Strengthening of the Faith


  • bookcover

  • Strengthening of the Faith


  • Chapter Five

    The Negation of Shirk in Authority

     

    Allah says:

     

    {Say: In Whose Hand is the sovereignty of everything (i.e. treasures of each and everything)? And He protects (all), while against Whom there is no protector, (i.e. if Allah saves anyone none can punish or harm him, and if Allah punishes or harms anyone none can save him), if you know. They will say: '(All that belongs) to Allah.' Say: How then are you deceived and turn away from the truth?}(V.23:88, 89)

     

    It means that even if a Mushrik (polytheist) is questioned as to who is the one who has an absolute authority and command to conduct and dispose off the worldly affairs in whatever way he pleases and there is none who could deter or circumvent Him, they will say that it is verily Allah the Almighty. As long as this is the ultimate truth, isn't it a lunacy to entreat other entities (other than Allah) and request them for the fulfillment of ones desires! We must also bear in mind that even during the era of the Prophet {Peace be upon Him}, there were people who believed that there is no counterpart of Allah and there is none who could equal Him but they still worshipped idols considering them as their intercessors and asked them for the fulfillment of their wishes, and hence became Mushrik (polytheists). Even today, if someone believes that any other entity (other than Allah) exercises it's authority in disposing off the worldly affairs and worships it as his intercessor, he will become a Mushrik even though he does not regard it to be as Allah's equal in the matter of withstanding His Might.

    Allah is the One Who causes benefit and inflicts harm:

    Allah the Almighty says:

     

    {Say: 'It is not my power to cause you harm, or bring you to the Right Path.' Say (O Muhammad {Peace be upon Him}: “None can protect me from Allah's punishment (if I were to disobey Him), nor should I find refuge except in Him.”}(V.72:21, 22)

     

    It means that the matters which are either beneficial to you or are detrimental to your interests are beyond my (the Prophet's) control. You must not exceed the limits and become proud by harboring a fallacy that as you are my followers, you have a strong base and you enjoy the privilege of having a strong advocate and a beloved intercessor, you are free to do according to the dictates of your whims and I will eventually save you from the perdition of Allah. But the case is that I myself happen to be at His mercy and see no refuge except with Him Alone, how could I save others from punishment. It thus becomes clear that the ones who forget Allah by banking on the religious preceptors and thereby defying His Instructions, have indeed strayed from the Right Path, because the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} used to fear Allah day and night and could see his refuge with none but Allah. Since the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} was himself meticulously observant about these matters, how could any so ­and-so may even think of the possibility of being exonerated from punishment despite committing sinful acts.

     

    None is the sustainer except Allah:

     Allah the Exalted says:

     

    {And they worship others besides Allah, -such as do not and cannot own any provision for them from the heavens or the earth.}(V.16:73)

     

    It means that the people accord them such a respect and honor as deserved by Allah only, even though they have nothing to do with providing them any livelihood. Neither can they induce rain nor can they grow anything from the earth. They are devoid of any capability whatsoever. It is amazing to notice a popular fallacy among the masses that the sages, even though possessing a capability of exercising authority in the day-to-day worldly matters, they do not interfere in these matters out of a sense of respectfulness, and are contented with the Divine destiny. Otherwise, they can make the whole universe upside down if they so wish, but thinking of the enormity of evil and a havoc which could be wrought by such an action, they keep mum and maintain their composure. This idea is absolutely incorrect. They are not capable of doing that either in terms of action or power. In other words, they do not possess any capability and power to exercise such kind of authority.

    Invoke none but Allah:

    Allah the Almighty says:

     

    {And invoke not besides Allah, any that will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong­ doers)} (V.10:106)

     

    It means that in the presence of Allah, who is the Lord of all the majesty, honor and magnificence, calling upon such incapacitated entities who can neither profit nor hurt anyone is truly a wrongful act for the simple reason that a position of honor, which is the prerogative of the greatest only, is being given to the riffraff among the people who are not worth their salt.

