by al-Imam Abu
Ja'far At-Tawahi al-Misri
Table of Contents
- At-Tawheed: The Oneness of Allah
- The Prophet
- The Qur'an
- Likeness of Allah
- Vision of Allah
- A True Muslim
- Al-Lawh Wal-Qalam
- Al-'arsh wal-Kursi
- The Ambiya (Prophets)
- Al-'Ulama wal-'awliya
- Unity in Al-Islam
In The Name of Allah
, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem
'Imam Tahawi's al-'aqidah, representative of the viewpoint of Ahl
As-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'at, has long been the most widely acclaimed, and indeed
indispensable, reference work on Muslim beliefs, of which this is an edited
Imam Abu Ja'far Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Salamah bin Salmah bin `Abd al Malik
bin Salmah bin Sulaim bin Sulaiman bin Jawab Azdi, popularly known as Imam
Tahawi, after his birth-place in Egypt, is among the most outstanding
authorities of the Islamic world on hadiith and fiqh (jurisprudence). He lived
239-321 A.H., an epoch when both the direct and indirect disciples of the four
Imams: Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Imam Ash-Shafi'I and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal
- were teaching and practicing. This period was the zenith of hadiith and fiqh
studies, and Imam Tahawi studied with all the living authorities of the day. He
began as a student of his maternal uncle, Isma'Il bin Yahya Muzni. a leading
disciple of Imam Shafi'I. Instinctively, however, Imam Tahawi felt drawn to the
corpus of Imam Abu Hanifah's works. Indeed, he had seen his uncle and teacher
turning to the works of Hanafi scholars to resolve thorny issues of Fiqh,
drawing heavily on the writings of Imam Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani and
Imam Abu Yusuf, who had codified Hanafi fiqh. This led Imam Tahawi to devote his
whole attention to studying the Hanafi works and he eventually joined the Hanafi
Imam Tahawi stands out not only as a prominent follower of the Hanafi school
but, in view or his vast erudition and remarkable powers of assimilation, as one
of its leading scholars. His monumental scholarly works, such as Sharh Ma'ani
al-Athar and Mushkil al-Athar, are encyclopaedic in scope and have
long been regarded as indispensable for training students of fiqh.
Al-'aqidah though small in size, is a basic text for all times, listing what
a Muslim must know and believe and inwardly comprehend.
There is consensus among the Companions, Successors and all the leading
Islamic authorities such as Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad,
Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'I and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal on the doctrines enumerated
in this work. For these doctrines shared by Ahl As-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'at owe their
origin to the Holy Qur'aan
and consistent and confirmed AHadiith - the undisputed
primary sources of Islam.
Being a text on the Islamic doctrines, this work draws heavily on the
arguments set forth in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. Likewise, the arguments
advanced in refuting the views of sects that have deviated from the Sunnah, are
also taken from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
As regards the sects mentioned in this work, a study of Islamic history up to
the time of Imam Tahawi would be quite helpful. References to sects such as Mu'tazilah,
Jahmiyyah, Qadriyah, and Jabriyah are found in the work. Moreover, it
contains allusions to the unorthodox and deviant views of the Shi'ah, Khawarij
and such mystics as had departed from the right path. There is an explicit
reference in the work to the nonsensical controversy on Khalq-al -Qu'ran
in the times of Ma'mun and some other `Abbasid Caliphs.
While the permanent relevance of the statements of belief in al-'aqidah
is obvious, the historical weight and point of certain of these statements can
be properly appreciated only if the work is used as a text for study under the
guidance of some learned person able to elucidate its arguments fully, with
reference to the intellectual and historical background of the sects refuted in
the work. Such study helps one to better understand the Islamic doctrines and
avoid the deviations of the past or the present.
grant us a true undersanding of faith and include us with those to
'those who believe, fear Allah
and do good deeds'; and `he who fears Allah
endures affliction, then Allah
will not waste the reward of well-doers.'
-Iqbal Ahmad A'zami
Tawheed: The Oneness of Allah
We say about Allah's
unity believing by Allah's help - that Allah
without any partners.
There is nothing like Him.
