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Explaining The Fundamentals Of Faith

Author: Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen

Source: Dr. Saalih as-Saalih
Translator: Sharh Usool al-Eemaan

Published: Saturday 29th October, 2005


The Belief In Allaah

The Belief In Allaah Comprises Four Matters:

First: Belief In The Existence Of Allaah:

The evidence for the existence of Allaah is established by:

  1. Fitrah
  2. Reasoning
  3. Ash-Shar’a [1] and
  4. Al-Hiss. [2]

  1. Pertaining To The Proof of The Fitrah:

    Every creature has been created in a state of belief in his Creator without preceding thought or education. No one dissuades from what is necessitated by this Fitrah (i.e. the belief in Allaah), except the one whose heart has been subjected to what averts it from its (natural course of) Fitrah, as the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) explained when he said:

    “Each child is born in a state of “Fitrah”, but his parents make him a Jew or a Christian.” [3]


  2. The Evidence of “Reasoning”:

    All of the creatures, the first and the subsequent ones, must have a Creator Who brought them to existence because they neither can bring themselves into existence, nor they could have come to exist by coincidence! The creatures could not have brought themselves to existence because a thing does not create itself - since prior to its existence it was nothing - so how could it be a Creator? And it cannot accidentally bring itself into being, because every occurrence (novelty, etc.) must need an originator.

    Also because its existence in such highly magnificent order and homogenous co-ordination, and due to the coherent relationship between the means and their causes, and the creatures with one another, it is absolutely impossible that it’s very being is coincidental. (In fact), what is (believed) to exist as a result of coincidence, does not follow an ordered pattern at the beginning of its existence. So how could it remain to be ordered during its course of survival and development?

    So, if it is impossible that the creatures have neither brought themselves into existence nor did they come to exist by coincidence, then it becomes evident that they must have a Creator, and He is Allaah, the Rabb of the Worlds.

    Allaah (Ta’aalaa) stated the above rational and decisive proof in Soorah At-Toor saying:

    “Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators?” [Qur’aan 52:35]


    which means that they were neither created without a Creator, nor were they the creators of themselves. It becomes clear, therefore, that their Creator is Allaah (Ta’aalaa). That is why when Jubair bin Mut’im (radhi-Allaahu ‘anhu) heard Allaah’s Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) reciting Soorah At-Toor, and when he (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) reached the Aayaat:

    “Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm belief. Or are the treasures of your Rabb with them? Or are they the tyrants with the authority to do as they like?” [Qur’aan 52:35-37],


    Jubair, who was then a Mushrik (polytheist), commented:

    “My heart was about to fly (i.e. upon hearing this firm argument) [4].” In another separate narration, he said: “And that was the time when Eemaan was first settled in my heart.” [5]


    Let us give a parable that clarifies this matter: If someone tells you about a lofty palace, surrounded by gardens with rivers flowing in between, fully furnished with beds and mattresses, and decorated with all kinds of ornaments, the basics, and the luxurious, then he says to you: “This palace in all of its perfection, has founded itself, or that it came to exist by coincidence, without a founder!” Immediately you will deny and reject his argument, and you will consider his talk as ridiculous. (With this in mind), is it, therefore, possible that this universe with its extended earth, skies, planets, conditions, wonderful and splendid order, could brought itself into existence? Or that it came to exist without a Creator?

  3. The Ash-Shar’a [6] Evidence For The Existence of Allaah:

    The Ash-Shar’a is evidence for the existence of Allaah because all of the revealed Scriptures state so. The Laws that address the welfare of creation and which are provided by these Scriptures, constitute an evidence that they came from an All-Wise Rabb Who knows about the welfare and interests of His Creation. The information about the universe brought forth by the Scriptures and whose manifestation testifies for their truthfulness, is a proof that they came from the (One) Rabb Who is Able to bring into being whatever He already informed about.

