Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mukjizat al-Quran : Kulit Manusia



Upon this we presented to him a lecture written by Professor Keith
Moore about the compatibility of modern embryology with what is
contained in the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and we asked Professor
Tagasone if he knew of Professor Keith Moore. He replied that he
knew him of course, adding that Professor Moore was one of the Most
world-renowned scientists in that field.

When Professor Tagasone studied this article he also was greatly
astonished. We asked him several questions in his field of
specialization. One of the questions pertained to modern discoveries
in dermatology about the sensory characteristics of the skin.

Dr. Tagasone responded: Yes if the burn is deep.

It was stated to Dr. Tagasone: You will be interested to know that
in this book, the Holy book the Qur'aan,there was a reference
years ago which refers to the moment of punishment of the
unbelievers by the fire of Hell and it states that when their skin
is destroyed, Allah makes another skin for them so that they
perceive the punishment by a fire, indicating knowledge about the
nerve endings in the skin, and the verse is:

Those who reject our signs. We shall soon cast into the fire; as
often as their skins are roasted through. We shall change them for
fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement: for Allah is
Exalted in Power,Wise (Qur'aan 4:56).

So do you agree that this is a reference to the importance of the
nerve endings in the skin in sensation, 1400 years ago?

Dr. Tagasone responded: Yes I agree. This knowledge about sensation
had been known long before. Because it says that if somebody does
something wrong, then he will be punished by burning his skin and
then Allah puts a new skin in him, cover him, to make him know that
the test is painful again. That means they knew many years ago that
the receptor of pain sensation must be on the skin, so they put a
new skin on.

The skin is the center of sensitivity to burns. Thus,if the skin is
completely burnt by fire, it looses its sensitivity. It is for this
reason that Allah will punish the unbelievers on the Day of
Judgement by returning to them their skins time after time, as He,
the Exalted and Glorified, said in the Qur'aan:

Those who reject our signs. We shall soon cast into the fire; as
often as their skins are roasted through. We shall change them for
fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement: for Allah is
Exalted in Power,Wise (Qur'aan 4:56).

We asked him the following question: `Is it possible that these
verses came to the Prophet Muhammad,(sallallahu `alaihi wa
from a human source?'

Professor Tagasone conceded that they could have never come from any
human source. But he still asked about the source of that knowledge
and from where could Muhammad have possibly received it? We
said, `From Allah, the Most Glorified and Most Exalted.' Then
asked: `But who is Allah?' We replied: He is the Creator of
all that
is in existence.' If you find wisdom then it is because it comes
only from the one Who is Most Wise. If you find knowledge in the
of this universe, it is because the universe is the creation of the
One Who has all the knowledge. If you find perfection in the
composition of these creations,then it is proof to you that it is
the creation of the One Who Knows Best. And if you find mercy, then
this bears witness to the fact that it is the creation of the One
Who is Most Merciful. In the same way, if you perceive creation as
belonging to one unified order and tied together firmly, then this
is proof that it is the creation of the Only Creator, May He be
Glorified and Exalted.

This is no less than a reminder to (all) the worlds. And you shall
certainly know the truth of it (all)after a while.(38:87-88).


source : mujahidsolihin (sorry ... i forgot the exactly source)

Al-Ghazali’s Metaphysics

Metaphysic in al-Ghazali’s Tahafut al-Falasifah

prepared by : Hasbullah M

The TahÉfut al-FalÉsifah marked a turning point in Islamic philosophy in its vehement rejections of Aristotle and Plato. Al-GhazÉlÊ challenges in his TahÉfut almost all the doctrines of Aristotle and Plotinus and their Muslim representatives such as al-FÉrÉbÊ and Ibn SÊnÉ. He argues, with a dialectical and analytical skill comparable to any in the history of philosophy, that many of their doctrines were positively false and baseless, such as the eternity and everlasting of the world, emanation from God of intelligences and souls of the celestial spheres and these spheres’ possessing the knowledge of particulars and having a purpose in their rotatory motions, etc. He says in his introduction about the purpose of the TahÉfut:

When I saw this vein of folly pulsating among these idiots, I decided to write this book in order to refute the ancient philosophers. It will expose the incoherence of their beliefs and the inconsistency of their metaphysical theories. It will bring to light the flimsiest and the obscurest elements of their thought which will provide some amusement for, and serve as a warning to the intelligent men (which they thought they could be distinguished from the common men).

Al-GhazÉlÊ’s attack is thus judiciously leveled at the two leading Muslim Neo-Platonist directly, and indirectly at Aristotle. Altogether, he enumerates sixteen metaphysical and four physical propositions that have an obvious religious relevance and against which the unguided believer must be warned. Of all these propositions, three of them, al-GhazÉlÊ becomes very bitter with them and charges them with downright infidelity; i.e (1) eternity of the world, (2) denial of God’s knowledge of the particulars, and (3) denial of bodily resurrection. The remaining seventeen propositions according to al-GhazÉlÊ do not justify to be irreligious, but simply that of heresy (bidÑah).

The conflict between al-GhazÉlÊ and the philosophers becomes essentially a conflict of basic metaphysical premises. He often affirms opposing premises if his own based on his capacity as a great theologian as well as philosopher and mutakallimËn. Al-GhazÉlÊ’s methodology is mainly based on the basis of superiority of revelation over reason. But sometimes he demonstrates some philosophical arguments in his discussion particularly with Muslim philosophers and Aristotelian.

Al-GhazÉlÊ uses several terms around which the conflict of metaphysical premises involves in it such as possibility (imkÉn), necessity (ÌarËrah), and causality (sababiyyah). For instance, the word mumkinan imkÉnan (possible) in the first proof of the philosophers is used in the sense of the probable.

Regarding the theory of possibility in the sense of the contingent is central to his metaphysical system. Al-GhazÉlÊ sees that God is not an existence necessary in His essence; God transcends such concepts as possible and necessary. Al-GhazÉlÊ who attacks the concept of necessity as a character of objective reality attacks the very foundation of Aristotelians and is very much harmony in modern empirical school.

The philosophers admit the existence of causes that precede their effects in time, but these are the accidental causes, not the essential. Al-GhazÉlÊ accepts the principle that everything other than God is caused, but with a very important qualification. There is no chain of natural causes. Every change in the world is caused by God’s voluntary act directly, or sometimes through the mediation of his angels. Natural existents have no causal efficacy. It is not fire that burns the cotton when it is in contact with it. It is God Who produces the burning on the occasion of the contact.

As the focus of this study is on the eternity of the world, the theory of essential necessary causation is the fundamental premise for the philosophers’ proofs based on the nature of God for the world’s eternity. For that, if God creates by the necessity of His nature, and if His nature is eternal and changeless, then the effect must proceed eternally from God. Just as the sun cannot give light, God cannot but cause the world. For al-GhazÉlÊ, this is blasphemy. This is not only a limitation of God that deprives His freedom, but it also makes of God an inanimate being. For only the inanimate are said to act by the necessities in their nature and not through volition. Al-GhazÉlÊ goes beyond this and attempts to prove the theory of an eternal world not only unproven, but false.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008



Prepared by : Hasbullah Mohamad

The objective of sharÊÑah (divine guidance) brought by the prophet Muhammad (saw) is to guide people to the right path, to make lawful the good and pure things and to forbid bad and impure things. SharÊÑah was revealed to free mankind from the grip of their whims and fancy (al-hawÉ). So that they may submit and surrender to the will and guidance of Allah (swt) which it shows the purpose of one’s life towards God.

As a general principle, virtues are those things that are beneficial to the individuals and society. Allah (swt) has created things and the benefits derived them are essentially for man’s use and hence are permissible (ÍalÉl). Nothing is unlawful (ÍarÉm) except what is prohibited by any text of the Quran and Sunnah or the principles derived from them. Allah (swt) says:

قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنْ الرِّزْقِ قُلْ هِيَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ(32)
“Say who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants and the good provisions? Say: these are for the believers in the life of this world, purely (theirs) on the resurrection day.” (7: 32)

Al-TirmidhÊ has narrated:
عن سلمان الفارسي أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: "الحلال ما أحل الله فى كتابه والحرام ما حرم الله فى كتابه وما سكت عنه فهو مما عفا عنه"
“The ÍalÉl is that which Allah (swt) has made lawful in His Book and the ÍarÉm is that which Allah has forbidden, and that concerning which He is silent, he has permitted as a favor to you” (al-TirmidhÊ and Ibn MÉjah).

As far as the wordly activities of people are concerned, the principle is freedom of action; nothing may be restricted in his actions unless what has been restricted by Allah (swt). That is the right of Allah (swt) alone to make something lawful or unlawful.

According to al-GhazÉlÊ, the redeeming qualities (al-munjiyÉt) or virtues (al-FaÌÉ’il) and the destructive qualities (al-muhlikÉt) or vices (al-RadhÉ’il), in order to achieve the moral end, one has to build a good character which comprises all the virtues, the most important is love of God. The actual worth of a virtue is essentially determined by the part it plays in helping man to achieve perfection to be closed to God.

Al-FÉrÉbÊ describes that the ultimate goal of human existence is to attain supreme happiness (al-saÑÉdah al-quÎwÉ). He equates the supreme happiness with the absolute good (al-khayr ÑalÉ al-iÏlÉq). The absolute good is God which means the supreme happiness in a life hereafter is conditional upon happiness in the present life (al-saÑÉdah al-dunyÉ). According to his view, human perfection in the present life is a result from the acquisition of the virtues.

Meanwhile, vices are those things that are harmful to the individuals or the society. In Islam, whatever is conducive to ÍarÉm is itself harmful. If something is prohibited anything that leads to it is likewise prohibited. For example, Islam has prohibited sex outside marriage and also all avenues which lead to it. Vices are unethical forms of the natural propensities of man which become harmful when they engender love for the world at the expense of spiritual development.

According to al-GhazÉlÊ, the love of this world is the root of all vices. If the self is to attain perfection, these propensities must obey the dictates of reason. But, it often happens that they disobey reason, transgress their proper limits and subject self to humiliation and gradual decay. It is this transgression which takes the shape and colour of so many vices. Vices then, are the wrong developments of human propensities which act as curtains between man and his goal.

In Islam, sin comes as a result of forgetting the Oneness of Allah and the consequences of the Oneness of Him who is the All-Powerful and the All-Knowing, which in turn results in disobeying His commands and rebelling against Him. Islam is totally opposed to the idea of rebellion and revolt against divine authority. Islam does not emphasize the importance of sin any less than does Christianity. But it does not consider the sense of guilt in the same way as does Christianity and does not believe that man is sinful by nature.

In fact, it has to be noticed that any action will be considered lawful and virtue if it does not contradict with the teaching and general principles of Islam. It is divine Will that declares something to be vice and virtue. Human reason may be able to recognize some vices and virtues as long never contradict with Islamic primary sources (al-Quran and Sunnah) and the principles of Islam. Only the authority scholars have ability to determine such thing through the way of ijtihÉd and fatwÉ within the framework of sharÊÑah in which the Quran and Sunnah are silent about it.

Main Sources:

Abul Quasem, Muhammad, (1975), The Ethics of al-GhazÉlÊ A Composite Ethics in Islam, Petaling Jaya: Central Printing Sdn. Bhd.

Azami, Iqbal Ahmad, (1990), Muslim Manners, Leicester: UK Islamic Academy.

Al-Farabi, (1961), FuÎËl al-MadÉnÊ (Aphorism of the statesman), D.M Dunlop (ed. and trans.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Al-GhazÉlÊ, AbË ×Émid MuÍammad, (n.d), IÍyÉ’ ÑUlËm al-DÊn, BayrËt: DÉr al-Kutub al-ÑIlmiyyah.

Heer, Nicholas L., (1997), Moral Deliberation in al-GhazÉlÊ’s IÍyÉ’ ÑUlËm al-DÊn in Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism, Parviz Morewedge (e.d), New York: Caravan Books Delmar.

Umaruddin, M, (2003), The Ethical Philosophy of al-GhazÉlÊ, Kuala Lumpur: A.S Noordeen.

Other Sources:

Afridi, M.R.K and Khan, Arif Ali, (2007), Social Philosophy of Islam, New Delhi: Pentagon Press.

Al-FarËqÊ, IsmÉÑÊl RÉjÊ, (1988), Christian Ethics, Montreal: McGill University.

Al-Ghazali, Muhammad, (1990), al-JÉnib al-ÑÓÏifÊ min al-IslÉm, al-Iskandariyah: Dar al-Dawah.

Al-KailÉnÊ, ÑAbd al-RaÍmÉn IbrÉhÊm, (2000), QawÉÑid al-MaqÉÎid inda al-ImÉm al-ShÉÏibÊ, BayrËt: DÉr al-Fikr.

