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  1. Asslamoalaikum brothers and sisters I have been thinking to discuss this topic to counter the propaganda of Nasibis that nauzbillah the "Tragedy of Karbala" is not well documented or authentic and that there are many exaggerations in the events occurring in Karbala. Although, it is admitted fact that it is not possible to document an incident in exactly the same way it happened but Allah almighty preserved the incidents of tragedy of Karbala so that Karbala becomes an inspiration and guide to all truth seekers in the world.My basic queries about this topic are following:- 1. Who was Hameed bin Muslim and how authentic his reports are? 2. There are historical proofs that the criminals of Karbala went to Yazeed/Ibn e Zayad and told the oppression they committed in Karbala? 3. Is there any book or document which is based on reports of Imam Zainul Abideen a.s and Syeda Zainab a.s or Imam Muhammad Baqir a.s regarding the tragedy of Karbala/ 4. Did Mukhtar Saqafi (r.a) made arrangements for recording of crimes committed by the criminal forces of Yazeed in Karbala? Or any more points you can add. So that we can prove that Karbala is well documented and authentic incident of history.
  2. Do Shias believe in Sahih Hadeeth books?

    Our Sunni friends says that Prophet (pbuh) died at the age of 63 therefore, we have history of Hadith of 23 years. That's not the case in our side fortunately. For us Prophet (pbuh) spent more than two hundred years in the world. Surprised? Look we took hadith from the house like the way i describe below:- Imam Hassan Askari a.s said i heard from his father Imam Ali Naqi (a.s) who heard from his father Imam Muhammad Taqi a.s who heard from his father Imam Ali Raza a.s who from his father Imam Musa Kazim a.s who heard from his father Imam Jafar Sadiq a.s who heard from his father Imam Muhammad Baqir a.s who heard from his father Imam Zainul Abideen a.s who heard from his father Imam Hussain a.s that Prophet (pbuh) said >>>>>>>> There are very rare chances of forgery or fabrication because we have a golden chain for hadith.
  3. Prosperity is in Unity

  4. Difference between Sunni and Shi'a

    We offer five daily Salah not three. But we join Zohar and Asar together and Maghrib and Isha together. This is permission but they may be offered separately.
  5. Ghadir Khumm

    Was not Ali (a.s) a friend of Prophet (pbuh) before Ghadir Khum that Prophet (pbuH) had to arrange a big gathering to announce it in a very hot afternoon? So much so people were traveling back to home and were tired. Ali (a.s) was nafs-e-nabi (pbuh) and brother of Nabi (pbuh) why Prophet (pbuh) needed to announce his friendship in a large gathering? Common sense attracts it?
  6. Question to Sunnies

    Imam of the Batin is most worthy to be worldly rulers. This is the mistake made by Governor of Madina when he summoned Imam Hussain (a.s) in his house after death of Muawvia (l.a). When he informed Imam a.s about the death of Muawvia (l.a), he told him about Yazeed (l.a) that Yazeed (l.a) wants Imam a.s to give bayah to him (l.a). When imam a.s should his unwillingness to do so, the Governor said "You are a light for the people, a guide for the Muslims in Madina. People seek advice from you, you teach them and preach about Islam to them.What you have to do with Khilafah?" Imam a.s replied "Why do you believe that we are not for Khilafah? Who more worth of Khilafah is than us? Do you believe that a drinker and bad character man like Yazeed l.a is worthy to Khilafah and we the family of Prophet pubh are not?"
  7. Question to Sunnis - Kerbela

    History has recorded sermons of Imam Hussain (a.s) which he (a.s) gave in Madina before moving towards Kufa. Actually, Imam Hussain a.s left no stone un turned and invited people for Jihad against tyrannic regime of Yazeed Bin Muawvia. This is theological dilemma in Sunni concept of Khilafah. I believe if Yazeed bin Muawvia had been smart enough like his father Muawvia and had not challenged/killed Imam Hussain a.s, he would have been as good for Sunnis as is Muawvia bin Abu Sufyan. In that eventuality, he may have been a character less and drinker person but still be respectable before Sunni branch of Islam. The khilafah concept among Sunni theology is based on geographical occupation and control over the land. It has nothing to do with religious expertise or knowledge.
  8. Syed and non syed marriage, help!?

    Just to lighten moods here. "A friend of mine who is Syed requested me to arrange a B+ve blood bag for his mother" I asked him "Syed! janab ghair syed ka blood chal jayae ga?" :P "Syed! will you accept blood of non-syed for your mother?"
  9. What to do if there is "NO FATWA"?

    No doubt it had spiritual effects but i found it more spiritual now quitting it. Because i have started understanding the true object/purpose of Imam Hussain a.s in Karbala. There are certain innovations in Azadari which i think should be avoided because they are destructive to the very purpose of Imam Hussain a.s in Karbala. Its my humble opinion which of course is not acceptable to many Shia brothers and sisters. Even my own family members differ from me. They believe Zanjeer Zani is part and parcel of Azadari and there is no Azadari without it.
  10. What to do if there is "NO FATWA"?

    Doing Zanjeer Zani or leaving it?
  11. The merits of Talhah

    No! keep it this way that Munafiqs are worst than Kafirs. Prophet (pbuh) fought against Kafirs/Mushriks and Ali (a.s) fought against Munafiqs. I remember there is verse in Quran requiring Prophet (pbuh) to fight against Kafirs, Mushriks and Munafiqs. When Prophet (pbuh) was asked he (pbuh) replied "Ali a.s will fight against Munafiqs on my behalf"
  12. What to do if there is "NO FATWA"?

    Actually Zanjeer Zani or Qama Zani itself is not haram or halal. Its the circumstances which are making it so. Those scholars who have prohibited it have issued such fatwa because of apprehension of damage to the image of Islam. I have been doing Zanjeer Matam but have stopped doing so. I am also Muqalid of Ayatullah Ali Sistani (hz) and remained confused in this regard because Ayatullah Sistani has not issued any fatwa on this matter. Some followers of Ayatullah Sistani follow fatwa of Ayatullah Ali Khamenai in this regard and do not do Zanjeer Zani (Like me) while others do this by acting on Fatwa of Ayatullah Wahid Khurrasani. There are many reasons why i stopped doing it but the main are following:- 1. There is very much show off in this. Unfortunately, people do this for the sake of others. They use white cloths so that people may know they have done Zanjir Zani. 2. One has to remove his Kameez in public place especially when women are in the procession and there is every chance of their seeing our bodies which is haram. 3. It definitely give bad image. Blood every where on your head, on your cloths. A non Shia muslim and a non muslim is often unable to understand it and brands Shias as barbaric people. 4. Its out of very few issues where Fatwas of scholars vary from Halal to Haram. This phenomena is not common among scholars. In many issues their fatwas vary from Makrooh to Haram. It very rarely happened that one thing is Halal before one scholar and haram before another scholar. Zanjeer Zani is such an issue. Therefore, this is a controversial issue and a believer should avoid such acts regarding which there is huge difference among scholars.
