Saturday, 26 October 2019

A Summary of the Rulings of Waqf (Part 3)

Part 3 of the Introduction to The Book of Waqf, to be republished soon, insha'Allah, which is a translation of p.488 to 490 of  Sharḥ al-Yāqūt an-Nafīs




The Conditions of the Form of the Endowment

The conditions of the form of the endowment are five: an expression that imparts what is meant,[1] permanence,[2] implementation,[3] an obvious recipient[4] and adherence[5]

The Conditions of the Form of the Endowment

The conditions of the form of the endowment are five:

The first is an expression that imparts what is meant, such as you saying, ‘I have given this as permanent, retained charity’, or ‘charity that shall not be sold or given as collateral’, or ‘I have dedicated this to charitable purposes for perpetuity.’[6] As for one saying, ‘I have dedicated this’, and then he goes quiet, this is not valid. However, if one were to say, ‘I have dedicated this for Allah’, this form is differed over and the clearest position[7] is that the endowment would not be valid, and this is the position of ar-Ramlī and Ibn Ḥajar.

The explanation of al-Bājūrī states, ‘It is known from what has been determined that the recipient must be obvious, for if it is not made obvious, such as someone saying, ‘I have dedicated this muṣḥaf’, or ‘this book’, ‘for Allah the Exalted, as is found to be written in several muṣḥafs and books, it is not valid, because the beneficiary of the endowment is a pillar. If it is missing, the endowment is invalid.’ And al-Bājūrī is a verifying scholar.[8] The counterpart to the clearest position is that the endowment is valid.

Ash-Sheikh Bā Makhramah differed with ar-Ramlī and Ibn Ḥajar and issued a fatwā to the people of Ḥadramawt stating that such a form is valid, and he said, ‘It is spent on the poor.’ He used as his proof the person who says, ‘I have bequeathed such-and-such for Allah.’ They have said that that the bequest is valid, and the money is spent on the poor, so he said, ‘What is the difference between “I have dedicated” and “I have bequeathed”?’

The speech of Bā Makhramah is sound and he says it is valid to dedicate a fan but not valid to dedicate a tooth-stick.[9]

The second condition is permanence, as it is not allowed for an endowment to be temporary. However, Imam Abū Ḥanīfah says that it is allowed to be temporary.

The third condition is implementation, as it is not allowed to attach stipulations, while an exception has been made for stipulations connected to one’s death.[10]

The fourth condition is that the recipient be obvious, and it must be accepted if the beneficiary is a specific individual or he has a limited amount of children. As for an endowment dedicated to a general beneficiary or a masjid, or to the poor, then acceptance is not a condition.

Selling an Endowment:

If the beneficiaries of an endowment were to agree to sell what had been endowed to them, they would not be allowed to sell it, and this is why some people write Allah the Exalted’s words on their endowment: {Then if anyone alters it after hearing it, the crime is on the part of those who alter it.}[11] And Abū Ḥanīfah says it is permissible to sell it.

The forms of an endowment differ, and each form has its own ruling. If someone says, ‘I have dedicated this house to my children’, it would include both the males and the females. If one says, ‘I have dedicated this house to my offspring’, or ‘to my progeny’, or ‘to my descendants’, then this would include even the children of the daughters. If one were to say, ‘to those ascribed to me’, then it would include his male and female children as well as his sons’ sons.[12] If he were to say, ‘to my sons’, then it would only include the males.[13]

If one says, ‘I have dedicated this house to my brothers (ikhwah)’, it would only apply to the males, because the word is masculine – from what I can ascertain – based on the Exalted’s statement, {The brothers [ikhwah] of Yūsuf came.}[14] Others have said that is includes both genders, and their proof is the Exalted’s statement, {If there are siblings [ikhwah], men and women}.[15] And the intention of the endower is followed if it is known. If not, the one looking into the matter uses juridical reasoning,[16] and the proceeds of the endowment are distributed equally; the female gets the same as the male.[17]
_____________________
[1] Such as, ‘I have made an endowment…’, or ‘I have dedicated…’, or ‘I have donated such-and-such for the benefit of such-and-such to be inviolable (muḥarram) or everlasting (muʾabbad) charity.’ According to Ibn Ḥajar [al-Haytamī] and others, it is not a condition that the beneficiaries accept the endowment, regardless of whether they are specific or general. [Shams ad-Dīn] ar-Ramlī and other say that it is a condition that the specific beneficiary accept immediately, but not anyone else.
[2] Ar. taʾbīd, such that it is not made temporary, for if someone were to say, ‘I dedicate this to the poor for one year’, it would not be valid, and this regards that which is not comparable to the emancipation of slaves. As for it being like a masjid or hospice, it becomes permanent and the condition is nullified. (tn): ‘The scholars have made an exception with regard to this condition – the condition of timing – for masjids, hospices and graveyards and whatever is done that resembles the emancipation of slaves [i.e. permanence is automatically understood], or is comparable to it. They have ruled that the endowment is valid and permanent, and the condition is nullified, out of desire for the form to be as correct as possible. Thus, if one were to say, ‘I have dedicated this land of mine to be a masjid (or a graveyard, or a hospice) for one year’, the endowment is permanently valid and the time is nullified.’ [Imam Muṣṭafā Al-Bughā et al, al-Fiqh al-Manhajī (Damascus: Dār Al-Qalam, 1433/2012), v.2, p.230]
[3] Ar. tanjīz, i.e. no stipulations attached, for if one were to say, ‘If the new month comes in, I will dedicate such-and-such to the poor’, it would not be valid. This also applies to that which does not resemble emancipation, and thus if one were to say, ‘If Ramaḍān comes in I will make this place a masjid, it is valid and the place does not become a masjid unless Ramaḍān has come in. It also applies to that which is not connected to death, and thus if one were to say, ‘I dedicate such-and-such to the poor after my death’, it is valid and it is an endowment that falls under the ruling of bequests. Therefore, it would be valid to take it back. Also, if one were to implement the endowment and stipulate that the proceeds be given after one’s death that would be allowed. (tn): The meaning of resembling emancipation is in its separation from the jurisdiction of human beings, as it is agreed that the masjid, just like a free human being, is the property of Allah the Exalted. Please see Ḥasan ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Kāf, at-Taqrīrāt as-Sadīdah fī Masāʾil Mufīdah: Qism al-Buyūʾ wa al-Farāʾiḍ (Riyadh: Dār al-Mīrāth al-Nabawī, 1434/2013), p.164
[4] Ar. bayān al-maṣrif, for if one were to say, ‘I have dedicated such-and-such’, it would not be valid, even if one were to add, ‘…for Allah’ according to Ibn Ḥajar and ar-Ramlī, and they differ with Abu Makhramah, who said it would then be valid in such a situation. He should also spend it on beneficiaries that are close at hand. If one were to say, ‘I have bequeathed a third of my wealth’, it would be valid by consensus and the money would be spent on the poor.
[5] Ar. ilzām, for it is not valid to stipulate a choice [Ar. khiyār, i.e. right of cancellation] as to whether the endowment shall remain or be reclaimed, as is the case with sales and other transactions. One also cannot stipulate the right to change any of the conditions, such that one can include whomever one wants and exclude whomever one wants.
[6] (tn): The abovementioned expressions employ different Arabic terms, such as taṣadduq and tasbīl, which are synonyms for waqf in this case. Imam Wahbah az-Zuḥaylī says, ‘The expressions of waqf are six: waqaftu, ḥabbastu, sabbaltu, taṣaddaqtu, ʿabbadtu [i.e. ‘I have made everlasting…], and ḥarramtu [i.e. I have made inviolable…]’ [al-Fiqh ash-Shāfiʿī Al-Muyassar (Damascus: Dār Al-Fikr, 2008), v.1, p.723.]
[7] Ar. al-aẓhar, i.e. the clearest position amongst two or more positions of ash-Shāfiʿī, may Allah the Exalted have mercy on him, and there is a strong difference of opinion between them. Its opposite is ẓāhir (i.e. clear). [al-Fiqh ash-Shāfiʿī Al-Muyassar (Damascus: Dār Al-Fikr, 2008), v.1, p.73 and Minhāj at-Ṭālibīn wa ʿUmdat al-Muftīn by Imam an-Nawawī (Jeddah: Dār al-Minhāj, 1432/2011), p.65.]
[8] Ar. al-muḥaqqiq (tn): i.e. one who follows the imam of his madhhab in the foundations (uṣul al-fiqh) as well as the principles (qawāʾid) but he differs with him in some branch applications.
[9] Ar. as-siwāk
[10] (tn): Please see the footnote above
[11] (tn): Sūrat Al-Baqarah 2:181
[12] (tn): but the not children of his daughters
[13] (tn): This is because one’s lineage and one’s people (qawm) is determined by the father. Allah says in Sūrat Al-Ḥujurāt (49:11), {People [qawm] should not ridicule other people who may be better than them and nor should women mock other women who may be better than them}, which is an indication that qawm is for males. Furthermore, every prophet in the Qurʾān addresses his people by saying ‘yā qawmī’, (O my people…), with the exception of ʿĪsā, peace be upon him. While his mother Maryam, peace be upon her, is from the Children of Israel, he has no father, so he address them by saying, ‘yā Banī Isrāʾīl’ (O Children of Israel…).
[14] (tn): Sūrat Yūsuf 12:58
[15] (tn): Sūrat Al-Nisāʾ 4:176
[16] Ar. ijtihād
[17] Ash-Sheikh Muwaffaq ad-Dīn Ibn Qudāmah has mentioned in his book al-Mughnī that it is recommended to distribute an endowment as one would distribute inheritance [i.e. males receive the shares of two females, as mentioned in Sūrat Al-Nisāʾ 4:11 and 4:176], because males are regarded as having greater need than females. [(tn): For further details, please see the chapter on a woman’s inheritance in the book Islamic Law Is Not Misogynistic by Imam Muḥammad at-Tāwīl.]

