Posts Tagged ‘definition’

“The Jamaa’ah” meaning: Those who unite upon the truth…

September 8, 2015

وَفِيْ رِوَايَةٍ “الجَمَاعَةُ” يعني

الجماعة الذين اجتمعوا على الحق الذي جاء به محمد

من ص13 الفرقة الناجية أصولها وعقائدها للشيخ ربيع المدخلي

And in one narration, “The Jamaa’ah” meaning:

those who unite upon the truth that

Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam) brought

From the book: The Foundational Beliefs and Principles of the Saved Sect (p.13)

By Shaikh Rabee al Madkhalee


Definition of the Arraaf, the Kaahin, and how the Magician is from them and like them

October 4, 2013


The following is a collection of select quotes – mainly taken from Shaikh Fawzaan’s unabridged explanation of Kitaabut Tawheed (which can be found on his website here: ) and including one quote from Shaikh Bin Baz regarding the definition of the ‘Arraaf, the Kaahin, and how the Magician is from them and like them.

The Arabic texts for what was translated can be found in the following file: quotes

The page numbering is based on the (above) file at Shaikh Fawzaan’s website.

Shaikh Fawzaan said:

Fortune-telling means: claiming knowledge of the unseen by using devilish means. So the Kaahin (fortune-teller) is: the one who informs about the hidden things with regards to the future, or things which are lost, because he has humiliated himself for the devils. Because the devils have an ability that mankind doesn’t have. They can ascend in the sky and they try to eavesdrop (on the angels’ conversations) in the sky. Then they tell what they have heard to whoever humiliates themselves for them from mankind. Then this person takes the one word which was heard in the sky (told to them by the devils) and mixes with it 100 lies in order to deceive the people1.

And the devils don’t inform anyone unless they obey them, disbelieve in Allaah – Exalted and Lofty is He, worship others along with Allaah, and carried out all that the devils have dictated to him from disbelief and polytheism. If a person does not do that, then the devils do not obey the Believer who worships only Allaah (God, The Creator). They only obey the one who does what they desire from disbelief in Allaah and worshiping others with Allaah. (p.504-5)

Shaikh Fawzaan said:

He (the author – Imaam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhaab) said: “And it is said: He (the ‘Arraaf) is: the Kaahin (fortune-teller)”

Meaning: the ‘Arraaf and the Kaahin are the same. Because each of them informs about the hidden matters through the use of the devils. So all of them work for the devils even if they differ in title – this is an ‘Arraaf, this is a Kaahin – for the meaning is one, and the work is one – and that (work) is: claiming to have knowledge of the unseen, hidden matters, even though (the names) differ in wording.

(the author said):

And the Kaahin is the one who informs about the hidden matters with regards to the future”

By way of the devils telling him what they know from those things that mankind doesn’t know. Because the devils know some things that people don’t know. They will tell people about any future events they may know about (see footnote #1) if the people humiliate themselves for them, seek to get closer to them, and do what they desire from disbelieving in Allaah and worshiping others with Him.

So when a person from mankind seeks nearness to a person from the jinn by doing what he (the jinnee) wants, then the jinnee will serve him (the human) in what he seeks from him (by telling him anything he may know) about the hidden, unseen matters. (p.512-513)

Shaikh Fawzaan said:

He (the author) said:

The ‘Arraaf is: the name for the Kaahin (fortune-teller), the Munajjim (astrologer), the Rammaal (one who claims knowledge of the unseen, hidden matters by drawing lines in the sand) and those like them.”

Because the word “’Arraaf” is general. Everyone who claims to know the future – whether by using fortune-telling, or astrology, or by drawing lines in the sand – comes under this (term). For all of them work with the devils and seek closeness to them. For this reason, Allaah, The Most High, said (translated):

Shall I inform you (O people!) upon whom the Shayâtin (devils) descend? They descend on every lying (one who tells lies), sinful person who gives ear (to the devils and they pour what they may have heard of the unseen from the angels), and most of them are liars.2 (Ash-Shu’ara 26:221-3)\

What falls under this is the Kaahin, the Munajjim, the Rammaal, and the ‘Arraaf – all of them fall under the words: “lying, sinful person” (26:222) and the devils descend upon them.

