Abu Ja’far al-Tahawi (853-933) is considered the greatest Hanafi lawyer, which Egypt has produced. Studied Hanafi law under Abu Ja’far bin Abi Imran, and received the Musnad of al-Shafi’i from Muzani.
Author of around 24 books, of which is this booklet; originally a short pamphlet setting out the Sunni confession of faith in clear legal language.
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
The scholar and competent authority of Islam, Abu Ja’far al-Tahawi, the copyist in Egypt; may Allah pardon him, said:
“This is citation of the statement of the doctrine of the people of Sunnal and community in accordance to the creed of the jurists of religion: Abu Hanifa al-Na’man bin Thabit al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Yakub bin Ibrahim al-Ansari, and Abu Abd Allah Mohammad bin al-Hasan al-Shaybani, (may Allah be pleased with them altogether); and what they believe of the fundamental articles of (Islamic) religion, and profess to the Lord of the Worlds.
01 – We say about the Unity of Allah, believing in success granted by Allah: Allah is One with no partner.
02 – Nothing resembles Him.
03 – There is nothing He fails to do.
04 – No god but Him.
05 – He is Eternal with no beginning, Everlasting without an end.
06 – He does not perish or pass away.
07 – Nothing is to be unless He wills it.
08 – Neither guesses nor intellects grasp Him.
09 – He does not resemble mankind.
10 – The Living One who dies not, the Eternal no sleep overtakes Him.
11 – The Creator with no need to create, and The Provider without labor.
12 – He gives death with no dread, and raises from death with no toil.
13 – He is still Eternal and Everlasting with His attributes before His creation. His attributes have not increased before His creation.
14 – He was not named «The Creator» after originating mankind, and «The Shaper of naught» after originating the created beings.
15 – He has the quality of Lordship with no bondman.
16 – As He quickens the dead after He gives life, He was named so before He gave them life. And named «The Creator» before He originated the creation.
17 – This is due to the fact that He is Able to do all things; everything needs Him, and is easy for Him. He needs nothing: «Naught is as His likeness, and He is the Hearer, the Seer» (Counsel, v. 11).
18 – He brought the creation into existence with His knowledge.
19 – He meted out terms for them.
20 – And appointed times for them.
2I – Nothing was hidden from Him before He created them; and He knew what they shall do before He created them.
22 – He commanded them to obey Him, and He forbade them of His disobedience.
23 – Everything works according to His decree and will, His will becomes effective. Slaves have no will except what He wills to them; so whatever He wills comes into being, and whatever He wills not does not exist.
24 – Allah guides whom He will, protects him from evil, and grants him health; a free gift from Himself. And He sends astray whom He will, fails to aid him, and tests him justly.
25 – Mankind acts in whatever way He wills, between His free gift and justice.
26 – He is exalted above opposites and idols.
27 – There is no repeller of His decree, no one can postpone His doom; and none predominates His commandment.
28 – We believe in all this, and we are certain that everything is decreed by Him.
29 – And that Mohammad is His elect slave, His chosen prophet, and approved messenger.
30 – And that he is the last of the prophets, and the Imam (exemplar) of the righteous, the head of messengers, and the one loved by the Lord of the Worlds.
31 – Every claim of prophecy after him is a state of perdition and evil inclination.
32 – He is the one sent to the Jinn, and to all mortals with truth, right direction; accidental and essential light.
33 – That the Quran is the word of Allah, which manifested from Him, with no manner of being. It is an inspiration He has revealed unto His messenger, and is truly assented by believers who are sure that it is the word of Allah, Almighty.
It has not been brought into existence like the speech of creation. He who listens to it and says, falsely, that it is the speech of mankind, is held a disbeliever whom Allah has dispraised, and threatened him with Sakar; where He says, Almighty One: «Him shall I fling unto Sakar (the burning)» (The Cloaked One, v. 26).