  4. The “Physical” Evidence For The Evidence of Allaah Comprises Two Aspects:

    • One of them is that we hear and witness (Allaah’s) response to the call of those who supplicate and those who are distressed and grieved. This constitutes an unequivocal evidence for the existence of Allaah (Ta’aalaa). He (Ta’aalaa) says:

      “And (remember) Noah, when he cried (to Us) aforetime. We listened to his invocation.” [Qur’aan 21:76]


      He, (Ta’aalaa), also says:

      “(Remember) when you sought help of your Rabb and He answered you.” [Qur’aan 8:9]


      In Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree (authentic narrations from the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam, collected by Imaam Bukhaaree), it is reported that Anas bin Maalik (radhi-Allaahu ‘anhu) said that:

      “Once in the lifetime of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) the people were afflicted with drought. While the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) was delivering the Khutbah (religious talk) on a Friday, a bedouin stood up and said: ‘O Allaah’s Messenger! Our possessions are being destroyed and the children are hungry; please invoke Allaah (for rain).’ So the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) raised his hands (invoked Allaah for rain). At that time there was not a trace of cloud in the sky. By Him, in Whose Hands my soul is, clouds gathered like mountains, and before he got down from the pulpit, I saw the rain falling on his (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) beard. It rained that day, the next day, the third day, the fourth day till the next Friday. The same Bedouin or another man stood up and said: ‘O Allaah’s Messenger! The houses have collapsed, our possessions and livestock have been drowned; please invoke Allaah for us (to stop the rain).’ So the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) raised both his hands and said: ‘O Allaah! Round about us and not on us.’ So, in whatever direction he pointed with his hands, the clouds dispersed and cleared away... ” [7]


      Responding to the invocations of the supplicants who sincerely resort to Allaah (alone) and fulfil the required conditions for Ijaabah [8] is a matter that is still being witnessed nowadays.

    • The second aspect is that the Signs of the Prophets which are called Mu’jizaat (Miracles) and which people see or hear about, constitute an irrevocable evidence for the existence of the One who dispatched them: that is Allaah (Ta’aalaa). Certainly these matters (Mu’jizaat) are beyond the capability of mankind and that Allaah manifests them to help and support His Messengers. For example, the Sign given to Moosaa (alayhis-salaam) when Allaah commanded him to strike the sea with his stick. He stuck it and the sea parted into twelve dry roads separated by water which became like huge mountains. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) says:

      “Then We inspired Moosaa (saying): ‘Strike the sea with your stick.’ And it parted, and each separate part (of that sea water) became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain.” [Qur’aan 26:63]


      Another example is the Sign given to Eesaa (Jesus, alayhis-salaam) by which he was able to bring life to the dead and bring forth the dead from their grave by Allaah’s Leave. Allaah spoke about him, saying:

      “And I bring the dead to life by Allaah’s Leave.” [Qur’aan 3:49]

      “And when you brought forth the dead by My Permission.” [Qur’aan 5:110]


      A third example of is that of Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) when the tribe of Quraish asked him to show them a Sign (a miracle as a proof for his Prophethood). [9] He (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) pointed to the moon and (behold!) it split asunder and the people saw it. Regarding this (Sign) Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

      “The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has been cleft, and if they see a sign, they turn away, and say: ‘This is continuous magic.’ ” [Qur’aan 54:1-2]


      All of these physical signs (miracles) which Allaah (Ta’aalaa) puts into effect to help and support His Messengers constitute an irrevocable proof for His Existence.


Second: Belief In Allaah’s Ruboobiyyah:

Which means to believe that Allaah is the only Rabb without a partner or a helper.

The Rabb is the One to Whom belongs the Creation, Kingdom, and Command; Their is no Creator but Allaah; No Maalik (Possessor) except Him [10], and their is no Command but His, He, Most High, says:

“His is the Creation and Commandment.” [Qur’aan 7:54]


Allaah also said:

“Such is Allaah your Rabb; His is the kingdom. And those, whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a Qitmeer (the thin membrane over the data-stone).” [11] [Qur’aan 35:13]


It is not known that anyone had denied the Ruboobiyyah of Allaah (Ta’aalaa) except an arrogant person who does not believe what he says, like what happened to the Pharaoh when he said to his people:

“I am your Rabb, most high.” [Qur’aan 79:24]


And:

“O chiefs! I know not that you have an Ilaah (a god) other than me.” [Qur’aan 28:38]


What he said was not a matter of conviction. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

“And they belied then (the Aayaat: proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their ownselves were convinced thereof [i.e. the Aayaat are from Allaah, and Moosaa alayhis-salaam is the Messenger of Allaah in truth, but they disliked to obey Moosaa, and hated to believe in his Message of Tawheed.]” [Qur’aan 16:14]


Allaah related what Moosaa (alayhis-salaam) told the Pharaoh:

“(Moosaa alayhis-salaam) said: ‘Verily, you know that these signs have been sent down by none but the Rabb of the heavens and the earth as clear (evidences i.e. proofs of Allaah’s Oneness and His Omnipotence etc.). And I think you are, indeed, O Pharaoh doomed to destruction (away from all good!)’ ” [Qur’aan 17:102]