  13. No Sahabi asked "Who are these Ulil Amri?".

    "Obey Allah and obey the messenger and the ulil amr (those vested with authority through His messenger)." The command to obey is infinite-total obedience in all material, religious and spiritual matters, therefore, as this verse clearly signifies, the ulil amr must also be as just, wise and merciful as Allah and the Holy Prophet are, and he who - administers the affairs of mankind should be the khalifatullah (vicegerent of Allah) and the waliallah (representative of Allah whom He chooses after equipping him with His wisdom). In Surah Maida Ayat No. 55 Allah Says [Pickthal 5:55] Your guardian can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poordue, and bow down (in prayer). All the commentators unanimously hold, as Qushaji admits in the Sharh al Tajrid on the subject of imamat, that this verse refers to Ali when he gave his ring to a beggar while bowing down in the course of his prayers. Nasa-i has also recorded this tradition in his Sahihah al Nasa-i, and so has the author of Al Jama Bayn al Sihah al Sittah (corroboration of the six authentic books) in discussion of the commentary on al Ma-idah, and so does Tha-labi in his Tafsir Kabir, and al Balakhi in his Yanabi has copied it from Ahmad bin Hanbal's Musnad, vol. 5, margin of p. 38. Please refer to the commentary on this verse in Wahidi's book Asbab al Nuzul (the circumstances of descent) which contains the tradition related by Ibn Abbas. Al Khatib has recorded the tradition in Al Muttafiq, and Ibn Marduwayh and Abu Shaykh in their Musnads. It is mentioned in Kanz al Ummal, vol. 6, p. 391, tradition no. 5991. In Ghayah al Maram, chapter 18, there are twenty four traditions from sources other than the Ahl ul Bayt, all supporting the above statement about the descent of this verse. When Abi Ishaq Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Naysaburi al Tha-labi reached this verse he recorded the following in his Tafsir al Kabir on the authority of Abu Dharr al Ghifari, who said "Both of my ears may turn deaf and both my eyes may become blind if I speak a lie. I heard the Holy Prophet saying, 'Ali is the guide of the righteous and the slayer of the infidels. He who has helped him is victorious and he who has abandoned him is forsaken'. One day I said my prayers in the company of the Holy Prophet; a beggar came to the masjid and begged for alms, but nobody gave him anything. Ali was in a state of ruku in the prayer. He pointed out his ring to the beggar, who approached him and removed the ring from his finger. Thereupon the Holy Prophet implored Allah, saying: 'O Allah! My brother Musa begged You saying: My Lord, delight my heart and make my task easy and undo the knot in my tongue so that they may understand me, and appoint from among my kinsmen, Harun, my brother, as my vizier, and strengthen my back with him and make him participate in my mission so that we may glorify You and remember You more frequently. Certainly You see us-and You inspired him: O Musa! All your requests have been granted. (The Holy Prophet continued) Delight my heart and make my task easy and appoint from among my kinsmen Ali as my vizier and strengthen my back with him'. (Abu Dhar proceeds) By Allah, the Holy Prophet had not yet finished his supplication when the trustworthy Jibril descended to him with this verse". (Ibn Khallikan says that Al Tha-labi was unique as a commentator of the Quran and his Tafsir al Kabir is superior to all other Tafsirs). In this verse the word wali has been used in the meaning of guardian or master or who holds authority superior to others. Please refer to the origin of the word wali in Sihah or Mukhtar al Sihah or any other good dictionary. The lexicographers have explained that he who manages the affairs of and exercises authority for another person is the wali of that person. This verse, therefore, means that those who manage the affairs of the people (mankind) are superior to all men, and certainly they are Allah, His messenger, the Holy Prophet, and Ali, who possesses all the qualifications enumerated in this verse. Allah has simultaneously confirmed His wilayah (superior authority), that of His prophet and his wali (Ali) in unbroken succession. Allah's wilayah is universal, so likewise, the wilayah of the Holy Prophet and his wali (Ali) must be so. It is not possible to assign to the word wali in this verse the meaning of a helper or a friend, etcetera, for help and friendship are not confined to these three only. All the faithful men and women, according to the holy book, are friends and helpers of one another. It is as obvious as can be that the word wali in this verse means, guardian, ruler, possessor of superior authority. It is in this sense that the word wali has been used by the Holy Prophet in the abovenoted tradition related by Al Tha-labi in his Tafsir al Kabir on the authority of Abu Dharr al Ghifari whom the Holy Prophet had given the title of siddiq (the truthful). There are other authentic traditions, given below, in which the word wali indicates its true meaning: (i) Abu Dawud al Tayalisi has recorded in Isti-ab on the authority of Ibn Abbas, who said: "The Holy Prophet said to Ali, 'You are the master (wali) of the faithful after me'." (ii) After an expedition, under the command of Ali, some of the men, who went with him, complained to the Holy Prophet about Ali's refusal to oblige them favourably. The Holy Prophet turned to them with signs of displeasure on his face and said: "What do you want to do to Ali? Surely Ali is from me and I am from him, and after me he is the master (wali) of all the faithful." Nasa-i has recorded it in his Khasa-is al Alawiyyah, p. 17, Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, vol. 4, p. 438; Hakim in Mustadrak, vol. 11, p. 11; Al Dhahabi in his Talkhis al Mustadrak; Ibn Shaybah and Jarir both have recorded it from whom Muttaqi of India has copied it in his Kanz al Ummal, vol. 6, p. 400; Tirmidhi has recorded it from Asqalani, mentioned in his account of Ali in his Isabah; Ibn Hadid has copied it from Tirmidhi in his Sharh al Nahj al Balagha, vol. 2, p. 450. (iii) The Holy Prophet said to Buraydah: "Am I not a more privileged master (mawla or wali) of the lives of the faithful than the faithful themselves? Ali is the master (wali or mawla) of those who believe me to be their master." Ahmad ibn Hanbal has recorded it in his Musnad, vol. 5, p. 356, Hakim has recorded it in his Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 110, besides many other traditionists. (iv) The Holy Prophet said: "O Ali! After me you are the master of all the faithful." Hakim has recorded this tradition as reported by Ibn Abbas in his Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 134; and Dhahabi in his Talkhis; Nasa-i in Khasa-is al Alawiyyah p. 6; Ahmad ibn Hanbal in Musnad vol. 1, p. 331. "Ali is your wali after me", means that Ali and none else will be the master of the faithful after the Holy Prophet. It confines in Ali the authority to manage the affairs of the ummah after him. It is, therefore, necessary to attach the same meaning to the word wali and to understand it in the same sense as has been pointed out above. Help, affection, love, friendship are not confined to any one person. All faithful men and women love and are friends of one another. If the meaning of wali is taken as helper or friend, then why the Holy Prophet took so much interest in, and attached so much importance to, clarifying emphatically what was obvious and evident, so as to repeat the declaration off and on? His perfect wisdom, his thorough impeccability and termination with him of the prophethood make him far above the indulgence of explaining the self-evident, emphasising the obvious and making unnecessary repetitions. Besides, the traditions lay down clearly that Ali is or will be master of the nation after the Holy Prophet, and this makes it all the more necessary to understand the word wali in the same sense and fix for it the same meaning as has been stated above. The abovenoted traditionists, commentators and historians also deal with the word wali or mawla as the "more privileged master of the lives of the faithful than the faithful themselves." "Those who believe" is in the plural form. How can it be applicable to an individual? All the annotators, traditionists and historians agree that it was Na-im ibn Mas-ud al Ashja-i, whom Abu Sufyan gave ten camels for discouraging the Muslim, said to them: "Fear your enemies who have united against you and gathered in large numbers to attack you" (Ali Imran: 173), but in this verse "people said to them" (a plural form) has been used. It was Ghawrath from the tribe of Banu Maharib, some scholars say, while others say that it was Umar ibn Jahash of the tribe of Banu Nadir, (a single man) single man) who drew out his sword to strike the Holy Prophet, but verse 11 of al Ma-idah describes it as "when a group of persons became so bold as to stretch their hands to you"-in plural form. Verse 120 of al Nahl says: "Ibrahim was certainly a people obedient to Allah". There are plenty of other examples of using the plural form for an individual. Tabrasi, while commenting on this verse in his Majma al Bayan, says: "The plural form has been used for Ali in order to express his glory and eminence ." Zamakhshari, in his Tafsir al Kashshaf, says: "If you inquire how this plural word is applicable to Ali, who is an individual, I shall say that though this verse is about Ali, an individual, the plural form is used in order to persuade others to act similarly and give alms as readily as Ali did." The Imams among the Ahl ul Bayt have frequently referred to this verse as a proof of their rightful imamat and have assigned the same meaning to the word wali as we have stated. The word innama makes the decision of Allah (that He, the Holy Prophet and Ali alone are the masters of the believers) final and decisive. The construction of the sentence and the word wali, used in singular for all the three, means that wilayah of all the three is essentially one in nature as well as in effect. Therefore, obedience to the Holy Prophet must be as it should be to Allah, and