Kotva, Joseph J, (1996), The Christian Case for Virtue Ethics, Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press.

Pojman, Louis P, (1990), Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong, Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Al-QaradÉwÊ, YËsuf, (1993), MalÉmiÍ al-MujtamaÑ al-Muslim, al-QÉhirah: Maktabah Wahbah.

Ross, William David, (1988), The Right and the Good, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company Inc.

Shams al-DÊn , AÍmad, (1990), al-GhazÉlÊ ×ayÉtuhu Atharuhu Falsafatuhu, BayrËt: DÉr al-Kutub al-ÑIlmiyyah.

Friday, September 19, 2008



Prepared by: Hasbullah Mohamad


This study will concentrate on Smart’s article: Modernity, Postmodernity and the Present. There are some discussions and arguments based on the main concept of modernity, historical background and its role in society which could be accordingly evaluated as one of the current worldviews towards the survival of human life. For that purpose, several points of its content will be analyzed in order to come out either the shortcoming or outstanding of modernity.

The Main Characteristic of Modernity

The central idea of modernity is “the change” which means everything is changing and nothing stays as permanent. Therefore, there is no universal concept in human life. Everything including knowledge must be based on empirical methods and human reason only which accept assumption as a basis in one’s hypothesis. For them, anything cannot be achieved by any empirical method should be rejected. There is no place for religion and metaphysic which are later considered as a dogma.

How to Understand Modernity and Postmodernity

Barry Smart questions the way to understand modernity which only could be done by understanding the nature of the present and its conceptual distinctions namely industrial and postindustrial and the modern and postmodern.

The conceptual distinction between industrial and postindustrial society, that the change is determined or influenced by technology or associated with it. In fact the change in human life is a reality.

James believes that the idea of postmodernism as an appropriate way of understanding the cultural space of late capitalism. His view has been endorsed in the work of Lash and Urry who argue that the “breakdown of older organized capitalist forms” is accompanied by the emergence of a postmodernist cultural sensibility.

Towards a History of Modernity

In relation to modernity, there is a need to understand modern age, its emergence, development, and current crisis in relation to the past until the present age. Smart illustrates that Kroker and Cook take the view that the intellectual horizon of the modern age extends back beyond the Enlightenment and the respect works of Kant, Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche to the fourth century and Augustine’s radical reformulation of the philosophy of progress and exploration of the physics, the logic and the ethics of modern experience.

Toynbee argues that the beginning of the “Modern Age of Western History” occurs in the last quarter of the fifteenth century amongst the people on the Atlantic seaboard of Europe and derived from the emergence of a form of “cultural pharisaism” and an associated technology of the ocean.

Berman identifies three distinctive historical phases in the development of modernity; (1) first extends from the beginning of the sixteenth to the end the eighteenth century in the beginning to experience modern life. (2) Second phase commencing with the French Revolution and the emergence of upheavals in social, political, and personal life with “the great revolutionary wave of the 1790s”. (3) Finally, the global diffusion of the process of modernization and the development of a “world culture of modernism” (which precipitates more turmoil in social and political life).

The term “modern” derives from the late fifth century Latin term modernus which was used to distinguish an officially Christian present from a Roman, pagan past which is employed to situate the present in relation to the past of antiquity, appearing and reappearing exactly during those periods in Europe when the consciousness of a new epoch formed itself through a renewed relationship to the ancients.

In relation to reason, religion and aesthetic appreciation it was argued that moderns were more advanced, more refined and in possession of more profound truths than the ancients. The eighteenth century Enlightenment philosophical project has developed the spheres of science, morality and law in accordance with their respective inner logic and interpretation.


The term is meant something to each person using it, that it referred to no specific school or movement. Modernism is described by Bell as a cultural temper pervading all the arts; as opaque, unfamiliar, deliberately disturbing, experimental in form and disruptive of mimesis. It constitutes a response to late nineteenth century social changes in sense perception and self-consciousness which arose from space-time disorientation associated with fundamental transformations in communication and transport, and a crisis of self-consciousness following an erosion of religious beliefs and values respectively.

The emphasis of modernism is upon movement and flux, on absolute present, if not the future as present and it is characterized by a refusal to accept limits, the insistence on continually reaching out to destiny that is always beyond: beyond morality, beyond tragedy and beyond culture. Those imply within the status of modernism as an adversary culture, one which seeks to negate every prevalent style including in the end, its own.


The postmodernism is rarely rigorously differentiated from modernism, indeed within both aesthetic and sociological discourse there has been a marked tendency to conceptualized postmodernism as a part of the modern. Post-Modern Age is considered to be marked by the rise of an industrial urban working class.

The scenario of a post-Modern Age lying in wait for prosperous, comfortable and complacent modern middle class which had not only lost the necessary fund of creative psychic energy required to drive the Western industrial system, but imagined that a safe satisfactory Modern Life had come to stay as a timeless present. Toynbee argues that Western technology advances precipitated a crisis in human affairs through the imposition of a rate of change beyond the adaptational capacity of a single life. A problem subsequently described by Toffler as “future shock”.

Postmodernism has been described as a logical culmination of the premises of romantic-modernist traditions; as a reactionary tendency which reinforces the effects of technocratic, bureaucratic society and as a style which emphasizes diversity, displays a penchant for pastiche and adopts an inclusivist philosophy advocating eclectic use of elements from the past. Smart views postmodernism finally leads to suffer the same fate as modernism.

A concept of postmodernism has been invoked to signify that the limits of the modern have been reached, that the pursuit of unshakable foundations for analytic truth constitutes a fruitless project, one that will continue to remain incomplete in so far as the metaphysical presuppositions at the heart of Western philosophy are themselves problematic. It has been argued that the promised of modernity to achieve the emancipation of humanity from poverty, ignorance, prejudice and the absence of enjoyment is no longer considered to be feasible.

Smart’s view on Modernity and Postmodernity

Smart concludes that the contributors in their claims of modernity and postmodernity actually do not understand what is meant by modernity and the problem of postmodernity. Such responses should not be taken too literally and one might suggest that speculation in one of his earlier works, that the entire modern episteme formed towards the end of the eighteenth century might be about to topple, contributed significantly to the development of the modernism-postmodernism debate.

Another way to understand the present predicament is to recognize that what is encountered in the debate over the possibility of a distinction between modernity and postmodernity is a realization that the goals and values which have been central to Western European civilization can no longer be considered universal, and that the associated project of modernity is unfinished because its completion is inconceivable and its value in question. The critical implication is that complex transformations, questions and problems deemed to be constitutive of the present are not adequately articulated in prevailing forms of social theory, indeed cannot be so.

The Islamic Point of View

Islam is a complete way of life. It is very comprehensive and inclusive of all aspects of life. A true Muslim not only seeks to practice ordinary rituals but also to perfect all aspects of his life based on the guidance from the almighty God (Allah) which is clearly stated in the Quran:

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَاي وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ(162)لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِذَلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ(163)
“Say: truly my prayers and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, all are for Allah, the Cherisher of the worlds. He has no partner. This am I commanded and I am first of those who surrender (unto Him).” (6: 162-163)

The objective of sharÊÑah (divine guidance) brought by the prophet Muhammad (saw) is to guide people to the right path, to make lawful the good and pure things and to forbid bad and impure things. SharÊÑah was revealed to free mankind from the grip of their whims and fancy (al-hawÉ). So that they may submit and surrender to the will and guidance of Allah (swt) which it shows the purpose of one’s life towards God.

In response to modernity, Islam has established the characteristics as a complete way of life for humanity as follow:

1. Stability (Permanence) and Flexibility

As modernity believes that “the change” is everything and nothing stays permanently in human life, but Islam is totally contradictory to such a worldview. Islam is a permanent religion in the sense that its fundamental teaching principles have been revealed to the prophet Muhammad (saw), who is the last Messenger. Allah says;

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمْ الإِسْلامَ دِيناً
“This day have perfected your religion for you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (5: 3.)

The elements of creed or aqidah and the fundamental principle of sharÊÑah such as salat, zakat, Hajj, fasting, enjoining good and forbidding evil (etc.) are permanent. However, these elements of permanence do not make Islam as a rigid system that undermines flexibility, change and movement.

The absence of permanence or stability will generate relativism and anarchy. Meanwhile, the absence of flexibility and change will make the system rigid and inefficient that cannot admit any change coexist in harmonious equation which make the teachings of Islam appropriate to all times and places.

The Quran and Sunnah contain the eternal guidance given by the Lord of the universe (Rabb al-‘ÓlamÊn). Allah’s guidance is free from the limitations of space and time. It is eternal in nature. Allah swt has given man the freedom in every age in the way suited to the spirit and conditions of the age.

This freedom is exercised through ijtihÉd (intellectual effort to arrive at the truth) to apply the divine guidance to the problems of the age. Thus, the basic guidance is of a permanent nature, while the method of its application can change in accordance with the peculiar needs of every age. For example, collection of zakat, observation of the moon of Ramadhan, health and adhan. It shows that Islam is not opposed any sort of new things provided it must be within the framework of sharÊÑah.

In contrast, modernity and postmodernity reject revelation and religious experience which are considered as a dogma. They believe whatever values come from religion are not relevant and contrast with the principle of change which is totally based on empiricism and reason.

The fact that the Quran and Sunnah have been in existence for the last fifteen centuries and still available in its original form is a good sign of eternal care and permanence. Allah says;
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
“We have without doubt sent down the messenger and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)” (15:9)

2. Comprehensiveness and Universal

Modernity and postmodernity infect a new domination of the western culture that aimed at destroying all traditional systems, cultures, and values of non-western nations which is the ground upon which globalization has been established. According to modernist and postmodernist, there is no universality and comprehensive system of life instead the changes and individualistic values will take place in community which is influenced by technology and its changes from time to time.

Since Islam is the message to man in all phases of his life, no wonder, then the Islamic teachings as whole are so comprehensive that they can manage all human affairs. Such comprehensiveness is manifested in matters of faith, worship rituals, ethics, laws and regulations;

i. The Comprehensiveness of the Islamic faith
It can interpret and explain all the large issues that have always obsessed the human mind. Such issues as Divinity, the universe, man, prophet hood and fate.

The Islamic faith is also not conceived by the mind alone such as in the man-made philosophies which depend only on the mind to recognize Allah and understand the universe. Islam depends on thought (reason) and senses as two complementary tools to attain human knowledge under the guidance of revelation.

This criterion distinguishes Islam from modernity with the remark that Islam also considers reason and human perception are sources of knowledge in the sense that are not the absolute way of truth, but rather as the tools to subordinates the divine knowledge (revelation).

ii. The Comprehensiveness of Islamic worship
The Muslim worships Allah not only by his tongue, body, mind or senses, each one separately, but he uses these elements all together at one time.

The other implication of the comprehensiveness of worship is that it is not limited to the practicing of the known rituals such as prayers, zakah, fasting, pilgrimage, but involves any act which tends to please people and make life better in all aspects of dealing with community.

In Islam, everything (deed) will be considered as ÑibÉdah provided following two conditions; (1) sincere to seek a pleasure of Allah and (2) follow all of His commandment (halÉl and harÉm). According to the concept of ÑibÉdah, Islam provides proper foundation to human capital development in dealing with technology, culture and social life under the guidance of divine Will in which modernity and postmodernity did not provide such foundation anymore.

iii. The Comprehensiveness of the Islamic moral code
The Islamic moral code is much more than what people term as the “religious moral code” represented in practicing the rituals, avoiding intoxicants etc. It extends to cover all aspects of human life to portray a model example of what they should be on spiritual, worldly, intellectual, emotional, individual or collective scale. Some ethical concepts in Islam such as amanah, halal and haram doctrine in “the end does not justify the means”, the responsibility in performing duties and the rights, and commitment to values (good or bad) make Muslim answerable towards God as well as the society. All of these concept are totally ignored in modernity and postmodernity.

Islam as a universal religion for the whole of mankind and Allah is the Lord of the whole world. The mission of the prophet Muhammad is a universal, whereby all men are equal regardless of color, language, race, nationality, social, status, poor or wealth. Islam removes all socio-economic and cultural barriers and proclaims the ideal of the whole humanity being one family of Allah. Thus, the universality of Islam makes Muslim treats others in equality and justice regardless religion, region, race and ethnic. Meanwhile, modernity and postmodernity perform injustice because of lacking moral values. According to them, there is nothing but materialistic approaches in dealing with people and civilization.

3. Godliness (Rabbaniyyah)

Islam rejects modernism and postmodernism which only recognizes scientific method in their approaches of knowledge, meanwhile the concept of Godliness (Rabbaniyyah) is one of the most fundamental characteristics of Islam which means “(system) comes from Allah”. This criterion distinguishes Islam from the philosophical and scientific worldviews and their perception of God. Islam is attributed to Allah the Lord of everything who is the source of the religion.

