Allah, the Almighty, said:

{What is [the matter] with you that you do not attribute to Allah [due] grandeur [?]} [Nooḥ 71:13]

قَالَ الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: "مَّا لَكُمْ لَا تَرْجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارًا"

Exaltation is the recognition of [His] grandeur while showing humility before it. It is of three levels:

التَّعْظِيمُ: مَعْرِفَةُ الْعَظَمَةِ، مَعَ التَّذَلُّلِ لَهَا. وَهُوَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ.

The first level is the exaltation of the commands and prohibitions, and this requires that:

  1. they are not compromised by unjustified concessions

  2. they are not treated with excessive stringency

  3. they are not hinged on causes that may weaken compliance462

الدَّرَجَةُ الأولَى: تَعْظِيمُ الْأَمْرِ وَالنَّهْيِ، وَهُوَ:

  1. أَنْ لَا يُعَارَضَا بِتَرَخُّصٍ جَافٍّ

  2. وَلَا يُعَرَّضَا لِتَشَدُّدٍ غَالٍ

  3. وَلَا يُحْمَلَا عَلَى عِلَّةٍ تُوهِنُ الِانْقِيَادَ

The second level is the exaltation of the decrees such that:

  1. they would not be perceived as inequitable463

  2. they are not resisted with knowledge464

  3. a compensation would not be solicited465

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ: تَعْظِيمُ الْحُكْمِ:

  1. أَنْ يُبْغَى لَهُ عِوَجٌ

  2. أَوْ يُدَافَعَ بِعِلْمٍ

  3. أَوْ يَرْضَى بِعِوَضٍ

The third level is the exaltation of the True One, Glorified is He, and this entails that:

  1. you do not recognize any cause aside from Him466

  2. you do not see any right binding on Him

  3. you do not resist any choice by Him467

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: تَعْظِيمُ الْحَقِِ سُبْحَانَهُ. وَهُوَ:

  1. أَنْ لَا تَجْعَلَ دُونَهُ سَبَبًا

  2. وَلَا تَرَى عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا

  3. أَوْ تُنَازِعَ لَهُ اخْتِيَارًا

462 One command may have more than one cause. Hasty attribution of causes to the commands and prohibitions may result in their dismissal where they should be applicable. Additionally, the ultimate (unmeasurable) ḥikmah (wisdom) may not be used to void the laws. For example, one may never say that the purpose of prayers is to strengthen our bond with Allah and forbid us from evil, concluding that those who have a sweet relationship with Allah and refrain from evil do not need to pray.
463 The decrees of Allah are all just and good, even if that which is decreed is not, as Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah be pleased with him) points out in Madârij. When He decrees that someone commit an injustice, that person is blameworthy for the injustice, but Allah’s decree is not to be faulted since His ultimate wisdom warranted that decree within His master plan. Evil is not to be attributed to Allah, as the Prophet ﷺ said, even though all decrees—good and evil—are His, as he ﷺ also confirmed.
464 The proper way to understand this, as Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah be pleased with him) clarifies in Madârij, is to presume that the sheikh meant that the decrees of Allah that have come to pass and the knowledge of the Revelation He granted to us are all from Him, and they may not be pitted against each other.
465 One should never see themselves as having any entitlements over Allah. Enduring gracefully through hard decrees is our obligation. This, however, does not mean that the Most Generous does not reward us for this endurance. It also does not mean that we may not find comfort in His promises.
466 Allah is the first and final Cause, so we should treat all causes as means to goals that were set up by Him. They are not effective in themselves, except with His permission as part of the universal order that He alone created and He alone maintains.
467His commands are known to us, and we must surrender to them. The decrees that befall us must be accepted. The decrees that have not come to pass are not known to us. Regardless of how eminent they may seem, we seek what is good and evade and resist what is harmful. All of this is encapsulated in the saying of the Messenger ﷺ:

" الْمُؤْمِنُ الْقَوِيُّ خَيْرٌ وَأَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِ الضَّعِيفِ ، وَفِي كُلٍّ خَيْرٌ احْرِصْ عَلَى مَا يَنْفَعُكَ ، وَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَلَا تَعْجَزْ ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَكَ شَيْءٌ فَلَا تَقُلْ : لَوْ أَنِّي فَعَلْتُ كَانَ كَذَا وَكَذَا ، وَلَكِنْ قُلْ : قَدَرُ اللَّهِ وَمَا شَاءَ فَعَلَ ، فَإِنَّ لَوْ تَفْتَحُ عَمَلَ الشَّيْطَانِ "

A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak one, and both are good. Keenly pursue that which is beneficial for you. Keep invoking Allah’s help and do not be powerless. If you are afflicted by something, do not say, ‘Had I done such-and-such, it would have resulted in such and such,’ but say only, ‘Allah decreed a matter and did as He willed.’ The word ‘if’ opens the gates of satanic works.” (Muslim)

Manâzil as-Sâirin


Shaykhul-Islam Abu Isma‘il Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ansari al-Harawi (396-481H)

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj