The Three Fundamental Principles 1

Wednesday January 11, 2012

NOTE: You may click on the screenshots to view them at 100%  The Arabic text and English meaning with audio recording can be accessed from HERE.  If anyone finds any mistakes in these notes –  especially regarding the Arabic text or transliteration, kindly post the correction in the comments section.  Baarakallaahu feekum.


Alhamdulillaah Rabbil-`aalameen, all the praise is to Allaah, we praise Him, seek His Aid and ask His Forgiveness. May the peace and blessings and salawaat be upon His slave and Messenger Muhammad – Sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, his house of kin and companions and all who follow them exactly until the Day of Judgement.

Today we take the second book in the series:  Thalaathatul Usool (the three fundamental principles).  It is a book meant to clarify the Tawheed Al Uluuhiyyah.

This book takes three parts:

  1. The introduction which is also in three parts
    1. first part of the intro starts with his saying : “I`lam rahimakallah …”
    2. the second part which also starts from his saying :”I`lam rahimakallah …”
    3. Third part starts fromhis saying: “I`lam arshadakallaahu bitaa`atihi …” 
  2. The main topic which contains three fundamental principles that are the 3 questions asked in the grave.  This second part of the book is meant to clarify the Tawheed Al-Uluuhiyyah
  3. The final part contains important issues regarding tawheed.  

Today we will take the first part of the introduction:

اِعْلَمْ –  رَحِمَكَ اللهُ – أنَّهُ يَجبُ عَلًيْنَا تعلمُ أَرْبعِ مَسَائِلَ

I`lam – rahimakallaahu -annahu yajibu `alaynaa ta`alumu arba`i masaaila
Know –  may Allaah have mercy on you – that we are obligated to know four matters:

  • “Rahimakallaah” means:  “May Allaah forgive your past sins and have mercy on you by keeping you from doing sins in the future”
  • “Yajib” means: “It is obligatory”
  • “Alaynaa” means: “Upon us”  and this is every Muslim and Muslimah not just students of knowledge…

الأولى: الْعِلْمُ. وَهُوَ مَعْرِفَةُ اللهِ, وَمَعْرِفَةُ نَبِيهِ, وَمَعْرِفَةُ دينِ الإِسْلَامِ بِالْأَدِلَّةِ

Al-Oolaa: Al-`Ilmu. Wahuwa ma`rifatullaahi, wama`rifatu nabiyyihi (sallallaahu`alayhi wasallam) wa ma`rifatu deenil-Islaami bil-adillati 
First: Knowledge, which is to know Allaah, His Messenger (Sallallaahu`alayhi wa sallam) and the religion of Islaam with the supportive evidences.

  • “`Ilm” means “Knowledge”.  What is the knowledge that the author is talking about?   It is religious knowledge.  

A very important issue we must understand is that there are three meanings to terms:

    1. A linguistic meaning –  meaning in the Arabic language –  what the Arabs have used to express a meaning.
    2. A religious meaning –  The meaning that Allaah and  His Messenger -sallallaahu alayhi wasallam use for that term.  
    3. A technical meaning –  the scientific meaning. The meaning that the scholarsof a particular science use amongst themselves.

For example, if  we apply these three meanings to the word – SUNNAH, we have:

    1. The  linguistic meaning is ” the way”  It means any way as in 17/77 * which means:  (This was Our) Sunnah (rule or way) with the Messengers We sent before you (O Muhammad), and you will not find any alteration in Our Sunnah (rule or way).
    2. The religious meaning is “the way of the Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa sallam”
    3. The technical meaning is ” a preferred act of the Rasool” and this is the meaning to the scholars of Fiqh

الثانية: العملُ بِه

Ath-Thaaniyyah:  Al-`amalu bih.
Second: Acting on this

Knowledge is not meant for itself but is meant for what comes after it which is acting upon it.  because knowledge without actions is just like a tree with no fruits –  it is of no use.  That is why Abu Dhardaa said: “You won’t be knowledgeable until you are a learner. and you won’t be a learner until you become acting upon what you know.”  Taking knowledge without acting upon it is the quality of the Yahood.   As Allaah said in 1/7 which means: The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).

