Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Safeguarding Faith (Iman)

People of wisdom state:With the approach of Doomsday, darkness gathers. As darkness increases, so does people's bumping against one another; everybody bumps against one another. What turns daylight into darkness is the gloom of unlawful things [harams], religious innovations [bida'], and disbelief [kufr]. It is such that Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani, speaking in reference to his own time, said centuries ago, "Religious innovations have become so prevalent that the world has darkened." What caused the world to get dark at that time was religious innovations. As for the time period close to Doomsday [Akhir az-Zaman, Last Age, Last Era], what causes the world to get dark is the gloom of disbelief.

What is meant by one-tenth that is mentioned in the hadith-i sharif "If my Ummah of the Last Age perform one-tenth of the commandments, they will attain salvation" is to safeguard the faith and die with the correct faith. Those who accomplish this will attain salvation because the greatest disaster in the Last Age is to die faithless. People who die without faith will go to eternal Hell. Today, lawful [halal] and unlawful [haram] things have become so mixed that the majority of people do not know what is lawful. But the truth is that whoever takes a haram lightly loses his/her faith. As a matter of fact, our Master the Prophet stated, "The biggest trouble of my Ummah that will come in the Last Age will be to protect and save their faith. Their biggest disaster will be to lose their faith." Acts of worship cannot rescue us, but they are highly valuable as they help us protect our faith. It resembles this: Let us say a fierce storm has broken. In order to protect a candle against this storm lest it should burn out, it is necessary to put it within 20 or 30 glass globes placed one inside the other. A candle that is left in the open burns out quickly. Therefore, people need to do more acts of worship and have much more sincerity in the Last Age to save their faith. Interestingly enough, it was not so difficult to save one's faith in the past, for there was not such a storm in those days. The candle was still burning even if there was not a glass globe surrounding it. Everywhere was in tranquility, so candles were burning without going out. Furthermore, there were many candles. As there is no light today, disbelief and harams have become normal practice, which is a very dangerous situation. Considerably worse days will come, and increasingly, the situation will deteriorate further.

Dying sinful is a great felicity compared with dying a disbeliever because the sinful will attain salvation sooner or later. Acting on the hadith-i sharifs "I will intercede for those with grave sins" and "Die with faith, and do not interfere in the rest," we should strive to save our faith. This, in turn, is fulfilled by having the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah, avoiding what is prohibited, and performing acts of worship. To be able to safeguard our faith, we should recite the prayer, "Allahumma inni a'oodhu bika min an-ushrika bika shay-an wa ana a'lamu wa astaghfiru-ka li-maa laa-a'lamu innaka anta 'allaamul ghuyoob," which was prescribed by our Master the Prophet, in the mornings and in the evenings. It means "O my Allah, I take refuge in You from ascribing any partners to You knowingly. If I did it unknowingly, forgive me. You know everything." Repeating the statement "La ilaha ill-Allah Muhammadun Rasul-Allah," we should frequently renew our faith. Also, steering clear of words and actions that cause disbelief, we should endeavor to protect our faith. May Allahu ta'ala keep us all from the disaster of disbelief and falling into faithlessness!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our nafs is not a creator

Question: In the books of Ahl as-Sunnah, on the one hand it is written that both good and evil are from Allah, but on the other hand it is written that humans are responsible for the sins they commit. Is it not a contradiction? Is it not our nafs that creates sins?

ANSWERThere is no contradiction in our religion. The Creator of everything is Allahu ta'ala alone. There is not any other creator. Our nafs (a negative force within humans that prompts them to do evil) cannot create anything. To consider the nafs as the creator is the view of the Mu'tazilah. Our nafs is not even an accountable creature unlike humans and genies. When a human dies, his/her nafs will be annihilated. How wrong it is to call a thing creator that is not even held liable and is doomed to annihilation! One of the six fundamentals of faith is to believe that both good and evil are from Allah. A person who does not believe in this cannot be a Muslim.

Ahl as-Sunnah scholars, inheritors of the Messenger of Allah, state:

Allahu ta'ala is the one who always creates, trains, and develops everything, who causes every favor to be done, and who sends every favor. He alone is the owner of strength and power. Unless He gives us thought, nobody can will or desire to do good or evil. After man receives the thought, he can will to do something, but unless Allah wills and gives strength and opportunity to that thought, nobody can do one bit of kindness or evil to anybody. He creates everything that man wants if He wills it. Only what He wills happens. He sends us the thoughts of doing good or evil for various reasons. When His born servants (men) whom He pities wish to do evil, He does not will and create it. When they wish to do good, He, too, wills and creates it. Goodness always arises from such people. He, too, wills to create the evil wills of His enemies, with whom He is angry. Since these evil people do not wish to do something virtuous, evils always arise from them.

In other words, all people are a means, a tool. They are like the pen in the writer’s hand. Only using their partial will that has been bestowed upon them, those who will goodness earn blessings, while those willing evil to be created become sinful. Allahu ta’ala willed in pre-eternity to create the optional deeds of people through their will power.

