Imâm Muhammad al-Ghazâlî (rahmatullâhi ’aleyh) writes in
his book Kimyâ-i Sa’âdat: “When someone becomes a Muslim,
it will primarily be fard for him to know and believe in the
meaning of the phrase Lâ ilâha ill-Allâh, Muhammadun
Rasûl-Allâh. This phrase is called the kalimat at-tawhîd. It is
sufficient for every Muslim to believe without any doubt what
this phrase means. It is not fard for him to prove it with evidence
or to satisfy his mind. Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam)
did not command the Arabs to know or to mention the relevant
proofs or to search and clarify any possible doubts. He
commanded them to believe only and not to doubt. It is enough
for everybody also to believe superficially. Yet it is fard kifâya
that there should exist a few ’âlims in every town. It is wâjib for
these ’âlims to know the proofs, to remove the doubts and to
answer the questions. They are like shepherds for Muslims. On
the one hand, they teach them the knowledge of îmân, which is
the knowledge of belief, and, on the other hand, they answer
the slanders of the enemies of Islam.
Qur’ân al-kerîm stated the meaning of the kalimat at-tawhîd
and Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) explained what is
declared in it. All the Sahâbat al-kirâm learned these
explanations and conveyed them to those who came after
them. The exalted scholars who conveyed to us what the
Sahâbat al-kirâm had conveyed, by committing them to their
books without making any alterations in them, are called the
Ahl as-Sunna. Everybody has to learn the i’tiqâd of the Ahl as-
Sunna and to unite and love one another. The seed of
happiness is in this i’tiqâd and in this unification.
The ’ulamâ’ of the Âhl as-Sunna explain the meaning of the
kalimat at-tawhîd as follows: Men were nonexistent. They were
created later. They have one Creator. He is the One who has
created everything. The Creator is one. He does not have a
partner or a likeness. There is no second He. He has been
ever-existent; His existence did not have a beginning. He will be
ever-existent; there is no end to His existence. He will not cease
to exist. His existence is always necessary. His nonexistence is
impossible. His existence is of Himself. He does not need any
means. There is nothing that will not need Him. He is the One
who creates everything and makes them go on existing. He is
not material or a thing. He is not at a place or in any substance.
He does not have a shape and cannot be measured. It cannot
be asked how He is; when we say ‘He,’ none of the things
which occur to the mind or which we can imagine is He. He is
unlike these. All of them are His creatures. He is not like His
creatures. He is the creator of everything that occurs to mind,
every illusion and every delusion. He is not above, below or at
one side. He does not have a place. Every being is below the
’Arsh. And the ’Arsh is under His Power, under His
Omnipotence. He is above the ’Arsh. Yet this does not mean
that the ’Arsh carries Him. The ’arsh exists with His Favour and
in His Omnipotence. He is the same now as He was in eternity,
in eternal past. He will always be the same in the everlasting
future as He had been before creating the ’Arsh. No change
occurs in Him. He has His own attributes. His attributes called
as-Sifât ath-Thubûtiyya are eight: Hayât (Life), ’Ilm
(Omniscience), Sam’ (Hearing), Basar (Seeing), Qudra
(Omnipotence), Irâda (Will), Kalâm (Speech, Word) and
Takwîn (Creativeness). No change ever occurs in these
attributes of His. Change implies deficiency. He has no
deficiency or defect. Though He does not resemble any of His
creatures, it is possible to know Him in this world as much as
He makes Himself known and to see Him in the Hereafter. Here
He is known without realizing how He is, and there He will be
seen in an incomprehensible way.