Friday, 25 October 2019

Allah Exists

Translated from the book Kubrā al-Yaqīniyyāt al-Kawniyyah (The Greatest Universal Sureties) by Imam Muḥammad Saʿīd Ramaḍān al-Būṭī, may Allah have mercy on him, (Damascus, Dār al-Fikr, 1428/2008), p.77-107
 
 
Divinity
1. The Existence of Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He

Introduction:

Faith in the existence of Allah, Mighty and Majestic, is the foundation of all creedal issues, and from it all other doctrinal matters which necessarily stimulate the intellect to contemplate them and then have faith in them branch out.

In other words, we say all the realities of the universe that you see are only the effect of one great reality, and that is the Essence of Allah, Mighty and Majestic. It is impossible to grasp what the lesser, secondary issues are before grasping their primary source and foundation, thus there is no way to familiarise yourself with the universe without first familiarising yourself with its Creator.

You might say, ‘But I do not believe in the Creator.’ My answer to you would be, ‘Then you must investigate the subject of His existence thoroughly and verify the notion that you do not believe in Him, and that is so that you do not eventually make a mistake in your understanding of the universe and the meaning of your existence therein.’

Let us begin the course by following the method that we have clarified:

‘The existence of Allah, Mighty and Majestic’ is a scientific claim connected to science while at the same time it is not subject to experience and observation.’

