Some people also call it Ilm al-Kalam (the Science of Debate). The meaning of Arabic word ‘Kalam’ is ‘speech’, but in Islamic theology, it means 'discussion', 'argument' or 'debate' on Correct Islamic Faith.
I define Islamic theology as follows.
‘To know the facts of things, as they are, in the light of Quran and Sunnah, is Islamic theology’. In other words, Islamic theology is ‘Islamic Wisdom’.
Those who engage in discussions of Islamic faith, about Allah's (SWT) Unity and His attributes are known as ‘Islamic Theologians’ (Mutakallimun).
Who is Islamic Theologian (Scholar) ?
An Islamic scholar who impedes the assaults on Islamic beliefs and explains Correct Islamic Faith to the people with conclusive evidence from Quran and Hadith and exposes the ill gotten ‘ideas’ of Non-Muslim philosophers and some Muslim sects who mislead people in the name of religion. The main opponents of Islamic theologian are Non-Muslim philosophers and some misguided Muslim sects.
When the human body gets sick, it starts deteriorating fast. Gradually many complication occur in the functioning of vital internal organs that results in the death of the person.
When we are sick, we refer to medical doctors, sometimes to specialists who conducts several medical tests and as per their experience suggest medicines and controlled food which helps us in fast recovery.
Human being is the combination of Human body and human soul. Like the human body, human soul also gets sick. The primary sources of sickness of human soul are faithlessness in Allah (SWT) and bad deeds. When human soul is sick, we need to first diagnose the problem of sickness by referring to the Doctor of Soul.
Faithlessness in Allah (SWT) is like cancer of Human soul. Tyranny, killing of human beings in the name of religion, caste, region; disregard for the fundamental rights of other human beings; love of more wealth, unnecessary comforts, lust, exploitation of women and men and all unlawful activities are sicknesses of human soul. People suffering from these ailments need treatment.
Who can treat human soul’s ailments. A Quran conner (who has memorized Quran) cannot do anything.
A Hadith Scholar cannot do much in this context.
An Islamic Jurisprudential expert (Faqih) cannot do much. What a Faqih can do? At the most, he may order for the arrest of the criminal (if he is a judge) and punish him as per the law.
Similarly, a scholar of Quran or Hadith can only advise the ailing person and try to explain issues in the light of Quran and Hadith.
We all know that giving sermons to the people who are spiritually sick generally does not work. If we give a virtuous sermon to a serial killer, we know what effect it will have on him. A fraudulent faith healer or a look alike Sufi baba cheater complicates the ailment further.
Who are the professional doctors who can really make the difference and bring back the ailing soul to normalcy?
Who is real Islamic Sufi or Shaikh of Ihsan or Wali Allah ?
He is the friend of Allah (SWT), an example in ‘theory and practice’ of Islam. He is inspired with Islamic Wisdom, though he may not be knowing a few Islamic terms. His heart is purified and his mind is illuminated. He sees facts of things, as they are. His perpetual focus of attention is the Unity of Allah (SWT). He walks on the foot steps of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS).
As an efficient Doctor of Islamic intrinsic reality, he diagnoses the ailments of our souls and suggests appropriate remedies. He shows people the rightful practices of Islam, purifies their hearts, cleanse them from worldly desires and helps them to get close to Allah (SWT) and His Apostle (SAWS).
He is Islamic doctor of theology who explains Islamic faith and practices to people with irrefutable evidence from Quran, Hadith and from apparent happenings in the Cosmos. He exposes the ill gotten ‘tricks’ of Non-Muslim theosophists and misguided Muslim sects. The main opponents of Sufi Shaikhs are Non-Muslim Theosophists, and some misguided Muslim Sects.
It is in Quran - ‘Behold the friends of Allah –SWT! On them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. These are they, who have believed in Allah –SWT and are mindful of Him (the feeling of closeness of Allah –SWT) and (have consequently abstained from everything evil). To them tidings come (from Allah-SWT) of a happy life both in this world and in Hereafter. The Word of Allah –SWT is never revoked. This in itself is a great felicity’ (Younus – 62- 64).
Let us look at this verse once again. Allah (SWT) is commanding the mankind to, ‘look at His friends (among the people). On them shall come ‘no fear’, ‘nor shall they grieve’.
What is the meaning of this? It means, they are spiritually very strong and do not fear from any evil. What is the meaning of ‘nor shall they grieve’? It means that their souls do not fall sick. They may look frail physically, but they are bold and strong spiritually. They are favorites of Allah (SWT).
With the above, we come to know that there is one class of Muslims, whose beliefs are accepted by all Sects as truthful. Allah (SWT) also praises them in Quran. Thus, as per Prophet’s (SAWS) Hadith, out of 73 sects, they are the real Muslims who are on the right path of Islam. They will Inshallah get salvation on the Day of Judgment.
The rest of Muslim sects will also get salvation provided they correct their Islamic faith and follow the foot steps of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS), his companions and Sufi Shaikhs of Ihsan.
