The Foundations of the Islamic Belief
-Al Ghazali

Chapter 3: Shining Proofs of the Foundations of the Articles of Faith (composed in Jerusalem)

We say - In the Name of the Merciful, the Compassionate Allah. Praise be to Allah who distinguished the community of the sunnah (prophetic way) with the light of certainty and favored the people of truth by guiding them to the foundation of Religion; who saved them from the errors of the unrighteous and the wickedness of the unbelievers.

It is with His Grace that He led them to follow the example of the Master of the Messengers; who directed their footsteps in the way of his honored companions and enabled them to emulate the good, early generations, so that they protected themselves with the strong cord against the dictates of reason, and (to emulate) the lives and beliefs of the ancients with the clear method, combining thereby the products of reason and the ordinances of the religion.

Furthermore they found out that mere verbal repetition of the words "There is no god except Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah" is of no avail unless they completely understand what the fundamentals of the witness involve of principle and pillars. They also have known that the two witnessing phrases, despite their brevity, contain an affirmation of the existence of Allah Himself, His Attributes, and His Deeds, as well as an affirmation of the truthfulness of the Messenger - the praise and peace be upon him - And they also knew that establishing the faith upon these pillars, which are four, each one having ten principles: The first pillar concerning the knowledge of the Essence of Allah - the High - consists of ten principles. They are:

  1. The knowledge that Allah - the High - exists.
  2. He is Ancient
  3. He is Everlasting.
  4. He is not a substance.
  5. He is not a body.
  6. He is not a quality of a body (accident).
  7. He is not subject to a direction.
  8. He is not resident in a place.
  9. He is seen.
  10. He is One.
The second pillar concerns the attributes of Allah: It comprises of ten principles. They are the knowledge that:
  1. He is Alive.
  2. He is Knowledgeable.
  3. He is Powerful.
  4. He is the Willer.
  5. He is the Hearer.
  6. He is the Seer.
  7. He is the Speaker.
  8. His Essence is Exalted to contain a creation (a substratum for originated properties or a locus of phenomena).
  9. His Words are ancient and eternal.
  10. His Knowledge is ancient and eternal as His Will.
The third pillar concerns the Deeds of Allah: it consists of ten principles:
  1. The actions of mankind are created by Allah - the High.
  2. They are gained by the creation.
  3. They are willed by Allah - the High.
  4. Allah has been Gracious by creation and invention.
  5. Allah is free to impose unbearable obligations.
  6. Allah is free to punish the innocent.
  7. While taking into consideration that which is best is not obligatory upon Him.
  8. That there is nothing obligatory except by the Religion.
  9. His sending of prophets is possible (not an obligation upon Him).
  10. The prophecy of our Prophet Muhammad - the praise and peace be upon him - is true being confirmed by miracles.
The fourth pillar is concerning heard verses and the prophetic quotations mentioning the unseen. And consist of ten principles:
  1. The affirmation of the assembly on the Day of Recompense.
  2. The accounting.
  3. The questioning (of the dead by the angels) Munkar and Nakeer.
  4. The punishment of the grave.
  5. The balance.
  6. The Bridge over Hell.
  7. The creation of Paradise and Hell.
  8. The ruling of the imamate (Caliphate).
  9. The excellence of the Companions is in accordance with the chronological order.
  10. The conditions of the imamate (caliphate).

The First Pillar

The first among the pillars of belief is the knowledge of the Essence of Allah - the Exalted, the High - and that Allah - the High - is One.

It consists of ten principles:

(i-a) The Knowledge of His Existence

The first principle is the knowledge of the existence of Allah - the High:

The first light which should be used for illumination and the first thing to be followed on the road of admonition are the instructions of the Koran, because there is no explanation beyond that of Allah - the Exalted. Allah says in the Koran:

"Have We not made the earth a cradle and the mountains as pegs? And We created you in pairs, and We made your sleep a rest, and We made the night a mantle, and We made the day for a livelihood. And We built above you seven strong ones, and placed in them a blazing lamp and have sent down from the clouds pouring rain that We may bring forth with it grain and plants and luxuriant gardens." (Ch.78:6-16).
And again,
"Assuredly in the creation of the Heaven and of the Earth; and in the alternation of night and day; and in the ships which pass through the sea with what is useful to man; and in the rain which Allah sends down from Heaven, giving life by it to the earth after its death, and by scattering over it all kinds of cattle; and in the change of the winds, and in the clouds that are compelled between the Heaven and the Earth; are signs for those who understand."
He - the High - also said:
"Have you not seen how Allah created the seven heavens one above the other, setting in them the moon as a light and the sun as a lantern? Allah has caused you to grow from the earth, and to it He will return you. Then He will bring you forth." (Ch.71:15-18).
And He - the High - said:
"Have you seen what you ejaculate? Did you create it, or are We the Creator? It was We that decreed death among you. We will not be outstripped that We will charge you and cause you to grow again in a fashion you do not know. You have surely known the first creation. Why then, will you not remember! Consider the soil you till. Is it you that sow it, or are We the Sower? If We will, We would make it broken orts and you would remain wondering. (Saying:) `We are laden with debts! Rather, we have been prevented!' Consider the water which you drink. Is it you that send it down from the clouds or We? If We will, We would make it bitter, why then do you not give thanks? Consider the fire which you kindle. Is it you that originated its tree, or are We the Originator?" (Ch.56:58-72 Koran).
Anyone with the least bit of intellect is able to reflect upon the import of these verses and reviewing the wonders of the creation of Allah, in Heaven and on earth as well as the beauties of nature in animal and plant, realizes that this wonderful matter with its consummate order cannot be independent from the Creator to direct it and the Maker to govern it and quantify it.

Therefore Allah - the High - said:

"Is there any doubt about Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth?" (Ch.14:10).
The prophets - the praise of Allah be upon them - were, therefore, sent in order to call the creation to the Oneness, that they may say, "There is no god except Allah." They were not, however, commanded to say, "We have a god and the world has a god," because such a thing is inborn in their minds from the time of their birth and in the midst of their youth.

For this reason Allah - the High, the Glorified - said:

"If you ask them: `Who has created the heavens and the earth?' They will reply: `Allah.'... (Ch.31:25 Koran).
And He - the High - said:
"Therefore set your face to the Religion, purely, the upright creation upon which He originated people there is no changing of the creation of Allah, this is the valuable religion." (Ch.31:30 Koran).
Therefore there is in human nature and the testimonies of the Koran what will render the task of citing proof unnecessary.

(i-b) The Proof of Reason for His Existence

Nevertheless, by way of preparation and following the example of the learned theologians, we say: One of the obvious logic of the mind is that an originated phenomenon cannot come into existence without a cause. Since the world is an originated phenomenon, it cannot come into existence without a cause.