Allâhu ta’âlâ sent prophets (’alaihim us-salâm) to His human
creatures. Through these great people, He showed His human
creatures the deeds that bring happiness and those which
cause ruination. The most exalted prophet is Muhammad
(’alaihi ’s-salâm), the Last Prophet. He was sent as the Prophet
for every person, pious or irreligious, for every place and for
every nation on the earth. He is the Prophet for all human
beings, angels and genies. In every corner of the world,
everybody has to follow him and adapt himself to this exalted
Sayyid ’Abdulhakîm-i Arwâsî (rahmatullâhi ’aleyh) said:
 Kimyâ’ as-Sa’âda. Muhammad al-Ghazâlî (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’aleyh)
was one of the greatest Islamic scholars. He wrote hundreds of books.
All his books are very valuable. He was born in 450 (1068 A.D.) in Tûs,
i.e. Meshed, Persia, and passed away there in 505 (1111 A.D.).
 Sayyid Abdulhakîm Arwâsî was born in Başkal’a in 1281 (1864 A.D.)
“Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) had three tasks. The
first one was to communicate and make known (tabligh) the
rules of Qur’ân al-kerîm, that is, the knowledge of îmân and of
ahkâm fiqhiyya, to all human beings. Ahkâm fiqhiyya is
composed of actions commanded and actions prohibited. His
second task was to transmit the spiritual rules of Qur’ân alkerîm,
the knowledge about Allâhu ta’âlâ Himself and His
Attributes into the hearts of only the highest ones of his Umma.
His first task, tabligh, should not be confused with this second
task. The lâ-madhhabî reject the second task. But, Abû Huraira
(radiy-Allâhu ’anh) said, ‘I learned two types of knowledge from
Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam). I have told you one of
them. You would kill me if I explained the second one.’ These
words of Abû Huraira’s are written in the books Bukhârî,
Mishqât, Hadîqa, and in the letters of Maktûbât, numbers 267
and 268. The third task was directed towards those Muslims
who did not obey the advice and sermons concerning carrying
out the ahkâm fiqhiyya. Even force was employed to get them
to obey the ahkâm fiqhiyya.
“After Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam), each of the
four Khalîfas (radiy-Allâhu ’anhum) accomplished these three
tasks perfectly. During the time of hadrat Hasan (radiy-Allâhu
’anh), fitnas and bid’as increased. Islam had spread out over
three continents. The spiritual light of Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu
’alaihi wa sallam) receded away from the earth. The Sahâbat alkirâm
(radiy-Allâhu ’anhum) decreased in number. Later, no one
was able to do all these three tasks together by himself.
Therefore, these tasks were undertaken by three groups of
people. The task of communicating îmân and ahkâm fiqhiyya
was assigned to religious leaders called mujtahids. Amongst
these mujtahids, those who communicated îmân were called
mutakallimûn, and those who communicated fiqh were called
fuqahâ’. The second task, that is, making those willing Muslims
attain the spiritual rules of Qur’ân al-kerîm, was assigned to the
Twelve Imâms of the Ahl al-Bait (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim)
and to great men of tasawwuf. Sirrî (Sarî) as-Saqatî (d. 251/876
in Baghdad) and al-Junaid al-Baghdâdî (b. 207/821 and d.
298/911 in Baghdad) were two of them (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ
and passed away in Ankara in 1362 (1943 A.D.).
“The third task, having the rules of the religion implemented
by force and authority, was assigned to sultans, i.e.
governments. Sections of the first class were called Madhhabs.
