Islamic Concepts and Beliefs The Existence of God

The Attributes of Allah

Mubarak Mosque

The interior design of the mosque is unique amongst mosques of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. A beautiful adornment of the attributes of God Almighty decorate the walls of the mosque.

His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, granted special guidance in all the various phases of the construction of the mosque as well as the calligraphy produced inside it. His Holiness(aba) said that the attributes will serve as a means of inspiring the worshippers to reflect and ponder over the meanings of each attribute. The Review of Religions continues with its exclusive new series in which a short commentary of each attribute has been detailed.

The calligraphy was designed by expert calligrapher Razwan Baig. This research has been compiled by the Research Cell Rabwah through Syed Mubashar Ahmad Ayyaz, and translated into English by Shahzad Ahmed and Zafir Mahmood Malik, Associate Editors of The Review of Religions.

The All-Seeing (Al-Baṣīr)

‘And thou shalt surely find them of all people, the most covetous of life, even more than those who set up equals with God. Every one of them wishes that he may be granted a life of a thousand years, but his being granted such life shall not keep him away from the punishment; and Allah sees all that they do.’[1]

The attribute اَلْبَصِیْرُ – Al-Baṣīr – is derived from the Arabic root: بَصَرَ (ba-sa-ra), which means he saw; he recognized and understood a matter. One of the explanations of the attribute Al-Baṣīr, recorded in Lisan Al-Arab [the Arabic Lexicon] is as follows:

في أَسْمَاءِ اللهِ تَعَالٰى اَلْبَصِيْرُ هُوَ الَّذِي يُشَاهِدُ الْأَشْيَاء كُلَهَا ظَاهِرُهَا وَخَافِيَّهَا بِغَيْرِ جَارِحَة

Al-Baīr is one of the names of God Almighty which signifies the One Who is able to see everything, whether hidden or apparent.

Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, the Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has further expounded on the word Al-Baīr in his At-Tafsīr-ul-Kabīr [The Grand Commentary of the Holy Qur’an]: ‘رَجُلٌ بَصِیْرٌ’ (rajulun baseerun) means an experienced scholar.[2]

This attribute has been mentioned in connection with the following tradition of the Holy Prophet (sa). Abu Yunus relates that he heard Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) recite the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:

‘Verily, Allah commands you to makeover the trusts to those entitled to them, and that, when you judge between men, you judge with justice. And surely excellent is that with which Allah admonishes you! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.’

He stated: ‘I witnessed the Messenger (sa) of Allah place his thumb on his ears and his index finger over his eyes, whilst reciting this verse up to سَمِیۡعًۢا بَصِیۡرًا  (samee’an baseeran) [the aforementioned verse]. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) narrates: ‘I saw the Messenger of Allah (sa) reciting this verse and placing his finger and thumb in this manner.’ Ibn Yunus states that Al-Muqri has mentioned that the Holy Prophet (sa) placing his fingers and thumbs in this manner whilst reciting this verse signifies that Allah the Almighty has the power of hearing and seeing.’[3]

The True Essence of Tauhid – the Oneness of God

The Promised Messiah (as) states, ‘…the Being of God Almighty is Hidden beyond the hidden, Unseen beyond the unseen, and Transcendent beyond the transcendent. No intelligence can discover Him as He Himself says: “no eyesight and no insight can find Him. He knows the ultimate extent of their reach and is dominant over them.” Hence, the understanding of His tauhid is impossible through reason alone; for, the essence of tauhid is that just as one shuns the false extrinsic deities – i.e. gives up worshipping idols, humans, the sun, the moon, etc., – so should one avoid the false intrinsic deities; i.e., he should safeguard himself from relying on his physical and spiritual abilities and being captivated by the curse of conceit that arises from them. 

It is thus clear that perfect tauhid is not attainable except through self-abnegation and obedient submission to the Messenger (sa). How can a person be called a muwahhid – [a believer in the One God] – if he considers any of his own faculties to be at par with God the Maker?’[4]

[1] The Holy Qur’an, 2:97.

