The Attributes of God

The Attributes of God are divided into two types:
(1) the Defined Attributes (muhkamat).
(2) the Undefined Attributes (mutashabihat): those attributes that are vague and unclear; their meanings are not comprehensible, and the human intellect cannot fathom their manifestations.

Furthermore, the Undefined Attributes are divided into two types:
(1) Those attributes whose linguistic meanings are unknown, and their legal meanings are also unknown. For example: the huroof muqatta’at, such as alif lam meem, ya sin, etc. We don’t know their linguistic meaning, nor do we know their legal meaning.
(2) Those attributes whose linguistic meanings are known, but their legal meanings are unknown. For example: the verse of the Qur’an, “al-Rahman ala al-arsh istawa.” “Al-Rahman” means “the Merciful,” “`ala” means “on,” “`arsh” means “throne,” and “istawa’” means “ascended.” So now the linguistic meaning is known, but the legal meaning remains unknown.

Something’s linguistic meaning may be different from its legal meaning.
Take the word “salah.” Its linguistic meaning is “to move one’s buttocks,” and its legal meaning is “to carry out specific rites with specific words within specific times.”
Take the word “adhan.” Its linguistic meaning is “to announce,” and its legal meaning is “to say specific words within specific times.”
Take the word “hajj.” Its linguistic meaning is “to intend,” and its legal meaning is “to carry out specific rites within specific times at specific places.”
Take the word “sawm.” Its linguistic meaning is “to stop (in general),” and its legal meaning is “to stay away from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse from sunrise till sunset.”
Take the word “jihad.” Its linguistic meaning is “to struggle,” and its legal meaning is “to fight in path of God.”
So something’s linguistic meaning can be different from its legal meaning.

What are linguistic meanings and legal meanings?
A linguistic meaning is that meaning of a word which the linguists assign to that word.
A legal meaning is that meaning of a word which the locals, the experts, or the linguists specify for that word.

The linguists might assign a word for one meaning (i.e., the linguistic meaning) but use it for another meaning (i.e., the legal meaning). Therefore, when they actually use it, the legal meaning will be intended (e.g., the word “salah” has a linguistic meaning and a legal meaning, but we intend the legal meaning. Why? Because the experts (i.e., the jurists) have specified the word “salah” for a particular meaning).

Thus, the linguistic meaning of “jihad” is totally different from its meaning according to the jurists (i.e., its legal meaning). Usually, things get mixed up in this regard, and sometimes, I get so surprised (at how people mix things up) that I cannot express my surprise in words.
In regards to salah, everyone says, “Its linguistic meaning is…and its legal meaning is…;”
in regards to sawm, everyone says, “Its linguistic meaning is…and its legal meaning is…;”
in regards to hajj, everyone says, “Its linguistic meaning is…and its legal meaning is…;”
but in regards to jihad, they say, “Any action that requires struggle is jihad.” Why? “The linguistic meaning of ‘jihad‘ is ‘struggle.'”
In specifying the meanings of salah and sawm, you distinguish between their linguistic meanings and legal meanings, so in specifying the meaning of jihad, why do you only use its linguistic meaning ?
“The word ‘jihad‘ is derived from the word ‘juhd (struggle),’ so any action that requires struggle is jihad.”
How is that possible? “Any action that requires struggle is jihad” is the linguistic meaning of jihad; we want to see what meaning is specified for jihad in the legal context.
In the books of traditions (ahadith), in the Chapter of Jihad, the traditionists record verses and traditions about fighting. No traditionist records verses or traditions about preaching in this chapter.
This means that the meaning of “jihad” according to the traditionists (muhaddithun) is specified as “fighting”.
In the books of jurisprudence, in the Chapter of Jihad, the jurists will write about the rulings of fighting, spoils of war, prisoners of war, etc.
This means that the meaning of “jihad” according to the jurists is specified as “fighting.”

But when it comes to people nowadays, they alter this meaning.
“God says, ‘We shall be sure to guide those who struggle for Our cause.’ This verse was revealed in Makkah (before fighting was allowed), and God talks about jihad. God says, ‘Struggle against them with this Qur’an.’ See, this verse was revealed in Makkah, and God refers to preaching as jihad. So this proves that preaching is jihad.”
Even if preaching was referred to as jihad in its linguistic meaning, how does this change its legal meaning?

God says, “God and His angels send prayers upon the Prophet.” Look, the Qur’an used the word “prayer,” right? In reference to praying salah or sending prayers upon the Prophet? Sending prayers upon the Prophet. So someone says that sending prayers upon the Prophet is praying salah. Why? God has referred to sending prayers upon the Prophet as “praying” in the Qur’an. Is this an alteration? Of course. So in regards to salah, people won’t budge.

Regarding these announcements that are made in the villages (e.g., “fresh vegetables have arrived,” “fresh tomatoes for five rupees,” “fresh onions for six rupees,” etc.), someone is asked, “What is going on here?”
He says, “Adhan.” Why? “God referred to announcements in the Qur’an as adhan, ‘Then an announcer announced, ‘O Caravan! Verily, you are theives!””
Didn’t the Qur’an refer to the announcer as a mu’addhin (the one who gives adhan)? So this announcer in the villages who advertises shoes and clothes and vegetables, does anyone call him a mu’addhin? Why not? The Qur’an calls him him mu’addhin, you don’t. When the Qur’an has referred to the announcer as a mu’addhin, then why don’t you refer to the announcer as a mu’addhin?
Everyone will say that the Qur’an referred to the announcer as a mu’addhin according to its linguistic meaning, not its legal meaning.

Hadhrat Luqman AS advised his son, “If they struggle to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them.” So if the Qur’an referred to preaching monotheism as jihad, then it also referred to preaching polytheism as jihad as well, didn’t it? In that case, jihad would be very cheap: if someone works to preach belief, then it is jihad, and if someone works to preach disbelief, then it is also jihad. Why?  Just as the Qur’an referred to preaching belief as jihad, the Qur’an also referred to preaching disbelief as jihad. Can anyone refer the work of preaching disbelief as jihad? So if you refer to the work of preaching Islam as jihad and (by doing so) you apply the virtues of jihad to it as well, then someone can also apply these virtues of jihad to the work of Jews and Christians. Why? They also work to preach disbelief, and the Qur’an referred to the work of preaching disbelief as jihad. No one is willing to accept this.

We say: God says “We shall be sure to guide those who struggle” and “If they struggle to make you associate with Me” (referring to struggle as jihad) within the linguistic context, not within the legal context. The legal meaning of jihad is already specified: fighting in the path of God.

At least our scholars should be wary of falling into alteration. It has been thirteen years since I left jihad, and I haven’t engaged in jihad since, but disengaging from jihad doesn’t mean that I should change the meaning of jihad, that I should slash the work of jihad itself just to prove my own piety. On one hand, we don’t do jihad, and then when it comes time to issue a verdict, we alter the meaning of jihad. How great of a misguidance is this; may God protect all of us. That’s why I say again and again: come to our institute and understand the outlook of the Religion. That’s it. If you cannot do a particular deed, do not alter that deed, but call yourself a sinner. Call yourself a sinner; do not change the rulings of the Religion, and admit your own sins. The Religion is permanent, we are not permanent; we are always change, the Religion does not change; our deeds are defective, the Religion is not defective. If you cannot practice upon a particular aspect of the Religion, admit your sinfulness, and God will forgive. If you will destroy the Religion in order to conceal you sins, then this is unforgivable.

Sometimes the meaning of a word changes depending on the context. Here (in Pakistan), we use the word “mama.” In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it is considered a word of honor. In Punjab, it is considered an insult. There is no objection against the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, nor against the people of Punjab; the word (mama) is the same, but the meaning will change depending on the context.

If you go into a city and say, “I want normal (sādah) water,” then this will mean that it should not be cold.
If you go into a village and say, “I want normal (sādah) water,” then this will mean that it should not be sharbat.
The word (“normal”) is the same, but the meaning will change depending on the context.

الجهاد هو المشقة لغة

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

ثُمَّ أَذَّنَ مُؤَذِّنٌ أَيَّتُهَا الْعِيرُ

وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَن تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ

وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا

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What is the Straight Path?

What does the Straight Path (ṣirāt al-mustaqīm) mean?

There are three things: (1) to go beyond the limit, (2) to fall short of the limit, and (3) to stay on the limit.

What are these called in Arabic?
To go beyond the limit: ifrāṭ (addition).
To fall short of the limit: tafrīṭ (subtraction).
To stay on the limit: i`tidāl (moderation).

