Download - Zero Education presents: Concise Intro. To Islamic Studies.

Page 1: Zero Education presents: Concise Intro. To Islamic Studies.

Zero Education presents:

Concise Intro. To Islamic Studies.

Page 2: Zero Education presents: Concise Intro. To Islamic Studies.

Contents.1. Legal Theory and Practice2. Classical Theology/Related Concepts.3. Epistemology and Scholarship4. Prophetic Statements / Hadith Science5. Quranic Studies6. Islamic Ethics.7. Islamic History 8. History of Islamic Spiritual Orders9. Biographical Information: Key Figures in Islamic Thought and History10. Understanding the Modern Situation11. Eschatology

Page 3: Zero Education presents: Concise Intro. To Islamic Studies.

Law, Legal Theory and Practice.

• Laws are the facts and principles that govern reality and illustrate the way justice is inherent in the way things have been created. The verse, “No soul is burdened with more than it can bear” is an example of a law. Laws are principles which we notice in existence, and they illustrate justice. Justice is the essence of law. It may also be said that laws ensure justice, and that the purpose of laws is to ensure justice. In this sense, laws are written in to the code of reality, they are part of reality, and they cannot be moved or altered. Allah has created these laws and none can change them. To ‘follow the law’ simply means to act in harmony with the self evident rules of existence to ensure success and prevent conflict or failure. These laws are different from ‘rules’ or ‘injunctions’, which will be explained later.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.

• The laws we are talking about here, such as “the key to knowledge is contemplation”, or “Allah does not oppress His servants” can be termed as ‘Islamic law’ also, and through the lens of reality, these universal laws are the primary ‘Islamic law’, therefore, anyone who wants success or gains it, effectively has to follow ‘Islamic law’ which is the body of laws which governs the universe at all times, regardless of whether humans and animals are aware of them or not. Whenever revelation came, the primary purpose was to awaken people to these laws. The learning of these laws and how to work in accordance with them is the purpose of Islamic spirituality, known as ihsan, or tasawwuf- the third component of Islam.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.

• This aspect of ‘Islamic law’ was given to all Prophets comprehensively. Those who were called Messengers, were superior because of their possession of the other aspect of ‘Islamic law’, which is sharia, which is knowledge of specific ‘rules’ or ‘injunctions’ which were an extension of the ‘universal’ Islamic law, and these were regarding things to be believed in by necessity (daruriyat ad din) and actions to absolutely fulfil and actions to be absolutely abstained from (umur wan-nawahi), commands and prohibitions. It is clear to see the difference between ‘laws’ and ‘rules’ now. Laws are universally accepted, self evident facts, and ‘rules’ are thoughts and actions which we are commanded to adhere to deriving from these universal laws. The second part of law, beliefs and commandments/prohibitions is commonly referred to also as ‘law’, ‘Islamic law’, or sharia, and this package of information given to elite Prophets known as Messengers distinguished them from all other Prophets, and there were only 313 to receive such knowledge out of a potential 124,000 prophets, give or take a few.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.

• This means that the first laws, i.e. the spiritual laws governing the universe, which is commonly learned in Sufism, or tasawwuf is not as exalted as sharia, which are necessary commandments and beliefs which derive from those eternal laws. The Messengers are superior because of their possession of sharia, therefore sharia is superior to tariqa (Spiritual rules).. However, following the sharia without understanding the ‘universal laws’ is empty and devoid of real benefit. Human progress and transformation is achieved by successfully combining both. The second component of law, known as sharia also consists of two parts: one is beliefs, the other is actions. This still holds true today, as following the external rules derived from the ‘universal laws’ is futile when you do not carry the necessary beliefs which derive from the ‘universal laws’. Deviant groups hypocritically follow the external rules while ignoring the intellectual rules and the universal laws.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.

• Laws cannot be changed and are eternal, rules can be changed, bent or broken, depending on what kind of rules they are. Rules are generally of two kinds, progressive and regressive. Progressive rules are the sharia which derive from universal laws which govern existence, and benefit our harmony with them, and are commandments from the creator of the universal laws. Regressive rules are fake rules doctored by humans originating from the desires of their lower selves, often made out of insecurity, tyranny ,greed or fear. Universal laws and the rules that derive from them are all we need to follow for success, fake rules need not be obeyed, and if they are broken, it is of no consequence to us. If we are pursuing the universal laws, i.e. justice, and the purpose of these laws is justice, and a tyrannous establishment has fake rules which prevent us from seeking justice, it is of no universal consequence that we ignore them.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.