There is nothing that can overwhelm Him.
There is no god other than Him.
He is the Eternal without a beginning and enduring without end.
He will never perish or come to an end.
Nothing happens except what He wills.
No imagination can conceive of Him and no understanding can comprehend
He is different from any created being.
He is living and never dies and is eternally active and never sleeps.
He creates without His being in need to do so and provides for His
creation without any effort.
He causes death with no fear and restores to life without difficulty.
He has always existed together with His attributes since before creation.
Bringing creation into existence did not add anything to His attributes that
was not already there. As He was, together with His attributes, in
pre-eternity, so He will remain throughout endless time.
It was not only after the act of creation that He could be described as
`the Creator' nor was it only by the act of origination that He could he
described as `the Originator'.
He was always the Lord even when there was nothing to be Lord of, and
always the Creator even when there was no creation.
In the same way that He is the `Bringer to life of the dead', after He has
brought them to life a first time, and deserves this name before bringing
them to life, so too He deserves the name of `Creator' before He has created
This is because He has the power to do everything, everything is dependent
on Him, everything is easy for Him, and He does not need anything. `There
is nothing like Him and He is the Hearer, the Seer'. [ash-Shura 42:11]
He created creation with His knowledge.
He appointed destinies for those He created.
He allotted to them fixed life spans.
Nothing about them was hidden from Him before He created them, and He knew
everything that they would do before He created them.
He ordered them to obey Him and forbade them to disobey Him.
Everything happens according to His decree and will, and His will is
accomplished. The only will that people have is what He wills for them. What
He wills for them occurs and what He does not will, does not occur.
He gives guidance to whoever He wills, and protects them, and keeps them
safe from harm, out of His generosity; and He leads astray whoever He wills,
and abases them, and afflicts them, out of His justice.
All of them are subject to His will between either His generosity or His
He is exalted beyond having opposites or equals.
No one can ward off His decree or put back His command or overpower His
We believe in all of this and are certain that everything comes from Him.
And we are certain that Muhammad
is His chosen servant and selected Prophet and His Messenger with whom He is
And that he is the Seal of the Prophets and the Imam of the God-fearing
and the Most Honoured of all the Messengers and the Beloved of the Lord of
all the Worlds.
Every claim to prophethood after Him is falsehood and deceit.
He is the one who has been sent to all the jinn and all mankind with Truth
and Guidance and with Light and Illumination.
The Qur'an is the word of Allah
. It came from Him as speech without it
being possible to say how. He sent it down on His Messenger as revelation.
The believers accept it, as absolute truth. They are certain that it is, in
truth, the word of Allah
It is not created, as is the speech of human beings, and anyone who
hears it and claims that it is human speech has become an unbeliever. Allah
warns him and censures him and threatens him with Fire when He says, Exalted
is He: `I will burn him in the Fire.' [al-Muddaththir 74:26] When
threatens with the Fire those who say `This is just human speech.'
[al-Muddaththir 74:25] We know for certain that it is the Speech of the
Creator of mankind and that it is totally unlike the speech of mankind.
Likeness of Allah
Anyone who describes Allah
as being in any way the same as a human being
has become an unbeliever. All those who grasp this will take heed and
refrain from saying things such as the unbelievers say, and they will know
that He, in His Attributes, is not like human beings.
Vision of Allah
`The Seeing of Allah
by the People of the Garden' (Al-Jannah) is true,
without their vision being all-encompassing and without the manner of their
vision being known. As the Book of our Lord has expressed it: `Faces on
that Day radiant, looking at their Lord'. [al-Qiyamah 75:22-3] The
explanation of this is as Allah
knows and wills. Everything that has come
down to us about this from the Messenger, may Allah
bless him and grant him
peace, in authentic traditions, is as he said and means what he intended.
We do not delve into that, trying to interpret it according to our own
opinions or letting our imaginations have free rein. No one is safe in his
Religion unless he surrendershimself completely to Allah
, the Exalted and
Glorified and to His Messenger, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, and
leaves the knowledge of things that are ambiguous to the one who knows them.
