God’s Beauty, Beneficence & Unity

No Comments | July 2018

The Promised Messiahas wrote over 80 books in Arabic, Urdu, and Persian. Excerpts of his collected works have been translated into English and organised by topic. The Review of Religions is pleased to present these excerpts as part of a monthly feature. Here, The Promised Messiahas elaborates on the subject of God’s Beauty, Beneficence and Unity as taught by the Holy Qur’an.
Extracts fromThe Essence of Islam, Vol.I, pp. 43-49.

Air, water and the planets are a manifestation of His Providence and Mercy.
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God’s Beauty, Beneficence and Unity Taught by the Holy Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an comprises teachings which work towards endearing God. They exhibit His beauties and remind us of His beneficence, inasmuch as love is created either by the observation of beauty or by the remembrance of beneficence. The Qur’an teaches that by virtue of His excellences God is One, without associate. He suffers from no defect. He comprehends all good qualities and manifests all holy powers.

He is the Originator of all creation and is the fountainhead of all grace. He is the Master of all recompense and everything returns to Him. He is near and yet far, and He is far and yet near. He is above all, but it cannot be said that there is someone below Him. He is more hidden than everything else is but it cannot be said that there is something more manifest than Him. He is Self-Existing in His Being and everything is alive through Him. He is Self-Sustaining and everything is sustained by Him. He supports everything and there is nothing that supports Him. There is nothing that has come into being on its own, or can live without Him on its own. He comprehends everything, but it cannot be said what is the nature of that comprehension. He is the Light of everything in heaven and earth and every light has shone forth from His hand and is a reflection of His Being. He is the Providence of the universe. There is no soul that is not sustained by Him and exists by itself. No soul has any power which it has not obtained from Him and which exists by itself.

Two Kinds of Divine Mercy

The supplicant must remain at the threshold of the Almighty like one who is thirsty and in search of a fountain.
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His mercy is of two kinds. One, which has been eternally manifested without being the result of any action on the part of anyone. For instance, heaven and earth, the sun, moon and planets, water, fire and air, and all the particles of the universe which were created for our comfort, and all those things that were needed by us, were provided before our coming into being. All this was done when we were not even present. No action had proceeded from us. Who can say that the sun was created on account of some action of his, or that the earth was created in consequence of some good action of his? This is the mercy which came into operation before the creation of man and is not the result of anyone’s actions. The second kind of Divine mercy comes into operation in consequence of human action. This needs no illustration.

Allah is Free from All Defects

The Holy Qur’an sets forth that God is free from all defects and is not subject to any loss; and He desires that man should purify himself from defects by acting upon His instructions. He has said:

This means that: He who has no insight in this world and is not able to behold the Peerless Being, will be blind after death and will be enveloped in darkness, inasmuch as man is bestowed insight in this life with which to see God and he who will not take that insight with him from this world, will not be able to see God in the hereafter.

God Almighty has made it clear in this verse what progress He desires man to achieve and how far man can proceed by following His teaching. God sets forth in the Holy Qur’an the teaching by following which a person can see God in this very life. As Allah says:

This means that: He who desires to see God – who is the True Creator – in this very life, should act righteously.

That is to say, his conduct should exhibit no default and his actions should not be for show, nor should he take pride in them that he is such and such, nor should his actions be defective and incomplete, nor should they smell of anything which is inconsistent with his personal love of God. All his actions should breathe sincerity and faithfulness. He should abstain from associating anything with God. He should worship neither sun nor moon, nor stars, nor air, nor fire, nor water, nor any other thing whatsoever. He should not exalt worldly means so as to depend upon them as if they were God’s associates, nor should he depend upon his own enterprise and effort, for this is also a species of association. Having done everything, he should consider that he has done nothing. He should have no pride in his knowledge, nor have dependence upon his actions. He should consider himself truly ignorant and slothful and his soul should be prostrate all the time at the threshold of God Almighty. He should draw the grace of God to himself through his supplications. He should become like a person who is thirsty and is helpless and finds a fountain spring forth in front of him, the water of which is clear and sweet, and he crawls up to the fountain and applies his lips to it and does not let go till he is fully satisfied.

In the Holy Qur’an, our God describes His attributes thus:

This means that: Your God is One in His Being and in His attributes. No other being is eternal and everlasting and self-existing like His Being, nor are the attributes of any being like His attributes.

