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AL-^AQIDAH at-TAHAWIYYAH

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AL-^AQIDAH at-TAHAWIYYAH


AL-^AQIDAH at-TAHAWIYYAH
Revised Translation and Commentary
By Riad Nachef
Ramadan 29, 1426 AH

The great scholar, Hujjat-ul-lslam, Abu Ja^far al-Warraq at-Tahawi (239-321AH) , may Allah have mercy on him, while he was in Egypt said:**
This is an elucidation of the beliefs of ahl-as-Sunnah wa al-Jama^ah, according to the school of the jurists of this religion, Abu Hanifah an-Nu^man ibn Thabit al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Ya^qub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari and Abu ^Abdillah Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani, may Allah accept the deeds of all of them, and what they believe regarding the fundamentals of the religion and their faith in the Lord of all the Worlds.

We say about Allah's Tawhid (Allah being different from the creation in every way) while believing that Allah is the One who enables us to be obedient- that Allah is One, without any partners. There is nothing like Him. There is nothing that makes Him powerless. There is no god other than Him. He is the Eternal without a beginning and the Everlasting without end. He will never perish or come to an end. Nothing happens except what He wills. No delusion can conceive of Him*and no comprehension can encompass His Reality. He is different from any created being. He is Alive and never dies and He manages the entire creation and never sleeps. He creates without His being in need for His creation and provides for His creation without encountering any hardship. He causes death with no fear and quickens without difficulty. He has always existed having His Attributes Eternally before creating the creation. Bringing creation into existence did not add anything to His Attributes that did not exist in Eternity. As He was, having His Attributes, in Eternity, so He will remain Everlastingly. It was not only after the act of creation that He is Attributed as the Creator nor was it only by the act of bringing the creation into existence that He is Attributed as the One who made the creation begin. He was always the Lord (Owner) even when the created beings were non existent, and always the Creator even when there was no creation. By the same analogy that He is the Bringer to life of the dead, after He has brought them to life, and deserves this name before bringing them to life, so too He deserves the name of Creator before He has created them. This is because He has the power to do everything, everything is dependent on Him, everything is easy for Him, and He does not need anything.*
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَىءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ
"There is nothing like Him in any way and He is the Hearer, the Seer". [ash-Shura 42:11]
He created the creation with His knowledge. He Destined destinies for those He created. He appointed to them fixed death times. Nothing about them was hidden from Him before He created them, and He knew everything that they would do before He created them. He ordered them to obey Him and forbade them to disobey Him. Everything happens according to His decree and will, and His will is accomplished. The only will that people have is what He wills for them. What He wills for them happens and what He does not will does not happen. He gives guidance to whoever He wills, and protects them from sinning, and keeps them healthy in their religion and safe from harm, out of His generosity; and He makes astray whoever He wills, and casts them down and deprives them His support, and afflicts them, out of His justice. All of them are subject to His will between either His generosity or His justice. He is exalted beyond having opposites or equals. No one can ward off His destiny or put back His ruling or overpower the happening of the matters He willed for them to happen. We believe in all of this and are certain that all things come from Him.
The Prophet
And we are certain that Muhammad, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam,*is His chosen servant and selected Prophet and His Messenger whom He highly accepts. And that he is the Seal of the Prophets and the Imam of the God-fearing and the Most Honored of all the Messengers and the Beloved (highly accepted) of the Lord of all the Worlds. Every claim to prophethood after Him is falsehood and deceit. He is the one who has been sent to all the jinn and all mankind with Truth and Guidance and with Light and Illumination.
*The Qur'an
The Qur'an is the word of Allah. The Qur'an descended from Him but be certain the Speech of Allah is without a manner of being. He sent it down on His Messenger as revelation. The believers accept it, as absolute truth. They are certain that it is, in truth, the word of Allah. *It is not created, as is the speech of human beings. Hence, anyone who hears it and claims that it is human speech has become an unbeliever. Allah warns him and censures him and threatens him with Fire when He says, Exalted is He:*
سَأُصْلِيهِ سَقَرَ
"I will burn him in the Fire." [al-Muddaththir 74:26]*
When Allah threatens with the Fire those who say*
إِنْ هَذَا إِلاَ قَوْلُ الْبَشَرِ
"This is just human speech." [al-Muddaththir 74:25]*
We know for certain that it is the Speech of the Creator of mankind and that it is totally unlike the speech of mankind.