According to al-QaradÉwÊ, The godliness (RabbÉniyah) in this context can be seen as follow:
1. The Godlines of objectives and goals
2. The divine origin of source and method

1. The Godliness of objectives and goals.
It indicates that the ultimate goal of Islam is to attain Allah’s love and pleasure. It is undeniable that Islam has other goals and objectives on either the human and social level, but reflection on them shows that they all serve greater goal which is to please Allah and win His reward. In Islam there are regulations for people’s transactions which only aim at systematizing people’s lives to refrain them from conflicting over worldly matters so that they can spare all their time for approaching Allah, worshiping and pleasing Him.

As a Muslim one has to bear in mind that everything which is commanded by Allah is certainly good for humanity and likewise everything which is forbidden by Him is bad. Only Allah alone has right to determine what is good and bad. The real Muslim will submit himself to the will of Allah in all circumstances without doubt. This is the reason why the essence of Islam is monotheism. Islam allows even encourages Muslim to utilize scientific knowledge in his research along with the above concept as a bottom line in dealing with it. By doing so, one will recognize Allah as the almighty Creator within his scientific research.

In contrast, modernity and postmodernity deny religious values to be along with scientific knowledge (empirical inquiry). As a result, scientific knowledge which is developed based on assumption rather than “conceptual knowledge” (divine teaching) leads to be more chaos and destruction in human life and the environment as well.

2. The divine origin of source and method
This category is related to the method which Islam designated to reach to its planned objectives. The method is purely divine because it is taken from a divine source which is the revelation to the Rasulullah (s.a.w) This method is not the demand of a certain person, dynasty, social class, political party, but it is the Will of Allah Who meant to make it a guiding light, a remedy and a mercy for His servant.

In Islamic concept, Allah is the only Law maker. He is the only One that commands and forbids, determines what is lawful and unlawful. He is Ruler of mankind, the God and Lord of mankind. No one but He has the right to legislate except for what He has permitted or left open. Even the Prophet (s.a.w) himself did not have the authority to make laws.


In conclusion, Islam provides the comprehensive and outstanding system of human life. Islam allows any approaches to be implemented in human life as long it does not contradict with divine regulation (revelation) as a centre of all considerations. In contrast, modernity and postmodernity give an absolute truth to human reason and sense perception to deal with civilization, even sometime ignore human reason in this regard. Revelation is not considered as a source of knowledge because of the rejection of dogmatic values.

As a matter of fact, modernity and postmodernity nowadays produce more chaos and destruction to humanity and environment as a consequences of the failure of such human-made worldviews which against the divine nature (the commandment of Allah) in forming dynamic society and humanity. Surprisingly, postmodernity or postmodernism which currently we live in, is getting worse from time to time which can be seen of increasing a number of crime, social problem, political conflict and instability, environmental problems, war and so many difficulties in today’s community. There is no solution unless returning to the Islamic way of life.


Al-GhazÉlÊ, MuÍammad, (1992), DustËr al-WiÍdah al-ThaqÉfiyyah Baina al-MuslimÊn, al-ManÎËrah: Maktabah Wahbah.

×awwa, SaÑÊd, (1993), al-IslÉm, al-QÉhirah: DÉr al-SalÉm.

Al-MaudËdÊ, AbË al-AÑlÉ, (1992), Towards Understanding Islam, K. Lumpur: A.S Noordeen.

Al-QaraÌÉwÊ, YËsuf, (n.d), Introduction to Islam, Islam Iinc Publishing and Distribution.

Al-QaraÌÉwÊ, YËsuf, (1995), al-IslÉm haÌÉrah al-Ghad, al-QÉhirah: Maktabah Wahbah.

ZaydÉn, ÑAbd al-KarÊm, (1996), UÎËl al-DaÑwah, BayrËt: Mu’assasah al-RisÉlah.

Article :
Barry Smart : Modernity, Postmodernity and Present.

Al-Ghazali's attitude towards Kalam (Scholastic theology)

Al-GhazÉlÊ and KalÉm

1.0 Introduction

AbË ×Émid al-GhazÉlÊ (450-505 AH/1058-1111 AD) is one of the great Muslim jurist, theologian and mystics of the Muslim world. He lived in the 12th Century. He was a polymath who wrote on a wide range of topics including jurisprudence, theology, mysticism and philosophy. He was famously known as hujjah al-IslÉm as he contributed greatly to the development of the Muslim ummah especially in theology and Sufism.
Al-GhazÉlÊ was not only of his time but also of all times, he stands out prominently as the most representative spirit of his era. Whatever he wrote bears the stamp of the age in which he lived. A knowledge of the spirit of his age will, therefore, give us a true and proper understanding of the philosophy of this remarkable man who after assimilating whatever he took from the past and from his time, bequeathed to humanity a system of thought which bears so unique an impress of his own spiritual character that it will always remain a source of inspiration to those who yearn for communication with God. The works of al-GhazÉlÊ represent a very thoughtful exposition of Islam and at the same time a critique of the anti-Islamic elements of his times.
Al-GhazÉlÊ mastered philosophy and then criticized it in order to protect religion from being innovated. Among the issues of philosophical thought which were critically discussed between al-GhazÉlÊ with other Muslim scholars and philosophers is about his criticisms on the kalÉm.

2.0 Al-GhazÉlÊ’s Background and Scholarly Life

2.1 Educational Background
AbË ×Émid MuÍammad ibn MuÍammad ibn MuÍammad al-ÙËsi al-GhazÉlÊ, an outstanding Jurist, theologian and ØËfÊ, was born in 450 AH /1058 AD at ÙËs, near the modern Mashad in KhurasÉn which prior to his time had already produced so many prominent Sufis. The District of ÙËs itself was the birthplace of many outstanding personalities and men of learning in Islam, including the poet FirdawsÊ (d.416/1025) and the state man NiÐÉm al-Muluk ( d. 485/1092), who was destined to play a significant role in the intellectual life of al-GhazÉlÊ. Among its distinguished religious scholars, al-Ghazali’s uncle al-FÉrmadhÊ (d. 477/ 1084) was also one of his famous teachers in Sufism.
Al-GhazÉlÊ received his early education in Ùus itself not long before he died, his father entrusted the education of al-GhazÉlÊ and his younger brother AÍmad (d.1126) to a pious friend. Al-GhazÉlÊ’s education included learning the Qur’Én and ÍadÊth, listening to the stories about saints, and memorizing mystical love poems. After his educational trust fund was exhausted, he was sent to a madrasah where he first learned jurisprudence from Ahmad al-RÉdhkÉnÊ.
Later, before he was fifteen years old, al-GhazÉlÊ went to JurjÉn in Mazardaran to continue his studies in jurisprudence under AbË NaÎr al-IsmÉÑÊlÊ. At seventeen, he returned home to Ùus. Before his twentieth birthday he went to Naishapur to study fiqh and kalam under al-JuwaynÊ. At this time al-GhazÉlÊ composed his first work, entitled al-MankhËl min ÑIlm al-UÎËl (A Resume of Science of Principles), on legal theory and methodology. He was appointed al-JuwaynÊ’s teaching assistant and continued to teach at NiÐÉmiyah in Naishapur until the latter died in 505/1111.
It is important to note that al-GhazÉlÊ studied kalÉm with al-JuwaynÊ (d. 478/1085). The latter played a significant role in the philosophization of AshÑarite kalÉm. This philosophization influenced al-GhazÉlÊ’s own vision and treatment of kalÉm as a discipline. Al-SubkÊ claims that al-JuwaynÊ introduced al-GhazÉlÊ to study of philosophy including logic and natural philosophy. Since al-JuwaynÊ was theologian (mutakallim), not a philosopher, he must have imparted his knowledge of philosophy through the discipline of kalÉm. Al-GhazÉlÊ was not satisfied with what he had learned from his teacher. He later wrote al-munqidh that not a single Muslim religious scholar before him had directed his attention and endeavour to a through study of philosophy. The knowledge of falsafah that he gained through his study of al-JuwaynÊ’s discourse on kalÉm and possibly through other writings as well was sufficient, however, to acquaint him with the methodological claim of the philosophers that they are the people of logic and demonstration (ahl al-manÏiq wa al-burhÉn). This is because that claim had been current since al-FÉrÉbÊ and could not have been unknown to al-JuwaynÊ, a leading intellectual opponent of the philosophers.
Another area of study which engaged al-GhazÉlÊ’s mind during his stay in Naishapur was Sufism. He studied its theory and practice under the guidance of al-FÉrmadhÊ. Al-GhazÉlÊ actually managed to unite those who were in constant discord namely the theologians and the Sufis. Thus al-GhazÉlÊ became the faqÊh of the Sufis and the most learned ØËfÊ of the fuqahÉ’. He event acquired the distinguished title of hujjah al-IslÉm and become the innovator of the whole fifth century .
Thus al-GhazÉlÊ put an end to his seclusion and resumed his lectures and his preaching. He also sought to reconcile between external and hidden matters until he died in 505 AH, in Taws, where he was buried and where his mausoleum still exist today.

2.2 Al-Ghazali’s Works
Al-GhazÉlÊ applied himself first to kalÉm while still at Naishapur. In considering al-GhazÉlÊ’s statement about kalÉm in al-Munqidh, he claims that he wrote some works on the subject during this period. He tells us that he began his quest after knowledge by the study of kalÉm, for which he contributed written works. Other major works of al-GhazÉlÊ in kalÉm are al-IqtiÎÉd fÊ al-IÑtiqÉd, al-Munqidh min al-ÖalÉl, IÍyÉ’ ÑUlËm al-DÊn and IljÉm al-ÑAwwÉm Ñan ÑIlm al-KalÉm.
During his stay in Baghdad al-GhazÉlÊ completes his promised in-depth study of the four classes of knowers. This was also his most prolific perios of writing. Having studied kalÉm and written several works on discipline, al-GhazÉlÊ devoted himself to the study of philosophy. He tells us that he studied thoroughly the writings of the philosophers without the help of a master during his hours of free time when he was not writing and lecturing on the religious sciences.
This al-GhazÉlÊ’s work, short in term of the years he actually lived (55 years) but so rich in scientific achievements. It is said that he left some 230 books most of them in religion, philosophy, Sufism and history. Among his famous ones are:
1. IÍyÉ’ ÑUlËm al-DÊn
2. Al-Munqidh min al-ÖalÉl
3. Al-IqtiÎÉd fÊ al-IÑtiqÉd
4. IljÉm al-ÑAwwÉm Ñan ÑIlm al-KalÉm
5. TahÉfut al-FalÉsifah
6. MinhÉj al-ÑÓbidÊn
7. AdÉb al-ØËfiyah
8. KitÉb al-MadnËni bihi ÑalÉ Ghairi Ahlihi
9. BidÉyah al-HidÉyah
10. TahdhÊb al-Nufus bi al-AdÉb al-SharÊÑah
11. Jawhar al-Qur’Én wa Öuraruh
12. KhulÉÎah al-TaÎnÊf
13. Al-RasÉ’il al-Qudusiyyah fÊ QawÉÑid al-ÑAqad
14. FaÌÉ’ih al-BaÏiniyyah wa FadÉ’il al-Mustadhariyyah
15. Mi’yÉr al-Haq fÊ al-ManÏiq

3.0 ÑIlm al-KalÉm
According to Corbin’s History of Islamic Philosophy, the Arabic word kalÉm signifies word or speech . The word mutakallim designates him who speaks, the orator (in grammar, the first person). It is not possible here to trace the evolution whereby the word kalÉm came to mean simply theology. And the word mutakallimËn came to mean the theologians. This would involve a more detailed analysis of the genesis of the problem, touched on below, of the Qur’Én as kalÉm Allah, the Word of God.
Al-FÉrÉbÊ defines kalÉm as a religious science which arose in a religious tradition at some point in its history out of need to formulate a systematic defense of the tenet of that religion from various attacks from various sources as he says:
KalÉm enables man to support certain ideas and acts which has been stated by God (Allah) in order to refute the contradictory.

Meanwhile al-GhazÉlÊ describes kalÉm as a tool to protect Muslim faith from innovations, as saying:
For its aim is simply to conserve the creed of the orthodox (ahl al-Sunnah) for the orthodox and to guard it from the confusion introduced by the innovators.
Therefore according to al-GhazÉlÊ, a group of the mutakallimËn did indeed perform the task assigned to the God by defending the creed which had been revealed through revelation from philosophers or atheists who against the Islamic traditions specifically in tawÍÊd and divinity (ulËhiyyÉt).
Since kalÉm contributes as an important tool in tawÍÊd specifically in Abbasid Empire, the discussions of kalÉm are critically based on the attributes of Allah, His acts, the universe, prophet hood and the science of hereafter and unseen (samÑiyyÉt).