• What is the structure of Islamic law?• Islamic law is structured into ‘Roots/Branches/Commands’.• Roots are the principles based on which the law is derived, there are many

principles which deal with making the law more flexible.• Branches are the side issues which are ruled upon based on the principles.• Commands [hukm] are the legal status of those individual actions, this is another

subtle aspect of the law which makes it more flexible.• Ranges of commands: Commands range from haram- absolutely prohibited to

fard- absolutely obligatory.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.

• Specific grades in between are:• Makruh tahriman: Disliked to the extent of prohibition.• Makruh tanzihan: Disliked to a lesser degree.• Khilaf al Awla: ‘Contrary to the most superior option’.• Mubah: Permissible, neither commendable nor punishable. A neutral grade.• Wajib: Practice deemed obligatory by proofs which are not categorical.• Sunnah Muakkaada: Recommended prophetic practice, omission of which is

disliked.• Sunna Ghayr Muakkadah: Prophetic practice whose performance is permissible

but not emphasised to any great degree.• Mustahab: Recommended, no punishment for its omission.

The grade of a particular action depends on the source that proves its legal status. Different beliefs and actions are given different legal status due to the evidence they are substantiated by, and different jurists present different arguments for each action.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.

• Certain Islamic legal tools/principles:• “Evidence of permissibility is in absence of prohibition”, i.e. in order to prohibit

something, decisive proof is needed, but in order to consider something as permissible, no Sharia proof is required, such as celebration of milad.

• “The basis of all judgements is permissibility”, i.e. all matters and affairs are initially judged through the perspective of neutrality before a specific Sharia hukm is applied by the Mufti to grade that action within the Islamic legal category.

• “Previously impermissible things become valid in state of need/duress” [ad-darurat tabih al mahzurat].

• Another principle is connected with Sufism that adds an extra dimension to legal rulings which is “hasanat al abrar sayyiat al muqarribeen” [The good deeds of the upright are sins for the elite”], which has various implications, one of which is that a legal ruling can change according to the spiritual state/psychological mindframe of an individual, this is the zone where Sharia [law] and Sufism mix. Things like music fall into this category in certain texts.

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• Using the legal material of the classical legal textbooks does not constitute any restriction on movement within the boundary of Islamic law.

• Classical principle: Actions upon which there is no previous judgement can be judged within the context of ‘Positive innovation’ vs. ‘Negative innovation’, these are judged by jurists in relation to the objectives of Islam.

• Objectives of Islamic law were written upon by Ibn Taymiyya, al Ghazali, more famously, the Andalusian jurist Shatibi. He defined the objectives of Sharia to be 1) Property, 2) Religion, 3) The individual, 4) Intellect, 5) Progeny.

• Innovation/movement in the law are actively pursued within the classical tradition through the specific avenues of istihsan, maslaha, istislah, qiyas khafi, darura, urf, takhayyur/talfiq and bid’a mubaha.

Law, Legal Theory and Practice.

‘Objectives of the Sharia’

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.Key Terminology/Tools

• Tools:• Istihsan: Juristic preference, i.e. the ability of the jurist to choose a fatwa according to

circumstance.• Siyasa shar’iyya: The ability of the Sultan to veto legal rulings from jurists.• Maslaha/istislah: Public welfare, a tool for selecting types of fatawa according to

public interest.• Qiyas khafi: Subtle analogy, using a previous precedent within existing fatawa to

decide upon a situation that is new, but not actually classed as ijtihad on a completely new issue.

• Darura: Necessity, a condition which necessitates alleviation of certain injunctions.• Urf: Customs, certain practices which derive from culture or custom upon which

Sharia legal analysis is not exercised out of courtesy.• takhayyur/talfiq: Juristic selection of different fatawa from different schools of jurists

to facilitate ease versus deliberate selection of various fatawa on one issue in order to decrease its legal status, frowned upon in juristic circles.