Therefore, the path to verifying it is by one of two ways:

The first way is to verify the existence of Allah directly according to the method we have mentioned with regards to scientific matters that are not observable, such that if that is established with us through indisputable proofs, His existence demonstrates to us that He has not created anything in this universe in vain, which in turn shows us the veracity of the Messengers and Prophets with regards to the commandments they were sent with. Faith in the Messengers leads us to faith in the Books and that the Qurʾān is the speech of Allah, Mighty and Majestic. Then faith in the speech of Allah leads us to have faith in everything it contains by way of its various reports, rulings, commands and prohibitions…we call this path the top down path.

The second path is to leave investigating the essence of Allah and start by looking at a report that has been transmitted to us about the reality of this Book that is in front of us and which is called the Qurʾān, such that if we know with indisputable proof that is connected to the verification of transmissions and reports that it has reached us via Muḥammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he says that it was revealed to him from Allah, Mighty and Majestic, we verify the meaning of revelation as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, himself has explained it with the scientific proofs that are harmonious with this claim, which are clear circumstantial evidence and analogy in accordance with what we have mentioned and its conditions above, such as thorough investigation and so forth.

Thus, if we have established for ourselves the veracity of the Messenger’s claim, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and that the revelation is a fact in which the Messenger has no choice and is not something emotional originating from his being, we investigate to see what could be the source of this revelation, using circumstantial evidence based on thorough investigation. Then, if we have established for ourselves by way of examination that no one but Allah, may His majesty be manifest, could have sent down this revelation, this demonstrates to us that Allah, Mighty and Majestic, exists, and with that our faith increases in all the phases that we have already passed in the investigation. We call this way the bottom up way. Let us start by looking at the first way:


The Top Down Way

Every scientific fact, no matter how trivial, must eventually depend on a necessary fact (i.e. self-evident) that is not in need of proof. If not, the researcher remains seeking one proof after another in a never-ending sequence. Thus, ignorance is not removed and knowledge does not take its place.

Thus, what are the self-evident facts that need no proof, and upon which the evidence for Allah’s existence, may His majesty be manifest, rests?

In answering this, we place in front of you a group of instinctive facts and principles which scholars have compiled because they are necessary and because they are proofs in and of themselves, and upon them we establish direct proof for his existence, Glorified and Exalted is He, by way of clear circumstantial evidence, which you have seen in the method of research. These facts are:

The falsity of something being preferred without anyone preferring it
The falsity of infinite regression
The falsity of alternation
The law of causation[1]

1. The proof of the falsity of something being preferred without anyone preferring it:


The meaning of something being preferred without anyone preferring it is that the thing is proceeding in a certain manner and then it changes from its manner and diverts away from it without there being any one to change it or divert it whatsoever. This is a matter that is clearly false. Every sane person knows that the foundation remains upon what it was upon, and in order for it to divert from its previous state there has to be someone to divert it and influence it and impose upon it a new state and abrogate the old one.


If you understand this, then let us apply this proof to the issue of Allah’s existence, Mighty and Majestic is He:


All the matters and forms that are presumed in the mind can only be ascribed with one of three attributes: necessity, impossibility and possibility.

That which is ascribed necessity is that which the intellect deems impossible not to exist. That which is ascribed impossibility is that which the intellect deems impossible to exist. That which is ascribed possibility is that which the intellect deems possible to exist or not exist.

This universe which we see in its entirety falls under the category of possible. In other words, the intellect is absolutely certain that it would not be impossible to presume its non-existence and sees it as possible that the means of its non-existence exist from its foundation, without necessitating anything impossible that the intellect cannot accept. Therefore, the existence of the universe as such is not necessary. It is not indispensable. Everything that has this nature must have an external influencer that prefers one of the two sides of possibility and removes the other. This means that this universe, which from its foundation could equally exist or not exist, must have a force external to it that influences it and has specified it to exist, and that force is the force of Allah, Mighty and Majestic.

If you say, ‘I assume that it was brought into existence by itself without any external force influencing it’, this assumption of yours necessitates that something can be preferred without anyone preferring it, which is false, as you know, and the hypothesis that necessitated it is also false.