The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam said that  those who earned the wrath are the Jews because they have taken knowledge bit haven’t acted on it as Allaah said in 2/146 which means:  Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognise him (Muhammad or the Ka’bah at Makkah) as they recongise their sons. But verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it – …

and acting with no knowledge is the quality of the Nasara (Christians).  That is why they were called the ones who are astray as Allaah said in 5/77 which means: Say (O Muhammad ): “O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Exceed not the limits in your religion (by believing in something) other than the truth, and do not follow the vain desires of people who went astray before, and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the Right Path.”

And the righteous way is to take both:  KNOWLEDGE and ACTING UPON IT.  As Allaah Ta’Aalaa said in 61/9 which means: He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religions even though the Mushrikûn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh and in His Messenger Muhammed) hate (it).

  • “Al-Hudaa” (Guidance)  is the beneficial knowledge and “Ad-Deenil-Haaq” (The religion of truth)  is the righteous good deeds.

*In the Qur’aan we sometimes find terms used for their original linguistic meaning but usually we find the Qur’aan has it’s own religious meanings. When Allaah Ta’Aalaa or the Rasool (sallallaahu`alayhi wasallam) use these terms they use them in the religious meaning, but if there is no definition given in the Qur’aan or Sunnah to that term, then we understand it according to the linguistic meaning. An example is with the word, “Nusuk” (sacrifice) as in 6/161 which means: Say (O Muhammad): “Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists)

The word: “Nusuk” in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah has it’s own religous meaning: “Sacrifice”. In the linguistic meaning it is “Worship”- any act of worship is called “Nusuk” in the Arabic language; it is a broad meaning for any act of worship.

But when Allaah used it – it is for a particular act of worship, and this is the religious meaning of it – “Sacrifice” (a certain/specific type of worship). How do we know? We know when there is a daleel or proof in the Qur’aan or Sunnah that specifies such a meaning to a term.  In the Sunnah we find this word used to express “sacrificing”. 

If there is no definition of a certain term how do we understand it? We understand it on its linguistic meaning.  The word Sunnah in the Qur’aan is used to express “the way”. When the Prophet Sallallaahu`alayhi wa sallam used that word, or when all of the scholars use that word – they mean: The specific and particular way which is the way of the Prophet Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam.

Was the subject of fiqh existing at the time of the Prophet sallallaahu`alayhi wa sallam?  No it did not exist as a subject by itself, though it was present because Fiqh is understanding and the understanding was there. But Fiqh was not written down into an independent subject by itself. It was only after the 3 generations when the scholars started writing down the Fiqh. It was in that particular time that the technical terms were born.

For example: In the time of the Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam, the people were not interested if an act was obligatory or preferred – for in that time the people were keen on doing whatever act the Rasool did. They did not ask, “O Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam! Am I obliged to do such a thing or is it just preferred?” But later when the eemaan was lower and many people were not keen enough to rush to follow the Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam in everything; certain questions arose like: “Is this act an obligation for me?” Or “Will I be punished if I dont do this act?” Then at that time the scholars began to look deeply into the acts of the Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam to determine which were obligatory and which were preferred.

An example: the Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam said what means: “Pray Witr!” It is a command from the Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam, but if we do not pray Witr are we considered to be sinning?  The scholars analyzed the Sunnah and they came to a hadeeth where the Prophet sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam was asked about what Allaah had made obligatory to do of the prayers and the Rasool said it was 5 prayers in the day and night.   So the scholars understand that this command to pray Witr was not a command of obligation but one that was preferred because of another daleel proving so.

 So they came up with terms to distinugish between those acts which if you leave you will get punished and those that if you leave you will not get punished. They searched the Arabic language and found the term Wajiba which literally means thabita which means something that is made firm and will not move or something that fell and stayed that way.

They decided that that term had a meaning that they could use between themselves (the scholars of jurisprudence) to express an act which is an obligation – because it has a meaning of something being affirmed. So they called the act which is obligatory – waajib:  waajib meaning thaabit and thaabit meaning it is proven – it is stuck and cannot be changed.

And then they wanted to give a name to the act which is preferred – Something that you won’t be punished for if you leave it. The meaning which served “preferring something” in the Arabic language is Mustahaab – so they called the act which is not obligatory (preferred) “Mustahaab” – and other scholars gave this act other names with meanings: Mandoob, Naafilah, Ragheebah, Raatibah Sunnah … they used the word Sunnah also. The reasons for these different terms is because some of the a’immah gave different levels of the act which is preferred different names.