For this reason, the Mushrikeen (the pagan Arabs) used to acknowledge the Ruboobiyyah of Allaah (Ta’aalaa) despite committing Shirk in His Uloohiyyah. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

“Say: ‘Whose is the earth and whosoever is therein? If you know!’ They will say: ‘It is Allaah’s!’ Say: ‘Will you not then remember?’ Say: ‘Who is (the) Rabb of the seven heavens, and (the) Rabb of the Great ‘Arsh (Throne)?’ They will say: ‘Allaah.’ Say: ‘Will you not then fear Allaah (believe in His Oneness, obey Him, believe in the Resurrection and Recompense for each and every good or bad deed).’ Say: ‘In Whose Hand is the sovereignty of everything (i.e. treasures of each and everything)? And He protects (all), while against Whom there is no protector[/b] [12], if you know.’ They will say: “All that belongs to Allaah.” Say: ‘How then are you deceived and turn away from the truth?’ ” [Qur’aan 23:84-89]


He (Ta’aalaa) also said:

“And indeed if you ask them, ‘Who has created the heavens and the earth?’ They will surely say: ‘Mighty, the All-Knower created them.’ ” [Qur’aan 43:9]


He further said:

“And if you ask them who created them, they will surely say: ‘Allaah’. How then are they turned away (from the worship of Allaah Who created them)?” [Qur’aan 43:87]


The Command of ar-Rabb (Allaah) comprises both the Al-Kawnee (Universal) and the Ash-Shar’ee (Legal or Judicial) Commands. Just as He is the One Who runs the affairs of the universe, Rulings it as He wants and in accordance with what is necessitated by His Wisdom, He is also the Judge Who rules it by means of Legislations that deals with Ibaadaat [13] and Laws governing all forms of Mu’aamalaat [14], in conformity with His Wisdom.

So, whoever sets up a legislator besides Allaah in Ibaadaat or a judge in Mu’aamalaat commits Shirk and does not ascertain the Eemaan.


Third: Belief In Allaah’s Uloohiyyah:

It is the belief that Allaah Alone is the true Ilaah (God) who has no partner or associate. The Ilaah means Al-Ma’looh i.e. Al-Ma’bood, the only true God who deserves to be worshipped out of love and magnification. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

“And your Ilaah is one Ilaah, La Ilaaha illa Huwa (there is no true God worthy of worship but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” [Qur’aan 2:163]


He (Ta’aalaa) also said:

“Allaah bears witness that La Ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He is always) maintaining His creation in Justice. La Ilaaha illa Huwa, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [Qur’aan 3:18]


All that is being taken as an Ilaah worshipped as god besides Allaah, its Uloohiyyah is false. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) says:

“That is because Allaah - He is the Truth (the only True God of all that exists, Who has no partners or rivals with Him), and those besides Him whom they (the polytheists) invoke - they are but Baatil (vain Falsehood). And verily, Allaah, - He is the Most High, the Most Great.” [Qur’aan 22:62]


Calling them aaliha (gods) does not entitle them to the right of Uloohiyyah. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said describing the pagan deities of Al-Laat, Al-‘Uzzaa, and Minaat that:

“They are but names which you have named, - you and your fathers, - for which Allaah sent down no authority.” [Qur’aan 53:23] [15]


He (Allaah) told us that Yoosuf (alayhis-salaam) said to his two companions of the jail:

“O two companions of the prisons! Are many different arbaab (lords) better or Allaah, the One, Al-Qahhaar?[/b] [href]16>[16[/href] You don’t worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allaah has sent down no authority.” [Qur’aan 12:39-40]


For this reason, the Messengers, may the Salaat and Salaam of Allaah be upon them, used to say to their respective nations:

“Worship Allaah! You have no other Ilaah (God) but Him.” [Qur’aan 7:59, 60, 73, 85; 11:50, 61, 84; and 23:23, 32]


The Mushrikeen, however, refused and set up gods as rivals to Allaah, worshipping them besides Allaah, and seeking their support and help. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) invalidated their acts by two proofs:

  • First: There is not any Divine Quality in the gods they worshipped besides Allaah. These gods are created and cannot create and extend neither benefit to their worshippers nor can ward off harm from them; they can neither give them life, nor cause their death; they possess nothing from the heavens and have no share in it. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

    “They have taken besides Him other gods that created nothing but are themselves created, and possess neither hurt nor benefit to themselves, and possess no power (of causing) death, not (of giving) life, nor of raising the dead.” [Qur’aan 25:3]


