Q&A: medicine and cause/ reg. if someone calls Allah “cause.”

Question:

My first question is about “causes of normalcy”, and arose after reading this article.  When ‘ulama give fatawa about e.g. the use of ta’wiz, almost every single one of the fatawa mentions that one must not believe the words have any affect in themselves, but are empowered to do so by Allah ta’ala. Am I right in being concerned about the Muslims’ belief regarding the use of medication, since the whole issue of Allah being the original creator of shifa’ seems to be forgotten by the awam (especially among medical doctors here in the West)?

Every new event in the universe is only a possibility. That is, if A happens, then what happens next is as specified by Aļļaah only. “A” itself has no actual influence on what will happen next. So there is no cause in the sense of one event actually influencing another in the next moment of time. What we call causes are really just events that Aļļaah have willed to be correlated. Using medicine is fine, as long as one believes that the cure is actually from Aļļaah, not from the medicine. This is what is called “to act according to causes,” and it consists of looking at how things correlate in the world, and then act accordingly to achieve one’s objectives. One must believe that there is no actual power to influence in the causes, even a created one. It is in reality only correlation, because every new event is an event specified and created by Aļļaah, and Aļļaah is not influenced by anything or anyone.

Question:

Also, as far as I know, these “causes of normalcy” are called asbab in Arabic, but what is the other one called in Arabic, the one if one calls Allah it, according to hanafis one is commiting kufr?

It is kufr to call Aļļaah “cause” (in Arabic “sabab” or ” ˆillah”, ) because it is disrespectful. Aļļaah Himself is not a cause, He creates, and His act of creating results in things to come into existence and change. When someone calls Aļļaah Himself “cause” he is implying that Aļļaah has no choice but to bring things into existence. Muslims must believe that Aļļaah creates with a will. That being said, keep in mind that it is not allowed to name Aļļaah anything without His permission.

15 Responses to Q&A: medicine and cause/ reg. if someone calls Allah “cause.”

  1. Attari says:

    Salam Alaikum Respected Sheikh,

    People in India and Pakistan including scholars call Allah as “musabbibul asbaab” (which is Arabic as you can see) at a lot of places. I have never heard any Arab or Turkish or any other brethren use it. Is this originally from the names used by the prophet, Allah raise his and his blessed family’s rank? Also I know some of the Naqshbandi brethren actually have a wird in which they address Allah subhanahu wa’ta’aala as “ya daleelil mutaHayyireen”.

    Will this be called as “naming” Allah without his permission, or is it really a “honorific description” but not a “name” per se? What would be a good defining criteria to make this distinction between naming and describing, if indeed these are 2 distinctly different topics?

    I’ve heard certain writers/so called scholars have addressed Allah as the “writing quill” (in Arabic) in order to somehow metaphorically/poetically explain His, subhanahu’s takwin. Any comments on that would be appreciated.

    Jazak Allah khair.

    • abuasiyahyahya says:

      The one who called Allah ‘azza wa Jall a writing quill was Sayyid Qutb, and this was one of the many reasons He was maligned by the ‘ulema. This is haraam/ Kufr as the doer likens Allah to the creation.

  2. Ibn Abu Talib says:

    Salam Alaikum

    Allah describes how he creates rain in Surah 24 verse 43. What is the proper way of understanding this passage in light of the fact that according to it, rain is not created ex nihilo but by a process which some might regard as being natural? Also, is it wrong to say that all activities that we ascribe to nature are actually Allah’s creative prowess?

  3. Ibn Abu Talib says:

    Actually, the second question should have been this: Is it wrong to say Allah is immanent in nature as well as outside of it?

  4. Abu Yunus says:

    As-salamu alaikum Sheikh.

    What about using the word “muhdith” for Allah?

  5. Usman says:

    What does the Arabic term “musabib-al-asbab” mean? Can one call Allah by this name/term ?

  6. Every single event that occurs after another event is created by Aļļaah, whether rain or anything else.

  7. Some people are bickering about using the word sabab or ˆillah, or cause to refer to Aļļaah. I will make a final comment on this:

    The word sabab is not mentioned as an attribute of Aļļaah in the scriptures, but is used to refer to creation, (إِنَّا مَكَّنَّا لَهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَآَتَيْنَاهُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ سَبَبًا (84) فَأَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا (85) [الكهف/84، 85]) so defending this use has no meaning. Moreover, neither sabab not ˆillah can be said to be beautiful meanings that imply glorification. Aļļaah said:
    وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
    Meaning: “Aļļaah is the one that has the most beautiful namings, so call Him by them, and leave those who deviate with respect to His namings. They will be pay for what they have done.” (Al-‘Aˆraaf, 180)

