The Explanation of The ^Aqidah of Ibn^Asakir
Bismillahir-Rahmanir Rahim> >
Explanation: Bismillahir-Rahmanir Rahim means I start with the name of Allah, or my beginning is with the name of Allah. Ar-Rahman means the One Who is extremely merciful to the believers and the blasphemers in this world and to the believers exclusively in the next world. Ar-Rahim means the One Who is extremely merciful to the believers.
Shaykh Fakhrud-Din Ibn ^Asakir, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
Explanation: The author is Fakhrud-Din Abu Mansur ^Abdur-Rahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Hibatullah Ibn ^Abdullah Ibn al-Husayn ad-Dimashqiyy, known as Ibn ^Asakir, the famous Shafi^iyy faqih (great scholar).
The known faqih and historian, Abu Shamah, said: None of his paternal grandfathers was named ^Asakir even though they were well-known by this name at home. ^Asakir, possibly, is a name of some of his maternal grandfathers.” He is the nephew of Abul-Qasim ^Aliyy Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Hibatullah Ibn ^Asakir, the Damascene scholar and memorizer of hadith. He was born in the year 550 AH (as he wrote with his own hand), in an honorable and grand house. He, may Allah have mercy on him, paid close attention to obtaining knowledge at a young age. He learned the knowledge of the Religion from Qutbud-Din, Mas^ud An-Naysaburiyy, whose daughter Ibn ^Asakir later married. He also learned from his uncle, al-Hafidh Abul-Qasim, Sharafud-Din ^Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu ^Asrun, Asma’ Bint Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Tahir and her sister, Aminah, among others.
He taught fiqh (knowledge of the rules of the Religion) and narrated hadith in Makkah, Damascus, and Jerusalem, as well as in other places. In his book, As-Siyar, adh-Dhahabiyy related that a number of the known scholars praised him. Ibn as-Subkiyy (Ibn as-Subkiyy is Tajud-din ^Abdul-Wahhab Ibn ^Aliyy as-Subkiyy.) said in his book, Tabaqat ash-Shafi^iyyah: “He is the last that combined knowledge and performance. The people of his era agreed on regarding him greatly for his mind and religiousness.”
Abu Shamah, in his book, Dhayl-ur-Rawdatayn, said: “One night King al-Mu^adhdham sent for Ibn ^Asakir to assign him as the judge. He sat Ibn ^Asakir next to him and offered him food, but Ibn ^Asakir abstained. To al-Mu^adhdham’s insisting that he be assigned with the judiciary, Ibn ^Asakir replied that he would make ‘istikharah (to pray to Allah to guide him to the correct decision). Ibn ^Asakir returned to his room that was by the mihrab of the Companions (in the Umayyad Mosque) and went inside. He prayed at night in the mosque to Allah and cried until Fajr. When the morning came, the king’s assistants came to him, but he was adamant in refusing the position and instead recommended Ibn al-Harastaniyy. Ibn ^Asakir had feared that he would be forced to accept this position and had prepared his family to leave the city. His students had gone before him to Allepo. Al-^Adil, the ruler of Allepo and the brother of al-Mu^adhdham, feeling pity for Ibn ^Asakir, sent them back. His heart had softened for Ibn ^Asakir and he told him to name someone else for that position. So Ibn ^Asakir named Ibn al-Harastaniyy.”
Among Ibn ^Asakir’s poetry is:
“Be fearful at night when you are hopeful (of Allah),
and be hopeful (of Allah) if you wake up fearful.
So often time has brought hardships,
and with them, mercies (from Allah).”
Ibn ^Asakir compiled many works in fiqh and hadith. He died on the 10th of Rajab in the year 620 AH. Very few people did not attend his funeral. He was buried in the Cemetery of the Sufis in Damascus.
Abu Shamah said: “I was told by one who witnessed his death that he prayed adh-Dhuhr, and asked about ^Asr. He performed Wudu’, uttered ash-Shahadatayn, and while sitting, said: ‘I have accepted Allah as my Lord, Islam as my Religion, and Muhammad as my Prophet. May Allah enable me to utter it, forgive me, and have mercy upon me in my grave where I will be alone.’ Then he said: ‘wa ^alaykumus-salam’ in salutation, from which we knew that the angels came, then he turned and died.” He was ill with diarrhea. May Allah bestow mercy on him.
Know, may Allah guide us and you, that it is obligatory upon every accountable person to know that Allah is the only God in His Dominion.