As for our saying that originated phenomena cannot come into existence without a cause, is obvious. For every originated phenomenon belongs to a certain definite time the precedence or the subsequence of which may be assumed. Its being definite in time and distinct from what preceded it and what succeeded it, will naturally require one who renders things definite.

As to one saying that the world is an originated phenomenon, its proof is found in the fact that bodies are not independent of motion and rest. Both states are originated phenomena; and whatever is not independent of originated things is itself originated.

The proof consists of three claims:

The first is that bodies are not independent of motion and rest. This is readily understood and requires neither meditation nor thinking, for he who conceives of a body being in neither the kinetic state nor in the static state is both ignorant and foolish.

The second assertion is our saying that both motion and rest are originated phenomena, the proof of which is found in their alternation and in the appearance of the one after the other is gone. This is true of all bodies, those that have been seen as well as those that have not been seen. For there is not a static object the potential motion of which is not required by the mind, and there is no moving object the potential rest of which is not required by the mind. The sudden is originated because of its immediate occurrence and that which has gone is also an originated matter since it is no longer due to the fact if it is proven it is ancient it will obligate that it does not turn to nothing - details of which will be explained in proving eternity of the Maker - the High, the Purified.

The third assertion is our statement that whatever is not independent of originated things is itself originated. Its proof lies in the fact that if it were not so, then there would be, before every originated phenomenon, other originated phenomena which have no beginning; and unless these originated phenomena come to nothing in their entirety, the turn for the present originated phenomena to come into being immediately would never arrive. But it is impossible for that which has no end to come to nothing.

Furthermore if the celestial spheres have revolutions, the numbers of which have no end, it is inevitable that their numbers be either odd or even, or both odd and even, or neither odd nor even. But it is impossible that their numbers be both odd and even at the same time, or neither odd nor even for this would be a combination of both the negative and the affirmative, since in the affirmation of the one is the negation of the other, and in the negation of the one is the affirmation of the other.

Furthermore they cannot possibly be even because the even number becomes odd with the addition of one; and how could that which has no end be wanting one? Nor can they possibly be odd because the odd number becomes even with the addition of one; and how could it be wanting one when its number has no end? Therefore the conclusion is that the world is not independent of originated phenomena, and that which is not independent of originated phenomena is itself originated. And when its being an originated phenomena has been established, its need for an Originator becomes a necessity through obvious comprehension.

(ii) Ancient Eternity

The second principle is the knowledge that Allah is Ancient from eternity. He has no beginning, but He is the beginning of everything and before anything living or dead. The proof of this is found in the supposition that if Allah had been originated and not ancient, He would have been in need of an originator. In turn His originator would also need an originator and so on in a chain of infinity. And whatever enrolls in such chain will never be found. Or it reaches to an Ancient Originator and He is the First. This is the wanted whom we named the Maker, the Originator, the Fashioner, and the Creator of the Worlds.

(iii) Eternity

The third principle is the knowledge that Allah, besides being without beginning, His Existence has no end.

He is the First and the Last, the Visible and the Invisible, since that whose eternity is established His end is impossible. Its proof lies in the realization that if it came to nothing it is inevitable that it should come to nothing either by Himself or by an opponent.

And if it were possible for a thing, which is conceived of as self-subsisting, to come to nothing, it will be possible for a thing, which is conceived of as self-annihilating, to come into being. And just as the sudden emergence of existence requires a cause, so does the emergence of extinction require a cause. That it will come to nothing through an opposing annihilating agency is false, because if that annihilating agency were ancient, existence side by side with it would be inconceivable. But we have learnt in the two previous principles of His Existence and His Eternity. How did He exist together with the claimed opponent in eternity? If, however, the annihilating opponent were an originated phenomenon, its existence from eternity would be impossible because for the originated phenomenon to oppose the ancient and destroy its existence is less likely than the ancient to oppose the originated and prevent its existence. In fact prevention is easier than destruction while the ancient is stronger and more pre-eminent than the originated.

(iv) Free From Substance

The fourth principle: The knowledge that He - the High - is not a substance which can be in a dimension. Rather, He is Exalted above to be suitable for a dimension. The proof of this lies in the fact that every substance which is definite, is limited by its own place and is inevitably either constant in it or moving away from it. Therefore it is not independent of motion or rest for both these are originated, and that which is not independent of originated phenomena is itself originated.

If an ancient definite substance were conceivable, the eternity of the substances of the world would have been reasonable. And if a person should use the term substance and not mean thereby a resident substance, he would be mistaken as far as the use of the term is concerned, not as far as the meaning for which he had used it.

(v) Free From Bodily Form

The fifth principle: The knowledge that He - the High - is not a body composed of different substances, since the body is that which is composed of substances. When His being a substance limited by place is refuted, His being a body is also refuted, because every body is limited by place and is composed of substances. But it is impossible for the substance to be free from division, composition, motion, rest, form, and quantity, all of which are characteristics of originated phenomena. And if it were possible to believe that the Maker of the world is a body, it would also be possible to believe in the divinity of the sun and the moon as well as other heavenly bodies. If, therefore, one should dare and call Allah a body but not mean thereby a composition of substances, he would be wrong as far as the name is concerned, but not in negating the idea of body.

(vi) Free from the Quality of Substance

The sixth principle: The knowledge that He - the High - is not a quality of substance of a substance existing in a body or a condition in a place; because an accident is that which exists in a body. But every body is inevitably originated and as such its originator exists before it. How then could (Allah) exist in a body when He has existed in eternity alone, with no other beside Him, and then originated the bodies and their qualities afterwards. Besides He is a Knowing, and Able, and the Willing Creator as shall be discussed later. It is impossible for these attributes to exist in substance or its quality. On the contrary they are impossible except in a Self-existent and Self-sufficient Creator.

The conclusion derived from these principles is that He (Allah) is Self-existing, being neither substance, nor body, nor a quality of substance; that the whole world is made of substances, their quality, and bodies, and consequently He resembles nothing and nothing resembles Him. He is the Living, the Subsisting, there is none like unto Him. For how could the created resemble its Creator, the ordained resemble He who ordained it, and the fashioned resemble He who fashioned it? All bodies and their qualities were created and made by Him; hence it is impossible that they are like Him or resemble Him.

(vii) Free from direction and place

The seventh principle: The knowledge that Allah - the High - is removed from being limited by any direction because a direction is either above or below, right or left, before or behind. All these He created and originated through the creation of man whom he made with two extremities, the one rests on the earth and comprises his feet, while the opposite extremity is his head. Consequently the term above was originated to indicate the direction of the head and the term below, the direction of the feet. This is true even of the ant which creeps on the ceiling with the result that the directions, in relation to it, are reversed - what we consider above is to it below, and what we consider below is to it above. Similarly people were created with two hands, one hand usually being stronger than the other. The term right was therefore originated to indicate the direction of the stronger hand and the term left to indicate the opposite direction. Consequently the right hand side is called the right and the opposite direction is called the left.

