The Explanation of The ^Aqidah of Ibn^Asakir Continuation
To Him belong the Glory
Explanation: He, Subhanahu wa ta^ala, is ^Aziz, as He said in Surat 'Al ^Imran, 4
which means: [Allah is the One Who is ^Aziz.]
Al-Halimiyy said that ^Aziz means the One Who cannot be reached, and harm cannot be inflicted upon Him. Al-Khattabiyy said al-^Aziz means the One Who is not defeated, as reported by al-Bayhaqiyy.
Explanation: It means that Allah, ta^ala, is attributed with Everlastingness which is to remain existing without annihilation. His Everlastingness is an intellectual necessity, that is, intellectually it is not permissible to be otherwise. No one is everlasting with this meaning except Him. It is intellectually permissible for Paradise and Hellfire to be annihilated as far as their selves are concerned. However, their existence shall remain because Allah willed for them to remain. The Everlastingness of Allah pertains to His Self and, by necessity, it means that all His attributes are also everlasting, whether His Power, Knowledge, Hearing, Sight, Will, or any other of His attributes. It is not permissible to attribute to Allah any of the attributes of creatures.
To Him are the Ruling
Explanation: To Him are the Ruling means that Allah, subhanahu wa ta^ala, rules with what He willed.
and al-Qada' (the Creating).
Explanation: Al-Qada' means creating. Allah said in Surat Fussilat, 12:
which means: [Allah created seven heavens.]
That is, He, the Exalted, creates what He willed; He brings it into existence from a state of non-existence. Also, al-Qada' bears the meaning of ordering. Allah said in Surat al-'Isra', 23:
which means: [Allah ordered that you do not worship but Him.] Similarly, the saying of Allah in Surat adh-Dhariyat, 56:
which means: [I have created the jinns and the humans to order them to worship Me.]
This does not mean that Allah willed that everyone of them would worship Him. Had He willed that, all of them would have worshipped Him and no other, and there would have been no blasphemers. Allah said in Surat Yunus, 99:
which means: [The hearts are not under your control (O Muhammad--rather they are under Allah's control.) Had Allah willed the guidance for all the people, they all would have been among the believers.] However, Allah did not will that to happen. Henceforth, some are believers and some are blasphemers.
He has the Names of Perfection
Explanation: It means that Allah has the Perfect Names, that is, the names which pertain to perfection. All the Names of Allah are that of perfection. All of His Names signify perfection and none of them denote non-befitting attributes. The name al-Qadir pertains to His attribute of Power. Al-^Alim pertains to His attribute of Knowledge. Ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim pertain to His attribute of Mercy. Al-^Aziz pertains to His attribute of being non-defeatable. As-Sami^ pertains to His attribute of Hearing. Al-Wahid pertains to His attribute of being without a partner. Al-Khaliq pertains to His attribute of Creating. Al-Basir pertains to His attribute of Sight, and so on. All of His names pertain to perfection. It is impossible that there will be among His names what denotes non-befitting attributes. Therefore, it is not permissible to call Him by 'ah as some people think. Many of the Shadhiliyy people believe and mention in their books that 'ah is among the names of Allah, even though this term is an expression of pain and complaint. By the agreement of the Arab linguists and the statements of the scholars of the four schools, moaning invalidates the prayers. Of the twenty names linguists mentioned that express moaning, the most famous is 'ah. Those who said 'ah is one of the names of Allah depend on a fabricated hadith which says: 'Let him moan, for moaning is one of the names of Allah.' There is no mentioning in any hadith, neither Sahih nor fabricated, that 'ah is one of the names of Allah. It is astonishing how those people have selected this particular term of moaning from among the twenty and disregarded all the others, among which are 'awuh, and 'awtah. If one takes by their reliance on the aforementioned fabricated hadith, then 'awuh, and 'awtah would be among the Names of Allah as would be the rest of the terms of moaning, a choice which the sound mind does not accept.
Similarly, it is not permissible to call Him by al-muqim, which means 'the residing', as some utter when they say subhan al-muqim. Also, it is not permissible to call Allah 'a soul' or 'a mind,' as Sayyid Qutb did when he called Allah, ta^ala, 'the managing mind.' Both the soul and the mind are creations. How does this man leave out the Names of Perfection and on his own invent names for Allah?
At-Tirmidhiyy and others narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said: <> Many narrations listing the Names were related. Among them is what al-Bayhaqiyy related from the route of Abu Hurayrah: <>
No one hinders what He decreed.
Explanation: This is understood from the hadith of Thawban related by Muslim in which he said: <>
This Qudsiyy hadith clearly states that no one stops the fulfillment of the will of Allah. This is a proof to the invalidity of what some people say that Allah wanted to create a certain being as a male but instead He created him as a female. Also it is a proof to the invalidity of the conviction that Allah changes His will if a person makes a supplication to Him or pays a charity from a halal source. These sayings and/or convictions are untrue and non-befitting to Allah, ta^ala.
No one prevents what He gives.
Explanation: The meaning of this statement appeared in the hadith of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam. Al-Bukhariyy and Muslim related that the Prophet used to say after each prayer: "No one is God except Allah, alone without a partner. To Him belong the Dominion and the praising, and He has the Power over everything. O Allah, no one prevents that which You gave, and no one gives that which You have prevented. To You, the richness of the rich does not benefit him but rather his obedience to You shall benefit him." If Allah, ta^ala, willed for a slave to be endowed with something, Allah enables him to acquire it. No one can stop that endowment from reaching him. At-Tirmidhiyy, among others, related this saying of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, from the route of ^Abdullah Ibn ^Abbas: <>
He does in His dominion whatever He wills.
Explanation: Whatever Allah willed eternally to exist must exist. Allah willed for it to happen by His eternal Will and He creates it with His eternal Creating, without Him being obligated to do anything. As Allah, ta^ala, said in Surat al-Qasas, 68:
which means: [and Your Lord creates what He willed at no obligation.]
He rules His creation with whatever He wills.
Explanation: Allah renders whatever He willed as forbidden and whatever He willed as obligatory.
He does not hope for reward and does not fear punishment.
Explanation: Allah, subhanahu wa ta^ala, does not hope for reward nor benefit from His slaves. Allah, ta^ala, said in Surat adh-Dhariyat, 57:
which means: [I do not want from them any sustenance nor to feed Me.]
Allah did not make it incumbent upon His slaves to worship Him because it benefits Him. Nor did He forbid them from things because He fears harm or punishment from any of them. How would He hope for benefit or fear punishment from His worshipers when He is their Creator and the Creator of their doings?
There is no right on Him that is binding and no one exercises rule over Him.
Explanation: There is no obligation on Allah, ta^ala, that He is bound with, and no one is entitled to or can exercise a rule over Him. No one orders Him with anything and no one stops Him from anything.
Every endowment from Him is due to His Generosity
Explanation: The endowment is a generosity from Allah. It is not obligatory on Allah to give His worshipers any endowments. Rather, He gives them out of His generosity and would not be unjust if He did not give them any. As Allah, subhanahu, said in Surat an-Nur, 21:
which means: [If it had not been for the Generosity and Mercy of Allah on you, none of you would have been guided.]
and every punishment from Him is just.
Explanation: An-Niqmah in the original text means punishment. Allah rewards the slave out of His Generosity and punishes the slave out of His Justice. Allah does not do anyone or anything injustice. One should not object to Allah by questioning why He creates pain in children and animals and inflicts them with diseases when they are not sinful. He who says that has blasphemed for objecting to Allah, unless his questioning is for the purpose of knowing the wisdom in His doing. The author proved this case by stating the saying of Allah (Al-Anbiya', 23):
He is not questioned about what He does, but they are questioned.
