Kennedy school of missions

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doubt), just as when you are asked whether/will punish a cer

tain person or not, while you are ignorant of his circumstances. Then your soul does not incline to judge him positively or negatively, but you feel that the two possibilities are equal. This is called shakk (doubt or uncertainty).
b.) The second is that your soul inclines toward one of two matters in spite of a perception that its contradiction is possible; but it is a possibility which does not prohibit the first from outweighing it, just as if, concerning a man whom you know to be good and pious, you were asked, "Were he himself to die in this state, would he be punished?" your soul would incline more to the fact that he would not be punished than towards punishment. That is on account of the manifest signs of virtue, and in spite of this you admit that some matter which compells punishment may be hidden in his inner and secret parts. This admission balances that inclination, but it does not prohibit outweighing it. This state

is called al-zann (supposition or a preponderant belief, with the admission that the contrary may be the case.)


c) The third is that the soul inclines to believe something, because it overcomes (the soul) and no (other possi

bility) occurs to the mind. Even if something else should occur to the mind, the soul would refuse to accept it. But that is not true knowledge; for if the holder of this position should become better versed in reflecting on and paying attention to what causes doubt and makes (something else) probable, he would have a new outlook toward what makes it probable. This is called i'tigad (belief) which approaches al-,yagin (certain belief), and it is the common people's be

lief concerning all their religious ordinances. For it is firmly implanted in their souls by hearing alone so that each group is confident of its school of thought and the sagacity of Its leader and what it (the group) follows. Should anyone mention to one of them that it is possible for his leader to err, he would refrain from accepting it.

d) The fourth is true knowledge obtained by way of demonstration which one neither doubts nor imagines there to be any doubt connected with it. So when the presence of doubt and its possibility are excluded, it is called al-,yagin (certain belief) among these (speculative philosophers).

An example of it is when someone asks an intelligent

person, "Is there anything eternal (gadlm) in existence." it is not possible to believe it intuitively (bi '1-badlhah);


for the eternal is not something perceived by the senses (ma~heUss). It is not like the sun and the moon. For one believes in the existence of both of them by the senses. Knowledge of the existence of something eternal is not axiomatic (auwaliyan) and necessary (.aruriyan) like the knowledge that. two is greater than one, but like the knowledge that it is impossible for creation to happen without a cause. That also is necessary. So it is right for the innate quality of the mind to hesitate to believe in the existence of the eternal by way of intuition and without thought.

Then there are some people who hear that and absolutely and decidedly believe it on authority and continue to believe it. That is the belief (al-i'tigad)which is the state of all the masses.

There are some people who believe it on demonstration.

It is as though someone said to them, "There is nothing eternal in existence, for all existing things are created. So, if ail of it is created, it is created without a cause or in them there is a creation without a cause", which is absurd. And what leads to the absurd is absurd. It is necessary for the mind to believe in the existence of something which is eternal, because there are three divisions. They are: a¢ that all existing things are eternal, b) all of them are created, or c) some of them are eternal and some of them


are created.

If all of them are eternal, then that which is sought

is obtained, for the eternal is established as a whole. If all is created, that is absurd,for it leads to a creation without a cause. Then the third or the first division is confirmed. And all knowledge which is obtained in this way is called certain knowledge (al-yagin) among these people whether it is obtained by speculation like that which we mentioned, or obtained by the sense, or by the natural quality of the mind like the knowledge that it is absurd for something to be a creation without a cause, or (obtained) by unexceptionable evidence of truthful men (bi tawatur) like the knowledge of the existence of Mecca, or (obtained) by experience like the knowledge that cooked scammony is a purgative, or (obtained) by proof, as we mentioned. Among them the condition for the use of this term is the absence of doubt. With them, all knowledge in which there is no

doubt is called "certainty" (al-yagln). And according to this (condition) certainty is not qualified with weakness, for there is no differentiation in the denial of doubt.

The second technical usage for al-,yaq'In is the special usage of the jurisconsults and Sufis and most of the learned. It is that it pays no regard to the consideration of probabil

ity and uncertainty, but rather to ruling and dominating the


mind so that one says, "So-and-so is weak in his certain belief about death", in spite of the fact that there is no doubt about it; and one says, "So-and-so is strong in his certain belief of getting his providential supply", in spite of the fact that it is possible that he may not get it. Whenever the self inclines to believe a thing and that (thing) overpowers and dominates the heart so that it becomes the ruler and governor over the self through permitting and pro

hibiting, that is called certain belief (al-yagin). There is no doubt that people share in the certainty of death and being set free from doubt about it, but there are some people who pay no regard to it nor to preparation for it, and act just as if they are not certain of it.