Sections of the second one were called tarîqas, and the third
one was called huqûq (laws). Madhhabs that tell about îmân
are called Madhhabs of i’tiqâd. Our Prophet (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi
wa sallam) had explained that Muslims would part into seventythree
groups in respect to îmân, and that only one of them
would be right and the others wrong. And happen it did. The
group that was given the good news of being on the right way is
called the Ahl as-Sunnat wa ’l-Jamâ’a. The remaining
seventy-two groups, which were declared to be wrong, are
called the groups of bid’a, that is, heretics. None of them are
disbelievers. All of them are Muslims. But, if a Muslim who says
he belongs to any of the seventy-two groups disbelieves any
information that has been declared clearly in Qur’ân al-kerîm, in
Hadîth ash-sherîf or that has spread among Muslims, he
becomes a disbeliever. There are many people today who,
while carrying Muslim names, have already dissented from the
Madhhab of the Ahl as-Sunna and have become heretics or
non-Muslims.” Quotations from hadrat Abdulhakîm Efendi end
Muslims have to keep on learning from the cradle to the
grave. The knowledge which Muslims have to learn is called al-
’ulûm al-Islâmiyya (Islamic sciences), which consist of two
 The ’ulamâ of Ahl as-Sunna collected ’ilm at-tasawwuf by learning this
second task of our Prophet (’alaihi ’s-salâm) from the Twelve Imâms
(rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim). Some people do not believe in Awliyâ’,
karâmât or tasawwuf. This shows that they have no connection with the
Twelve Imâms. If they had followed the Ahl al-Bait, they would have
learned this second task of our Prophet from the twelve Imâms and
there would have been many scholars of tasawwuf and Awliyâ’ among
them. But there have not been any, and besides, they do not even
believe that such scholars could exist. It is obvious that the Twelve
Imâms are the Ahl as-Sunna’s imâms. It is the Ahl as-Sunna who love
the Ahl al-Bait and follow the Twelve Imâms. To become a scholar of
Islam, one has to be an heir of Rasûlullah (’alaihi ’s-salam) in these two
tasks. That is, one has to be an expert in these two branches of
knowledge. ’Abd al-Ghanî an-Nabulusî (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’aleyh), one
of such scholars, quoted, on pages 233 and 649 in his work Al-hadîqat
an-nadiyya, the hadîths describing the spiritual rules of Qur’ân al-kerîm
and pointed out that disbelieving these rules indicates ignorance and
parts: I) al-’ulûm an-naqliyya, II) al-’ulûm al-’aqliyya.
I) Al-’ulûm an-naqliyya (also called ‘religious sciences’):
These sciences are acquired by reading the books of the
’ulamâ’ of the Ahl as-Sunna. The ’ulamâ’ of Islam derived these
sciences from four main sources. These four sources are called
al-adillat ash-Shar’iyya. They are al-Qur’ân al-kerîm, al-
Hadîth ash-sherîf, ijmâ’ al-Umma and qiyâs al-fuqahâ’.
Religious sciences consist of eight main branches:
1) ’ilm at-tafsîr (the science of interpretation of Qur’ân alkerîm).
A specialist in this branch is called a mufassir; he is a
profoundly learned scholar able to understand what Allâhu
ta’âlâ means in His Word.
2) ’ilm al-usûl al-hadîth. This branch deals with
classification of hadîths. Different kinds of hadîths are explained
in Endless Bliss, second fascicle, sixth chapter.
3) ’ilm al-hadîth. This branch studies minutely the sayings
(hadîth), behaviour (sunna), and manners (hâls) of our Prophet
(sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam).
4) ’ilm al-usûl al-kalâm. This branch studies the methods
by which ’ilm al-kalâm is derived from al-Qur’ân al-kerîm and al-
5) ’ilm al-kalâm. This branch covers the study of the kalimat
at-tawhîd and the kalimat ash-shahâda and the six
fundamentals of îmân, which depend on them. These are the
teachings to be believed by heart. Scholars of kalâm usually
wrote ’ilm al-usûl al-kalâm and ’ilm al-kalâm together.
Therefore, the layman takes these two branches of knowledge
as one single branch.
6) ’ilm al-usûl al-fiqh. This branch studies the derivation of
the methods of fiqh from Qur’ân al-kerîm and Hadîth ash-sherîf.
7) ’ilm al-fiqh. This branch studies af’âl al-mukallafîn, that
is, it tells how those who are sane and pubescent should act on
matters concerning the body. This is the knowledge necessary
for the body. Af’âl al-mukallafîn has eight sections: fard, wâjib,
sunna, mustahâb, mubâh, harâm, makrûh and mufsid.
