Friday, December 30, 2022

Iman and Yaqin: Faith In The Unseen And Certainty

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 30 December 2022 Iman is belief or faith in the Unseen or in Al-Ghayab. The authenticity of the source of knowledge of the Unseen is testable but not the authenticity of the contents of Al-Ghayab itself. We believe in the Unseen because the source of knowledge of the Unseen is the Quran which satisfies all the attributes expected of the word of an all-knowing God. For the comprehensive meaning of faith, please read: The Quranic Truths of Qayamat and Resurrection Yaqin is a certainty. Can we have certainty of the Unseen? This is not possible by the very definition of the Unseen. We can therefore do acts to strengthen our Iman but no matter how very much strong our Iman may become, it cannot become Yaqin or certain knowledge. So what do the terms Ilm al-Yaqin (certain knowledge), Ayn al-Yaqin (knowledge based on seeing or empirical knowledge) and Haqq al-Yaqin (absolute truth or objective truth) found in the Quran mean? These are commonly thought to be the three degrees of certainty that a human is capable of and a devotee progresses from the first degree to the next till he attains Haqq al-Yaqin about the Unseen. This is humbug. As far as the Unseen is concerned, only Iman or faith is possible and nothing more. Indeed, the Quran speaks only of our Iman and not of Yaqin as far as the Unseen is concerned. We believe in the Hereafter We believe in the Resurrection We believe the sinners will be punished by Hellfire and the Righteous rewarded with Heaven. We can have Ilm al-Yaqin, Ayn al-Yaqin and/or Haqq al-Yaqin about our observable Universe but not about the Unseen or Al-Ghayab. The Three Terms In The Quran Let us see how and in what sense the Quran uses these terms and whether these have anything to do with our knowledge with certainty or with our yaqin. Haqq al-Yaqin appears twice in the Quran (56:92) And if he be of those who treat (Truth) as Falsehood, who go wrong, (93) For him is Entertainment with Boiling Water. (94) And burning in Hell-Fire. إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ حَقُّ الْيَقِينِ (95) Verily, this is the Very Truth and Certainly. (96) So celebrate with praises the name of thy Lord, the Supreme. Here, it is Allah who is affirming that the burning in Hellfire of the sinners is the objective/absolute truth (Haqq al-Yaqin). We can only have faith or Iman that this is indeed Haq al-Yaqin but not have Yaqin itself. (69:38) So I do call to witness what ye see, (39) And what ye see not, (40) That this is verily the word of an honoured messenger; (41) It is not the word of a poet: little it is ye believe! (42) Nor is it the word of a soothsayer: little admonition it is ye receive. (43) (This is) a Message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds. (44) And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name, (45) We should certainly seize him by his right hand, (46) And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: (47) Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath). (48) But verily this is a Message for the Allah-fearing. (49) And We certainly know that there are amongst you those that reject (it). (50) But truly (Revelation) is a cause of sorrow for the Unbelievers. وَإِنَّهُ لَحَقُّ الْيَقِينِ (51) But verily it is Truth of assured certainty. (52) So glorify the name of thy Lord Most High. Once again, it is Allah affirming that the Quran is a book of the Haqq al-Yaqin or absolute truths and we can only have faith or Iman that it is indeed so but not Yaqin or certainty. Ilm al-Yaqin and Ayn al-Yaqin appear only once in the Quran in Surah 102 (102:1) The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things), (2) Until ye visit the graves. (3) But nay, ye soon shall know (the reality). (4) Again, ye soon shall know! كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ (5) Nay, were ye to know with certainty of mind, (ye would beware!) (6) Ye shall certainly see Hell-Fire! ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ (7) Again, ye shall see it with certainty of sight! (8) Then, shall ye be questioned that Day about the joy (ye indulged in!). Hell-Fire will become Ayn al-Yaqin only in the Hereafter when the sinners see Hell-Fire. Until then, we can only have faith or Iman in it but not Yaqin. Ilm al-Yaqin (certain knowledge), Ayn al-Yaqin (certainty based on seeing or based on empirical knowledge) and Haqq al-Yaqin (certainty about absolute truth or objective truth) are only possible for what we can see, observe and experience or of the reality of this world and not of the Unknown. We can have these certainties about things that are mentioned in the Quran of this world. For example, we now have Ilm al-Yaqin (certain knowledge) about the possibility of our resurrection based on information alone without our body and without the soul (which incidentally does not exist) and the high likelihood of an end of our Universe and creation of a new Universe which Allah says is a promise binding on Him. These are discussed in the article cited above. The Quranic fact that we do not have a soul is discussed in the article: The Seemingly Unanswerable Question That Religion Raised Difference Between A Believer And A Disbeliever A believer believes that everything asserted by the Quran is Haqq al-Yaqin or absolute truths while a disbeliever believes that in so far as it relates to the Unseen, they are “bunkum theories”, but neither can have Yaqin or certainty about their respective beliefs as they relate to the Unseen. The question of whether the Quran measures upto the standards expected from the word of the all-knowing God is however testable and if it satisfies the infallibility test, then a believer is rational in his beliefs and a disbeliever is most likely a rejecter because he inclines to the earth and is averse to the demands made by the Book for living a moral life. ----- A frequent contributor to, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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