Explanation: The universe is subject to the Godhood, management, and ownership of Allah. It is obligatory on every accountable person (mukallaf) to believe with certainty and beyond doubt, that Allah ta^ala, has no partner with Him in His Dominion. That is, this universe has no owner other than Allah, no manager other than Allah, and no God other than Allah. The One (al-Wahid) when attributed to Allah, means the One Who has no partner with Him in His Godhood and there is none similar to Him. The mukallaf is the one who is pubescent, sane, and has heard the creedal statement of Islam.
He created the entire world: the upper and lower, the ^Arsh and Kursiyy, the heavens and earth, and what is in them and in between them.
Explanation: The upper world is what is in the heavens, and the lower world is what is on earth. Everything in this universe, whether it is in the heavens or on the earth, above the heavens or underneath the earth, or between the heavens and the earth, is a creation of Allah, the Exalted. He is the One Who brought it into existence from a state of non-existence. This includes the deeds of the slaves and their intentions since they are part of this universe. Allah Ta^ala said in Surat al-Furqan, 2:
which means: [And He created everything.] What is in the heavens, for example, are the angels. What is above the heavens, for example, is Paradise. The moon and the stars are examples of what is between the heavens and the earth. What is on the earth, for example, are the humans. Under the earth is Hell, which is under the seventh earth. The universe includes all these and is a creation of Allah.
All the creation is subjugated by His Power. No speck moves except by His Will. He has no manager for the creation with Him, and has no partner in Dominion.
Explanation: The ^Arsh, which is the greatest of the creations of Allah in size, is subjugated to Allah, ta^ala. Allah is the One Who created it and placed it in this very high place. He is the One Who keeps it in that place and prevents it from falling on the heavens and earth, thereby destroying them. Necessarily, what is less in size than the ^Arsh is also subjugated to Allah. Allah, ta^ala, said in Surat at-Tawbah, 129:
which means : [And He is the Lord of the Grand ^Arsh.]
He, subhanahu wa ta^ala, is the Manager for everything. He is the One Who makes things run according to His eternal Will and Knowledge. Hence, nothing happens in the entire universe, whether it is motion or rest, except by His management. He, ta^ala, is the One Who makes hearts and things run as He willed. If He willed, He would stray the heart of the slave, and if He willed, He would guide it. As Allah, ta^ala, said in Surat al-An^am, 110:
This ayah means : [And We turn their hearts and sights.]
Al-Bayhaqiyy related that the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said: “O You Who makes the hearts run, make our hearts run in obedience to You.” If running the hearts is by the power of Allah, then, necessarily, the external deeds are creations of Allah. It is not like what the Mu^tazilah say that the slave creates his own actions and Allah is not the Creator of everything; May Allah denounce them. Allah, ta^ala, said in Surat Az-Zumar, 62:
which means: [Allah is the Creator of everything.]
The word “everything” includes the bodies, members, and actions. The slave only acquires the deed and Allah creates it. The meaning of “acquires” is to direct one’s will and power (which are both created) to perform the deed, and Allah creates that deed. Allah makes it happen out of non-existence and hence renders it existing. It does not happen except by Allah creating it.
The slave who is guided to the acceptable deeds by the Mercy and Generosity of Allah, would look at the true meanings of motions and rest. If I move my hand, I will feel the motion, and know that I have directed my intention toward it. However, the mind and the Religion rule that I am not the creator, but rather Allah is the One Who created the motion that occurred in me.
He is attributed with Life and is Qayyum. He is not seized by somnolence or sleep.
Explanation: The Alive (al-Hayy), when attributed to Allah, means He Who has the eternal Life which is not a soul, flesh, or blood. Al-Qayyum means the One Who manages the entire creation. It does not mean that He dwells inside His slaves and possesses them. Some scholars explained al-Qayyum by the Everlasting, Whose Existence does not end. Somnolence means sleepiness. However, sleep is defined as the state when the mind faints and one does not hear those around him. Allah, ta^ala, is clear of all of that, as He said in Ayatul-Kursiyy, Surat al-Baqarah, 255:
which means: [Allah is the only God, the Alive and Qayyum. He is not subject to somnolence or sleep.]
He is the One Who knows about the unforeseen and what is evidenced by His creation. Nothing on earth or in the heaven is hidden from Him. He knows what is on land and in sea. Not a leaf does fall but He knows about it. There is no grain in the darkness of earth, nor anything which is moist or dry but is inscribed in a clear book. His Knowledge encompasses everything. The count of the numbers of things is known to Him.
Explanation: Allah, ta^ala, knows about things in totality and in details. He knows what was (what has existed) and what shall be (what will exist). He knows, with His eternal Knowledge, the enjoyments of Paradise that are continual and uninterrupted. He knows as necessary that whose existence is an intellectual necessity; and as permissible that whose existence is an intellectual permissibility; and as impossible that whose existence is an intellectual impossibility. Allah, ta^ala, is knowledgeable of His Self, His Attributes, and His creatures by one eternal and everlasting Knowledge that does not change.