It is in Quran - ' And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (SWT) (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s (SWT) favor on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah (SWT) makes His Signs clear to you so that you may be guided. (Aal-e-Imran – 103).
It is clearly evident that Sufi Shaikhs are holding on to the rope of Allah (SWT) firmly. Let us follow suit.
Muslim sects are not enemies of each other. But they are the victims of misunderstanding of Islamic faith. They are misguided groups. Allah's (SWT) signs are clear for us. Let us come back to the right path of Islam.
It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said, Allah (SWT) will not allow my entire Ummah to be united on faithlessness; and there will be a group of Muslims who will be under the mercy and beneficence of Allah (SWT). ( Tirmizi - Narrated by Hazrat Abdullah Bin Zubair -RU)
The entire Muslim Ummah and all Muslim sects are united that Sufi Shaikhs are pious Muslims. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that this is the group of Muslims who are on the right path and as per the Hadith, they are the beneficiary of Allah's (SWT) beneficence and mercy.
The question is, are there real Sufis, the Doctors of Islamic Theology, existing in the World today?
Indeed, they do exist, though their numbers may be dwindling as we are heading close to the Day of Resurrection. The dooms day will not happen until one Sufi Shaikh of Ihsan is available in the World. We are living in this world, this itself is the testimony that Sufi Shaiks, the friends of Allah (SWT) are there among us. They generally remain hidden from people's eyes as they lead a simple life. It is difficult to recognize them among crowds. When there will not be a single friend of Allah (SWT) on this earth, the end of the world will be ordered. Because, at that time Allah (SWT) will not be interested to carry on with this universe.
How can we find real Sufis and and learn Islam in their Company?
The most important objective in front of us is to get salvation on the Day of Judgment. Let us forget about our sects' theories. The best way is to perform a 2 Rakah Salah at the end of any obligatory Salah, close our eyes, spend 10 minutes time, turning our total attention towards Allah (SWT) and praying Him to help us find one of these great teachers who can show us the practical side of Islam.
Finding right of path of Islam through books is very difficult because we have thousands of books, translations of Quran and Hadith done by people belonging to various sects. These books misguide us and take us away from the right path. We need an honest teacher, who is the 'friends of Allah -SWT' who could lead us to the right path. Continue this 5 minutes pray at least once during the day until you find this teacher. When you stumble upon him among the masses, your heart will testify that this is the teacher you were looking for. Beware, there are many dacoits and robbers of Islamic faith in the world who misguide you in the guise of a true Muslim. Be aware of them. They grow long beard, wear Islamic dress, talk fluently on Islamic issues but misguide you and take you away from the rightful Islamic path. O' our Lord, keep us safe from the dacoits of faith.
We need to study the life histories of prominent Sufis Shaikhs of Ihsan and find real Sufis among us and try to follow their foot steps. Because, they are the people who are on the right path.
Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) not only conveyed and taught to the people what was sent to him from Allah (SWT), but also showed the operational (practical) side of Islam by acting upon the commandments of Allah (SWT).
It is in Quran – (O’ Prophet – SAWS) Convey and teach people what is sent down to you’ (Al-Ma’ida – 67). At another place in Quran – ‘ The Apostle Mohammad (SAWS) is an exemplary model for all of you’ . (Al-Ahzab -21).
Conveying people what was sent down to the Prophet (SAWS) is Quran. Showing how to fulfill Allah (SWT) commandments is Sunnah. Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) cleansed, purified and reformed peoples’ animas (tazkia nufoos) from his personal attention. This is ‘Tazkia Nafs’ (reformation of anima).
As understanding capacity of people differs from person to person, Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) paid attention towards peoples’ comprehension and expanded their spiritual abilities to absorb the message of Islam. For this purpose, he often cleared the doubts of people on ‘one-on-one’ basis. Hadith books are full of occasions when Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) corrected individuals and answered their questions about correct Islamic faith.
Thus, Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) reformed Muslims in two ways.
What is the difference between the (i) study of Quran, (ii) study of Hadith, (iii) Study of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) and (iv) Study of Islamic Theology?
Study of Quran and Hadith is common for all Muslims. But deducing Fiqh rules from these sources is the work of Doctors of Islamic Jurisprudence. Islamic Ummah has consensus opinion that the 4 Islamic School of thoughts (i) Hanafi, (ii) Maliki, (iii) Shafi’i, and (iv) Hanbali are the valid schools of thought who have deduced Islamic laws from Quran and Sunnah.
Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) deals with Islamic Laws, while Islamic Theology or Islamic Wisdom deals with beliefs associated with the Islamic faith.
The Jurisprudential rules are made to accommodate the entire community. Like we are required to pay in charity 2.5 per cent of our wealth as Zakah every year. This is rule.
But look at the practical example, Prophet (SAWS) has presented to Muslims. He never kept anything for himsel or f or his family that could make him eligible to pay Zakah as per Islamic laws. He used to give everything in alms and charity and many a times he did not have food for his house hold.