However, they can be briefly classified into three groups:
actions commanded, actions prohibited and actions permitted
8) ’ilm at-tasawwuf. This branch is also called ’ilm alakhlâq
(ethics). It explains not only the things we should do and
we should not do with the heart but also helps the belief to be
heartfelt, makes it easy for Muslims to carry out their duties as
taught in ’ilm al-fiqh and helps one attain ma’rifa.
It is fard-i ’ain for every Muslim, male or female, to learn
kalâm, fiqh and tasawwuf as much as necessary out of these
eight branches, and it is a guilt, a sin, not to learn them.
II) Al-’ulûm al-’aqliyya (also called ‘experimental sciences’):
These sciences are divided into two groups: technical sciences
and literary sciences. It is fard kifâya for Muslims to learn these
sciences. As for Islamic sciences, it is fard ’ain to learn as much
as is necessary. To learn more than is necessary, that is, to
become specialized in Islamic sciences is fard kifâya. If there is
no ’âlim who knows these sciences in a town, all of its
inhabitants and government authorities will be sinful.
Religious teachings do not change in process of time.
Making a mistake or erring while commenting on ’ilm al-kalâm is
not an excuse but a crime. In matters pertaining to fiqh, the
variations and facilities shown by Islam can be utilized when
one has the excuses shown by Islam. It is never permissible to
make alterations or to make reforms in religious matters with
one’s own opinion or point of view. It causes one to go out of
Islam. Change, improvement and progress in al-’ulûm al-
’aqliyya are permissible. It is necessary to develop them by
searching, finding and even by learning them from non-
The following article is quoted from the book Al-majmû’at
az-Zuhdiyya. It was compiled by an ex-minister of education,
Seyyid Ahmed Zühdü Pasha (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’aleyh):
The word ‘fiqh’, when used in the form of ‘faqiha yafqahu’,
that is, in the fourth category, means ‘to know, to understand.’
When it is used in the fifth category, it means ‘to know, to
understand Islam.’ A scholar in ’ilm al-fiqh is called a faqîh. ’Ilm
al-fiqh deals with the actions which people should do and those
which they should not do. The knowledge of fiqh is composed
of Qur’ân al-kerîm, Hadîth ash-sherîf, ijmâ’ and qiyâs. The
consensus of the as-Sahâbat al-kirâm and the mujtahids who
came after them is called ijmâ’ al-Umma. The rules of the
religion derived from Qur’ân al-kerîm, Hadîth ash-sherîf and
 Al-hadîqa, p. 323 and in preface to Radd al-muhtâr.
ijmâ’ al-Umma are called qiyâs al-fuqahâ.’ If it could not be
understood from Qur’ân al-kerîm or Hadîth ash-sherîf whether
an action was halâl (permitted) or harâm (forbidden), then this
action was compared to another action which was known. This
comparison was called qiyâs. Applying qiyâs required the latter
action to have the same factor which made the former action
permitted or forbidden. And this could be judged only by those
profound ’ulamâ’ who had attained the grade of ijtihâd.
’Ilm al-fiqh is very extensive. It has four main divisions:
1) ’ibâdât, composed of five subdivisions: salât (namâz),
sawm (fast), zakât, hajj, jihâd. Each has many sections. As it is
seen, it is an ’ibâda to make preparations for jihâd. Our Prophet
(sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) explained that jihâd against the
enemies of Islam was of two kinds: by actions and by words. It
is fard to learn how to make and use new weapons in
preparation for jihâd by actions. Jihâd is done by the State. It is
fard for the people to join the jihâd by obeying the State’s laws
and orders concerning jihâd. Nowadays, enemy assault through
publications, motion pictures, radio broadcast and every means
of propaganda —the second kind of war— has tremendously
increased; therefore it is also jihâd to stand against the enemies
in this field.