4.0 Al-GhazÉlÊ and KalÉm

4.1 Al-GhazÉlÊ’s Criticism of KalÉm
Al-GhazÉlÊ’s criticism of kalÉm is significant. For his authority in that discipline was widely recognized. He had studied under the greatest AshÑarite theologian and mastered the works of kalÉm. He himself became the leading theologian of his time with several excellent works on the subject to his credit. According to Osman Bakar, in al-GhazÉlÊ’s criticism of the mutakallimËn, he did not deal with the different school of kalÉm in matters of its doctrine but rather the common methodological stand that they had adopted . Al-GhazÉlÊ’s criticism of kalÉm will be discussed in several points emphasizing on his comments in his works and some distinctions with other theologians in this regard.
4.1.1 KalÉm and the Degree of Knowledge
Al-GhazÉlÊ in the Book of Knowledge of the IÍyÉ’, describes seeking knowledge is an ordinance obligatory on every Muslim (farÌ Ñayn) and he criticizes the mutakallimËn who claim that study of kalÉm falls under farÌ Ñayn as saying :
People, however, disagreed as to what branch of knowledge man is obliged to acquire, and as a result split up into about twenty groups. We shall not go into details but simply summarize the matter by saying that each group insisted on the necessity of acquiring that branch of knowledge to every Muslim (farÌ Ñayn) which happened to be its specialty. The scholastic theologians (mutakallimËn) insisted on scholastic theology because the unity of Allah, as well as His essence and attributes, is known through it.

In contrast, al-GhazÉlÊ himself treated kalÉm as farÌ kifÉyah, when defining kalÉm as a tool to protect religion from innovations not an end. He says:
….then know that all that theology offers in the way of useful evidence is contained in the Qur’Én and tradition. Whatever evidence is not contained therein is either reprehensible argumentation [which, as will be seen, is an innovation] or mere wrangling by dwelling on distinctions or amplification through the array of different opinions, most of which are derived and nonsense, despised by the mind and rejected by the ears, while others are ramblings into things unrelated to religion and not customary during the first period of Islam. To enter, into such discussions at all was then regarded heresy, but things have now changed. Innovations which turn people from the dictates of the Qur’Én and the tradition have arisen and a group has emerged who made imitations of the Book and the ÍadÊth and based upon it false speculation, so that certain dangerous things have necessarily become permissible; they have become as binding as the farÌ kifÉyah. To such an extent would an innovator go whenever he purposes to preach a heresy.

Al-GhazÉlÊ accepts kalÉm as is not an end in itself and it is error to think that the mere engagement in it constitutes the experientially religious or that it is always needed for attaining salvation in the hereafter. Its role is very much akin to that of the armed guards protecting the pilgrims’ caravan against Bedouins marauders. It is needed, but only as a means to an end. Again, it is like medicine, which at times is certainly needed. But when not needed, or when needed but not properly administered, it can be very harmful. Thus it is not incumbent on all Muslims. It is a farÌ kifÉyah. Hence every region should have a mutakallimËn, a theologian, to defend Muslim faith.
Al-GhazÉlÊ also divides knowledge into religious and intellectual knowledge . All religious knowledge is praiseworthy which falls under two categories: farÌ Ñayn and farÌ kifÉyah. According to him, the category of farÌ kifÉyah religious knowledge includes: (1) the science of the sources of religious knowledge and (2) the science of jurisprudence which forms a part of the science of the branches. Therefore, sciences like ÑulËm al-Qur’Én (the science of Quranic interpretation), ÑulËm al-ÍadÊth, uÎËl al-fiqh belong to this category. Another important example of farÌ kifÉyah religious knowledge is kalÉm. FarÌ kifÉyah in this category is only within a certain limit which al-GhazÉlÊ calls “the limit of sufficiency”. He says:
The sciences whose knowledge is praiseworthy up to a certain limit are those which we have already mentioned under the sciences the acquisition of whose knowledge is farÌ kifÉyah.

Al-GhazÉlÊ at the same time puts also kalÉm in intellectual knowledge along with philosophy which comprises four chapters. The second and third are included under kalÉm as he says:
The second is logic which is a study of the nature of evidence and its conditions as well as the nature of a definition and its conditions. Both of these are included under theology. The third is divinity which is the science of the being and attributes of Allah. This also is included under theology.

The above discussion shows the significant of kalÉm in ÑaqÊdah as has been described by al-GhazÉlÊ according to his observation on that matter in terms of its function and the methodological concept which will be discussed later. It is clearly can be understood of his statement “farÌ kifÉyah in this category only within a certain limit which is called the limit of sufficiency” which differs one to another.

4.1.2 The Aim of KalÉm
Al-GhazÉlÊ approves the aim of kalÉm and its role in society, namely the defense of the common religious beliefs of the community by repelling errors and heresies and removing doubt and confusion relating to those beliefs. He even praised the mutakallimËn, describing them as people who had been inspired by God to champion orthodoxy by kalÉm designed to disclose the deceptions introduced by the contriving innovators contrary to traditional orthodoxy. KalÉm has its root in the Qur’Én and ÍadÊth. He says:
For its aim is simply to conserve the creed of the orthodox (ahl al-Sunnah) for the orthodox and to guard it from the confusion introduced by the innovators.

However, al-GhazÉlÊ was highly critical of certain aspects of the methodology of kalÉm. He considers the methods of kalÉm to be defective both to satisfy his thirst for knowledge of the reality of things and to inflict intellectual defeat opponents of kalÉm. He says:
But since that was the aim of their own science, their discussion of the subject was not the aim of their own science, their discussion of the subject was not thoroughgoing; therefore it did not provide an effective means of dispelling entirely the darkness due to the bewilderment about the differences dividing man.

Al-GhazÉlÊ clearly indicates that kalÉm is not the only way to protect religion because it’s only considered as a mean to an end and the above shows that al-Ghazali’s attitude towards kalÉm seems that this did not necessarily have to be so. It might be said that since kalÉm involves in philosophical discussions, the aim of kalÉm cannot be achieved for all community and logical arguments will only tend to be applicable to the level of taqlÊd. But for al-GhazÉlÊ it is supposed to be practical for all community.
Therefore al-GhazÉlÊ concludes that kalÉm did not provide him with the certainty in knowledge he was seeking, instead other factor can be utilized in order to obtain the aim of protecting religion (ÑaqÊdah) from being deviated. Moreover, according to al-GhazÉlÊ’s experience in dealing with kalÉm and Sufism, he believes that kalÉm partially fulfilled its aim but did not satisfy what he was striving after, but Sufism (kashÉf) is the proper way to that aim because it consists of the theory and practical as well. He says:
I knew with certainty that the Sufis were masters of states, not purveyors of words, and that I had learned all I could by way of theory. There remained, then only what was attainable, not by hearing and study, but by fruitional experience and actually engaging in the way. From the sciences which I had practiced and the method which I had followed in my inquiry into the two kinds of knowledge, revealed and rational, I had already acquired a sure and certain faith in God most high, in prophetic mediation of revelation and in the Last Day.

In fact, al-GhazÉlÊ affirmed the important and a need for kalÉm within the Islamic community to the end of his life, but he also believed that the scope of its relevance and usefulness was limited only for the case dictates under necessity. One would successfully strengthen his ÑaqÊdah without it.

4.1.3 Methodological basis of KalÉm
Al-GhazÉlÊ criticizes the methodology of kalÉm from two points of view. First, he accepts school of kalÉm and even affirms its necessity (as farÌ kifÉyah). But he criticizes the inadequacy its methodological tools to confront its intellectual opponents. Second, he criticizes kalÉm from the point of view of a seeker after a direct spiritual experience of God and inner reality of things.
According to al-GhazÉlÊ, the mutakallimËn were orthodox because they subordinated reason to revelation. But the use of reason in kalÉm had not been exercised to the fullest extent possible. He saw much scope for improvement in kalÉm’s methodology. He was not against the borrowing premises from the opponents of kalÉm, but in so doing the mutakallimËn relied on premises which they took over from their adversaries, being compelled to admit them either by uncritical acceptance, or because of the community’s consensus, or by simple acceptance deriving from the Qur’Én or traditions (ÍadÊths). Most of their polemic was devoted to bringing out the inconsistencies of their adversaries and criticizing them for the logically absurd consequences of what they conceded. But this approach for al-GhazÉlÊ is of little use for one who admits only necessary truths. He goes on:
So kalÉm was not sufficient in my case, nor was it remedy for the malady of which I was complaining.

Then al-GhazÉlÊ continues :
To be sure, when the discipline of kalÉm acquired some status and had been engages in for some length of time, the mutakallimËn showed an earnest desire for attempting to defend orthodoxy by the study of the true natures of things. They plunged into the study of substances and accident and their principles. But since that was the aim of their own science, their discussion of the subject was not the aim of their own science, their discussion of the subject was not thoroughgoing; therefore it did not provide an effective means of dispelling entirely the darkness due to the bewilderment about the differences dividing man.

The above statement indicates the usage the philosophical terminologies of mutakallimËn such as haqÉ’iq al-umËr, jawhar and ÑaraÌ had been involved in the discussion which lead to further discussions and debates on that terms without focusing on the aim of kalÉm itself. Hence, al-GhazÉlÊ says, “They plunged into the study of substances and accident and their principles”.
By the adversaries of kalÉm, al-GhazÉlÊ means the philosophers. Osman Bakar states, al-GhazÉlÊ’s patroyal of kalÉm as a discipline that had become influenced by falsafah was confirmed later authorities like ShahrastÉnÊ, Maimonides and Ibn KhladËn. Concerning premises borrowed from philosophers, could be referred to atomism and also reason and faith. He then criticized his contemporary mutakallimËn for being too closed bound in their views to previous authorities in kalÉm, like al-AshÑarÊ and al-BÉqilÉnÊ, even in matters relating to premises and proofs.

Al-GhazÉlÊ found defects in the mutakallimËn’s use of syllogism. To remedy this defect, he wrote several works on Aristotelian logic in a manner that had not been attempt before by any jurist or theologian. Al-GhazÉlÊ also considered undesirable the mutakallimËn’s emphasis on the logical inconsistencies in the arguments of their opponents, instead, says al-GhazÉlÊ, they should concentrate on the refutation of the fundamental doctrines of their opponents, insofar as these doctrines were viewed as heretical. The TahÉfut was seen as advocating this new approach of kalÉm. Referring to al-GhazÉlÊ’s view, the methodology of kalÉm was comprised of faith (ÊmÉn) and ratiocination tainted by false syllogism.
Thus, al-GhazÉlÊ describes the Sufis as those who claim that they alone enter into the Divine Presence, and as men of mystic vision (mushÉhadah) and illumination (mukÉshafah). The ØËfÊ is thus presented as an intimate witness of God. The ØËfÊ way of witness is described as authentic vision and the unveiling of the mysteries. According to al-GhazÉlÊ, to witness the Divine Presence is to attain the highest possible state of spiritual experience. He says :
From the very start of the way revelations (al-mukÉshafah) and visions (al-MushÉhadah) begin, so that, even when awake, the Sufis see the angels and the spirits of the prophets and hear voices coming from them and learn useful thing from them. Then their “state” ascends from the vision of forms and likenesses to stages beyond the narrow range or words: so if anyone tries to express them, his word contain evident error against which he cannot guard himself.

Since al-GhazÉlÊ was himself a distinguished ØËfÊ, he was able to give an authentic and authoritative account of the ØËfÊ methodology. He considers the Sufis method is the most excellent of methods and the Sufis the most excellent of the knowers of the truth. He himself found the light of certainty in the spiritual path of the Sufis. In Sufism there is a whole knowledge associated with this goal comprising theory as well as practical.
In a nutshell, al-GhazÉlÊ accepts the role of kalÉm in which it suitable for some people particularly the common ones, but the inadequacy of kalÉm still prevails. As far as he is concerned, kalÉm did not provide certitude knowledge (Ñilm al-yaqÊn) rather than Sufism.