Likening Allah to the Creation
Anyone who attributes to Allah attributes in any way the same as a human being has become an unbeliever. All those who grasp this will take heed and refrain from saying things such as the unbelievers say, and they will know that He, in His Attributes, is not like human beings.
Seeing of Allah
The Seeing of Allah by the People of Paradise (Al-Jannah) is true, without their vision being all-encompassing and without a manner of being. As the Book of our Lord has expressed it:
وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاضِرَةٌ
إِلَى رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ
"Faces on that Day radiant, looking at their Lord". [al-Qiyamah 75:22-3]*
The explanation of this is as Allah knows and wills. Everything that has come down to us about this from the Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, in the Sahih Hadith (authentic sayings), is as he said and means what he intended. We do not delve into that with baseless interpretation according to our own opinions or deluding ourselves by unsound inclinations. No one is safe in his religion unless he submits himself completely to Allah, the Exalted and Glorified and to His Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, and leaves the knowledge of things that are ambiguous to the one who knows them.
A True Muslim
A man's Islam is not secure unless it is based on submission and surrender. Anyone who desires to know the things that are decreed as not knowable, and does not content with surrender, will find that his desire veils him from the pure clearing of Allah from resemblance to the creation (Tawhid), clear knowledge and correct belief, and that he wavers between disbelief and belief, confirmation and denial and acceptance and rejection. He will be subject to whisperings and will be lost and doubtful, being neither an accepting believer nor a denying rejecter. Belief of a man in the seeing of Allah by the people of the abode of peace (Paradise) is not correct if he imagines it in his delusions, or interprets it according to his baseless own understanding since the baseless interpretation of this seeing or, indeed, the meaning of any of the matters which are in the realm of Lordship, is by avoiding its unfounded interpretation and strictly adhering to the submission. This is the Religion of Muslims. Anyone who does not guard himself against negating the Attributes of Allah, or likening Allah to the creation, has gone astray and has failed to clear Allah from non befitting attributes, because our Lord, the Glorified and the Exalted, is attributed with the Attributes of Oneness and Absolute Exclusivity and no creation is in any way like Him. He is clear from having limits, boundaries, sides, organs or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all created things are.
*Al-Mi`raj: The Ascension
Al-Mi`raj (The Ascent through the Heavens) is true. The Prophet,*sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, was taken on the night journey (Al-Isra') and ascended in his bodily form, while awake, through the heavens, to whatever heights Allah willed for him. Allah ennobled him in the way that He ennobled him and revealed to him what He revealed to him,*
مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَأَى
"And his heart was not mistaken about what he saw" [al-Najm 53:11].*
Allah blessed him and granted him peace in this world and the next.
*

Al-Hawd: The Basin
Al-Hawd, (the Basin which Allah will grant the Prophet,*sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, as a succor to His Ummah on the Day of Judgment), is true.
Ash-Shafa^ah: The Intercession
Ash-Shafa^ah, (the intercession of the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, on the Day of Judgment, which he saved for the enormous sinners of his Ummah), is true, as related in the Hadiths.*
*Al-Qadar: The Destining
The covenant which Allah made with Adam and his offspring is true. Allah Eternally knew the exact number of those who would enter Paradise (Al-Jannah) and the exact number of those who would enter Hellfire (Jahannam). This number will neither be increased nor decreased. The same applies to all actions done by people, which are done exactly as Allah knew they would be done. Everyone is facilitated to what he was created for and it is the actions with which a man's life is sealed which defines his ending. Those who are fortunate winners in the Hereafter are fortunate by the Destining of Allah, and those who are deprived losers are losers by the Destining of Allah. The exact nature of the Destining is Allah's secret in His creation, and no angel near the Throne, nor Prophet sent with a message, has been given knowledge of it. Delving into it and reflecting too much about it only leads to destruction and deprivation, and results in tyranny. So be extremely careful about thinking and reflecting on this matter or letting doubts about it assail you, because Allah has kept knowledge of the Destining concealed from human beings, and forbidden for them to enquire about it, saying in His Book,
لاَ يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ
"He is not asked about what He does but they are asked". [al-Anbiya' 21:23]
*So anyone who asks (in objection): "Why did Allah do that?" has gone against the judgment of the Book, and anyone who goes against the judgment of the Book is an unbeliever. This in sum is what those of Allah's Waliyys (highly pious Muslims) with enlightened hearts need to know and constitutes the degree of those firmly endowed with knowledge. For there are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge which is accessible to created beings, and knowledge which is not accessible to created beings. Denying the knowledge which is accessible is disbelief, and claiming the knowledge which is inaccessible is disbelief. Belief can only be firm when accessible knowledge is accepted and inaccessible knowledge is not sought after.