    Yes, ˆillah is worse than sabab, but both are mentioned as ilĥaad (deviation) by An-Nasafiyy in his tafsiir beside the word “jism”, or “body.” The word sabab in Arabic has the meaning of “means”, derived from “rope”, there is no doubt that this is an ugly word to use about Aļļaah. Some “mufti” seems to think one can use any word about Aļļaah as long as it has one sound meaning, which is far from true. E.g. I can say that Aļļaah has “ˆilm,” but I cannot say “maˆrifah” even though they are more or less synonyms. Being sloppy about words used when referring to the creator is a bad sign for the sloppy person. This sloppiness is what made the christians say what they say. They said son, because the normal cause/means/sabab/ˆillah of fatherhood was not there. Think about that. They said, “the direct cause, father, is not there, so we call him son of Aļļaah.” It was thinking of Aļļaah as a cause, by analogy, that took them onto this path, and Aļļaah said that they committed kufr by just saying that – regardless of the intended meaning. The mushrikiin used to call their Idols “Aļļaah’s daughters” for the same reason. Aļļaah said to them:
    إِنْ هِيَ إِلاّ أَسْمَاءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنْتُمْ وَآَبَاؤُكُمْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ
    Meaning: “These are only namings that you used, you and your forefathers, which you have received no revealed proof for its permission of use. Verily, they (those who use these names) only follow what they think is right…” (An-Najm, 23) Ar-Raaziyy commented on this aayah:
    “قالوا نحن لا نشك في أن الله تعالى لم يلد كما تلد النساء ولم يولد كما تولد الرجال بالمجامعة والإحبال ، غير أنا رأينا لفظ الولد مستعملاً عند العرب في المسبب تقول : بنت الجبل وبنت الشفة لما يظهر منهما ويوجد ، لكن الملائكة أولاد الله بمعنى أنهم وجدوا بسببه من غير واسطة فقلنا إنهم أولاده ، ثم إن الملائكة فيها تاء التأنيث فقلنا هم أولاد مؤنثة ، والولد المؤنث بنت ، فقلنا لهم بنات الله ، أي لا واسطة بينهم وبين الله تعالى في الإيجاد كما تقول الفلاسفة”

    {They said (the musħrikiin): “We do not doubt that Aļļaah Taˆaalaa did not give birth like women, or beget by intercourse or impregnating, but we say that the word “child” was used by the Arabs to mean “caused”, saying “the daughter of the mountain,” (i.e. echo) and “daughter of the lip” (ie. word) when they appear from them. Rather, the angels are the daughters of Aļļaah in the sense that they came into existence because of Him, without any intermediary, so we said, “they are His children, and since the word Angel in Arabic has a feminine ending grammatically, we said that they are children in the feminine, and therefore daughters of Aļļaah, that is, there is no means between them and Aļļaah in bringing into existence, as the philosophers say.}

    That is why An-Nasafiyy said that calling Aļļaah sabab or ˆillah is “ilĥaad.”

    I think this is enough about this. If they do not accept this, then any discussion is a pointless debate for the sake of debating. It is enough that using these words to refer to Aļļaah is the way of the Philosophers, and “Who imitates a people is one of them.”

  8. faqir says:

    as-salamu `alaikum sayyidi
    do you have any objection to using the word musabbib (causer / causator) for Allah. I believe this has been mentioned in hadith and i’ve also seen various ash’ari ulema mention it.

  9. firas says:

    “It is kufr to call Aļļaah “cause” (in Arabic “sabab” or ” ˆillah”, ) because it is disrespectful. Aļļaah Himself is not a cause, He creates, and His act of creating results in things to come into existence and change. When someone calls Aļļaah Himself “cause” he is implying that Aļļaah has no choice but to bring things into existence. Muslims must believe that Aļļaah creates with a will. That being said, keep in mind that it is not allowed to name Aļļaah anything without His permission.”

    You know Sheikh (hafizakaAllah) that we have a theological Rule stating that:
    ” the existent -with respect to its Accidentality – needs a Cause ( Illah )”.
    The contrary is Kufr, i.e. ” the accident needs no cause for its existence”!
    We should pay attention here that the use of the term Cause or ( Illa ) in this context does not include the ugly philosophical implication of the word!

  10. The issue here is that one cannot say whatever one likes about Aļļaah, and it is not true that He is a cause. Why? Because He could have willed for no creation to ever exist. Read my last comment carefully without an argumentative mindset.

  11. waˆalaykumussalaam,

    Musabbib is not like saying sabab. Musabbib could be understood as meaning “creator of causes”. I am not aware of any ĥadiith with this word used for Aļļaah.