4.1.4 KalÉm, TaqlÊd and MaÑrifah (kashÉf)
Al-GhazÉlÊ argues, the one who is obedient who controls his appetites, directing his thought solely to attaining one of reality (ÍaqÊqah min ÍaqÉ’iq) may not have this reality revealed to him. This is because of his being veiled from it by a previous belief that has come to him from youth, by way of taqlÊd and the reception from others in good faith (Íusn al-Ðann). This is also, he goes on, “is a great veil by which the majority of the theologians (akthar al-mutakallimÊn) and partisan of sectarian doctrines (al-mutaÑaÎÎibÊn li al-madhÉhib) are veiled”. This is because they are veiled by “imitative beliefs (iÑtiqÉd al-taqlÊdiyyah) that solidified in their souls, and became fixed in their heart, becoming a veil between them and the apprehension of realities (al-haqÉÑiq).
Al-GhazÉlÊ goes on with his discussion, it becomes even more explicit that the realities, the objects of knowledge that yield certainty, belong to the world of the unseen, the divine realm (ÑÉlam al-malakËt) as distinct from the domain of the seen (ÑÉlam al-mulk). Al-GhazÉlÊ however, also then speaks of both ÑÉlam al-mulk and ÑÉlam al-malakËt, when taken together. This, for al-GhazÉlÊ, constitutes the lordly, divine, presence (al-haÌrah al-rubËbiyyah) which encompasses all the existence, since there is nothing in existence except God, exalted be He, and His acts, His kingdom and servants being among His acts. For some people, what is revealed of this to the heart constitutes paradise itself. For those who follow the truth, however, the revelation (al-tajallÊ) is the cause for deserving paradise in hereafter. Moreover, the degree to which this tajallÊ is attained in this life determines the measure of reward in the hereafter. This tajallÊ and belief (imÉn), al-GhazÉlÊ states this is the first of three levels:
The first is belief of the commonality (al-ÑawwÉm). This is belief based on pure taqlÊd. The second is the belief of the theologians (mutakallimËn) which is mixed with some kind of inference. Its level is close to the belief of the common people. The third is the belief of the Gnostics (ÊmÉn al-ÑÉrifÊn). This consists of seeing with the light of certainty (kashÉf).

Al-GhazÉlÊ illustrates these levels of belief by an example, namely, that “your belief that Zayd is in the house which has three levels”, the first, as he says :
The first is that you are informed by you and you have always experienced to be truthful. Your heart acquiesces to him, and you are assured by the information simple by hearing it. This is belief by sheer taqlÊd, exemplifies the belief of the common people. For when they arrived at the age of discernment, they would have heard from their fathers and mothers about the existence of God, exalted be He, His knowledge, will, power and the rest of His attributes, the sending of His messengers, their verasity and what they have conveyed. This becomes a belief firmly established in their hearts and in which they become rest assured. What is contrary to what their mothers, fathers and teachers have taught them never crosses their mind. This belief is cause of salvation (al-najÉ) in the hereafter. The adherers of his belief are among the first of the ranks of the people of the right (aÎÍÉb al-yamÊn) but not among those drawn close to God (al-muqarrabËn), because in this belief there is no unveiling, insight and the opening of the breast by the light of certainty.

According to the above, clearly mentions the position of taqlÊd among common people (al-ÑawwÉm) represents the least level in ÑaqÊdah. For the second level of belief that is mutakallimËn, he describes:
The second is for you to hear the speech and voice of Zayd (for instance) from inside in the house, but from behind a wall. You would infer from this that he is in the house. Thus your assent, belief and certainty that he is the house would be stronger than your assent due to the sheer hearing (from that Zayd’s is in the house). For, if you are told that he is in the house and then you hear his voice, you would then become more certain (that he is in the house) because voices at a time when he has seen the visage. His heart then judges that is the voice of that individual. This is belief mixed with inference. It is possible, however, for error to enter into this. For one voice may be similar to another and this can be artificially undertaken by way of imitation.

For the second level i.e mutakallimËn, al-GhazÉlÊ indicates kalÉm plays important part for commonality in protecting ÑaqÊdah and more assured than the first, but for him the true knowledge can be achieved by maÑrifah Allah i.e kashÉf. For that, he gives his analogy:
The third level is for you to enter house and look at (Zayd) with your eye and see him. This is true knowledge and seeing with certitude. This is similar to the gnosis (maÑrifah) of those drawn close to God and the ardently veracious (tushbih maÑrifah al-muqarrabÊn wa al-ÎiddiqÊn). Within their belief is enveloped the belief of the commonality and mutakallimËn but is differentiated from it by a clear characteristic that renders the possibility of error not possible.

According to the above, al-GhazÉlÊ’s Ihya’ explains that belief of kalÉm is lower than gnosis (maÑrifah). This is based on al-GhazÉlÊ’s experience as theologian and ØËfÊ. M.E. Marmura clarifies that the same discussion also can be found in KitÉb al-ArbaÑÊn fÊ UÎËl al-DÊn which gives frank expression of the knowledge (maÑrifah) of the truth of the ÑaqÊdah.
Al-GhazÉlÊ maintains that maÑrifah is true knowledge and applicable to achieve the highest level in the kind of certitude, which is mentioned in the Qur’Én as haqq al-yaqÊn. It seems that al-GhazÉlÊ subordinates reason to intuition (kashÉf or maÑrifah) which indicates that religious knowledge (revelation) is superior than the intellectual knowledge (reason).

4.1.5 MutakallimËn and Salaf
Before turning to al-Ghazali’s attitude towards mutakallimun and Salaf, we have to have a clear vision about Salaf (or Salafiyyah) and mutakallimun, hence, we have to refer to some terminologies in it. According to Salaf (the Pious Ancestor), theology is designated by the term uÎËl al-dÊn meaning literally the sources or principles of religion, on the analogy of uÎËl fiqh meaning the sources or principles of law, and hence legal theory and methodology. However another term which came to designate theology is kalÉm. But this term is reserved by traditionalist theologian (Salafiyyah) to designate only that type of theology indulged in by rationalist (mutakallimËn). Whereas the mutakallimËn uses both terms interchangeably, equating kalÉm with uÎËl al-dÊn, the Salafiyyah regards uÎËl al-dÊn as the only legitimate king of theology, and condemns kalÉm and its partisans as outside the pale of orthodoxy. Anti- kalÉm literature abounds in the writings of Salafiyyah. To a Salafiyyah, a legitimate theologian is who one belongs to ahl al-ÍadÊth, the partisans of tradition, who set themselves against ahl al-kalÉm, the partisans of kalÉm, singly designated as mutakallim, that is a kalÉm expert.
The distinction between a traditionalist and rationalist may best be illustrated in their respective attitude with regard to divine attributes. The MuÑtazilites, who have been called the first rationalist of Islam, denied the divine attributes: thus they were called muÑaÏillah or partisans of taÑÏÊl, meaning the denudation of God of His attributes. The MuÑtazilites were the first users of kalÉm. They did away with the divine attributes by the use of metaphorical interpretation (ta’wÊl). The Salafiyyah, who upheld the divine attributes were called Îifatiyyah, because they affirmed the attributes (ithbÉt al-ÎifÉt). They opposed and censured kalÉm and ta’wÊl.
AshÑarite, as the MutakallimËn even though denied MuÑtazilites’s kalam, but still apply ta’wil as an approach in kalÉm in different way. AshÑarite school was founded in the middle of fourth/ten century by AbË al-×asan al-AshÑarÊ. He made up of many followers who admired his exemplary life, his thinking steeped in religious values. His followers found him a refuge both against the narrow literalism of the man of ÍadÊth and against the excessive rationalism of the MuÑtazilies. In this way, AshÑarism began to shape in the life of master.
In the seventh/thirteenth century, AshÑarism came up against adversaries of considerable stature in the person of Ibn Taymiyah who over the centuries became the father of Salafiyyah movement, denied that AshÑarism had a valid Sunni reform. He proclaimed an integral reform of Sunism, based principally on the absolute value of the literal text of the Qur’an and ÍadÊth. They were also known as ahl al-ÍadÊth consider kalÉm is unlawful such as MÉlik bin Anas, AÍmad ibn ×anbal, SufyÉn al-ThaurÊ and al-ShÉfiÑÊ.
Concerning al-GhazÉlÊ’s discussion on kalÉm, Makdisi observed that al-GhazÉlÊ’s hostile towards kalÉm is well-known. His work entitled IljÉm al-‘AwwÉm ‘am ‘Ilm al- KalÉm was the source of embarrassment to Ash’arite kalÉm. It could be seen in his reference to ShÉfiÑÊ in the Ihya’ as prohibiting kalÉm is evident and evolves from a desire to be conciliatory to s deep feeling of vindictiveness. He reported that al-KarÉbisÊ says:
Al- ShÉfiÑÊ says: “If men but knew what predilections lurk in scholastic theology they would have run away from it as they would run away from a lion.” And again he says: “Whenever I hear a man say that the name is the thing named, I testify that he is a scholastic theologian and has no religion.”
Al-GhazÉlÊ accepts the fact that some people might find their thirst for knowledge and certitude quenched by the science of kalÉm. But as far as he is concerned, kalÉm could not deliver the certitude that he sought. Al-GhazÉlÊ seems to be asserting that the spiritual and intellectual needs of man are not the same for all individuals.
There is some validity in the claim that the mutakallimËn were man of sound reasoning if they are contrasted with those who had been collectively called the ahl al-taqlÊd. These later groups were opposed to the use of reason in explaining religious belief. They condemned rational discussion in matters of faith as innovation (bidÑah) and sin. . That is what al-GhazÉlÊ understood from his own examanation of the Salaf sayings. Furthermore, al-GhazÉlÊ makes it quite clear that ShÉfiÑÊ himself was against kalÉm.
Then al-GhazÉlÊ accepts the way of truth towards aqidah is the methodology of Salaf which is taken directly from the Qur’Én and ÍadÊth, He says:
The truth is clearly what has been brought by al-Salaf (i.e referring to al-ØahÉbah and al-TÉbiÑÊn) those who demonstrate views and evidences (based on revelation) are absolutely truth.

Al-GhazÉlÊ’s IljÉm al-‘AwwÉm explains the purpose of his writing is to elaborate the methodology of Salaf and those who against them (bidÑah). Salaf’s methodology is referring to methodology of ØahÉbah and TÉbi’Ên in ÑaqÊdah which consists of seven requirements (i.e al-taqdÊs (sanctification), al-taÎdÊq (affirmative), al-‘itirÉf (recognition), al-sukËt (silenceness), al-imsÉk (evasion), al-kaff (prevention) and al-taslÊm (submission). For example, al-GhazÉlÊ explain al-taqdÊs as he says:
Al-taqdÊs (sanctification) means to deny everything which Allah has denied Himself (in the Qur’Én or ÍadÊth), whilst believing its fully perfect opposite with His Attributes like describing Him in a manner or attributes equal to Human or other creatures like Allah has body as human being’s.

Then al-GhazÉlÊ describes al-taÎdÊq (affirmative), which affirms the attributes of Allah what He deserves without any distortion (taÍrÊf) or denial (taÑÏÊl). He says:
Al-taÎdÊq (affirmation) of everything that Allah affirmed for Himself in His Book, or which His Messenger, affirmed for Him without distorting (taÍrÊf), without denial (taÑÏÊl), and without saying how they are (takyÊf) and without making any resemblance with the creation (tamthÊl).

Al-GhazÉlÊ also describes that we have to confess the attributes of Allah. The Might and Magnificent are only to be spoken of in accordance with a text (tawfÊqiyyah). So nothing is affirmed or denied for Him accept what which Allah affirmed or denied for Himself or which was affirmed by His Messenger. Every name confirmed for Allah, the Might, Majestic, is inclusive of an attribute, but the opposite is not the case. We are also required to abstain ourselves with regard to vague terms which are not found to be affirmed or denied textually, in wording or meaning, so further explanation is sought. Then if something false is meant by it, then we declare Allah free of that and reject it, and if something that is true and not to be denied for Allah, then it is accepted and the correct terminology as found in the text is to be made clear.
However, al-Ghazali accepts kalÉm only for the case of necessity within a certain limit which al-GhazÉlÊ calls “the limit of sufficiency” which has been previously discussed in farÌ kifÉyah knowledge. He says:
…theology offers in the way of useful evidence is contained in the Qur’Én and tradition. Whatever evidence is not contained therein is either reprehensible argumentation [which, as will be seen, is an innovation] or mere wrangling by dwelling on distinctions or amplification through the array of different opinions, most of which are derived and nonsense, despised by the mind and rejected by the ears, while others are ramblings into things unrelated to religion and not customary during the first period of Islam. To enter, into such discussions at all was then regarded heresy, but things have now changed. Innovations which turn people from the dictates of the Qur’Én and the tradition have arisen and a group has emerged who made imitations of the Book and the ÍadÊth and based upon it false speculation, so that certain dangerous things have necessarily become permissible.

Regarding al-GhazÉlÊ attitude towards kalÉm, it seems al-GhazÉlÊ accepted the methodology of Salaf in dealing directly with the Qur’Én and ÍadÊth instead of using philosophical arguments and terminologies in ÑaqÊdah. However, it does not mean he rejected totally the approaches of kalÉm but it rather suitable in the case of necessity in which al-GhazÉlÊ himself learned deeply kalÉm for such integral purpose.