obedience to Ali and his successors (the Imams among the Ahl ul Bayt) must be as it should be to the Holy Prophet. Wa hum raki-un is an adverbial clause qualifying the manner in which the alms were given. If it is taken as a conjunctive clause, then yuqimunas salat or this clause becomes an unnecessary repetition. In fact this verse points out the highest state of spiritual attainment-fully absorbed in witnessing the glory of the absolute Lord and at the same time alive to the needs of His servants so as to solve them at once to their full satisfaction- which alone entitles a man to be a master like the eternal master, the almighty Allah. The Quran a asserts this possibility for such a man, not for all the followers because they have been addressed in second person (kum). The plural term "those who believe" is used to include the Imams among the Ahl ul Bayt in the same way as has been done in verse 61 of Ali Imran (Mubahilah). Please also refer to verse 67 of this surah for the event of Ghadir Khum where the Holy Prophet openly declared Ali as the wali or mawla of the faithfuls just as the Holy Prophet himself is. The entire Muslim nation is unanimous that when the verses of the Quran were collected they were not arranged in the same order in which they descended. There is many a verse occurring in an irrelevant context, for instance, the verse of purification, which occurs in the account of the wives of the Holy Prophet, but actually is in praise of the five persons of al kisa, as has been universally admitted. All Muslims are agreed that arguments are to be preferred to the context, and whenever the implication of the context was opposed to the implication of arguments they ignored the context and yielded to the arguments, because they were doubtful about the context in which a certain verse occurs. [Pickthal 5:56] And whoso taketh Allah and His messenger and those who believe for guardian (will know that), lo! the party of Allah, they are the victorious. [Pooya/Ali Commentary 5:56] Whoever takes Allah, His messenger and "those who believe" (particularised in the preceding verse) as his master, joins Allah's party-only Allah's party will be successful in the end. This verse is in continuation of the preceding verse. It is irrational and senseless to accept any ruler as ulil amr, otherwise men like Yazid bin Mu-awiya will have to be included in the category of ulil amr; and no sane person would say that Allah has enjoined to obey men like Yazid (prototypes of whom were and are many and in abundance since the departure of the Holy Prophet till today) just as one obeys Allah and the Holy Prophet. From the event of ashira (feast of the near relatives to carry out the divine command of "warn your tribe of near relatives") to the day at Ghadir Khum, the Holy Prophet repeatedly announced the successorship of Ali, therefore, the first step a true Muslim must take to obey the messenger of Allah is to obey and follow Ali ibn abi Talib. Also refer to the "Right Path" and "Peshawar Nights", published by the Peermohammed Ebrahim Trust or Zahra Publications, because the issue of ulil amr and wali has been discussed in depth in these books with authentic references from the well-known books of tafsir (exegesis) and hadith (traditions) written by the Muslim scholars. Today the Muslim ummah (from Indonesia to Morocco) is in a quandary, because the theoreticians who directly or indirectly served the interests of the despotic rulers, have presented "the obedience to ruler" (even if he is an usurper, a rogue or a ruffian) as a fundamental of religion (known as the theory of ghlu and ghalba-violence and conquest) by misinterpreting this verse. Such theoreticians are their Imams. There is no way leading to emancipation from terror and exploitation if this theory is not rightly rejected once and for all. It is not possible unless the sincere Muslims submit to the teachings of the Ahl ul Bayt.

    Belief in the reality of God is a principle held in common by all heavenly religions: herein lies the decisive distinction between a religious person (no matter what religion is followed) and a materialist. The Holy Qur'an asserts that the reality of God is a self-evident fact, one that does not stand in need of proof; doubt and obscu�rity on this question should not, as a title, enter into this axiornatic principle. As the Qur'aa says: can there be doubt con(rining God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth? (Sura Ibrahim, xIv: 10) This dazzling self-evidence of divine reality notwithstanding, the Qur'an also opens up ways of removing contingent doubts from the minds of those who seek to arrive at belief in God by means of rational reflection arid argument. To begin with, the individual normally has the sense of being connected to, and de�pendent upon, some entity that transcends the domain revealed by his own particular consciousness; this sense, is as an echo of that call from the primordial hurnan nature referred to earlier. It is this call that leads man to the source and origin of creation. The Qur'an says: And when they board the ships they pray to God, making their faith pure, for him only; but when He bringeth them. safe to land, behold! they ascribe partners to Him. (Sura al-`Ankabut, xxIx: 65) Man is continously invited to study the natural world and meditate upon its marvels, all of which clearly point to the existence of God. These wondrous signs indicate and, in principle, prove the existence of a Being possessed of transcendent knowledge and supreme power, Who establishes and determines all things in harmony and perfection within the realm of existence: Lo, In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and [in] the alternation of night and day, are .rigns, for men of understanding. (Sura A1-Imran, III: 190) There are many other verses regarding this point, but we shall confine ourselves to this one alone as being altogether representa�tive ot the Qur'anic exhortation to meditate on the creation. It is clear that the ways of acquiring knowledge are not confined to what we have briefly alluded to; there are many ways of proving the existence of 'God, and these can be studied in detail in theological treatises. Degrees of Tawhid All divinely revealed religions are based on Tawhid, that is, the Oneness of God, and on the worship of this one and only God. I It,- most evident of the principles held in common by all true religions is belief in Tawhid, however much some religious believers may have deviated from this universally held belief. In what follows, we intend to clarify the degrees of Tawhid, with reference to the Holy Qur'an and the hadiths, and with the application of intellectual reasoning. Oneness of the Essence The first degree of Tawhid pertains to the Essence (dhdt) of 'God. We might explain this `essential' Tawhid by saying that the Es�sence of God is absolutely one and peerless; nothing analogous or similar to Him is conceivable. God's nature is absolutely sim�ple, non-compound, without ally plurality. Imam `Ali states, in accordance with these two principles: `He is One (wahid) and there is nothing similar to Him among the [existent] things (al-ashya'),' and 'He-Glorified and Exalted be He!-is one in meaning [or: spiritual substance] (ma'na); He is not divided into pin is by outward existence, by the imagination or by the intellect. The Sura of Tawhid (al-Ikhlas), the veritable cornerstone of Muslim belief in Divine Unity, alludes to both aspects of this `es�sential' tawhid; as regards the First, in the verse: 'The-re is none like unto Him,' and as regards the second, in the verse: `Say: He is God, the One. '2 In the light of what has been said above, it will be clear that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity-God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit-is unacceptable from the point of view of Islamic logic. The inadmissibility of this doctrine has been exposed in certain verses of the Qur'an, which have been amply commented upon in theological treatises; here, we shall limit ourselves to the following, altogether sufficient, argument. The Trinity, in the sense of three gods, must mean one of two things: (a) either it means that each of the three gods possesses a distinct ontological personality, along with all attributes of divin�ity-in which case `essential' Tawhid is contradicted in respect of its first meaning, that is, if(- has no peer or like; (b) or else it means that these three gods partake of a single ontological per�sonality, such that each is a part of the whole-in which case such an entity would perforce be compound, thus contradicting the Oneness of the Attributes The second degree of Tawhid pertains to the oneness of the divine attributes. We know that God is the possessor of all attributes of perfection; both intellect and revelation indicate the reality of the attributes within the Essence of the Creator. Therefore we know that God is Knowing, Powerful, Living, Hearing, Seeing, and so on. These attributes are distinguished one from the other as regards meaning: that which we understand by the word �Know�ing� is distinct from that which we understand by the word �powerful� . But the question is this: If these attributes are. distinct in terms of meaning, are they also distinct in terms of objective reality, that is, within the divine nature, or are they united at this level? In response to this question, we would say that if such distinctions are found within the Essence of God, then there will be multiplicity and compounded-ness within the Divine Essence. It must therefore be understood with the utmost clarity that while these attributes are distinct from each other as regards their respective meanings, they are at one as regards their inmost reality. In other words, the Essence of God comprises, within its absolutely undifferentiated nature, all of these perfections; it is not the case that one part of the Essence consists of knowledge, another part of power, and yet another of life. As the sages say: `Nay, He is knowledge, all of Him; lie is Power, all of Him; He is Life, all of Him.