Fiqh al-Akbar Commentary (al-Maghnisawi)

15. Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar_Allah’s kindness and Generosity

Allah’s Generosity and Justice[1]

Section: Fiqh al-Akbar: “wa Allahu ta`ala… fadlan minhu”.


  • Allah is generous (mutafaddal).
  • Allah is just (`adil).
  • Allah rewards anyone of His servants as He pleases; he may multiply the reward or He may not.
  • Allah rewards His servant’s good actions (= the doctrine of ‘merit’) according to His own promise to do so as well as His own judgment/decision to do so.[2]

(I): For any free agent, S, on account of some good action, x carried out by S, there is no intrinsic connection/relation/entitlement (al-istihqaq al-dhatiyy) of x with a divine reward.

> In other words, Allah rewards His servant out of a contingent act of benevolence (tafaddul) and not a necessary act of benevolence.[3] Thus, Allah does not act out of any obligation (there is no ‘divine debt’ owed to creation) but acts out of His own independent prerogative. From this, it must also follow that no action has intrinsic merit, i.e. it automatically warrants some form of divine benefaction or gratia.

  • Allah may punish for a sin out of His divine justice because He is administering such effects (i.e. to punish or chastise) within His own dominion. Whereas injustice (al-zulm) is to administer something in another’s dominion without his consent (al-tasarruf fi mulk al-ghayr bi-la idhnih).[4]
  • Allah may forgive a person’s minor or major sins.
  • Allah may forgive someone who has not repented from their commission of a sin.
  • Allah’s forgiveness is an act from His kindness and grace not because it is a right (haqq) of the servant obligated on Allah.
  • The word “`afwu” means relinquishing punishment from a person who was deserving of it (42:25).[5]
  • For Allah to favourably recompense one individual over another even if both were qualitatively equal in their worship and devotion to Him would not diminish His fairness in any way. Human limited assumptions and standards cannot evaluate Allah’s actions or motives because He is the standard (cf. 3:73).[6]


[1] See the commentary by al-Maghnisawi entitled Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, pp.185-186; `Ali al-Qari’s expanded commentary Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar, pp.274-275 and Wensinck, The Muslim Creed, pp.230-231.

[2] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.185.

[3] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.185.

[4] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.185.

[5] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, pp.185-186.

[6] `Ali al-Qari, Minah Rawd al-Azhar, p.275.


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