We can clarify this issue further and say there is no doubt that there was point in time when this universe was not something remembered, as absolute non-existence was in place of today’s existence. This means that at that time the side of existence was what was preferred, and it continued as such. Then the matter was inverted and the side of existence was preferred over the side of absolute non-existence. If you say that the world was brought into existence by means of an intrinsic force without the need for an originator, then that means that you are saying that the side of existence can be preferred over the side of non-existence and the matter that continuing as such was inverted without there being any factor influencing this preference or unforeseen inversion. This is something that man knows instinctively to be false.

If you went and claimed that you had held a scale by its accurate beam and you had put the same weight on each side without adding anything to either of them, and then, while the two sides were even, all of sudden one of them went down while the other went up without any external influence that the mind could conceive–everyone would abandon you, worrying about your cogitation and intellect. So what if you said to them that you had placed a weight on one of the two sides and while you were holding the scale from its beam and the heavy side was being weighed down, all of a sudden the situation changed: the heavy side went up and the light side sank, despite its lightness?

Indeed, saying the continuous, absolute non-existence suddenly transformed into existence, which interacts and reproduces, without any external cause for this transformation–is no less impossible and strange than the claim of the person with the scale.

However, you know that all of this is based on the presumption that the one who doubt’s Allah’s existence says, as most sane people firmly believe, that the world is contingent, i.e. it was preceded by non-existence, regardless of the age of this prolonged existence.

But what if it were said to us, after this clear, self-evident proof, ‘I presume that the world always existed the way it does now. It has no beginning and it was not preceded by non-existence, and thus there is only one side and you have no proof to make me agree with what you are saying’?

Here we move on to the second instinctive fact:

2. The proof of the falsity of infinite regression

At that point we say, ‘You mean, therefore, that this world is continuing according to the rule of self-procreation that has no beginning. This presumption necessitates infinite regression, and all sane people know instinctively that infinite regression is impossible, and thus the impossibility of the hypothesis that led to it is also made clear.

The meaning of infinite regression is the presumption that all created beings are endlessly reproduced from one another, such that each one of them is caused by what came before it and is the cause of what comes after it without this chain eventually originating from a cause that exists by necessity which grants the effect of reproduction to all the other links in the chain.

This presumption is false. The intellect necessarily deems it impossible, as the chain of possible created beings, however long it may be, its ongoing length cannot escape the fact that its existence is only possible, and possible things, in order form to be preferred to exist or not exist, must have someone who makes that preference, as we have said. This long chain, which you say stretches back into a deep cave that never ends, is comprised of links each of which would not exist were it not for the link before it giving it life and existence, and it itself gives life as well. Therefore, all the links of the chain, none of them have any intrinsic influence, however long the chain may be, and therefore, in order to affirm that it exists, we must wait for the emergence of an external influencer who provided with the chain this life that has been transferred from one link to the next. If not, then we have to decisively affirm one of two matters: either this entire chain does not exist, as the existence of whoever initially gave it life is not established, or it exists but it eventually originates from an essence that exists by necessity and it influences it and is not influenced by it at all. As for the first matter, it is patently false, because perception and observation deny it. The world exists and the reproduction of causes is something seen and witnessed. The second matter remains, and it is that you are certain that there must be an essential source that gave it life and the ability to develop and reproduce. Thus, the abovementioned regression is false.

Let us give some examples of this issue that are smaller than the vastness of the world so that that the matter can be clearer and more self-evident.

If I were to stand in front of you claiming that I know a scientific fact for certain, and when you asked me about the evidence I mentioned to you some proof which itself is a unknown proof that depends on a proof, and when you asked me for the proof of this proof, I brought you a proof just like it that depended on another proof…and so on with no end, i.e. without all these proofs eventually ending up at a necessary reality that is known intuitively, you would deny my claim to certainty regarding this fact. Indeed, you would deny that it exists at all, as there is no proof established for it yet and all the continuous proofs that we had assumed to be endless are nothing but shadows waiting for their original source. If that source does not exist then these shadows themselves do not exist, and thus this claimed fact also does not; exist.

