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February 15, 2009

Lesson 10: Al–Aqida Al–Sanusiyya Lesson by Shaykh Afifi al–Akiti

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The following are the notes (compiled by students) who attended one of the lectures


Teacher: Shaykh Afifi al-Akiti

Venue: Banbury – As-Shifa Centre (Banbury Madni Masjid, Merton Street, Banbury, OX16 4RP)

Date: 30th January 2009 (10th session)

Time: 8-9 pm

Text: Al-Aqida Al-Sanusiyya

Ref: Page 1

Word of Focus: 'Ilm (knowledge)

The root cause of the problems that the Muslim Ummah is facing is corruption of knowledge. We must go back to our classical texts to understand and interpret religion.

To study any subject/science completely, there are ten principles:

  1. The Definition of the science/ subject
  2. The Objectives ‘’      ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  3. The Benefits           ‘’       ‘’       ‘’      
  4. The Value               ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  5. The Context           ‘’       ‘’       ‘’      
  6. Scholars/Founders ‘’ ‘’       ‘’       ‘’ (A’dab –e- ikhtilaaf)
  7. Name                     ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  8. Sources        ‘’       ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  9. Legal of Rulings       ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  10. Misaa’il         ‘’       ‘’       ‘’

The first seven have been discussed in earlier classes.

Fiqh (Jurisprudence) vs. Theology:

Fiqh has 4 main sources: 1) Quran 2) Hadith 3) Ijma 4) Qiyas 1, 2 & 3 are Naqli. 4 is Aqli

Today’s focus is on the Sources of this science of theology which are:

1)    Naql – Scripture ie. Quran and Hadith

2)    Aql – Reason (Intellectual Reasoning)

Why should one focus on aql when we know that there is divine revelation (word of Allah) to guide us in this world. Surely this guidance is of highest importance than our intellect (aql). This has been answered by Imam Al-Ghazali as follows:

Imam Ghazali said: Those who deny the truth of reason, whether they realize it or not, in the name of religion, they deny the truth of scripture (i.e. denial of the divine revelation

  • Why? Because it is only through aql that we are able to differentiate between Nabi (Holy Prophet s.a.w)and annabi (people like Musalymah)
  • This basically means that it is through using both, reason and scripture, that you can reach Allah (SWT). Unlike animals, we have been given the gift of fitra (described metaphorically as the innate programming) which is given to us before our existence. Therefore all humans reason to answer the “questions of life” such as What am I doing? Where am I going? Why am I here? Etc.
  • This answer has been agreed by most theologians
  • Ad-deen: Huwa aql (Religion is logical said Imam Ghazali). An example given was that in other religions such as the Christian trinity, religion does not make logical sense. However, Islam does.
  • In support of this answer, the prophet (pbuh) has also said in a particular hadith which has been translated as: “there is no religion for those who don’t use their reason” (Arabic starting as: ladeena limala aqllahu

We have 3 types of existence (as explained in detail in previous classes) and extracted from the works of the notable scholar Imam Al-Hadad

1)    Before our coming into the world: when we (i.e. our souls) took a covenant with Allah: it is this pre-existence and the pledge, that makes us ask question where did we come from, why are we here, where are we going. It is this fitra that makes us ask this and hence this fitra is the divine correspondence with God.

2)    In our mother’s wombs

3)    After our births (i.e. in this world in humanly bodies)

The Definition of Theology:

  1. “The science that should give one the ability to affirm aqeedah, that is derived from proofs which are certain” ie. From the quran / hadith
  2. He who knows himself will know his Lord
  3. Intellect/Reasoning was described as the foundation and the scriptures, as the building itself. i.e. If there is no foundation, then the scriptures cannot stand up on their own. BUT if there is the foundation, but no building, then it is just like an empty plot of land. (ref Imam Ghazali)
  4. Eg. You know how to pray, but do not actually perform prayers
  5. E.g. if one is praying, but doens;t know why…then his deeds/actions are wasted.
  6. The Quran: Those who are deaf/blind/dumb are those who do not use their intellect (Approximate meaning from the Quran, this is taken from surah baqarah transliteration being: “sumum, buqmun, umyun, fahum layou’minoon” Chapter 2, Verse 18).
  • Person who knows but does not do will be punished before the idol-worshippers
  • Person who has knowledge is better than he who prays 100 rakahs (hadith)
  • Allah-hu nur ala’al-nur (Allah is the light upon light) Interpreted that one light is the scripture, and the other light is the intellect/reasoning (ref: Surah Nur, Verse 6)
  • Ilm (knowledge) and amal (action) go hand in hand
  • Al-Aqlu, Alnakl min Daakhilun wa Alnaklu, Aql min Khaarijin (Imam Al Ghazali’s interpretation of this verse from Surah Noor):
  • Reasoning is Scripture from within (i.e. aql), and Scripure is reasoning from outside(i.e. scriptures)

Hence they are one and the same thing and should be given equal “airtime” in our minds.

Next lesson:

5 theological groups of how to approach the truth of aql and naql. How to obtain the ‘balance’ and follow the ihl-sunnah of being right in the middle.

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