[2] Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Tafseer-e-Kabir, Vol. 3, p. 358

[3] Sunan Abi Daud, Kitab as-Sunnah, Hadith No. 4728

[4] Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Haqeeqatul Wahi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol 17, (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publication Ltd., 2008), 174-175.

The Guardian (Al-Ḥafīẓ)

فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقَدْ أَبْلَغْتُكُمْ مَا أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ إِلَيْكُمْ وَيَسْتَخْلِفُ رَبِّيْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ وَلَا تَضُرُّونَهُ شَيْئًا إِنَّ رَبِّيْ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيْظٌ

‘If then, you turn away, I have already conveyed to you that with which I have been sent to you, and my Lord will make another people take your place. And you cannot harm Him at all. Surely, my Lord is Guardian over all things.’[1]

The attribute الحَفِیْظُ – Al-Ḥafīẓ – is derived from the Arabic root: حَفِظَ (ha-fi-za), which means to stand guard over something; to protect and to watch over something. Nawab Siddique Hasan writes that all words which contain the letter حاء (ha) and فاء (fa), has the connotation of keeping things together. Therefore, one of the meanings of Al-Ḥafīẓ is to prevent something from being dispersed or scattered. Al-Ḥafīẓ is also an attribute of a believer which has been mentioned in chapter 50 of the Holy Qur’an (Surah Qaf) which means that a believer is one who adheres to the laws prescribed by God Almighty.[2]

This attribute has been mentioned in one of the prayers of the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Abu Umamahra relates that it was the practice of the Holy Prophetsa to supplicate the following every morning and every evening:

اللهُمَّ أَنْتَ أَحَقُّ مَنْ ذُكِرَ، وَأَحَقُّ مَنْ أَعْطَى، أَنْتَ الْمَلِكُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ، وَالْفَرْدُ لَا تَهْلِكُ، كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَكَ لَنْ تُطَاعَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِكَ، وَلَمْ تُعْصَ إِلَّا بِعِلْمِكَ، تُطَاعُ فَتَشْكَرُ، وَتُعْصَى فَتَغْفِرُ، أَقْرَبُ شَهِيدٍ وَأَدْنَى حَفِيظٍ …

‘O Allah, You are most worthy of being remembered and You alone have the right to bestow. You are the Sovereign, there is none like unto You. You are One, the Ever-lasting. Everything will come to an end except You. One is unable to demonstrate complete obedience without Your Will and You have knowledge of every act of disobedience. You reward those who show obedience and You grant forgiveness to those who disobey You. You are the witness over everything and the most perfect guardian…’ [3] [This is part of a lengthy prayer]

A Transient World

The Promised Messiahas wrote, ‘My dear ones! You have only come to this world for a short while, much of which has already passed. Thus, do not displease your Lord. An earthly government of great might can annihilate you if you displease them. Reflect, how then is it possible for you to escape the wrath of God Almighty? If you are righteous in the eyes of God none can destroy you, for your Lord Himself shall protect you. The enemy who thirsts for your life will never be able to prevail over you. If not for this protection, no one can guard your life, and you will spend your life in fear of your enemies and be made anxious by all types of affliction. And ultimately, your final days will be consumed by grief and anger. God becomes the refuge of those who attach themselves to Him. Therefore, hasten towards him and forgo all forms of opposition to Him. Do not be indolent in fulfilling your obligations towards Him, and do not wrong His servants through your words or deeds. Remain forever fearful of the anger and wrath of heaven for this is the only path to salvation.’[4]

[1] The Holy Qur’an, 11:57.

[2] Taj al-Uroos.

[3] Al Mu’jam Al Kabir li Tabrani, Hadith No. 8027.

[4] Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Noah’s Ark (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publication Ltd., 2016), 117-118.