• bid’a mubaha: Permissible innovation, neither disliked nor commendable.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.Key Terminology/Tools

• Key Elements:• -Qadi (heard cases informally),• Court System (argued by Coulson to be the centre of Islamic legal administration and thus

deciding factor in implementation of justice, rather than law books), • Mufti (responsible for forming legal verdicts from existing legal material for the Qadi to judge

with),• Mazalim (Representative of the Ruler’s law, holds authority above Qadi and thus Sharia,

representing Qanun of the Sultan with ability to supplement Sharia due to Siyasa Shar’iyya.), • Muhtasib (deals with cases below dignity of Qadi, in charge of enforcing morality and basic legal

obligations upon people, like a morality officer),• Legally Upright Witness (adil: key factor in deciding of legal cases, the victory or loss of an

individual largely rested on technical requirements of legal procedure rather than natural evidence)• Siyasa Shar’iyya (doctrine which shaped formation of Islamic law during post classical period

whereby Sultan had authority of Ijtihad Mutlaq).• Qanun: First formed in 15th century under Sultan Bayazid, codifying existing system of taxation and

land tariffs, not intended to supercede Sharia, contained notions of Sharia and recorded instances of Shar’I rules show that it considered itself subservient to Sharia rulings, however Sultan maintained authority over both.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.Key Terminology/Tools

• -Fiqh: “understanding”, “jurisprudence”, “substantive law”. [“Knowledge of that which is due on ones self as an obligation and that which is the right of every man to himself.”]

• -Usul al Fiqh, “principles[roots] of Islamic jurisprudence”; “the sources and methodology of norm derivation”, “Islamic legal theory”.

• -Furu al Fiqh, “branches of jurisprudence”; hukm= ruling. Ahkam ash Sharia= “Rulings of Islamic law”.• -Qadi= “judge”; qada = “judgement”. Mufti= “juris-consult”, fatwa= “juristic opinion”.• -Dalil (pl. adillah)= “legal evidence”/ “legal indicators”.• -Mukallaf= “legally capable person”; “legally responsible person”.• -Ijtihad= “independent legal reasoning”; “process of legal deduction”, “search for correct conduct”, “interpretive

efforts”• -Taqlid= “imitation”, “legal conformism”, “following of a juristic view by a layperson”.• -Mujtahid= “independent jurist capable of deduction of verdicts”, “elite jurist”.• -Qanun= “legal code”, “regulations”, “positive law”, “codified law”.• -Taqnin= “codification”.• -Tashri = “legislation”.• -Masadir= “sources”• -Dawabit= “foundations”.• - Turuq= “methods”.• -Qawaid= “principles”.• -Qarina= “circumstantial evidence”.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.Summary

• The original prophetic movement did not start by enforcing the Five Pillars, turban/miswak/beard, dhikr, nikah, or the Hijab, or imposing Prophetic rule on other communities, but by revolting against corrupt practice prevalent in society, and addressing spiritual and mental concerns of people according to need and circumstance.

• The Makkan period was concerned with communicating information against corrupt and egoistic social/personal tendencies, and opposing the existing political system, i.e. the hegemony of the Quraysh Clan. This was a 20 year period, the Madinan period was centred on law and organising the state, this was only ten years.

• The original prophetic laws were a) gradual and evolved according to the needs of circumstance, i.e. abrogation and b) did not enforce anything alien to the minds of people, but only confirmed options that were already in the minds of the Prophet, his associates, and other members of society.

• Islamic legal method looks at Quranic injunctions that are a) abrogated, b)literal/figurative (haqiqa wa’l majaz) and c) general and specific (amm wa khass).

• Islamic legal principles also look at each action in relation to legal status ranging from Fard (Obligatory), Wajib (Necessary), Sunnah (prophetic practice- regarded as either emphasised or non emphasised), Mubah (permissible), Makruh (ranging between tanzihi and tahrimi, mildly disliked and disliked to the extent of prohibition), Isa’ah (between Makruh Tahrimi and Haram), Khilaf al Awla (contrary to, or less prudent than the best option).