  12. Mutakallim says:

    I have copy of Tafsir An-Nasafi and it states exactly what the Shaykh quoted from it. An-Nasafi judged naming Allah by “jism (body), jawhar (atom), ^aql (mind), and ^illah (cause)” as being ilhaad. Ilhaad in the context is no doubt means kufr.

    Some contemporary personalities are claiming that it’s permissible in my opinion primarily because they want to support someone they love. They are making up proofs to support their falsehoods and by that they are misguiding people. While they know what An-Nasafi said, they dare to claim that it’s not even kufr. Had that been the case, why did he lump ^illah in with ^aql, jism, and jawhar which we all know if kufr to call Allah?!

    Let everyone be warned from these people, they rather defend people than the Religion!

  13. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    Salam Alaikum

    Mutakallim is right.

    People have forgotten that the truth doesn’t depend on the whims of men. Men are bound by it.

    Unfortunately in our times on the one hand we have the wahabis and shias, whom we can identify easily; and on the other hand we have a lot of filthy mu’tazila and batiniys claiming to be Sunnis, who inject their poison into people’s minds in these subtle and manipulative ways.

    They are after nothing but fame and money, they can don as many robes as they want and wear ‘imama’s and grow beards and die them with henna too, they’re STILL from ahlul bid’ah and ahlul dhalalah, and are leading people to ilhad in the name of Sunni-ism and Sufi-ism.

    We are in dire need of amongst other things, Mujaddid Alf Thaani Imam Rabbani Sheikh Ahmad Farooqi Sirhindi’s (rahimahullah) teachings. He is VERY RIGHTLY called the reviver of not just his era but the entire 2nd millenium of the Hijri calendar. He was way ahead of his time and so were the people who have called him as Mujaddid Alf Thaani as they too could see the problems he has solved, ESPECIALLY in relation to misguided “sufi-ism” – something that is desperately needed to be dealt with in our times now. Total idiots like me can feel the value of his blessed knowledge at instances like this and see the DIRECT application and immediate value of his teachings and how they help protect our Islamic thought process and behavior patterns in such subtle matters, may Allah raise his blessed status.

    He has categorically said in his various writings, amongst other things:

    Extra-ordinary feats are not proofs of a person’s aqidah being right or wrong.

    Neither are ecstatic experiences and spiritual moods that a person experiences in gatherings or around other people of real or perceived tasawwuf (it even happens to nonMuslims); neither are a person’s exerting on his nafs a sign of piety and being on the right aqidah. He has cited the example of various pagans also, who remain hungry and go through various fasting rituals and other sorts of exertions on the nafs, only they do it in the cause of kufr.

    He has spoken about dreams, kashf’s, ilham’s etc and stated clearly where and when their interpretations can mean something and where they don’t.

    In short, he has made PURE aqidah, fiqh and tasawwuf CRYSTAL CLEAR and shown when where and how we look at “men of religion” and that religion doesn’t depend on them, but rather they depend on religion and big names and elaborate titles dont mean anything.

    Just one letter from his Maktubat (a 3-volume collection of letters he exchanged with his murid’s… as I know they are available in Persian, his native language, and Urdu and Turkish translations are available) on this topic will enlighten and expand a person’s Islamic thought process and illuminate his mind with such light, he can immediately see these people for the phonies they are and can expose them!

    Fortunately in the Sunni and Sufi circles (real or pretenders), Imam Rabbani rahimahullah is well known and accepted by one and all. We need to publicize his teachings on such topics where people somehow are trapped by these evil men because they feel they owe them something because of their titles or because of something they might have experienced in front of them or because they make bizarre predictions and claims, etc.

    Imam Rabbani was a great sheikh of the Naqshbandi tariqa and sadly, in our times there are people who have caused so much damage to this pristine tariqa by claiming to follow it. Not to mention the other propagators of dhalalah who preach such nonsense.

    One sure sign of such people is that knowingly or unknowingly, these people are in it (their dhalalah) together. Thats why you see them defending each other and crying foul when someone mentions a few truths and exposes them for who they are! Thankfully, theres still quite a few true shuyukh of Ahlus Sunnah who can warn people against such deviants; even though the true shuyukh don’t seek fame like the phonies,

  14. Assalaamu^alaykum,

    Ahmad-Qadri, do not say “Extra-ordinary feats are not proofs of a person’s aqidah being right or wrong.” say, “Extra-ordinary feats alone are not proofs of a person’s aqidah being right or wrong.” The reason for this correction is that miracles are proofs, but they combine extraordinariness with the claim of prophethood and challenging opponenents to do the same or better.

    Abu Adam

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