So when Allah threatens with Sakar the one who says: «This is naught else than speech of mortal man» (‘The Cloaked One, v. 25), we know and become certain that it is the saying of The Originator of Mankind, and does not resemble the speech of mankind.
34 – The one who attributes to Allah a sense of mankind is a disbeliever. Hence, he who looks, thoroughly into this, takes warning and refrains from the sayings of disbelievers, and knows that Allah with His attributes does not resemble mankind.
35 – The sight (of the eyes) is true for the people of Paradise, without comprehension or specification, as pronounced in The Book of our Lord (Quran): «That day will faces be resplendent; looking toward their Lord». (The Rising of the Dead, v. 22, 23).
The interpretation of which is in accordance with Allah’s will and knowledge. And all that is related about this in the authentic tradition (Hadith) on the authority of The Messenger (sallalah alaihi wasallam) is as he said, and the meaning as he intended. We do not indulge in it with an interpretation of our own, using our own judgment, or misconceiving with our fancies; for none has become free from evils in his religion, except he who has submitted himself to Allah, To whom belong glory and greatness; and to His Messenger (may blessings and peace of Allah be upon him); and he who ascribes ambiguity to the one who knows it.
36 – Islam shall not become established but through unreserved assentment and submission to Allah. So, he who seeks for the knowledge of what has been debarred from him, and whose apprehension did not submit to assentment; the thing he sought after has prevented him from sheer monotheism, pure knowledge, and true faith. Consequently, he wavers between infidelity and faith, belief and disbelief, acknowledgment and disapproval, subject to suggestions of vain; being lost and doubtful; neither a faithful believer, nor an avaricious disbeliever.
37 – The belief in sight (of the eyes in the hereafter) is not true to the member of the people of the «abode of everlasting safety3» who considers it fanciful, or tries to interpret it by his mind. For the interpretation of the sight of the eyes and the interpretation of every attribute adjoined to Lordship hitherto, is by abandoning interpretation and sticking to unreserved assentment; to which the religion of Muslims is in conformity.
And the one who does not guard himself against preclusion and resemblance, has made a mistake, and did not declare Allah to be free from imperfection.
For Our Lord, to whom belong glory and greatness, is characterized by attributes of unity and oneness; where none of creation resembles His attributes.
38 – Allah is supremely exalted from boundaries, extremes, essential parts, limbs, and instruments. He is not limited by the six directions like all originated things.
39 – That the Ladder is true, and the prophet (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has been carried by night, and has ascended, awaken, with his body to Heaven where Allah willed of highness, and Allah honoured him with what He wished. He revealed unto him that which He revealed: «The heart lied not (in seeing) what it saw» (The Star, v. 11). So may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him in the afterlife and the former one.
40 – That the pool, which Allah honoured him with, as deliverance to his people from difficulty, is true.
41 – And compensation laid up by The Prophet for his people in the future, is true, as related in the narratives.
42 – And the covenant Allah made with Adam and his off springs is true.
43 – Allah, Almighty, has known of what did not cease to exist, the number of those who shall enter Paradise, and of those who shall enter Hell, in one aggregate; So, the number is neither increased nor decreased.
44 – Also He knows their deeds for He knew be-forehand what they shall do, and everyone is prepared, for that for which he is created; and the actions are to be judged as good or evil, by their results; and the fortunate is the one whom Allah rendered prosperous, and the unfortunate the one Allah caused to be miserable.
45 – That the natural disposition of ordinance is, what Allah, Almighty, concealed in Hiscreation; neither an approved angel, nor a prophet sent with a message, has obtained knowledge of it. Going deep in considering it intellectually is an access to Allah’s failure to preserve the man who does so, a ladder to non-prosperity and a step to exorbitance.
So, take care and avoid this by sight, thought, and suggestions of vain; for Allah, Almighty, has concealed the science of ordinance from mankind, and has forbidden them its seeking, as He, Almighty, says in His Book, (Quran): «He will not be questioned as to that which He doeth, but they will be questioned» (The Prophets, v. 23). So, whoever asks: Why did He do so, has rejected the judgment of The Book (Quran); and the one who denies the judgment of The Book is an infidel.