• The nature of Islamic legal injunctions are governed only according to the five basic principles that encompass the essence of Quranic injunctions, as defined by the jurist Shatibi: faith, property, offspring, intellect, and the individual. Any injunctions that are made contrary to these are not serving the Islamic purpose and are rejected.

• The sources of legislation are 1) The Quran, 2) the Prophetic practice, 3) Consensus, 4) Analogy, 5) Prevalent practice, 6) Intuition.• The status of an action may change according to the effect that it has on the spiritual state of an individual, the scholars of Sufism state, “the

good deeds of the righteous can be sins for the ones near to the divine presence”. Thus the laws are potentially relative.• The extent of application of Islamic law is either a) individual practice (i.e. of the five pillars), b) family (inheritance, wills, divorce/marriage) c)

trade (i.e. ethical transactions). This is the extent to which an individual may desire the implementation of the laws of Islam in our time.• This area deals with aspects of general, daily living, and whether they are permissible or forbidden for an individual.• As for a larger scale of application, such as the Economic system, or the Political System, it is enough for the individual that a particular state

allows for freedom of religion, because it means he is not being forced towards evil. Islamic law acknowledges the legitimacy of every leader except if he forces his subjects towards transgression and oppression of others.

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Law, Legal Theory and Practice.Stimuli

• “The science of law is knowledge of the self: that which is your right and that which you owe to others.” -Abu Hanifa.

• “Every people has its own way of worship, administration of household, economic and state politics. If a prophet were to appear in a people, he would not completely throw off their customs and systems, and establish instead new ones. He could, however, discriminate among the current customs. Whatever would be found in accordance with the rules and in harmony with Gods pleasure would be left untouched, and whatever would be seen as contrary to that would undergo necessary changes.”

• “As far as reminding people of Gods blessings upon the obedient and of His punishment for the disobedient is concerned, it is also done in a way with which they are familiar. And on that account have the laws of the Prophets differed. An example of this difference is like the difference found in the treatment by a physician. When he treats two patients, he gives to one a cold medicine and also suggests a cold diet, and to the other he recommends a hot medicine and a hot diet. The intention of the physician in both cases is one and the same, that is, to reform the constitution and remove what is harmful, nothing else. It is quite likely he may prescribe a different kind of medicine and diet for the people of a particular country according to its customs and systems, and in differing seasons he may hit upon a different plan in view of their conditions. Similarly when the real physician (God) desired to treat the patients suffering from spiritual malady and to strengthen the power of their angelic faculty and remove the cause of injury, the course of His treatment differed according to the differences of the people’s customs and according to what was popular and acceptable in that age.” – Shah Waliallah on Islamic Law [from ‘Principles of Tafisr’, p.13].

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• In a fashion which is typical of traditional Sunni creed formulations we can understand the necessary boundaries within which our understanding of God falls:

• He is One and indivisible, and He is unique in all His attributes.• He existed before space and time, when nothing else existed and He will

continue existing infinitely when all the creation is non-existent.• Regarding understanding Allah, the following points should be considered:

the attributes of Allah and false beliefs regarding Allah• He is the Ultimate Being in existence, His is the original existence, all other

existence is subsidiary to His existence.• He possesses only attributes of perfection, anything that possesses

deficiencies cannot be called Allah.• Everything is under His power and there is nothing which His power does

not overcome.

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• He is not in need of anything.• Now that it is known that he is not in need of anything, it should be known that He

did not create creation out of any deficiency. By worshipping, we thus interact with the Ultimate deity in the universe by interacting we go through positive change, if He is ultimate existence, we then experience ultimate existence through God. He created us to exist with Him in the best way and that is the meaning of life.

• His essential attributes: Eternal Living [hayat] , Infinite Power [qudra], Absolute Creation [takwin], Absolute Will [irada], Absolute Knowledge [ilm], All Hearing [sam’], Absolute Vision [basr].

• All the other attributes of Allah mentioned in the Quran are descriptive of these essential attributes.

• He does not only have 99 attributes but rather He has endless names and attributes, each of which are subtly different from the next. These attributes are varied and vast and all of creation are interacting with these attributes, some divine pleasure and some divine wrath.