In opposition to the Prophets – alayhimus-salaatu was-salaam – for indeed the angels descend upon them. For this reason He (Allaah) said (translated):

And the devils have not descended with it” (26:210) meaning: with the Qur’an. “Neither would it suit them, nor they can (produce it). Verily, they have been removed far from hearing it.3 (26:211 – 212)

So the Prophets – alayhimus-salaatu was-salaam – the angels descend upon them from The Most Merciful. As for the Kuhhaan, then the devils descend upon them. So this includes everyone who speaks about knowing matters by way of these means from those who inform about these things by using those methods that they call drawing lines in the sand, and the rest of (these methods). So this is a comprehensive explanation.

As for (their) differing in the methods (wasaa’il) – this one uses this, that one uses that – then the result is one, the result is (their) claiming knowledge of the unseen, hidden matters. What is important is the result and the ruling.

The result is: informing about knowledge of the unseen, hidden matters and claiming to share with Allaah – He is the Most High and Free from all deficiencies and defects – in knowing the unseen, hidden matters.

The ruling is: All of these people are disbelievers, because they claim to share with Allaah, The Most High, in an attribute which is from His greatest attributes, and that is: knowing the unseen, hidden matters. (p.513-514)

Shakh Bin Baz said4:

It is not permissible to seek treatment from magicians or fortune-tellers. Because the Prophet – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam – prohibited going to the fortune-tellers and magicians. He – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam – said (translated): “Don’t go to them.” And he – alaihe as-salaatu was-salaam – said (translated): “Whoever goes to an ‘Arraaf and asks him about something, his salaah is not accepted for 40 days.” (Imaam) Muslim collected and narrated it in his Saheeh5

And the ‘Arraaf (one who claims knowledge of the unseen/hidden matters) is a general term which includes the Kaahin (fortune-teller), the astrologer, the magician, the Rammaal (one who draws lines in the sand and claims to be able to tell from that the unseen/hidden matters) and whoever resembles them…

Shaikh Fawzaan said:

It is not permissible to go to magicians or to believe them. For magicians are like Kuhhaan (fortune-tellers), or more evil than Kuhhaan. And the Prophet – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam – said:

من أتى كَاهِنًا لم تُقبل له صلاة أربعين يومًا

“Whoever goes to a Kaahin (fortune-teller), his salaah is not accepted for 40 days.”6

And he – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam – said:

من أتى كاهنًا أو عرّافًا فصدّقه بما يقول فقد كفر بما أُنزل على محمَّد صلى الله عليه وسلم

“Whoever goes to a Kaahin or an ‘Arraaf, then believes in what he says, has indeed disbelieved in what was sent down to Muhammad – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam.”7

And magic is from the Taghoot and from Jibt as has preceeded – and it is more evil than fortune-telling. Since it is obligatory for the Muslims to boycott and distance themselves from the Kaahin, and the one who goes to him (the Kaahin) – his salaah is not accepted for 40 days, and he disbelieves in what was sent down to Muhammad – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, then how can some people go to magicians and conjurers when they may order him to commit shirk, they may order him to sacrifice an animal for other than Allaah?! This matter is very dangerous. The Muslims must warn from this trial (balaa’), this epidemic, and this danger so that it doesn’t spread amongst the Muslims. (p.490)

Shaikh Fawzaan said:

The appropriateness of this chapter with regards to the chapter which came before it : the chapter before this one clarified magic and the ruling on the magician, as well as clarifying some of the types of magic. And this chapter is about the ruling of the Kuhhaan (fortune-tellers). That is because of the resemblance between the Kuhhaan and the magicians. Because both magic and fortune-telling are devilish actions which negate and oppose the Aqeedah (correct belief). (p.504)

Translated by Ummu Khadijah


1 ‘Urwa reported from ‘A’isha that she said that people asked Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) about the kahins. Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said to them: It is nothing (i. e. it is a mere superstition). They said: Allaah’s Messenger, they at times narrate to us things which we find true. Thereupon Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: That is a word pertaining to truth which a jinn snatches away and then cackles into the ear of his friend as the hen does. And then they mix in it more than one hundred lies.

