Islaamic Belief - 'Aqeedatut-Tahaawiyyah


Slave of Allah (swt)
by Imâm Abû Ja'far at-Tahâwî

As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatu l-lāhi wa barakātuh

bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

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In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Imam Tahawi's al-'Aqidah, representative of the viewpoint of ahl-al- Sunnah wa-al-Jama'a, has long been the most widely acclaimed, and indeed indispensable, reference work on Muslim beliefs, of which this is an edited English translation .

Imam Abu Ja'far Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Salamah bin Salmah bin 'Abd al Malik bin Salmah bin Sulaim bin Sulaiman bin Jawab Azdi, popularly known as Imam Tahawi, after his birth-place in Egypt, is among the most outstanding authorities of the Islamic world on Hadith and fiqh (jurisprudence). He lived 239-321 A.H., an epoch when both the direct and indirect disciples of the four Imams- Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal - were teaching and practicing. This period was the zenith of Hadith and fiqh studies, and Imam Tahawi studied with all the living authorities of the day.
Al-'Aqidah, though small in size, is a basic text for all times, listing what a Muslim must know and believe and inwardly comprehend. There is consensus among the Companions, Successors and all the leading Islamic authorities such as Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal on the doctrines enumerated in this work. For these doctrines shared by ahl-al-sunnah wa-al-Jama'ah owe their origin to the Holy Qur+an and consistent and confirmed Ahadith - the undisputed primary sources of Islam.

Being a text on the Islamic doctrines, this work draws heavily on the arguments set forth in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. Likewise, the arguments advanced in refuting the views of sects that have deviated from the Sunnah, are also taken from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
As regards the sects mentioned in this work, a study of Islamic history up to the time of Imam Tahawi would be quite helpful. References to sects such as Mu'tazilah, Jahmiyyah, Qadriyah, and Jabriyah are found in the work.

Moreover, it contains allusions to the unorthodox and deviant views of the Shi'ah, Khawarij and such mystics as had departed from the right path. There is an explicit reference in the work to the nonsensical controversy on khalq-al -Qu'ran in the times of Ma'mun and some other 'Abbasid Caliphs.
While the permanent relevance of the statements of belief in al-'Aqidah is obvious, the historical weight and point of certain of these statements can be properly appreciated only if the work is used as a text for study under the guidance of some learned Person able to elucidate its arguments fully, with reference to the intellectual and historical background of the sects refuted in the work. Such study helps one to better understand the Islamic doctrines and avoid the deviations of the past or the present.
May Allah grant us a true undersanding of faith and include us with those to whom Allah refers as 'those who believe, fear Allah and do good deeds'; and 'he who fears Allah, endures affliction, then Allah will not waste the reward of well-doers.'

Iqbal Ahmad A'zami


Slave of Allah (swt)
As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatu l-lāhi wa barakātuh

bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the Worlds
The great scholar Hujjat al-lslam Abu Jaafar al-Warraq al-Tahawi al-Misri, may Allah have mercy on him, said: This is a presentation of the beliefs of ahl-al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah, according to the school of the jurists of this religion, Abu Hanifah an-Nu'man ibn Thabit al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Ya'qub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari and Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, may Allah be pleased with them all, and what they believe regarding the funda- mentals of the religion and their faith in the Lord of all the Worlds.

(1) We say about the Unity of Allah - with Allah’s help - that Allah is one, without any partners.

(2) There is nothing like Him.

(3) Nothing is impossible for Him.

(4) There is no god other than He.

(5) He is Eternal without a beginning, Everlasting without an end.

(6) He does not perish (yafna) or pass away (yabid).

(7) Nothing comes into being except what He wills.

(8) No imagination (wahm) can conceive of Him, and no understanding (fahm) can fathom Him.

(9) He does not resemble mankind.

(10) He is Living and will never die. He is All-Sustaining and never sleeps.

(11) He creates without being in need to do so, and provides for His creation without any trouble (bila mu’unah).

(12) He causes death without fear, and He resurrects (the dead) with no effort.

(13) He has always existed with His attributes, even before the creation of the world, which did not add anything to His attributes that were not already present. Just as He is Eternal along with His attributes, so He is Everlasting along with them.

(14) It is not the case that He acquired the name Creator (AlKhaliq) only after He created, or the name Originator (Al-Bari) only after He originated (something).