    Allaah (Ta’aalaa) also said:

    “Say: (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam to those polytheists, pagans, etc.) ‘Call upon those whom you asset (to be associate gods) besides Allaah, they possess not even the weight of a small ant, - either in the heavens or on the earth, nor have they any share in either, nor there is for Him any supporter from among them. Intercession with Him profits not, except for him Whom He permits.’ ” [Qur’aan 34:22-23]

    “Do they attribute as partners to Allaah those who created nothing but they themselves are created? No help can they give them, nor can they help themselves.” [Qur’aan 7:191-192]


    If this is the situation with those gods, then worshipping them as gods besides Allaah is the utmost of foolishness and falsehood.

  • Second: Those Mushrikeen used to confess that Allaah (Ta’aalaa) Alone is ar-Rabb Al-Khaaliq (the Creator) in Whose Hand is the Sovereignty of everything and He protects (all), while against Whom these is no protector. [href][17[/href] This (confession) necessitates that they should have attested that He is the Only True Ilaah worthy of worship (Uloohiyyah) as they have done with His Ruboobiyyah (when they took Him as their only true Rabb). In this regard Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

    “O mankind! Worship your Rabb (Allaah), Who created you and those before you so that you may become pious. Who has made the earth a resting place and the sky as a canopy, and sent down rain from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allaah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped).” [Qur’aan 2:21-22]


    He also said:

    “And if you ask them who created them, they will surely say: ‘Allaah.’ How then are they turned away (from the worship of Allaah, Who created them)?” [Qur’aan 43:87]

    “Say: Who provides for you from the sky and from the earth? Or Who owns hearing and sight? And Who brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living? And Who disposes the affairs? They will say: ‘Allaah.’ Will you not then be afraid of Allaah’s Punishment (for worshipping other than Him)? Such is Allaah, you Rabb, in truth. So, apart from Truth, what (remains) but error? So, how then you are turned away?” [Qur’aan 10:31-32]


Fourth: Belief In Allaah’s Names And Sifaat (Attributes):

It means to affirm the Names and Attributes which Allaah affirmed to Himself in His Book and in the Sunnah of His Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-sallam) in the way that best fits Him without:

  • Tahreef (distortion of the meaning),
  • Ta’teel (negating the meaning),
  • Takyeef (assigning a manner to any attribute), or
  • Tamtheel (drawing parallels to Allaah).

Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do.” [Qur’aan 7:180]


He also said:

“His is the highest description (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped but He, and there is nothing comparable unto Him) in the heavens and in the earth. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [Qur’aan 30:27]

“And there is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [Qur’aan 42:11]



Two Sects Went Astray Regarding This Matter:

  • The First Sect: Al-Mu’atilah, who negated all or some of Allaah’s Names and Attributes claiming that affirming Allaah’s Names and Sifaat necessitates Tashbeeh (drawing similarities between Allaah and His creation)! This claim is surely false in many aspects, including:

    • First: It necessitates false obligations like contradiction in the words of Allaah, far removed is He from every imperfection. This is so because Allaah affirmed the Names and Attributes to Himself and negated the likeness of anything unto Him. Had its affirmation necessitated the Tashbeeh, then it would imply contradiction in the Speech of Allaah and that its parts refute one another.

    • Second: It is not necessary that “agreement in Name” [18] or “in an Attribute” between two things obligates likeness between them. Indeed you see two people in a state of agreement where each is a hearing, seeing, and speaking human. In no way does this necessitate likeness neither in the human values nor in the hearing, sight, and speech. You see that animals have hands, legs, and eyes. This kind of agreement does not necessitate that their hands, legs, and eyes are like each other. If this distinction in the agreement in Names and qualities amongst the created things is clear, then the distinction between the Creator and the created things is greater and more evident.
  • The Second Sect: The Mushabbahah, who affirm Allaah’s Names and Attributes but make Tashbeeh (draw similarities) between Allaah and His Creation, claiming that this is what is necessitated by the meaning of the texts on the ground that Allaah (Ta’aalaa) addresses the ‘Ibaad (mankind) according to their understanding! Such a claim is false in many respects, including:

    • First: The Mushabbahah: Likens Allaah to His creation which is a false concept that is negated by the Shar’a as well as reasoning. Thus it is impossible that a false matter is necessitated by the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

    • Second: Allaah addressed mankind according to their understanding of the basic meanings of His Name and Attributes. However, the knowledge of the essence and true nature of meanings regarding His Thaat (Essence) and Sifaat exclusively belongs to Allaah Alone. So, if Allaah affirms to Himself that He is All-Hearer, then the Hearing is known from the understanding of the basic meaning, which is the comprehension of voices. However, the essence of this meaning with respect to the Hearing of Allaah (Ta’aalaa) is unknown because the essence of hearing is distinct even amongst the created. Certainly, the distinction between the hearing of the created and that of the Creator is greater and more evident.