From Saheeh Muslim, Kitaabus Salaam (book of Salutation and Greetings), chapter: Kihaabah (fortune-telling) is prohibited and it is prohibited to go to the Kaahin (fortune-teller)

This hadeeth taken from:

2Translation of these verses taken from:

3Translation of these two verses taken from:

5With the wording:

من أتى عرَّافًا فسألَه عن شيٍء لم تُقْبَلْ لهُ صلاةٌ أربعين ليلةً

(there being only one difference in the wording – “nights” as opposed to “days”, though there are other authentic ahaadeeth which mention “days”)

Found in Saheeh Muslim, Kitaabus Salaam (book of Salutation and Greetings) under the chapter “Kihaanah (e.g. fortune-telling) is forbidden and it is forbidden to go to the Kaahin (fortune-teller)”:

Safiyya reported from some of the wives of Allaah’s Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) Allaah’s Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) having said: He who visits a diviner (‘Arraf) and asks him about anything, his prayers extending to forty nights will not be accepted

The translation of the hadeeth taken from:

6 I couldn’t find this exact wording. However, many scholars have said that a hadeeth can be narrated by meaning if certain conditions are met. For example what Shaikh Uthaymeen said here: under the heading:

رواية الحديث بالمعنى

7 Shaikh Albaanee declared it Saheeh in Saheeh al Jaamee’ (5939)

Who are the Awliyaa, and The Difference between the Karaamah and the Mu’jizah

August 25, 2013





The following translated from:



Q: Do the Awliyaa have miracles, like what we hear about them?  Do they have free disposal in the world, the dominions of the heavens and the earth?  And do they intercede for people in the life of this world while they are in the barzakh or not?

A (Shaikh Bin Baz): The Awliyaa are the Believers.  The Awliyaa of Allah are the People of Imaan. (Allah) Lofty and Exalted is He, said (translated):

No doubt! Verily, the Auliyâ’ of Allâh [i.e. those who believe in the Oneness of Allâh and fear Allâh much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which he has forbidden), and love Allâh much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve,


Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allâh – Islâmic Monotheism), and used to fear Allâh much (by abstaining from evil deeds and sins and by doing righteous deeds). (Yunus 10:62-63)1


These are those who are the Awliyaa2 of Allah, from mankind and the jinn, from the men and the women. (Allah) The Most High said (translated):


The believers, men and women, are Auliyâ’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma’rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islâm has forbidden); they perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât) and give the Zakât, and obey Allâh and His Messenger. Allâh will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:71)3

And they have Karaamaat4 (miracles) when they are upright upon Eemaan (faith).  Allah may honor them with making it easy for them to practice their religion. The presence of comfort at the time of hardship is from the Karaamaat of Allah to them – that He relieves their hardship when they are surrounded by enemies, or when the enemies have gained power over them – Allah relieves them so that they are safe from their evil. Or (He helps them) with practicing their religion and with removing their difficult matters.  Or by saving them from thieves, or from predatory animals, or what is similar to that.  These are (all) from the Karaamaat of Allah to them.  And it (a karaamah) is a Ni’mah (blessing, favor) which happens to them which is out of the ordinary. This is what is called “a Karaamah” and this happens for the Awliyaa and for the Messengers.  With regards to the Messengers it is called: “a Mu’jizah” and with regards to the Awliyaa it is called: “a Karaamah”.  However (a Walee5) does not have free disposal over the dominions (of the heavens and earth).  They do not have free disposal over the creation, nor over the heavens, nor the earth.  They are restricted.  They do not have free disposal (in anything) except in what Allah has legislated, in what Allah has allowed for them.  And they do not know the unseen. And they do not have free disposal in the sky, nor the earth, except in what Allah permits.  Except in what Allah has legislated like buying, selling, farming and similar to that from what Allah has legislated for His servants.