Technically, the scholars mean by the word “Sunnah” –  a preferred act. Not knowing this principle (that the terms have three meanings), makes many people to have misunderstandings of many rulings in Islaam. They don’t differentiate between the different meanings. Even nowadays it is as if the term “Sunnah” does not have a meaning except the act which is preferred. They will give a technical meaning to the word “Sunnah” when the scholars meant by it the religious meaning.

For example: The scholars want to clarify that shortening the thobe to above the ankles is part of the way of the Prophet sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam (his sunnah) but by this did they mean the technical meaning – that it is of the preferred acts? No, by this they meant the religious meaning: the way of the Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam – this includes preferred acts AND obligatory acts. This is one of the obligatory acts from the Sunnah. But people who do not know of this issue (3 different meanings) will take it as a preferred act since that is the only meaning they give to the term “Sunnah”.

Linguistically “Al-`Ilm” means “knowledge”. Sihr (magic) is `ilm but only in the linguistic sense. When Allaah or the Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam use the word `ilm – then we give it the religous meaning as long as there is a definition for it. And there is a definition or proof that when Allaah Ta’Aalaa or His Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam use the word ‘ilm they mean by it the religious knowledge – the knowledge that gets you closer to Allaah, the knowledge that you are rewarded for … this is not any kind of knowledge, not scientific or secular knowledge or knowledge of sorcery – this is religious knowledge. The daleel in Qur’aan is in 34/6 which means: And those who have been given knowledge see that what is revealed to you (O Muhammad SAW) from your Lord is the truth, and that it guides to the Path of the Exalted in Might, Owner of all praise.

And in the Sunnah, the Rasool sallallaahu`alayhi wa salaam said what means: “The` Ulamaa are the inheritors from the prophets.” What did the scholars inherit from the prophets? What knowledge could be described as an inheritance?  Only the religious knowledge – the other knowledge is invented/discovered…and Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani said what means: (By the unanimous agreement of the scholars) what is meant here is the religious knowledge.

That is why the author said that knowledge  is  -> to know Allaah, His Messenger (Sallallaahu`alayhi wa sallam) and the religion of Islaam with the supportive evidences.

Allaah Knows Best

Teacher took many questions related to the topic clarifying the dars and students may refer to the recording for those questions and answers.



5 thoughts on “The Three Fundamental Principles 1

  1. Time Traveller January 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm Reply

    As-Salamu A’lykum Ukhti,
    Hope you are fine by the mercy and blessings of ALLAH.

    I didnt understood one line from this “• “Rahimakallaah” means: “May Allaah forgive your past sins and have mercy on you by keeping you from doing sins in the future”

    And that line which i didnt understood from the statement above is,”have mercy on you by keeping you from doing sins in the future””
    Keeping you from doing sins?
    Can you please explain this.
    Jazakum Allahu khayran

    • sarf4sisters January 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm Reply

      wa`alaykumus -salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh

      You will find excellent and indepth notes on the three principles here: Included is a deeper explanation of the meaning of “rahimakullaah” which says:

      As for the meaning of this supplication of mercy (Rahimakullaah), it means, “May Allaah forgive you for the past sins that you have committed. And may He also grant you success so that you do not fall into sin in the future.” When you make this du’aa for someone, this is what you are saying in full. And we should also understand that making du’aa for a person, that Allaah bestows mercy upon them, is not only for the deceased. As Shaykhul-Islaam Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab, raheemahullaah, is utilizing this du’aa for the living. So we can utilize this du’aa for those who are living and those who are deceased. And whenever the word “Rahmah” (mercy) is utilized in conjunction with “Maghfirah” (forgiveness), then in this case “Maghfirah” means forgiveness of your past sins. And “Rahmah” means you are asking to be protected from the harms and evils of sin in the future. However, when it is “Rahimakullaah” by itself, then it means what has been stated previously. And to hear in this du’aa that Shaykhul-Islaam is making, he is making du’aa for his students. And this is something that shows us the etiquette that the teacher should have with his students, that he should make du’aa for those who are learning from him. Since when you do, they understand that you care about their well-being. And when they understand this, they will be more attentive in what you are teaching them.

      • Aisha Binte Akram February 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm

        Jazakum Allahu khayran ukhti for full explanation.

  2. ghazala June 7, 2013 at 1:34 am Reply

    Asalamoalaikum ,
    do you have links to the recordings of class ” three fundamental principles” like you have for ” four fundamental principles”. So that i can listen to the class.
    Jazak Allah

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