Question: In the subject concerning iman of the book Endless Bliss, Sayyid ‘Abdulhakim Efendi defines iman as follows:
Iman itself is:
“Without consulting mind, experience or philosophy, to confirm, to believe the facts which Hadrat Muhammad [‘alaihis-salam], the master of both worlds, communicated as the Prophet. If one confirms them because they are reasonable, one has confirmed mind, not the Messenger. Or one has confirmed mind and the Messenger together, in which case the Prophet has not been trusted completely. When confidence is incomplete, there is not iman. For iman cannot be broken. If a mind finds what the Messenger brought as reasonable, it will be understood that this mind is salim, perfect.”
Does this definition not disregard ‘aql?
It never disregards aql. This definition may be contrary to ‘aql-i saqim, not to ‘aql-i salim. It is unimportant whether aql-I sakim understands it or not.
[‘Aql: It is a comprehensive power that has been created so as to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, useful from harmful.
‘Aql-i salim: The ‘aql which is salim never goes wrong and never errs. It never does anything to necessitate repentance. It does not make mistakes in the things it considers. It always follows the course of actions that are good and that turn out good. It thinks properly and finds the right way. Its deeds are always correct. This ‘aql existed in prophets only. They were successful in every activity they had started. They would not do anything that would make them repent or that would harm them. The one which is close to theirs is the ‘aql of the Sahaba, of the Tabi’un, of the Taba-i tabi’un, and of the religious imams.
‘Aql-i saqim: The ‘aql that is saqim is quite the opposite. It errs in its acts and thoughts, which always incurs sorrow, repentance, harm, and trouble.]
He continues: “This definition is intended as an obstacle in the way of understanding the meaning of the Qur’an.”
Quite the contrary, it poses an obstacle to the people who strive to rationalize Islam. If the religion is rationalized, there appear as many religions as the number of people. If the minds of scholars are not a yardstick in the religion, how can your mind be a yardstick? The owner of this definition is an Islamic scholar. Allahu ta’ala declares, “If you do not know, ask the scholars.”
He continues: “In the third verse of Surat-ul-Baqara, it is declared, ‘They confirm the ghayb.’ It is not declared we should believe without seeing.”
Apparently, you do not know what the ghayb is. The ghayb are things that cannot be proven through sense organs [through the eyes, the nose, the ears, the tongue, and the skin], through calculations, or experiments. Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states: “Mind and imagination cannot approach Him. There is no other way than believing such a high Creator, who is unlike anything and who cannot be understood with mind, through ghayb. For it will not be belief in Him to believe Him by attempting to understand Him by seeing or thinking. It will be belief in something made by us, which will not be iman then” (Second Volume, 9th Letter).
He continues: “Iman is confirmation after seeing.”
Your statement is another way of saying “I do not believe in Islam.” Which oneof the six pillars of faith have you seen? Iman is confirmation without seeing. If I take an apple out of my pocket and say, “This is an apple,” the confirmation of a person seeing it will not be iman, but stating what that person has seen. Therefore, iman is put in the ghayb. If I say, “There is a gold object in my pocket,” and having confidence in me, if you confirm in the affirmative, this is iman. However, after seeing the gold object, your confirmation is not iman anymore, but stating what you have seen. You should notice the difference between these two.
Question: A young friend of mine who lays great emphasis on mind and research says, “Why is this fard? Why is it a sin? I cannot accept them without knowing the reasons behind them. I do not believe in Allah, who is not seen, as an old woman believes.” Does our religion not enjoin us to believe without seeing?
It is very dangerous to utter such kinds of statements as this youngster does. Even if we fail to understand the reasons behind divine rules, we have to accept them without hesitation as they are the commandments of Allah. In the books Ihya by Hadrat Imam-i Ghazali, who is one of the greatest among Islamic scholars and who has the title of dignity Hujjat-ul-Islam, and Jami’us-saghir by Imam-i Suyuti, the following hadith-i sharif is reported:
(When different beliefs appear in the time period close to Doomsday, believe as old women do.) [Daylami]
This hadith-i sharif does not mean that we have to blindly believe baseless things as an old woman does, but rather it means that we have to believe whatever Allahu ta’ala and His Prophet communicated, even if they are beyond comprehension and provability. Jannat [Paradise], Jahannam [Hell], the Sirat Bridge, and the events pertaining to the Hereafter cannot be substantiated by the mind and reason. It being beyond comprehension, the Mu’tazila group denied the Sirat Bridge, Mi’raj, and such like. Today, while many Muslims become renegades because of denying the Mi’raj event and while disbelievers considered it to be a fallacy, Hadrat Abu Bakr, on the other hand, reached the summit of iman by saying, “If he has said that, it is certainly true.”