4.2 Conclusion
Al-GhazÉlÊ’s study of kalÉm affirms the superiority of Sufism over any other modes of maÑrifah but he remained attached to the kalÉm perspective. His internal criticism of kalÉm was aimed at refining the rational approaches towards ÑaqÊdah.
Al-GhazÉlÊ as a theologian he subordinates reason to the revelation and at the same time he as a ØËfÊ subordinates reason to a mystical intuition (kashÉf). As far as he is concerned, kalÉm did not provide certitude knowledge (Ñilm al-yaqÊn) rather than Sufism and its role plays only in the limit of sufficiency.

5.0 Conclusion
In al-GhazÉlÊ’s discussion on kalÉm, some arguments have been discussed in order to point out his attitude towards kalÉm and the justification lies behind it. As the authority scholar (theologian) in kalÉm, al-GhazÉlÊ tried to refine the rational method which subordinates to revelation in proper manner based on his observation and dealing with mutakallimËn , philosophers and the community.
According to al-GhazÉlÊ, a group of the mutakallimËn did indeed perform the task assigned to the God by defending the creed and protecting religion from being innovated. But as far as he was concerned, kalÉm is not an end, it is only a tool to protect religion. Hence, It is needed, but only as a means to an end, like medicine, which at times is certainly needed. But when not needed, or when needed but not properly administered, it can be very harmful. Therefore he considers kalÉm as farÌ kifÉyah knowledge.
Al-GhazÉlÊ observed that kalÉm did not provide him with the certainty in knowledge he was seeking, instead his experience in dealing with kalÉm and Sufism, he believes that kalÉm partially fulfilled its aim but did not satisfy what he was striving after, but Sufism (kashÉf) is the proper way to that aim because it consists of both; the theory and practical.
In term of the methodology of kalÉm al-GhazÉlÊ viewed it from two points of view. First, he accepts school of kalÉm and even affirms its necessity (as farÌ kifÉyah). But he criticizes the inadequacy its methodological tools to confront its intellectual opponents. Second, he criticizes kalÉm from the point of view of a seeker after a direct spiritual experience of God and inner reality of things (in Sufism).
Al-GhazÉlÊ accepts the role of kalÉm in which it suitable for some people particularly the common ones, but the inadequacy of kalÉm still prevails. For him, kalÉm did not provide certitude knowledge (Ñilm al-yaqÊn) rather than Sufism.
Then al-GhazÉlÊ described the level of people in ÑaqÊdah could be divided into three: (1) taqlÊd (for commonality), (2) mutakallimËn, (3) maÑrifah (kashÉf). For him, kalam is applicable for the first two of these levels, but not for maÑrifah which could be achieved in Sufism. Al-GhazÉlÊ maintains that maÑrifah is true knowledge and applicable to achieve the highest level in the kind of certitude, It seems that al-GhazÉlÊ subordinates reason to intuition (kashÉf or maÑrifah) which indicates that religious knowledge (revelation) is superior than the intellectual knowledge (reason).
Regarding al-GhazÉlÊ’s observation on kalÉm (mutakallimËn) and Salaf , it seems that al-GhazÉlÊ accepted the methodology of Salaf which dealing directly with the Qur’Én and ÍadÊth instead of using philosophical arguments and terminologies in ÑaqÊdah. However, it does not mean he rejected totally the approaches of kalÉm but it rather suitable in the case of necessity in the limit of sufficiency.
As a conclusion for the whole discussion on al-GhazÉlÊ and kalÉm, it shows the significant and the role of kalÉm in Islam over the centuries. In order to develop and strengthen Islamic faith, some questions can be aroused: (1) Is the discussion of kalÉm still significant (relevant) for the present time? (2) If relevant, does it need some changes in its methodology for instance or some contents in kalÉm? (3) If not relevant, what is the proper way to study ÑaqÊdah due to need of the community today?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fiqh and Akhlaq

Relationship between fiqh (Syariat) and Akhlak (Ethics)

According to Imam al-Ghazali, character is an established state (of the soul) from which actions proceed easily without any need for reflection or deliberation.

 Ethics in Arabic is ‘ilm al-Akhlāq (science of morality), which is the branch of knowledge that studies akhlaq (morals).
 al-Akhlāq (the plural of khuluq/ خُلُق) refers to morality, which means a nature, or an innate disposition or temper.
 The proper signification of khuluq is the moral character; or the fashion of the inner man; his mind or soul and its peculiar qualities and attributes

Morality (Ethics) and law (syariah)
 Both law and morality are action-guiding.
 Law provides a series of public statements (a legal code), or system of dos and don’ts – to guide humans in their behavior and to prevent them from doing harm to others and violating their rights.
 Morality provides a similar system though might not be in written form.
 In addition to that, morality provides reasons behind any significant laws governing human beings and their institutions.

 Morality precedes law, whereas law sanctions morality; that is, law puts morality into a code or system that can then be enforced by punishment.

 Scope: In general, the law is taken to be concerned with acts, rather than attitudes.

The mere fact of having certain intentions is not really the sort of thing about which you can have a law.

In morality, by contrast, bad intentions may sometimes amount to a moral wrong. On the other hand, good intentions are in themselves good values.

 Morality is wider than law. What is moral in not necessarily enforced through law.
But there are some things which are governed by law (driving on the left or right side of road) which are presumably matters of indifference from a moral point of view.

 Conformity between morality and law:
= In Islamic law:
- Law should be a reflection of Islamic morals.
- Laws, rules and regulations are not supposed to be against Islamic moral principles
= In secular law
The relationship between law and morality is not entirely reciprocal. What is moral is not necessarily legal and vice versa.
Many practices have been inscribed in the law, that are clearly immoral (e.g., homosexuality, same sex marriage, mercy killing, abortion, usury, changing munkar …).

 Sanctions: If you break the law, you may be fined or imprisoned or executed. Various bureaucracies exist precisely to hand out legal sanctions.
If you do something that is morally wrong (but not also illegal), however, no similar bureaucracy is going to come after you.
In divine religions you suffer a punishment on the Day of Judgment.
In non-religious world views you may suffer the sense of guilt in your own conscience, or your reputation may suffer, or you may be exposed to the blame of other people

Morality and Etiquette
 For the most part, “etiquette” pertains to norms that are of little ethical significance.
 It concerns form and style rather than the essence of social existence.
 Etiquette determines what is polite behavior rather than what is right behavior in a deeper sense. It represents society’s or religion’s decision about how we are to dress, greet one another, eat, celebrate festivals, express gratitude and appreciation etc.

In a nutshell : a comparison between fiqh (syariah) and ethics can be seen as follows ;

i. aim / goal - same ... to fullfil the needs of mankind as a servant and khalifah of Allah.

ii. scope / approach - different .... syariah emphasize more on external or bodily aspects terms of validity or hukm, meanwhile akhlaq emphasize on internal aspects or values in human life such as purify the heart, intention ,truthworthy, justice, ihsan etc.

iii. Akhlaq is wider than syariah / fiqh in terms of its application / implementation all the time regardless condition, place, time, etc.

iv. As both are subjected to the will / command of Allah swt, both complement each other.


Saturday, June 7, 2008



 Definition of Sunnatullah (nature)
 Islamic Concept of Sunnatullah
 Characteristics of Sunnatullah
 Sunnatullah in Men and Society
 Purposes and Implication of Sunnatullah


 Literally, the word sunnah means tradition way, method, custom.

 When it is attributed to Allah- SUNNATULLAH:
it refers to the way of ALLAH’S DEALING WITH His creation that governs or controls its movement.

 It also denotes the practice of Allah and His judgement on different creatures of the universe.

 Sunnatullah means: pattern of Allah, laws of Allah, the creation of Allah and the command of Allah

 Sunnatullah in the Quran
 17:77, 33:38,62, 35:43, 40:85, 48:23, and 3:137 and 4:26

 The Quran uses two method to explain sunnatullah which are directly, where the concept sunnatullah is mentioned such as;

 “There can be no difficulty to the Prophet in what Allah has indicated to him as a duty: It was the practice (approved) of Allah amongst those of old that have passed away, and the command of Allah is a decree determined.” (33: 38)

 Or indirectly whereby the context refers to sunnatullah without mentioning the word sunnatullah or using other words. Allah says;

 “ Already has Our word been passed before (this) to Our servants sent “by Us” that they world certainly be assisted and that Our forces they surely must conquer” (37: 171-173)


 1. It is a complete and integral system of cause and effect and it runs systematically and perfectly in accordance with the command of Allah (Ismail R. al-Faruqi)

 2. It is a power which forms and orders things and matter according to the Divine plan with perfection and without any waste(al-Baruni)

 3. It is laws of Allah which have been manifested and commanded by Allah directly according to the will of the supreme authority. The Quran says:

 “ They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord is the sure Accomplisher of what He planned” (11:107)

 “ Doer of all that He intends” (85:16)

 Because
 Allah’s will is itself the word and deed. There is no interval between them. He does not His mind and plan.

 No circumstances can change or influence His mind.

 4. It is the Divine laws and perfect system. The Quran says:

 “He who created the seven heavens one above another. No want of proportion will you see in the creation of Allah most Gracious, so turn your vision again, do you see any flaw?
 Again turn your vision a second time, your vision will come back to you dull and discomfited in a state worn out” (67:3-4)

 5. His laws are in proportion and measure.

 -His creation is not haphazard
 -everything has its appointment time, place and occasion as well as its definite limitation
 -every word, deed and thought of man has its fullest consequences.
 -no body can interfere with Allah’s work and plane
 -no change in His creation

 Miqdar means:

 The thing, which cannot be increased and decreased for instance what occurs in the mother’s womb either male or female. Man does not have any influence or function in it. The Quran says:

 “It is He who created all things in due proportions(25:2)

 6. Sunnatullah is a creature of Allah and His commandments. It is controlled by Al-Mighty through His laws according to His design and plan.

 He is able to destroy all His creatures and create again in an instant by His own power. The Quran says:
 “Verily, When He intends a matter, He said to is “Be and It is”, so glory to Him in whose hands is the dominion of all things: and to Him will you be all brought back” ( 36:82-83)

 7. Every thing will be perished but His Face, Existence, and Power will be remained.

 The Quran say:
 “All that is on earth will perish but will abide forever the Face of your Lord-Full of Majesty, Bounty and Honor”(55:26-27)
 The meaning of The Face is His personality, Glory, Majesty, Inner Being, essence, Self, the noble qualities which we associate with the beautiful names of Allah (2:112, 7:180 and 17:110)

 The most important magnificent objects in outer nature-the mountains and valleys, the sun and the moon, etc will also pass a away.

 All things mean the most magnificent works of man, i.e. Fleeting, Ships, Empires, the Wonders of Science and Arts and the splendors of human glory and intellect will pass a away

 8. Laws of nature are unalterable as the Quran declares.

 Nothings can happen against the divine decrees or commands

 Man has been able to understand and comprehend all these and laws

 There are some exceptional or supernatural issues happened in human history by the command of Allah, because of His will and His absolute power. Such as the miracles during the time of all prophets and karamat by the followers of prophet Mohammad(SAW)

 It is true that there is no change in the creation of natural laws, even Allah will not interfere them but man has been given the authority to change his or her situation in life by using his capacity, intellect, knowledge and strife and the final fruits of the strife will be given by Allah (SAW).


 The main characteristic of sunnatullah are the following ;


 The practice of Allah whether in terms of punishment or reward is constant and does not change. It is not influenced by the factor of time or condition. Allah says;

 “Such was the practice approved of Allah among those who lived a foretime, no change will you find in the practice of Allah”(33: 62)

 “(Such has been) the practice (approved) of Allah already in the past: no change wilt thou find in the practice (approved) of Allah.” (48: 23)

 FIXED (La Tataghayyar)

 Allah’s law is fixed and his ways of dealing with those who disbelief and belay on prophets are the same in all ages.

 Allah’s will cannot be turned away by any cause whatever. Because if sunnatullah is not fixed or can be deviated or redirected there will be injustice whereas Allah never commit injustice

 “On account of their arrogance in the land and their plotting of Evil. But the plotting of Evil will hem in only the authors thereof. Now are they but looking for the way the ancients were dealt with? But no change wilt thou find in Allah's way (of dealing): no turning off wilt thou find in Allah's way (of dealing).” (35: 43)


 Nothing can stop sunnatullah of being effectively carried out. Allah says;

 “But their professing the Faith when they (actually) saw Our Punishment was not going to profit them. (Such has been) Allah's way of dealing with His servants (from the most ancient times). And even thus did the rejecters of Allah perish (utterly)!”(40: 85)

 The people of A’d, Thamud, and the Pharaoh, Quraish with all power and wealth they had could not stop sunnatullah.