    Allah says:

     

    {Say: (O Muhammad {Peace be upon Him} to those polytheists, pagans, etc.) “Call upon those whom you assert (to be associate gods) besides Allah, they possess not even the weight of an atom (or a small ant), -either in the heavens or on the earth, nor have they any share in either, nor there is for Him any supporter from among them.' Intercession with Him profits not, except for him whom He permits.[1] Until when fear is banished from their (angels') hearts, they (angels) say: 'What is that your Lord has said?' They say: 'The truth.' And He is the Most High, the Most Great.}(V.34:22,23)

     

    No intercession without His Permission:

    There are several forms involved in asking someone for the fulfillment of one's desires in distress situations and getting the same fulfilled by him. It could be that the person so requested is himself the master, or a partner of the master, or has influence upon the master himself, as a king may concede to the opinions of his deputies (in their capacity of being the pillars of the empire) as making them displeased jeopardizes the administration of the government, or a situation wherein a person happens to intercede with his master for someone which the master dares not refuse and willy-nilly becomes obliged to accord his approval, like the princesses or the queens whose love is cherished by a king and as such can not reject an intercession made by them out of their love.

    Now, let us think about the polytheists who despite Allah, call upon the saints and ask them to fulfill their wishes. These saints do not even own a pittance in the universe nor they have a wee bit of share in it. They are neither the pillars of the Divine empire nor are they assistants and helpers to Allah the Almighty so that Allah succumbs to their pressurization and concedes to whatever they say. They can not even utter a word in regard to someone's intercession without the permission of Allah Himself and may acquire nothing for anyone. Once they happen to be in the presence of Allah and hear His Commandment, they become so much awe-inspired and instilled with fear that they almost lose their senses. They do not even dare speak to Allah to reconfirm His Statement out of respect and being overpowered by fright, but they ask each other as to what their Lord has said, and once they confirm it, they will have to believe it and testify to it and hence the question of daring to make an intercession or playing an advocate on someone else's behalf does not arise.

    Types of intercession:

    The most important thing which we must bear in mind is that the masses take pride in the intercession (which they believe shall) to be made by the Prophets and saints for them on the Day of Judgment. They have forgotten Allah by having misunderstood the meaning of Shafa'ah. In fact Shafa'ah means 'interceding with someone on someone else's behalf'. In this world, there are many forms of making an intercession. For example, a felony of theft committed by a thief becomes proven in the sight of a king and a deputy or a minister mediates with the king and saves him from punishment which he has incurred due to crime. In this situation, the king did intend to punish the miscreant in accordance with the law of the country, but as long as the king honors the minister's word, he acquits the thief and lets him go unpunished. The king does so because the minister is one of the pillars on which his whole kingdom is based upon and he does not want make the minister displeased lest his displeasure should jeopardize the organizational machinery of the government. Taking all these matters into his consideration, the king thus suppresses his anger and forgives the thief. This type of intercession is known as Shafa'at-e-Wajahat which means that the request of the minister has been granted due to his honor and high-ranking status.

    An intercession due to one's high-ranking status is not possible:

    An intercession by someone, enjoying a high-ranking status and the one who is dear and near to Allah, is utterly impossible. A person who recognizes an entity (other than Allah) to be such kind of mediator, is definitely a polytheist and undoubtedly an ignorant person. He has not understood the meaning of llah (God) and has not appreciated the status of the King of kings at all. Allah's Status is so Great and Exalted that if He so wishes, He may bring into existence millions of Prophets, saints, jinns, angels, and entities equal to Gabriel and Prophet Muhammad {Peace be upon Him} in terms of status, merely by uttering a word "Be," He can decimate all the universe including heavens and earth within a blinking of an eye and create a different world. Everything comes into existence merely by His Will and He does not require matter and substance to create things. If all the human beings and jinns right from the era of Adam {Peace be upon Him}  and until the Doomsday, altogether become like Gabriel and Prophets (in terms of piety and virtuosity), it will not add up an iota in the grandeur of Allah's empire and if all of them turn into devils and antichrists (in terms of disobedience and vices), there shall still be no reduction in the magnificence of His empire. In any case, He will still continue to be the Greatest of all and the King of all kings. No one can either harm Him or benefit Him.

    There is also a Hadith to this end which says:

     

    "O my slaves! In case all among you (the jinns and humans) who have passed away and the ones who shall be born in future in unison become like the one who is the most pious among you all, you must remember that it will add up nothing in my empire. Similarly, if you collectively (including the ones who have passed away as well as the oncoming generations) become vice-ridden and sinners like the one worst among you all, it shall effect no reduction at all in my kingdom."