If you see a long mathematical number in which a large number of zeros are joined together, you would quickly look, before anything else, look at the first, essential number that has all the zeros on its right. As long as your eyes have not seen that number, you will not give those zeros any mathematical value. Why?

This is because you know that a zero by itself had no numerical value. It only draws it value from the zero that is next to it, and that zero draws its numerical value from a third zero, and then a fourth, and then a fifth, until the zeros end up at a numerical number like one or more. It is this number that has the essential value inside of it. It is the one that gives life and value to the continuous zeros next to it. If we presumed that the chain of zeros did not end up at a numerical number possessing some essential value, these zeros would be devoid of any value. Indeed, they would be devoid of any meaning of existence, and the presumption of an endless sequence is something that ipso facto never changes and is never given any value.

You see in your friend’s house a place that has beautiful flowers and a pure fragrance. When you ask him where these beautiful flowers come from, he says that they are a branch that he took from a root by his neighbour’s house. When you ask the neighbour, he in turn answers you by saying that what he has is just a part that he took from a friend’s house. Then the third person gives you the same answer the second person gave you, and you get the same answer from the fourth, fifth and sixth. Each one of them answers you by saying that what they have is just a part from someone else, and in vain you follow this sequence looking for the source of this plant and its progenitor that gave it appearance and structure and enabled it to branch out for the very beginning. If it were said to you that the sequence of this branching out and splitting up continues endlessly, what would your intellect conclude with the least amount of thinking?

There is no doubt that you would conclude that this speech is a lie, because branching out, regardless of how much it reproduces and increases, can only be the result of the existence of a source that is established in and of itself and which gives those branches existence or life. If it were said that there is no source for it and we assume the speaker to be truthful, that would mean that it still has not been born, and therefore these claimed branches also have no existence whatsoever. As for if you were to see the plants’ branches with your own eyes that would mean that there is an essential source that gave all these branches existence, regardless of how remote this source and regardless of whether you have thought about it or inquired about it.

Any sane person understands that a sequence of causes that acquire the ability to cause comes from the causes that come before it, such as the sequence of zeros or the sequence of the plants’ branches or the sequence of the abovementioned proofs. Therefore, no sane person can claim that the entire existence of the world is based on nothing other than a reproducing sequence without being preceded by an essential influencer that is external to its reality and exists by necessity. Otherwise, it would be valid to claim that the value of one million is only comprised of successive zeros alternating the value amongst themselves without relying on an essential number coming before them, or to claim that the flowers found in the gardens and houses are originally nothing but branches taken from one another without going back to a source that provided them with the foundation of existence.

In this regard, we say what the majestic scholar, ash-Shaykh Muṣṭafā Ṣabrī said in his lofty book Mawqif al-ʿAql wa al-ʿIlm wa al-ʿĀlim min Rabb al-ʿĀlamīn:[2]


‘If you say to an atheist, “What is the cause of the existence of this existence that needs a cause that brings it into existence?”, he will answer by saying that it is the existence of another existence that preceded it. Then you say to him, “What is the cause of the existence of that existence that preceded it?” He will answer by saying that the existence of a third existence existed before it, and like the second it needs a cause that brings it into existence. This chain of answers in this way will never end, no matter how long it goes on for and how you far you make it in questioning–so know that this antagonist is deceiving you, misleading you and distracting you with his answers as they actually contain no answer whatsoever, just as he is deceiving, misleading and distracting himself before doing so to you. What I mean is that he cannot show you the cause of the existence of that existence whose cause of existence you asked him about first, and thus he flees from answering your question without knowing that he is fleeing. Then he tries to hide the fact that he is fleeing from answering by turning the matter into layers of continuous darkness that have no beginning. He makes you think that there is a cause before a cause and then continues with this delusion until you have a chain of causes that have no beginning, and thus none of it can be a cause as it has no source and it has not existence.’[3]

