Thursday, 1 November 2012

Beneficial Notes on Jawharat At-Tawḥīd

By Sheikh ʿAbdul As-Salām Shākir
Checked by Sheikh Adīb Al-Kallās
Lines 1-22

الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلَى صِلاتِهِ  ثُمَّ سَلامُ اللهِ مَعْ صَلاتِهِ

Praised be Allah for His gifts;
His blessings and peace be
عَلَى نَبِيٍّ جَاءَ بِالتَّوْحِيْدِ   وَقَدْ خَلا الدِّيْنُ عَنِ التَّوْحِيْدِ

Upon a prophet who came with belief in the One God [tawīd]
when religion had become devoid of belief in the One God

In other words, we exalt our Master[1] and praise Him, He Who has blessed us with his gifts, followed by Allah’s salutations that are befitting of our master,[2] Muammad, may Allah’s prayers[3] and peace be upon him, along with His mercy – for indeed, alāt from Allah is mercy, from the angels it is seeking forgiveness and from the believers it is entreaty and supplication – upon our master, Muammad, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him; as Allah sent him with the Pure Religion,[4] calling all those who are legally responsible[5] from amongst the thaqalayn[6] to the worship of Al-Wāid,[7] Al-Aad[8] at a time in which there were various false objects of worship and tawīd was absent. Tawīd means to single out the Object of Worship with worship while believing that He is One in His Essence, Attributes and Actions.
فَأَرْشَدَ الخَلْقَ لِدِيْنِ الْحَقِّ  بِسَيْفِهِ وَهَدْيِهِ لِلْحَقِّ

He  guided Creation to the religion of The True Lord
By means of his sword and his guiding to the truth

In other words, our master, Muammad, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, guided[9] all of the thaqalayn and showed them the Dīn of Allah, which is affirmed and established by the Qurʾān, the Sunnah and the Muammadan light which illuminates hearts and minds. And it was also by means of the sword, which is the tool of jihād, since jihād is an obligation against the disbelievers who wage war against the Call to Islam.

مُحَمَّدُ الْعَاقِبْ لِرُسْلِ رَبِّهِ  وَآلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ وَحِزْبِهِ

Muhammad, the last of his Lord’s Messengers
his family, his Companions and his party.

In other words, this is followed by the peace of Allah and His prayers upon a Prophet. He is Muammad, the last one, after whom there is no other Prophet. He is the seal of those sent and his Revealed Law abrogates all the Revealed Laws that came before him. ‘His family’ means every taqī[10] from amongst his Ummah when it is used in a general supplication.[11] ‘His Companions’ are those who gathered around him as believers and died in that state.[12] They are the best of the generations from the Ummah of our master, Muammad, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him. ‘His party’ are his group[13] and his followers, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him.

وَبَعْدُ فَالْعِلْمُ بِأَصْلِ الدِّيْنِ  مُحَتَّمٌ يَحْتَاجُ لِلتَّبْيِيْنِ

To begin; knowledge of the foundation of the Dīn is
obligatory and requires clarification

Indeed, knowledge of the foundations of the Dīn[14], which is one of the names of the science of tawīd, is an obligation in the Revealed Law, and this is due to the statement of the Exalted One: “Know[15] that there is no god but Allah.” [Sūrat Muammad 47:19] This science needs elucidation by way of illustrating its issues and establishing them with decisive proofs.

لَكِنْ مِنَ التَّطْوِيْلِ كَلَّتِ الْهِمَمْ  فَصَارَ فِيْهِ الاخْتِصَارُ مُلْتَزَمْ

However, due to lengthiness [of the works], endeavours have become weary,
Thus, brevity has become necessary.

In other words, even though this field needs elucidation, it should not be discussed at length to the extent that it leads to ennui and boredom, and this is so that the reader does not become fatigued and so that his resolve does not weaken. This is why a summarization that does not violate the meaning is necessary.

وَهذِهِ أُرْجُوْزَةٌ لَقَّبْتُهَا  جَوْهَرَةَ التَّوْحِيْدِ قَدْ هَذَّبْتُهَا

This is a poem that I have named,
‘The Jewel of Belief in The One God’, which I have refined.

Indeed this treatise has been put together according to the rajaz metre. It consists of one hundred and forty-four verses and the author has called it and named it ‘The Jewel of Belief in The One God’,  for it is like a precious pearl, and he has purified it and cleansed it of interpolation and elaboration while at the same time affirming its meanings.

