Al-^Aqidah An-Nasafiyyah Translation and Commentary


 Al-^Aqidah An-Nasafiyyah

Translation and Commentary

 by Riad Nachef

 The astute Hanafi scholar and authority of Hadith Abu Hafs Najmuddin ^Umar Bin Ahmad Bin Luqman An-Nasafiyy (461AH-537AH) said:

 The people of truth said: The realities of things exist firmly and knowing them– contrary[1] to what the Sophists[2] say– is established.

  The reasons of knowledge for the creations are three the sound senses, the truthful news and the mind. The senses are the hearing, the sight, the olfaction (smell), the taste and the touch. With each of these senses one encounters that which it was created for.[3]


  The truthful news is of two kinds: one of them is the confirmed news that is transmitted by Tawatur[4] by people whom the mind does not perceive their collaboration to tell a lie, and it establishes the necessary knowledge[5] such as the knowledge of the previous kings of the ancient times and the knowledge of the far countries. The second kind is the news of the Prophet which is supported by a miracle[6] and it establishes the indicative knowledge[7]. The confirmed knowledge of it is equivalent to the necessarily confirmed knowledge in certainty and confirmation and it is also a reason for knowledge.[8]

  As to the mind[9] it is also a reason for knowledge. What is inherently confirmed of it is a necessary knowledge such as knowing that everything is larger than its part and what is indicatively confirmed of it is an acquired knowledge. To the people of truth inspiration[10] is not among the reasons that establish knowing the truthfulness of a certain thing.

 The Universe with all its parts is created since it is composed of entities and qualities[11]. The entities are the things that have a standing of their own and they are either compounded such as the body or not compounded such as the  jawhar-atom which is the indivisible part[12]. The quality is the thing that does not have a standing of its own but rather exists in bodies and jawhar-atoms such as colors, manner of status (attached, detached, mobile, and immobile), tastes and odors.

 The creator of the universe is Allah who is attributed by being One[13], without a beginning, Alive, Powerful, Knowledgeable, Hearing, Seeing, Willing. He is not a quality or a body or a jawhar-atom or pictured or limited or counted or has parts or composed of parts or ends at a limit. He is not attributed with a kind or resemblance to the creation or being established in a place or being subject to time. Nothing is like Him and nothing escapes His Knowledge and Power. He is attributed with Eternal and Everlasting Attributes[14] that are confirmed to Him. His Attributes are neither His Reality nor other than His Reality[15]. They are Knowledge, Power, Life, Quwwah-Power, Hearing, Sight, Will, Doing, Creating, Sustaining, and Speech. He Speaks with an Eternal and Everlasting Speech which is not of the kind of letters and sounds and it is an attribute that negates silence and defect. With it Allah Speaks, Orders, Prohibits and Informs.

  The Qur’an—the Speech of Allah the Exalted—is not created, it is written in our books of  Qur’an, retained in our hearts, recited with our tongues, heard with our ears and is not incarnated in them.

  Creating[16] is an Eternal and Everlasting Attribute of Allah and it entails creating the universe and every part of its parts at the time of their existence and, to us[17], it is other than what is created.

  The Will is an Eternal and Everlasting Attribute that is confirmed to Him. And seeing Allah the Exalted is permissible in the judgment of the mind and must occur as per the conveyed texts and the existent textual proofs establishing that the believers must see Allah the exalted in the Hereafter. Hence, He will be seen without a place or direction or facing or ray connection or a distance between the seer and Allah the Exalted.

 Allah the Exalted is the Creator of the actions of the slaves be it blasphemy, belief, obedience and disobedience all of which are by His Will, Ruling, Creating and Destining. The slaves do voluntary actions for which they are rewarded or punished and the good among their actions are accepted by Allah and the abhorrent among them are not accepted. Ones capability being the actual ability with which the action is done is created at the time of the action. The term capability also applies to the soundness of the causes, instruments and limbs and the accountability is valid due to this capability[18]. The slave is not made accountable for that of which he is not capable. The encountered pain after hitting a human being and the breakage in the glass after a human being breaks it and what is similar to that are all created by Allah the Exalted and the slave does not create any of it. The killed person is dead due to the advent of his death time and the death that stands in the dead person is Allah ‘s—the Exalted—creation and the slave has no input whether in creating or acquiring. The death time is one[19].

  The unlawful is called sustenance and everyone collects his sustenance whether lawful or unlawful. It is not perceived that a person does not consume his sustenance or that other than him consumes it.

  Allah the Exalted makes whomever He Willed misguided and guides whomever He Willed. What is best for the slave is not obligatory upon Allah the Exalted[20].

