Islamic belief/Islamic theology. The fruits of that debate were bitter and it left me with a taste that I did not like.

It seems that this is the debate of this century, to argue about positions of belief. It does not matter what position someone will disagree with someone else about it. We are not talking about scholars here we are talking about the average person who has read a few books and thinks he knows the subject well.

Basic belief is easy to get your head around and it does not take that much time to understand. Read the Hadith Gibril and this explains the basics of faith. As for the remainder, these are issues that are the branches of faith and not the source. To reject the source, a Muslim leaves faith but to reject the branch; a Muslim can become an innovator. But it is these details that people seem to disagree upon the most.

The major thing that we must all know is that we are not scholars and therefore we are not the ones who should be sat around debating whether you agree with the Maturdi or Ashari schools. Your job, as an average person, is to follow one of the sound schools of relied upon belief; the Ahl As-Sunna wa Jamma’; namely, the Ashari, Maturdi or Athari schools.

Your job is not to think about which school is correct and not to declare that I agree with this position and not that. When you have not studied the reasons for what they are stating.

Muslims seem to get bogged down with all the information then become confused. Or even worse still they “think” they understand; when they clearly do not. The person, who I was speaking to, told me opinions that were held by one school which were not of that school but were of another. I could see that he had become mixed up because he was trying to understand all the schools. You will get so mixed up that you will not know what you are following.

The Tahawiyyain doctrine/Aqida Tahawiyya is a great basic text that does not delve into these issues but even that some people have a problem with. This was the teaching of Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah show him mercy) which was dictated to from student to student until it reached Imam Tahawi who recorded it. If this is all you study then it is sufficient for you. Imam Abu Hanifa states in Fiqh Al-Akbar; if a person has a question in belief he should find a scholar and get the answer.

One of our problems is that we have people who have no qualifications to speak about Islam or doctrine, yet give out legal verdicts that Muslims are disbelievers because of this or that issue. Only a Qadi/Islamic Judge can decide who is a disbeliever. What happens now is that some of us listen to unqualified people and repeat what they say. We call each other disbelievers on a whim! Don’t we think that something is going wrong here?

How can the religion that supersedes all other traditions have so many people calling each other disbelievers! When we call each other disbelievers we mean anyone who does not believe in the ethos of our group. In other words that person does not believe in our group and therefore he is a disbeliever. This conclusion is a wrong one and not yours to make.

Where we have a focus on the correct belief, in some groups, we have an abandonment of righteous actions, almost. We need both the correct belief and righteous action which is the best mixture.

As bad actions will lead a person to the hellfire and bad belief will put someone into the hellfire. Good actions will lead a person to the garden and good actions will put someone into the garden.

So do not waste your time debating about issues of belief this is not your job nor are you taxed to do this nor should you attempt to do this. Aqida Tahawiyya separates Muslims into two parts: one is the Ahl As-Sunna and the other is the Ahl Qibla. So as long as we do not reject the foundation or the sources of belief we are still Muslim.

Rant over!!

Here are some quotes to back up my argument!

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Reflect upon creation of Allah, do not reflect on Allah."

Abu Naeem Al-Hilya

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Reflect on the favors of God, do not reflect on His Essence, for you will never be able to give Him His due."

Imam Al-Bayhaqi in Shu'ab Al-Imam (120)

Someone asked our master Ali (may Allah ennoble his face), "Dear cousin of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) where is our Lord? Or is he in a place?" His face changed and he remained silent for a moment.

Then he said, "You are saying where is Allah? questioning about place? Allah was before there was place, then he created time and place. He is now, as he was, before time and place." Meaning, Allah was and nothing besides, he is now as he was, so understand.

(Ibn Ajiba in Miraj at-tshwafa Haqiaq at-Tassawaf p.55)

When Imam Shafi delivered his first speech about “The Treatise” he said, “All praise is for Allah, who is as he described himself, beyond how creation describe him.” Then he explained (may Allah show him mercy), “Allah is described, as he described himself, in his book and upon the tongue of his Prophet peace and blessings of God be upon him.”

Likewise, Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal said, “There is no description of Allah except as he described himself or as his Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did."