A True Muslim
A man's Islam is not secure unless it is based on submission and
surrender. Anyone who desires to know things which it is beyond his capacity
to know, and whose intellect is not content with surrender, will find that
his desire veils him from a pure understanding of Allah's
True Unity, clear
knowledge and correct belief, and that he veers between disbelief and
belief, confirmation and denial and acceptance and rejection. He will be
subject to whisperings and find himself confused and full of doubt, being
neither an accepting believer nor a denying rejector.
Belief of a man in the `seeing of Allah
by the people of the Garden is not
correct if he imagines what it is like, or interprets it according to his
own understanding since the interpretation of this seeing' or indeed, the
meaning of any of the subtle phenomena which are in the realm of Lordship,
is by avoiding its interpretation and strictly adhering to the submission.
`This is the deen (Religion) of Muslims. Anyone who does not guard himself
against negating the attributes of Allah
, or likening Allah
else, has gone astray and has failed to understand Allah's
our Lord, the Glorified and the Exalted, can only possibly be described in
terms of Oneness and Absolute Singularity and no creation is in any way like
He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having
parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all created
Al-Mi'raj: The Ascension
Al-Mi'raj (The Ascent Through the Heavens) is true. The Prophet,
was taken by night and ascended in his bodily form, while awake, through the
heavens, to whatever heights Allah
willed for him. Allah
ennobled him in the
way that He ennobled him and revealed to him what He revealed to him, `and
his heart was not mistaken about what it saw' [al-Najm 53:11]. Allah
blessed him and granted him peace in this world and the next.
Al-Hawd: The Pool
Al-Hawd, (the Pool which Allah
will grant the Prophet
as an honour to quench the thirst of His Ummah on the Day Of Judgement), is
Ash-Shifa'ah: The Intercession
Ash-Shifa'ah, (the intercession, which is stored up for Muslims), is true,
as related in the (consistent and confirmed) AHadiith.
Al-Qadr: The Decree
The covenant `which Allah
made with Adam and his offspring' is true.
knew, before the existence of time, the exact number of those who
would enter the Garden (Al-Jannah) and the exact number of those who would
enter the Fire (Jahannam). This number will neither be increaser nor
The same applies to all actions done by people, which are done exactly as
knew they would be done. Everyone is cased to what he was created for
and it is the action with which a man's life is sealed which dictates his
fate. Those who are fortunate are fortunate by the decree of Allah
those who are wretched are wretched by the decree of Allah
The exact nature of the decree is Allah's
secret in His creation, and no
angel near the Throne, nor Prophet sent with a message, has been given
knowledge of it. Delving into it and reflecting too much about it only leads
to destruction and loss, and results in rebelliousness. So be extremely
careful about thinking and reflecting on this matter or letting doubts about
it assail you, because Allah
has kept knowledge of the decree away from
human beings, and forbidden them to enquire about it, saying in His Book, `He
is not asked about what He does but they are asked'. [al-Ambiya' 21:23]
So anyone who asks: `Why did Allah
do that?' has gone against a judgement of
the Book, and anyone who goes against a judgement of the Book is an
This in sum is what those of Allah's
friends with enlightened hearts need
to know and constitutes the degree of those firmly endowed with knowledge.
For there are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge which is accessible to
created beings, and knowledge which is not accessible to created beings.
Denying the knowledge which is accessible is disbelief, and claiming the
knowledge which is inaccessible is disbelief. Belief can only be firm when
accessible knowledge is accepted and inaccessible knowledge is not sought
Al-Lawh Wal-Qalam: The Tablet and The Pen
We believe in Al-Lawh (The Tablet) and Al-Qalam (The Pen) and in
everything written on it. Even if all created beings were to gather together
to make something fail to exist, whose existence Allah
had written on the
Tablet, they would not be able to do so. And if all created beings were to
gather together to make something exist which Allah
had not written on it,
they would not be able to do so. The Pen has dried having written down all
that will be in existence until the Day of Judgement. Whatever a person has
missed he would have never got it, and whatever one gets, he would have
never missed it.