Al-Lawh wal-Qalam: the Tablet and the Pen
We believe in al-Lawh (the Tablet) and al-Qalam (the Pen) and in everything written on it. Even if all created beings were to gather together to make something fail to exist, whose existence Allah had written on the Tablet, they would not be able to do so. And if all created beings were to gather together to make something exist which Allah had not written on it, they would not be able to do so. The Pen has dried having written down all that will be in existence until the Day of Judgment. Whatever has missed a person it would have never inflicted him, and whatever has inflicted a person it would have never missed him. It is necessary for the slave to know that Allah already knows everything that is going to happen in His creation and destined it masterfully and firmly. There is nothing that He has created in either the heavens or the earth that can contradict it, or add to it, or erase it, or change it, or decrease it, or increase it in any way. This is a fundamental aspect of belief and a necessary element of all knowledge and recognition of Allah's clearance of resembling the creation, and of Allah's Lordship. As Allah says in His Book:*
وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَىءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا
"He created everything and destined it in a detailed way." [al-Furqan 25:2]
*And He also says:*
وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قَدَرًا مَّقْدُورًا
"What Allah creates is always a decreed destiny". [al-Ahzab 33:38]*
So woe to anyone who displays enmity with Allah concerning the Destining and who, with a sick heart, starts delving into this matter. In his delusory attempt to investigate the Unforeseen, he is seeking a secret that can never be uncovered, and he ends up an evil-doer, telling nothing but lies.
*Al-^Arsh wal-Kursiyy: the Throne (Ceiling of Paradise) and the Chair
Al-^Arsh (the Throne) and al-Kursi yy (the Chair) are true. He is not in need of the Throne and what is beneath it. He encompasses with his knowledge everything and subjugates it, and what He has created is incapable of encompassing Him.
Al-Anbiya': the Prophets
We say with belief, acceptance and submission that Allah took Ibrahim as a Khalil (a special status of being vastly accepted) and that He spoke directly to Musa. We believe in the angels, and the Prophets, and the books which were revealed to the messengers, and we bear witness that they were all following the manifest Truth. *
Al-Ummah: The Nation
We call the people of our qiblah Muslims and believers as long as they acknowledge what the Prophet,*sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, brought, and accept as true everything that he said and told us about. We do not enter into talk about the Reality of Allah nor do we allow vicious debates with the believers about the religion of Allah. We do not argue about the Qur'an and we bear witness that it is the Speech of the Lord of all the Worlds. The Trustworthy Soul (Jibril) came down with it and taught it to the most honored of all the Messengers, Muhammad, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam. It is the Speech of Allah and no speech of any created being is comparable to it. We do not say that it was created and we do not go against the Jama^ah of the Muslims regarding it.*
We do not consider any of the people of our qiblah to he unbelievers because of any sin they have done, as long as they do not consider that sin to have been lawful.*
Nor do we say that the sin of a man, as long as he is a believer, does not have a harmful effect on him. We hope that Allah will pardon the people of right action among the believers and grant them entrance into Paradise through His Mercy, but we cannot be certain of what they conceal genuinely, and thus we cannot bear witness that they will be in Paradise. We ask forgiveness for the people of wrong action among the Believers and, although we are afraid for them, we do not hold them in despair of the Mercy of Allah. Certainty and despair of the Mercy of Allah both remove one from the religion, but the path of truth for the people of the qiblah lies between the two ( a person must fear and be conscious of Allah's reckoning as well as be hopeful of Allah's Mercy). A person does not step out of belief except by denouncing what brought him into it. Belief consists of affirmation by the tongue and acceptance by the heart. And the whole of what is Sahih (authentic) from the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, regarding the laws of the Religion and its interpretation is true. Belief is, at base, the same for everyone, but the superiority of some over others in it is due to their piety and fear of Allah, their opposition to their desires, and their choosing what is more acceptable to Allah. All the complete believers are Waliyys of Allah and the noblest of them in the sight of Allah are those who are the most obedient and who most closely follow the Qur'an. Belief consists of belief in Allah. His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and belief that the destiny - both the good of it and the evil of it, the sweet of it and the bitter or it - is all from Allah. We believe in all these things. We do not make any distinction between any of the Messengers, we accept as true what all of them brought. Those of the Ummah of Muhammad, sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, who have committed enormous sins will not be in the Fire forever, provided they die and submit before Allah as believers affirming His Oneness even if they have not repented. They are subject to His Will and Judgment. If He Wills, He will forgive them and pardon them out of His generosity, as is mentioned in the Qur'an when He says:*
وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاء
"And He forgives anything less than that (shirk) to whoever He wills" [an-Nisa' 4: 116]
*And if He Wills, He will punish them in the Fire out of His justice and then bring them out of the Fire through His mercy, and for the intercession of those who were obedient to Him, and send them to Paradise. This is because Allah is the Protector of those who properly know Him and will not treat them in the Next World in the same way as He treats those who deny Him and who are bereft of His guidance and have failed to obtain His protection.*
O Allah, You are the Protector of Islam and its people; make us firm in Islam so that we submit before You while engaged in it. We agree with doing the prayer behind any of the people of the qiblah whether right-acting or wrong-acting, and doing the funeral prayer over any of them when they die. We do not say that any of them will categorically go to either Paradise or the Fire, and we do not accuse any of them of kufr (disbelief), shirk (associating partners with Allah), or nifaq (hypocrisy), as long as they have not openly demonstrated any of those things. We leave their secrets to Allah. We do not agree with killing any of the Ummah of Muhammad,*sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, unless death penalty is their due punishment under the Law. We do not recognize rebellion against our Imam or those in charge of our affairs even if they are unjust, nor do we wish evil on them, nor do we withdraw from following them. We hold that obedience to them is part of obedience to Allah, the Glorified, and therefore obligatory as long as they do not order to commit sins. We pray for their right guidance and pardon from their wrongs. We follow the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Jama^ah of the Muslims, and avoid deviation, differences and divisions. We love the people of justice and trustworthiness, and hate the people of injustice and treachery. When our knowledge about something is unclear, we say: "Allah knows best". We agree with wet wiping over the foot gear (khuff) whether on a journey or in dwelling places, just as has come in the religious reports. Pilgrimage (Hajj) and struggle under the leadership of those in charge of the Muslims, whether they are right or wrong-acting, are continuing obligations until the Last Hour comes. Nothing can annul or controvert them.
*
Al-Akhirah: The World to Come
We believe in the Kiraman Katibin (the noble angels) who write down our actions for Allah has appointed them over us as protectors. We believe in the Angel of Death who is charged with taking the souls of all the worlds. We believe in the punishment in the grave for those who deserve it, and in the questioning in the grave by Munkar and Nakir about one's Lord, one's religion and one's prophet, as has come down in the religious reports from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, and in reports from the Companions, may Allah accept the deeds of them all. The grave is either one of the meadows of Paradise or one of the pits of the Fire. We believe in being brought back to life after death and in being recompensed for our actions on the Day of Judgment, and al-^Ard, having been shown them and al-Hisab, brought to account for them, and Qira'at al-Kitab, reading the book, and the reward or punishments and in as-Sirat (the Bridge) and al-Mizan (the Balance). Paradise and Hellfire are now created things that never come to an end and we believe that Allah created them before the rest of creation and then created people to inhabit each of them. Whoever He wills goes to Paradise out of His Bounty and whoever He wills goes to Hellfire through His Justice. Everybody acts in accordance with what is destined for him and goes towards what he has been created for. Good and evil have both been decreed for people. The capability at the time of performing a deed such as at-Tawfiq (the enabling of one, by Allah, to do acts of obedience and have a good ending) cannot be ascribed to a created being, rather it is integral with action and is created by Allah at the time of encountering the deed. Whereas the capability of an action in terms of having the necessary health, and ability, being in a position to act and having the necessary means, exists in a person before the action. It is this type of capability which is the object of accountability. Allah the Exalted says:
لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا
"Allah does not charge a person except according to his ability." [al-Baqarah 2: 286]*
People's actions are created by Allah but acquired by people. Allah, the Exalted, has only charged people with what they are able to do and others may only require of them to do what Allah has charged them to do. This is the explanation of the phrase: "There is no protection against sinning and no strength to perform obedience except by Allah." We add to this that there is no evasion or way by which anyone can avoid or escape disobedience to Allah except with Allah's protection; nor does anyone have the strength to perform obedience to Allah into practice and remain firm in it, except if Allah enables them to do so. Everything happens according to Allah's Will, Knowledge, Destining and Decree. His Will overpowers all other wills and His Decree overpowers all stratagems. He does whatever He wills and He is never unjust. He is exalted and clear from any evil or perdition and He is perfect and clear of any fault or flaw.