     

    Acceptance of one's intercession out of love is not possible:

    Another type of interceding is that a prince, a queen or a beloved of the king comes forward and does not let the king punish a thief. The king, out of his love for the person in question, does not wish to make him displeased and therefore, grants a pardon to the thief. This kind of intercession is known as an acceptance of intercession granted out of love for the person concerned. The king, being driven by the love of the concerned person, takes into account the fact that invoking a beloved's displeasure shall in turn inflict pain on himself and hence he concedes to the request of his beloved. This kind of occurrence in the court of Allah the Almighty is impossible. If someone reckons a prophet or a saint to be this kind of intercessor, he also is a pure polytheist and an utterly ignorant person. Allah, the King of kings, may reward his slaves by honoring them in whatever manner He pleases, may confer grand titles on them like Habib (the beloved), Khalil (the friend), Kalim (conversant), Ruhullah (Allah's spirit) and Wajih (the good-looking). Likewise He may bestow on His slaves such titles of honor as Rasul Karim (a kind messenger), Makin (the high rank). Ruhul-Quds (the holy spirit) and Ruhul-Amin (the honest spirit). But it should be in mind that a master is after all, a master and a slave is after all a slave. (They are poles apart). Each one has a specified limit. As a slave becomes enraptured in pondering over the bliss of His mercy, he also becomes overwhelmed with a feeling of fright when he happens to think about His overpowering greatness.

    Interceding with permission:

    The third kind of intercession implies the situation wherein a thief indeed is found guilty of theft but he has not committed it by way of profession but he has unfortunately slipped into it (being a victim of circumstances). Out of a feeling of guilt, this person now feels extremely remorseful, his head lowered downward, constantly being gnawed by the fear of punishment. Paying due respect to the law of the land, he considers himself to be vice-ridden, a perpetrator of sin and thus eligible for punishment.

    He does not flee the king and does not request a courtier or a minister to intercede with the king for his amnesty. He seeks no one's support other than the king himself. He only pins his hopes to His Majesty day in and day out and is awaiting the pronouncement of a judgment in regard to the delinquency. The king, taking pity on his deplorable condition, intends to connive at his delinquency but also wants to uphold the law of the country lest it should be looked down upon by the people. Now, a governor or a minister, after getting a wink from the king, comes forward to intercede on his behalf. So the king grants a pardon to the thief apparently on the plea that so long as the governor has himself interceded for him, he has to honor it. The governor did not intercede for the thief because he was either his relative, friend or one of his acquaintances or he took the responsibility of defending him, but it was simply due to the fact that the king willingly instructed him to do so. Obviously, he is a governor appointed by the king and not a supporter of the thief (and hence he will not undertake an action of this kind without a nod of approval from the king), as the one who favors a thief is himself a thief. This type of intercession is known as "an intercession with permission" (mediation with the permission and willingness of the master himself). This kind of intercession only shall prevail in the court of Allah the Almighty. An intercession by a Prophet or a saint which is mentioned in the Noble Qur'an is none other than this type of intercession.

     

    The Straight Path:

    It is obligatory on every human being to call upon none but Allah Alone, must fear Him all the time and keep seeking His forgiveness from sins regularly. One must confess to having committed sins before Him Alone and consider Him Alone to be one's master and supporter. One should seek refuge in none but Allah and must not depend on anyone's support, as our Lord is All-Forgiver and Most Compassionate. Out of His sheer blessing and mercy, He will obviate all our miseries and forgive all our sins. Whomsoever He wishes, shall appoint as your intercessor on His own instruction. As you entrust Him with the fulfillment of all your needs, so should you entrust Him with the responsibility of assigning anyone as your intercessor whosoever He wishes. Never depend on anyone's support. Call upon Him Alone to lend you support. Never forget the real Master. Appreciate and pay due deference to the rulings of Shari 'ah (Islamic law) and disregard the established social customs and traditions (in case they happen to be in a direct confrontation with the rulings of Shari'ah). Abiding by the social mores by disregarding the injunctions of Shari 'ah is an extremely severe crime.

    All the Prophets and saints are averse to it. They never intercede on behalf of someone who adhere to the social customs and defy the injunctions of Shari'ah. On the contrary, they become opposed to such people and become displeased with them, because their piety only rested on the factor that they accorded every preference to the willingness of Allah. They used to abandon their wives, children, followers, disciples, servants and friends for the sake of Allah and whenever those people used to do anything contrary to the Will of Allah, they turned into their enemies. What goodness of polytheists could attract the people of eminence to be their intercessors with Allah and engage themselves in a heated discussion with Him for their sake? Such a thing is never bound to happen as they (i.e. Prophets and saints) are their enemies. Loving and contradicting people for the sake of Allah only, is the quality they are characterized with. In case Allah does intend to make someone taste the Hell-fire, they shall be only prepared to fell him into the Hell-fire by dealing him a few blows and pushes. They are merely dependent on the Will of Allah and shall irresistibly tilt towards it.