46 – This is all what is needed by whose heart is enlightened among the favourites of Allah, Almighty, and this is the degree of those who are of sound instruction. For science is of two kinds: one existent in creation, and the other non-existent. Denial of existent science is infidelity, and claiming the knowledge of non-existent science is infidelity too. Faith is not established except by admitting the existent science, not pursuing after the non-existent one.
47 – We believe in The Tablets and The Pen, and all that is written in it. So, if the whole creation agree upon abolishing a thing Allah, Almighty, has written in it that it will exist; the whole creation will not be able to do so. Likewise, if all creation agree to get into existence a thing Allah, Almighty, did not write in it, they will not be able to do so. The pen is dried up with what is to exist until The Day of Resurrection. And that what has passed the slave by, was not going to befall him; and what has befallen him was not going to pass him by.
48 – The slave has to know that the knowledge of Allah has preceded in every being of His creation, so He ordained it compactly, and rendered it inevitable; with no contradictor or postponer or annullator, or a one who changes it. And without an increase or decrease in His creation in His heavens and earth. This is of the obligations of faith, and the fundamentals of knowledge, together with the confession of the unity of Allah, Almighty, and His Lordship, as Allah, Almighty, says in His Book (Quran): «He hath created everything and hath meted for it a measure (The Criterion of Right and Wrong, v. 3). And Allah, – Almighty, says: «and the commandment of Allah is certain destiny» (The Clans, v. 38).
Woe to him who became a disputer to Allah’s decree, and who summoned a diseased heart to consider it. For he has sought with his fancy a concealed secret by investigating the world of unseen, and has become by what he said about it, a sinful liar.
49 – That the Throne and the throne are true.
50 – And He is in no need of the Throne and what is below it.
51 – He comprehends everything and is above it. And He rendered his creation unable of such comprehension.
52 – We (Muslims) say in belief: Allah has chosen Abraham (Ibrahim) for friend, and spoken directly unto Moses.
53 – We (Muslims) believe in angels, prophets, books revealed to messengers; and confess that they were on the clear path.
54 – We name the people of our Qibla: «Muslims», and «believers», as long as they acknowledge what The Prophet (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) called for, and admit all what he said and related.
55 – We do not indulge into false discourse or speech respecting Allah, and we do not dispute obstinately about the religion of Allah.
56 – We do not dispute about the Quran, and testify that it is the word of the Lord of Worlds, revealed by the Trusted spirit6 who taught it to the head of messengers Mohammad (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). It is the word of Allah, Almighty, nothing of the speech of creation equals it. And we do say that it is not created, in agreement with the Muslim community.
57 – We do not call a member of the people of Qibla a disbeliever if he comits a sin, unless he deemed it lawful.
58 – We do not say no straitness shall befall the believer who comits sin.
59 – We hope for the charitable believers that Allah efface them from sin, and cause them to enter Paradise by His mercy. We do not confide in them and do not testify their entrance to Paradise, and we beg Allah forgiveness for their wrongdoers. We fear for them; and do not make them to despair.
60 – Security and despair are related to the religion of Islam, and the right path in between them for the people of Qibla.
61 – And that the slave (of Allah) is not extricated from faith except for scantiness of what got him in it.
62 – Faith is confessing by tongue, and believing by heart.
63 – All that is established upon the authority of The Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) about religious law and eloquence is true.
64 – Faith is one, and believers are equal. Superiority among them is by fear of Allah, piety, disagreement with evil inclination, and confinement to the more appropriate.
65 – All believers are favourites of Allah, and the most honoured by Allah are the most obedient, followers of the Quran.
66 – Faith is belief in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day; and belief in divine destiny, both the good and the evil, the sweet and the bitter thereof. All of which are ordained by Allah, Almighty.