  1. Anonymous12:04 am

    "Only a Qadi/Islamic Judge can decide who is a disbeliever" if a muslim says (may Allah protect us) that Allah has a son or that Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alihi wa salam) was a ignorant or throws a mushaf konwingly into a toilet or the like of kufr statements how are we to judge such a person? take him to a qadi? Do we not know what belief is and what kufr is so that we may by Allah's mercy avoid falling into it, and judge when we here or see kufr committed.

  2. Your examples are not all correct, one does not constitue to disbelief. And you missed the whole point of the article that was to warn people off from delving into matters that are not their concern. If someone commits an act of disbelief and is crazy, is he still a disbeliever?

    One of your example is incorrect so if you judge then you'd make a mistake. Which resulted in the death of another Muslim!

    So you see the Qadi know what actually constitues to disbelief and therefore he is correct verdict. Islam does not allow vigilante takfiri teams to do out and slander people.

    There has to be a procedure that is followed and all the factors have to be taken into consideration. If you see a Muslim doing something then warn them to avoid that action. No one here is a Qadi and has no right to make up the rules as they go along. Groups have been doing this for far too long and that is why we have arrived to the mess that we are in.

    Also see notes on Kufr

  3. Humzah9:38 am

    Lets not forget Imam Malik's view

    From Yahya ibn Yahya al-Tamimi and Malik’s shaykh Rabi`a ibn Abi `Abd al-Rahman: "We were with Malik when a man came and asked him: ‘O Abu `Abd Allah! "The Merciful is established over the Throne" (20:5): how is He established?’ Malik lowered his head and remained thus until he was completely soaked in sweat. Then he said: ‘The establishment is not unknown; the "how" is inconceivable; belief in it is obligatory; asking about it is an innovation; and I do not think that you are anything but an innovator.’ Then he ordered that the man be led out."

  4. Anonymous11:23 am

    I respectfully disagree. Of course we are to refrain from takfir when the conditions and impediments are not observed; however, on a personal level, if we see someone doing what the scholars unanimously agree to be kufr (such as intentionally throwing the mushaf in the trash out of disrespect), we can in fact impute the person with disbelief. The condition of bringing such a person to a Qadi is true; however that is when there is a qadi and when the person is under an Islamic jurisdiction.

    When someone is either not in the Qadi's jurisdiction or withholds from his authority (called mumtani' in the books of fiqh)then this condition is no longer applicable.

    To make the presence of a qadi a condition for any and all acts of takfir is to effectively nullify that aspect of the religion, considering that with the exception of a few Muslim countries, there are no qudat who judge matters that are considered disbelief.

    Dont get me wrong, im not saying that we should have a free for all takfir of whatever appears as kufr to us: but when we see blatant kufr we are --on a personal level -- able to, if not state that such a person is a kafir (provided we know that he/she fits the conditions for that and the impediments are removed), at least observe in our own personal life, the rulings that come about from a qadi-issued takfir. For instance, if you see someone advocate secularism and denounce things that are from the religion, you can (and perhaps must) consider what that entails vis-a-vis: marriage/inheritance/burial/slaughtered meat/love and affection/islamic rights, etc.

    To completely disregard takfir in clear cases, simply due to the absence of a qadi, may in some situations put you in a legal dilemma: suppose your spouse (May Allah forbid) uttered words of clear kufr: do you refrain from takfir because there is no qadi to which to take him/her or do you make takfir? If you dont make takfir you risk committing the sin of fornication (because ridda annuls the marriage unless they repent). Admittedly, there is a third option available, namely to divorce them without imputing them with disbelief; however the point remains.

  5. Thanks Humzah

    Dear Anon

    Now you are saying that you are disagreeing them you are writing how you are agreeing! In most or many Muslim countires there are Qadi's and their ruling are sought.

    My problem with you seeing blant kufr then declaring it such is because you do not understand it. I am really sorry to say that but its true.

    Of course you can make a stand for Islamic practices but you cannot call people disbelievers as you do not know the whole story.

    You speak as if cases of disbelief is happening everywhere, it is not. There is only isolated cases and in those cases many do not understand what they are saying.

    Also, note that if your partner utters a word of disbelief then your marriage to them is annulled and you have to renew your marriage. After they have repented and returned to Islam.

    The whole point of this post was the people should not take the law into their own hands. Which is exactly what someone does when they call each other disbelievers.

  6. School of Athari aqida, also famously known as Tahawi


    p.s. If someone cannot post their name then best to ignore their comments.