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• He is not some sky-god or one god from a pantheon of lesser gods whom He defeated in battle, but there was only Him from the very beginning.

• He is not just a higher power whom we ask for help in tough situations and then He goes away.

• He is not composed of atoms or parts, nor does He possess a body or parts.

• He is independent from his creation, they do not affect Him, neither their worship increases His kingdom, nor does their disobedience decrease it, it is inconsequential to Him, He existed when nothing existed.

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Theology [Stimuli]

• Fazlur Rahman, ‘Islam’: “A concept of God, the absolute author of the universe, is developed where the attributes of creativity, order, and mercy are not merely conjoined or added to one another, but interpenetrate completely. To Him belong creativity and ‘ordering’ or ‘commanding’ (7:54). ‘My Mercy encompasses everything’ (7:156). Indeed, the ‘Merciful’ is the only adjectival name of God which is very frequently used in the Quran as a substantive name of God besides Allah. It is of course, true, as modern research has revealed, that Rahman was used as name for the deity in South Arabia before Islam, but this fact of historical transportation from the South is obviously irrelevant from our point of view. “If we leave out man, for the time being, i.e. his specific spiritual-moral constitution, and consider the rest of the entire created universe, the interpretation of these three ultimate attributes is that God creates everything, and that in the very act of this creation order or ‘command’ (Amr) is ingrained in things whereby they cohere and fall into a pattern, and rather than ‘go astray’ from the ordained path, evolve into a cosmos; that, finally, all this is nothing but the sheer mercy of God for, after all, existence is not the absolute desert of anything, and in the place of existence there could just as well be pure, empty nothingness.

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• The basic point is that humans have the ability to control their own thoughts and actions (irada Juz’iyya) – Irada Juziyya is like “partial free will”, meaning, regarding the power and decisions made and used in the universe, Allah has bestowed some ability for humans to also partake in this area.

• By partial free will it is meant, there are rules and laws governing the universe. And there is a Will involved in everything that happens. Humans have been given a segment of this Will to think and act in accordance with the Grand Will running throughout the Universe. So to fulfil the purpose of being bestowed this ability, one must re-align themselves to the original willpower.

• Partial free will progresses to total free will, that happens when a person’s desires are in unison with the divine will, then, whatever that person wishes to take place, comes into being, Obviously this does not take place when he wishes for base, selfish or evil aims.

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• Human beings have partial free will. They are able to think and act. It is partial in the sense that human beings do not control everything and cannot attribute the source of power to themselves, but they have the ability to like something or to choose to do something, and then the power to carry that out is bestowed by the Creator. Every time they choose to use their partial free will, power is bestowed for the fulfilment of those actions by the creator. The power that allows us to carry out any action does not originate from us.

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• When a human does something and Allah knows, this does not mean Jabar (compulsion) is involved just because everything humans can do is encompassed in His knowledge. We have no restrictions upon our actions and we shape our own destinies through our choices, and Allah is aware of everything that we are going to do. We were not all Prophets for the reason that not all of us would have chosen to do that, those who would have chosen, became Prophets. Therefore, we all do exactly what we ourselves would have chosen to do. The reason why an evil person today is not surrounded by blessings is because he would never have been interested, this is proven by the fact that if you offer him any of those blessings now, he would reject them. If you meet someone who is not a scholar, you can see if he would ever learn knowledge by suggesting it to him, when you see he is not interested, you will see why he has not been granted knowledge.

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• Also, having been granted this power also does not now qualify them as worthy of worship. They have not become the source and centre of power just because they of their ability to operate within the sphere of will and possessing the crucial characteristic of the human species.

• How predestination does not work: It is just Allah doing everything, using humans as puppets, who have no control over their lives. This is called jabr, compulsion, and is disbelief. How predestination does work: Humans shape their entire lives with the choices they make, they will their actions and Allah provides them with the power to carry them out, and it is all in the knowledge of Allah. His knowledge of their actions do not stop them from carrying them out. You can tell if something is ‘fated’ when it seems to go in accordance with something you wished for to take place, or if you have tried your best in a situation, and then the outcome reveals itself, this outcome was fated, because you tried your best to succeed in that situation. You cannot say an outcome was fated if you have not taken the necessary steps to ensure success, that is just ‘what happened’ and is also fate, but it is a compromise. Another word for fate is the will of Allah.