� Therefore, the essential attributes of God are in reality eternal and everlasting, partaking of the absolute unity of the Divine Essence. The view of those who regard the attributes of God as eternal and everlasting, but somehow added to the Essence, is erroneous. I III,, is an opinion derived from a false analogy between the attributes of God and those of man just as man's attributes are distinct from, and added to, the essence of man, so, it is believed, the same holds true for God. Imam Sadiq explains: 'God-Glorified and Exalted be He!-�shall never cease to be our Lord. And knowledge is His Essence-and it cannot be known; hearing is His Essence-and it cannot be heard; seeing is His Essence-and it cannot be seen; power is His Essence-and it cannot be dominated. '4 Imam `Ah has said, in regard to the oneness of the divine at�tributes with the Divine Essence: `Perfect sincerity in Tawhid is that. we negate all attributes from Him; for every attribute testifies to its being other than the object to which it is attributed, and every such object in turn testifies to its being other than the attribute.' 5 Oneness of Creatorship The third degree of Tawhid pertains to the oneness of the source of creator-ship (khaliqiyya). This means that there is no creator but God, and that whoever or whatever dons the robe of exist�ence is of necessity His creature. The Qur'an mentions this aspect of Tawhid thus: Say: God is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Almighty. (Sura al Ra'd, XIII: 16) And again: Such is God, your Lord, the Creator of all things. There is no God save Him. (Sura al-Ghafir, xL: 62) In addition to revelation, the intelligence also bears witness to the oneness of creatorship. For all that which is other than God is a possibility, as opposed to a necessity, and thus stands in need of something other than itself, in order that it be translated from possibility into actuality. Naturally this need for existence can only be fulfilled by God, and only through God can all the subsequent aspirations of the creature, once it exists, be realized. Needless to say, this affirmation of the oneness of creatorship does not imply the negation of secondary causality in the order of existence, for the principle by which contingent phenomena have reciprocal effects upon each other is itself derived from the authority of God. The reality of the cause and the very principle by which causality inheres in existent things-both should be grasped as manifestations of His will. It is He who bestows upon the sun and the, moon their heat and light; and if He so desires, I3e can withdraw from them their capacity to influence phenomena. From these points it should be clear that He is indeed the sole Creator, without peer. As mentioned in Article 8 above, the Qur'an has confirmed the principle of causality; for example: God is He Who sendeth the winds so that they raise clouds, and spreadeth them along the sky as He will ... (Sura al-Rum, xxx: 48) Despite the fact that all phenomena are connected with the all-inclusive sphere of divine creatorship, it does not follow that the evil acts of God's creatures are also to be linked to God. It is mw that every single phenomenon, insofar as it is a contingent entity, cannot enter into existence without the support of the universal power and will of God. However, it must clearly be stated that in the case of man-since he is a being endowed by divine providence with free will and the capacity for independent deci�sion-making as regards his actions-the quality of his actions will depend upon his own decisions. From a somewhat different point of view, it can be said that since God is indeed the bestower of existence-such that existence, in the absolute and universal sense, comes from Him and depends upon Him-evil does not really enter into existence.7 As the Qur'an says: �Who made all things good which He created. (Sura al-Sajda, XXXII:7) But the capacity to make rational decisions, proper to man alone, determines the extent to which man's actions will conform to the standards established by the intelligence and the divine law alike. Let us consider two actions such as eating and drinking. Insofar as these actions partake of existence, they are grounded in the divine reality. But from another angle we must note, firstly that `existence', within these two actions. manifests in the form of `eating' and `drinking'; then, since it, is man's free actions that result in these particular forms of existence, the actions must be seen as pertaining to the agent, man. These two actions, in their particular forms and qualities, cannot in any respect pertain to God. Thus, God must be understood as the bestower of existence, while man is the agent of the acts within existence, the actual eater and drinker. Oneness of Lordship The fourth degree of tawhid pertains to the oneness of lordship and of the governance of the world and man. This oneness of lordship has two aspects: (a) creative governance (tadbir takwuini), and (b) religious governance (tadbir tashri`i). As regards the second aspect, religious governance, this will be addressed in a separate Article below; for now we shall focus on the first aspect. What we mean by creative governance is the means by which the created universe is ordered. The arrangement of the domain of existence, including its origination and creation, pertains to God's act alone. It is true that as regards human activi�ties, one is able to separate the aspect of 'governance from that of origination; for example, one person might construct a factory and another might manage it. But in the domain of creation, the `originator' and 'manager' are one and the same. The point here is that the governance of the universe is inseparable from the source of its creation. The history of the Prophets reveals that this principle of the oneness of creatorship has never been in dispute within their re�spective communities. If polytheism (shirk) entered into the picture, it generally did so in regard to the question of govern�ance and maintenance of the created order, resulting in the worship of, and servitude to, the agents through which these func�tions were effected. The polytheists in the time of the Prophet Abraham believed in one Creator, but erroneously conceived of the stars, the sun and the moon as the lords and governors of the univers. The dispute between Abraham and his people was over this question, precisely. Likewise, in the time of the Prophet Joseph, long after that of Abraham, polytheism asserted itself in respect of this aspect of governance, it being supposed that God, having created the universe, entrusted its governance to others; this subject comes up in the discourse of Joseph addressed to his fellow prisoners. He asked them: Are diverse lords better or God, the one, the Almighty? (Sura Yusuf, XII: 39) There are also verses in the Qur'an which show that the poly�theists of the time of the Prophet [Muhammad] believed that a part of their destiny was determined by their gods. For example: And they have chosen gods beside God that they may be a lbowerfor them. (Sura Maryam, XIX: 81) Likewise it is mentioned: And they have taken gods beside God in order that they mtay be helped. It is not in their power to help therrt; but they [the worshippers] are unto them a host in arms. (Sura Ya Sin, xxxvi: 74-75) In many verses, the Qur'an warns the polytheists that the gods they worship have no power to benefit or harm either those who worship them or their own selves. These verses indicate that the polytheists of the time of the Prophet believed that their gods could produce benefit or harm for them.9 It was this belief that motivated their idol-worship. The verses show also that the polytheists associated partners with God, violating thereby the principle, of the oneness of creatorship, in respect of the lordship and gov�ernance of the Creator over the creation, believing that in these domains their gods wielded effective power. In order to make them cease their idolatry, the Qur'an affirms the falsity of the aforesaid motive, saying, in effect: the gods which you worship are in no way capable of performing such tasks as you expect of them. I n some verses the polytheists are upbraided for conceiving equals and peers of God, and loving them as they ought to love God: And of mankind are some who take unto themselves rivals to God, loving them with a love like that [which is the due only] of God. (Sura al�Baqara, II: 165) This condemnation of associating rivals (nidd, pl. anddd) with God is expressed in other verses,' the polytheists attributing to their own creations the prerogatives of God, and thus bestowing upon these false gods the love and worship that should be di�rected ssolely to transcendent spiritual authority. In other words, it was because they supposed God to have rivals, peers and simili�tudes, tthat they engaged in the worship of these imaginary beings. The Qur'an tells us, in the words spoken by the polytheists on the Day of Resurrection, that they upbraid both themselves and their idols thus: By God, we were truly in error manifest, when. We made you equal with, the Lord of the worlds. (Sirra al-Shu'ara', xxvi: 97-98) The sphere of the lordship of God is indeed all-encompassing. In this respect, the polytheists of the Prophet's time agreed with him; that is, they acknowledged God's lordship in such domains as the provision of sustenance, the giving and taking away of life and the overall governance of the universe: Say: Who Provideth for you 'from the sky and the earth, or Who owneth hearing and sight; and Who hringetie forth the living from the dead, and bringeth forth the dead from the liniuy and Who governs over the affair [of creation] ? They will say: God. Then say: Will ye not then keep your duty to Him? (Sura Yunus, x: 31) Say: Unto Mom belongeth the earth and whosoever is therein, if you have knowledge? Then they will say: Unto God. Say: Will ye not then remem�ber? Say: Wqeo is Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the tremendous Throne? They will say: Unto God [all that belongeth]. Say: Will ye not then keep your duty to Him? (Sura al-Mu'minun, xxiii: 84-87) But these very people, according to the verses cited from Sura Maryam and Snra Ya Sin above, believed