Explanation: One should not object to the Will of Allah, nor question His doings. Rather, the slaves are to be questioned because Allah is the true Owner of all things without any partners to Him. He owns the slaves and He owns that which He gave them to own. He does whatever He wills with that which He owns. Injustice is not conceived from Him because He is Wise and does not place things in other than where they belong. Injustice can only be attributed to he who is ordered and forbidden with things--as in the case with the slaves. Injustice, then, is to violate the orders and prohibitions of He Who is entitled to order and prohibit. This is why the slave is questioned about his doings as was mentioned in the hadith reported by at-Tirmidhiyy: <>
There is no one to order Allah, ta^ala, nor to prohibit Him. Therefore He is not questioned, and injustice and negligence are not attributed to Him. Allah said in Surat al-'Anbiya', 23:
which means: [He is not questioned about what He does, but they are questioned.]
He existed before the creation.
Explanation: The existence of Allah, ta^ala, is eternal. He was existing in eternity, prior to the creation. It was mentioned in the hadith of ^Imran Ibn al-Husayn which was related by al-Bukhariyy, al-Bayhaqiyy, and others: <> There is no one else eternal except Him. Allah, ta^ala, said:
which means: [He is The First.]
The Arab linguists said: "If both the subject of a nominal sentence and its predicate are definite nouns, then this entails ultimate exclusivity for that subject." In this verse, both the subject of the nominal sentence (Huwa, which means He) and the predicate (al-'Awwal, which means the First, i.e., the One Whose Existence has no beginning) are definite nouns. Hence this entails that only Allah's existence is without a beginning. He who believes that the existence of this world, whether by its kind or elements, has no beginning, has, by the consensus of the Muslim scholars, belied this ayah, departed from Islam, and joined the philosophers and ad-Dahriyyah. Ibn Taymiyah reported in five of his books that the kind of the world, like Allah, is eternal with no beginning to its existence. This is clear blasphemy.
He does not have a before or an after.
Explanation: This is to negate that Allah's existence was preceded by non-existence or that it would be followed by annihilation. All that which negates the attributes of Eternity and Everlastingness of Allah is invalid, since the state of Godhood would be invalid for he who is not attributed with them. Among the attributes of Allah is that His existence is a necessity. Hence it is not permissible intellectually that His existence would be preceded or followed by non-existence.
He does not have an above or a below, a right or a left, an in front of or a behind,
Explanation: This is one of the fundamentals of the creed, which is clearing Allah, ta^ala, of being in any or all directions. It is not the case, as some ignorant people believe, that Allah exists in the above direction. Some believe that Allah is in the in front of direction, bound between the slave and the Ka^bah. Others believe He is like air that is spread and occupies all places. Some, like the so-called Nasiruddin al-'Albaniyy, believe that Allah is surrounding the world from all directions just as the hand surrounds that which it has in its grip. All of that is invalid and negates the correct creed of tawhid. Imam Abu Ja^far at-Tahawiyy authored a book called An Elucidation of the Creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama^ah. In it he said: "Allah is clear of limits, ends, parts, limbs, and instruments; and the six directions do not contain Him."
His words are of pure tawhid and are jewels that pertain to the creed. He who is attributed with limits, ends, parts, limbs, organs, or directions would have a size and a format--all attributes of bodies. Allah, ta^ala, is not a body as He, subhanahu, said in Surat ash-Shura, 11:
which means: [Nothing is like Him.] Attributing to Allah the direction of above is not perfection, contrary to what some ignorant people think. The importance of one's status is not measured by places and limits. The physical place of the angels around the ^Arsh is much higher than that of the Prophets of Allah. However, the status of the Prophets is better and much higher to Allah, the Creator.
a whole or a part.