2) munâkahât, composed of subdivisions, such as
marriage, divorce, alimony and many others [written in detail in
the book Se’âdet-i Ebediyye].
3) mu’âmalât, composed of many subdivisions, such as
purchase, sale, rent, joint-ownership, interest, inheritance, etc.
4) uqûbât (penal code), composed of five main subdivisions:
qisâs (lex talionis), sirqat (theft), zinâ (fornication and adultery),
qadhf (accusing a virtuous woman of incontinence) and ridda
(the case of becoming an apostate).
It is fard for every Muslim to learn the ’ibâdât part of fiqh
sufficiently. It is fard kifâya to learn munâkahât and mu’âmalât;
in other words, those who have anything to do with them should
learn them. After ’ilm at-tafsîr, ’ilm al-hadîth and ’ilm al-kalâm,
the most honourable ilm is ’ilm al-fiqh. The following six hadîths
will be enough to indicate the honour of fiqh and the faqîh:
‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ alaihim ajma’în’
‘If Allâhu ta’âlâ wants to bestow His blessing on a slave
of His, He makes a faqîh of him.’
‘If a person becomes a faqîh, Allâhu ta’âlâ sends what
he wishes and his sustenance through unexpected
‘The person about whom Allâhu ta’âlâ says “most
superior” is a faqîh in the religion.’
‘Against Satan, a faqîh is more stoic than one thousand
’âbids (those who worship much).’
‘Everything has a pillar to base itself upon. The basic
pillar of the religion is the knowledge of fiqh.’
‘The best and most valuable ’ibâda is to learn and teach
Superiority of al-Imâm al-a’zam Abu Hanîfa (rahmatullâhi
ta’âlâ ’aleyh) is also understood from these hadîths.
Rules of Islam in the Hanafî Madhhab were transmitted
through a chain beginning with ’Abdullâh ibn Mas’ûd (radiy-
Allâhu ’anh), who was a Sahâbî. Al-Imâm al-a’zam Abû Hanîfa
(rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’aleyh), the founder of the Madhhab,
acquired the knowledge of fiqh from Hammâd, and Hammâd
from Ibrâhîm an-Nakhâ’î. Ibrahim an-Nakhâ’î was taught by
Alkama, and Alkama studied under Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, who
was educated by Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam).
Abu Yûsuf, Imâm Muhammad ash-Shaibânî, Zufar ibn
Hudhail and Hasan ibn Ziyâd were al-Imâm al-a’zam’s disciples
(rahimahum-Allah). Of these, Imâm Muhammad wrote about
one thousand books on Islamic teachings. He was born in 135
A.H. and passed away in Rayy, Iran, in 189 (805 A.D.).
Because he was married to the mother of al-Imâm ash-Shâfi’î,
one of his disciples, all his books were left to Shafi’î upon his
death, thus Shafi’î’s knowledge increased. For this reason, al-
Imâm ash-Shâfi’î (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’aleyh) said, ‘I swear that
my knowledge of fiqh increased by reading Imâm Muhammad’s
books. Those who want to deepen their knowledge of fiqh
should be in the company of the disciples of Abu Hanîfa.’ And
once he said, ‘All Muslims are like the household, children, of
al-Imâm al-a’zam.’ That is, as a man earns a living for his wife
and children, al-Imâm al-a’zam took it upon himself to find out
the religious knowledge which people needed in their matters.
Thus, he spared Muslims of a lot of hard work.