 Sunnatullah is the punishment of Al- Mukadhibin ( المكذبين ) believers of prophets, the arrogant and corrupters etc.

 “Do they not travel throughout the earth and see what was the end of those before them. They were more numerous than those and superior in strength and the traces in the land”(40: 82)

 Sunnatullah is assisting the prophets and servants.

 “They then sought to harm and plot against him but We made them the ones most humiliated “(37: 98)


 Nature is Allah’s creation, which function according to the laws and patterns of Allah.

 All components of nature such as earth, trees plants, heavens, mountain, seas and oceans etc are governed by sunnatullah.

 Scientist and scholars usually were hard to understand and discover the laws or patterns of nature and natural resources in their life and make sure of nature and natural resources in their industry, technology and scientific advancement. Allah invites people to think about it;

 “Do they not look at the sky above them how We have made it and there are no flaws in it. And the earth We have spread it out and set thereon mountains standing firm and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs)” (50: 6-7)


 The laws of Allah govern also men and society because they are Allah’s creatures like any other natural creature.

 Mankind’s life and all his activities; economic, political, cultural, etc. are subjugated to the patters of Allah.

 Social scientist like sociologist, historians, philosophers have always been attempting to discover the laws governing men’s behaviour and practice in order to develop human life and plan for a good life.

 Sunnatullah in man and society opens our minds and make us think objectively, wisely about anything we want to do.

 It helps us understand the past and present. It helps us understand our social atmosphere and everything around us.

 It also helps us to learn lessons from what happen to previous nations and generations and predict our future and take the appropriate measures and precautions.

Purposes and Implication of Sunnatullah

1. Human beings should observe natural beauty and discover the reality and the truth, the power and the glory of Allah. Allah has created every thing and assigned to it its measure, role, purpose and destiny for human understanding and uses. The Quran says:

 “Allah created every thing and assigned to its qadar, destiny, role and purpose” (25:2, 87:3)

In another verse, “We have not created heavens and earth and all that stands between them in sport”

 ‘Allah did not create the world in vain but for purpose, namely man may do the good works’ (11:7, 67:2 and 18:7)

 2. To Prove the existence of Allah through His created laws or natural laws

 3. All prophets came to realize the existence of Allah and His power through natural laws. For instance Prophet Ibrahim, prophet Musa etc. The Quran says:

 “When Moses came to the place appointed by us, and his Lord addressed him. He said: O my Lord, Show thyself to me, that I may look upon you. Allah said: By no means you can see Me directly, but look upon the mountain, if it abide in its place, then you shall see me. When his Lord manifested His glory on the mountain.

 He made it s dust, and Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said:

 Glory be to you, to you I return in repentance. I am the first to believe” (7:143)

 -Prophet Moses observed and saw the true status of Allah and realized the distance between our grosser bodily senses and the true splendor of Allah’s glory.

 -He could not see Allah through his physical eyes but he fell down in a swoon

 -he realized the mysteries and hidden power of Allah.

 In another quranic verse,
 The dialogue between llah and prophet Ibrahim about Allah’s power over life and death.

 4. To develop and understand Allah’s mysteries and spiritual dimension of human life through the natural process and uniformity of the laws of the physical world (6:75-76) the Quran says:

 “We did show Ibrahim the power and the laws of the heavens and the earth, that he might with understanding have certitude” (6:75-76

 -to lead and cultivate the collective life of humanity through the gradual process of the creation of human beings because the process of human creation is one of signs of Allah’s power when he is in mother’s womb

 -Allah created his partner with love, affection, atmosphere and mercy

 -He made different colors, different faces, voices and different patterns and structures of his body

 -He created day for him for earning human subsistence and night for taking rest

 -He created male or female according to His will in the mother’s womb as a consequences of the wonderful mystery of sex, in the mother’s womb there are three veils of darkness (30:21)

 -Ears, sights, intelligence, hearts and understanding are created by His command.

 Allah breathes the spirit of man from Him into the body of man (38:72, 23:12)

 -The continuous process of human physical growth, i.e. child is born, he grows, he decays and he dies.

 5. The universe, the earth and its contents were made subservient to man(14:33-34)

 -Every thing in this world visible and invisible is subservient to man by Allah to be utilized by human beings in accordance with His laws

 -Allah has created the universe in purpose of providing all facilities and fulfilling all necessities to mankind

 -Every creature has his own role and it gives us thousands of benefits

 -Man is the best creature in the best form who will survive to get the pleasure of Allah by utilizing all facilities provided by Allah according to His measured laws

 -Man can also make dwelling and tents from the wool of sheep, the hair of goats and the soft hair of camels.

 6. To understand the sunnatullah through the understanding of human life, human intellect, human analogy, human heart and human thought.

 See also :
 Pondering on the Signs of God
By Harun Yahya (Required reading)

 SIGNS OF GOD - Design in Nature
By Harun Yahya (Required reading)

 Islam and the Nature of the Universe
By Nehal El-Hadi (Required reading)

 Teachings and Reflections of Qur'an and Sunnah About Science, Engineering, Technology and Management
By Abdul Rashid Shaikh (Recommended reading)

 Wassalam

note: previously I have attached this topic in the title of Sunnatullah (UNGS2030)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Human and Nature in Sunnatullah