It is necessary for the servant to know that Allah
everything that is going to happen in His creation and decreed it in a
detailed and decisive way. There is nothing that He has created in either
the heavens or the earth that can contradict it, or add to it, or erase it,
or change it, or decrease it, or increase it in any way. This is a
fundamental aspect of belief and a necessary element of all knowledge and
recognition of Allah's
Oneness and Lordship. As Allah
says in His Book: `He
created everything and decreed it he a detailed way'. [al-Furqan 25:2]
And He also says: `Allah's
command is always a decided decree'. [al-Ahzab
33:38] So woe to anyone who argues with Allah
concerning the decree and who,
with a sick heart, starts delving into this matter. In his delusory attempt
to investigate the Unseen, he is seeking a secret that can never be
uncovered, and he ends up an evil-doer, telling nothing but lies.
Al-'arsh wal-Kursi: The Tablet and The Pen
Al-'arsh (the Throne) and al-Kursi (the Chair) are true.
He is independent of the Throne and what is beneath it.
He encompasses everything and is above it, and what He has created is
incapable of encompassing Him.
Al-Ambiya: The Prophets
We say with belief, acceptance and submission that Allah
took Ibrahim as
an intimate friend and that He spoke directly to Musa.
We believe in the angels, and the Prophets, and the books which were
revealed to the messengers, and we bear witness that they were all following
the manifest Truth.
Al-'Ummah: The Community
We call the people of our Qiblah Muslims and believers as long as they
acknowledge what the Prophet, ,
brought, and accept as true everything that he said and told us about.
We do not enter into vain talk about Allah
nor do we allow any dispute
about the Religion Of Allah
We do not argue about the Qur'an and we bear witness that it is the speech
of the Lord of all the Worlds which the Trustworthy Spirit came down with
and taught the most honoured Of all the Messengers, Muhammad, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace. It is the speech of Allah
and no speech of
any created being is comparable to it. We do not say that it was created and
we do not go against the Jama'ah of the Muslims regarding it.
We do not consider any of the people of our Qiblah to he unbelievers
because of any wrong action they have done, as long as they do not consider
that action to have been lawful.
Nor do we say that the wrong action of a man who has belief does not have
a harmful effect on him.
We hope that Allah
will pardon the people of right action among the
believers and grant them entrance into the Garden through His Mercy, but we
cannot be certain of this, and we cannot bear witness that it will
definitely happen and that they will be in the Garden. We ask forgiveness
for the people of wrong action among the Believers and, although we are
afraid for them, we are not in despair about them.
Certainty and despair both remove one from the Religion, but the path of
truth for the people of the Qiblah lies between the two (e.g. a person must
fear and be conscious of Allah's
reckoning as well as be hopeful of Allah's
A person does not step out or belief except by disavowing what brought him
Belief consists of affirmation by the tongue and acceptance by the heart.
And the whole of what is proven from the Prophet, upon him be peace,
regarding the Shari'ah and the explanation (of the Qur'an and of Islam) is
Belief is, at base, the same for everyone, but the superiority of some
over others in it is due to their fear and awareness of Allah
opposition to their desires, and their choosing what is more pleasing to
All the believers are `friends' of Allah
and the noblest of them in the
sight of Allah
are those who are the most obedient and who most closely
follow the Qur'an.
Belief consists of belief in Allah
. His Angels, His Books, His Messengers,
the Last Day, and belief that the Decree - both the good of it and the evil
of it, the sweet of it and the bitter or it - is all from Allah
We believe in all these things. We do not make any distinction between any
of the messengers, we accept as true what all of them brought.
Those of the Ummah of Muhammad, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace,
who have committed grave sins will be in the Fire, but not forever, provided
they die and meet Allah
as believers affirming His unity even if they have
not repented. They are subject to His will and judgement. If He wants, He
will forgive them and pardon them out of His generosity, as is mentionied in
the Qur'an when He says: `And He forgives anything less than that (shirk)
to whoever He wills' [an-Nisa' 4: 116]; and if He wants, He will punish
them in the Fire out of His justice and then bring them out of the Fire
through His mercy, and for the intercession of those who were obedient to
Him, and send them to the Garden. This is because Allah
is the Protector of
those who recognize Him and will not treat them in the Next World in the
same way as He treats those who deny Him and who are bereft of His guidance
and have failed to obtain His protection. O Allah
, You are the Protector of
Islam and its people; make us firm in Islam until the day we meet You.
We agree with doing the prayer behind any of the people of the Qiblah
whether right-acting or wrong-acting, and doing the funeral prayer over any
of them when they die.
We do not say that any of them will categorically go to either the Garden
or the Fire, and we do not accuse any of them of Kufr (disbelief), shirk
(associating partners with Allah
), or nifaaq (hypocrisy), as long as they
have not openly demonstrated any of those things. We leave their secrets to
We do not agree with killing any of the Ummah of Muhammad, ,
unless it is obligatory by Shari'ah to do so.
We do not recognize rebellion against our Imam or those in charge of our
affairs even if they are unjust, nor do we wish evil on them, nor do we
withdraw from following them. We hold that obedience to them is part of
obedience to Allah
, The Glorified, and therefore obligatory as long as they
do not order to commit sins. We pray for their right guidance and pardon
from their wrongs.
We follow the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Jama'ah of the Muslims, and
avoid deviation, differences and divisions.
We love the people of justice and trustworthiness, and hate the people of
injustice and treachery.
When our knowledge about something is unclear, we say: `Allah
We agree with wiping over leather socks (in Wudu) whether on a journey or
otherwise, just as has come in the (consistent and confirmed) aHadiith.
Hajj and jihad under the leadership of those in charge of the Muslims,
whether they are right or wrong-acting, are continuing obligations until the
Last Hour comes. Nothing can annul or controvert them.
Al-Akhirah: The After-Life
We believe in Kiraman Katibin (the noble angels) who write down our
actions for Allah
has appointed them over us as two guardians.
We believe in the Angel of Death who is charged with taking the spirits of
all the worlds.
We believe in the punishment in the grave for those who deserve it, and in
the questioning in the grave by Munkar and Nakir about one's Lord, one's
Religion and one's prophet, as has come down in aHadiith from the Messenger
, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, and in reports from the
Companions, may Allah
be pleased with them all.
The grave is either one of the meadows of the Garden or one of the pits of
We believe in being brought back to life after death and in being
recompensed for our actions on the Day of Judgement, and al-'ard, having
been shown them and al-Hisab, brought to account for them. And Qira'at al-Kitab,
reading the book, and the reward or punishments and in al-Siiraht (the Bridge)
and al-Mizan (the Balance).
The Garden and the Fire are created things that never come to an end and
we believe that Allah
created them before the rest of creation and then
created people to inhabit each of them. Whoever He wills goes to the Garden
out of His Bounty and whoever He wills goes to the Fire through His justice.
Everybody acts in accordance with what is destined for him and goes towards
what he has been created for.
Good and evil have both been decreed for people.
The capability in terms of Tawfiq (Divine Grace and Favour) which makes an
action certain to occur cannot be ascribed to a created being. This
capability is integral with action, whereas the capability of an action in
terms of having the necessary health, and ability, being in a position to
act and having the necessary means, exists in a person before the action. It
is this type of capability which is the object of the dictates of Shariah.
the Exalted says: `Allah
does not charge a person except according
to his ability'. [al-Baqarah 2: 286]
People's actions are created by Allah
but earned by people.
, the Exalted, has only charged people with what they are able to do
and people are only capable to do what Allah
has favoured them. This is the
explanation of the phrase: `There is no power and no strength except by
.' We add to this that there is no stratagem or way by which anyone can
avoid or escape disobedience to Allah
except with Allah's
help; nor does
anyone have the strength to put obedience to Allah
into practice and remain
firm in it, except if Allah
makes it possible for them to do so.