      It is known that if Allaah mentioned about Himself that He Istawaa ‘ala Al-‘Arsh [19], then the Istiwaa’ according to the basic meaning is known (means : ascendance), however, the manner (the ‘how’) of His ascension above His ‘Arsh is unknown, because the essence of the Istiwaa’ amongst the creatures is distinct. The Istiwaa’ on a firmly stable chair is not the same as that on the saddle of an unyielding and easily-frightened camel. When this is distinct with respect to the creatures, then it is greater and more evident between the Creator and the creature.


The belief in Allaah (Ta’aalaa) according to what we have described above yields great benefits to the believers:

  • First: The true manifestation of the Tawheed of Allaah Ta’aalaa such that there is no attachment to other than Him in hope, fear, and worship.
  • Second: The perfect Love, Magnification and Exaltation of Allaah Ta’aalaa as obligated by His Most Beautiful Names and Sublime Attributes.
  • Third: Manifesting His worship by doing what He commands and avoiding what He forbade.

Footnotes

[1] Revealed texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah

[2] lit: sensory perception, sensation. It pertains to the evidences about Allaah’s existence. Al-Hiss means, that which is perceptible through the senses. [TN]

[3] Related by Imaam Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh, V.8, pp. 389-90, Hadeeth no. 597.

[4] Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, V. 6, pp. 356-358, Hadeeth no. 377.

[5] Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, V. 5, p. 236, Hadeeth no. 358.

[6] Ash-Shar’a: Islaamic Texts and Legislation’s in the Qur’aan and Sunnah. [TN]

[7] Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, V. 2, Hadeeth no. 55.

[8] Ijaabah: Answering the Du’aa of the supplicant by Allaah. [TN]

[9] Narrated Anas (radhi-Allaah ‘anhu):

“The people of Makkah asked the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa-Sallam) to show them a sign (miracle). So he showed them (the miracle) of the cleaving of the moon.” Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, V. 6, Hadeeth no. 390. [TN]


[10] Allaah, Most Great, is the Possessor of every possessor. He permits whom He wishes to possess. Allaah possesses all the treasures of the heavens and the earth. All he good is in His Hand, He gives whom He wishes and takes from whom He wishes. Everything is in need of Allaah. [TN]

[11] This great Aayah is a reminder for those who invoke upon the dead or the absent person(s) seeking help and refuge in them, that those whom you seek and call upon instead of Allaah don’t possess even a Qitmeer. They cannot help themselves let alone those who call upon them. Those who seek refuge or intercession through the righteous in the graves have not correctly estimated Allaah as the One who gives and takes, the One who provides and sustains, the One who loves to be invoked Alone, etc. [TN]

[12] If Allaah saves anyone none can punish or harm him, and if Allaah punishes or harms anyone none can save him. [Tafseer Al-Qurtubee, V.12, p.145].

[13] Ibaadaat: Acts of worship done sincerely for Allaah’s sake and in accordance with evidence from Qur’aan and (or) authentic Sunnah. [TN]

[14] Mu’aamalaat: All forms of mutual relations, treatment, procedures, behaviour, conduct (towards others), and interactions including social, business, transactions, etc. [TN]

[15] Allaah said that Hood (alayhis-salaam) told his people:

“Dispute you with me over names which you have named - you and your fathers, with no authority from Allaah?” [Qur’aan 7:71]


[16] Allaah is Al-Qahhaar: He subdued all creatures and all the elements of the loftiest and lowest worlds; nothing occurs or moves without His Permission. Everything of His Creation is in need of Him. His Irresistibility is linked to His Perfect Living, Power, and Ability. [TN]

[17] If Allaah saves anyone none can punish or harm him, and if Allaah punishes or harms anyone none can save him. See Translation of the Meaning of the Noble Qur’aan by Al-Hilaalee and Khaan, Soorah Al-Mu’minoon, Aayah 88, p.534, quoting from Tafseer Al-Qurtubee, V.12, p.145.

[18] There are many Names that are common between Allaah and His creatures.

[19] Istawaa ‘ala Al-‘Arsh: Ascended above the Throne. [TN]