Without seeing and reasoning it out, his faithful confirmation of Hadrat Muhammad’s ascension to and coming from the heavens (Mi’raj) just in a moment elevated his iman to higher degrees. As regards his iman that is more luminous than the sun, our master the Prophet stated, “Were the iman of Abu Bakr weighed against the iman of my entire Ummat, Abu Bakr’s iman would prove heavier.”
As it is fard-i ‘ayn to learn necessary Islamic knowledge pertaining to practices, it is not permissible to omit this fard and instead to be continuously busy observing the anatomy of trees, flowers, humans, and animals, thinking that you are investigating the iman. However, fundamentals of iman are not ascertainable, and it is not obtained through proofs. Our Master the Prophet enjoined us to believe in the ghayb. Iman is to believe without seeing. When the pious are praised in the Qur’an al-karim, it is declared, “Those muttaqîs believe in the ghayb” (Surat-ul-Baqara 3).
It means that belief in the ghayb is an attribute of the pious. The people who believe by saying “All the things communicated by the Messenger of Allah are true” are saved. Iman is not such a thing that is acquired through investigation and reasoning. Islamic scholars define it as follows:
Iman itself is, without consulting mind, experience or philosophy, to confirm, to believe the facts which Muhammad ‘alaihissalam communicated as the Prophet. If one confirms them because they are reasonable, one has confirmed mind, not the Messenger. Or one has confirmed mind and the Messenger together, in which case the Prophet has not been trusted completely. When confidence is incomplete, there is not iman. For iman cannot be broken. It is reported in a hadith-i sharif:
(There is no one more corruptive than he who measures the religion with his mind.) [Tabarani]
Aql-i salim is a very precious bestowal. Our Master the Prophet said the following in a hadith-i sharif, “Aql is a noor which differentiates what is right from what is wrong.” In order for humans to distinguish right and good ones from wrong and evil ones, Allahu ta’ala has granted them ‘aql. It is a gauge, a tool used to measure (compare) things, but there cannot be a comparison in the knowledge pertaining to Allahu ta’ala. However, there may be comparison in the knowledge about creatures. Since the amount of ‘aql in humans varies from one person to another, while some people make a correct comparison in the knowledge about creatures, the others cannot. Throughout centuries human beings have failed to find without a guide the right path revealed by Allah. A retrospective view of history will show us that when left alone without a guide people deviate into degenerate paths. Therefore, it is a condition to believe in the Prophet of Allah.
Question: How can I counter my friend who says, “My mind does not accept to believe in a thing without seeing it, and the things in the religion make my soul gloomy”?
Ask him to show his mind that does not accept to believe and his soul that feels gloomy. Let us see how he will show them.
Question: Is it appropriate to say, “I do not believe in Allah, whom I do not see”?
No, it is not appropriate. Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
“All things which we know and learn, which we remember and imagine, and which affect our sense organs are creatures. Our saying that He is unlike anything means to liken Him (to something). The greatness which we realize means inferiority. Ibrahim ‘alaihis-salam said to the disbelievers, “Why do you worship idols which you yourselves have made? Allahu ta’ala created you and all your deeds.” All the things we do, whether we do them with our hands or we shape them with our mind and imagination, are Allah’s creatures. He is unlike any of the things which we know or which we find out by thinking. He cannot be understood. Mind and imagination cannot approach Him. There is no other way than believing such a high Creator, who is unlike anything and who cannot be understood by mind, through ghayb (without seeing or understanding). For it will not be belief in Him to believe Him by attempting to understand Him by seeing or thinking. It will be belief in something made by us, and that something is His creature. We will have made it a partner to Him, and we will have believed something besides Him” (Second Volume, 9th Letter).
Question: Some awliya’ say, “If we saw Paradise and Hell, there would not be an increase or a change in our iman.” How can it be? Certainty coming from knowledge is termed ‘ilm-ul yaqin, but certainty coming from direct observation and seeing is termed ‘ayn-ul yaqin. Is seeing something with eyes not so much higher than a conviction coming from knowledge? Did our forefathers say “Should I believe in my eyes or should I believe in my words?” to no purpose? What is the hidden meaning in this statement that pious people have uttered?