their gods to have effective power as regards such rnatters as victory in war, protection against dangers whilst on Journeys, and so oil; and, clearer still, they believed their gods to have the right lo intercede, supposing them capable of intercession without needing the permission of God, and that such intercession would be effective. Therefore, it is not contradictorv to say that., on the one hand, some of the people, in certain matters, recognize that govern�ance pertains to God-and in this respect being, therefore, monotheistic (muwahhid)-and, on the other hand, that they at�tribute the power of governance and supervision to their gods, believing in their- efttvctive authority as regards such matters as making intercession. bestowing profit or causing loss, dispensing , of might and granting of forgiveness. Indeed, the polytheists occasionally said, by way of accounting for their practice of polytheism and idolatry: 'We perform this worship only in order to attain nearness trrrto God thereby; we do not believe in their effective authority over our lives.' The Qur'an relays this [attempted1justification thus: We worship them, only that they 7nry bring to near unto God. (Sura al-zumar, xxxix: 3) But the end of the same verse asserts that such claims are but lies: Lo! God guideth not him who is a liar and ungrateful. However, the affirmation of the oneness of lordship coasists in the total rejoction of all types of belief in any kind of governanc � whether on the universal or particular planes-which is independent of God's command, and is carried out by am being other than God, in relation to man and the trniverse. The unitive logic of the Qur'an dictates not only the rejection of the idea of any kind of independent governance, but also of any kind of wor�ship of what is Other than God. The rationale for the orrerless of lordshih is clear: in respect of the universe and mall, the continuous operation of tlic 'tools' of creation cannot be separated from the initial `act' of creation; and if the creator of man and the universe is one, their governor can only be one. Because of this clear link between creating and governing the universe, one finds that God, in the course of de�scribing the creation of the heavens, makes Himself known as the governor over all creation, saying: God it is Who raised up the heavens without visible supports, then mounted the Throne, and compelled the sun and the moon to be of service. Each runneth unto an appointed term; He governs over the affair [of crea�tion]. (Suraal-Ra'd, xiii: 2) In another verse, the harmony of the order ruling over crea�tion is given as evidence of the unity of the governor of the universe: If there had been tie-rein gocLs other than God, then verily both [the heav�ens and the earth] would have been disordered. (Sura al-Anbiya', xxi: 22) The principle of thr oneness of governance, however, does not preclude the validity of belief in other `governors' who, with the permission of God, carry out their respective duties. In truth, they do but constitute one aspect of the various means by which the lordship of God is outwardly deployed. Thus, the Qur'an, in the very rnidst of stressing the oneness of lordship, clearly establishes the reality of other 'governors'. ... And those zuho g-overn the event. (Sura al-Nazi'at, Lxxlx: 5) The meaning of governance (tadbir) is the ordering and adminis�tering oof the universe and man at every level and in every respect, both in this life and in the Hereafter, from the point of view of both the engendering of existence (takwini) and the establish�ment of religion (tashri'i). Therefore, the governance of human affairs, in all respects, is the exclusive preserve of the one-and�only God. Now we shall consider the second aspect of the oneness of lord�ship, tthat is, governance as regards religion. Just as God alone governs over the domain of engendered existence, so all matters concerning religion are likewise His prerogative alone-whether in respect of the imposition of rules and commands, the framing of religious laws, defining obedience and submission to such laws, establishing the principles of intercession and the forgiving of sins. Nobody has the right to change any religious prescriptions without His authority. Thus, oneness in rulers}rip, oneness in the establishment of religious law, oneness in obedience--all of these are counted as so many dimensions of oneness of governance. Therefore, if the prophet is given the title of 'ruler' over the Muslims, this is be�cause he was chosen be so by God, and such rulership is in accordance with divine authority. It is for this reason that obedi�ence to him, like obedience to God, is incumbent upon all Muslims; indeed, obedience to him is at one with obedience to God. As(he Qur'an says: Whoso obeyeth the Messenger Izath obeyed God. (Sura al-Nisa', lv: 80) And also: We sent no Messenger but that he should be obeyd by God's leave. (Sura al Nisa, lv: 64) However, without the permission and command of God, the Prophet would neither be a ruler nor one to whom obedience is due; and, in truth, his rulership and his right to be obeyed are but loci formanifestation of these properties which, in reality, pertain to God alone. Since the specification of religious obliga�tions forms part of the preserve of lordship, nobody has the right to judge that which God has commanded: Whose judgeth not according to that which God hath revealed: such are disbelievers. (Sura a1-Ma'ida, v: 44) Likewise, the right to make intercession, and to forgive sins, are the exclusive prerogatives of God; none has the right to intercede without His permissiori, as the Qur'an says: Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His permission? (Sura al Baqara, ll: 255) And also: And theycannot intercede except him whom He accepicth. (Sura al� Anbiya, xxl: 28) Therefore, from the Islamic perspective, the buying and sell�ing of `title deeds' to forgiveness, on the assumption that a person-someone who, by definition, is distinct from the rank of divine (crrdship-can 'sell' heaven to another, or who can pre�vent the punishment of the Hereafter from afflicting him, such practices, which once prevailed in Christianity,` are utterly fu�tile; as the Qur'an srys: ... then implore forgiveness for their sins-Who forgiveth sin save, God only? (Sur:ra AI `Imran, lll: 135) Taking into consideration what has been said, a believer in the Onencss of G0d must recognize that God alone is the source of authority, and the Sole governor in respect of all matters concern�ing rreligion, unless God Himself appoints someone to enforce and explain the religious obligations laid down down by Him. Oneness of Worship Oneness in worship is a principle that is held in common by all the divinevlv-revealed religions. A key reason why Messengers were sent by God to mankind was tliat ihev might remind people of this principle. As the Quran says: And verily We have raised in every nation a Messenger [proclaiming]: Worship God and shun false gods. (Sura al-Nahl, xvl: 36 ) All Muslims, in the course of performing their five daily prayers, testify to this principle of onrrres.s it) worship when they titter the words of the Sura al-Fatiha: �thee, alone do we worship.' Therefore, there is no doubting the fact that God alone is to be worshipped and that the worship of anything else is prohibited; nobody op�poses this fitndamental principle of religion. Insofar as there is debate on this subject, it concerrts the status of other acts: namely, whether the performance of these acts be considered as evidence of worship of what is other than God. ]it order to arrive at a definitive judgement as regards this question, wemustprovide, first, a logical defenition of worship, and then clearly separate those acts which can properly be subsumed within this definition, from those acts which pertain, on the contrary, to veneration (ta'zim) and revering (takrim). There is no doubt that the worshipping of' one's parents, of the prophets and of the saints is polytheism (shirk) and thus forbidden; (in the other hand, bestowing veneration and respect upon them is necessary, and indeed forms part of integral Tawhid: Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none save Him, and [that ye show] kindness to parents. (Sura Bani Isra'il, xvll: 23) Now we must focus on the element that distinguishes `worship' from �veneration�, and ask the question: How can a given act in certain circumstances-such as the prostration of the angels be�fore Adam, and the prostration of the sons of_Jacob before Joseph- be at one with Tawhid, while the same act, in different circumstances--such as prostration before idols-be an expres�sion of shirk and idol-worship? An answer to this question emerges clearly from the discussion above, on the issue ofonenrss in gov�ernance. The type of worship which is directed to what is other than God, and which is therefore rejected and forbidden, is that whereby a person humbles himself before a relative, engendered being, in the belief 'that this being possesses some independent power to change the destiny of rnan and the universe, wholly or in part; in other words, in the belief that such a being is the lord or master of the world and of men. On the other hand, if Fmmility is manifested before a person who is himself a righteous slave of God, one who is blessed with virtue and nobility, and is, moreover, a model of piety and right�eousness for mankind, then such humility is an aspect of proper respect and reverence for that person arid not worship of'him. If the prostration of the angels, and that of the sons of Jacob, did not take on the taint of idolatrous worship, this is because such prostration is based upon a belief in our slavehood and servitude to God; but, accompanying this belief there is the knowl�edge of the nobility ofAdarn and of Joseph, a nobility and a majesty that derive from their being honoured in the spiritual realm. In other words, the act of prostration is in no sense based upon a belief in their divinity or omnipotence. Taking full cognisance of this principle, one is in a better posi�tion to evaluate the respect and veneration accorded by Muslims; in holy