Everything happens according to Allah's
will, knowledge, predestination
and decree. His will overpowers all other wills and His decree overpowers
all stratagems. He does whatever He wills and He is never unjust. He is
exalted in His purity above any evil or perdition and He is perfect far
beyond any fault or flaw. `He will not be asked about what He does but
they will he asked.' [Al-Ambiya 21: 23]
There is benefit for dead people in the supplication and alms-giving of
responds to people's supplications and gives them what they ask for.
has absolute control over everything and nothing has any control
over Him. Nothing can be independent of Allah
even for the blinking of an
eye, and whoever considers himself independent of Allah
for the blinking of
an eye is guilty of unbelief and becomes one of the people of perdition.
is angered and can be pleased but not in the same way as any
As-Sahaabah: The Companions
We love the Companions of the Messenger of Allah
but we do not go to
excess in our love for any one individual among them nor do we disown any
one of them. We hate anyone who hates them or does not speak well of them
and we only speak well of them. Love of them is a part of Islam, part of
belief and part of excellent behaviour, while hatred of them is unbelief,
hypocrisy and rebelliousness.
We confirm that, after the death of the Messenger of Allah
, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, the caliphate went first to Abu Bakr As-Siddiq,
be pleased with him, thus proving his excellence and superiority
over the rest of the Muslims; then to `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah
pleased with him; then to `Uthman, may Allah
be pleased with him; and then
to `Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah
be pleased with him. These are the
Rightly-Guided Khaliphs (Al-Khulafa Ar-Rashidoon) and upright leaders.
We bear witness that the ten who were named by the Messenger of Allah
bless him and grant him peace, and who were promised the Garden by
him, will be in the Garden, as the Messenger of Allah
, may Allah
and grant him peace, whose word is truth, bore witness that they would he.
The ten are: Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali, Talhah, Zubayr, Sa'd, Sa'Id, `Abdur-Rahman
ibn `Awf and Abu `Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrah whose title was the trustee of this
Ummah, may Allah
be pleased with all of them.
Anyone who speaks well of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah
bless him and grant him peace, and his wives and offspring, who are
all pure and untainted by any impurity, is free from the accusation of
Al-'Ulama wal-'awliya: The Learned Scholars and The Saints
The learned men of the first community and those who followed in their
footsteps - the people of virtue, the narrators of the AHadiith, the jurists
and analysts- they must only be spoken about in the best way and anyone who
says anything bad about them is not on the right path.
We do not prefer any of the saintly men among the Ummah over any of the
Prophets but rather we say that any one of the Prophets is better than all
the awliya' put together.
We believe in what we know of Karamat, the marvels of the awliya' and in
authentic stories about them from trustworthy sources.
We believe in the signs of the Hour such as the appearance of the Dajjal
and the descent of `Isa ibn Maryam, peace be upon him, from heaven and we
believe in the rising of the sun from where it sets and in the emergence of
the Beast from the earth.
We do not accept as true what soothsayers and fortune-tellers say, nor do
we accept the claims of those who affirm anything which goes against the
Book, the Sunnah and the consensus of the Muslim Ummah.
Unity in Al-Islam
We agree that holding together is the true and right path and that
separation is deviation and torment.
There is only one Religion of Allah
in the heavens and the earth and that
is the Religion of Islam. Allah
says: `Surely Religion in the sight of
is Islam'. [Al `Imran 3:19] And He also says: `I am pleased
with Islam as a Religion for you'. [Am-Matidah 5:3]
Islam lies between going to excess and falling short, between Tashbih
(likening of Allah's
attributes to anything else), and Tatil (denying
attributes), between Fatalism and refusing Decree as proceeding from
and between certainty (without being conscious of Allah's
and despair (of Allah's
This is our Religion and it is what we believe in, both inwardly and
outwardly, and we renounce any connection, before Allah
, with anyone who
goes against what we have said and made clear.
Ad-Du'a: The Supplication
We ask Allah
to make us firm in our belief and seal our lives with it
and to protect us from variant ideas, scattering opinions and evil schools
of view such as those of the Mushabbihah, the Mu'tazilah, the Jahmiyyah
the Jabriyah, the Qadriyah and others like them who go against
the Sunnah and Jama'ah and have allied themselves with error. We renounce
any connection with them and in our opinion they are in error and on the
path of destruction.
We ask Allah
to protect us from all falsehood and we ask His Grace and
Favour to do all good.
For a very brief, concise outline of the beliefs of the true Muslim,
Imaan click here.