Some of the exaggerating Mu^tazilah, and among them Abul-Husayn al-Basriyy, said: “Allah does not know what the slave will do except after he does it.” Hisham Ibn al-Hakam agreed with them. This is an obvious blasphemy. May Allah protect us from it.
Allah, ta^ala, revealed the Qur’an with different facets to differentiate between the slaves, in which people are of two groups. One group would interpret and apply those verses (ayahs) correctly and thereby win, and the other group would interpret and apply them incorrectly and thereby lose. An example of that is the saying of Allah in Surat al-‘Anfal, 66:
which means: [Now, Allah made it (rule of jihad) lesser for you, for He knew (eternally) that you will encounter a weakness.]
He who interprets the ayah by linking the knowledge of Allah to ‘now’, to mean that Allah knew ‘now’ what He did not know before, has severely strayed. He who understands the correct meaning of the ayah is rightful and is guided to the correct path. The correct meaning of the ayah is that Allah now has lessened for you what had been obligatory before (i.e., lessening the obligation of one Muslim to fight ten blasphemers to the obligation of one Muslim to fight two blasphemers), for Allah knew eternally that you will encounter a weakness.
Everything that happens in this world–in the heavens and on the earth, on the land and in the sea, and what is under the ground is inscribed in a clear book which is the Guarded Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfudh). It is as at-Tirmidhiyy related about the Messenger of Allah that Allah ordered the Pen to write in this Guarded Tablet what was and what shall be until the Day of Judgment.
The meaning of ‘His knowledge encompasses everything’ is that He, Subhanahu, knows what has existed and what shall exist by His eternal Knowledge. The meaning of ‘the count of the numbers of things are known to Him’ is that Allah knew by His eternal Knowledge the numbers of all things. He knew it before the existence of any creature as He, ta^ala, said in Surat al-Jinn, 28:
which means: [He knows the count of all things.]
He does whatever He wills.
Explanation: He, subhanahu wa ta^ala, does what He willed. Whatever He willed to happen by His eternal Will, He does with His eternal Doing. His Will is eternal and the willed things are creations. His Doing is eternal and the done things are creations. The Will of Allah does not change because change occurs in creatures, and change is the most significant sign of being a creation. Allah, ta^ala, said in Surat Qaf, 29:
which means: [That which I have decreed does not change.]
Imam Muslim related that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said: <> Allah changes the creatures in accordance with His Will that does not change. Whatever He willed to happen shall occur at the time that He willed for it to exist, and that which He did not will for to happen shall never exist. Abu Dawud related that the Messenger of Allah said: <> Good and evil, obedience and sinning, and blasphemy and belief are alike in that all of them occur by the Will of Allah, His Knowledge, Decree, and Creating. However, the good is by the love, acceptance, and order of Allah and evil is not by His love, acceptance, or order.
He who is God-fearing is so by the guidance of Allah, and he who strays and is sinful is so because Allah did not guide him to the acceptable deeds. This is the meaning of la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah. No one evades sinning except by the protection of Allah, and no one has the power to be obedient to Allah except by His help. However, the slave is not without a will. His will is under the will of Allah, ta^ala, as He said in His Glorified Book in Surat at-Takwir, 29:
which means: [You do not will anything unless Allah, the Lord of the worlds, wills.]
He has the power to do whatever He wills.
Explanation: Allah, ta^ala, has an inclusive power with which He creates things. Nothing renders Him weak, and He does not need to seek the help of others, as He said in the Glorified Revelation in Surat al-Ma’idah, 120:
which means: [He has power over everything.]
His power is not subject to weakness, inability, or shortage. Rather, His power is complete, as He said in the Qur’an in Surat Adh-Dhariyat, 58:
which means: [Allah is the One Who Provides sustenance and is attributed with the Perfect Power.]
To Him is the Dominion
Explanation: Allah has the complete ruling over the universe with no one to contend for it with Him. His Dominion is unlike the created dominion that He gives to whomever He willed among His slaves. The latter comes to an end. The Dominion of Allah is His Attribute, and it does not end.
and He needs none;
Explanation: It means He does not need others. He attributed the name al-Ghaniyy to Himself in the Qur’an. Al-Ghaniyy was also mentioned in the hadith related by Ibn Hibban, At-Tirmidhiyy, al-Bayhaqiyy, and others which reports ninety-nine of the perfect names of Allah. (Perhaps the mentioning of al-ghana’ in the Arabic text is a result of the perversion of some of those who copied.)