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• Scholars have explained that there are two types of Qada' (Allah’s Decrees):

a. those that are known as absolute decrees;

b. and those that are known as conditional decrees.

The absolute decrees do not change, but the conditional one may change if and when the conditions are fulfilled. Such decrees are based on the fulfilment of causes, as well as supplication. However, it is important to keep in mind that every thing is in the pre-existent knowledge of Allah. The knowledge of Allah does not change, but the conditional decrees may change. It is stated in the Koran: “God effaces what He will, and establishes what He will, and with Him is the source of ordinance." (‘The Thunder’: verse 39)

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Common misunderstandings:

• “If God knows we do evil why doesn’t he stop us”.

• Why get excited about your free will if you are not prepared to carry the responsibility? It is a futile question. We are responsible for our own

actions, we have been given guidance, it is our responsible to follow it, it is not His job to stop us from evil acts that we ourselves wish to commit.

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Common misunderstandings:

• “Since all power comes from Allah he is essentially the root of my bad actions/thought, so in essence He did it/is for blame”.

• Your thought comes from your own mind, He is not in your mind. If you choose bad actions/thoughts with your heart, it is yours, not God’s.

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Common misunderstandings:

• “God has all power, free will of humans is an illusion”.

• When you act, you feel you are acting, you do not feel someone else is acting through you. The power of God which allows us to act is a subtle energy, this is so

that we should feel our acts truly belong to us, that is because they do- the essence of our actions are the intention made in the heart, other than that, the

rest is meaningless in relation. The essence of the action is the intention, and God’s power only comes in when our intentions manifest themselves physically.

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Common misunderstandings:

• “If God wants good for humans why does he not intervene when we are about to do something bad, why does he let us?”.

• Isn’t this whole article about the fact that you have free will and predestination does not exist? How can you deny that God grants us the power to act, and then

when you choose to do evil, blame it on Him? Free will is between the two extremes that God is using us as puppets, and that all power originates in us.

Power originates with Him, and we are the ones who decide what we do.

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Common misunderstandings:

• “Not all human beings in the world have the same amount of free will because the effect of my actions are not the same as the effect of xyz’s


• You all have the same potential free will, it has no relation to the effect of your actions, what matters is your attitude, timing, and circumstance.

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Common misunderstandings:

• “Why does God will for evil things to happen if he doesn’t like them”

His ‘willing’ them to happen should not be understood linguistically. Evil people will for evil things to take place, and Allah lets them do that, his ‘willing’ it means that little bit of power He lends to people

when they will to do things, it is nothing more than that. Far from the truth is it that He actually ‘wants’ those evil people to commit those acts. It is established that His ‘will’, is simply that power which he lends to all creatures to act, His ‘wanting’ something or His ‘pleasure’ is another matter entirely. All

things fall under the ‘will’ of Allah, only those things which are the best course of action in any situation are the ‘pleasure/agreement’ of Allah, you can be sure about those things and that they are what He

desires. The fact that you asked this question shows that your understanding of Allah is less than that of an ancient, cosmic, supernatural supreme force, and more of a ‘persona’ being, like Christians, who believe that Jesus is God, so when they refer to God, they are actually referring to Jesus, and thus it actually makes sense to them when people ask the question, ““Why does God will for evil things to happen if he doesn’t like them”. This makes sense because you are talking about a physical person

when you refer to God, but to a Muslim, this question would never make sense, since they understand God as the supreme force in the universe, and it goes without saying that there is no contradiction in

his action, thus their knowledge of Him renders such questions as useless and unnecessary.

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Common misunderstandings:

• The verse: “And you do not will for something to happen except unless Allah, Lord of all the Worlds, also wills it”, is intended towards rebellious men who have a slightly satanic view of absolute free will, who have not achieved unity with the divine will and made it their own, nor do they understand the metaphysics behind actions and their relation to the divine will, but act out of pride and arrogance. For them, this verse is a warning.

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“Why do bad things happen to good people”.