Mankind was also created with two (other) directions from one of which he sees and toward which he moves. Consequently the term before was originated to designate the direction toward which he moves, while the term behind was originated to designate the opposite.

Therefore the directions are originated through the creation of man; and had he not been created along these lines, but rather created round like a sphere, these directions would never have existed.

How then could Allah have been subject to a direction in eternity when every direction is originated. Or how could He have become subject to a direction when He never had any direction above Him when He created man; for that will mean that He has a head, since above designates the direction above the head. But Allah is far Exalted (above His creatures) to have a head. Again how could He have become subject to a direction when He never had any direction below Him when He created mankind; for that will mean that He has feet, since below designates the direction below the feet. Allah is far Exalted (above His creatures) to have feet. All this is too impossible (to imagine) in the mind. For whatever the mind conceives is definite in so far as it is limited by place, in the same way as substances are limited, or by substances, in the same way as their qualities are. But the impossibility of His being a substance or its quality has been established - consequently His being subject to a direction becomes impossible.

If therefore anything else is meant by the term direction other than these two meanings then the usage will be wrong in terminology and signification; because if Allah were above the world He would be opposite to it, and everything which is opposite to a body is either equal to it in size, or smaller or larger. All this implies measurement which necessarily requires an object or measurement. But Allah the One Creator and Ruler of the world and universe is far Exalted above such things.

As to the raising of hands heaven-wards at the time of supplication it is because Heaven is the direction of supplication and implies a description of the One to whom the supplications are offered, such as Majesty and Grandeur, employing thereby the direction of height to represent the quality of Glory and Exaltation. For Allah is above all in dominion and power.

(viii) Istawa

The eighth principle: That He - the High - istawa upon the Throne in the sense which He willed by that state of equilibrium - a state which is not inconsistent with the quality of grandeur and to which the symptoms of origination and annihilation do not permeate. It is exactly what has been meant by the ascension to Heaven in the Koran when Allah said, "Then He willed to the Heaven, when it was smoke." (Ch.41:11 Koran). This is only through dominion and power, as the poet said: "Bishr has gained dominion over Iraq, With neither sword nor shedding of blood."

Thus were the people of truth compelled to pursue such a figurative and allegorical interpretation just as the people of the invisible knowledge were compelled to interpret His saying - the High -: "He is with you wherever you are" (Ch. 57:4 Koran). This has been taken, by agreement, to mean thorough comprehension and knowledge just as the words of the Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him - "The heart of the believer lies between two of the fingers of the Merciful (Allah)", have been taken to mean might and power while his words, "The Black Stone is the Right Hand of Allah in the earth," have been taken to mean veneration and honor, because if they were taken literally, the result would have been impossible.

Similarly the istawa of Allah upon the Throne, if it were left to mean fixity of location and stability, would necessitate that He who is seated upon the Throne is a body touching the Throne, and is either equal to it in size, or larger or smaller. But all this is impossible, and what leads to the impossible is itself impossible.

(ix) Seeing

The ninth principle: Is the knowledge that He - the High - although exalted from form and quantity and exalted above directions and dimensions, is nevertheless seen with the eyes in the Hereafter, the Everlasting abode. For He said,
"On that Day there shall be radiant faces, gazing towards their Lord." (Ch.74:22-23 Koran).
But He cannot be seen in this world according to His saying - the Mighty, the Glorified -:
"No eye can see Him, He sees all eyes" (Ch.6:103 Koran).
And according to His Words in addressing Moses - peace be upon him: "You shall not see Me." Would that I knew how the Mu'tazilites knew the attributes of Allah that Moses himself did not know; or how Moses asked to see Allah when seeing Him was impossible! Ignorance is more likely to be rampant among heretics and sectarians than among the prophets - the praise of Allah be upon them -. As for the reason of taking the verse describing seeing literally it is because it does not lead to the impossible.

For sight is a kind of revelation and knowledge, although it is more complete and clearer than knowledge. And if it is possible to know Allah without reference to direction, it is also possible to see Him without reference to direction. And just as it is possible for Allah to see men without confrontation, it is possible for men to see Him without confrontation; and just as it is possible to know Him without modality or form, it is possible to see Him likewise.

(x) The Oneness

The tenth principle: The knowledge that Allah - the Mighty, the Glorified - is One without any associate, Single without an equal. He is separate in creating and innovating; He is alone in bringing into existence and inventing. There are none like Him to rival or equal Him, and none opposite Him to contest or contend with Him. The proof is in His saying - the High -
"Had there been other gods in both of them (in Heaven or earth) besides Allah, there would have been ruin." (Ch.21:22 Koran).
And to explain, if there had been two gods and the first of them willed a certain thing, the second, if he were under compulsion to aid the first, would be a subordinate and impotent being rather than an almighty god; and if the second were able to contradict and oppose the first, he would be a powerful and dominating being while the first would be weak and impotent rather than an almighty god.

The Second Pillar: Concerining the attributes of Allah.

Based upon ten principles:

(i) Ability

The first principle is the knowledge that the Maker of the world is Almighty and that He - the High - is Truthful in His saying:
"He has power over all things," (Ch.5:120 Koran).
Because the world is perfect in its making and orderly in its composition. For he who would see a silk garment, fine in its weave and texture, symmetrical in its embroidery and ornamentation, and would imagine that it was woven by a dead person that has no life, or by a helpless person with has no power, would be completely lacking in intellect and utterly foolish and ignorant.

(ii) Knowledge

The second principle is the knowledge that He - the High - is Knowledgeable, knowing all things and comprehending all creation; not even the weight of an atom in Heaven or on earth is ever hidden from His Knowledge. He is truthful in His saying:
"He has knowledge of all things." (Ch.2:29 Koran).
Furthermore evidence of His Truthfulness is found in His Saying - the High:
"Shall He who has created all things not know? He is the Subtle, the Aware." (Ch.67:14 Koran).
He has led you, through His creation, to comprehend the knowledge that you cannot doubt in proving the subtleness of creation and orderly creation, even in insignificant and meager things, offers to the knowledge of the Maker of how to bring order and how to arrange. And what Allah - the Exalted - Himself said is the Last Word in guidance and in revealing knowledge.

(iii) Life

The third principle is the knowledge that Allah - the High, the Glorified - is Alive, because He whose knowledge and power are established, His being possessed of life will, of necessity, become established. If it is possible to conceive of the existence of an able, knower, doer and planner yet without life, it will be possible to doubt the life of animals, despite their movements, as well as the life of all craftsmen and artisans, all of which is utter ignorance and error.