As for what the Sufis and those who resemble them think – that the Awliyaa have free disposal (over the affairs) and that they know the unseen, then this is falsehood.  And it is ignorance.  The Awliyaa are like other than them – they have no sovereignty except what Allah has given them sovereignty over in farming and trade and other than that.  However, Allah may give them a Karaamah such as relieving their hardship or making easy their affairs as a bounty from Him to them in the time of need.  At the time of hardship and need Allah grants them a Karaamah like what happened to the People of the Cave. Allah honored them and they stayed in the cave for 300 (solar) years increased nine years (when  calculated by the lunar cycle) and nothing harmed them until Allah caused them to die the death he had prescribed for them.  And like what happened to ‘Abbaad bin Bishr and Usaid bin Hudhair – one night they were with the prophet – sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam – talking.  So when they left his presence on that dark night, each of their whips was lit up with a light until they reached their houses.  Allah put a light in their whips until they reached their houses.  This is a Karaamah from Allah, Exalted and Lofty is He.  And like what happened to ‘Amr bin at-Tafeel  when he came to his people, ad-Daws, he said, “O Messenger of Allaah!  Make for me an Aayah (sign) that they can benefit from” So he (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) asked Allah to make for him an Aayah.  So He made for him a light like that of a lamp in his face.  He said: “O my Lord, in other than my face.” So Allah put it (the light) in his whip.  When he raised it up, it would fill with light like a lamp.  So it was an Aayah for his people.  So Allah guided them because of it and they became Muslim. This is a Karaamah.  However, they (the Awliyaa) do not know the unseen, nor do they have free disposal over the affairs except with what Allah permits and what He gives them – Exalted and Lofty is He…

(end of the speech of Shaikh Bin Baz)





The following translated from:

The belief (tareeqah) of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah with regards to the Awliyaa and the Imaams

The Imaams of this Islamic Legislation, and to Allah is due all the praise, are well-known Imaams whom the Ummah has praised and known their value.  However, it is not believed that they are infallible. Because there is none according to Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah who is protected from (making) mistakes nor from acknowledging the mistake except for the Messenger – alayhe as-salaatu was-salaam.   He was protected (by Allaah) from (making) mistakes (in the religion).  As for other than him, then no matter what level he has reached in being an Imam, he is still not infallible, ever.  Everyone makes mistakes. And everyone will have his speech taken (when he is in agreement with the Quran and Sunnah on the understanding of the Salaf) or left (when his speech opposes that) except for the Messenger of Allah – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam – whom Allah, The Most High, has commanded us to obey unconditionally (in all cases).

So they (Ahlus Sunnah) say, undoubtedly, that there are Imaams in this Ummah, and undoubtedly there are Awliyaa in it, however, we do not intend by that to affirm infallibility for anyone from these Imaams, nor (do we intend by that) to affirm for anyone from the Awliyaa that he knows the unseen or has free disposal over the creation.  Nor do they (Ahlus Sunnah) consider to be a Walee (singular of Awliyaa) everyone who says that he is a Walee or who brings false propaganda with the purpose of drawing the people to him.  They (Ahlus Sunnah) say: Indeed Allah, The Most High, has made clear who the Walee is in His statement (translated):

No doubt! Verily, the Auliyâ’ of Allâh [i.e. those who believe in the Oneness of Allâh and fear Allâh much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which he has forbidden), and love Allâh much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve,


Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allâh – Islâmic Monotheism), and used to fear Allâh much (by abstaining from evil deeds and sins and by doing righteous deeds).” (Yunus 10:62-63)6

These are the Awliyaa: Those who believe (have eemaan) and have taqwaa. So Eemaan (faith) is: The Aqeedah (belief system).  And Taqwaa is: (good) deeds, whether from speech or actions.