67 – We believe in all this, and do not differentiate between His messengers, and believe in all what was revealed to them.
68 – The people of abominable sin among the people of Mohammad (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) do not remain forever in Hell, on condition that they die asserting Allah to be one; though they were non-repenters; after they meet Allah as well-acquainted believers. They are under His will and judgment. He may forgive them if He wishes, and absolve them by His bounty as He, may He be glorified, cited in His Book (Quran): «He forgiveth (all) save that to whom He will» (Women, v. 48). He may, if He wishes, torture them in Hell with His justice, then gets them out of it with His mercy, and the pleading of intercessors, and obedient people. After which He may send them to His Paradise, for Allah, Almighty, Has undertaken those who know Him, and Has not make them in the two worlds as the people who denied Him. The latter are disappointed of attaining His right direction and did not get His promise of responsibility.
O Allah, The Guardian of Islam and its people; keep us constantly clinging to Islam until we meet thee.
69 – We hold in praying behind every pious man and liar, from among the people of Qibla; and in praying for he who dies of them.
70 – We do not put any of them in the position of Paradise or Hell, and do not give evidence of their infidelity, or belief in plurality of gods, or hypocrisy; unless they declare it themselves. And we appoint their secret tenets to Allah, almighty.
71 – We hold that none of the community of Mohammad (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), is to be killed, unless he deserves it.
72 – We hold that we shall not quit our religious leaders, even though they act unjustly. We do not pray (to Allah) against them or disobey them. To us, obeying them is an obligatory statute derived from obedience to Allah, may He be glorified; except when they enjoin an act of disobedience. We pray for their goodness and safety from diseases.
73 – We follow the Sunna and the community, and put away irregularity, disagreement, and disunion.
74 – We like the people of just and trustfulness, and hate the people of tyranny and treachery.
75 – We say that Allah is best aware of what is ambiguous to us.
76 – We believe in wiping the socks while travelling, and at residence; in accordance to what has been related in the traditions.
77 – Making pilgrimage and fighting in the cause of religion, continue to take place under Muslim guardians, pious or transgressors, till the time of resurrection. Nothing proves it untrue, or abolishes it.
78 – We believe in the Generous and Recording angels, for Allah has created them as guardians upon us.
79 – We believe in the Angel of Death, responsible for taking the souls of the worlds.
80 – And we believe in grave punishment for the one who is worthy of it. And in Munkar and Nakeer who ask him in his grave about his Lord, religion and prophet. All this in accordance to the narrative relating to the Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and to the companions of the prophet (may Allah be pleased with them).
81 – That the grave is a garden of Paradise, or a ditch of Hell.
82 – We believe in the quickening of the dead, compensation of deeds in the Day of Resurrection; and in exposure, reckoning, reward and punishment; the straight path (Sirat), and the balance.
83 – That Paradise and Hell are created; neither of which will pass away or perish. And that Allah, Almighty, has brought Paradise and Hell into existence before the creation, and has created their people. So, whomever He wills goes to Paradise, a free gift of Him. And whomever He wills goes to Hell justly. And that everyone works to what he has been applied to exclusively and will become what he has been created for.
84 – Goodness and evil are ordained on the slaves.
85 – The ability necessary for action is similar to success granted by Allah, which should not be attributed to the created being; for it accompanies the deed. As to ability in respect of validity, power, mastery, and imperfection of instruments; it is prior to the deed, and discourse is attached to it. And it is as Allah, Almighty, says: “Allah tasked not a soul beyond its scope” (The Cow, v. 286).
86 – Deeds of slaves are the creation of Allah, and their acquisition.
87 – Allah, Almighty, Has not imposed upon slaves tasks they cannot cope with; and they will cope only with what He imposed upon them: This is the explanation of: “There is no strength, nor power but by means of Allah”. We say: None has the ability to manage with subtlety, or move, or shift away from disobedience of Allah, but by Allah’s help. And no one has the power to obey Allah and cling steadily to obedience, except through success granted by Allah.