places, to the saints (awliya), those brought close to God. It is obvious that the kissing of the holy tomb of the Prophet, or expressing joy on the anniversary of his birth, or on the anniver�sary oof the advent of his mission (bi�tha)�all are aspects of the reverence and love which are due to the Prophet; they are not in the least derived from any belief in his divinity. In like manner, such acts as the chanting of poems praising the exemplary lives or lamenting the death of tlte srints, the preserving of all monu�ments left as traces of the prophetic mission, the building of mausoleums above the graves of holy personages-none of these acts can be called shirk (associating partners with God), nor can they be called bid'a (innovation). They are not to be equated with shirk because their source is love and affection for the saints of God, and not a belief in their clivioitv: neither can they be re�garded aas bid'a, since these actions are rooted in a principle enshrined in the Qur'an and HaUith, that is, the necessity of lov�ing and honouring the Prophet and his family. Our acts of reverence towards the Prophet on thc� occasion of his birthday and the onset of his mission (bi`th.a) at c but the expression of the outpouring of our lore for him(we shall return to this issue be�low, in Article 123 on bid'a). In stark contrast to this is the prostration of the polytheists be�fore their idols, which is rejected arid forbidden precisely because it springs from a belief in the divinity and authority of the idols, and from the false supposition that they exercise control over part of man's destiny; for the idolators believe that their idols have, at the very least, the power to glorify or abase, to forgive and to grant intercession. The Divine Attributes (Sifat) Given the fact that the Essence of God is an infinite reality, having thus no like or equal, man has no way of grasping the depth of this Essence; he can only come to know God by way of an appreciation of God's attributes of Beauty (jamal) and Majesty (jalal). The attributes of Beauty are those which display the perfection of God�s nature, such as Knowledge, Power, Life, Will, and the like. As for the attributes of Majesty, they refer, on the contrary, toHis being too exalted to be described by any attribute; they therefore refer [in the first instance] to a lack, an absence: or inability. Now God is absolutely self-sufficient, utterly transcending all imperfection or deficiency. Possessing a material body, occu�pying a particular space, being established in a particular time,being a composite entity, and so on-all of these qualities fall into this type of attribute. Sometimes these two types of attribute are referred to as thubuta (affirmative) and salbi (negative), while the object to Which both ultimately refer is one and the same. In our discussion [in Chapter One] on the means of acquiring knowledge, we stated that the principal paths leading to the knawl�edge of objective truths are those opened up by the senses, the intellect and revelation. In order to acquire knowledge of the at�tributes of God, both of Beauty and Majesty, we can benefit from two of these paths: (a) the way of intellect, and (b) the way of Revelation. The way of intellect Careful study of the created universe-along with meditation upon its secrets and its mysteries, all of which are part of God's crea�tion�leads us to a discovery of the perfections of God's Being. Can one conceive of the raising up of the magnificent edifice of creation without the active involvement of some transcendent Knowledge, Power and will? The Glorious Qur'an calls attention to this capacity of thc� intellect to arrive at the natural conclusion of such reflection, by inviting man to ponder deeply the signs of creation, both tile external signs outside himself and the internal ones within his own son]: SaY: Behold what is in the heavens and the earth. (Sura Yunus, x: 101 ) In such reflection upon the natural world, intellectual discern�ment operates with the assistance of the senses: it is the senses t}rat first register the impressions of wonder arid marvel tarpon beholding a particular, tangible phenomenon, and then the in�tellect discerns the glory and beauty of the Creator through this runnel of His creation. The Way of Revelation Once prophecy and revelation have been clearly upheld by deci�sive evidence, so that it is, clear that both the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet are inspired by God, it will naturally follow that the verses of the Scripture and the sayings of the Prophet will lead one to an understanding of the attributes of, God. Within these two.sotrrces, God has described Himselfwith the best of attributes; suffice to note here that the Qur'an meotions 135 names and attributes of' God. The following verses contain several of these names: He is God, other thann Whom there is no god, the sovereign Lord, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the superb. Glorified be God from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him). He is God, the creator, the shaper, the fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the erth glorifieth Him, and He is the Mighty, the wise. (Sura al-Hashr, Llx: 23-24) Here, we should recall that those who subscribe to the mu`attila position-strippirrg God of' all qualities-would deprive man of the lofty, sacred sciences ntade possible by the intellect and rev�elation on the question of the attributes of God. We would reply to this by asserting that if discussion and investigation of these sciences pertaining to the divine Names and Qualities were to be forbidden, the mentioning of all these attributes in the Qur'an, along with the command to meditate upon them, would have been utterly redundant. From another point of view, the attributes of God can be divided thus: (a) attributes oftheEssence (sifat al-dhat), and (b) attributes of Activity (sifat al-fi�l). The attributes of the Essence are those which describe God in a mannrer that adequately enables us to form some kind of con�ception of His essential nature. These attributes are, so to speak, derived frorn the station of the Essence; attributes such as knowledge, Power and Life. As for the attributes of Activity, these pertain to the various kinds of action that emanate from God, actions by which He becomes described, such as creating, sustaining, fokgiving, and the like. In other words, it is only in the measure that God actually, creates and sustains that He can be called Creator and Sustainer, however much His Essence may contain prin.cipially the power to create, sustain, forgive, and so on. To conclude this discussion, let us recall that all the active at�tributes of 'God spring from His Essence, and, in particular, from the perfections of His Essence; that is to say, God is the possessor of absolute perfection, which is the sonrce of all the differenti�ated. activc perfections which He displays. Attributes of the Divine Essence Having noted the distinctions, within the realm of divine attributes, between the affirmative and the negative, and between the essential and active attributes, it is appropriate to elaborate somewhat upon the most important questions relating to these attributes. Knowledge The knowledge of God, since it partakes of His very Essence, is eternal and infinite. In addition to possessing absolute knowledge of His own Essence, God is aware of all that is other than Him� whether universal or particular realities, before or after creation. The Qur'an lays much stress upon this truth; for example: Verily, God is aware of all things. (Sura al-`Ankabut, xxix:62) And again: Should He not know what Ne created? And Fle is the .Subtle, the Aware. (sura al-Mulk, Lxvll: 14) In the sayings of the Irnarns of the ahl al-bayt, there is also great emphasis on the eternity and totality of God's knowledge. Imam Sadiq says, for example: �His knowledge of a place before its crea�tion iis llike the knowledge of it after its creation; and His knowledge is thus as regards all things. Power The power of god, like His Knowledge, is eternal; and insofar as it, too, partakes of his very Essence, it is infinite. The Qtzr'an em�phasizes the coyorehensiveness of God's power thus: And God is eaerablWo do all things. (Sura al-Ahzab, xxxll: 27) And again: God has Pozuer to do all things. (Sura al-Kahf, xvlll: 45) Imam Sadiq statcot: 'All things are equal before Him in respect of [His] knowledge, power, authority, dominion and all-conzpre�hensiveness.' Now, if the engendering of impossible things-those entities which cannot be-fall outside the domain of God's power and control, this is not due to the inadequacy of divine power: rather, it is due to the inadequacy inherent in the impossible: the impos�sible lacks receptivity tto being, that is, it lacks the capacity to actualize itself. When asked alxmn the engendering of impossible things, Imam Ali replied: �God has no connection with incapacity, so that about which you ask cannot be. Life A knowing and powerful God is obviously a living God, as the two former qualities are distinctive features of life; they furnish evidence, indeed, for the reality of His life. The divine attribute of life as with all the other attributes, is devoid of imperfection, and transcends the particular features of this attribute insofar as it pertains to man and other creatures-features such as being subject to the contingency of death. For, inasrnuch as He is living, by his essential nature, death cannot affect Him. In other words, since the being of God is absolute perfection, death, which is but a form of imperfection, cannot find away into His Essence. Thus it is said: And trust in the Living One, Who dieth not ... (Sura al-Furqan, xxv:58 ) Will An agent who is conscious of his activities is more complete than one who is not. A free agent, endowed with a will to perform his acts--such that he can choose to accomplish or not accomplish a given act--is more complete than an agent constrained and com�pelled [by some other agent] to do or not to do something, being helpless and unable to choose for himself. Taking into account this point, and seeing that God is the most perfect agent