Ibn Taymiyyah’s Elucidation of Law Laak

[“Were It Not For You, I Would Not Have Created Creation.” ]

لولاك لولاك ما خلقت الأفلاكا

Ibn Taymiyyah’s writings about venerating the Prophet tend to be eclipsed by his more controversial thoughts and responsum. His exploration of the law laaka theme therefore, helps to shed light on another aspect of his character often ignored or overlooked by his admirers and detractors alike. In the eleventh volume of his Compendium of Legal Responses Ibn Taymiyyah, (Majma` Fataawaa (Riyadh: Daar al-`alam al-Kutub, 1991), 11:96-98) he writes:

The superiority of our Prophet over the Angels was demonstrated on the Night of the Ascension (laylat al-mi`raaj) when he arrived at a level where he could hear the ‘scratching of the pens’. He was now at a station higher than that of the Angels. Allah, Exalted is, He displays some of His tremendous power and amazing wisdom through righteous human beings, vis-a-via the Prophets and Saints, in ways which He does not do so through even the Angels. For He assembled in the former qualities that are dispersed throughout the other types of creation. So Allah created man’s body of the earth, but his spirit was created from the Highest Assembly (al-malaa’ al-a`laa).

This is why it is said: ‘Man is a microcosm, but contains the macrocosm. Now Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the master of humanity, the best of creation and the noblest of them in Allah’s sight. This is why it has been said that, ‘Allah created the universe because of him’. Or ‘Were it not for him, He would not have created the Throne, the Pedestal, the heaven, earth, sun or moon’. But this is not a hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him: neither authentic nor weak. It was not related by any of those versed in the Hadith discipline on the authority of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Nor is it known to have come from any of the Companions. In fact, it is not known who actually uttered it.

It is possible, though, to explain it from a correct perspective such as by Allah’s saying: He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and the earth. 45:13 And by His words: He subjected the ships to you that they may run upon the sea at His command, and He subjected the rivers to you. He subjected to you the sun and the moon, constant in their courses, and subjected to you the night and the day. And gave you of all you ask Him; and if you count the favours of Allah, you shall never number them.

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