وَاللهَ أَرْجُوْ فِيْ القَبُوْلِ نَافِعًا  بِهَا مُرِيْدًا فِيْ الثَّوَابِ طَامِعًا

Allah alone I hope for acceptance (from), benefitting
by it the person who avidly wants reward.

In other words, I hope to obtain Allah’s acceptance and pleasure, as He is Glorified and Exalted, benefitting with this Jewel the person who wants it and strives for it, avidly hoping for reward and merit from Him, the Exalted.

فَكُلُّ مَنْ كُلِّفَ شَرْعًا وَجَبَا  عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَعْرِفَ مَا قَدْ وَجَبَا

Hence, it is obligatory for anyone who is legally responsible
to know what is obligatory

In other words, it is obligatory upon every mature,[16] sane[17] individual who has received the Call[18] and has fully-functioning senses to firmly believe, in accordance with the facts derived from evidences, in what is necessary for Allah the Exalted, and they are twenty attributes, as shall be mentioned.

لِلّهِ وَالْجَائِزَ وَالْمُمْتَنِعَا  وَمِثْلُ ذَا لِرُسْلِهِ فَاسْتَمِعَا

For Allah and what is possible and impossible,
and likewise for His messengers, so listen carefully.

Likewise, it is obligatory to believe in what is possible for Allah and what is impossible with regards to Him, the Exalted, and they are the opposites of the twenty attributes. Likewise, it is obligatory to believe in what is necessary, possible and impossible with regards to the messengers, peace be upon them.

إِذْ كُلُّ مَنْ قَلَّدَ فِي التَّوْحِيْدِ  إِيْمَانُهُ لَمْ يَخْلُ مِنْ تَرْدِيْدِ

Because anyone who blindly adopts another’s beliefs,
his faith will always be with uncertainty.

For indeed, the faith of someone who blindly adopts someone else’s beliefs[19] without proof or evidence will be faith that is never free of hesitation, doubts and misgivings.[20]

فَفِيْهِ بَعْضُ الْقَوْمِ يَحْكِيْ الْخُلْفَا  وَبَعْضُهُمْ حَقَّقَ فِيْهِ الْكَشْفَا

Regarding this person, some of the theologians have differed,
And one of them clarified the matter concerning him,

In other words, with regards to the validity of the faith of muqallid without any proof, there is a difference of opinion. There are those who have said that it is not valid and there are those who have said that it is valid but such a person is disobedient because they have left off the proofs. There are also some people who have managed to investigate and clarify this difference of opinion, and they include Al-Tāj Al-Subkī.

فَقَالَ إِنْ يَجْزِمْ بِقَوْلِ الْغَيْرِ  كَفَى وَإِلاَّ لَمْ يَزَلْ فِيْ الضَّيْرِ

He said, ‘If he believes firmly in the position of another,
it is sufficient; and if not, he remains in peril.’

In other words, Al-Subkī said, ‘Indeed the faith of the muqallid is accepted if he is firm upon the position of the other person, such that if the muqallad[21] were to go back on his position, he would not do likewise. On the other hand, if he is not firm, such that if the other person were to go back on his position the muqallid would do likewise, then his faith is not accepted and he remains in the iniquity of doubt, which is inconsistent with faith.

وَاجْزِمْ بِأَنَّ أَوَّلاً مِمَّا يَجِبْ  مَعْرِفَةٌ وَفِيْهِ خُلْفٌ مُنْتَصِب

Be certain that the first obligation is
knowledge of Allah, although there is a confirmed disagreement about it.

In other words, firm belief that knowledge[22] of Allah’s attributes is an obligation upon every legally responsible person, and the Imams have differed with regards to knowing them; are they the first of the obligations? The most well-known position[23] of Imam Al-Ashʿarī is the first obligation upon those legally responsible, because none of the other obligations can be realised without it.

فَانْظُرْ إِلَى نَفْسِكَ ثُمَّ انْتَقِلِ  لِلْعَالَمِ الْعُلْوِيِّ ثُمَّ السُّفْلِيْ

So, reflect over your own self and then
reflect over the celestial and terrestrial realms

In other words, if you want knowledge then realise with your intellect and reflect on the states of your essence. The Exalted One has said, “And in yourselves as well. Do you not then see?” [Sūrat Al-Dhāriyāt 51:21] Then, turn your attention towards the states of the celestial realm, such as the skies, the celestial bodies and the stars. Then, turn your attention towards the terrestrial realm, that which is on earth, such as the minerals, the plains, the mountains, the seas, the plants and the animals.

