SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) – Certainty or conviction is a valuable capital which is given to only few people. Anybody possessing this, enjoys great prosperity.
Imam Reza (as) has stated:
“الاِيمانُ فَوقَ الاِسلامِ بِدَرَجَةٍ وَالتَقوَى فَوقَ الاِيمَانِ بِدَرَجَةٍ وَاليَقِينُ فَوقَ التَقوَى بِدَرَجَةٍ وَلَم يُقَسَّم بَينَ العِبَادِ شَيئٌ اَقَلُّ مِنَ اليَقِينُ”
“Faith is one degree above Islam; God-wariness is one degree above faith. Certainty is one degree above God-wariness. Nothing less than certainty is divided among God’s believers”2
The narrator says: I heard Imam as-Sadiq (as) saying:
“اِنَّ العَمَلَ الدَائِمَ القَلِيلَ عَلى اليَقِين اَفضَلُ عِندَ الله مِنَ العَمَلِ الكَثِيرِ عَلى غَيرِ يَقِينٍ”
“Indeed, a small act based on certainty that is performed continually, is better before God than abundant actions not based on certainty”3
He also said:
“اِنَّ اللهَ بِعَدلِهِ وقِسْطِهِ جَعَلَ الرُّوحَ وَالرَّاحَة في اليَقِينَ وَالرِّضَا وَجَعَلَ الهَمَّ وَالحُزنَ في الشَّكِ وَالسَخَطِ”
“With his justice and fairness, God has put tranquility and ease in certainty and satisfaction, and has put sorrow and grief in doubt and displeasure”.4
Types Of Certainty
Certainty has degrees. These degrees are referred to in the Qur’an as “certain knowledge”, to see with the “eye of certainty” and “certain truth”.
The verses 5 and 7 of Surah al-Takathur: “Nay! If you had known with certain knowledge, you should most certainly have seen Hell; then you shall most certainly see it with the eye of certainty”
“كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ … ثُمَّ لَتَرَوْنَهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ”
refer to the first and second degrees respectively and verse 95 of Surah al-Waqi’ah:
” إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ حَقُّ الْيَقِينِ “
“..Most surely this is a certain truth,” refers to the third degree of conviction.
‘Ilm Al-Yaqin (Certain Knowledge)
This is reasoning-based certainty. It is reached through reasoning with majors and minors. For instance, we are convinced that fire exists when we observe the smoke, or the reasoning which takes place to prove God’s existence
“سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ”
“We will soon show them Our signs in the universe and in their own souls, until it will become quite clear to them that it is the truth”.5
‘Ayn Al-Yaqin [To See With The Eye Of Certainty]
This is conviction derived by observing the thing itself: for example, observing the fire itself.
Haqq Al-Yaqin [Certain Truth]
This kind of conviction is arrived by touching the thing itself, i.e., a connection to the thing and adopting its characteristics, for instance, entering the fire and feeling its heat or extinction in God, and dissipation in His love.
In the sanctified tradition we read:
“مَا تَقَرَّبَ اِلَيَّ عَبدِي بِشَيئٍ اَحَبَّ اِلي مِمَّا افتَرَضتَه عَلَيه وَلا يَزَالُ العَبْدُ يَتَقَرَّبُ اِليَّ بِالنَوافِلِ حَتّى اُحبَه فِاِذَا اَحبَبتُهُ كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ وَبَصَرَه الَّذِي يُبصِرُ بِهِ وَلِسَانَهُ الَّذِي يَنطِقُ بِهِ وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبطِشُ بِهَا، اِن دَعَانِي اَجَبتُه وَاِن سَأَلَنِي اَعطَيتُهُ”
“My servant does not approach Me with anything dearer to Me than what I have made incumbent on him. He continues to approach Me through supererogatory acts until I love him. When I love him, I become his hearing through which he hears, his sight through which he sees, his tongue through which he speaks and his hand through which he strikes. If he calls on me I answer him, and if he asks me I give him.”
Fayd Kashani has told the following poem regarding this issue:
You were with me. I did not consider you as I myself,
Or perhaps you were me and I didn’t know;
When I departed, I recognized you,
As far as you were me, I didn’t know.
Another poet has said, regarding this:
So much I thought about you, I became entirely you,
You came gradually, and I slowly departed.
Parallel with the degrees of certainty, there exist different effects and signs for it. Those who are at the stage of Haqq al-Yaqin enjoy a better degree of recognition and high temperaments. They can perform extraordinary feats. They who live at the other two degrees of certainty (i.e.) ‘Ilm al-Yaqin and ‘Ayn al-yaqin, naturally enjoy fewer advantages.
The writer of “Misbah al-Shari’ah” writes, Imam Sadiq (as) has said: “Certainty raises the status of the man to a lofty one, and the Great Prophet of Islam (S), hearing that Jesus Christ (as) had walked over water, replied: ‘If Jesus enjoyed greater certainty, he would have walked on air as well’”.
This statement depicts the lofty degree of certainty.
All Prophets are not on the same footing. Some who have more certainty are of higher status.
As the Prophets enjoy different degrees of certainty, so do the believers. A man who enjoys a better degree of certainty, naturally sees power and might only in the hands of Allah and insists on worshipping Him both publicly and in private. Existence or lack of it, more or less, appreciation or depreciation, glory or abjectness is equal for him….6
2. Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, pp.52-57.
3. Op cit.
4. Usul al-Kafi, vol.2, pp.52-57.
5. Qur’an 41:53.
6. Mulla Abd al-Razzaq Gilani’s Sharh Misbah al-Shari’ah wa Miftah al-Haqiqah, p.471; Bihar al-Anwar, vol.70, p.179.
Adapted from: “Imam ‘Ali’s First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education” by: “Zainol Aabideen Qorbani Lahiji”