Now that the existence and Oneness of God was established, and the Prophethood of Muhammed ﷺ was established, it becomes incumbent upon the Mukalaf to affirm everything that can be reliably traced back to Prophet Muhammed ﷺ. This is called revelation.

Information that must be affirmed by revelation includes: the finality of prophethood with Prophet Muhammed ﷺ, the existence of angels, the occurrence of the day of judgment, the eternal reward for the believers, the eternal punishment of the disbelievers, as well as the law that the Prophet ﷺ delivered from Allah ﷻ (the name of God according to revelation) and instructed mankind to abide by.

Reliability of Revelation

Not all that which is attributed to the Prophet ﷺ, was actually conveyed by him. It is important therefore, to be able to distinguish what’s reliable from what isn’t, such that true revelation can be distinguished from fabrication.

Reports attributed to the Prophet ﷺ are classed into two categories depending on how reliably they go back to him. The decisively reliable (Qat’i Al-Thubut), and the indecisively reliable (Dhani Al-Thubut).

Decisively reliable: reports that have been mass transmitted from the Prophet ﷺ, such that we are certain that he conveyed it. For example: the Quran.

Indecisively reliable: reports that have not been mass transmitted from the Prophet ﷺ, such that we are uncertain that he conveyed it. For example: his ﷺ saying:

إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ
Indeed, actions are judged according to intention[1]

Which has been narrated from the Prophet ﷺ by a single companion. Namely, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab.

Decisively reliable revelation forms the core of Islam. Every Mukalaf is therefore required to affirm all of it. This is because we are certain that the Prophet ﷺ conveyed this information.

Reports that are of indecisive reliability must also be affirmed, however with conditions. Amongst those conditions is that the contents of such reports must not conflict with that which has been established by rational necessity, the contents must not conflict with decisively reliable reports, and the report itself must have been transmitted from the Prophet ﷺ by a connected chain of trustworthy narrators.

The reason indecisively reliable revelation must be affirmed after all conditions are satisfied, is given the promise of reward and the threat of punishment. We come to know, by way of decisively reliable texts, that obeying the Prophet ﷺ leads to reward:

وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا
And whomsoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, achieves a great achievement[2].

Whereas disobeying him leads to punishment:

فَلْيَحْذَرِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَن تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
Let those who oppose the Messenger’s commands beware, lest they be afflicted with great trials or a painful punishment[3].

When the above is taken into consideration, the Mukalaf realizes that he does not need to be certain that a report from the Prophet ﷺ is true, in order to act upon it. Just knowing that the Prophet ﷺ probably conveyed some commandment, is enough for the Mukalaf to act upon this commandment[4] in most cases.

Clarity of Revelation

Revelation can be classed into two categories depending on its clarity: the unequivocal (Qat’i Al-Dalala), and the ambiguous (Dhani Al-Dalala).

Unequivocal: a text which the Arabic language does not allow for a multiplicity of interpretations for. For example:

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ
Nothing is like God’s resemblance[5].

Which is a text that can only be referring to God’s absolute uniqueness, and dissimilarity to everything else. The Arabic does not allow for any other interpretation.

Ambiguous: a text which the Arabic language allows for a multiplicity of interpretations for. For example:

الرَّحْمَٰنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى
The Most Merciful on Al-‘Arsh Istawa[6].

Which is a phrase whose Arabic, devoid of all context, allows for a wide range of possible interpretations. Amongst them:

1. God (the Most merciful) affects (Istawa) the Throne (Al-‘Arsh).
2. God (the Most merciful) subjugates (Istawa) creation (Al-‘Arsh).
3. God (the Most Merciful) sits (Istawa) on the Throne (Al-‘Arsh).

One might now ask: “what standards exist in order to determine the correct interpretation of an ambiguous text?”

We respond: the standards are two. Rational necessity, and unequivocal revelation. Such that if we are faced with a text which affords a multiplicity of interpretations, and some of those interpretations conflict with rational necessity, or conflict with unequivocal texts, then those conflicting interpretations are rejected. And an alternative interpretations must be affirmed.

For example: “the Most Merciful on Al-‘Arsh Istawa”. We notice that the third interpretation listed above (“God sits on the Throne”) conflicts with both rational necessity and unequivocal texts. Conflicts with rational necessity because “sitting” is for bodies, while God is necessarily incorporeal. Conflicts with unequivocal texts because those texts inform us that God does not resemble creation, while sitting entails resemblance to creation. This third interpretation is therefore rejected, and one of the others must be affirmed instead of it.

Concluding the Proof for Islam

The three core claims that the Islamic faith is founded upon have been proven in this series. The three claims being: the existence of God, the Oneness of God, and the prophethood of Muhammed ﷺ. Examining the arguments offered in this series in more depth, can also yield proof against many of the false religions in the world today, which will be the subject of future articles.

And Allah ﷻ is the one who guides and leads astray. He guides whomsoever He wills from the darkness of disbelief and ignorance, to the light of faith and knowledge. All praise is due to Him, and may His peace and blessings be upon our noble messenger Muhammed ﷺ, his family, his companions, and those who followed them in righteousness.


 

[1] Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith 1.

[2] Quran, 33:71.

[3] Quran, 24:63.

[4] This is comparable to travel by plane. Where the passenger will take the flight, despite not knowing with certainty that the plane will reach its destination safely. The fact that the chances of reaching the destination are high enough, suffices for one to act upon those chances, even if one is not certain of the outcome.

In short, certainty is not a requirement for action. Since it is acceptable to act upon probabilities. This is common practice that everyone performs every single day.

[5] Quran, 42:11

[6] Quran, 20:5.

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