This act of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) is the act of Ihsan. History of Islam shows that real Sufis or the Shaikhs of Ihsan never kept anything for them or their families. They lived the life of simplicity. They are practicing people of Ihsan.
They are the real elevated followers of Prophet’s (SAWS) traditions.
There are many facets of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWS) life which are left untouched in Islamic Jurisprudential laws. These are covered under Islamic Theology. Similarly, details of some exceptional deeds have to be deduced from Prophet's (SAWS) life. Like, a Muslim is required to do 5 times Salah in a day. This is an Islamic obligation for every Muslim. The law says, you will be Muslim if you do 5 times Salah per day. The law does not force people to do more than that.
But if you want to follow the rules of Ihsan and be a better Muslim, how many more Salahs you should do? The law is silent on this.
This issue is answered in Islamic Theology. Theology guides you how many more Salah Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) and his companions used to do beyond the minimum 5 times a day.
The study of Islamic Theology not only makes us a better Muslim, but it also helps us in becoming a Correct Muslim. As a matter of fact Islamic rules of Fiqh can only be understood correctly when we study Islamic Theology.
Islamic Theology is abundantly explained in the Hadith of Ihsan. It is in Hadith reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others. It is a long Hadith, therefore only the translation of a part is provided here.
It is narrated by Abu Huraira (RU) that one day the Messenger of Allah (SWT) was sitting with his companions and a stranger, in spotless white dress, came to him and sat in front of him like a pupil, and asked him, O’ Prophet (SAWS), tell me what is Iman? The Prophet (SAWS) replied that ‘it is the affirmation of your faith in Allah (SWT), His angels, His books, His meeting (on the Day of Judgment), His messengers, and that you affirm your faith in Resurrection’. The stranger testified it, and asked again, O’ Prophet (SAWS) what is Islam? The Prophet (SAWS) replied that ‘Islam signifies that you worship Allah (SWT) and do not associate anything with Him and you establish Obligatory Salah, and you pay the obligatory Zakah and you observe the fast of Ramadhan’. The stranger testified it, and asked again, O’ Prophet (SAWS) what is Ihsan? The Prophet (SAWS) replied that ‘ you worship Allah (SWT) seeing Him, and in case you fail to see Him, do your prayer knowing fully well that He is seeing you. The stranger testified and asked about the signs of Resurrection to which the Prophet (SAWS) replied in detail and later the stranger left quietly. The Prophet (SAWS) asked his companions to go and look for the stranger and bring him back. When the companions did not find him, the Prophet (SAWS) asked his companions who he was? The companions showed ignorance about his identity. Then, the Prophet (SAWS) himself replied saying “he was Jibreel (AS) who had come to teach you your religion”.
From this Hadith, following three important states of Muslims are described, (i) Iman – Islamic faith, (ii) Islam – Islamic deeds, and (iii) Ihsan – Visualization of Allah (SWT).
The aspects of Iman and Ihsan are studied under Islamic Theology. The aspect of Islam is studied under Islamic Jurisprudence. This shows the importance of Islamic theology over Islamic Jurisprudence.
What is cleansing and purification of hearts ( tazkia nafs )?
It is turning people’s attention away from the darkness of materialism to the light of Islam. What is light of Islam? It is people’s training in (i) sincerity of heart (Ikhlas), (ii) wisdom (Hikmah) of actions, and (iii) Islamic vision. What is Islamic vision? As per the Hadith of Ihsan, (Bukhari wo Muslim) people are commanded to see Allah (SWT) while doing Obligatory Salah. Can anyone visualize Allah’s (SWT) presence when his heart is covered with materialistic darkness? No, you need Islamic light. Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) trained his companions to see in Islamic light. Once you get Islamic vision you become stead fast in faith and you perform good deeds visualizing Allah’s (SWT) presence.
A person who does not have truthful beliefs in Islamic Faith (Iman) will not be treated as Muslim on the Day of Judgment. This is the reason, Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said that out of 73 sects of Muslims, only one will be on the right path (Tirmizi). It is an irony that all these sects/sub groups claim they are on the right path. How could this be true? Muslims belonging to all sects should take note of it. They need to wake up fast from their deep slumber. The factual situation is horrendous. If we divide Muslim population in the world today, by 73, we come to know that out of 1000 people who claim themselves Muslims, only 4 could be on the right path. Who are these 4 people. As we have explained above, they are real Sufi Shaikhs of Ihsan. The rest 996 face the imminent danger of being thrown into hell fire on the Day of Judgment.
If you have rightful Islamic belief, you stand a chance to get salvation though you may be required to pay for your bad deeds.
If you have rightful belief plus good deeds, you will get rewards in Hereafter.
If your faith is not correct and your Islamic deeds are good, you will be thrown into hell fire because good deeds without Correct Islamic Faith will not help you in your salvation.
If your Iman is good and you are doing good deeds seeing Allah (SWT) (as per the Hadith of Ihsan), you become Allah’s (SWT) favorites who are referred to as ‘Awliya Allah’ in Quran and Sufis in the world.