Then there are others over whose hearts that (idea) rules to such a degree that all their concern is obsessed with preparation for it and they leave no room in it for anything else. (To describe) this kind of condition they use the expression "strong certainty" (quwwah al-yagin). For

that reason one of them (gnostic philosophers) said, "I have

assuredly not seen any certainty, in which there is no doubt, more comparable to doubt in which there is no certainty, than death." According to this technical usage certain belief may be qualified by weakness and strength.

For our part, we meant by our words only that it is the


business of the other-worldly divines to direct their attention to the strengthening of certainty which is to exclude doubt, then to set up certainty as sultan over the soul so that it(certainty) is the victor ruling over and governing the soul. If you understand this you have learned the meaning of our saying that certainty (al-yagin) is divided into

three parts: a) strength and weakness, b) paucity and abundance, and c) obscure and clear.

As for strength and weakness, it is according to the second meaning (is~ t Y) which is about dominating and ruling over the heart. In regard to strength and weakmess_, the degrees of meaning (ma'ani) about certainty have no end. People differ about preparation for death according as their certainty differs about these meanings.

As for the difference in obscurity and clarity in regard to the first conventional term (istilah), that is not denied also. As for what probability leads to, it is not denied; I mean the second conventional term. Concerning that from which doubt is excluded also, there is no way to deny

it. For you know the variation between your belief in the 309

existence of Mecca and the existence of Fadak, for example, and the variation between your belief in the existence of Moses and Yusha', although you have no doubt about either of them; for the source of authority for both of them is unex-


ceptionable evidence of truthful men (al-tawatur); but you see one of them clearer and more distinct in your heart than the second because the cause of one of them, which is an

abundance of informants, is stronger.

In like manner the speculative philosopher (al-nazis) attains to this in regard to the speculations which are known by proofs. The clarity of something which appears to him by one proof is not like the clarity of that which appears to him by many proofs in spite of their equality in excluding doubt. Sometimes this is denied by a theologian who gets his knowledge from books and his auditory sense and who does not consult his soul concerning what he knows of the disa-gfeement of circumstances.

As for paucity and abundance (neither is that denied, for) that is connected with abundance of the connections of certainty, just as one says, "So-and-so is greater in respect to knowledge than so-and-so." That is,the things which he knows are greater in number. For that reason, a learned person is sometimes strong in his certainty concerning everything he got from the divine law, and sometimes he is strong in (only) part of it.

If you should say, "I have understood certainty, its strength and weakness, its paucity and abundance, its clarity and pbecurLty according to the meaning of excluding doubt


or according to the meaning of ruling over the heart, but what is the meaning of the things connected with certainty and its by-products (muta'llagat al-yagin wa majarlhi), and what does certainty demand? For when I do not understand what is demanded by it, I cannot succeed in finding It",, you should know that everything that the prophets brought from first to last is part of the by-product of certainty. For verily certainty is an expression ('ibarah) for a special knowledge (ma'rifah), and its connections are the information by which the divine laws were brought. It is not desirable to count them, but I will point out some of them which are their sources (ummahatiha)

One of them is,-the doctrine of Allah's unity (tawh1d)

which is to consider that everything (comes) from the Caus

er oWauses and to pay no attention to the intermediaries but to consider them as something constrained to work (muskharah) which has no authority; and the believer in this is one who is certain of anything. For, if,along with his faith, the possibility of doubt is excluded from his heart, heis certain in one of the two meanings. If that, along

with his faith, thorougnly dominates his heart, anger against, pleasure with, and thanks for the Intermediaries is removed from it. And in his heart the intermediaries descend to the rank of a pen and a hand in the right of a benefactor to sign a decree. For one does not thank a pen or a hand.


Neither does one get angry against them; rather he considers them as two instruments which are obliged to work and as two intermediaries. Then he has become certain according to the second meaning which-is the most honorable and which is the fruit, the spirit, and the benefit of the first certainty. As long as makes sure that the sun, the moon, the stars, the solid earth, the plants, the animals, and every created thing are compelled to work by His order, just as a pen in the hand of a writer and that the eternal power is the source of all, the domination of trust, satisfaction, and surrender will reign over his heart. And he who is certain and free from anger, malice, envy, and evil character. This is one of the parts (abwab) of certainty.

From that comes confidence (thiqah) that Allah will guarantee providential sustenance according to His saying, "There is no living thing on earth whose providential sustenance does not depend on Allah" (11:8), and (there also comes the) certainty that it will come to him, and that what is decreed for him will be sent to him. Insofar as that dominates his heart, he would be behaving decently in his request; and his cupidity, his greed, and his sorrow about what he failed to obtain will not be intense.