Al-Imâm al-a’zâm Abu Hanîfa (rahmatullâhi ’aleyh) compiled
the knowledge of fiqh, classified it into branches and sub-
branches, and set usûls (methods) for it. He also collected the
knowledge of i’tiqâd as Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam)
and the as-Sahâbat al-kirâm (ridwânullâhi ’alaihim ajma’în) had
preached, and taught them to hundreds of his disciples. Some
of his disciples became specialists in ’ilm al-kalâm, that is, in the
teachings of îmân. Of them, Abu Bakr al-Jurjânî, one of Imâm
Muhammad ash-Shaibânî’s disciples, became famous. And Abû
Nasr al-’Iyâd, one of his pupils, educated Abû Mansûr al-
Mâturîdî in ’ilm al-kalâm. Abû Mansûr wrote in his books the
knowledge of kalâm as it came from al-Imâm al-a’zam
(rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’aleyh). By contending against heretics, he
consolidated the i’tiqâd of the Ahl as-Sunna. He disseminated it
out far and wide. He passed away in Samarqand in 333 (944
A.D.). This great ’âlim and another ’âlim, Abu ’l-Hasan al-
Ash’arî, are called the imâms of the Madhhabs of i’tiqâd of
the Ahl as-Sunna.
The fiqh scholars are grouped in seven grades. Kemâl
Pasha Zhada Ahmad ibn Sulaimân Effendi (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ
’aleyh), in his work Waqf an-niyyât, explained these seven
grades as follows:
1. The mujtahids of Islam, who constructed the methods and
principles of deriving tenets from the four sources of the religion
(Adilla-i arba’a), and derived tenets in accordance with the
principles they established. The four a’immat al-madhâhib
were of these.
2. The mujtahids in a Madhhab, who, following the principles
formulated by the imâm of the Madhhab, derived rules from the
four sources. They were Imâm Abû Yûsuf, Imâm Muhammad,
etc. (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în).
3. The mujtahids on matters (mas’ala), who for the matters
that were not dealt with by the founder of the Madhhab, derived
rules using the methods and principles of the Madhhab. Yet in
doing this, they had to follow the imâm. They were at-Tahâwî
(238-321 A.H., in Egypt), Hassâf Ahmad ibn ’Umar (d. 261, in
Baghdad), ’Abdullâh ibn Husain al-Karkhî (340), Shams ala’imma
al-Halwânî (456, in Bukhârâ), Shams al-a’imma as-
Sarahsî (483), Fakhr-ul Islâm ’Alî ibn Muhammad al-Pazdawî
(400-482, in Samarqand), Qâdî-Khân Hasan ibn Mansûr al-
Farghânî (592), etc. (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în).
4. As’hâb at-takhrîj, who were not able to employ ijtihâd.
They were scholars who briefly explained in brief unclear rules
derived by mujtahids. Husâm ad-dîn ar-Râzî ’Alî ibn Ahmad (d.
593 A.H., in Damascus) was one of them. He (rahmatullâhi
ta’âlâ ’aleyh) wrote a commentary to Al-Qudûrî.
5. Arbâb at-tarjîh, who preferred one of the several riwâyas
(narrations or opinions of the mujtahids as narrated) coming
from mujtahids. They were Abu l’Hasan al-Qudûrî (362-428
A.H., in Baghdad) and Burhân ad-dîn ’Alî al-Marghinânî the
author of Al-hidâya, who was martyred by the soldiers of
Jenghiz in the Bukhârâ Massacre of 593 A.H. [1198 A.D.].
6. Those who wrote various riwâyas about a matter in an
order with respect to their reliability were called muqallids. They
did not include any refused riwâya in their books. Abû ’l-Barakât
’Abdullâh ibn Ahmad an-Nasafî (d. 710 A.H.), the author of
Kanz ad-daqâiq; ’Abdullâh ibn Mahmûd al-Musûlî (d. 683), the
author of Mukhtâr; Burhân ash-Sharî’a Mahmûd ibn Sadr ash-
Sharî’a ’Ubaid-Allâh (d. 673), the author of Al-wiqâya; and Ibn
as-Sâ’âtî Ahmad ibn ’Alî al-Baghdâdî (d. 694), the author of
Majmâ’ al-bahrain, are a few of them. (rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ
7. They are also muqallids incapable of distinguishing
weak riwâyas from genuine ones.