Mohyuddin Hashimi

Physical and biological nature of man is, although, not the main concern of the Holy Qur’an, it does provide significant insight about man and his nature. A brief description of Islamic thought on the subject is mentioned below:
Islam does not presuppose any inherent wickedness of human nature. Any negative representation of man’s basic nature as a source of evil and wickedness is clearly rejected. According to Islam, the human being is born in the state of fitrah, the original inherent nature of the human being. At birth, the baby is totally innocent and is not responsible for the sin of his parents or any of his ancestors. Environmental and other external influences keep on modifying his blueprint. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Every child is created in the state of fitrah, it is the parents, culture, and society that make him a Christian, a Jew, or a fire-worshipper.”
Islam is the first religion to declare man as the most superior of the creatures and the masterpiece of the Creator. According to Islam, man is potentially capable of rising higher than the angels, that is why Allah has commanded angels to bow down before Adam. But, at the same time, he is equally capable of sinking lower than the animals. The Holy Qur’an says:
"We have indeed created man in the best shap, then We reduced him (to be) the lowest of the low, except those who believe and do righteous deeds: for they shall have a reward unfailing." (95:4¬6)
These verses indicate that Allah has given man the purest and best nature while man’s duty is to preserve the pattern on which God has made him. However, when he neglects his duty and goes in the wrong way, he will be reduced to the lowest possible position.
The Holy Qur’an asserts that inclination and attraction towards faith and virtue and repulsion from disobedience and corruption exists in man’s nature.
“But God has endeared to you faith and has beautified it in your hearts and has made disbelief and lewdness and rebellion hateful to you.” (49:7)
To sum up the point, man comes into the world with a pure and wholesome nature. Whereas sin and corruption in human being are merely accidental and violation of his original nature. The role of prophets and the scriptures is just to help human nature to flow in its true channel and to guide human nature to its ultimate goal of eternal felicity. This Qur’anic theory of human nature also implies the fact that if man consciously decides to submit himself to the will of Allah, he experiences no conflict in his personality. (10:62) while, on the other hand, if he misuses his freedom of choice by denying God and not submitting to His will, would be in a state of inner conflict and his personality gets disintegrated.
Man has been given the freedom of choice to do good or evil. This freewill gives him independence of intention, choice and action in various situations of moral conflict. Man is the only creature in this universe who has been given choice and discretion which accompany him through his life span. (The Qur’an, 15:36)
Man has also been granted potentialities to acquire knowledge of how everything else in the universe functions as well as the knowledge required for his felicity. (al-Qur’an, 2:33). This knowledge along with the faculty of reason and intellect, are man’s primary guide that distinguishes him from other animals and help him recognize the path of his ultimate felicity.
Man’s hopes are often related to various comforts and joys of physical and worldly kind while Islam does not deprive him of these. Islam, however, redirects him from false and transitory joys and values to real values and everlasting joys. The Holy Qur’an says:
“This life of the world is just a pastime and a game. And, indeed, the home of the Hereafter is the real life, if they know.” (29:64)
Since the topic of human nature and personality development is the central issue in the sufi thought, it would be unfair to avoid mentioning their views in this regard. According to the Sufi theory, man is the microcosm and a copy made in the image of God. Since man cannot know what is not in him, he could not know God and all the mysteries of the universe unless he founds them in himself. So God-consciousness and self-consciousness are interdependent and a true knowledge of one’s own self necessarily leads to the knowledge of God. According to Ibn Arabi, God’s breathing of His spirit into man, as described by the Holy Qur’an, (15:28-29) is of immense metaphysical significance. He believes that man is the perfect manifestation of divine attributes and names. (Nasr, Sayyed Hossain. (1988). Three Muslim Sages. Lahore: Sohail Academy.) He also refers to the saying of the Prophet (PBUH): “God created Adam in His form.” This conception of human nature reveals that man is inherited with unlimited capacity of development and perfection.
After mentioning the position of human nature in its basic and the pure form, it is necessary to point out how man’s nature gets corrupted.
The Unrefined Human Nature
Although man has been created with a natural tendency towards the righteousness, he (excluding the prophets) cannot be free from all sins and mistakes since his declared enemy, Satan, tries to divert his attention by all possible ways and means. He always encourages man to satisfy his urges and desires in an uncontrolled way, like animals, and to become submissive and a slave to these urges. Therefore, the human instinctive tendencies, unless refined and trained, could easily overwhelm any humanely cultivated qualities conducive to spiritual enhancement. This is because the uncontrolled and unrefined urges within him would weaken and subjugate the forces of reason and conscience.
Describing some aspects of the unrefined human nature, the Holy Qur’an says:
“Surely man was created anxious, fretful when evil visits him, and grudging when (some thing) good visits him, except the worshippers.” (70:19-21)
In another surah it says:
“As for man, whenever his Lord tries him by honouring and blessing him, he says: ‘My Lord has honoured me.’ But whenever he tries him by straitening his provision, he says: ‘My Lord has humiliated me.’ (89:15-16)
The Qur’an explains another weakness in human nature which impedes self development, is the weakness of will. While narrating the story of Adam, Allah informs:
And, indeed, long ago We made Our covenant with Adam; but he forgot and We found no firmness of purpose in him. ( 20:115]
God tells us in the Qur’an that the most honorable trust, that of knowledge of Allah the all Mighty, was offered to the heavens, the earth and the mountains but they refused it, recognizing that they could not take up such a weighty truth (33:72). Mankind, however, took it on, but since weakness and forgetfulness are part of the spectrum of human being, he sees himself at all times and forgets his source. This weakness which Allah has placed within human being is to make him remember Him who is Strong (al-Qawi).
Today it has been established, scientifically as well as philosophically that there does not exist an evil human being; there exist only sick human being. This is extremely a significant discovery in the history of humankind which has already been introduced by Islam. According to this theory, bad manners like injustice, stinginess, cunning, jealousy, greed, ingratitude and so on are considered as spiritual illness and should be treated exactly like any other disease. The Holy Qur’an considers the hypocrites as sick persons saying:
There is a sickness in their hearts. (2:10)
This Qur’anic theory requires people not to consider any one as evil person or show any hostility or resentment towards them. Instead, they should look upon them as sick human beings who deserve their sympathy.
The Components of Human Nature
While speaking about the nature of man, Qur’an uses words like nafs, ruh, Qalb etc. Spirit is transcendent and the center of man’s being. Whereas soul (nafs), in its downward or corporeal tendency, is attached to the body and in its upward or spiritual tendency, is attached to the spirit (al-ruh).
In order to understand the Islamic concept of human psyche and nature, one must understand these terms and their relationship to each other. These basic terms are explained here.
Nafs and its levels :
Nafs (pl. Anfus or Nufus) lexically means soul, the psyche, the ego, self, life, person, heart or mind. Tajul Uroos writes that this word is used normally to denote the total personality of a person. It also means knowledge and intellect. (Taj: Ibn-i-Faris). It is used for a person as well. It is further used to express greatness, superiority, courage, resolution, and punishment. (Taj and Lisanul Arab).
The term Nafs has different uses in the Holy Qur’an as well, and in most cases, it means the human being in reality, his self and his person. (see 3: 61; 12:54) It also means the human soul (see 6:93; 50:16 etc.)
The nafs is a basic element in the cosmology of existence. Al-Ghazali mentions the two dimensions of al-nafs: the upward dimension and the downward dimension. The upward dimension is the uppermost limit of psyche which connects it the spirit, whereas the downward dimension is represented by the sensory faculties which connect it to the body.
According to the Sufi understanding, nafs is the source the negative power of anger and sexual appetite in a human being which blinds his intellect. Sufis take "nafs" as the comprehensive word for all the evil attributes of a person. That is why they emphasize on doing battle with it and to break and inactivate it as it is referred to in the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH):
“Your worst enemy is your nafs which lies between your sides.”
The nafs needs to be nourished and developed in the Divine guidance. The nafs starts its career in an undeveloped form but equipped with immense potentialities of corruption as well as the development and getting closer to the Most Perfect Self, Allah (SWT), Whose attributes serve as an objective standard for the human self.
Although some scholars have classified the Nafs up to 7 stages, the Qur’an has described 3 main types of nafs which are:
Nafs ammarah bi al-su’, (the self urging evil)
This nafs surrenders itself to lusts and allows itself to be seduced by the devil. This is the raw self of an untrained person. Al-Nafs al-Ammarah has Shaytan as its ally who falsely promises him great rewards and gains and always invites him and attracts the soul to do evil. He presents falsehood to him in a form that he accepts and admires it.
By its very nature, Al-Nafs al-Ammarah directs its owner towards every wrong action. Allah says:
“Surely the human self urges evil.” (12:53)
Al-Nafs al-Ammara paralyzes the cognitive process of human being. Describing this fatal effect of Al-Nafs al-Ammarah, the Holy Qur’an says:
“They have hearts wherewith they do not understand; have eyes wherewith they do not see; have ears wherewith they do not hear. These are like cattle – no, but they are worse! These are the neglectful.” (7-179)
Al-Ghazali has mentioned the following negative tendencies of this nafs naming tem with ‘spiritual diseases’:
1- Nifaq (hypocrisy)
2- Pride and arrogance
3- Hawa or desire
4- Self-beholding
5- Greediness
6- Negligence
7- Restlessness
8- Ri’a
These are the most harmful tendencies of al-nafs and greatest barriers to the growth of man. When these dominate the self, man loses his insight and his total energies are diverted towards unnecessary activities. As a result, he starts believing deception as truth, fiction as reality and self-glorification as his highest goal in life.
Nafs al-lawwama, (the blaming self)
The second level of nafs is nafs al-lawwama, the blameworthy self which blames its owner for his own shortcomings. At this level, nafs is in a state of constant awareness, self-observation and self-criticism. It recognises his shortcomings, his wrong actions, his disobedience and the neglect of his duties. It is referred to it in Sura Al¬-Qiyamah when Allah says:
"And I do call to witness the Nafs that blames" (75:2).
Nafs al-lawwama is the one which cannot rest in one state. It often changes and alters, remembers and forgets, submits and withdraws, loves and hates, rejoices and becomes sad, accepts and rejects, obeys and rebels. Actually nafs, at this stage, is in the mid of its journey towards its growth and perfection.
Nafs al-mutma’inna, (the Self at Peace)
Nafs al-mutma’inna is the third and the highest stage of nafs. A person when advanced to this stage, he achieves full rest and satisfaction while his personality gets equipped with the qualities of quietness, mildness, tolerance, forgiveness, and understanding of all beings. This stage of nafs ultimately leads to resolution of one’s inner conflicts and attainment of harmony with God. His personality is now dyed with His universal Colour while his behavior reflects the Absolute being and the Ultimate Reality. (Haq, Manzurul. (1984). Concept of personality development in the light of Islamic thoughts. The Bangladesh journal of Psychology, 7, 118-128.) (An abridged quotation)
This is the soul to whom it is said at the time of death:
“O soul at peace, return to your Lord, well pleased and well-pleasing. Enter with My servants, enter into My Garden.” (89:27-30)
Al-Qatadah says abut this stage of nafs: "It is the soul of the believer, made calm by what Allah has promised. Its owner is at rest and content with his knowledge of Allah’s Names and Attributes, and with what He has said about Himself and His Messenger (PBUH), and with what He has said about the Hereafter…. So much so that a believer can almost see them with his own eyes. So he submits to the will of Allah and surrenders to Him contentedly, never dissatisfied or complaining, and with his faith never wavering. He does not rejoice at his gains, nor do his sufferings make him despair." (Al-Tabari: Jami’ al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 13, Bulaq 1323)
Muslim theologians are divided on the issue that whether the terms “nafs” and “ruh” signify one and the same thing or are they two different entities and whether they are interchangeable?” (Ibn Al-Ālusi’s Jala’ al-‘Aynayn, pp. 142-143) Although these terms may be used interchangeably in relation to their essence, each one has clearly separate and restricted applications in certain contexts.
While the ruh spans the entire spectrum of existence - the seen as well as the unseen - the nafs is restricted to only that which may be experienced in the creational world. We may speak of the nafs as being greedy or unjust in some situations only because the light of the ruh highlights these qualities within the nafs. Indeed the nafs only exists because of the ruh which energizes it.
Ruh or spirit is the core of man’s being, yet it remains hidden. During human life on earth, the spirit and the body are united but then there is a temporary separation during death with the final union to take place in the life thereafter.
According to Muslim scholars, Ruh is the reflection of the Divine presence in man. The Holy Qur’an declares that Allah (SWT) has blown His spirit into human body:
“When I have made him and have breathed into him of My spirit, (I ordered the angles to) bow down, prostrating yourself before him. (15:29 also see 38:72 and 32:8)
The status of being the recipient of Divine spirit elevated man from his humble origin, enabled him to overcome the baser part of his nature, and made him worthy of being the vicegerent of God.
Since human body is from the earth while the spirit is from the heaven and Divine, it always longs to be united with Whom it was separated from. It is stated in Qur’an “to God we belong, to Him is our return.”
Rumi says in his book, Masnavi that the reason why a child cries the first moment after it is born on earth is because it realizes its exile from the higher place. It is unhappy because it seems captive in this worldly body. Explaining the idea of the captivity of the spirit, Rumi narrates a Qur’anic story. It says that God made a statue of Adam and asked the Ruh to enter into the body but it refused saying, ‘Lord, I do not want to be imprisoned in this physical body’. Then God told the angels to sing and dance, and on hearing their song and with the rhythm of the dance the soul went into delight, and in that condition it entered the body. Rumi says that the reason why every soul is longing to attain something is that it is in exile and a captive in this physical body.
Due to the captivity of the spirit and limitation of his physical body, man’s vision remains small and narrow. Man’s innermost being can not be satisfied except for a short time by outside factors. There always comes a time when every one finds that nothing pleases him even if he possesses all what he wants. His lack of freedom causes a continual longing for spiritual achievements. And when man reaches the stage of spiritual attainment and gets closer to its origin, he gets inner satisfaction, he develops the outlook of God and his manners become the manners of God.
The qalb (heart) is an immaterial and formless spiritual entity or basic subtle element which has got connection with the material heart. The qalb has the capacities to acquire comprehensive intuition, to retain real knowledge, the gnosis (ma’rifa) of God and the Divine mysteries, (‘ilm al-batin) and to gain far greater insight than that of human intellect. The Qur’an considers al-Qalb as the seat of wisdom and intellect. It says:
“Do they not travel trough the land, so that their hearts may learn wisdom and their ears may learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes, rather it is their hearts which are in their chests are blind.” (22:46)
The qalb is nourished by dhikr (remembrance of God). Its health also depends on its purity and freedom. It is the organ of a perception which is both an experience and a taste (dhawq). Al-qalb is also the master of human body which controls its organic and physical functions. All external behavioral acts of man are actually the reflection of states and conditions of al-qalb.
According to a Hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) the heart is owned mutually by an angel and a shaytan:
"There are two impulses in the soul, one from an angel which calls towards good and confirms truth; whoever finds this let him know it is from God and praise Him. Another impulse comes from the enemy which leads to doubt and denies truth and forbids good; whoever finds this, let him seek refuge in God from the accursed devil." Then he recited the verse: "The devil shows you fear of poverty and enjoins evil upon you" (2:268) (Sahih Tirmidhi)
The mutual resistance of the angels and the devils remains constant in the battle over the qalb, until it is conquered by one of the two.
The same position of al-qalb and its relationship with al-ruh and al-nafs has been interestingly explained by Maulana Thanwi:
“The spirit (al-ruh) and the soul (al-nafs) engage in the battle for the possession of their common son, the heart (al-qalb). This is a symbolical way of expressing the nature of the spirit, which is masculine and the nature of soul, which is feminine.” (Thanvi, Ashraf Ali, al-sihhat hukm al-waswasah, (Deoband 1365 A.H.), 225)
According to another writer, if the spirit wins the battle, the heart will be transformed into spirit and, at the same time, transmutes its soul, engulfing her with spiritual light. Then the heart reveals itself; it becomes the lamp (mishkat) of Divine Mystery (sirr) in man. (T. Burckhardt, An introduction to Sufi Doctrine, trans. D. M. Matheson (Lahore: M. Ashraf, 1983) 27.)
The Healthy Heart
It is a heart purified from any passion that challenges Allah’s commands and safeguarded against the worship of anything other than Him. It seeks the judgement of no one other than him and His Messenger. Its services are exclusively reserved for Allah, willingly and lovingly, with total reliance, relating all matters to Him, in fear, hope and sincere dedication. When it loves, its love is for the sake of Allah. If it hates, its hate is for the sake of Allah. When it gives, it gives for Allah. If it withholds, it withholds for Allah (SWT). The Holy Qur’an uses adjectives such as ‘healthy’, ‘wholesome’ ‘contented’ and so on to describe this kind of heart.
Allah (SWT) has declared that on the Day of Resurrection, only those would be saved who come with a healthy heart:
"The day on which neither wealth nor sons will be of any use, except for whoever brings to Allah a sound heart. (26:88-89)"
According to an authentic saying of the Holy Prophet (PBUH):
“Inside the human body there is a piece of flesh which, if it is healthy, the whole body is healthy and if it becomes unhealthy, the whole body gets unhealthy. That is al-qalb.” (Sahih Bukhari)
The heart can not be healthy i.e. successful, righteous, contented, pleased, assured except by the worship of Allah, love of Him and repentance to Him as it has an inherent need for its Lord. According to the Holy Qur’an, the heart will remain restless until it rests in God:
“For sure it is in the remembrance of God that the heart finds rest,” (13:28)
The Dead Heart
The dead or sealed heart is that which is veiled from higher inspiration for example the hearts of the hypocrites. There is little or nothing one can do to heal such hearts. This is the opposite of the healthy heart. It does not know its Lord and does not worship Him. It clings instead to its lusts and desires, even if these are likely to incur Allah’s displeasure and anger. It worships things other than Allah, and its loves and its hatreds, its giving and its withholding, arise from its whims, which are of paramount importance to it.
The Sick Heart
A large number of Qur’anic verses describe the ‘sick’ heart. The sick hearts are those that find whatever they do, attractive to them. These hearts dislike what turns them away from the course they are on. They are wrapped up in fantasies, they are contemptuous, and they follow routines and old patterns, doing ‘what their forefathers practiced’. The sick heart is also proud and hardened. It lacks real understanding because it is engulfed in desire.
This is a heart with life as well as illness in it. It has love for Allah, faith in Him, sincerity towards Him, and reliance upon Him. These are the qualities that give it life. It also has longing for lust and pleasure; it prefers them and strives to experience them. It is full of self-admiration, which can lead to its own destruction. It listens to two callers: one calling it to Allah and His Prophet; and the other calling it to the momentary pleasures. It responds to whichever one of the two happens to have most influence over it at the time.
A Hadith of the Holy Prophet explain the process of heart getting sickness. It is as follows:
“When a believer commits a sin, a dark spot appears on his heart. If he repents and seeks forgiveness (of Allah), his heart becomes spotless again. But if he persists in sin, the dark spot increases. This is the spot that has been mentioned in the Qur’an: “But on their hearts is the stain of (the ill) which they do.” (83:14) (Ibn Majah)
Other Ahadith mention that if the sinner does not repent, and instead keeps on committing sins, the stain on his heart increases and gets more darkened until it overwhelms the whole heart. Ultimately, the heart of sinner is sealed and he becomes spiritually dead.
For the purpose of simplification, nafs can be thought of as the outer man, ruh as the inner man, and qalb, the composite faculties of reasoning and decision-making, and a bridge between the two.
Man, being the vicegerent of God on earth and the theater wherein the Divine qualities are reflected, can reach felicity only by remaining faithful to his nature or by being truly himself. And this in turn implies that he must become integrated. Man is composed of body, mind, nafs and spirit, and each needs to be integrated on its own level. The integration of man, according to Syyed Hossain Nasr, (Sufi Essays, 51) means the realization of the One and the transmutation of the many in the light of the One. Integration and unity of man himself as well as of the whole humanity has always been the highest goal of Islam. It is also an essential part of basic Islamic belief of Tawhid. The same concept has been highlighted by a sufi poet as:
“See but One, say but One, know but One,
In this, the roots and branches of faith are summed up.”

(source :