A person’s knowledge needs a teacher and yet is limited. God’s knowledge needs no teacher and is unlimited. A person’s hearing is dependent upon air and is limited, but God’s hearing is inherent and is unlimited. A person’s seeing is dependent upon the light of the sun or some other light and is limited, but God’s seeing is by His inherent light and is unlimited. The power of man to create is dependent upon some matter, needs time and is limited. God’s power to create is neither dependent on any matter nor does it need time and is unlimited. All His attributes are without equal and as He has no equal in His Being, no one is His equal in His attributes. If one of His attributes were to be defective, all His attributes would be defective and therefore His Unity cannot be established unless He were without any equal in His attributes as He is without any equal in His Being. He is not anyone’s son, nor is anyone His son. He is Self-Sufficient and needs neither father nor son. This is the Unity which the Holy Qur’an teaches and which is the basis of our faith.

—Lecture Lahore, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 20, pp. 152-155

God has commanded me to inform the members of my Community that those who have believed with a faith which contains nothing of the world in it, and which is not coloured by hypocrisy or cowardice, and does not fall short of any degree of obedience, are the people who are approved by God, and God says that they are the ones whose feet are planted firmly on sincerity.

Let him who has ears hear what it is that God desires of you. It is that you should become wholly His and should not associate anyone with Him in heaven or in earth. Our God is the One Who is living today as He was living before, and Who speaks today as He spoke before, and hears today as He heard before. It is a false notion that in this age He hears but does not speak. Indeed, He both hears and speaks. All His attributes are eternal and everlasting. None of His attributes has fallen into disuse or will fall into disuse. He is the One without associate Who has no son and no consort. He is the Peerless One Who has no equal and like Whom no individual is absolutely qualified with any quality, and Whose attributes are not shared by anyone. None of His powers lacks anything. He is near and yet far and He is far and yet near. He can manifest Himself in any shape to those who have experience of visions but He has no body and no shape. He is above all but it cannot be said that there is anyone below Him. He is on His throne, but it cannot be said that He is not on the earth. He combines in Himself all perfect qualities and is a manifestation of all true praiseworthiness. He is the fountainhead of all excellences and combines in Himself all powers. All grace originates with Him and everything returns to Him. He is the Master of all kingdoms and possesses every perfect quality. He is free from every defect and weakness. It belongs to Him alone that all those on earth and in heaven should worship Him. Nothing is beyond His power. All souls and their capacities and all particles and their capacities are His creation. Nothing manifests itself without Him. He manifests Himself through His powers and His signs and we can find Him only through Him. He manifests Himself always to the righteous and shows them His powers. That is how He is recognized and that is how the path is recognized which has His approval.

He sees without physical eyes, hears without physical ears and speaks without a physical tongue. It is His function to bring into being from nothingness. As you see in a dream, He creates a whole world without the agency of any matter and shows as present that which is mortal and nonexistent. Such are all His powers. Foolish is the one who denies His powers and blind is the one who is unaware of their depth. He does everything and can do everything except that which is inconsistent with His dignity or is opposed to His promise. He is one in His Being and His attributes and His actions and His powers. All doors that lead to Him are closed except the one door which has been opened by the Holy Qur’an.

—Al-Wasiyyat, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 20, pp. 309-311

All Praise Belongs to Allah

Alhamdulillah. All praise belongs to the True God Who combines in Himself all perfect attributes and Whose name is Allah. In the idiom of the Holy Qur’an, Allah is the name of that perfect Being Who is truly worthy of worship, combines in Himself all perfect attributes, is free from all defects, is One without associate and is the fountainhead of all beneficence. In His Holy Book, God Almighty has described His name Allah as combining in itself the attributes of all other names and qualities. No other name has been given this rank. Thus, the name Allah comprehends all other perfect attributes.

Alhamdulillah, therefore, means that all types of praise, overt and covert, relating to personal perfection or relating to natural wonders, are the characteristic of Allah, and no one is His associate in them. It also means that all true praise and perfect qualities, which the wisdom of a wise one can think of or the reflection of any thinker can conceive of, are comprehended in God Almighty. There is no excellence, the possibility of which is vouched for by reason, of which God Almighty is bereft like an unfortunate human being. The wisdom of no wise one can point to an excellence which is not to be found in God Almighty. The maximum of all excellences that a person can conceive of is found in Him. He is perfect from every point of view in His Being, His attributes and His good qualities, and He is absolutely free from all defects. This is a truth which distinguishes a true religion from a false one.

Endnotes

1. The Holy Quran, Bani Isra’il, 17:73

2. The Holy Quran, Al-Kahf, 18:111

3. The Holy Quran, Al-Ikhlas, 112:2-5

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