    It is reported by Ibn Abbas {May Allah have mercy on him}:

     

    "One day I was behind the Prophet {Peace be upon Him}.He addressed me and said, 'O boy! Remember Allah and Allah shall remember you. Remember Allah and you shall see Him right before you. Whenever you ask for anything, ask it from Allah and whenever you look for assistance, do it by requesting Allah Alone. Be certain that if all the people collectively agree to do you a benefit, they shall not be able to do more than what Allah has preordained for you and in case they all agree to inflict harm on you, they would not do it more than what Allah has in store for you. The pens have been lifted and the books have gone dry." (Tirmidhi)

     

    It means that Allah the Almighty is truly and justifiably the King of all kings. He is not proud (and haughty) like the kings of the world as they do not pay any heed to the pleadings of any of their subjects due to an empty sense of conceit. It is only due to this reason that if the general people were to ask for anything from the king, they do it through his deputies instead of having a direct audience with the king himself so that their request be granted for their sake, at least.

    But Allah is far above this type of categorization. On the contrary, He is Extremely Beneficent and Most Merciful. In order to attract His attention, no one's mediation is required. He takes care of everyone individually and remembers everyone regardless whether or not someone intercedes for him. He is Pure, Supreme and Far Exalted from the rest. His Court is unlike the courts of the worldly kings wherein the people in general are unable to have an access to the royal court; only the king's deputies themselves exercise their authority on the public and the subjects having no option but to obey their orders. On the contrary, it is the Divine court and Allah is far nearer to His slaves. An ordinary man, who turns to Him and focuses his attention onto Him by the depths of his heart, would find Him near himself. There is no veil between a slave and Allah except (the curtain of) his own negligence.[2]

    Allah is the Nearest to all:

    If someone happens to be away from Allah, it is only due to his own negligence. Otherwise the Rabb is very nearer to all.

    Anyone calling upon a Prophet or a saint with the notion that they shall draw him near Allah, do not understand the fact that a distance however, is wedged between him and a saint or a Prophet, whereas Allah is in fact very very close to him. We can understand it through this example:

    Let us suppose that a slave stands alone in the presence of the king who is all ears to listen to him, but he instead, calls one of the deputies loudly and request him to convey his request to the attention of His Majesty. What do you think of this slave now? Obviously he is either blind or crazy! Everyone must ask Allah Alone and must seek His Help Alone in distress. One must be absolutely certain that whatever has already been written down in one's destiny may not be erased. In case the world to its entirety becomes incumbent on benefiting or harming someone, they can do it no more than what has already been written in his destiny. Thus it becomes abundantly clear that no one has the capability of effecting a change in one's fate. A person who has no children in his destiny, who can bless him with children and the one who has already completed his life-span, who can grant him a lease of life? Therefore, whoever maintains that Allah has empowered His saints to effect a change in someone's destiny is quite incorrect. The fact is that Allah grants His approvals to the invocations of everyone among His slaves sometimes only, whereas He certainly accords His approval to most of the supplications made by the Prophets and saints. He is the One who guides someone to offer supplications to Him and He Himself approves of them. Making a supplication and getting the same approved are both preordained and inscribed in one's fate. Nothing in the world happens outside the sphere and realms of fate and no one, regardless of his big and small status, or whether he is a Prophet or a saint, is capable of doing anything. All one can do is praying to Allah. Now He has the option of either according His approval to it or denying it as a matter of wisdom and precaution.

    Trust in Allah Alone:

    It has been reported by Ibn Majah on the authority of Amr bin Al-Aas {peace be upon him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

     

    “Every human heart has a way (i.e. an option) in every field. The one who lets his heart pursue all the avenues, Allah shall not pay any heed to such a person as to in which avenue he has been destroyed. The one who has a complete trust in Allah, He will suffice him in all the avenues." (Ibn Majah).