This certainty also engenders a cluster of obedient acts and praiseworthy character. From that (fruit) the dominating idea that whoever does the least bit of good will see it,


and whoever does the tiniest bit of evil will see it. This is certainty about reward and punishment so that he sees the relationship of obedience to reward as the relationship of bread to satisfying (hunger) and the relationship of disobedience to punishment as the relationship of poisons and vipers to destruction.

Just as he desires to obtain bread in order to satisfy his hunger, so he guards (both) small and large quantities of it. So in like manner he covets all obeditent acts, the few and the many. And just as he avoids (both) small and large doses of poison, so he avoids small and large amounts of disobedience (both) minor and major.

Certainty in its first meaning is sometines found with the masses of the believers, but as for the second meaning, it is the particular quality of those who are close to Allah. The fruit of this certainty is true watchfulness in motion and repose and promptings an oing to the extreme to (obtain) piety and avoid every evil. To the degree that certainty (in that) is more dominating, (one's) avoidance will be more intense and his exertion more fare reaching.

From that comes the certainty that Allah is watching over you in every circumstance and sees the stirrings of

your conscience and your hidden promptings and thoughts. This is something that is certain with every believer according


,to the first meaning which is absence of doubt.
As for the second meaning, which is what is aimed at, it is something rare which is the true believers' particular quality. Its fruit is that even in his isolated life man should be well-mannered in all his circumstances, just as one who sits in the presence of a great king who observes him, and he (who sits there) continues to glance down at the ground and be polite in al~his actions carefully avoiding
every movement contrary to the appearance of politeness. In


his inner thoughts he should as he is in his outer actions,

for he is certain that Allah is looking down on his heart Just as mankind sees his outer acts. His utmost care to build up his inner (life) and to cleanse and adorn it for the sake of Allah the Guarder should be stronger than his utmost care to adorn his outer (life) for other people.
This stage of conviction brings on modesty, fear, contrition, humility, abjection, submission, and a (whole) group of praiseworthy characteristics. These characteristics give rise to (various) kinds of fine acts of obedience. In every one of these parts certainty is like a tree, while these characteristics in the heart are like limbs branching off from it, andthese deeds and acts of obddience originating from the characteristics are like the fruit and flowers branching off from the limbs.


Certainty isthe origin and foundation, and it has more courses and parts than we have enumerated. Mention will be made ofthem in the quarter on The Things Which Save, while. this amount about the meaning of the conventional term (1_afz-) will suffice for the present.

9. (A ninth si n of an other-worldl

he should be sad, contrite, downcast, silent, and give the appearance of piety on his countenance, his clothing, his conduct, his motion and his quiesence, and his speech and silence.
An observer would only see:. that his appearance is a re

minder of Allah and his form is an indication of his action. 310 For you can tell a good horse by its appearance. The other

worldly divines are known by their sign of tranquility, submissiveness, and humility. Somebody has said, "Allah has not clothed a worshipper in better clothing than tranquil
submissiveness." It is the clothing of the prophets and the 311 sign of the righteous, the believers, and the learned.
As for continually speaking and using eloquence and drowning one's self in laughter and speed of movement and speech (before another has a chance), all these are signs of insolence and self-confidence and being heedless of the magnitude of Allah's chastisement and the intensity of His anger. This is the habit of the sons of the present world,

divine is that


those who are neglectful of Allah, not those who know Him.

That is because there are three kinds of learned, Just as Sahl al-Tustarl said: a) one who knows Allah's commands, not the times of Allah; and they are those who give legal opinions (al-muftun) concerning the lawful and the unlawful. This knowledge does not beget reverence, b:) one who knows Allah, not the command or the times of Allah. They are the mass of believers. And c-) one who knows Allah and Allah's
command and the days ob times of Allah. They are the firm 312 believers whom true reverence and humility dominate.
By the times of Allah (ayyam allah), he meant His diverse hidden punishments and inner graces which He poured out on the early years (of Islam) and those which immediately followed-them. If anyone's knowledge encompasses that his fear becomes great and his humility obvious.
'Umar (Bin al-Khattab) said, "Learn knowledge and for knowledge learn tranquility, respect, and clemency. Be humble toward the one from whom you learn, and let the one who learns from you be humble toward you and do not be one of the learned who are proud and haughty. Your knowledge does not subsist by your ignorance."
Someone said, "Allah did not give a worshipper knowledge without giving clemency, humility, good character, and com# reading b lah with SMZ instead of li '119h


passion with it."
That is beneficial knowledge. And in a tradition of

the companions (we read), "One to whom Allah has given knowledge, asceticism, humility, and good character is the lead