(iv) Will

The fourth principle is the knowledge that He - the High - is Willing for His Deeds. And nothing exists which does not depend upon, and proceed from His Will. He is the Creator, the Restorer, the Doer of whatsoever He wills. And how could He not be a Willer when, in every deed which has proceeded from Him, its opposite could have proceeded from Him; for whosoever has no opposite it is possible that action could proceed from Him by Himself before or after the time in which it has proceeded.

And it suits His Power both the two opposites and the two times in the same way. Therefore, it is necessary that there should be a Will which directs His Power to one of the two possibilities.

And if Knowledge would, in specifying the known thing, render the Will needless, so that it could be said that a thing has come into being at a time when its existence had already been known (this is not the case otherwise), it would be possible for knowledge to render power needless, so that it could be said that a thing has come into being without Power (which is not the case), but simply because its existence has already been known.

(v) Hearing and Seeing

The fifth principle is the knowledge that He - the High - is the Hearer and the Seer. Neither the whispers of the innermost heart nor the secret thoughts and reflections are hidden from His Sight. The sound of the creeping of the black ant upon the solid rock in the darkest night is not beyond His Hearing. And how could He not see and hear when seeing and hearing are (attributes of) perfection not of defect? Could the created be more perfect than its Creator, the thing made more magnificent and more complete than the Maker? Or how could they ever be equal, no matter how much He might diminish in perfection while His creation and work increase therein? And again how could the argument of Abraham - the praise and peace of Allah be upon him - against his father, who ignorantly and erroneously worshipped idols, be sound? Abraham addressed his father saying: "O father, why worship that which can neither see nor hear, nor can do anything for you?" (Ch.19:42 Koran). But if these defects which characterized the idols of his father characterized his Creator as well, his argument would have been invalid and his evidence worthless, and the words of Allah: "This is Our proof which We gave to Abraham against His people," would have been false.

And as understood He is a Doer without limbs and knowledgeable without heart and head, so it could also be understood that He is the Seer without pupil and Hearer without ear as there is no difference between both.

(vi) Speech

The sixth principle: Is that He - the Exalted, the High - speaks with a speech which is a Self-existing attribute. It is neither a sound nor a letter; it does not resemble the speech of others, just as His Existence does not resemble others. In reality speech is the speech of the self. Sounds were built into words merely as symbols, just as gestures and signals are often used to represent the same thing. How then has this fact not been known by a group of ignorant (theologians) people while it has been known by ignorant poets (of theology).

One of them said: "Speech is in the heart; While the tongue is an indicator for the heart." As for him whose intellect does neither deter nor restrain him from saying that his tongue is an originated thing, but what originates in it by means of his originated power is ancient do not be anxious to rectify his brain and refrain your tongue from speaking with such a person.

Similarly, you should not direct your heart to him who does not understand that the Ancient is that nothing existed before Him. And that the letter "n" is before the letter "a" in the word "Name" so that the letter "a" cannot be relatively older than the letter "n".

For Allah - the Exalted - has a secret for leading some men astray; "None can guide those whom Allah leads astray." (Ch.13:33 Koran). As for him who deems it improbable that Moses could have, in this world, heard a speech which was neither sound nor letter, let him deny that in the Hereafter he could see His Existence having neither body nor color.

But if it has been possible to conceive that which has no color, or body, or size, or quantity, could be seen. And He is still as He was - never seeing other than Him - similarly, it could be conceived in the sense of hearing what has been conceived in the sense of seeing.

And if it has been possible to conceive of Allah having one knowledge, which is the knowledge of all existent things, it would also be possible to conceive of Him having one attribute, which is a speech comprising all that He has represented with meaning.

And if it has been possible to conceive of the existence of the Seven Heavens, Paradise and Hell, written all on a small piece of paper and preserved in a minute part of the heart, and seen with a part of the pupil not exceeding the size of a lentil seed, without the Heavens and Earth, Paradise and Hell actually existing in the pupil, or the heart, or the paper, it would also be possible to conceive of the Speech of Allah being read with tongues, preserved in the hearts, and written in books, without the actual existence of that speech in these things.

If the fire of Hell, through the writing of its name on the leaves, would exist actually thereon and (the leaves) would be burned, (this is not the case), similarly the very Speech (of Allah) should not actually exist on the leaves of a book, nor Allah Himself, through the writing of His Name on these leaves, would exist in it.

(vii) Eternity of Speech and Attributes and Purity from origination

The seventh principle: Is that the Self-existing Speech (of Allah), as well as His other attributes, is Ancient from eternity, since it is impossible that He is subject to the substance and its quality (originated phenomena). On the contrary His attributes obligate the same external nature which His Essence obligate.

Change does not overtake Him nor substance or its quality befall Him. No, He does not cease, in His Eternity, to be described with the commendable attributes.

In His Everlasting Eternity, He is far exalted from change. For he who is subject to substance (originated phenomena) cannot be apart from it. And whosoever cannot be apart from substance is a substance (originated phenomena).

The description of bodies with the pheonmena's origination was established because of their exposition to changing and alteration of descriptions. How, then, could their Creator share with them the acceptance of change.

Accordingly, it is essential that the Speech of Allah is ancient from eternity and it is of His Self-existence. Only the sounds which represent it are originated.

If it is possible to conceive that a father prays for his unborn son to be knowledgeable. Then the child is born with that dormant ability; from which we understand that Allah has created this knowledge in relation to the father's heart. The knowledge exists and remains in the child until he is able to comprehend the knowledge which he has been given. Similarly, it is possible to conceive the standing of the ordinance of Allah which was indicated by the saying of Him - the Mighty, the Glorified - "Take off your sandals" which Moses - peace be upon him - became subject to after Moses existed due to the fact that a knowledge of this ordinance was created for him. Then once the child has reached the stage of ability to be able to understand, Allah has created that knowledge which was the father's heart desire. Accordingly, he heard that Ancient saying.

(viii) Eternity of Knowledge

The eighth principle: Is that His Knowledge is ancient and not subject to updating. He has not ceased to know Himself and His Attributes, as well as everything that happens from His creation.

Whatever happens in and from the creation does not update His Knowledge, rather it is known to Him through His Eternal Knowledge.

Thus if we were given prior knowledge of the coming of so and so at sunrise, and that prior knowledge persisted until the sun had risen, then the coming of so and so at sunrise would have been known to us through that prior knowledge without any necessity for its renewal.

Likewise, the eternity of the Knowledge of Allah - the High - should be understood.

(ix) Eternity of Will

The ninth principle: Is that His Will is ancient. In its eternity it governs the origination of phenomena in their appointed times in accordance with the Eternal Knowledge. For if His Will were originated, He will be subject to substance (originated phenomena.) Furthermore if it happened in other than His Will, He would not be the one who is the willer of it. Just as you yourself would not execute an action which is not in yourself.

No matter what hypothesis you may assume, its presence requires another will, and likewise the other will requires a third, and so on to infinity.