88 – Everything comes to pass by the will, knowledge, general and particular decrees of Allah, Almighty. His will overpowered all wills, and His fate gained mastery over all plots. He does whatever He wills, and He is never unjust. He is free from imperfection and destruction, and far removed from every defect and disgrace. “He will not be questioned as to that which He doeth, but they will be questioned” (The prophets, v. 23).
89 – That the dead benefit from the prayers of the alive.
90 – Allah, Almighty, answers prayers and fulfil needs.
91 – He possesses everything and nothing possesses Him. There is no freedom from need to Allah during a wink. And he who is in no need to Allah during a wink, disbelieves in Him, and is of the people of destruction.
92 – Allah becomes wrathful and pleases, unlike mankind.
93 – We love the companions of the Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), but we do not exceed the due bounds in loving anyone of them. We do not assert ourselves to be free from any of them. We hate who hates them and speaks badly of them; and we speak good of them. Loving them is derived from religion, faith, and charity; and hating them is denial of Allah, hypocrisy, and exorbitance.
94 – We declare the Khilafa to be binding after the; Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him); first to Abu Bakr, the righteous (may Allah be pleased with him), distinguishing him above others and giving him precedence over the whole (Muslim) nation. Then to Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), then to Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him), then to Ali bin Abi Taleb (may Allah be pleased with him), being the caliphs who followed a right course, and the rightly guided religious leaders.
95 – We bear witness that the ten who the Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) named and brought good tidings of Paradise; will be in Paradise in accordance to what the Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) declared to them, for his saying is truth. These are: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Talha, Al-Zubayr, Sa’d, Sa’id, Abd Al-Rahman Bin Awf; and Abu Ubayda Bin al-Jarrah, the guardian of this nation, may Allah be pleased with them all.
96 – And he who has spoken in favour of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), his wives who are free from pollution, and his descendants purified from filth; is free of hypocrisy.
97 – That the early Muslim scholars of preceding generations, and the followers next after them, are the people of benevolence and tradition, investigation and consideration, who have to be spoken of with gratitude. The one who speaks badly of them is not on the right course.
98 – We do not ascribe to any of the favourites of Allah an excellence distinguishing him above any of the prophets (may peace be upon them); and we say: One prophet is better than all the favourites of Allah.
99 – We believe in thaumaturgy of the favourites of Allah, and their relations, which have been proven trustworthy.
100 – We believe in the signs of resurrection appearance of the Antichrist, descendence of Jesus son of Mary (may peace be upon him) from Heaven the rise of the sun from sunset and emergence of the least of the Earth9 from its place.
101 – We do not believe a soothsayer; a diviner, or the one who claims something which disagrees with the Quran, the traditions of the prophet, and the consensus of the nation.
102 – We hold the community to be true and right; and disunion both a deviation from the right course and castigation.
103 – Allah’s religion is one on earth and in Heaven, which is the religion of Islam. Allah, Almighty, says: “Lo! Religion with Allah is Islam” (The Family of Imran, v. 19) and He says: “… and (I) have chosen for you as religion AI-Islam” (The Table Spread, v. 3)
104 – Islam is midway between exceeding the proper limits and falling short of what is required; between ascription of human characteristics to Allah and denying Allah all attributes; between fatalism and divine foreordainment; between freedom from fear and despair.
105 – This is our religion and belief, apparent and concealed, and we are quit to Allah of everyone who disagrees with what we have stated and made clear.
We plead to Allah, Almighty, to help us keep firmly to faith; and make our end with it; preserve us from evil inclinations, discordant opinions and creeds apostate from Islam, such as Mushabbiha, Mu’tazila, Jahmiyya, Jabriyya and others who have disagreed with the prophet’s tradition and the Muslim community, and have clung to error. We are quit of these, and consider them committers of wrong and corrupt actions. And with Allah is success and immunity to error.