(15) He was qualified with Lordship (rububiyyah) even when there was nothing to lord over. And He was the Creator even when there was nothing created.

(16) In the same way that He is the “Reviver of life to the Dead”, after He has given them life a first time, He deserves this name before bringing them to life; so, too, He deserves the name Creator before He actually created them.

(17) This is because He has power over all things (kulli shayy). All things depend on Him and are easy for Him. He is not in need of anything. Nothing is like Him. He is the All-Hearing, the All- Seeing.

(18) He created (khalaqa) the creation (khalq) with His Knowledge (bi-’ilmihi).

(19) He has ordained all things in due measure.

(20) He has fixed their terms.

(21) Nothing about them was hidden from Him before He created them. And He knew everything they would do before He created them.

(22) He has commanded them to obey Him and He has forbidden them to disobey Him.

(23) Things occur as He ordains and wills them. His will is always carried out. There is no will for His servants except for what He wills for them. Whatever He wills for them happens and what He does not will for them does not happen.

(24) He gives guidance to whomever He wills, protects them and keeps them safe from harm as an act of grace. And He leads astray whomever He wills, abases them and afflicts them out of His justice.

(25) All of them are subject to His will, between either His grace or His justice.

(26) He is exalted above having opponents (adad) or equals (andad).

(27) His decision is never reversed; His command is never resisted; His will is never frustrated.

(28) We believe in all of these things, and we are certain that everything comes from Him.

(29) (And we believe and are certain) that Muhammad is His chosen Servant (‘abd), His elect Prophet (nabi) and His Messenger (rasul), with whom He is well-pleased.

(30) And he is the seal of the prophets.

(31) He is Leader (imam) of the Pious.

(32) He is Chief of the Messengers.

(33) He is very dear to the Lord of the Worlds.

(34) All claims to prophecy after him are false (ghayy) and fanciful (hawa).

(35) He has been sent to all jinns and all mankind with truth, guidance, light and illumination.

(36) The Qur’an is the word of Allah.

(37) Anyone who attributes something human to Allah is an infidel.

(38) The seeing of Allah by the people of Paradise is factual, without their vision being all-encompassing and without the manner of their vision being known.

(39) The foundation of Islam is not made firm except with the support of unreserved assent and submission to Allah.

(40) He who seeks knowledge that has been barred from him, and whose intellect is not prepared to surrender, will be veiled from a pure understanding of Allah’s unity, clear knowledge and correct faith.

(41) He sways (yatadhabdhab) between faith and disbelief, confirmation and denial, and acceptance and rejection. He will be subject to vain suggestions, perplexed and lost, neither a sincere Believer nor an open denier.

(42) The belief of a person in the seeing of Allah by the people of Paradise is not correct if that person tries to imagine what it is like or if he tries to interpret it according to his own understanding, since the interpretation of this seeing or the meaning of any of the subtle phenomena which are in the realm of Lordship, is by avoiding its interpretation and strictly adhering to submission. This is the faith of Islam. Those who do not refrain from negating Allah’s attributes or conceiving them on human patterns are surely mistaken, they are unable to glorify Allah properly.

(43) Those who do not refrain from nafi (negating the attributes of Allah) and tashbih (imagining Allah’s attributes to be like human attributes) go astray and fail to glorify Allah properly.

(44) For our Lord is qualified with the attributes (sifat) of uniqueness (wahdaniyyah) and the characteristics (nu’ut) of absolute singularity (fardaniyyah). No created being shares with Him these attributes.

(45) Allah is supremely exalted from definition of Him or from being restricted, or from needing any parts, limbs or instruments. He is not bound by the six directions of space as all created beings are.

(46) The ascension (mi’raj) of the Prophet (peace be on him) is a fact. He was taken in person for a journey by night, and lifted awake and in body to the heavens, and from there to such heights as Allah pleased. Allah showered upon him His favors as He pleased and revealed to him what He liked. His heart did not falsify what his eyes saw. Blessed is he in this life and in the Hereafter.

(47) A1-Hawd (the Fountain), which Allah will grant the Prophet (peace be upon him) as an honor to quench the thirst of his nation, is factual.

(48) Ash-Shifa’ah (intercession) that has been prepared on their (the Muslims’) behalf is also a fact, as has been reported in the ahadith.

(49) The covenant that Allah made with Adam and his descendants is a fact.