And if it were possible for a will to come into being without a Will, it would be possible for the world to come into being without a will.

(x) Knowledgeable with Knowledge, Living with Life, Able with Ability, Willer with Will, Speaker with Speech, Hearer with Hearing and Seer With Seeing.

The tenth principle: Is that Allah - the High - is Knowledgeable with knowledge, Living with life, Powerful with power, Willer with will, Speaker with speech, Hearer with hearing, and Seeing with sight. He has the qualities of these ancient attributes.

To speak of a knower but without knowledge is like speaking of one who is wealthy but without wealth, or of knowledge without a knower, or a knower without something known. For knowledge, the knower, and that which is known are inseparable just as murder, the murdered, and the murderer are inseparable.

And just as it is impossible to conceive of a murderer without murder and the one murdered, or of one murdered without a murderer and murder, it is impossible to conceive of a knower without knowledge, and of knowledge without something known, and of something known without a knower.

These three are in reason inseparable in the brain and the one is inconceivable without the other.

Whoever would deem it possible that a knower could exist independently of knowledge, he would have to deem it possible that a knower could exist independently of that which is known, and that knowledge could exist independently of a knower, since there is no difference between these qualities.

The Third Pillar:
The Knowledge of the Deeds of Allah

Based on ten principles

(i) Originated things are of His Deeds. Creation and Invention

The first principle: Is the knowledge that every originated phenomenon in the world is of His making, creation, and invention. There is no other creator of it besides Him, and there is no innovator of it except Him. He created the creation and fashioned them, and He brought into being their ability and movement.

All the deeds of His worshippers are created by Him and related to His Power, in confirmation of His saying - the High -

"the Creator of all things,"
and His saying - the High -
"Allah created you and what you do." (Ch.37:96 Koran).
And in His saying - the High -
"Whether you speak in secret or aloud. He knows the innermost of the chests. Shall He who has created all things not know? He is the Subtle, the Aware." (Ch.67:13-14 Koran).
He commanded His worshippers to be careful in their words, deeds and secret thoughts and intentions, because He knows the motives of their deeds. And the creation is a proof of His Knowledge.

And how could He not be the Creator of the deeds of a person when His Power is complete and free of any impotence.

Furthermore His Power is related to the movements of the bodies of people - while these actions are similar to one another - the relation of the Power of Allah with them is self-existing.

What then would prevent its connection in the case of some actions and would not prevent it in the case of others, when all are similar? For how could the animal be capable of invention by itself? The spider and the bee as well as the rest of the animals produce fine works which amaze wise minds.

But how could they have invented these things alone without the Lord of lords, when actually they are not aware of the details of what gains are produced from them?

All creation are abased before Him, the Owner of the Kingdom both visible and invisible, and the Compeller of the Heavens and Earth.

(ii) Invention by Allah and a gain for His creation

The second principle: Although Allah - the Exalted - is the Sole Inventor of the actions of His worshippers, it does not negate the action from being of the Ability of Allah for the gain of the worshippers.

Rather, Allah - the High - created both the ability and those who are able, and created both the choice and those who choose.

Therefore, the ability is a description for a human being and a creation for the Lord; it is not a gain for Him.

As for the movement, it is a creation for the Lord - the High - and a description for the human being and his gain, in other words it is created with ability that is his description.

While movement is related to another description called ability, and for this reason it is considered a gain.

So, how could they be the result of complete compulsion when the difference between the voluntary actions and the involuntary reflexes is instinctively comprehended by man? Or, how could they be a creation of man when he does not know the different parts of acquired actions and their numbers?

Thus when the two extreme positions are disproved, there remains nothing except the middle position which asserts that they are voluntary through the Ability of Allah by invention and through the ability of the worshipper by another connection which is expressed by the term acquisition or gain.

The relation between the Ability and the willed is not necessary to be through invention only, since the Ability of Allah in eternity was to relate to the world although the world was not yet invented and at the time the invention was not yet occurring, while it is concerning the invention it is related with a different kind of relation.

Therefore, it is apparent that the relation of the Ability is not specifically for the occurrence of what was subject of the Ability.

(iii) Gained by the creation, Willed by Allah

The third principle: Is that the deeds of the worshipper, although they are his gain, are nevertheless willed by Allah - the Exalted.

Neither a twinkling of an eye nor a stray thought, or the glancing of an onlooker ever occur, either in the visible or the invisible world except through His Decree and Ability, His Will and His Determination.

From Him is good and evil, benefit and harm, Islam and disbelief, gratefulness and ingratitude, winning and loosing, righteousness and error, obedience and disobedience, Oneness and polytheism.

There is none that rescinds His Commands, none that audits His Decrees. He leads astray whom He wishes and guides whom He wishes.

"None shall question Him about His works, but they shall be questioned." (Ch.21:23 Koran).
This is attested by the narrations of the sayings of all the scholars of the prophetic quotations; "What He Wills is and what He does not will is not." And the saying of Allah - the Mighty, the Glorified:
"Had Allah pleased He could have guided all people." (Ch.13:31 Koran).
And His saying - the High:
"Had it been Our Will, We will give every soul its guidance."
As for the evidence for it from the point of view of reason that if Allah neither likes nor wills sin and crimes, they must be in accordance with the will of the enemy, Iblis - Allah cursed him - who is the enemy of Allah - the Exalted - and consequently what takes place in accordance with the will of the enemy will be greater than what takes place in accordance with the Will of Allah - the High - . How could a Muslim deem it possible that the Kingdom of the Compeller, the Owner of Majesty and Honor, be reduced to such a rank that would not even interest the leader of a village, because if the enemy of that leader has greater influence in the village, no doubt the leader would resign.

Disobedience prevails upon mankind, which is considered by the innovators of theology to be happening despite the Will of Allah - the True, the High - . This would be considered the most weak and impotent. Exalted is the High, the Lord of lords above the blasphemous words of the transgressors.

Furthermore when it becomes evident that the deeds of mankind are created by Allah, it becomes clear that they are also willed by Him.

If it should then be asked, "How does Allah forbid what He has willed and orders what He does not will?" We would say that the question is not that of will. For example, if a master strikes his servant and is reprimanded by the sultan, he justifies his action by the rebellion of the servant against him. But the sultan disbelieves him. So he attempts to prove his contention by ordering the servant to do something which the servant would refuse in the presence of the sultan. So, he tells the servant to saddle a mount. (Now how about this) the master has ordered the servant to do something which he really doesn't want him to do.

If he had not given his order, he would not have been able to prove his point; and having given the order - had he really desired what he ordered he would have desired what has not served his purpose, which is unthinkable.

(iv) Creation is from His Grace not an obligation

The fourth principle: Is that Allah - the High - is Generous in creating and inventing and Gracious in imposing obligations upon mankind. Neither creation nor imposing obligations were obligatory upon Him.