تَجِدْ بِهِ صُنْعًا بَدِيْعَ الْحِكَمِ  لَكِنْ بِهِ قَامَ دَلِيْلُ الْعَدَمِ

You will find therein a creation of unique perfections,
yet in it resides the evidence of nonexistence.

In other words, you will find, after looking at this universe from its celestial realm to its terrestrial realm, an amazingly unique precision that proves the Knowledge[24] of its Maker as well as His Power and His Life. However, this world – even though it of the utmost precision and the utmost uniqueness – is ādith[25] and must have a mudith,[26] because with this universe the sign of non-existence has been established, and it is subject to change and alteration, such as motion and stillness, and this proves that it has come into existence after non-existence and that a Maker must have brought it into existence.

وَكُلُّ مَا جَازَ عَلَيْهِ الْعَدَمُ  عَلَيْهِ قَطْعًا يَسْتَحِيْلُ الْقِدَمُ

And anything for which nonexistence is possible,
pre-eternality is without doubt impossible for it.

In other words, anything that can possibly go out of existence cannot possibly be pre-eternal. The result is that the world is ādith, since that which is pre-eternal is not subject to any change or alteration. Furthermore, every ādith must have a mudith and the mudith is Allah, Glorified and Exalted.

وَفُسِّرَ الإيْمَانُ بِالتَّصْدِيْقِ  وَالنُّطْقُ فِيْهِ الْخُلْفُ بِالتَّحْقِيْقِ

Faith has been explained to mean ‘affirmation’,[27]
but there is a disagreement over uttering (it), as has been verified

In other words, faith has been defined as affirmation of what our master, Muammad, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, has brought, such as what is known of the Dīn by necessity,[28] like the prayer, fasting, zakāt, ajj and faith in the angels, prophets and messengers. The scholars have differed over the ruling of articulating the two testimonies of faith[29] for those who are able to articulate. Thus, those who are mute are excluded because they are not able to articulate, and therefore indication[30] suffices as proof of their faith.

فَقِيْلَ شَرْطٌ كَالْعَمَلْ وَقِيْلَ بَلْ   شَطْرٌ وَالإسْلامَ اشْرَحَنَّ بِالْعَمَلْ

It is said to be a condition of faith like action; and it is said, in fact
it is half of faith; whereas you should explain Islam through action.

In other words, the verifying scholars from amongst both the Ashʿarīs and Māturīdīs have said, ‘Indeed, articulating the two testimonies of faith is a condition for worldly rulings to be made applicable, such as inheritance, marriage and so forth.[31] Thus, whoever affirms in his heart and does not articulate the two testimonies of faith is a believer in Allah’s sight but not a believer with regards to the worldly rulings of the Revealed Law. Based on this, the author has likened it to righteous actions, since they are a condition of the perfection of faith.  Imam Abū anīfa and a group of Ashʿarīs[32] have stated, ‘Indeed, articulating the two testimonies of faith is a part of faith and is a pillar included therein, unlike all the other righteous actions. Based on this, whoever affirms in his heart but does not articulate the two testimonies of faith is not a believer in Allah’s sight or in this world and such a person does not deserve to enter Paradise. His statement, ‘whereas you should explain Islam through action’, means that the reality of Islam is in compliance and submission to what Allah has commanded and  avoidance of what is prohibited, and those ruling should be obeyed and not rejected.

مِثَالُ هذَا الْحَجُّ وَالصَّلاةُ  كَذَا الصِّيَامُ فَادْرِ وَالزَّكَاةُ

Examples of this are ajj and prayer     
likewise, fasting and zakāt.

In other words, examples of those actions through which Islam is explained include ajj, prayer, fasting and zakāt. The author has mentioned the four pillars of Islam after the two testimonies of faith.[33]

وَرُجِّحَتْ زِيَادَةُ الإيْمَانِ  بِمَا تَزِيْدُ طَاعَةُ الإنْسَانِ

The preferred opinion is that faith increases
due to a person’s obedience increasing

وَنَقْصُهُ بِنَقْصِهَا وَقِيْلَ لا  وَقِيْلَ لا خُلْف كَذَا قَدْ نُقِلا

And it decreases by obedience decreasing; it is also said that it does not;
It has also been said that there is no disagreement, as has been transmitted.