• Being a good person does not mean that your life is devoid of tribulation. Your question simply shows that there is a lot of despair in your thought, and less knowledge/understanding. Bad things can happen to good people for any number of reasons. Say a good person follows an incorrect course of action, he is going to fail and feel the effect of that, such as falling down stairs, getting a heart disease, or any number of afflictions you can think of. If anyone follows a path which leads to problems, he is going to get them, regardless of whether he is a good person or not. Relatively speaking all of us are good people, so you may ask why bad things happen to anyone. And the reasons for that are several more. Say a good person gets shot by an evil person, it is the fault of the evil person, it is not as if it is God’s will that the good person gets shot. Don’t you think He is the most contentious over the success and well being of humanity? More than you know. Yet in this situation, the evil person gets punished for his action, this is him paving the way to hell, and the good person becomes stronger by getting through the ordeal and still maintaining his sense of awareness of unity, and does not turn into a Satanist, beginning to think Satan may be a better ally.

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• “All things not merely happen in accordance with God’s will, the expression of which forms a written record of all that comes to pass, but nothing can happen without its being recorded (6:15;11:8). This record is what may be called, for want of a better expression, a day-book of the continuous commands of God whereby all things came to pass. In another passage we find: ‘No affliction befalls the Earth, by way of drought, or in yourselves, such as illness, or the loss of a child, but it is in a Book, (the Preserved Tablet), before We create it (the same is true for divine blessing), that is easy for God.” This verse is often taken as a ‘proof text’ of the doctrine of Predestination: but when it is properly considered it is seen to refer to this same ‘day-book’ of the divine actions.(W.R.W. Gardner, The Quranic Doctrine of God, ‘God’s Works in Creation and Providence’, p.61, The Christian Literature Society for India.) Thus there is no pre-ordainment of human actions, it happens as they will, but its knowledge is with God.

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• The Prophet Khidr in the Quran is an example of a man uniting his will with God and becoming like the Hand of God, operating in accordance with His will. Allah could be said to have performed these acts ‘through’ this certain person. The Prophet showed al Hasan uniting his will with God in the hadith, “This son of mine is a Lord amongst men, perhaps through him Allah will reconcile between two large groups among the Muslims at war”. It was Allah’s will in pre eternity that the two groups be reconciled, and therefore, al Hasan ‘caught on’ to this ancient will and became the one who reconciled the two groups as the agent of Allah’s Will. If you ‘catch on’ to the will of God, you can do those actions in which He wills and become an agent of God.

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Epistemology and Scholarship

• DEFINITION• Epistemology: Science of knowledge, its aims, its methods, and its objectives, and also the

sources used and the way conclusions are deduced.• Adherents to revealed scripture will have separate views on epistemology as compared to

those with no revealed scripture, both in regards to sources as well as the aims of epistemology and knowledge in general.

• TWO EXTREMES• 1) Those who believe in a revealed scripture, who judge the authenticity of knowledge only in

relation to revealed information, who regard the divine scripture as the most superior form of knowledge, using it to cast a metaphysical glance on all other sciences, where man is seen to evolve into a higher being through knowledge of the Creator. This perspective is fine and also quite necessary as long as the adherents are not sceptical towards experiential or empirical knowledge.

• 2) Those who use no revealed scripture as the basis of knowledge, who judge the authenticity of knowledge perhaps in relation to philosophical concepts or past scholars, based on material and scientific theories, who prize knowledge of sensoria above all else, do not link it with wisdom, and who oppose the views of adherents to divinely revealed conceptions of knowledge.

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Epistemology and Scholarship

• Ibn Khaldun-Ibn Khaldun classified man’s ability to think into three degrees, the first of which is man’s intellectual understanding of the things that exist in the natural order, “this is the discerning intellect, with the help of which man obtains the things that are useful for him and his livelihood, and repels the things that are harmful to him”-this level is classed as such because it is about a person’s ability to physically look after himself, the second level is classed higher because it moves into the scope of ethics, it “provides man with the ideas and the behaviour needed in dealing with his fellow men and in leading them.”-this level of knowledge clearly comes closer to wisdom because it involves learning true conduct through experimentation, which is how philosophy works, or even Sufism. His third degree is thus based on speculation, “the third degree is the ability to think which provides the knowledge, or hypothetical knowledge of an object beyond sense perception without any practical activity. This is the speculative intellect… by thinking about these things, man achieves perfection in his reality and becomes pure intellect and perceptive soul. This is the meaning of human reality”.