  The torture of the grave for the blasphemers and some of the sinful believers and the enjoyments therein for the obedient people and the questioning by Munkar and Nakir are confirmed by the indications of the conveyed texts. Resurrection is true, Weighing is true, the Book is true, the Questioning is true, the Basin is true, the Bridge is true, Paradise is true, the Fire is true and both are now created and exist and will remain and will not annihilate and their occupants will not annihilate. The enormous sin does not take the slave out of belief and does not make him engaged in blasphemy. Allah  the Exalted does not forgive that one associates partners with Him and forgives what is less than that among small and enormous sins to whomever He Wills. It is permissible to punish for the small sin and forgive the enormous sin so long one does not legitimize them and legitimizing them is blasphemy. The intercession for the enormous sinners by the Messengers and the choicest ones is confirmed in abundant reports. The enormous sinners among the believers do not stay forever in the Fire even if they die without repentance.

  The belief is to believe in what came from Allah the Exalted and to consent to it. As to the doings they inherently increase and the belief does not increase or decrease[21]. Belief and Islam are one and the same and if found in the slave that he believes and consents to it then it is valid for one to say I am a true believer and one ought not to say, ‘I am, God willing, a believer’[22].

  The one who appears to have a sound standing may turn and have a bad standing and the one who appears to have a bad standing may turn and have a good standing. The change pertains to having a good and a bad standing, however, Decreeing one to die as a believer or as a blasphemer is an Attribute of Allah and Allah and His Attributes do not change.[23]

  There is a wisdom in sending Messengers and Allah  the Exalted did send Messengers among humans to humans giving good tidings and warning and elucidating to the people that which they need among the worldly and religious matters and supported the Messengers with miracles that revoke the ordinary course of events.

 The first of the Prophets was Adam, peace be upon him, and the last was Mohammad, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam. Their numbers were narrated in some sayings attributed to the Prophet; however, it is better to not limit them to a number since Allah the Exalted said in Surah Ghafir, Ayah 78:

     وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلاً مِّن قَبْلِكَ مِنْهُم مَّن قَصَصْنَا عَلَيْكَ وَمِنْهُم مَّن لَّمْ نَقْصُصْ عَلَيْكَ        

The Ayah means: we did aforetime send Messengers before you: of them there are some whose story We have related to you, and some whose story We have not related to you.

 With specifying a number one is not safe from including with them one who is not among them or excluding from them one who is among them and all of them have been conveying from Allah the Exalted and giving advice.

  The best of the Prophets is Mohammad, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam. The Angels who are the slaves of Allah and function by His orders are not attributed with masculinity and femininity. Allah the Exalted has books that He sent down unto His Prophets in which He elucidated His orders, prohibitions, promises and threats.

 The Ascension of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, while awake and in person, to the sky and to wherever heights of the upper dominion Allah willed is true.

 The karamahs of the Alwaya [24]is true, hence, Allah reveals the karamah for the waliyy by revoking the ordinary course of events such as crossing a far distance in a short time and the appearance of food, drink and clothing whenever needed and walking on water and flying in the air and the talking of inanimate bodies and animals and other than that. This happening of the karamah stand as a miracle for the Messenger to whom the karamah has appeared for a member of his nation revealing that he is a waliyy–who will not be a waliyy unless he is truthful in his religiosity and his religiosity pertains to consenting to the message of his Messenger.

  The best of the humans after our Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, is Abu Bakr asSiddiq then ^Umar al-Faruq then ^Uthman Dhun-Nurayn then ^Aliyy the one who is accepted, may Allah accept the deeds of all of them. Their Caliphate in the aforementioned order is confirmed. The Caliphate[25] lasted thirty years after which came reigns and emirates.

  The Muslims must have an Imam to execute their judgments and enforce their punishments and fortify their borderline cities and equip their armies and collect their Zakat and defeat the invaders, the thieves and the way layers, and to carry out the Friday congregations and feasts and to stop the disputes that occur between the slaves and to accept the testimonies that establish the rights and to conduct the marriage of the young and less privileged who have no guardians and to distribute the spoils and other than that.

  The Imam ought to be apparently present and not  be absent in a concealed manner and not be expected to yet appear and must be from the tribe of Quraysh and impermissible to be from others. He is not exclusive to the offspring of Hashim and the sons of ^Aliyy may Allah accept his deeds. It is not conditional that he would be impeccable[26] or the best of the people of his time. It is conditional that he would be attributed with absolute and complete uprightness and management. He should be capable of leading, and executing the judgments, and protecting the borderlines of the abode of Islam, and giving justice to one who suffered injustice from another. The Imam is not removed due to committing iniquities or injustice[27].

  It is permissible to pray behind every meritorious and doer of iniquities and the prayer is offered to every meritorious and doer of iniquities who dies. Generally due is the abstinence from mentioning the companions except for what is good[28].

  We profess the earning of paradise to the Ten to whom the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, gave the good tidings of having earned paradise. We believe in wiping over the khuff-footgear while traveling and in the city of dwelling. We do not deem unlawful to drink the date-soaked water[29].

  Categorically, no waliyy attains to the status of the Prophets and the slave does not reach a stage whereby he will be relieved of obligations and prohibitions. The texts of the Book and the sayings of the Prophet are to be taken as per their apparent meanings[30] and reverting to other meanings claimed by the people of al-Batin[31]is an act of atheism and rejecting the texts is blasphemous. Deeming a sin lawful is blasphemous and being negligent of its proper judgment[32] is blasphemous and mocking the rules of the religion is blasphemous and despairing of the Mercy of Allah  the Exalted is blasphemous and consenting to safety from the punishment of Allah[33]  is blasphemous and believing a Soothsayer who tells one about the unforeseen is blasphemous.

  What is annihilated is not a thing that exists.

  The supplication of the living for the dead and giving charity on their behalf contain a benefit for them. Allah the Exalted answers the supplications and satisfies the needs.

  What the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, informed about among the conditions of the happening of the Day of Judgment such as the appearance of the false Messiah and the Animal of the Earth and Gog and Magog and the descent of ^Isa, peace be upon him, from the sky and the rising of the sun from where it sets is true.

  The Mujtahid[34] might be wrong and might be correct.

  The Messengers among the humans are better than the Messengers among the Angels and the Messengers among the Angels are better than the general people (who are Awliya) and the general people (who are Awliya) are better than the general Angels.



[1] All faiths and groups consent to the true existence of things except the Sophists.

2 Sophists, a Greek faction of the 5th century BCE, believe that things do not exist in reality but are only true for the person whose appearance or belief they are.

[3]  What we hear, see, smell, taste and touch definitely and certainly exist. The custom is that what we experience with one sense we do not experience with another; however, the judgment of the mind allows experiencing it with another sense if Allah willed.

[4] The news transmitted in the first place by a large number of people to a large number of people and so on in a manner that the mind does not accept that they all collaborate to fabricate the news in concern. The news of the crucifixion of Jesus, peace be upon him, is not by Tawatur.

[5] This knowledge does not rely on a process of deduction and indicators and it establishes certain knowledge such as the existence of China and Iraq.

[6]  The Miracle is an extraordinary matter intended to reveal the truthfulness of the one who claims the status of Prophethood. It cannot be imitated by others on the grounds of refuting the claim. This knowledge is also definite like the knowledge provided by the news transmitted by Tawatur that rely on hearing or sighting the event.

[7] This knowledge is established through the process of deduction and indicators and soundly exploring the proofs therein. This knowledge is also definite like the knowledge provided by the news transmitted by Tawatur that rely on hearing or sighting the event.

[8] This knowledge is also definite like the knowledge provided by the news transmitted by Tawatur that rely on hearing or sighting the event.

 [9]  Refers to the sound judgments of the mind applied to the matter at hand.

[10] The inspiration received by a waliyy (a highly upright person) is not among the reasons that establish a definite knowledge and the dream is even less so.

[11]  Entities and Qualities are referred to in Arabic as A^yan and A^rad respectively.

[12]  Jawhar-atom is referred to in Arabic as Jawhar or Al-Jawhar Al-fard and it is the smallest part of the body after which it is indivisible.

[13]  One means Allah has no partners.

[14]  The Attributes of Allah are without beginning or ending, do not change or develop and not similar to the attributes of the creation. Hence, His Life is not with a body and soul and He Hears and Sees without an ear or a pupil.

[15]  His Attributes are neither attached to Him nor detached from Him, rather they are confirmed to Him and the mind does not perceive the existence of His Reality without His Attributes. We know Allah by knowing His Attributes and no one knows the Reality of Allah but Allah.

[16]  The Arabic term used in the text is At-Takwin which means creating everything the way it is.

[17]  Refers to the Maturidiyys.

[18]  The soundness of the instruments is created before the action rendering the person accountable.

[19]  Contrary to the saying of Al-Ka^biyy of the Mu^tazilites who said the killed person has two death times death and being killed.

[20]  This statement refutes the Mu^tazilites who claim that Allah is obligated to do what is best for the slave.

[21]  Refers to the fundamental belief and that it does not increase or decrease.

[22] This statement reflects either doubt in ones belief which is blasphemous or portrays a delusion of doubt in the case when said to be polite with Allah and in such an event it is better for one to not say.

[23] If Allah Willed for one to die as a believer or a blasphemer he will die as such and will not change.

[24]  Plural of waliyy who is a highly upright Muslim who performs all the obligations and refrains from all the sins and does many supererogatory acts of worship.

[25]  Refers to the Rightly Guided Caliphate which ended by the Caliphate of Al-Hasan bin ^Ali.

[26] The Imam may commit sins.

[27]  Contrary to Sayyid Qutb who calls for removing him and declares him as a blasphemer.

[28]  It is permissible though to mention a due warning against one of them as the Prophet did.

[29]  It is permissible to drink Nabidh at-Tamr before it becomes intoxicating.

[30]  This means it is not permissible to ascribe meanings to the religious texts of Qur’an and Hadith different from the apparent without intellectual or textual proofs that necessitate inferring a different meaning. 

[31]  The people of al-Batin claim there are concealed esoteric and intrinsic meanings to the texts.

[32]  That is to deem the sins not punishable or judge a commonly well known enormous sin as minor.

[33]  To believe Allah does not forgive sins for any one and does not punish any one.

[34]  An advanced caliber of a scholar who possesses the necessary qualifications to deduce judgments.