er (imam) of the god-fearing." 513
In a tradition from the prophet (khabar) (we read), "A people who openly laugh because of the wideness of the mercy of Allah and who secretly weep from fear of His punsihment
are the elite of my nation. Their bodies are on the earth, and their hearts in the heavens; their spirits are in the present world, and their minds in the next abode. They walk in tranquility and draw near by entreating Allah (with some good deed)."
Al-Uasan said, "Clemency is the vizier of knowledge, 314 compassion is its father., and humility is its coat of mail."
Bishr Bin al Harith said, "The one who seeks leadership by knowledge approaches Allah with his hatred, and he is de


tested in heaven and on earth."
Concerning the Israelites, it was rs.lated that a philosopher composed three hundred and sixty books about wisdom so that he was described as a philosopher. So Allah inspired their prophet to say, "Say to so-and-so, 'You have filled
the earth with nonsense, none of which you did out of a desire to seek me. Verily, I will not accept any of your nonsense."


Then the man repented, forsook that, and mixed with

the masses, walked in the market places, relied in the

Children of Israel, and became humble himself. Then Allah
inspired their prophet to say to him, "Now you have succeed^

of you observes a policeman and seeks refuge from him with

Allah, and (also) looks at the learned of the present world who pretend to do good to the people, and who look to leader

ship; and he does not detest them, although they are more de


serving of abhorrence than that policeman."

It is related that someone inquired, "0 Messenger of Allah, what deeds are most excellent?"

He answered, "To avoid the things that are forbidden, and you should continually mention Allah."

"Which of the companions are the most excellent?" in
quired someone.
He replied, "The companion who helps you, when you mention or remember Allah; and who reminds you, when you forget Him."
Somebody inquired, "Which of the companions are the worst?" "That companion who does not remind you, when you for
get Allah; and who does not aid you, when you remember Him."

He was asked, "Which people are the most learned?"

d ed in (finding) my pleasure."


A1-Auza'i quoted that Bala,l Bin Sa'dLused to say, "One


"Those who are most serious in their submission to Allah,' he replied.

(So) they said, "Then inform us of our elite (so that) we may sit With them."

He said, "(They are) those who, when seen, are mentioning Allah."

"And which people are the worst?" they inquired.

He replied, "0 Allah, I ask you to pardon me." (that is, beg to be excused from answering that.")

They entreated, "Tell us, 0 Messenger of Allah."


"The learned, when they are corrupt", he responded.

He said, "The people who will be safest on the day of judgment are those who are most thoughtful in the present world. Those who will.laugh most in the next abode are those who weep most in the present world. And the people whose
joy will be most intense in the next abode are those who 320 sorrow most in the present world."
In one of the speeches attributed to 'Ali he said, "My
responsibility is pledged for (the truth of) what I say, and 321

I am answerable for it: a people's sowing does not wither,if

they are pious nor does the source of the root thirst after guidance. The most Ignorant of people is one who does not know his value and the most detested of mankind in the sight of Allah is the man who picks up knowledge from here and



there by which he makes an attack in the distressful darkness (i.e. he uses it to cause trouble).

Those people who resemble him and their wicked ones are called learned. He did not live a day safe in his knowledge; he went forth early in the morning to increase it. A small amount of it which Is sufficient is better than much of it which distracts so that when his thirst is quenched with foul water and he has gathered much (material) which has no benefit, he sets himself up as a teacher of people to clear up what was obscure to others. Then, when one of these important (problems) comes to him, he prepares redundant words for it from his opinion.

In clearing up doubts he is like a spider weaving a web: and not knowing if he is right or wrong. One whose mount is


ignorance frequently goes astray. He offers no excuses for what he does not know and (thus) save himself, nor does he obtain a good hold on knowledge with sharp-cutting molars and obtain spoil. The blood (of what is sacrificed) weeps on account of him (i.e. his unlawful, unjust fatwas) and by his judgments the unlawful secret parts are made lawful (on account of his ignorance of the matters which pertain to marriage). By Ailah! he'is not content to issue that which comes to him (i.e. heputs things in the wrong place) , and he is. not fit to assume the responsibility for that which was given


to him.
They are the ones on whom exemplary punishment falls

and on whom lamenting and weeping are encumbent all the days 322

of life of the present world. And 'Ali said, "If you hear
knowledge, stop speaking; and do not mix it up with sport, for then minds reject it."
One of the Fathers said, "If a learned person laughs
vociferously, ho-As absolutely rejected from knowledge."
Someone said, "When a teacher has three qualities , a
pupil's life Is most blessed. They are: patience, humility, and good character. When a pupil has three qualities, his
teacher's life is made perfectly blessed by them. (They are) intelligence, good manners, and good understanding."
In short, the other-worldly divines continue to have the traits of character which the Q;ur'an brought because they learned the qur'an for the sake of acting, not for the

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