What are these called in Islamic Law (sharī’ah)?
To go beyond the limit: ilḥād (blasphemy).
To fall short of the limit: bid`ah (innovation).
To stay on the limit: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah (The People of the Prophetic Way and the Majority of Scholars).
This is the Straight Path; this is what the Straight Path means.

I chose to explain this topic in three different ways: one for the common man, one for the student of knowledge, and one for the scholar. Thus, I explained the topic using different words that match every level of understanding, and you should do the same.

We Deobandīs do not go beyond the limit, nor do we fall short of the limit, but we stay on the limit;
we are not people of ifrā, nor are we people of tafrīṭ, but we are people of i’tidāl;
we are not people of ilḥād, nor are we people of bid`ah, but we are people of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Here are some examples so that you can understand:

Some say that God doesn’t exist: ilḥād.
Some say that many gods exist: bid`ah.
Some say that many gods do not exist, only One exists: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some say that God is only on His Throne, not everywhere: ilḥād.
Some say that God is everywhere, and the Messenger is also everywhere: bid`ah.
Some say that God is everywhere, and the Messenger is in his grave in Madīnah: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah

Some do not believe in any of the Prophets: ilḥād.
Some believe in all of the Prophets, and also in a prophet after the Prophet Muhammad: bid`ah.
Some believe in all of the Prophets, but do not believe in any “prophet” after the Prophet Muhammad: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah

Some say that the Messenger is not alive even in his grave: ilḥād.
Some say that the Messenger is alive everywhere: bid`ah.
Some say that the Messenger is alive only in his grave, not everywhere: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some say that the Messenger does not perform miracles (mu’jizāt): ilḥād.
Some say that the Messenger performs miracles, and he also has total discretion (mukhtār al-kull): bid`ah.
Some say that the Messenger performs miracles, but he does not have total discretion: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some believe that the Messenger was a human, but not a Prophet: ilḥād.
Some believe that the Messenger was a Prophet, but not a human: bid`ah.
Some believe that the Messenger was a Prophet and a human: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some do not believe in the miracles (karāmāt) of the saints: ilḥād.
Some believe in the miracles of the saints, and they supplicate to them as well: bid`ah.
Some believe in the miracles of the saints, but they supplicate to the God of the saints: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some say that if you send prayers (salawāt) upon the Messenger at his grave, even then he will not hear it: ilḥād.
Some say that if you send prayers upon the Messenger from anywhere in the world, even then he will hear it: bid`ah.
Some say that if you send prayers upon the Messenger from anywhere in the world, he will receive it (via the angels), and if you send prayers upon him at his grave, he will hear it: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some say that even the Prophets are not infallible (ma’ṣūm): ilḥād.
Some say that the Prophets are infallible, and twelve others are also infallible: bid`ah.
Some say that others may be protected (maḥfūẓ), but only the Prophets are infallible: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some say that the Companions did not commit sins: ilḥād.
Some say that the Companions did commit sins, and they must be criticized: bid`ah.
Some say that the Companions did commit sins, but they must not be criticized: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Why must the Companions not be criticized, even though they committed sins?
Because while the Prophets are infallible, the Companions are protected.
That the Prophets are infallible means that God did not let them commit sins.
That the Companions are protected means that they committed sins, but God did not let their sins remain unforgiven.
Since the Companions are forgiven for all of their sins, they must not be criticized.

Some say that there is no collective supplication even after obligatory prayers: ilḥād.
Some say that there is collective supplication after obligatory prayers, and after voluntary prayers as well: bid`ah.
Some say that there is collective supplication after obligatory prayers, but not after voluntary prayers: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some say that salāh al-Tarāwīḥ is not twenty units: ilḥād.
Some say that salāh al-Tarāwīḥ is twenty units, and collective supplication afterwards is necessary as well: bid`ah.
Some say that salāh al-Tarāwīḥ is twenty units, but collective supplication afterwards is not necessary: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some say that only one hand should be offered when greeting others: ilḥād.
Some say that both hands should be offered when greeting others, and it is necessary to kiss the other person’s feet as well: bid`ah.
Some say that both hands should be offered in a handshake, but it is not acceptable to kiss the other person’s feet: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Some say that a hat or a turban should not be worn: ilḥād.
Some say that a turban should be worn, and it has to be green: bid`ah.
Some say that a hat or a turban should be worn, but it does not have to be green: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

The Deobandīs are not people of ilḥād, nor are they people of bid`ah, but they are people of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā`ah.

