Excerpt: Lessons of Faith by Ḥakīm al-Ummah Ashraf ʿAlī al-Thānawī

Produced below is a selection from the first chapter of an upcoming translation of Mawlānā Ashraf ʿAlī al-Thānawī’s work Taʿlīm al-Dīn, which is a concise manual of Islamic precepts that cover a wide range of topics, including theology, law, ethics, mysticism, and politics. The first draft of the entire translation and its footnotes were recently submitted for editing by the translators. My contribution to the translation is confined to the first chapter (minus the footnotes) and the editing of the initial manuscript. Below ten points from the first chapter on Belief and Creed are provided for your benefit.

Belief and Creed (ʿAqīdah wa Taṣdīqāt)

Belief 1: The entire universe was initially nonexistent and came into existence by means of Allah’s origination.[1]

Belief 2: Allah is One, dependent on nothing. Neither did He beget anyone nor was He begotten from anyone. Nothing is comparable to Him.[2] Continue reading

The Question of Fallen Angels and the Nature of Iblīs: Was Satan an Angel or of the Jinn?

Long overdue, I am posting an excerpt on “The Question of Fallen Angels” from the Integrated Encyclopedia of the Qurʾān in response to a relatively amicable debate that occurred during a study circle on the question of the validity of the assertion that Shayṭān wasn’t necessarily an angel but possibly from the Jinn. The argument was less in favor of any particular position and more on the validity of multiple stances on the issue, as both, I argued, were accommodated by the Qurʾānic text.

Not able to recall any proofs or the names of the scholars who held divergent positions on the issue, I promised to do some research on the issue and post it later online. This lengthy entry, from which the excerpt is taken, was authored by Dr. Gibril Fouad Haddad:

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Suggested Texts for Studying Māturīdī Kalām

In response to a recent enquiry into suggested paths of study of Maturidi works (in light of the enquirer’s particular desire to add to the curriculum of study provided by most institutes in the subcontinent), I am providing a short list of suggested readings that can be studied on one’s own but are preferably read with a teacher.

1. Badʿ al-Amālī by al-Ushī. This sixty-plus line didactic poem should be memorized and read with any number of its wonderful commentaries. The size of the poem is manageable for even a Western student. I suggest, in fact, to memorize at least one text in all of the major sciences. Continue reading