There has been a difference of opinion with regards to faith increasing and decreasing. The Ashʿarīs have preferred the position that faith increases due to a person’s obedience increasing – which is to do what is commanded and avoid what is prohibited – and faith decreases due to a person’s obedience decreasing. The Exalted One has said,  “…whose faith is increased when His āyāt are recited to them.” [Sūrat Al-Anfāl 8:2] Imam Abū anīfa said, ‘Indeed faith does not increase or decrease.’ Al-Fakhr Al-Rāzī took the position that there was no real difference of opinion between the two sides. Rather, it is only a difference in wording. Thus, the position that faith increases and decreases refers to deeds, while the position that it doesn’t increase or decrease refers to affirmation.  His statement ‘as has been transmitted’ is an indication that this position is not the most correct one, because the most correct position is that affirmation in the heart increases and decreases based on how much investigation one does and the clarity of the proofs.[34]

[1]Translator’s note (tn): Ar. mawlā, which can be used for Allah and human beings. Please note that the translation of the matn is based on that of Ustādh Haroon Hanif, available here. The original Arabic text, from which this article was translated, is available here.
[2] (tn): Ar. sayyid, which can only be used for human beings
[3] (tn): Ar. ṣalāt
[4] (tn): Ar. al-Dīn al-Khāliṣ
[5] (tn): Ar. al-mukallafīn
[6] (tn): i.e. human beings and jinn
[7] (tn): i.e. One, but especially in the sense of not being comprised of constituent parts. This is why one finds this term used in āyāt that refute the Christians, such as Al-Māʾida, 5:72-73. Allah says in āya 73, “Those who say that Allah is the third of three are disbelievers. There is no god but One God [ilāhun wāḥid].One can also see Imam Al-Ghazālī’s definition of Al-Wāḥid in Al-Maqsad Al-Asnā fī Sharḥ Asmāʾ Allāh Al-Ḥusnā, which has been translated as The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God by David B. Burrell and Nazih Daher (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 2004), p.130-131.
[8] (tn): i.e. One, but especially in the sense that there is no god besides Him. It is related that the Quraysh said, ‘O Muḥammad! Describe for us your Lord whom you are calling us to’ and then Sūrat Al-Ikhlāṣ was revealed: “Say: ‘He is Allah, Al-Aḥad; Allah, the Everlasting Sustainer of all. He has not given birth and was not born. And no one is comparable to Him.’” [112:1-4]. Please see Imam Al-Bayḍāwī’s commentary of this sūra in Anwār Al-Tanzīl wa Asrār Al-Taʾwīl (Beirut: Dār Al-Kutub Al-ʿIlmiyya, 1424/2003), v.2, p.631.
[9] (tn): ‘guided’ (hadā] here also means ‘shown’, as in Sūrat Al-Balad 90:10: “And we showed him [hadaynāhu] the two pathways [of good and evil].”
[10] (tn): From the word taqwā, which is the awe or fear of Allah which inspires a person to be on guard against wrong action and eager for actions which please Him.
[11] (tn): Whereas in fiqh, namely in Zakāt and distributing the spoils of war (ghanīma and fayʾ), ‘his family’ is Banū Hāshim and Banū Muṭṭalib according to the Shāfiʿīs, i.e. they are the ones who are not eligible to receive Zakāt but they do receive a fifth of a fifth of the spoils of war [Reliance of the Traveller (Beltsville: Amana Publications, 1994), p.606, section o10]. According to the Mālikīs, ‘his family’ is only Banū Hāshim.  However, the Shāfiʿīs and Mālikīs agree that when ‘his family’ are praised it refers to every righteous believer and when they are mentioned in duʿāʾ it refers to every Muslim, righteous or not. Please see Ghāyat Al-Munā; Sharḥ Safīnat Al-Najā by Imam Muḥammad bin ʿAlī bin Muḥammad Bā ʿAṭiyya Al-Duʿanī (Tarīm, Maktaba Tarīm Al-Ḥadītha, 1429/2008), p.33. This does not necessarily contradict the statement above because the word taqī, or a person of taqwā, can also refer to every believer, as evidenced by Allah’s words in Sūrat Al-Māʾida 5:27: “Allah only accepts from people who have taqwā [muttaqīn].” In his commentary of this āya, Imam Ibn Kathīr relates a statement from Muʿādh Ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him, who said that the muttaqūn are ‘People who have protected themselves [ittaqū] from idolatry and the worship of idols and have made their worship sincere [for Allah], and thus they are going to Paradise.’ [Tafsīr Al-Qurʾān Al-ʿAẓīm (Beirut: Dār Ibn Ḥazm, 1423/2002), v.2, p.935]