After all of this is, the presumption of infinite regression is destroyed by perception and observation itself, because we all know that there are specific created beings that have died out and become extinct, and thus if it were true that existent beings were part of an endless chain, such that each link was caused by the link before it and causes the link after it, these existent beings would not die out. How can any of them die out when they are the cause of what comes after them? When perception and observation show us that they die out and they do not continue reproducing, we know that the last link was only caused and was not a cause like the one before it. This is a violation of this claimed chain system and its nature, and is evidence that there is an external influencer influencing the monotonous chain system.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

ʿUthmān ibn Ertuğrul's Advice to His Son

From the forthcoming translation of the book Man and Allah's Justice on Earth, by Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, may Allah have mercy on him:


The Sword of ʿUthmān ibn Ertuğrul

The founder of the Ottoman Empire, the warrior ʿUthmān ibn Ertuğrul, had an immense amount of experience in this reality. He saw with his own eyes how this divine standard practice controls the flow of history and the conflicts between nations, so much so that when his death was approaching, he turned to his son and squeezed out this reality for him from his experiences, giving him some rare, exquisite advice, part of which was:

‘Take this lesson from me. When I came to this land, I was as weak as an ant, and then Allah granted me these majestic blessings. Adhere to my way and follow my example. Strive to strengthen this Muḥammadan religion and to respect its people. That is the obligation of kings on earth.’[1]


[1] Allow me to substantiate the text of this advice as it is quoted in the book Abū al-Fatḥ as-Sulṭānī Muḥammad ath-Thānī by ʿAlī Himmat, which has been translated into Arabic by Muḥammad Iḥsān ʿAbdul ʿAzīz. It will draw your attention to many lessons, explain to you many of the meanings behind events and increase your faith in the justice of the Most High, the Supreme, who says in His Masterful Book, “Allah never changes a people’s state until they change what is in themselves.” [ar-Raʿd 13:11] The full text is as follows:

‘Give precedence to the Religion over everything else, and do not slacken in persevering therein. Do not employ people who do not care about the Religion, do not avoid major sins and are immersed in iniquity. Avoid harmful innovations and distance yourself from those who provoke you towards it and towards oppression. Expand our territory by way of armed combat (jihād), guard the money of the Muslim treasury against waste and strive to increase the wealth of the empire.

Have compassion for the men of the empire, who have devoted their lives to serving it with honesty and sincerity. Grant your protection to their children and progeny. Safeguard for the destitute their strength, do not stretch your hand towards the wealth of any of your subjects and offer your compassion and generosity especially to those who deserve it. Strive to use the troops of the army well and to grant them sufficient rest.

The scholars and men of letters are the force that is dissipated throughout the body of the empire, so be kind to them and encourage them. If you hear that one of them is in another country, summon him and ennoble him with wealth and generosity so that he comes to reside in your country.

Beware, beware of being deceived by wealth and soldiers! Do not banish the people of the Revealed Law from your door, and do not incline towards any action that contravenes the rulings of the Revealed Law. The Religion is our objective and guidance is our way. Take this lesson from me. When I came to this land I was as weak as an ant, and then Allah granted me these majestic blessings. Adhere to my way and follow my example. Strive to strengthen this Muḥammadan religion and to respect its people along with the rest of your obedient subjects. Do not spend more than is necessary from the finances of the empire, do not withhold your sincere advice from your successors and relieve your subjects from oppression.

When I die, bury me under the silver dome in Bursa. If anyone entrusts you with something that Allah has not commanded, do not accept it, and if you do not know something concerning knowledge of the religion, ask someone who does.’


[Translated from Al-Insān wa ʿAdālatu Llāhi fil-Arḍ (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, (forthcoming), p.60-62]

Related:
ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb's advice to Saʿd ibn Abī Waqqāṣ