The Powerful (Al-Muqīt)

مَنْ يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً حَسَنَةً يَكُنْ لَهُ نَصِيبٌ مِنْهَا وَمَنْ يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً سَيِّئَةً يَكُنْ لَّهُ كِفْلٌ مِنْهَا وَكَانَ اللّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّقِيتًا

‘Whoso makes a righteous intercession shall have a share thereof, and whoso makes an evil intercession, shall have a like portion thereof; and Allah is Powerful over everything.’[1]

According to the Arabic lexicon, Lisan al-Arab, the attribute المُقِیْتُ – Al-Muqīt – signifies that Being Who bestows provisions according its need. Another meaning is the Being Who provides nourishment for all of creation. Similarly, another meaning of Al-Muqīt is One Who grants protection and stands guard over them. Al-Muqīt is among the attributes which the Holy Prophetsa has recounted in a well-known tradition:

عن أبي هريرة قَالَ قَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّم إِنَّ اللهَ تعالى تِسْعَةٌ وَتِسْعِيْنَ اِسْمًا مَنْ أَحْصَاهَا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ هُوَ اللهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلٰه َإِلَّا هُوْ الرَّحْمٰنُ الرَّحَيْمُ … المُقِيْتُ …الوَاسِعُ الحَكِيْمُ

Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa once said: ‘Verily God Almighty has 99 names, whosoever memorizes them will enter paradise. He is Allah, and there is no God beside Him, the Gracious, the Powerful…the Bountiful, the Wise.[2]

Deeds are the Ornaments of Faith

The Promised Messiahas says, ‘When one develops true faith within oneself, one begins to feel a pleasure in performing good deeds; one’s eye of divine understanding is opened; one offers the prayer as it ought to be observed; one develops an aversion towards sin and detests vile gatherings; and one possesses a fervor and deep longing within one’s heart for the greatness and glory of Allah Almighty and His Messenger to be manifested. That very same faith will give them the strength to be put on the cross like the Messiahas. For the sake of God, and indeed for the sake of God alone, such a one is willing to be thrown into a fire like Abrahamas. When a person aligns his own will with the will of God, then Allah the Almighty who is:

عَلِیْمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُوْرِ

‘He knows full well what is in your breasts’

becomes their Protector and Guardian. God will take such a one down from the cross alive, and even pull him out of a fire, safe and sound. Only those who have full faith in God Almighty witness these miraculous wonders.’[3]

[1] The Holy Qur’an, 4:86

[2] Sunan at Tirmidhi, Kitab Ad Da’waat, Hadith No. 3507

[3] Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Malfuzat Vol.2, (Islam International Publication Ltd., 2019) 89-90

The Great (Al-‘Aẓīm)

‘Allah – there is no God but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep. To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that will intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them; and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He pleases. His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth; and the care of them burdens Him not; and He is the High, the Great.’[1]

الْعَظِیْمُ – Al-‘Aīm – means the Great, in particular when used as an attribute of God Almighty. It means the Being Who is majestic and lofty. When the Holy Prophetsa would experience any kind of difficulty or hardship, he would recite the following prayer:

لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللهُ الْعَظِيْم الْحَلِيْم، لا إلٰه إلَّا الله رَبُّ السَمَواتِ وَالْأرْضِ، وَرَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيْمِ

‘There is none worthy of worship except Allah, the Great, the Forbearing; there is no God but Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the earth and the Lord of the Mighty Throne.’[2]

The Greatness of God

Whilst expounding on the philosophy of prayer and the significance of the various postures, the Promised Messiahas states the following regarding the bowing position in prayer:

‘It is a matter of principle that when someone accepts the greatness of another, they bow in their presence. A person must bow in the face of greatness. Hence, with the tongue a person states:

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّیَ الْعَظِیْم

“Holy is my Lord the most Great”

and through their outwardly state, they demonstrate this by bowing. This statement is expressed visually through the bowing position.’[3]

[1] The Holy Qur’an, 2:256.

[2] Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Ad Da’waat, Hadith No. 6345.

[3] Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Malfuzat – Vol.2, (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2019), 148.

The Most Appreciating (Ash-Shakūr)

لِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ اُجُوْرَهُمْ وَ يَزِيْدَهُمْ مِّنْ فَضْلِهٖ اِنَّهٗ غَفُوْرٌشَكُوْرٌ

‘In order that He may give them their full rewards, and even increase them out of His bounty. He is surely Most Forgiving, Most Appreciating.’[1]

الشَّکُوْرُ – Ash-Shakūr – is derived from the Arabic root ofشَکَرَ  – sha-ka-ra. When this word is used other than as a divine attribute, it has many connotations. For example, according to the Arabic lexicon, Aqrab al-Muwarid:شَکِرَتِ النَّاقَةُ  (shakirat an-naaqatu) means the udder of the camel became filled with milk. Similarlyاِشْتَکَرَ الرِّیَاحُ : (ishtakara ar-riyaah) means that a gust of wind brought the clouds with it. When it is used as an attribute of God, the phrase ‘God was thankful to His servant’ means that God Almighty is pleased with His servant and therefore God would grant him an excellent reward for his deed. Ash-Shakūr is an attribute of God Almighty and according to Al-Munjid, it refers to that Being Who rewards in abundance to even the smallest of virtuous deeds performed by His servant.

In light of this attribute, there is a famous tradition narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurairahra, who heard the Holy Prophetsa relate the following account:

بَيْنَا رَجُلٌ يَمْشِي فَاشْتَدَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَطَشُ، فَنَزَلَ بِئْرًا فَشَرِبَ مِنْهَا، ثُمَّ خَرَجَ فَإِذَا هُوَ بِكَلْبٍ يَلْهَثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنَ الْعَطَشِ، فَقَالَ: لَقَدْ بَلَغَ هَذَا مِثْلُ الَّذِي بَلَغَ بِي، فَمَلَأَ خُفَّهُ، ثُمَّ أَمْسَكَهُ بِفِيهِ، ثُمَّ رَقِيَ، فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ، فَشَكَرَ اللهُ لَهُ، فَغَفَرَ لَهُ، قَالُوا: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، وَإِنَّ لَنَا فِي الْبَهَائِمِ أَجْرًا، قَالَ: فِي كُلِّ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ

‘A man was once walking and felt extremely thirsty. He went down a well and drank some water from it. When he came out of the well, he saw a dog panting and eating mud due to excessive thirst. The man thought to himself, “This dog is just as thirsty as I was.” Thus he went back down into the well, filled his shoe with water, and holding it between his teeth, he climbed out and gave the water to the dog. Allah the Almighty appreciated this deed of his and granted him forgiveness. The companionsra submitted: “O Messengersa of Allah! Is there a reward for us in serving animals?” The Holy Prophetsa replied; “Indeed, there is a reward for serving every living creature.”’[2]

The Meaning of ‘Giving a Loan to Allah’

The Promised Messiahas writes, ‘…a foolish person has alleged that:

مَنۡ ذَا الَّذِیۡ یُقۡرِضُ اللّٰہَ قَرۡضًا حَسَنًا

“who is it that will lend Allah a loan,”

demonstrates that, God forbid, Allah is pressed by need. The ignorant person fails to understand, how does this prove a need on the part of God? Here the word qard or ‘loan’ actually implies such things for which there is a guaranteed return. However, this ignorant person has falsely asserted that this implies a need or poverty on the part of God. Here the word ‘loan’ means, who will give Allah the Exalted their good deeds, so that He may grant them a manifold reward.’[3]

[1] The Holy Qur’an, 35:31.

[2] Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al Musaqaat, Hadith No. 2363.

[3] Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Malfuzat – Vol.1 (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 232.