Al-Usool Ath-Thalaathah – Lesson 2

وَهُوَ مَعْرِفَةُ اللهِ، وَمَعْرِفَةُ نَبِيِّهِ، وَمَعْرِفَةُ دِيْنِ الإِسْلَامِ بِالأَدِلَّةِ

and that is to know Allah, and to know his Prophet, and to know the religion of Islam, with proofs

Word-for-Word Translation

and that is وَهُوَ
to know Allah مَعْرِفَةُ اللهِ
and to know his Prophet وَمَعْرِفَةُ نَبِيِّهِ
and to know the religion of Islam وَمَعْرِفَةُ دِيْنِ الإِسْلَامِ
with proofs بِالأَدِلَّةِ

Knowledge of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’la)

Ma’rifatullaah – The knowledge that is waajib upon us to learn is to know Allah (ma’rifatullaah). The meaning of ma’rifatullaah is for the servant to know his lord with whatever he described himself with in his book, and to know him with whatever his messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa salam)  described him with, of his names, his attributes and his actions.

Knowing Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), is one of the most important aspects of the religion, and to be ignorant of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is to be falling short and being negligent in the matters of the deen. Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullah) said in madariju saalikeen “Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) dispraised the one who did not glorify him the way he deserves to be glorified, and the one who did not know him the way he should be known, and the one who did not describe him with his true attributes”.

The human being will not be on the true religion except by knowing his lord. This is why the foundation of the call of the messengers, was knowing Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) with his names, his attributes and his actions. Ibnul Qayyim said “the key to the call of Allah (godly-call) is knowing the lord”. So, whoever treads the path that will make you reach Him (subhanahu wa ta’ala), has trodden the path of knowing him (subhhanahu wa ta’ala). And the more you know Allah, the more glorification (ta’deem) you will have in your heart of Him (subhanahu wa ta’ala), because the one who truly gets to know Allah (subhanahu wa ta’la) and recognises Him (subhanahu wa ta’ala) will truly love Him (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Ibnul Qayyiy said “the one who knows Allah with his names, his attributes and his actions, he would love him, no doubt about it”.

Knowing Allah and singling him out for worship is the cause leading to happiness in the dunya and the aakhirah. Shaykh ul Islam ibn taymiyah (rahimahullah) said “enjoyment, happiness, delight, good pure times and bliss that cannot even be expressed, is only found in knowing allah and acting upon his tawheed and believing in him”.

Knowledge of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa salam)

and to know his Prophet – Also from the knowledge that is waajib upon us to learn is to know the Prophet of Allah Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa salam), because he is the medium between us and Allah (azza wa jal), in delivering and conveying the message of Allah to us. Knowing him (sallallahu alayhi wa salam) necessitates acceptance and carrying out whatever he has brought to us from Allah, of guidance and the religion of truth.

Knowledge of Islam

and to know the religion of Islam with proofs – Likewise, it is waajib on the one who is responsible and is charged with duties (mukallif) to know the religion of Islam with proofs from the Quran and Sunnah. That is because Islam is the religion which Allah (azza wa jal) made it a must upon the creation to worship him through it. Knowing it and applying it, is a cause leading to entering paradise. Being ignorant of it and neglecting it, is a cause leading to entering the fire. Ibnu Qayyim said “the completeness of a human being revolves upon two principles: distinguishing truth from falsehood and preferring and choosing truth over falsehood. The status of the people with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) vary in this world and next, by how much the people vary according to these two principles”.

The three questions the slave will be asked about in the grave

Knowledge of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), knowledge of his Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa salam) and knowledge of the religion of Islam is the first thing that the slave of Allah will be asked about in his grave, as was reported in the hadith of Bar’a ibn ‘azib. So, whoever learns them with their evidences in the dunya is likely to remain firm and answer them correctly in the grave under the questioning of the two angels.

 It was narrated that al-Bara’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: We went out with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for the funeral of a man from among the Ansaar. We came to the grave and when (the deceased) was placed in the lahd, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat down and we sat around him, as if there were birds on our heads (i.e., quiet and still). In his hand he had a stick with which he was scratching the ground. Then he raised his head and said, “Seek refuge with Allaah from the torment of the grave”, two or three times.

Then he said, “When the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with white faces like the sun, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. They bring with them shrouds from Paradise and perfumes from Paradise. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O good soul, come forth to forgiveness from Allaah and His pleasure.’ Then it comes out easily like a drop of water from the the mouth of a waterskin. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that shroud with that perfume, and there comes from it a fragrance like the finest musk on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this good soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the best names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is opened, and (the soul) is welcomed and accompanied to the next heaven by those who are closest to Allaah, until they reach the seventh heaven. Then Allaah says: ‘Record the book of My slave in ‘Illiyoon in the seventh heaven, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’

So his soul is returned to his body and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Allaah.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They say, ‘Who is this man who was sent among you?’ He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ They say, ‘What did you do?’ He says, ‘I read the Book of Allaah and I believed in it.’

Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth, so prepare for him a bed from Paradise and clothe him from Paradise, and open for him a gate to Paradise.’

Then there comes to him some of its fragrance, and his grave is made wide, as far as he can see. Then there comes to him a man with a handsome face and handsome clothes, and a good fragrance, who says, ‘Receive the glad tidings that will bring you joy this day.’

He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which brings glad tidings.’ He says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, hasten the Hour so that I may return to my family and my wealth.’

But when the disbelieving slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with black faces, bringing sackcloth, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O evil soul, come forth to the wrath of Allaah and His anger.’

Then his soul disperses inside his body, then comes out cutting the veins and nerves, like a skewer passing through wet wool. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that sackcloth, and there comes from it a stench like the foulest stench of a dead body on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the worst names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is not opened.”

Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited (interpretation of the meaning):
“for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle” – [al-A’raaf 7:40]

He said: “Then Allaah says, ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen in the lowest earth, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is cast down.”

Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the verse (interpretation of the meaning):
“and whoever assigns partners to Allaah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place” – [al-Hajj 22:31]

He said: “Then his soul is returned to his body, and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’

Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘Prepare for him a bed from Hell and clothe him from Hell, and open for him a gate to Hell.’

Then there comes to him some of its heat and hot winds, and his grave is constricted and compresses him until his ribs interlock. Then there comes to him a man with an ugly face and ugly clothes, and a foul stench, who says, ‘Receive the bad news, this is the day that you were promised.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which forebodes evil.’ He says, ‘I am your evil deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come, do not let the Hour come.’”

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4753; Ahmad, 18063 – this version was narrated by him. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1676.

The situation of the layman

If a person from the general folk believes in the oneness of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and believes in the falsehood and invalidity of what is being worshiped besides Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) then he is a Muslim, even if he does not know the evidence from the Quran and Sunnah. Shaykh Abdullah ibn Abdurahman ababatin said “it is a must to know tawheed and the pillars of islam with their proofs and it is not allowable to be just an imitator in this regard, but the layman, who does not know the proofs, if he believes in the oneness of his lord (subhanahu wa ta’ala), the message of Muhamad (sallallahu alayhi wa salam), the resurrection after death, the jannah and naar, and he believes that those matters pertaining to shirk which are done at those shrines are false and a misguidance, if he believes these things a belief that is certain then there is no doubt that he is a Muslim, even if he is not able to translate what is in his heart with proofs. That is because the common folks of the Muslims, even if you teach them the proofs, in general they do not understand how certain proofs are arrived at.”

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series The Three Fundamental Principles