Sources:
https://www.facebook.com/AhnafMediaServices/videos/736850756412169/ https://www.facebook.com/AhnafMediaServices/videos/694154187348493/

Are you Muḥammadī or Hanafī?

Question: Why do you call yourselves Hanafī and not Muḥammadī?

Answer: Because we have sense and we know Arabic. You fools do not know Arabic, which is why you call yourselves Muḥammadī. Understand this issue well.

A person asks you, “Is your madhhab Hanafī or Muḥammadī?”
Madhhab means path or way. Manzil means destination.
So the person who asks you about your madhhab asks about your path or your destination? Your path, obviously.

We say our madhhab is Hanafī. What does that mean? That means that our path is Imām Abū Hanīfah, and our destination is the Messenger ﷺ. If your path is the Messenger, then tell me what is your destination?
So to mix up one’s path and one’s destination is disrespectful.
We say that our path is our path, and we say that our destination is our destination.
We say that our Imām is our path, that Kūfahis our path, and that Madīnah is our destination.

What’s the proof? Hadrat `Alī narrates that the Messenger said, “I am the city of knowledge, and `Alī is its door.”

The door of the city of knowledge is in Kūfah, and the city of knowledge is in Madīnah. We go to our destination – Madīnah, and we enter through its door – Kūfah.

`Ali moved the capital of the Caliphate to the city of Kūfah, the birthplace and residence of Imām Abū Hanīfah.

أنا مدينة العلم وعلي بابها

The Rank of a Jurist

The Messenger ﷺ is the representative of God ﷻ, and the Companions are the representatives of the Messenger ﷺ.

Here is a proof that you have heard many times before, but maybe did not pay close attention to; I will present the proof and then relate it back to this issue.

A single tradition can be presented as a proof for multiple issues. That’s why Imām Bukhārī, in arranging the narrations of the Messenger, quotes the same traditions (in portions) in various chapters.

You have heard the blessed tradition: When the Messenger was bidding farewell to Mu’āth bin Jabal, he asked him, “From where will you derive your rulings?”
Mu’āth replied, “From the Book of God.”
The Messenger asked, “If you cannot find them in the Book of God?”
Mu’āth replied, “From the Way of the Messenger.”
The Messenger asked, “If you cannot find them in the Way of the Messenger?”
Mu’āth replied, “I will judge according to my opinion, and I will try my best.”
Then the Messenger did something and said something.
What did he do? He placed his blessed hand on the chest of Mu’āth.
What did he say? He said, “Praise be to God ﷻ, who inspired the messenger of the Messenger of God ﷺ with what pleases the Messenger of God ﷺ.”

We have looked at the Companion Mu’āth, now let’s look at the Companion Abū Hurayra.

Abū Hurayra complained, “O Messenger, my memory is weak. Please give me a cure.”
The Messenger said, “O Abū Hurayra, spread out a cloth.”
The Messenger placed his blessed hand on the cloth, and then placed the cloth on the chest of Abū Hurayra.

The Messenger interacted with Abū Hurayra in one way, and he interacted with Mu’āth in another way.
Abū Hurayra received the blessed hand of the Messenger with an intermediary cloth, while Mu’āth received the blessed hand of the Messenger without an intermediary cloth.

The reason for this is that Abū Hurayra is a traditionist (muḥaddith), while Mu’āth is a jurist (faqīh).
The traditionist requires good memory, while the jurist requires certitude (sharḥ ṣadr).
The Messenger fulfilled the need of Abū Hurayra in that manner, while he fulfilled the need of Mu’āth in this manner.
The rank of the jurist is not the same as the traditionist; the jurist is seated on a rank higher than the traditionist.

As for what the Messenger ﷺ said to Mu’āth, he used the word “messenger” twice. The first “messenger” refers to Mu’āth, and the second “messenger” refers to the Messenger ﷺ himself. Through this statement, the Messenger ﷺ means to say: If I am the Messenger of God, then my Mu’āth is the messenger of the Messenger of God.

We learn from this that the Messenger ﷺ is the representative of God ﷻ, and the Companions are the representatives of the Messenger ﷺ.