Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya: English commentary
The following work is a beneficial translation and short commentary of the classical treatise on Sunni beliefs (aqida) known as al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya. An audio commentary by Dr. Abul Hasan Hussain Ahmed can also be purchased from the following link:
Whilst teaching al-ʿAqīda al-Tahāwiyya at Madrasa Hamīdiyya from 2002 to 2006, the idea for compiling a book in English for the benefit of the general public emerged. With this in mind I began collecting notes from the various Arabic commentaries and collating them under the relevant points in the text.
The translation that formed the basis of the English text that I used was that of Iqbal Ahmad Azami, which was the best English translation available at the time. Although this translation was used as a starting point, many amendments were made to it as deemed appropriate.
The commentary was essentially based on the available Arabic commentaries of the text with extensive reference to commentaries by the following scholars:
1. ʿAbd al-Ghanī Al-Ghunaymī al-Maydānī (d. 1298)
2. Abū Hafs Sirāj al-Dīn ʿUmar ibn Ishāq al-Ghaznawī al-Hindī (d.773) – although I used the edition (wrongly) ascribed to Akmal al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muhammad al-Bābartī (d.786)
3. Hasan Kāfī al-Aqhiṣārī al-Busnawī (d. 1024)
Other commentaries and books of ʿAqīda were also referred to occasionally.
This brief commentary aims to maintain a considerable degree of simplicity, avoiding technical discussions that are not relevant to the average person. The focus is explaining the correct belief rather than involving the reader in the intricacies of debate around theological issues.
Verses of the Qurʾān and narrations of Ḥadīth are briefly quoted in support of the doctrines listed by Imām Tahawī. I have attempted to ensure the accuracy of these references to the best of my ability by mentioning the Sūra and verse number or the Ḥadīth source. However a detailed treatment of these topics from the sources have been omitted as, this being a book on ʿ Aqīda, the aspect of belief only was given consideration.
While the permanent relevance of the statements of belief in the ʿAqīda are obvious, the historical weight and relevance of certain of these statements can be properly appreciated only if the work is used as a text for study under the guidance of some learned scholar able to elucidate its arguments fully, with reference to the intellectual and historical background of the sects refuted in the work. Since the present book is intended exactly as one such aid towards understanding the details of Islamic belief with clarity, it is hoped that it will be of benefit to the reader.
May Allah grant us a true understanding of faith and count us among those described by the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) as the Saved Group.
Durban, South Africa, 14 October 2011