Our nafs causes us to commit evil
While it is our nafs that causes us to commit evil, is it true to say, "Both good and evil are from Allah"?

In terms of causing it, of course evil is from the nafs. However, in terms of creating it, both good and evil are from Allah. The nafs desires evil and causes it, and Allahu ta'ala creates it. That is, it is Allah who creates and wills evil, too. A fly cannot move its wing unless He wills and creates it. Every adversity that befalls us takes place by Allah's will and creation. Our nafs is not a creator. It cannot create either good or evil. It is Allahu ta'ala alone who creates everything. The Qur'an al-karim says (what means):

(The Creator of everything is Allah.) [Az-Zumar 62; Al-Mu'min 62]

(It is Allah who creates you and what you do.) [As-Saffat 96]

(Your Lord creates what He wants, chooses what He wills. They do not have the right to choose.) [Al-Qasas 68]

If a servant deserves a disaster, Allahu ta'ala sends it to him/her. As a matter of fact, a Qur'anic verse says:

(Any disaster that befalls you is because of what you commit with your own hands, yet Allah forgives most of them.)
[Ash-Shura 30]
(This means to say that disasters are being sent because of our sins, but the Sender is Allah. It is declared in this verse that Allah forgives most of them. That is, the One who sends disasters is He, and He forgives most of them.)

(Whatever good comes to you comes from Allah [as a grace of His]. Whatever evil befalls you comes from yourself [in return for your sins].) [An-Nisa' 79]

As is seen, this Qur'anic verse says that evil befalls us because of our sins, but it is Allahu ta'ala who creates evil. The verse preceding the above one says that evil, too, is created by Allah. The meaning of this verse is as follows:
(If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil reaches them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “All things are from Allah.”) [An-Nisa' 78]

It is a condition of faith to believe that it is Allah who creates both good and evil. A hadith-i sharif says:
(A person who does not believe that qadar, good, and evil are from Allah is not a Believer.) [Tirmidhi]

Of the ahl al-bid'ah (people of innovation), some reject qadar, and some reject the fact that good and evil are from Allahu ta'ala. There are people who reduce fundamentals of faith to less than six or who increase them to seven. Moreover, there are even people who say that there is no such thing as the fundamentals of Islam. This stems from the disease of blaming the early scholars and thus trying to rise by treading on them, which is a very abominable act. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif that it is a sign of Doomsday for upstarts to blame the scholars who lived in the past with a view to make reform in the religion. Our Master the Prophet stated, "Scholars are the inheritors of the Messenger of Allah." Does blaming the scholars of old, who are the inheritors of the Messenger of Allah, not sadden the Messenger of Allah, the owner of inheritors? One must recover from the disease of blaming the early scholars.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Both Good and Evil Are from Allah

Question: A man says, "Good is from Allah, but evil is not from Him. Humans themselves create evil. People, however, included the belief that evil is from Allah in the Amantu [formula of faith] as well, though there is no such thing in the Qur'anic verses or Prophetic sayings." Please explain this topic with Qur'anic verses and traditions.

ANSWERThat both good and evil are from Allah is clearly stated in the Qur'an al-karim and hadith-i sharifs. All Islamic scholars to date, without exception, said that good and evil are from Allah. The belief that evil is not from Allah is the view held by the followers of Christianity, the Mu'tazilah, and some heretical sects. No Ahl as-Sunnah scholar stated that evil was not from Allah because no scholar can say anything against the Qur'an al-karim and hadith-i sharifs. Humans cannot create their own qadar. As a matter of fact, the Qur'an al-karim says (what means):

(If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil befalls them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “All things are from Allah.” What is wrong with these people that they do not understand any word?)
[An-Nisa' 78]

(We decreed that the wife of Lut should undergo torment.)
[Al-Hijr 60] (That is, We wrote her such a bad qadar.)

(Those for whom We decreed a good end [those whose qadar is good] will be kept away from Hell.) [Al-Anbiya' 101]

(If Allah were hasty in sending evil to the people, as they are hasty in seeking good, all of them would certainly have been ruined. However, We leave those who do not expect to meet Us wandering in their transgression.)
[Yunus 11]

(Your Lord creates what He wants, chooses what He wills. They do not have the right to choose.) [Al-Qasas 68]

(It is Allah who creates you and what you do.) [As-Saffat 96]

(The Creator of everything is Allah.) [Az-Zumar 62; Al-Mu'min 62]

Hadrat Qadi Baydawi, the greatest of mufassirun (those who make a tafsir of the Qur'an al-karim), explained this verse as follows:
"It is Allahu ta'ala alone who creates good and evil, belief and disbelief, and everything. All things are at His disposal."

Our Master the Prophet clarified the Qur'anic verses about faith and stated:
(Iman [faith] is to believe in Allah, angels, books, prophets, the Day of Resurrection [that is, Paradise, Hell, the Reckoning, and the Balance], qadar, that good and evil are from Allah, death, and the Resurrection after death. It is to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am His servant and messenger.) [Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai]

(Allahu ta'ala said: "Whoever believes in Me but does not believe in qadar and that good and evil are by My preordainment, let him look for another Lord besides Me.")