And Shaikh ul Islam (Ibn Taymiyyah) took (came up with) from this verse (10:63) a good expression and it is his statement:

من كان مؤمناً تقياً كان لله ولياً

“Whoever is a believer and has taqwaa is a Walee of Allaah”

This is the Walee in reality.  The Walee is not the one who draws the people to him, who gathers attendants (about him) and says, “I did (this)”, who seeks the help of the devils to try to find out the hidden matters, who dazzles the people with his speech so that they say: “This is a Walee”

No, because al-wilaayah7 comes from following the Messenger – alayhe as-salaatu was-salaam, and from a person’s Eemaan and his taqwaa. So if he is a Believer who has taqwaa, then he is a Walee.

Additionally, it is not necessary for every Walee that Allah gives him a Karaamah8. How numerous are the Awliyaa who have no Karaamah.  Because the Karaamah, most of the time, doesn’t come except to support the truth or repel falsehood.  It doesn’t come to make someone firm through seeing it with his eyes.  Therefore it is not obligatory for every Walee to have a Karaamah.  It may be that a Walee lives and dies and he does not have any Karaamah. And it may be that (a Walee) has numerous Karaamaat.  

The People of Knowledge say that every Karaamah for a Walee is indeed an Aayah for the Prophet whom he is following.  And I dont say “Mu’jizah” because it is more befitting that we call it an Aayah.  Because this is a Quranic expression (i.e. “Aayah”) and “Aayah” is more eloquent than “mu’jizah”. Because the meaning of “Aayah” is: a sign for the truthfulness of the Messenger who brought it.  Whereas the “mu’jizah” may happen at the hand of a magician or a strong person may do something which other than him are unable to do.  However, the expression: “Aayah” is more eloquent and more precise and it is a Quranic expression.  So that we call the “mu’jizaat” “Aayaat” is what is correct.

There are some people in this Ummah, according to what we have heard, who claim that they are Awliyaa.  However, whoever contemplates their situation finds that they are far from al-wilaayah and that they have no share in it (al-wilaayah).  However, they have devils who help them with whatever they want, so they use that to deceive the simple-minded people.

(end of Shaikh Uthaymeen’s speech)




The following question was answered by the Lajnah Daa’imah (Permanent Committee) consisting of the Scholars: Shaikh Bin Baz, Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq al Afeefee, Shaikh Ghudyaan, Shaikh Fawzaan, Shaikh Abdul Azeez Aalush-Shaikh (current Grand Mufti) and one other.


Fourth Question of Fatwa no. 164269


Q: What is the difference between the “Mu’jizah” and the “Karaamah”? And who are the “Awliyaa” of Allah?  Please give us a fatwa and we hope that Allah rewards you



A: The “Mu’jizah” is something out of the ordinary that Allah causes to happen at the hand of a Prophet as a confirmation of the truth that is with him which men are not capable of doing.  Like the she-camel (that came out of the middle of a rock10) of (Prophet) Saalih – peace be upon him.  And like the hand and stick of Musa11. And (like) the mu’jizah (miracle) of the Quran (revealed) to Muhammad – alayhe as-salaatu was-salaam.


And the “Karaamah” is something out of the ordinary that Allah causes to happen at the hand of a righteous servant as an honor to him, like in the story of Maryam, and the Companions of the Cave (mentioned in suratul Kahf (18)).  And this karaamah is a mu’jizah for the Prophet – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam – whom the righteous servant is following.  Because he doesn’t receive it (karaamah) except by being truthful in his following of him (the Prophet).  And it is not affirmed that it is a karaamah except when it occurs from one who is known to be upright following the legislation of (revealed to) Muhammad – (we ask that) Allah raise his rank and grant him peace.


With Allah is the success.  And peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his Companions and followers.