لاَ يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ
"He will not be asked about what He does but they will be asked." [Al-Anbiya' 21: 23]*
There is benefit for dead people in the supplication and alms-giving of the living. Allah responds to people's supplications and fulfills their needs. Allah has absolute control over everything and nothing has any control over Him. Nothing can be independent of Allah even for the blinking of an eye, and whoever considers himself independent of Allah for the blinking of an eye is guilty of unbelief and becomes one of the people of perdition. Allah's Ghadab (severe unacceptance by Allah) and Rida (genuine acceptance by Allah) are not similar to any creature.
*As-Sahabah: The Companions
We love the Companions of the Messenger of Allah but we do not exceed the proper bounds in our love for any one individual among them nor do we disown any one of them. We hate anyone who hates them or does not speak well of them and we only speak well of them. Love of them is a part of Islam, part of belief and part of excellent behavior, while hatred of them is unbelief, hypocrisy and rebelliousness. We confirm that, after the death of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, the caliphate went first to Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah accept his deeds, thus proving his excellence and superiority over the rest of the Muslims; then to ^Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah accept his deeds; then to ^Uthman, may Allah accept his deeds; and then to ^Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah accept his deeds. These are the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (al-Khulafa' ar-Rashidun) and upright leaders. We bear witness that the ten that were named by the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, and who were given the good tidings of Paradise by him, will be in Paradise, as the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, whose word is truth, bore witness that they would be. The ten are: Abu Bakr, ^Umar, ^Uthman, ^Ali, Talhah, Zubayr, Sa^d, Sa^id, ^Abdur-Rahman ibn ^Awf and Abu ^Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrah whose title was the trustee of this Ummah, may Allah accept the deeds of all of them. Anyone who speaks well of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa-sallam, and his wives and offspring, who are all pure and untainted by any impurity, is free from the accusation of hypocrisy.
*Al-^Ulama' wa-l-Awliya': Scholars and Waliyys
The learned men of the first Salaf-community and those who followed in their footsteps - the people of virtue, the narrators of the religious texts, the jurists and analysts- they must only be spoken about in the best way and anyone who says anything bad about them is not on the right path. We do not prefer any of the Waliyys among the Ummah over any of the Prophets but rather we say that any one of the Prophets is better than all the Waliyys put together. We believe in what we know of Karamas, the marvels of the Waliyys and in authentic stories about them from trustworthy sources. We believe in the signs of the Hour such as the appearance of the Dajjal and the descent of ^Isa ibn Maryam, peace be upon him, from heaven and we believe in the rising of the sun from where it sets and in the emergence of the Beast from the earth. We do not accept as true what soothsayers and fortune-tellers say, nor do we accept the claims of those who affirm anything which goes against the Book, the Sunnah and the consensus of the Muslim Ummah.
*Islamic Unity
We agree that holding together is the true and right path and that separation is deviation and torment. There is a single Religion acceptable to Allah in the heavens and the earth and that is the Religion of Islam. Allah says:
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ
"Surely the acceptable Religion in the sight of Allah is Islam". [Al `Imran 3:19]*
And He also says:*
وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا
"I have accepted Islam for you as a Religion". [Al-Ma'idah 5:3]*
Islam lies between exceeding the proper bounds and falling short, between Tashbih (likening of Allah's Attributes to that of the creation), and Ta^til (denying Allah's Attributes), between Fatalism and refusing Decree as proceeding from Allah and between certainty (without being conscious and hopeful of Allah's reckoning) and despair (of Allah's Mercy). **
This is our religion and it is what we believe in, both inwardly and outwardly, and we renounce any connection, before Allah, with anyone who goes against what we have said and made clear.
*Ad-Du^a': The Supplication
We ask Allah to make us firm in our belief and seal our lives with it and to protect us from variant ideas, scattering opinions and evil schools of view such as those of the Mushabbihah, the Mu^tazilah, the Jahmiyyah the Jabriyyah, the Qadariyyah and others like them who go against the Sunnah and Jama^ah and have allied themselves with error. We renounce any connection with them and in our opinion they are in error and on the path of destruction. We ask Allah to protect us from all falsehood and ask His grace and favor to do all good.
 
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