Seeing something with eyes is certainly more solid evidence compared to only knowing it. But this addresses to people like us. The ‘ilm [knowledge] of people who acquired the absolute belief (iman-i haqiqi) is different. Hadrat Abu Bakr’s saying “If he says that, it is certainly true” is an exemplary case of this issue. Eyes may err, but the iman of those people are so unshakeable that nothing can change it. Strength of the belief of a person who has seen with eyes cannot be to such an extent. Eyes are not gauges, tools in having iman. If they were, people who saw our Prophet must have believed in him. While people who held our Prophet in “the orphan of ‘Abdullah” regard sank into disbelief, people who held him in “the Messenger of Allah” regard attained hidayah. Eyes in the faces may err, but eyes in the hearts do not err. Muslims’ seeing or understanding something happens through the eyes of the hearth. Eyes see something when they look at, but the spiritual heart sees it when it believes. The spiritual hearts of Muslims have believed, and they have attained the blessings of Allahu ta’ala. Depending on their degrees, they see many things that are not even dreamed of, no matter whether they pertain to this life or the life to come.
Belief through seeing
Question: My friend who is an educator said, “Belief after seeing something is not iman.” Thereupon, a student said, “Is one who believes after seeing a mu’jizah or a karamah not considered to have belief after seeing?” For example, is it not belief after seeing for a person who saw the mu’jizah of our Master the Prophet or for the priest who saw Hell and Paradise in the karamah of Hadrat Abdukqadir Ghaylani?” Who is right?
What the educator said is right. It is not iman to have belief after seeing. It is confirmation of what has been seen. When the pious are praised in Surat al-Baqara, it is said, “They believe in ghayb.” Belief in ghayb is the basis. If one saw Paradise or Hell and believed after seeing it, it would not be considered iman. It would be to give statement of what one saw, which can be achieved by any ordinary person. What must be done is to believe something without seeing. For example, Shaitan saw Paradise, but his confirmation of the existence of Paradise does not show that he has faith.
Hadrat Sayyid Abdulhakim Arwasi states:
Iman itself is, without consulting mind, experience or philosophy, to confirm, to like and to believe the religion which Muhammad ‘alaihissalam communicated as the Prophet. If one confirms it because it is reasonable, one has confirmed the mind [aql], not the Prophet. Or one has confirmed the Prophet and the mind together, in which case the Prophet has not been trusted completely. When confidence is incomplete, there is not iman because iman cannot be broken up. (Endless Bliss)
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
Mind and imagination cannot approach Allah. There is no other way than believing the Creator, who is unlike anything and who cannot be understood by way of mind, through ghayb because it will not be belief in Him to believe Him by attempting to understand Him by seeing or thinking. It will be belief in something made by us, which is not considered iman then. (Second Volume, Letter 9)
If one saw Paradise, Hell, or angels after believing in ghayb, one’s iman would become stronger. Muji’za and karamah cause one’s iman to grow stronger.
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani stated:
Since the Blessed Companions saw the Messenger of Allah, revelations, and mujiza and were in the company of angels, their iman was iman through seeing. These superiorities are the basis of other superiorities. No one other than the Blessed Companions could attain these superiorities. (First Volume, Letter 120)
There were many people who disbelieved mu’jiza. Though about a thousand mu’jizas were seen from our Master the Prophet, there were those who call of them magic. There are people who disbelieve the Qur’an al-karim, one of a thousand mu’jizas and a permanent miracle. Pharoah and his men disbelieved the mu’jiza of Hadrat Musa in which his staff turned into a big serpent and in another he walked through the sea. Likewise, many people did not believe the mu’jizas of Hadrat Isa, in which he restored sight to the blind and gave life to the dead.
There were many people who disbelieved karamah. Witnessing a karamah does not mean believing by way of seeing. Seeing Paradise and Hell in the waistband of Hadrat Abd al-Qadir Ghaylani does not mean that one will inevitably believe it. One may call it a magic and disbelieve. Some may believe without witnessing anything, and some people’s iman strengthen when they see it. In conclusion, mu’jiza and karamah make it easier for a person to believe, but it cannot be said that they inevitably necessitate believing.