1Translation of these two verses taken from

2Shaikh Uthaymeen mentioned that Shaikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah came up with an expression based on verse 10:63 regarding who is a Walee (sg of Awliyaa):

مَنْ كَانَ مُؤْمِنًا تَقِيًّا كَانَ لله وَلِيًّا

Whoever is a Believer and has taqwaa is a Wali of Allah”



3Translation of this verse taken from

4Karaamah: the name of a miracle or something extraordinary that Allah gives to His righteous servants (other than the Prophets -their miracles are named “mu’jizah” and Shaikh Uthaymeen said that it is more befitting to call a miracle of the Prophets an “Aayah”)

5Walee is the singular of Awliyaa

6Translation of these two verses taken from

7Al-wilaayah: in this context – what makes someone a Walee

8Karaamah: the name of a miracle or something extraordinary that Allah gives to His righteous servants (other than the Prophets -their miracles are named “mu’jizah” and Shaikh Uthaymeen said that it is more befitting to call a miracle of the Prophets an “Aayah”)

9Translated from:


وقد أتاهم بناقة أخرجها الله له من الصخرة

And he (Prophet Saalih) brought them a she-camel that Allah had made to come out of a large rock for him”

See Tafseer Muyassar for verse 26:155


فألقى موسى عصاه فتحولت ثعبانًا حقيقيًا, ليس تمويهًا كما يفعل السحرة, وأخرج يده مِن جيبه فإذا هي بيضاء كالثلج من غير برص، تَبْهَر الناظرين

So Musa threw his stick and it turned into a real live serpent, not a fake like the sorcerer’s do.  And he brought his hand out from his pocket and suddenly it was white like snow – without any leprosy – dazzling the onlookers”

See Tafsir Muyassar for verses 26:32-33

The Definition of Taqwaa

June 17, 2013




Shaikh Uthaymeen said about the definition of taqwaa:

(From his Explanation of Riyadhus Saaliheen, The Chapter of Taqwaa)



وهو أن يتخذ الإنسان ما يَقِيه من عذاب الله. والذي يقيك من عذاب الله هو فعل أوامر الله ،واجتناب نواهيه



And it (taqwaa) is that a person takes what will protect him from the punishment of Allah. And what protects you from the punishment of Allah is doing what He has commanded and avoiding His prohibitions”





Shaikh Fawzaan said in his lecture about attaining a happy life:


يتقون يعني  يتخذون وقاية من غضب الله  وعذابه

وما هي الوقاية؟

هل هي الدروع الحصون والجنود؟ لا

أو الثياب؟ لا

الوقاية العمل الصالح

الوقاية العمل الصالح

وتقوى الله أن تعمل  بطاعة الله على نور من الله ترجو ثواب الله

وأن تترك معصية الله على نور من الله تخاف من عقاب الله

ها هى التقوى

سُمِّيَ تقوى لأنها تقيك من غضب الله وتقيك من العذاب

هذه التقوى




They have taqwaa – meaning – they take something to protect them from Allah’s Anger and Punishment

What is the protection?

Is it armor, fortresses, and armies? No.

Is it clothing? No.

The protection is righteous deeds

The protection is righteous deeds

Having taqwaa of Allah is that you act in Allah’s obedience upon a light from Him, seeking the Reward of Allah

And that you leave off disobedience to Allah, upon a light from Him, fearing Allah’s punishment

This is taqwaa

It is called taqwaa because it protects you from the Anger of Allah and it protects you from the punishment. 

This is taqwaa




The root of تَقْوَى is from the verbوَقَى, يَقِيْ which means “to protect”. 