(A person is not considered a Believer unless he believes that good and evil are from Allah.) [Tirmidhi]

As is seen, it is Allah and His Messenger who included the belief "Good and evil are from Allah" in the Amantu. The deviant sect called the Jabriyyah, looking at these verses, said, "It is Allah who makes us commit sins. We are not responsible for the sins." Of course this is wrong, too. According to Ahl as-Sunnah, humans have partial will (al-iradah al-juz'iyyah), and they are responsible for the sins they commit.

Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani declares:
Belief and disbelief, good and evil, guidance and aberration, obedience and sins are all by the creation, preordainment, and will of Allahu ta'ala. He has linked rewards and sins to the deeds of humans. He has left humans to their free will and made punishment and rewards dependent on the use of free will, which is termed kasb (acquirement). Kasb is from humans, and creating it is from Allah. Kasb is those actions we do with our own free will.

Just as Allahu ta'ala's knowing in the eternal past what He would create does not cancel His attribute will, so His knowing in the eternal past what humans would do does not prevent them from having free will and option.

The reason why Allahu ta'ala has laid down commandments and prohibitions is that humans have been given kasb (the heart's option and partial free will in their actions). If kasb had not been bestowed upon them, these commandments and prohibitions would have been unnecessary (never!). The promises of torment and blessings would have been wrong (never!). And prophets' and holy books' being sent would have been altogether out of place (never!). As it is seen, the purpose of the above-mentioned man is to eradicate the religions.

Allahu ta'ala definitely knows everythingWe have proved above with Qur'anic verses and Prophetic sayings the fact that good and evil are from Allah. Now we will give answers to the following assertion: "If Allah knows whether people will go to Paradise or Hell, then why does He hold them responsible? If He knows where we will go, why did He send us the great Qur'an? Why did He enjoin us commandments and prohibitions? There is no such thing as qadar. Everybody shapes his/her own qadar."

The answers to all these assertions exist in the Qur'an al-karim, and Islamic scholars explained them.

To start with, let us ask this:
Does Allah not know whether a person will go to Paradise or Hell? Can the one who does not know it be a god? How can so many verses existing in the Qur'an be denied? Following the usual strategy "Just throw mud. If it does not stick, it will leave a mark," he is talking through his hat in the hope that he may trap some unwary people.

Who creates evil?
It is written in Maktubat-i Rabbani:

Hadrat Imam-i A'zam asked Hadrat Imam-i Ja'far-i Sadiq:
"Has Allahu left humans' optional deeds to their wish?"
"No, He does not leave His rububiyyah [greatness of creating and doing whatever He wants] to His weak servants," he said in response.

"Then does He make His servants do deeds by force?" he asked.
"He is just. He does not compel His servants to commit sins and then put them into Hell," he responded.
"Then who is doing the optional deeds of humans?" he inquired.
"He neither forces them nor leaves them to their wish. It is something between these two. He does not leave creating something to His servants nor forces them," he elucidated.

Abd al-Jabbar Hamadani, a follower of the Mu'tazilah, asked Abu Ishaq Isfaraini, an Ahl as-Sunnah scholar:
"Allah does not will evils and sins; He does not create them. Are these things not created by the Devil?"
"All the good things, evil things, and everything are created by Allah. No one other than He can create anything," he said.

"Does Allah ever will disobedience to Himself?" he asked.
"Could the servants ever be disobedient to Him by force if Allahu ta'ala did not will and create disbelief and sins? Servants use their partial will and wish to commit disbelief, sins, and evils. And Allah creates their wishes, if He wills to do so," was his answer.

"If Allah did not will guidance for a servant, though he/she wants it, would He not be harming him/her?" he asked.
"He does not will not to give a servant's right, but He may not will to take His own right. He will reward for the tiniest goodness done. He forgives most of the sins except for disbelief. As for the question why He wills disbelief, Allahu ta'ala has knowledge, and He knows everything that will happen in the future. He is Hakeem; whatsoever He does and makes, it is always the best that can ever be done and made. He guides whomever He wills to the true way of salvation. He leaves in aberration a servant about whom He has knowledge that he will not renounce it. A Qur'anic verse says:
(He leaves to stray whom He wills and guides whom He wills.) [Fatir 8]

Allahu ta'ala creates good and evil after humans will them. The will power of man is a cause for His creation. When Believers will faith and obedience through their partial will, Allahu ta'ala wills and creates them. When disbelievers will disbelief and sinners will sins, He creates them if He wills to do so. Nothing comes into existence only with the will of servants. It exists if He, too, wills. A fly cannot move its wing unless Allah wills it to move it. All the good and evil deeds of people happen by His will. When a human wills to do something, it does not take place if He does not will it to take place. Something He does not will to exist does not exist. If it existed after all, it would mean some drawbacks in His power. However, Allahu ta'ala is omnipotent.