Explanation: Allah, ta^ala, is not a body composed of parts and therefore is not attributed with wholeness or partness. Al-Bayhaqiyy reported in his book Al-'Asma' was-Sifat that al-Halimiyy, in explaining the name of Allah, Al-Muta^ali, said: "It means the One Who is above being attributed with the attributes of the creatures like marriage, children, limbs, organs, sitting on the sarir (i.e., the ^Arsh), being hidden behind veils so that the eyes would not see Him, moving from one place to another, and the like. Some of these attributes dictate ending, some dictate need, and some dictate change. All of that is non-befitting and not permissible to attribute to He Whose Existence is without a beginning."
It must not be said: When was He? Or where was He? Or how is He?
Explanation: It is not permissible to say, 'When was Allah?' because it attributes to Him a beginning, (an existence after a state of non-existence), and a lapsing of time on His existence. It is not permissible also to say, 'Where was Allah?' i.e., asking about a place. Nor is it permissible to say, 'How was He?' because it attributes to Him the attributes of the creation.
After he mentioned the prohibition from all that, Ibn ^Asakir, may Allah have mercy on him, established the correct creed, and said:
He existed without a place. He created the universe and willed for the existence of time. He is not bound to time and is not designated with place.
Explanation: When the author said 'He is not designated,' he does not mean that Allah is in all directions, because this is invalid as we have mentioned earlier. Directions are other than Allah. He existed and there was nothing other than Him existing. The meaning is that Allah exists without a place. This is the creed of Ahlus-Sunnah and all the Muslims, their Salaf and Khalaf. Al-Bukhariyy, al-Bayhaqiyy and Ibn al-Jarud related that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said: <> Allah existed eternally and there was no place or any other creature. After creating the place, Allah, subhanahu, did not change from what He was. From this hadith and what is similar among the texts, Ahlus-Sunnah took their saying that Allah exists without a place.
Al-Bayhaqiyy, may Allah have mercy on him, related the hadith of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam: "You are adh-Dhahir (the One Whose existence is obvious by proofs). Hence there is nothing above You, and You are al-Batin (the One Who is clear of the delusions of bodily attributes). Hence there is nothing underneath You." Then he said: "Some of our companions took that hadith as a proof to clear Allah of places. If there is nothing above Him and nothing underneath Him, then He is not in a place."
Ar-Ramliyy and others narrated the saying of ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah honor him: "Allah existed eternally without a place, and now He is as He was." Az-Zabidiyy narrated in the explanation of al-'Ihya' by the continuous chain to ^Aliyy, Zayn al-^Abidin: "O Allah, the One Who is clear of non-befitting attributes, You are not contained in a place." ^Aliyy, Zayn al-^Abidin was the best of the family members of the Prophet at his time. Moreover, this statement was established by many other Muslim scholars like Abu Hanifah, Ibn Jarir at-Tabariyy, al-Maturidiyy, al-'Ash^ariyy, and others. Moreover, at-Tamimiyy related the consensus of Ahlus-Sunnah that Allah exists without a place. He mentioned it in his book, Al-Farqu Bayn al-Firaq.
After that, no consideration is due to anyone who likens Allah to the creation and objects to the author and other pioneers among the people of knowledge for stating that truthful statement. He who negates that and confirms a place to Allah has likened Allah to the creation and made Him equal to them. Also, he has negated the explicit verses of the Qur'an, the sahih hadith, and the mind. Allah is the Creator of place. Allah is the Manager of time and the One Who runs it. Allah is the Creator of the universe, that is, the Creator of the creatures, the One Who brings things into existence from non-existence. He does not need them and is not attributed with their attributes, as Imam Abu Hanifah, may Allah have mercy on him, mentioned: "The Creator does not resemble His creation." This is why it is not permissible to attribute to Him the occupation of a place or all places, or the designation of time or all times. He is clear of the meanings and attributes of the creatures.
His Managing one matter does not distract Him from another.
Explanation: Allah, ta^ala, brings things into existence from non-existence by His eternal Will and Power and by His eternal Creating without a need for a limb or using an instrument. Simply by His Will and Power, that are related to the happenings, the things occur at the time and place He willed for them to exist. Nothing delays or stops them. As Allah said in Surat Yasin, 82
which means: [If He willed something to be, He would order it to be and it would be.]