in exist�ence, it is altogether natural to assert that the Divine Essence is, by nature, an absolutely free agent, neither constrained from with�out nor imposed upon by anything other than Himself; and if it is said that God is `one who wills' (murid), the meaning is that He has perfect liberty to will whatever He desires. Will in the conventional sense of a human faculty that is origi�nated in time and is actualized gradually thereafter, does not figure in the Divine Essence. Hence we have the sayings from the ahl al-bayt, intended to prevent error and deviation, to the effect that the will of God [with regard to a given act] is identical to the accomplishment and realization of the act, as it is said: `Will, in regard to man, is an inner statc, which man strives to realize in outward action, but the will of God itself constitutes the cmsumrnation of the action, without this involving ternporal origination. This explanation makes it clear that will, in the sense of liberty, is one of the attribmos of the Essence, while in its aspect of existentiation, it is ()it(. of the attributes of Divine Activity. Attributes of Divine Activity Now that we have dealt with the principal themes related to the attributes of the Essence, it is appropriate to turn our attention to some of the attributes of Divine Activity. Here we shall consider the following three attributes: speech (takallum), veracity (sidq) and wisdom (hikma). Speech The Qur'an has dc.sorilrcd God as one who `speaks': And God spoke directly with Moses. (Sura al-Nisa', lv: 164) And again: And it was not vouchsafed to anY mortal that God should .speak to him unless [it be] by revelation or from behind a veil, or [that] He sendeth a Messenger...(Sura al-Shura, xLll: 51) There is thus no doubt that speech is one of the attributes of God. There is, however, debate over the question of the ultimate nature of this attribute: is it an attribute of the Essence of God or off is Activity? It is clear, to begin with, that speech in the form in which it appears in man, cannot conceivably apply to God. Since the attribute of speech is given in the Qur'an, we ought to refer to the Scripture itself in order to understand the reality of this at�tribute. As we have seen in the verse cited above, the Qur'an establishes the fact that God speaks to His slaves according to three modes of self-disclosure. It is impossible for the speech of God to reach ya by the following three modes: (a) unless [it be] by revelation'-in other words, by divine inspiration; (b) `or from behind a veil- in other words, that man can hear God's speech, but cannot see Him (God's speech to Moses took this form); (c) `or [that] He sendeth a Messenger'-in other words, an angel is sent by God to man to convey the inspiration. In this verse, the speech of God has been explained as having been brought into being by God, either directly without intermediary, or indirectly through the intermediary of an angel. According to the first mode-divine inspiration-God sometimes casts His words directly into the heart of t}re Prophet., and some�times He causes His words to enter the heart after having first been heard by the ear. In all three modes of speech, however, the words of God are brought into being. The speech of God is there�fore to be considered as one of the attributes of Divine Activity. This is, one explanation of the speech of God, derived frorn the guidance given by the Qur'an. Another explanation is as follows: God has called all existent entities of the universe His `words'. As the Quran says: Say: were the, sea to he ink for the Words of nzy Lord, verily the sera would used up before the words of my Lord zuere exhausted, even if We were to bring the like threof to help. (Sura al-Kahf, xvlll: 109) In this verse, what is meant by `words' is all of the creatures of God, which none but He can count. In the following verse, we find evidence of this [assimilation of all creatures as `words' of God] Jesus is explicitly referred to as the `Word of God' (kalimat-Allah) The messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His word which He cast unto Mary. (Sura al-Nisa', lv: 171 ) Imam Ali, in one of his discourses, interprets the speech of God in terms of His creative activity: `When God wishes to bring something into being, He says rrnto it Be!, and it is; but [He does so] not with a voice that is sounded, nor with a call that cans be heard. For the speech of God is one of His actions whereby a thing is endowed with existence.' 19 From the discussion above regarding the reality of God's speech it should have becorne evident that the speech of God is origi�nated in time (hadith), and is not eternal (qadim). For His speech constitutes His act, and, as the act of God takes place in time, it follows naturally that His speech possesses, likewise, a temporal condition. Nonetheless, in order to uphold correct spiritual courtesy (adab), and in order to forestall any misconceptions, we cannot call the speech of 'God `created', because of the many for whom the idea of 'being ore.rted connotes being artificial or constructed. But leaving aside t his point of view, we can regard all that is other than God as His creature. Sulayman al,Jafari related thus: 'I asked the seventh Imam, Musa Ibn Ja`far-, is the Qur�an crceated? The Imam replied, `1 say that the Qur'an is the speech of God. At this point the following should be noted: At the beginning of the 3rd/9th century, the question ot whether the Qur'an was created or uncreated was being hotly debated by the Muslims, and was a source of acute acrimony and divisiveness. Those who advocated the eternity of the Qur'an did not support their posi�tion with sound reasoning, with the result that some Muslims viewed the Qur'an as temporally originated, while others regarded it as eternal. If the purpose of the Qur'an and its words is that these words be read, and if they are words which the angel Gabriel was charged by God to reveal to the heart of the Prophet, it is obvious that all of these words are temporally originated. Also, if the purpose of the Qur'anic verses is to impart knowledge and meaning, and some of these verses relate the historical tales of the Prophets, and also relate the wars fought by the Prophet [of Islam], then these verses cannot be regarded as eternal. To conclude, if the aim is to acquire knowledge of God through the Qtrr'an, by means of both words and underlying meanings, the knowledge of God is, evidently, eternal, being one of the attributes of His Essence-but knowledge is one thing and speech, another. Veracity One of the attributes of Divine Activity is veracity (sidq), that is to say, whatever He says is true; the blemish of falsehood does not tarnish His speech. The reason for this is clear: lying is the way of the ignorant, those in need, the afflicted and the frightened-and God is utterly beyond all such conditions. In other words, lying is an abomination and God cannot be tainted by any evil. Wisdom Another of the divine attributes of perfection is wisdom (hikma), �the wise�( al-Hakim) being one of His names. The meaning of God being wise is, first, that His actions are brought to ultimate fruition in a perfect, complete and definitive consummation. Secondly, God is utterly beyond perforrning any actions that are deficient vain. Evidence of the first fact is furnished by the marvellous order of the world of creation and by the beautiful way in which the awesome edifice of creation is raised up. As the Qur'an says: �the fashioning of God, Who perfeeteth all things. (Sura al-Naml,xxvll:88) evidence of the second fact is provided by the following verse: And we created not the heaven and the earth, and all that is between them, in vain. (Sura Sad, xxxvlll: 27) God is absolute perfection; therefore, His actions must also partake of perfection and be devoid of all defect and futility. Negative (Salbi) Attributes We recalled above that the attributes of God can be divided into two categories, those of Beauty (jamal) and those of Majesty (jalal). Those that pertain to perfection (kamal) are referred to as at�tributes oof Beauty or positive (thubuti) attributes; while those that refer indirectly to God [by negating what He is not] and which relate to imperfection or deficiencv, are referred to as attributes of Majesty or as negative (salbi) attributes. The intention behind the formulation of negative attributes is to negate from the Divine Reality any possible susceptibility to imperfection, deticicmoy or inadequacy. Insofar as the Divine Es�sence is utterly self-sufficient and constitutes in Itself absolute perfection, It is neccessarily devoid of any attributes that derive from imperfection and dependency. From this point of view, Muslim theologians argrue that God does not have a body, nor is He material; He is not a locus for any other entity, nor is He in�carnate in any other entity--such features presuppose the imperfection and dependency proper to contingent, existent entities. Among the other attributes deriving from imperfection is the capacity of being seen; for, in order to be seen, an object must fulfil the conditions of visual sense-perception, such as: being in a particular place; being illuminated by some source (that is not being in darkness); and being separate, in essence, from the per�ceiving subject. It is clear that such conditions are but the traces of an entirely corporeal and material franrr of existential reference; they are utterly inapplicable to God, exalted .is He is above all things. In addition, we can say that a `god' that can be seen cannot escape from the following two conditions: either the totality of its being would be visible or else a part of its being; in the first case, the all�encompassing divine reality would be encompassed and delimited, and in the second, it would consist of parts-both of which condi�tions are far removed from the divine realitV, elevated in sublimitv as It is. I Iw Imrycriug discussion has considered corporeal, sensible vision, but as regards the vision of the heart, that is, inward spir�itual perception which sees hy the light of perfected faith, this is of an entirely different order; there is no doubt as regards