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• Ahmed SirhindiAhmed Sirhindi describes the graduation through stages of knowledge in his treatise ‘Establishing Prophecy’: “The sense organ created first in man is the tactile organ; with the ability of touch, man perceives cold, hot, wet, dry, soft, hard and the like. The tactile organ cannot perceive colours or sounds, and these are thought to be nonexistent. Then his organ of sight is created, and with it colours and shapes are perceived. The world perceived by this organ has more variety and more numerous beings than the tactile world. Next his auditory organ functions. With this sense organ sounds and tunes are perceived. Afterwards, his ability to taste and then his ability to smell are created.Thus the five senses which reflect the world of perception are completed. Towards the seventh year of life, his power of discretion (tamyîz) is created by which things that cannot be comprehended through the sense organs are realized. This power differentiates things that are perceived by the sense organs from one another. Then his intellect or wisdom is created. What is useful, harmful, good or bad is ascertained by the power of discretion; wisdom distinguishes the neccessary, permissible, possible or impossible from one another.Wisdom comprehends things that cannot be grasped by the powers of perception and discretion.(p.15)

Epistemology and Scholarship

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Epistemology and Scholarship

• Ahmed Sirhindi• This helps to show that the height of understanding of all things are attainable by humans

through the faculty of wisdom once it is developed, and beyond this there is nothing except prophecy, however, everything that needs to be known can be learned without prophecy, yet prophecy plays its own important function at strategic intervals of human history where transformations are taking place. Prophecy, along with having knowledge of the general points of reality also carries knowledge of unseen matters that take place in the future, etc. as a necessary part of the function of that individual who possesses prophecy, “besides wisdom, Allah creates one more power in some of His servants. With this, things that cannot be learned or understood through wisdom and that will happen in the future are known. This is called the power of prophethood. P.15.

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Epistemology and Scholarship

• Purposes of knowledge:• The purpose of knowledge according to Islamic epistemology is mastery of one’s

environment to an infinite degree, this is in fulfilment of the Quranic destiny of man which is to act as the representative of God, a species who have been given the opportunity to earn the right to wield divine power. Since human beings have been granted the free will to choose whether to accept or reject this proposition, they have mostly lived in denial of their role, and so they are continuously reminded to go on a knowledge seeking process whereby they overcome their delusions and embrace better qualities, a state they originally existed in, and thus continue to grow and gain more knowledge through that process.

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Epistemology and Scholarship

• Purposes of knowledge:• Human beings were meant to go through this process in order to gain release from

delusions and assume the role of guardians of an ancient trust and thus live life through that higher sense of awareness, but this did not happen on a large scale, and thus humans would have to wait until they existed within another region of space and time before they could experience their full potential. These themes are emphasised with the study of epistemology as it exists in the Quran, where we also see the combined roles of reason and revelation elaborated within a larger metaphysical framework.

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Epistemology and Scholarship


• sensual perception, i.e. sounds, smells, optical impressions or feelings.• thinking and mental reflection, • Wisdom, the fruit of thinking and mental reflection.• Gnosis, which is still intellectual but has emotional content.• Divine revelation, confirming all that is gained through the above methods, limited to

prophets in the form in which it is revealed, but gnosis suffices for non prophets and they can gain more certainty through reflection/gnosis.

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• We are encouraged to use sensoria to gain empirical knowledge first, and then the matter of knowledge through intuition is a higher level of knowledge which occurs with time and growth of the seeker of knowledge. Since all truth is the same, there should form in the mind of the seeker a balanced amalgamation between knowledge gained through study, knowledge gained through intuition, and that which is divinely revealed.

• After deep study, certain things are just known intuitively, and do not require extra reflection. This is the same as what is called ‘psychic’ ability, it shows that he has undertaken deep study in order to know about things intuitively, or has simply memorised patterns of processes and their outcomes through casual observation, so it is not without any requisite effort, whereas Revelation (wahy) is effortless.