     

    It means that whenever a person is entangled in a distress, or stands in need of something, his thoughts wander around in all directions. His mind entertain different ideas, like invoking a certain Prophet, an Imam, a preceptor, a martyr or a fairy. He thinks about consulting an astronomer, a seer, a soothsayer or asking a priest to suggest a way of success for him by casting

    lots etc. Then the one who runs after every thought, Allah becomes impervious to his supplications and does not include him in the list of his sincere and faithful slaves and thus he loses any chance of being directed and led to the Right Path by Allah. Eventually such a person gets destroyed as a result of running after these thoughts. Someone turns into an atheist, someone

    becomes an apostate whereas someone else negates and rejects everything believing in nothing at all. However, the one who trusts in Allah and does not run after any fancy is truly a beloved slave of Allah. The avenues of His directions are open to him and his heart becomes blessed with such a quiet, calmness and bliss as can never be achieved by the ones running after their (fleeting) fancies. Whatever is written in one's destiny is bound to happen but the ones who run after thoughts are constantly plagued with trouble whereas the ones having trust in Allah rest in peace.[3] Do not consider Allah on an equal footing with the worldly kings who do all the major functions by themselves and let their servants perform the menial jobs and hence the people are bound to entreat these servants for the mere trifles. But the management of Allah is a far cry from it. Allah is Omnipotent and within a twinkling of an eye, can ameliorate, treat and rectify innumerable matters. None is a partner in His dominion and sovereignty, none shares His authority; and therefore, no matter how minute and negligible a thing could be, one should demand it directly from Him. No one other than Him can give anything to anyone either big or small.

    Relationship does not benefit:

    It is reported by Abu Hurairah {May Allah have mercy on him} that when the verse "And warn

    your tribe of near kindred" (V.26:214) was revealed, the called his relatives and addressed them in the following manner:

    “O the progeny of Ka'b bin Luwai! Save your selves from (the torment of) the Hell-fire, for I will not help you in rescuing you from the torment of Allah! 0 the progeny of Murrah bin Ka'b! Save your selves from (the torment of) the Hell-fire, for I will not avail you in (the matter of) rescuing you from the torment of Allah! O the progeny of 'Abd Shams! Save your selves from (the torment of) the Hell-fire, for I will not avail you in (the matter of) rescuing you from the torment of Allah! O the progeny of 'Abd Manafl Save your selves from (the torment of) the Hell-fire, for I will not avail you in (the matter of) rescuing you from the torment of Allah! O the progeny of Hashim! Save your selves from (the torment of) the Hell­fire, for I will not avail you in (the matter of) rescuing you from the torment of Allah! 0 the progeny of Abdul Muttalib! Save your selves from (the torment of) the Hell­fire, for I will not avail you in (the matter of) rescuing you from the torment of Allah! O Fatimah! Save your self from the (the torment of) Hell-fire! Take whatever you like to take of my property, because I shall not be able to rescue you from the torment of Allah at all!" (Al-Bukhari -Muslim)

    It means that the ones who happen to be the relatives of a saint, they become confident of their support and therefore become proud and fearless. Therefore, Allah has enjoined upon His beloved Prophet {Peace be upon Him} to warn his relatives regarding this matter accordingly. He (the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} made it conspicuously clear to all, even to his beloved daughter that a relation only may help in matters which lie under one's control and possession. As regards my belongings, those are at my disposal, I can dispense with them without being miserly but as regards the matters concerning Allah, they are far beyond my power and authority, I can neither vouch for anyone nor could I mediate for him. Everyone must gird up his loins to face the Day of Judgment and must think of rescuing himself from the Hell-fire. It thus becomes known to us that being a relative of a pious man and a saint, does not exonerate anyone from the accountability of his deeds towards Allah. As long as a man does not take it upon himself to perform good deeds, it is difficult for him to pull through

    [1] It implies that the intercessor as well the intercessed had been frantically waiting for the approval. Once the approval was granted, they had been asking each other as to what their Lord had said. This is a psychological situation which will overwhelm everybody where they will be asking each other in an amazed stupefaction as to whether or not the permission of their Lord has been granted?

    [2] 'Al-Qadar (Destiny) is another name for the Divine knowledge. No human being can know as to what is written in his own or someone's else's destiny. Therefore, it is the first and last obligation on every human being to strictly observe the Divine injunctions and interdictions (following Allah's Instructions and avoiding things which He forbade), and should look forward to all goodness out of His mercy.

     

    [3] It is reported on the authority of Anas {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet{Peace be upon Him} said:

    "Every Muslim must ask for the fulfillment of his entire needs from his Rabb, to the extent that even if he is in need of salt, he should ask his Rabb for it and if one of his shoe-laces breaks off, he must still ask his Rabb for it." (Tirmidhi)

     

     

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