Fiqh al-Akbar Commentary (al-Maghnisawi)

14. Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar_Knowledge of Allah

Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar_

Knowledge of Allah

Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar: “na`rifu Allah ta`ala…fi dhalika kullihi


  • We know Allah to the extent He has made us responsible to know him (haqq ma`rifatihi).[1]
  • Allah has described Himself in the Qur’an (wasafa nafsahu fi kitabihi).
  • Allah’s self-descriptions include Attributes and Beautiful names (al-asma’ al-husna).
  • We are capable of knowing Allah through the disclosure of His attributes and names in detail.[2]
  • Hence, we can know Allah intimately.
  • We cannot understand Allah’s Essence (dhat).
  • We cannot worship truly the way He is due and deserves (haqqa `ibadatihi).[3]
  • Worship is to exalt and glorify and there is no limit to Allah’s exaltation and glorification.
  • No-body can worship Allah that can equal His reward and Mercy because His reward and Mercy are limitless and the actions of servants are limited.[4]
  • We are only able to tray and fulfil worship to Him as he has enunciated in His commands.


  • All believers can equally know Allah.
  • Male, female, boy, girl, slave, master, etc. are equal with respect to being cognisant of the obligation of knowing Allah and then the actions required.
  • There seems to be grades of knowledge and descriptions of ‘certainty’ (yaqin) which literally means awareness that is beyond doubt and technically it means the strength of faith that is not based upon proofs and evidences:[5]

`ilm al-qayin[6]

`ayn al-yaqin[7]

haqq al-yaqin[8]

= ‘knowledge of certainty’ gained through hearing or contemplation. = ‘vision of certainty’ which is gained through personally witnessing. = ‘reality of certainty’ which is gained when both `ilm and `ayn are joined.
This type applies to the ordinary category of scholars (`awamm al-`ulama’). This type applies to the elect scholars (khawass al-`ulama’) and the friends of Allah (al-awliya’). This type applies to the Prophet (alanbiya’).
  • Believers are not unequal or dissimilar (mutafawatun) with respect to what they are obligated to believe and the foundations of their faith such as knowing Allah; having certainty, utter reliance, fear , hope etc.[9]
  • To have trust (tawakkul) on Allah means to have utter reliance in what Allah has and possesses and despair of what people possess.
  • To love Allah with a desire that make one submit and bend into worship. A state that is indescribable but clear and manifest[10] such as glorifying Allah, making His satisfaction override everything else, to yearn and long for Him and to feel pleasure in His remembrance.
  • To have contentment and satisfaction (al-rida) at what afflicts a person or what is ordained and determined.
  • To have fear (khawf) which is to expect the undesirable to happen or to lose a beloved thing.
  • To have hope (raja’) which is the attachment and expectation of the heart to a future acquisition of something – especially something cherished and desired.[11]
  • In all the above (i.e. yaqin, tawakkul, etc.) believers vary and fall in different degrees based on their respective intensities of khawf and tuqa but are equal in the object of what has to believed.

[1] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.181.

[2] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.181.

[3] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.182. Cf. Wensinck, The Muslim Creed, pp.230-231.

[4] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.182.

[5] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.182

[6] See Q. 102:5.

[7] See Q. 105:7.

[8] See Q. 49:51.

[9] Cf. `Ali al-Qari, Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar, p.273.

[10] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, pp.182-183.

[11] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.183. Both go hand in hand and intertwined in that hope without fear is delusion and false security whereas fear without hope is utter despair and hopelessness in Allah’s mercy.


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