(50) Allah knows from eternity and knows in an instant the number of people who will go to Paradise and the number that will go to Hell. They will neither be increased nor decreased (from what He knows). Similarly, He knows the acts which anyone will do.

(51) Everyone is eased to what he was created for, and it is the action with which a man’s life is sealed which dictates his fate. Those who are fortunate are fortunate by the decree of Allah. Likewise, those who are wretched are wretched by the decree of Allah.

(52) The exact nature of Allah’s decree is Allah’s secret in His creation. Neither any angel near the Throne nor any sent messenger has been given any knowledge of it. To delve into it or reflect too much about it only leads to destruction and loss, and results in rebelliousness. One should take every precaution concerning such investigation, thought, and allowing of doubts to appear. Verily, Allah has withheld the knowledge of qadr from His creatures and He has prohibited them from seeking it. Allah says in His Book, “He is not questioned for His acts, but they are questioned” [21:23]. Therefore, if one asks, why He did that, he has rejected the command of the Book, and whoever rejects the command of the Book becomes an infidel.

(53) This is all that people with enlightened hearts need to know, people who are devoted servants of Allah, and constitutes the degree of those firmly grounded in knowledge. Verily, knowledge is of two types: one existent (or accessible) in creation and one inaccessible in creation. To deny the knowledge that is existent is infidelity; to claim the knowledge that is inaccessible is also infidelity. Faith is not confirmed until a person accepts the knowledge that is existent and abandons seeking the knowledge which is inaccessible.

(54) We believe in the Pen, the Tablet and all that is written on it.

(55) If all creation gathered together to prevent something that Allah has decreed will occur, they would not be able to prevent it. And if they all gathered together to have something done that Allah has decreed will not occur, they would not be able to do it. The Pen has finished writing whatever will occur until the Last Day.

(56) What has missed someone was not to befall him, and what has befallen him was not to miss him.

(57) Everyone must know that Allah already knows everything that is going to happen in His creation and has fixed their measures definitively and irrevocably. There is nothing He has created in either the heavens or the earth that can contradict it, add to it, erase it, change it, decrease or increase it in any way.

(58) This is a fundamental aspect of faith, a necessary aspect of knowledge and of our realizing Allah’s Oneness and Lordship. As Allah has said, “He created all things and ordained them in due measures” [25:2]; and, “Allah’s command is always a decided decree” [33:38].

(59) So woe to those who quarrel about fore-ordainment, who delve into it with a diseased heart, trying to unravel its profound mysteries through delusions, and who land themselves deep in sin by their baseless, lying conjectures.

(60) The Throne and the Footstool are realities.

(61) Allah is not in need of the Throne and what is beneath it. He encompasses all and is above everything. His creation is not able to encompass Him.

(62) We say with faith, affirmation and submission that Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend and that He spoke directly to Moses.

(63) We believe in the angels, the prophets and the books that were sent down to the messengers. We bear witness that they were all following the path of manifest truth.

(64) As for all those who face our qiblah (ahl qiblatina), we call them Muslim and Mu’min, so long as they profess what the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught, and believe in whatever he said or enjoined.

(65) We neither enter into vain talk about Allah nor do we dispute obstinately on the matters of His religion.

(66) We do not dispute about the Qur’an. We bear witness that it is the speech of the Lord of the Worlds, which the faithful spirit brought down and communicated to Muhammad, the leader of the messengers (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and all of his family). It is the speech of Allah, the Most High, which no speech of any created being can match. We do not believe that it was created, and we avoid going against the belief of the Muslim community.

(67) We do not charge anyone of the ahl al-qiblah with being an infidel (kafir) for committing a sin, unless he considers it to be lawful. Nor do we say that sin will not harm the sinner merely because he has faith.

(68) We hope that the righteous among the Believers will receive Allah’s pardon and be sent to Paradise through His mercy, but we cannot be certain about them. We cannot testify that they will certainly go to Paradise. As for wrongdoers, we pray to Allah to forgive them. Although we do fear for them, we are not in despair for them.

(69) Anyone who feels secure (from Allah’s punishment) or who loses hope (in His mercy) falls outside the realm of Islam. The correct course for the ahl al-qiblah lies in between these two ways.

(70) One does not leave the realm of iman except by repudiating what brought him into it.

(71) Iman (faith) is to profess with the tongue and believe in the heart that all that the Prophet (peace be on him) is authentically known to have said or enjoined is true. Iman is one, and with regard to its essence all Believers are equal. They differ only with respect to their fear of Allah and piety, abstention from following evil desires and pursuance of what is best.

(72) All Believers are friends (awliyd’) of Allah. the All-Merciful.

(73) the most honored of them (the Believers) in the sight of Allah are those who obey Him most and follow the Qur’an best.

(74) Iman is faith in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and that everything, good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, is ordained by Allah.

(75) We believe in all these things. We never discriminate between one messenger and another. We also believe that whatever they have taught is true.

(76) Those of the ummah of Muhammad, peace be upon him, who commit grave sins (kaba’ir) will not stay in Hell forever, even if they do not repent, provided they die while Believers in Allah’s unity and meet Allah knowing Him. They will be absolutely at His will and judgment. He may forgive and pardon them out of His mercy if He wills, as He has said in His book, “And He will forgive anything other than it (shirk) to whom He please” [4:48]. Or He may punish them in the Fire, as is required by His justice, and then, out of pity and the intercession of His obedient servants, take them out thereof and put them in His Paradise. This is because Allah is the Protector and Patron of those who know Him. He never treats them in either of the two worlds like those who deny Him and who are bereft of His guidance and have failed to obtain His protection.
O Allah, Protector of Islam and the Muslims! Keep us in Islam until we meet You.

(77) We believe that prayer may be offered behind any person from among the ahl al-qiblah, whether he is righteous or impious. We also believe in performing the funeral prayer over them upon their deaths.

(78) We do not “place” any one of them in Paradise or in Hell.

(79) Nor do we charge anyone with not having faith (kufr) or shirk or hypocrisy (nifaq), as long as they do not openly demonstrate anything of that nature. We leave what they believe or do in private to Allah.

(80) We do not believe in taking up the sword against any of the urnmah of Muhammad, peace be upon him, except upon those for whom it is obligatory.

(81) We do not believe in revolt against our leaders and rulers, even if they commit injustice, nor do we pray against them or defy their orders. On the contrary, we believe that obedience to them is a duty and a part of our obedience to Allah, so long as they do not order anything sinful. We pray for their safety and piety.

(82) We follow the Sunnah and the jama’ah, and avoid disagreement, dissension and sectarianism.

(83) We love those who are just and the honest, and we hate those who are unjust and dishonest.

(84) Whenever something is not clear to us we say Allah knows better.

(85) We believe that it is correct to wipe over leather socks, whether one is traveling or resident, as has been mentioned in the hadith.

(86) Hajj and jihad will continue until the Last Day under all Muslim authorities (uli al-amr), pious or impious. They will never be suspended or abrogated.

(87) We believe in the honorable angels that note down (our deeds). Allah has appointed them to keep watch over us.

(88) We believe in the Angel of Death, who has been charged with taking out the souls of the people.

(89) We believe that some people may be punished in their graves if they deserve it, and that Munkar and Nakir will question people about their Lord, their religion and their Prophet, as has been reported by the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) and the Companions. We believe that the grave is either a garden of Paradise or a pit of the Hell-fire.

(90) We believe in resurrection after death and in recompense of deeds on the Day of Judgment. People will be have their deeds presented and will be accountable for them. They will be given their records to read, and will be rewarded or punished. (We also believe) in the Bridge (sirat) and the Balance (mizan).

(91) Paradise and Hell have been created and will never perish or pass away. Allah created them before the world. He allotted some people for each. Those whom He allotted for Paradise, He did so out of His bounty for them. And those whom He allotted for Hell, He allotted because it was required by His justice. Everyone will do what has been chosen for him, and will go to the place for which he has been created. Good and evil both have been determined for each and every person.

(92) The power needed to perform a duty is a gift from Allah, not an attribute possessed by man, and exists only with the action. However, power in the sense of health, potential, ability and fitness of the organs is prior to action and is the basis of obligation. “Allah does not place on any person a burden greater than he can bear” [2:286]

(93) Human actions are created by Allah, although they are acquired

(91) Allah does not impose actions upon human beings except what they can do, and they are only able to do what He has imposed upon hem. This is the meaning of the Prophet’s words, “There is no power and no strength save in Allah.” We believe that no one can do anything or move anything, or abstain from any sin except with the help of Allah, nor can anyone obey His command and persevere in obedience except by His grace. Everything happens according to His will, knowledge, decree and planning. His will rules over all wills and His decree prevails over all planning. He does what He pleases and He never commits injustice. “He is not to be questioned for His acts, but they will be questioned (for theirs)” [21:23].