its possibility, rather, of its reality, for the saints of 'God. Imam `Ali was asked by one of his companions, Dhi'lib al-Yamani, �Have you seen your Lord?' The Imam replied. `I would not worship a lord whom I have not seen.' He was then asked, How did you see Hirn?' The Imam replied, 'The eyes cannot see Him according to outward vision; rather, it is the hearts that perceive Him, through the verities of faith. Apart from the refutation of the possibility of corporeal per�ception of God by intellectual arguments, the possibility of this type of outward vision is also explicitly denied by the Qur'an. When the prophet Moses, at the insistence of the Children of Israel, asked to see God, he is given a negative reply: My lord, show me [Thy Self] that may gaze upon Thee. He said: thou wilt notsee Me. (Sura al-A'raf, vll: 143) It might be asked: if seeing God is impossible, why does the Qur�an tell its that on the Day of 'Resurrection those of His slaves who are worthy will behold Him? That day will faces be radiant, looking at their Lord. (Sura al-Qiyama, Lxxv: 22-23) The reply to this question is that the meaning of `looking' in this verse is the expectation of the mercy of God, the verses them�selves providing evidence supporting this interpretation. First, the looking in question is connected to `faces', that is, to happy faces that are looking toward Him. If the meaning here were the actual vision of God, then it would have been necessary to connect this vision with the eyes and not with faces. Secondly, the discourse of the Sura in question refers to two groups: one with bright and radiant faces, whose [anticipated] reward is made clear by the verse 'looking al their Lord'; and the other group with grim and anguished faces, whose [anticipated] punishment is alluded to by the verse `knowing thal some gr-eat disaster is about to befall them' (verse 25). The meaning of the second phrase is clear: they know that some painful punishment will soon befall them, and they are , dreading its imminent advent. As a parallel to the comparison between the two groups, we ', can make use of another aspect of the meaning of the first, verse. In regard to those with radiant faces, the phrase `looking at their' Lord' can be understood as a metaphor for their expectation of mercy. There are many examples of this metaphor in Arabic and Persian. To take one example from the Persian language, it is said that such-and-such is looking at another person's hand; this means that he is expecting help from him. Moreover, in com�menting upon the meaning of Qur'anic verses, one must not in , principle confine oneself to one verse alone; rather, one must locate verses which shed light on the subject in question, and then derive the true meanings of a given verse from a whole series of verses of similar import. On the question of seeing God, if we gather together those verses and prophetic sayings pertaining to this question, it is clear that, from the Islamic perspective, there can be no possibility of seeing God [in terms of visual sense�perception]. It also becomes clear from the above arguments that Moses's request for a vision of God was at the insistence of the Children of Israel who said: 'Just as you hear the voice of God and transmit that to us, so look upon God and describe Him to us.' ...and when ye said: O Moses, we will not believe in thee till we see God plainly. (Sura al-Baqara, ll: 55) It is also said: And when Moses came to Our appointed tryst and His Lord had spoke unto him, he said: My Lord, show me [Thy Self], that l may look upon thee. He said: Thou wilt not see Me. (Sura al-A'raf, VII: 143) Informative (khabari) Attributes What has thus far been addressed in regard to the divine attribute (except for that of speech) pertains to the type of attribute that can be evaluated by means of intellectual affirmation or negation in regard to God. But there is another group of attributes men�tion in the Qur'an and Hadith that cannot be understood any other way than by means of traditional, transmitted knowledge (naql)22 For example: 1. The hand of God: Truly, those who swear allegiance unto thee [O Prophet], swear allegiance only unto God. The Hand of God is above their hands. (Sura al-fath, xlvlll: 10) 2. The face of God: Unto God belong the east and the west, and wherever ye turn, there is the Face of God. (Sura al-Baqara, ll: 115) 3. The eye of God: Built the ship under Our Eyes and by Our inspiration. (Sura Hud, xl: 37) 4. God being �established' (istiwa'} on the Throne: The Beneficent One, Who is established on the Throne. (Sura Ta Ha, xx: 5) The reason for calling these attributes khabara (pertaining to information) is that it is only traditional, transmitted knowledge that can provide its with information regarding these attributes. It is important to remind ourselves that the intellect, or human wisdom, cannot interpret these attributes according to their con�ventional meanings, for this would lead to conceiving of God as �embodied� (tajsim), and therefore similar to us (tashbih); intellectual and transmitted knowledge alike warn us against these misconceptions. Thus, we must keep firmly in mind all of the Qur�anic verses on this subject if we are to obtain a true explana�tion of these attributes. We must also remember that the Arabic language, like many others, is rich in metaphors and symbolic allusions, and the Holy Qur'an, which employs the language of the Arabs, makes ample use of this mode of discourse. This having been understood, we can proceed with an explanation of these attributes. In tile first verse quoted above, it is said that those who pledge allegiance to the prophet-by taking his ]land into theirs-are in fact making their pledge to God, since allegiance given to the one sent is ipso facto allegiance to the One who sent him, So it is said that the Hand of God is above their hands: this tneans tlrat the power of God is greater than their power-not that he pos�sesses a bodily �Hand� and that His �Hands' are literallv abovc their 'hands In support of this interpretation we might adduce the remainder of the verse: So whoever breaketh his oath, breaketh it only to his soul�s detriment; while whoever keepeth his covenant with God, on him will He bestow an immence reward. (Sura, al-fath, xLvlll: 10) The content of this discourse�threatening those who breake their promise and giving glad tidings to those who keep their prom�ise-clearly rreveals that the meaning of the `Hand' of God is His power and authority. Also, the word 'hand' appears in many dictionaries as a metaphor for powor, as it is said in persion: 'There are many whose �hands� are higher than yours' [meaning: there are many who are more powerful than you.] (In the second verse quoted above] the meaning of the `Face' of God is His Essence; it is not to be compared with, the human face or any other creature's face. When the Qur'an speaks of the annihilation (fana') and non-existence of human beings, it says, Everone that is thereon will perish,' following this with an affirma�tion of the subsistence (baqa') and permanence of the Being of God, there being no possibility of annihilation in regard to Him: Everyone that is thereon will perish; and there subsists the Face of thy Lord, possessor of Might and Glory. (Sura al-Rahman, Lv: 26-27) The meaning of the `Face' of God being everywhere is clari�fied by these verses. God is not to be located at a particular point; rather, His Being encompasses all things, such that wherever we look. we are facing Him. fttrther affirmation of this interpretation is given by reflecting upon the following two attributes [mentioned at the end of the verse partially cited above, al-Baqara, ll: 115]: the All-encompassing (al-Wasi ), the Being of 'God is infinite; and the knowing (al-alim), He knows all things. In the third of the verses quoted above, the Prophet Noah is commanded to construct the ark. The building of such a vessel, led to Noah being mockcd by his ignorant folk. In such circumstances, it is as if God said to him: 'Build the ark, you are under Our supervision; We have inspired you to do this.' The meaning here is that Noah was acting under divine guidance, hence he would be protected by God, and would not be disturbed by the mockery to which he was being subjected. [In the fourth verse], the word `arsh in Arahic means `throne'; and istiwa, when used in conjunction with `ala, means `being established� and �having ascendancv over'. Those in power normally dispose of the affairs of state when they are firmly established in the seat of state authority; hence, we call interpret this verse as a metaphor for the divine authority, which holds sway ovcr tile dis�position of all things. Apart frorn the evidence given by the intellect and traditionally reccived sources, which alike affirm that God is not spatially rostricted, one can uphold the validity of our meta�phorical interpretation of God 'being established on the Throne' by considering the following two points: (a) in many verses preceding this one there are descriptions of the creation of the heavens the earth, and how God raised Ill) the edifice of the universe without recourse to visible pillars; (b) in many verses following this one mention is made of tit(.- governattce of the affairs of the world. The significance of the phrase `established becomes clearer when we see that this verse comes between the theme of creation, on the one hand, and that of governance, on the other. The Qur�an wishes to remind its that the creation of 'the universe, depite its awesome dimensions, does not require us to exclude God from being in absolute control of its affairs. On the contrary, in addition to being responsible for the initial act of creation, God has a firm grip on the reins of supreme power over all the affairs of the universe. Suffice to cite the following as one of the many verses demonstrating this point: Verily, your Lord is God Who created the heaven and the earth in six days, then He established Himself upon, the Throne, directing all things. There is no intercessor [with Him] save after His permission... (Sura Yunus, x: 3) 13 https://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=8706