The Mu'tazilites said that these were obligatory on Him for the welfare of mankind. But this is impossible since He is the Sole Orderer, the only One to obligate and to forbid. How then can He be subject to any obligation or necessity or be subjected to given orders.

Obligation or necessity means one of two things: First, an act which, when it is refrained from causes future harm. As when it is said that it is obligatory for mankind to obey Allah if they want to escape torment by fire in the Hereafter, or immediate harm as is the case when we say that it is obligatory for him who is thirsty to drink otherwise he might die.

Second, it means that which its non-existence would lead to an impossibility. As it is said that the existence of that which is known is necessary since its non-existence will lead to an impossibility, namely knowledge becoming ignorance.

If the adversary meant that the act of creation is necessary for Allah according to the first meaning, he would have exposed Him to harm.

If he implied the second meaning, he would be in agreement, because the precedence of knowledge necessitates the existence of the known. However, if he implied a third meaning, it is unintelligible.

As to his statement: "It is obligatory for the benefit of His worshipper" it is corrupt logic, for if He is not harmed by neglecting the welfare of mankind, the obligation upon Him bears no meaning.

Speaking of what is best for mankind is really its welfare in that He creates them in Paradise. While to create them in the world of trials and to expose them to sin then becomes subject to the danger of punishment, and to the terrors of presentation and accounting (on the Day of Recompense) is not enviable by the wise.

(v) Obligating What is Beyond One's Ability

The fifth principle: It is possible that Allah - the Exalted - imposes on people obligations beyond their ability. This is contrary to the position of the Mu'tazilites (or anyone who follows this way of thought).

For if this were not contingent, it would be impossible for men to ask Allah to spare them that burden. But as a matter of fact they have beseeched Allah to spare them that burden when they said: "Our Lord do not over burden us more than we can bear." (Ch.2:286 Koran).

Furthermore Allah - the High - has informed His Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him - that Abu Jahl would not believe Him, nevertheless Allah commanded the Prophet to command Abu Jahl to believe in all the Words of Allah. But among the Words of Allah were those that Abu Jahl would not believe in. How then would he believe Him by not believing Him? The existence of such a thing is absolutely impossible.

(vi) Inflicting Pain Upon the Creation is not Impossible

The sixth principle: Contrary to the Mu'tazilites (or anyone who follows this way of thought), it is for Allah - the Mighty, the Glorified - to inflict pain on men and to torment them, without their having previously committed any offense, and without the necessity of compensating them with future rewards. Because He is dealing with His Own Kingdom. It is inconceivable that His actions fell beyond His Kingdom.

Tyranny is dispensing with the possessions of others without their permission. But this is impossible in the case of Allah - the High - because there is no kingdom owned by other than Him, whereby His dealing with it would be considered to be tyrannous.

And the proof for this is simply because it exists. For example, the slaughter of animals inflicts pain on them, and the various kinds of torture which man imposes upon them have not been preceded by any offense.

If it is said that Allah - the High - will raise them from the dead and will reward them according to the amount of pain which they suffered, and that such action is obligatory upon Allah - the High - we would reply that anyone who would claim that it is incumbent upon Allah to bring every ant which was killed under the feet and every bug which was crushed back to life, so that He might reward them the pain which they suffered, would violate the dictates of Religion and reason, for it is said: "The description of reward and assembly is that it is obligatory upon Allah" - if it is meant that it will harm Him to neglect doing it it is impossible, and if it is meant by it other than the above mentioned for the necessitating otherwise any other reason beyond this will be considered unintelligible.

(vii) Considering What is Best is Not an Obligation

The seventh principle: Is that He - the High - does with His creation whatever He wishes and there is no obligation upon Him to take into consideration that which is best for His worshippers, because of what we have already mentioned regarding the fact that there is nothing obligatory upon Him - the Exalted.

Rather, it is inconceivable that there are any obligations upon Him, for He is not questioned about what He does whereas others are asked.

I wonder what answer a Mu'tazilite would give when, in connection with his statement that it is incumbent upon Allah to do what is best, we place before him the following hypothetical debate:

It is supposed that in the Hereafter an argument takes place between two persons, a child and an adult, both of whom died as Muslims. Now, according to the Mu'tazilites, Allah exalts the rank of the adult and gives him preference over the child, because the former labored hard in acts of worship after he attained maturity. In fact this is incumbent upon Allah according to the Mu'tazilites. Suppose then that the child says, "O my Lord! Why have You exalted his rank above mine?" And Allah answers, "Because he has attained maturity and has labored in acts of worship." Thereupon the child rejoins, "But Lord, it is You who caused me to die a child. So it is obligatory upon You to have prolonged my life until I attained maturity; then I would have labored in Your worship. But You, O Lord, have deviated from justice by favoring him with long life. Lord! Why have You favored him?" Allah - the High - would then reply, "Because I knew that if you had lived to attain maturity, you would have committed the sins of polytheism and disobedience. Hence it was better for you to die a child." Such will the apology of the Mu'tazilite (or anyone who follows this way of thought) be for Allah - the Mighty, the Glorified.

But then the unbelievers will cry up from the midst of Hell-fire saying: "O Lord! Had You not known that if we had lived to attain maturity we should have committed the sin of polytheism, why then didn't You cause us to die in childhood before we could sin? We should have been content to enjoy in Paradise in a lesser rank than that of the Muslim child." What kind of answer could be given for this? In the face of this situation, is it not imperative to conclude that Divine matters, in view of their majesty, are exalted above to be weighed by the scales of the Mu'tazilites.

If it is said that because Allah can consider that which is best for mankind but instead inflicts upon them all manner of torment, this will be considered undesirable and unworthy of wisdom.

We should then say that the undesirable is that which does not suit the aim, but a thing may be undesirable to one person and desirable to the other if it disagrees with the desire of the one and suits the other.

Thus a family would deem the murder of their child undesirable but their enemies would welcome it.

Hence if it is meant by what is not best that which does not suit the desire of Allah - the Originator, the Exalted - this will be impossible because He has no desire. Therefore, the opposite of the best is not expected from Him, nor the harm because He does not deal with that owned by others.

And if it is meant by what is not best is that which does not suit the desire of others! Why, then did you say that this is impossible for Him? Is it not merely wishful thinking, disproved by what we have assumed of the debate of the adult and the child and the plea of the unbelievers from the midst of Hell-fire? Furthermore the wise is he who knows the realities of things and is capable of harnessing them in accordance with his will.

It is here where the consideration of that which is best is imperative. And as to the wise among us, he takes into consideration that which is best as far as he himself is concerned, in order to gain therewith praise in this world and reward in the Hereafter, or to prevent some evil from befalling him all of which are impossible for Allah - the Exalted, the High.

(viii) Knowing Allah by Religion and Not by Reason

The eighth principle: Is that knowing Allah - the Exalted - and obedience to Him are obligatory upon mankind, by the obligation of Allah - the High - in His Religion, and not by reason at all. Of course this is is contrary to the Mu'tazilites (and some philosophers and Christians).

For if reason renders obedience obligatory, it does so either for no purpose, - for reason does not obligate resurrection - which is impossible, or for some purpose or desire.

Or, obligates it for a benefit and a desire which in turn has to return to the Worshiped and this is impossible concerning Allah - the High - for He is Exalted above desires and benefits. Even disbelief and unbelief, obedience and disobedience are the same from a beneficial point of view to Him.

Or, it returns to the benefit of the worshipper which is again impossible, because he has no current desire. Because of obedience, he becomes tired and refrains from lower appetites.

While there is nothing in the future except reward and punishment. So, how then, can he know that Allah - the High - rewards the disobedient and the obedient and does not punish both of them because both are equal concerning (their having an affect on) Him. Because He is inclined to neither, but we know all these characteristics from the Religion. While he who arrives at it through drawing an analogy between the Creator and the creature errs, as the creature distinguishes between gratitude and ingratitude on the basis of the amount of joy, gladness, and pleasure which he derives from the one or the other. If it is said that if examination and knowledge are not obligatory except through the Religion which does not become defined unless the person who is required to fulfill its obligations examines it, and if that person should say to the Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him - that reason does not obligated him to examine while the Religion is not confirmed except through examination, and obviously I am not going to examine it. All this will conclude in the Messenger - the praise and peace be upon him - being silenced?

We would then say that this argument is the same as that of the person who, on being warned by another that there is a wild lion standing behind him, and that unless he runs away the beast will devour him, and that he can ascertain that the warning is true if he will only look behind, says to the one who warned him that the truth of your warning can be established only if I look behind me, yet I am not going to turn and look behind me unless your truth is proven to me! This indicates stupidity of the speaker and guides him to destruction and there is no harm upon the guide!! As such is the Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him - he says: (in similitude) "Behind you is death, wild cats and the burning fire. If you are not cautious and realize my truthfulness by turning and looking at my miracles, you will be destroyed. So whosoever turns will know and be cautious and saved. But whosoever does not turn and insists is destroyed and lost, and there is no harm upon me even if all humanity are destroyed. It is only for me to proclaim the message in a clear manner." The Religion knows the existence of the wild lions after death, while reason aids in understanding the words of the Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him - and in realizing that which he prophecies is possible, and nature urges that precautions are taken against injury and harm.

A thing is necessary because its neglect causes injury and harm; while reason is that which renders a thing necessary because it makes known the impending harm. But reason in itself does not lead to the knowledge that when a person follows his appetite he will expose himself to harm after death.

This then is the meaning of both Religion and reason as well as their part in determining that which is obligatory.

For had it not been for the fear of punishment, for the neglect of things commanded, obligations would not have been established, since the term obligatory would be meaningless if no harm in the Hereafter were consequent upon its neglect in this world.

(ix) Sending Messengers is not Impossible

The ninth principle: Is that sending prophets is possible and not impossible, contrary to the Brahmans who say there is no use in sending prophets since reason renders it unnecessary.

Because reason does not guide men to deeds which lead to salvation in the Hereafter, just as it does not guide them to discover medicines which are beneficial to the health.

Therefore the need of mankind for prophets is just like their need for physicians. The integrity of the physician is known through experience while the truthfulness of the prophet is known through miracles.

(x) The proof of the Messengerhood of the Seal of the Prophets

The tenth principle: Is that Allah - the Exalted - has sent Prophet Muhammad - the praise and peace be upon him - as the seal of the prophets and as an abrogator of all previous Religions before him; the religions of the Jews and the Christians and the Sabians (a Judaeo-Christian sect). He (Allah) upheld him with unmistakable miracles and wonderful signs such as the splitting of the moon, the praise of the pebbles, and causing the dumb animal to speak, as well as water flowing from between his fingers and the unmistakable sign of the Glorious Koran with which he challenged the Arabs.

The Arabs, in their struggle with the Prophet, did everything to counteract him, but despite their distinguished ability and excellence in eloquence and rhetoric, they were not able to oppose him with anything like the Koran, because it was not within the power of human beings, to combine the succinctness of the phrases of the Koran and the smoothness of its style together with what it contained of the news of the ancient generations and the fact that the Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him - himself was unlettered having no experience with books, with the prediction of unknown future events the subsequent occurrence of which established the truthfulness of the Prophet - may praise and peace be upon him.

Examples of this are found in the Words of Allah:

"You shall certainly enter the Sacred Mosque in security if Allah wills, with hair shaven or cut short and without fear." (Ch.48:27 Koran).
And again,
"The Romans have been defeated in a land close by; but after their defeat, in a few years they shall become the victors." (Ch.30:2-3 Koran).
The reason why a miracle attests the truthfulness of the messengers is because everything which human beings cannot do must be the work of Allah.

Whatever is linked by the Prophet with a challenge enjoys the same position as that to which Allah says, "You are right." This is like the case of the person who, standing before the king announces to the subjects that he is the king's messenger, and in order to prove that he is, he asks the king to stand upon his throne and sit down three times contrary to his usual practice. The king obliges and the subjects know, beyond the shadow of doubt, that the king's action takes the place of his saying "You are right."

The Fourth Pillar:
Concerning the Prophetic quotations on the Hereafter and the belief in what the Prophet taught

This is based upon ten principles

(i) Assembly and Presentation of Accounts

The first principle: Is the belief in the resurrection of the dead and the Day of Judgement both of which have been mentioned in the prophetic quotations.

They are real and belief in them is obligatory, because, according to reason, they are possible. They signify restoration to life after death which, like the first act of creation, is within the Power of Allah. Allah says:

"Who will quicken these bones after they have decayed? Say: `He will quicken them Who created them the first time...'" (Ch.36:78 Koran).
Therefore the Ability of Allah to restore the dead to life is deduced from His Ability to perform the first act of creation. Allah says:
"Your creation and your resurrection are but as a single soul." (Ch.31:28 Koran).
Restoration to life is nothing but a second act of creation, and is possible like the first act of creation.

(ii) The Inquisition of Munkar and Nakeer

The second principle: Is the belief in the inquisition of the angels Munkar and Nakeer.

This is mentioned in the Prophetic sayings and should, therefore, be accepted, because it is possible, since it does not require anything except the restoration to life of that part of the body with which dialogues are understood. This is possible in itself and neither the apparent stillness of the dead person's corpse nor our failure to hear the questions put to him refute it. For the sleeping person is outwardly still and motionless, but he perceives inwardly, pains and pleasures the effects of which he feels once he is awake.