(95) We believe that the dead benefit from the prayers and charities offered by the living on their behalf.

(96) Allah answers prayers and fulfills needs.

(97) He controls everything, and nothing controls Him. Without Him nothing can survive for an instant. Whoever turns away from Him, even for the blinking of an eye, is ungrateful and courts His doom (hayn).

(98) Allah becomes angry and pleased, but not like any created being.

(99) We love all the Companions of the Prophet (peace be on him), but we do not love any one of them to excess, nor do we disown any of them. We hate those who hate them or speak ill of them. We always mention them in positive terms, and believe that to love them is part of the religion, part of iman and ihsan; and that to hate them is infidelity, hypocrisy and transgression.

(100) We affirm that, after the Prophet (peace be on him), the first rightful heir to the khilafah was Abu Bakr, on the grounds that he was the best and the most eminent of all the ummah.

(101) The second heir to the khilafah was ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him.

(102) The third heir to the khilafah was ‘Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him.

(103) The fourth heir to the khilafah was ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him.

(104) They are the right-principled caliphs and the rightly guided imams.

(105) We believe that the ten Companions, those whom the Prophet (peace be on him) named and gave the glad tidings that they would go to Paradise, will go to Paradise, as he said, and what he said is true. Those Companions are: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Talhah, Az-Zubayr, Sa’d, Sa’id, ‘Abdur-Rabman Ibn ‘Awf and Abu ‘Ubaydah Ibn Al-Jarrah. “the trustee of this ummah”. May Allah be pleased with them all.

(106) Whoever speaks well of the Prophet’s Companions, his pure and pious wives - free from any impurity - and his noble and righteous descendants - free from any impurity - is free from hypocrisy.

(107) The scholars of the Elders and their successors, whether they are hadith and tradition scholars or scholars of fiqh and rational sciences, should not be mentioned except in good terms. Whoever speaks ill of them is not on the right path.

(108) We do not exalt any friend (wali) of Allah over any one of His prophets, peace and blessings be upon them. On the contrary, we believe that a single prophet (nabi) is greater than all the walis combined.

(109) We believe in the miracles (karamat) that have proceeded from them and have been reported by reliable reporters.

(110) We believe in the signs of the Hour, such as the emergence of the Great Liar (ad-Dajjal), the descent of Jesus son of Mary from Heaven, and we believe in the rising of the sun from the west, and the appearance of the Beast of the Earth from its place.

(111) We do not believe in diviners and fortune-tellers, nor do we believe in those who expound ideas incompatible with the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the consensus of the urnmah.

(112) We believe that keeping together (jama’ah) is the true and correct path, and that disunity leads to deviation and torment.

(113) the religion of Allah in the heavens and on the earth is one, and it is the din of Islam. Allah has said, “Verily the religion before Allah is Islam” [5:3]; and, “(Allah) has chosen for you as your religion Islam” [5:3]. Islam steers a course between excess and negligence, between anthropomorphism and negation, between coercionism and libertarianism, between complacency and despair.

(114) This is our faith and our religion in form and spirit. We have nothing to do with those who differ from what we have said and elaborated. We pray to Allah that He may confine us in faith, let us die upon it, save us from erroneous ideas and heretical doctrines such as those advanced by the anthropomorphists (mushabbihah), Mutazilah, Jahmiyyah, determinists (jabariyvah), free-willers (qadariyyah), and others who have differed from the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah and fallen into error. We have nothing to do with them. In our view, they are astray in their thinking and wrongdoers. And to Allah we turn for guidance and safety.

We ask Allah to make us firm in our belief and seal our lives with it and to protect us from variant ideas, scattering opinions and evil schools of view such as those of the Mushabbihah, the Mu'tazilah, the Jahmiyyah the Jabriyah, the Qadriyah and others like them who go against the Sunnah and Jama'ah and have allied themselves with error. We renounce any connection with them and in our opinion they are in error and on the path of destruction.
We ask Allah to protect us from all falsehood and we ask His Grace and Favour to do all good.

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