ISLAMIC THEOLOGY EXPLAINED
بِسم الله الرحمنِ الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
Islamic theology is also known as (i) Ilm al-Usul (the science of basic principles of Islam) and (ii) Ilm At-Tawhid (the science of affirming the Unity of Allah). 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.
We have written a separate book about Ilm al-Kalam. In this book we have briefly discussed Islamic theology and explained who are truthful Islamic theologians.
Islamic theology is the study of the facts of things, as they are, in the light of Quran and Sunnah. Those who engage in discussions of Islamic faith, about Allah's (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) Unity and His attributes are known as ‘Islamic Theologians’ (Mutakallimun).
Who is Sahih-ul-Aqeedah 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 and theories of Non-Muslim philosophers and Muslim sects who mislead people in the name of religion. The main opponents of Islamic theologian are Non-Muslim philosophers and scholars of deviant sects.
Islamic Shuyookh of Ihsan are a grade above the Islamic scholars. The Shuyookh of Ihsan or Sufi Shuyookh are Islamic doctors who explains Islamic faith and practices to people with irrefutable evidence from Quran, Hadith and from apparent happenings in the Cosmos. They expose the ill gotten ideas of Non-Muslim theosophists and misguided Muslim sects. The main opponents of Sufi Shuyookh are Non-Muslim Theosophists, and scholars of 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 get 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 non-corporeal human Self. Like the human body, human self (Nafs) also gets sick. The primary sources of sickness of human self (Nafs) are faithlessness in Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) and evil deeds. When human inner self is sick, we need to first diagnose the problem of sickness by referring to the Doctor of the Human inner self.
Faithlessness in Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) is like cancer of Human inner self. 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 inner self. People suffering from these ailments need treatment.
Who can treat human inner self's ailments. A Quran Memorizer (who has memorized Quran) cannot do much. Similar, 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 complicates the ailment further.
Who are the professional doctors who can really make the difference and bring back the ailing human to normalcy? They are Awliya Allah or Sufi Shuyookh of Ihsan. Their job is to cleans people's hearts and reform people's anima (tazkia nafs).It is in Quran - لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِين [Certainly did Allah confer (a great) favor upon the believers when He sent among them an Apostle from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.] (Aal-i-Imran - 164)Three things; teaching, training and purification, have been mentioned in the above verse.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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) while doing Obligatory Salah. Can anyone visualize Allah’s (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) presence when his heart is covered with materialistic darkness? No, you need Islamic light. Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) 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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) presence. Shuyookh of Ihsan are the experts in purification of Nufoos of people.
Who is real Islamic Sufi Shaikh of Ihsan or Wali Allah ?
He is the friend of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ), 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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ). He walks on the foot steps of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم).
As an efficient Doctor of Islamic intrinsic reality, he diagnoses the ailments of human self 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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) and His Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم).
It is in Quran - أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ - الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ - لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَىٰ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ [ Behold the friends of Allah! On them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. These are they, who have believed in Allah and are mindful of (close to) Him and (have consequently abstained from everything evil). To them tidings come (from Allah) of a happy life both in this world and in Hereafter. The word of Allah is never revoked. This in itself is a great felicity" (Yunus - 62-64).
Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) 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 human inner self do not fall sick. They may look frail physically, but they are bold and strong spiritually. They are favorites of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ).
With the above, we come to know that there is one class of Muslims who are truthful and are on the straight path of Islam. Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) also praises them in Quran. Thus, as per Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) Hadith, out of 73 sects, they are the real Muslims who are on the right path of Islam. They will get salvation and will be rewarded abundantly in Hereafter.
The rest of Muslim sects will also get salvation provided they correct their Islamic faith and follow the foot steps of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), his companions and Sufi Shaikhs of Ihsan.
It is in Quran - وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ [And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s 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 makes His Signs clear to you so that you may be guided.] (Aal-e-Imran – 103).
It is clearly evident that Sufi Shuyookh are holding on to the rope of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) firmly. Let us all follow their example.
It is in Hadith - Abdullah bin Zubair (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said, Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) 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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ). (Tirmidhi)
The entire Muslim Ummah is united that Sufi Shuyookh 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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) beneficence and mercy in both the worlds.
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 Shuyookh of Ihsan is available in the World. We are living in this world, this itself is the testimony that Sufi Shuyookh, the friends of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) are there among us.
It is in Hadith - The people of Syria were mentioned in front of Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) when he was in Iraq, and they said: "Curse them, O' Commander of the Believers." He replied: "No, I heard the Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) say: The "al-abdaal" (the big spiritual rank of Awliya Allah - translated in English as 'Substitutes') are in Syria and they are forty men, every time one of them dies, Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) substitutes another in his place. By means of them Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) sends down the rain, gives (Muslims) victory over their enemies, and averts punishment from the people of Syria." (Ahmad 1-112)
This Hadith confirms the titles of Awliya Allah, their status among Muslims and reiterates that because of them Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) sends down the rain, gives Muslims victory over their enemies". This shows that Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) loves his Awliya Allah and because of them many things are given to people.
It is in Hadith - It is narrated on the authority of Anas (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said : "The Earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful (Prophet Ibrahim - عليه السلام) and through them people receive rain and are given help. None of them dies except Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) substitutes (Abdaal) another in his place." (Tabarani in Mujam al-Awsat)
Commenting on the above Hadith, Qatada said: "We do not doubt that Al-Hasan al-Basri is one of them (abdaal)."
Ibn Hibban also narrates this Hadith in al-Tarikh through Abu Hurayra (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) as : "The Earth will never lack forty men similar to Ibrahim (عليه السلام) the Friend of the Merciful, and through whom you are helped, receive your sustenance, and receive rain."
Imam Ahmad narrated another Hadith in his Musnad (5:322) through Ibn Ata: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said: "The Substitutes (Abdaal) in this Community are thirty like Ibrahim (عليه السلام) the Friend of the Merciful. Every time one of them dies, Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) substitutes another one in his place."
Tirmidhi cites the above Hadith in Nawadir al-Usul and Imam Ahmad's student, Al-Khallal, has mentioned this Hadith in his book Karamat al-Awliya'.
Awliya Allah 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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) on this earth, the end of the world will be ordered. Because, at that time Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) will not be interested to carry on with this universe.
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 that the 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 charity 2.5 per cent of our wealth as Zakat every year. This is rule.
But look at the practical example Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) has presented to Muslims. He never kept anything for himself or for his family that could make him eligible to pay Zakat 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 (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) is the act of Ihsan. History of Islam shows that, following the practice of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), the real Sufis Shuyookh of Ihsan never kept anything for them or their families. They lived the life of simplicity. They are practicing people of Ihsan.
Sufi Shuyookh are the real elevated followers of Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) traditions.
There are many facets of Prophet Mohammad’s (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) 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 (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) life. Like, a Muslim is required to pray 5 times Salah in a day. This is an Islamic obligation for every Muslim. 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 and Zikr 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 (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and his companions used to do beyond the minimum prescribed for a day.
The study of Islamic Theology not only makes us a better Muslim, but it also helps us in becoming a Sahih 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.
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 (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ).
The aspects of 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.
A person who does not have truthful beliefs (Iman) will not be treated as Muslim on the Day of Judgment. This is the reason, Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said that out of 73 sects of Muslims, only one will be on the right path (Tirmidhi). 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 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.