Furthermore the Prophet heard the voice of Gabriel and saw him while those who were around neither heard nor saw him. For "and they do not comprehend anything of His Knowledge except what He willed." (Ch.2:255 Koran). Thus if Allah does not create hearing and sight for mankind, they will not know Him.

(iii) The Punishment of the Grave

The third principle: Is the belief in the punishment of the grave which is mentioned in the prophetic quotations.

Allah says:

"Before the Fire they shall be exposed morning and evening, and when the Last Day comes, (it will be said):) `Admit the people of Pharaoh in the most terrible chastisement!'" (Ch.40:46 Koran).
It was also well known that the Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him - and the good, early generation were wont to seek refuge in Allah from the punishment of the Grave.

This punishment of the grave is possible and the fact that the corpse may be dismembered and scattered in the bellies of lions and the gizzards of fowls does not prevent the belief in it, because the bodily members which feel the pain of punishment are those particular members to which Allah had ordained the restoration of sense, perception and feeling.

(iv) The Scales

The fourth principle: Is the belief in the balance which is real. Allah says:
"We shall set up just scales on the Day of Resurrection..." (Ch.21:47 Koran).
And again:
"Those whose scales are heavy shall triumph, but those whose scales are light shall lose their souls." (Ch.7:8-9 Koran).
The manner in which this is done is that Allah causes to exist in the balance of men's deeds, a weight in proportion to the value of these deeds in His Sight.

Consequently the value of the deeds of men becomes known to them so that the justice of Allah in punishment, His Grace in forgiveness, and generosity in reward might become evident.

(v) The Bridge

The fifth principle: Is the belief in the Bridge, which is stretched over Hell; it is finer than a hair and sharper than the edge of the sword. Allah says:
"and guide them to the Path of Hell, and stop them to be questioned." (Ch:37:23-24 Koran).
This is also a fact and belief in it is obligatory. For Allah who is Able to make the birds fly in the air is also able to make mankind walk over the bridge.

(vi) Paradise and Hell

The sixth principle: Is the belief that Paradise and Hell are created. Allah said
"And vie in haste for pardon from your Lord, and a Paradise, vast as the Heavens and the Earth, prepared for those who fear Allah."
The Word of Allah `prepared' proves that both Paradise and Hell are created. Therefore the literal meaning of the verse should be accepted especially since it is not impossible. Nor will it be said that there is no use in their creation before the Day of Judgement because
"None shall question Him about His Works, but they shall be questioned." (Ch.21:23 Koran)

(vii) The True Caliphate

The seventh principle: Is that the guided caliphs after the Prophet of Allah are Abu-Bakr, then `Umar, then `Uthman and then `Ali. No clear designation of a caliph was ever made by the Prophet of Allah - may praise and peace be upon him. If there had been any such designation it would have had a much better chance to become known and survive than the designation of a local imam in some part of the land by unknown governors and army commanders. In the latter case the designation became known and survived. How then did it not become known and survive in the case of the Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him? If it were really made, how then did it disappear and why was it not transmitted to us? Accordingly Abu-Bakr was not a caliph except through election and through the oath of allegiance.

To maintain that someone other than Abu-Bakr was designated would amount to the same thing as accusing all the Companions of contradicting the Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him - and of violating the principle of the unanimous agreement of the scholars. No one dares fabricate such an accusation except the Rafidites.

The belief of the Sunni community requires the vindication of all the Companions as well as their praise just as Allah and His Prophet have praised them.

As for the struggle which took place between Mu'awiyah and `Ali, it was the result of different points of view in independent interpretation rather than a struggle wherein Mu'awiyah disputed `Ali's right to the caliphate. Because of their many relatives among the tribes and the fact that these relatives were scattered all through the army, `Ali deemed that the surrender of the assassins of `Uthman, would lead to disturbances which would endanger the safety of the caliphate in its early days. Therefore he saw fit to postpone their surrender. On the other hand, Mu'awiyah thought that any delay in the surrender of the assassins to justice would, in view of the enormity of their crime, incite further attacks on the lives of caliphs and would lead to the shedding of blood.

One of the celebrated learned men said that every independent interpreter of the religion was right in his own interpretation; while others said that he who is right is one. No one of learning and intelligence, has charged `Ali with error.

(viii) The Ranks of Excellence of the Four Caliphs and the Rest of the Companions

The eighth principle: Is that the excellence of the Companions is in accordance to their chronological order in which they succeeded the Prophet.

For real excellence is that which is excellent in the Sight of Allah, and no one will have knowledge of it except the Prophet of Allah - may praise and peace be upon him.

Several verses in praise of all the Companions were revealed and a number of prophetic quotations that recite their honor have been handed down. Yet the subtle distinction of excellence and precedence is not grasped except by those who were eye-witnesses to the Revelation and had the opportunity to observe it in its setting and to watch its development. Had they not understood that so well they would not have arranged matters as they did, since it was not their habit to abandon the Way of Allah on account of threat or pressure and nothing would turn them away from the truth.

(ix) The Condition of the Caliphate

The ninth principle: Is that, in addition to being a Muslim, the qualifications of the caliph are five: male, being of age, piety, learning, competence, and membership in the tribe of Quraish because the Prophet - the praise and peace be upon him - said, "The caliphs should be of the Quraish". When these qualifications appear in several candidates, the caliph will be the one who receives the homage and allegiance of the majority of Muslims, and he who contradicts the majority is a sinner who is to be brought back into line with the majority. [Imam of the Two Mosques, Al Juwani, the teacher of Al Ghazali allowed the condition of being from the Quraish to have no affect if this condition is not available in the candidate if the other conditions are satisified. Ref: "Al Ghiyathi" by Al Juwani - Darwish].

(x) Validity of the Inauguration of the Caliph When Fearful of Disaster

The tenth principle: Is that if neither piety nor knowledge appear in the claimant, yet any attempt to oust him will result in perilous and unbearable strife, we hold that his caliphate should be considered legitimate and binding because of the grave dilemma which would confront us.

Thus we have either to replace him by another and consequently stir up strife, in which case the evil that will afflict the Muslims will surpass any loss they may incur because of the claimant's lack of piety and knowledge, qualifications designed to promote the public welfare; but no one will destroy the means of welfare in order to promote and enhance it, for this will be just like the person who will erect a single house and demolish a whole town. Or, we have to declare that there is no caliph and consequently there is neither Religion nor equity in the land, which is impossible.

We declare that the authority of unjust rulers should be enforced in their land because of the urgent need for authority therein. How, then, do we not declare a caliph legitimate when the need for it is great and urgent? These then are the four pillars which comprise the forty principles which pertain to the foundations of the articles of faith. Whosoever believes therein will be in harmony with the Sunni (way of the Prophet) community and be an enemy to all heretics.

May Allah by His Grace guide us and lead our steps into the way of truth.

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