So also if the father, who is compassionate towards his son, knowing what is good for him, sees that some bad blood has to be removed from his son for his own good, by incurring severe pain by cutting his skin and cutting his veins. If he knows that his cure lies in cutting off one of his limbs, he does so and does all of this out of compassion and mercy to his son. If he sees that the betterment of his son lies in him withholding something from him, he withholds it from him, and is not lavish towards him because he knows that this causes his corruption and destruction and he often withholds from his son what he desires, for his own good and to protect him, not out of miserliness towards him.

So, if the wisest of all judges, the Most Merciful, the Most Knowledgeable, who is more merciful towards His servants than they are to themselves or their parents are to them, sends down upon them that which they dislike, then it is better for them than Him not sending it upon them, rather it is a benevolence and kindness to them. For if they were left to choose for themselves they would be incapable of knowing, intending or doing that which benefits them, but He – how perfect He is – has taken charge of managing their affairs according to His knowledge, wisdom and mercy, whether they like or dislike it. This being known to those who believe with certainty in Allaah’s Names and Attributes, so they do not find fault in any of His laws. This is hidden to those ignorant of Allaah, His Names and Attributes, so they disputed with Him in His regulations and found reproach in His wisdom and did not submit to His decisions, but rather opposed them with their corrupt intelligence, false opinions and unjust behaviour. So they did not know their Lord nor did they achieve that which benefits them. And Allaah is the One who bestows.

Hence when the servant succeeds, by way of this knowledge, he lives in a Paradise in this world before the Hereafter, whose comforts can only be compared to the comforts of Paradise in the Hereafter. Verily he does not cease to remain pleased with his Lord and this pleasure is the Paradise of this world and a comfort to those who have knowledge. Indeed his soul is content with all that it encounters from the decree which Allaah has chosen for him, and his soul is at peace with His religious laws and this is pleasure with Allaah being the Lord, with Islaam as the way of life and Muhammad as being the Messenger, and whoever has not achieved this has not tasted eemaan.”

(Ref. Quoted from Three Forgotten Prayers by `Adnaan Aali `Uroor © Call to Islam Da`wah Center, UK 1997)

When was the last time we cried while doing our salah, especially while reciting Surat Al-Fatiha?  Check out this humbling recitation by Shaykh Saud Al-Shuraim, Imam of the Kaaba:

Indeed, we are presenting ourselves in front of Allah (SWT), Lord of the the Worlds (think about what this statement means!).  We should purify our hearts, dress in our best clothes, and forget about the worldly matters when we stand in front of Our Creator, The Majestic (Al-Jalil).

Simply put, Tawheed al-Asma wa al-Siffat is to affirm for Allah (SWT) all the Names and Attributes that are found in the Quran and authentic Sunnah, in a manner befitting to Allah (SWT), and to negate all attributes which are negated in the Quran and Sunnah.

 One must be careful not to commit ilhad (turn away from the truth, deviate) in Allah’s Names.  The Holy Quran states, “When it is said to them, ‘Adore ye ((Allah)) Most Gracious!’  They say, ‘And what is ((Allah)) Most Gracious?  Shall we adore that which you command us?’  And it increases their flight (from the truth)” (Translation of the Meaning of the Holy Quran, 25:60).  This verse criticizes the pagans for rejecting just one of Allah’s Names, despite their belief in Allah and the concept of mercy.

Hence, Allah (SWT) has warned us against ilhad in His Belief and Names as the Holy Quran states, “The most beautiful names belong to Allah.  So call on Him by them; but shun such men as use profanity [i.e. distort] in His Names: for what they do, they will soon be requited” (Translation of the Meaning of the Holy Quran, 7:180).  Ibn al-Qayyim has listed some of the types of ilhad to include:

  • To deny (tatil) or distort (tawil) their meanings, or claim that they have no meaning (tafwid)
  • To consider them as human attributes (anthropomorphism)
  • To derive names for Allah that are not befitting Him (e.g. ‘Father’)
  • To name idols or other beings with the names of Allah or their derivates (e.g. al-Uzza, al-Manat)

May Allah (SWT) guide us all.  Ameen.

Tawheed can be broken down into three categories: Rububiyyah (Affirmation of Lordship), Asma wa al-Siffat (Names and Attributes), and Uloohiyyah (Worship).  Some of my earlier posts focused on Tawheed focused on Rububiyyah and Uloohiyyah.  Now, insha’Allah, I will try to write several posts dealing with Tawheed Asma wa al-Siffat.  Before those posts, I thought it would be nice that we could understand why it is important to study such an important matter.  The blessings of Tawheed Asma wa al-Siffat include:

  • It is half of the basis of Tawheed
  • It is the most noble of all sciences and knowledge
  • It is one of the purposes that mankind was created
  • We are commanded to learn it as the Holy Quran states, “Proclaim (or Read in other translations)!  And thy Lord is Most Bountiful”  (Translation of the Meaning of the Holy Quran, 96:3)
  • The knowledge of Allah’s Names and Attributes gives life to the heart
  • Every single Name and Attribute gives life to a certain type of consciousness and humility in man
  • A love of this field of Islam is based on the love of Allah (SWT) as Jarir bin Abdullah al-Bajali reported that some of the Sahabah were with Rasoolullah (SAW) when Rasoolullah (SAW) looked at the full moon and said, “You will see your Lord in the Hereafter as you see this moon having no difficulty in seeing it.  So try your best to perform your prayers before the rising of the sun and that before its setting” (narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
  • It is the basis of all other sciences, as everything in the creation returns either to the command of Allah, or His Words as the Holy Quran states, “Lo! your Lord is Allah who created the heavens and the earth in six days then mounted He the Throne.  He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His Command.  His verily is all creation and commandment.  Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!” (Translation of the Meaning of the Holy Quran, 7:54)
  • It is the fundamental building block of our iman as once Rasoolullah (SAW) appointed a man to lead the prayer for a group of the Sahaba when the group when traveling. The Sahabah complained to Rasoolullah (SAW) that the appointed man would always finish his recitations with Surat al-Ikhlas. Rasoolullah said, “Ask him why he does so.” The Sahaba asked the man and he responded, “I do so because it mentions the qualities of the Beneficent, and I love to recite it (in my prayer).” Rasoolullah (SAW) said to the Sahaba, “Tell him that Allah loves him” (this story can be found in Bukhari and Muslim).  Therefore, Allah (SWT) loved a person because this person loved reciting an surat that described Allah (SWT).
  • Knowledge of Allah’s Names and Attributes is the spiritual food of the soul as the Holy Quran states, “Who have believer and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah.  Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!” (Translation of the Meaning of the Holy Quran, 13:28) which is why Allah (SWT) calls the one who does not worship Him as dead (spiritually).
  • Hadith of the 99 names as Abu Hurairah reported Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “Verily to Allah belongs ninety-nine names, one-hundred less one.  Whoever encompasses (memorizes and understands) them will enter paradise” (narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
  • Understanding deviancy as much of today’s deviancy occurs within Tawheed Asma wa al-Siffat. 

May Allah (SWT) guide us all.  Wa assalamu alaykum.

1/3 of the Quran

May 17, 2007

Chapter 112 a.k.a. Surat al-Ikhlas (Sincerity) is well-known to many of us. Some people would ask Rasoolullah (SAW) about Allah (SWT) and in response, Surat al-Ikhlas was revealed in Makkah. For many it is the surah we recite most-often in our prayers. However, do we recite it so often because of its length and conciseness or do we recite it for its virtue and reward? What is the translation of the meaning of Surah al-Ikhlas?

Verse 1: Say, He is Allah, the One
Verse 2: Allah, the eternally Besought of all
Verse 3: He begets not nor was begotten
Verse 4: And there is none comparable unto Him

What is the value of this surat? Rasoolullah (SAW) asked the Sahaba, “Would any of you be able to recite a third of the Quran in the course of a single night?”
The Sahaba responded, “Who would be able to do that, O Rasoolullah?”
After reciting Surat al-Ikhlas, Rasoolullah (SAW) continued that it is worth a third of the Quran (this story can be found in Bukhari).

Subhana’Allah, we can be granted the reward of reciting one-third of the Quran by reciting these four short ayat. Indeed, Allah (SWT) is the most merciful. Indeed, Allah (SWT) is Ar-Rahman!

Why is Surat al-Ikhlas worth one-third of the Quran? From reading the Quran, one can realize that it is divided into three parts: legal rulings, narrations, and tawheed. Surat al-Ikhlas comprises the Names and Attributes of Allah (SWT) as it covers tawheed and the oneness of God.

Let us attempt to explain some of this beautiful surat. We can do this by concentrating on two Names of Allah (SWT) mentioned here, Al-Ahad and As-Samad. According to Imam al-Qurtubi, Al-Ahad affirms the oneness of existence that cannot be shared by anyone thing or anyone else. Similarly, Imam al-Qurtubi explains As-Samad as “the One whose dignity and sovereignty reaches the extent where all things in existence depend on for all their needs.” Surely, this quality cannot be ascribed to anyone except Allah (SWT) as it is only He who is Perfect in all of His Names and Attributes.

Surat al-Ikhlas is the perfect answer to Muslims who ascribe a shape and body to their gods. Indeed, Allah (SWT) is free of any resemblance to creation. We cannot worship an idol made out of gold, as this is not god. Allah (SWT) has no partners and He has neither children nor parents. A scholar was once sent to medieval Europe to debate a Christian priest. The Christian king greeted the scholar and the scholar met the king and priest with smiles and asked the priest how his family was doing. Unfortunately, the priest practiced celibacy and had no family. The king’s face turned angry as he said to the Muslim scholar, “Do you not know that this man is a priest. He has freed himself of such needs and impurities.” The scholar responded, “Subhana’Allah, how can your priests be free of these qualities and needs and then you assign them to Allah (SWT).”

We all should strive to learn and love Surat al-Ikhlas. Rasoolullah (SAW) appointed a man to lead the prayer for a group of the Sahaba when the group was traveling. The Sahaba complained to Rasoolullah (SAW) that the appointed man would always finish his recitations with Surat al-Ikhlas. Rasoolullah said, “Ask him why he does so.” The Sahaba asked the man and he responded, “I do so because it mentions the qualities of the Beneficent, and I love to recite it (in my prayer).” Rasoolullah (SAW) said to the Sahaba, “Tell him that Allah loves him” (this story can be found in Bukhari and Muslim).

However, when reciting this surat, we must remember we cannot recite this in lieu of reciting an entire one-third of the Quran. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah wrote that indeed one would receive reward to the same degree of reciting one-third of the Quran for reciting Surat al-Ikhlas. However, this would not be the same reward for reciting an actual one-third of the Quran.

Regardless, we all need to love and understand the great blessings of this beautiful surat. It teaches us pure and undefiled monotheism, the true way of Islam. This is what we need to teach others when we do dawah. When talking about Islam with non-Muslims, we should always bring everything back to tawheed. Surely, there is only one God, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent.

[Taken in part from Shaykh Salman al-Oadah]