The One Who is attributed with such attributes is not distracted from one matter by another. Distraction happens to he who works with limbs and uses instruments. If the limbs or instruments were occupied with one matter it is hard to make them engage in another. Allah, the Exalted, is clear of this.
Delusions do not apply to Him, and He is not encompassed by the mind. He is not conceivable in the mind. He is not imagined in the self nor pictured in delusions. He is not grasped with delusions or thoughts.
Explanation: This is summarized by the saying of Dhunun al-Misriyy Ibrahim Ibn Tawbah, may Allah have mercy on him as related by al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad: "Whatever you imagine in your mind, Allah is different from it." This is so because whatever you imagine is a creation, and the Creator does not resemble the creation.
Imam ash-Shafi^iyy said: "Whoever seeks to know his Creator, and concludes that his Creator is something that exists which his mind can imagine, then he is a person who likens Allah to the creation. If he settles on pure non-existence, then he is an atheist. If he concludes that He exists, and admits that his mind cannot conceive Him, then he is practicing tawhid." Since no one knows the Reality of Allah except Allah, the Salaf prohibited thinking about the Self of Allah in an attempt to seek the Reality of Allah.
Our knowledge of Allah is by knowing what is obligatory to be of His attributes, what is impossible to be of His attributes, and what is permissible to be of His attributes. As related by al-Bayhaqiyy, Ibn ^Abbas said: "Think of the creation of Allah and do not think of the Self of Allah."
He who thinks about the Self of Allah and imagines a picture or has a delusion and believes that this is Allah, is not a Muslim practicing tawhid. There is no difference between him and the idol worshipper. The idol worshipper worships a picture that he sculptured, and this one worships a picture that he imagined. The true believer worships the One to Whom there is none similar. As Imam ar-Rifa^iyy, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "The ultimate knowledge about Allah is to be certain that He exists without a how and without a place." All of that is taken from the saying of Allah, ta^ala, in Surat ash-Shura, 11:
which means: [Nothing is like Him]
This is why Ibn ^Asakir, may Allah have mercy on him, ended his beneficial creed with producing this ayah, so he said:
which means: [Nothing is like Him and He is attributed with Hearing and Sight.]
Explanation: Allah mentioned the part of clearing Himself of resembling the creation before the part on the attributes of Hearing and Sight so that it would be known that His Hearing and Sight are not like the hearing and sight of others. Allah's hearing is not with an ear or any other instrument and His Sight is not with a pupil or any other instrument, because He, subhanah, is unlike anything.
It is suitable here to end this short explanation of the terms of this text by producing what Abu Nu^aym reported in his book, Al-Hilyah. In the biography of ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib, he said that Nawf Ibn ^Abdullah entered the quarters of the Emirate in Kufah, that is, the house of ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib and said: "O Amir of the Believers, there are forty Jews at the door." To this, ^Aliyy replied: "Let them in." When they entered, they said to ^Aliyy: "Describe your Lord for us, the One Who is in the sky. How is He? How was He? When was He? On what is He?" ^Aliyy sat up and said: "You Jews, hear me out and you would not have to ask anyone else. My Lord, the Exalted, is al-'Awwal (i.e., the One Whose Existence is without a beginning). He is not from anything, nor mixed with anything, nor deluded about, nor a person that would be sought, nor is veiled, thus contained, nor did He exist after He had not been existing." And he said: "Allah spoke to Moses without limbs or instruments or lips nor uvulas.............. He who claims that our God is limited, then he is ignorant about the Creator Who is worshipped."
Praise be to Allah. We clear Allah of all non-befitting attributes, and Allah knows best.
By the generosity of Allah, the translation of this creed of Shaykh Fakhrud-Din Ibn ^Asakir was accomplished this night of 24 Jumadal 'Akhirah 1414 AH in the city of Philadelphia in the United States of America. To Allah belong the generosities and the commendations.
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