[12] (tn): In Al-Iṣāba fi Tamyīz Al-Ṣaḥāba, Imam Ibn Ḥajar Al-ʿAsqalānī defines a Companion as ‘man laqiya al-Nabī ṣallā Allahu alayhi wa sallam muʾminan wa māta ʿalā al-Islām,’ i.e. whoever met the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as a believer and died upon Islam. (Beirut: Dār Al-Kutub Al-ʿIlmiyyah, n.d., v.1 p.177)
[13] (tn): Ar. jamāʿa
[14] (tn): Ar. uṣūl al-Dīn
[15] (tn): The verb is in the singular command form, i.e. faʿalam, and not the plural command form, i.e. faʿalamū, which indicates that knowledge of this science is an individual obligation (farḍ ʿayn) as opposed to a communal obligation (farḍ kifāya).
[16] (tn): Ar. bāligh
[17] (tn): Ar. ʿāqil
[18] (tn): i.e. to Islam
[19] (tn): Ar. muqallid
[20] (tn): While in fiqh it is normal to quote a scholar, in theology one would never say, for example, that Allah is One because Imam Al-Ṭaḥāwī has said so. Rather, the Book and Sunnah are referred to directly.
[21] (tn): i.e. the person whose position is being adopted
[22] (tn): Ar. al-maʿrifah
[23] (tn): Ar. al-mashhūr
[24] (tn): Ar. ʿilm
[25] (tn): i.e. it came into existence after being non-existent
[26] (tn): i.e. that which brings it into existence.
[27] (tn): Ar. al-taṣḍīq
[28] (tn): Ar. maʿlūm min al-Dīn bi al-ḍarūra
[29] (tn): Ar. al-shahādatayn, i.e. that there is no god but Allah and that Muḥammad is His Messenger, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him
[30] (tn): Ar. al-ishāra
[31] (tn) For example, a man would have to articulate his faith before being eligible to marry a Muslim woman, or to inherit from Muslim parents.
[32] (tn): ‘Except that there has been a difference of opinion amongst the Imams regarding the person who believes in his heart only; will that save him on the Day of Resurrection or will it be insufficient unless he affirms and acknowledges with his tongue as well? Al-Nawawī related from a group of scholars that certainty of the heart alone is insufficient for salvation on the Day of Resurrection unless it is with faith, affirmation and pronunciation on the tongue. In his commentary on Al-Arbaʿīn Al-Nawawiyyah, Ibn Ḥajar [Al-Haytamī] preferred what most of the Ashʿarīs have gone with, as well as some of the verifying scholars amongst the Ḥanafīs [i.e. Māturīdīs], which is that affirmation on the tongue is only a condition for worldly rulings to be made applicable. As for the Day of Resurrection, certainty of the heart is sufficient. And Allah knows best.’ Sheikh Muḥammad Saʿīd Ramaḍān Al-Būṭī, Kubrā Al-Yaqīniyyāt Al-Kawniyyah (Damascus: Dār Al-Fikr, 2007), p.240.  
[33] (tn): A linguistic note has been omitted here.
[34] (tn): Another way to word it would be to see faith as being of two types, salvational faith (īmān aṣlī) and devotional faith (al-īmān wa at-taṣdīq wa al-yaqīn bi al-ʿamal). Salvational faith does not increase or decrease, for if it were to decrease one would become a disbeliever. As for devotional faith, which includes affirmation and certainty with deeds, this does increase and decrease. Please see Sūrat Al-Fat 48:4: “It is He who sent down serenity into the hearts of the believers, thereby increasing them with their faith with their faith.” According to Ibn ʿAbbās, the first faith is certainty (yaqīn), affirmation (tadīq) and knowledge (ʿilm) while the second faith is faith in Allah and His Messenger, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him. [Tanwīr Al-Miqbās min Tafsīr Ibn Abbās (Beirut: Dār Al-Kutub Al-ʿIlmiyyah, 1412/1992), p.542] 


qumfaandhir said...

Beautiful text ma sha Allah, thank you and jazakum Allah khayr!

AllieK said...


Beneficial indeed. I am currently doing a commentary on the Jawhara and request permission to use of your comments if possible? I would like to share what Iv does thus far with you beloved Shaykh. If possible, please let me know


Mahdi Lock said...

Assalaam alaykum,

Sorry for the extremely belated reply. Please feel free to use the comments.