It’s masdar (verbal noun) is وِقَايَةٌ (protection) and its amr ( command ) form is:

قِ (, قِيْ (, قُوا (, see verse 66:6), and قِيْنَ (


تَقِيٌّ is “having taqwaa”


For example:


وَكَانَ تَقِيًّا


And he (Yahyaa) was one having taqwaa” (19:13)


(taqee is mansoob in the verse due to kaana)


The verb meaning “to have taqwaa” is اِتَّقَى   يَتَّقِي   اِتَّقِ  

(53:32, 92:5, 33:1, )


The comparative/superlative form (اسْمُ التَفْضِيْل ) is أَتْقَىwhich is having more or having the most taqwaa (depending on the context) (49:13).  Other words that follow this pattern:


خَفِيٌّ hidden (19:3)  أَخْفَى more/most hidden1

Like in the saying of the Prophet – sallallahu alayhe was sallam – that shirk is:

أَخْفَى من دبيب النمل

more hidden than the crawling of the ant…”2

شَقِيٌّ wretched (11:105)  أَشْقَى more/most wretched (91:12, 92:15)








1أَخْفَى is also a verb meaning “to hide (something)”

2 Recorded by many of the hadeeth scholars, authenticated by Shaikh Albanee in Saheeh al Adab al Mufrad, narrated by Ma’qal bin Yasaar

The Definition of Knowledge

May 22, 2012

Translated from:

الفصل الأول

تعريف العلم

Part 1

The Definition of Knowledge

لغة: نقيض الجهل، وهو: إدراك الشيء على ما هو عليه إدراكاً جازماً.

In the language it means the opposite of ignorance.  And it is to comprehend the reality of something as it truly is, with certainty1


اصطلاحاً: فقد قال بعض أهل العلم: هو المعرفة وهو ضد الجهل، وقال آخرون من أهل العلم: إن العلم أوضح من أن يعرف.

As for the religious meaning, some of the people of knowledge have said that it is knowing (al-ma’rifah) , and it is the opposite of ignorance.  Others from the people of  knowledge have said that indeed knowledge (al-ilm) is more clear than knowing


والذي يعنينا هو العلم الشرعي، والمراد به : ((علم ما أنزل الله على رسوله من البيانات والهدى)) ، فالعلم الذي فيه الثناء والمدح هو علم الوحي، علم ما أنزله الله فقط قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: (من يرد الله به خيراً يفقهه في الدين )) وقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : (( إن الأنبياء لم يورثوا ديناراً ولا درهماً وإنما ورثوا العلم، فمن أخذه أخذ بحظ وافر)) .

What it means is Legislative Knowledge, and what is meant by that is “knowledge of what Allah sent down to His Messenger from clear signs (or evidences) and guidance.”  So the knowledge which is praised and commended is knowledge of the revelation, knowledge of what Allah sent down only.  The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said (translated), ‘Whoever Allah wants good for, He makes him have understanding in the religion’2 And the Prophet , sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said (translated), ‘Indeed the Prophets don’t leave as an inheritance dinars or dirhams (, they only leave as an inheritance knowledge.  So whoever takes from it (the knowledge) takes an abundant portion.’3

ومن المعلوم أن الذي ورثه الأنبياء إنما هو علم شريعة الله – عز وجل – وليس غيره، فالأنبياء – عليهم الصلاة والسلام _ ما ورثوا للناس علم الصناعات وما يتعلق بها، بل إن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم حين قدم المدينة وجد الناس يؤبرون النخل – أي يلقحونها – قال لهم لما رأى من تعبهم كلاماً يعني أنه لا حاجة إلى هذا ففعلوا، وتركوا التلقيح، ولكن النخل فسد، ثم قال لهم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : (( أنتم أعلم بشؤون دنياكم )).

And it is known that what the Prophets left as inheritance was only knowledge of Allah’s Sharee’ah (which is Quran and Sunnah) and nothing other than it.  So the Prophets – alayhim as-salaatu was-salaam – didn’t leave as inheritance for mankind the knowledge of manufacturing and what pertains to that.  Rather , indeed the Messenger, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, when he came to Madinah he found people pollinating date-palms.  When he saw them toiling  he said to them something, meaning that there was no need to do this.  So they stopped pollinating , but the date-palms became rotten.  Then the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) said to them, (translated), ‘You are more knowledgeable regarding your affairs of the dunya’4

ولو كان هذا هو العلم الذي عليه الثناء لكان الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم أعلم الناس به، لأن أكثر من يثنى عليه بالعلم والعمل هو النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم .

And if this type of knowledge was the praised knowledge, then the Messenger , sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, would have been the most knowledgeable of the people about it.  Because the one who praised knowledge and action the most was the Prophet – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam

إذن فالعلم الشرعي هو الذي يكون فيه الثناء ويكون الحمد لفاعله، ولكني مع ذلك لا أنكر أن يكون للعلوم الأخرى فائدة، ولكنها فائدة ذات حدين : إن أعانت على طاعة الله وعلى نصر دين الله وانتفع بها عباد الله، فيكون ذلك خيراً ومصلحة، وقد يكون تعلمها واجبا في بعض الأحيان إذا كان ذلك داخلاً في قوله تعالي: (وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُمْ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ قُوَّةٍ وَمِنْ رِبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ َ) (الأنفال:60) .

So then it is the legislative knowledge that has in it praise for the one acting upon it. Along with that, I dont deny that their are other beneficial fields of knowledge.  But the benefit has two boundaries (conditions) – that it helps one to obey Allah and it helps the deen of Allah, and also that the servants of Allah benefit by it.  So that is good and beneficial and learning it may be obligatory in some instances when it enters into the statement of Allah, The Most High (translated): And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery, etc.)’5    8:60


وقد ذكر كثير من أهل العلم أن تعلم الصناعات فرض كفاية ، وذلك لأن الناس لابد لهم من أوانٍ يطبخون بها، ويشربون بها ، وغير ذلك من الأمور التي ينتفعون بها، فإذا لم يوجد من يقوم بهذه المصانع صار تعلمها فرض كفاية. وهذا محل جدل بين أهل العلم، وعلى كل حال أود أن أقول إن العلم الذي هو محل الثناء هو العلم الشرعي الذي هو فقه كتاب الله وسنة رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وما عدا ذلك فإما أن يكون وسيلة إلى خير أو وسيلة إلى شر، فيكون حكمه بحسب ما يكون وسيلة إليه.

And many of the people of knowledge have mentioned that learning manufacturing is a community obligation (i.e. If some individuals fulfill it, it removes the obligation from everyone else).  That is because the people must have utensils to cook with, drink with, and other than that from the matters by which they benefit.  So if there is no one performing these manufacturing tasks, then learning it becomes a community obligation.  And this is an area in which there is debate amonst the people of knowledge.  But in any case,  I wanted to say that the knowledge which is praised is the legislative knowledge which is understanding the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam.  As for other than that, then it is either a means to good or a means to evil, so its ruling will be according to what it is a means to.



1 The Shaikh uses the same definition in his explanation of Thalaathatul Usool  for ilm –

  العلم هو إدراك الشيء على ما هو عليه إدراكاً جازماً

His explanation can be found online here:

I used the translation of Abu Talhah Dawood bin Ronald Burbank  (Explanation of the Three Fundamental Principles of Islaam published by al Hidaayah, p.37 )

2  Bukhari, Book of Knowledge, Chapter: Whoever Allah Wants Good For, and Muslim, Book of Zakaah, Ch.: The Prohibition of Begging

3  Abu Dawood, Book of Knowledge, Ch: Encouragement to Seek Knowledge; Tirmidhi, Book of Knowledge, Ch.: What has come regarding the virtue of understanding and knowledge (fiqh) in worship (Shaikh Albaanee collected this hadeeth – which is longer than what was mentioned here – in his Saheeh at Tirmidhee and Saheeh Abi Dawood and graded it as Saheeh )

4  Muslim, from the Book of Virtues (Fadaail), Ch.: the obligation of following what he said regarding the legislatiion but not what he – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam – mentioned from his opinion about the life of the dunya

5  Translation of the verse from: