MAGAZINE: EDITION MARCH 2020
Ahmadiyyat Back Issues The Nature of God

The Attributes of Allah

Mubarak Mosque

The interior design of Mubarak Mosque, Islamabad, Tilford, in the UK is unique amongst mosques of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. A beautiful adornment of the attributes of God Almighty decorates 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 Nooruddeen Jahangeer Khan of The Review of Religions.


35. The Honourable (Al-Karīm)

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنْسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ

‘O man, what has emboldened thee against thy Gracious Lord.’[1]

The attribute الْكَرِيمُ – Al-Karīm – is derived from the Arabic root ofكَرَمَ  – ka-ra-ma, which means to grant someone prosperity. According to the Arabic lexicon, Aqrab al-Mawarid, it also means the one who grants in abundance and the one who grants honour.

In relation to God Almighty’s generosity, there is a tradition of the Holy Prophet (sa) narrated by Hazrat Salman Farsi (ra) who stated:

عَنْ سَلْمَانَ الفَارِسِيِّ, عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, قَالَ: إِنَّ اللَّهَ حَيِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ, يَسْتَحْيِي إِذَا رَفَعَ الرَّجُلُ إِلَيْهِ يَدَيْهِ أَنْ يَرُدَّهُمَا صِفْرًا خَائِبَتَيْنِ

‘Verily Allah the Almighty is Most Modest and Generous. When a servant raises his hands and supplicates, Allah the Almighty feels reluctant to return the supplicant empty-handed.’ [2]

The Mother of All Attributes

The Promised Messiah (as) states, ‘The attribute of love and compassion is a basic divine attribute, and it is the mother of all other attributes. It is this very attribute that sometimes manifests itself in the form of awe and glory so as to bring about man’s reformation, and once the reformation has taken place, it assumes its original form and endures forever as a gift from God. God is not like an ill-tempered person who is fond of tormenting others. He is not cruel to anyone, rather men are cruel to themselves. All salvation lies in His love, and all torment lies in forsaking Him.’ [3]

ENDNOTES

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 82:7
  2. Jami-at Tirmidhi, Kitab ad-Da’waat, Hadith No. 3556.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 20 (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 370.

36. The Great (Al-Kabīr)

اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَحْمِلُ كُلُّ أُنْثَى وَمَا تَغِيضُ الْأَرْحَامُ وَمَا تَزْدَادُ وَكُلُّ شَيْءٍ عِنْدَهُ بِمِقْدَارٍ  عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ الْكَبِيرُ الْمُتَعَالِ

‘Allah knows what every female bears, and what wombs diminish and what they cause to grow. And with Him everything has a proper measure. He is the Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Incomparably Great, the Most High.’ [1]

The attribute الْكَبِيرُ  – Al-Kabīr – is derived from the Arabic root of كَبُرَ – ka-bu-ra. According to the Arabic lexicon, Aqrab al-Mawarid, the word كَبِير (Al-Kabīr) means اَلرِّفْعَةُ فِى الشَّرْفِ – one who is lofty in status and rank. According to the Arabic lexicon, Lisan Al-Arab, الْكَبِيرُ is also an attribute of God Almighty and means One Who possesses greatness and is Incomparably Great.

There is a tradition of the Holy Prophet (sa) which mentions this particular attribute. Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) relates that the Holy Prophet (sa) taught them the following prayer to be recited in times of affliction and fever:

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الْكَبِيرِ أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ مِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ عِرْقٍ يَعَّارٍ ، وَمِنْ شَرِّ حَرِّ النَّارِ

‘In the name of Allah the Great, I seek refuge with Allah the Magnificent from the evil of the gushing vein and from the evil of the intense heat of the fire.’ [2]

God – The Most Exalted

The Promised Messiah (as) writes, ‘This means that God is One without associate and no one else beside Him is worthy of worship and obedience. This affirmation is made because, if He were not without associate, there might be an apprehension that He might be overcome by a rival, in which case Godhead would always be in peril. The affirmation that no one is worthy of worship beside Him means that He is so Perfect and His attributes are so excellent and exalted that if we were to select a God out of the universe who would be equipped with perfect attributes, or were to contemplate in our minds the best and most exalted attributes that God should possess, He would be more exalted than all our fancies. Whom no one can exceed and than Whom no one can be more exalted – that is God, to associate anyone in Whose worship would be the greatest wrong. Then He said: He is the Knower of the unseen, that is to say, He alone knows Himself. No one can comprehend His Being. We can comprehend the sun and the moon in their entirety, but we cannot comprehend God in His entirety.’ [3]

ENDNOTES

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 13:9-10.
  2. Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, Kitab at-Tibb, Hadith No. 2075.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2017), 93-94.

37. The Answerer of Prayers (Al-Mujīb)

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: “I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.”’ [1]

The attribute المُجِيْبُ – Al-Mujīb – is derived from the Arabic root جَابَ – jāba. According to the Arabic lexicon, the words derived from this root can have numerous meanings. For example, جَابَ الثَّوبَ means one cut the cloth. Similarly, أَجَابَ عَنْ سَؤالِهِ would mean that one answered the question.

When used as an attribute of God, المُجِيْبُ (Al-Mujīb) means the One Who answers prayers.

This attribute has been further expounded upon by the Holy Prophet (sa) in the following tradition:

عَنْ أَبِيْ مُوسٰى ؛ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوْا مَعَ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ فِيْ سَفَرٍ، فَرَفَعُوْا أَصْوَاتَهُمْ بِالدُّعَاءِ، فَقَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ: اَنَّكُمْ لَا تَدْعُوْنَ أَصَمَّ وَلَا غَائِبًا، اِنَّكُمْ تَدْعُوْنَ قَرِيْبًا مُّجِيْبًا يَسْمَعُ دُعَاءَكُمْ وَيَسْتَجِيْبُ ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: يَا عَبْدَ اللهِ بْن قَيْس ، أَوْ يَا أَبَا مُوْسٰى، أَلَا أَدُلُّكَ عَلٰى كَنْزٍ مِّنْ كُنُوْزِ الْجَنَّةِ، لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ اِلَّا بِاللّهِ

Hazrat Abu Musa Ash’ari (ra) relates that they were once travelling in the company of the Holy Prophet (sa) when people began to supplicate in a loud voice. Thereupon, the Holy Prophet (sa) stated, ‘O people! You are not calling upon One Who is deaf and absent. In fact, you are calling upon One Who is Qarīb [near] and Mujīb and listens to your supplications and grants acceptance.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) then stated (either to Abdullah (ra) bin Qais or Abu Musa (ra), ‘Shall I inform you of one of the treasures of paradise? It is the prayer: “There is neither might nor power but with Allah.”‘[2]

Principles of the Acceptance of Prayer

The Promised Messiah (as) writes, ‘My Compassionate Master, God Almighty, has promised me clearly:

اُجِيْبُ كُلَّ دُعَائِكَ

“I will accept your every prayer.”

However, I am well aware that the word “every” (kulla) refers to those prayers which if accepted, cause no harm. On the contrary, where Allah the Almighty desires improvement and reform, rejecting a prayer is also a form of acceptance. At times, a person is unsuccessful in achieving the result of their prayer. One surmises that God Almighty has rejected their supplication, even though He has actually accepted the person’s entreaty and acceptance is manifested in the form of a disapproval. In the specific case at hand, behind the apparent veil, in reality, the real advantage and benefit lies in the supplicant’s prayer being rejected. Since man is short-sighted and lacks foresight, giving importance to outward appearance, it is advisable that when he prays to Allah the Exalted and does not receive a result that seems apparently beneficial to his own preconceived notion, he should not think ill of God and conclude that his prayer has been rejected. God Almighty hears the prayer of every supplicant.

اُدْعُوْنِي اَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

“Pray unto Me; I will answer your prayer.

The mystery and secret is that the greatest good and benefit for the supplicant lies in their prayer being refused.’ [3]

ENDNOTES

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 2:187.
  2. Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 6, Hadith no. 19834.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Malfuzat-Volume 1 (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 101-102.

38. The Bountiful (Al-Wāsi’)

الشَّيْطَانُ يَعِدُكُمُ الْفَقْرَ وَيَأْمُرُكُمْ بِالْفَحْشَاءِ وَاللّهُ يَعِدُكُمْ مَغْفِرَةً مِنْهُ وَفَضْلًا وَاللّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

‘Satan threatens you with poverty and enjoins upon you what is foul, whereas Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself and bounty. And Allah is Bountiful, All- Knowing.’ [1]

The attribute الوَاسِعُ – Al-Wāsi’ – is derived from the Arabic root وَسِعَ – wa-si-‘a. According to the lexicon Lisan Al-Arab, وَسِعَ الشَّيْئُ الشَّيْئَ means where one thing has encompassed another and provided it with all its needs. اَلْوَاسِعُ is one of the attributes of God which means He is One Who provides for all His creation and Whose mercy encompasses all, and also One Who is Self-Sufficient from all needs.

This attribute has been mentioned in one of the prayers found in the ahadith [oral traditions of the Holy Prophet (sa)]:

حَدَّثَنَا اِسْحَاقُ بْنُ عُبَیْدِ اللّٰہِ الْمَدَنِیُّ قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ عَبْدَ اللّٰہِ بْنَ اَبِیْ مَلِیْکَۃَ یَقُوْلُ: سَمِعْتُ عَبْدَ اللّٰہِ بْنَ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ یَقُوْلُ: قَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللّٰہِ ﷺ: ’’ اِنَّ لِلصَّائِمِ عِنْدَ فِطْرِہِ لَدَعْوَۃً مَا تُرَدُّ‘‘۔ قَالَ ابْنُ اَبِیْ مَلِیْکَۃَ: سَمِعْتُ عَبْدَ اللّٰہِ بْنَ عَمْرٍو یَقُوْلُ اِذَا اَفْطَرَ: اَللّٰھُمَّ ! اِنِّیْ اَسْاَلُکَ بِرَحْمَتِکَ الَّتِیْ وَسِعَتْ کُلَّ شَیْئٍ اَنْ تَغْفِرَ لِیْ

Hazrat ‘Amr (ra) bin Al-Ās relates that the Holy Prophet (sa) stated, ‘Verily, there is a prayer of one who breaks the fast which is never rejected.’ Ibn Abi Mulaikah relates that he heard Hazrat Abdullah bin ‘Amr (ra) say, ‘When he would break the fast, he would supplicate, “O Allah! I seek Your forgiveness with Your mercy which encompasses all things.”’ [2]

God Almighty’s Powers are Vast

The Promised Messiah (as) writes, ‘Man derives benefit from all of God Almighty’s creation. This is why man has been reminded that his God is the Lord of all the worlds, so that one holds greater hope and conviction that God Almighty’s powers are vast for our benefit and He can grant all kinds of worldly provisions.’ [3]

ENDNOTES

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 2:269
  2. Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitabus Siyam, Hadith no. 1753.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Tafsir Surah Al-Fatihah, Vol. 1 (Qadian, India: Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, 2004), 83.

39. The Lord of Honour (Al-Majīd)

وَهُوَ الْغَفُوْرُ الْوَدُوْدُ . ذُو الْعَرْشِ الْمَجِيْدُ

‘And He is the Most Forgiving, the Loving; The Lord of the Throne, the Lord of honour.’ [1]

The attribute اَلْمَجِيْدُ – Al-Majīd – is derived from the root مَجَدَ – (ma-ja-da) and means to possess great nobility and honour. اَلْمَجِيْدُ is an attribute of God Almighty and means One Who grants in abundance out of His grace and blessings. [2]

The attribute اَلْمَجِيْدُ is mentioned in the durood (i.e. salutations) which are invoked upon the Holy Prophet (sa). In relation to this there is a tradition of the Holy Prophet (sa):

قَالَ سَمِعْتُ ابْنَ أَبِي لَيْلَى قَالَ لَقِيَنِي كَعْبُ بْنُ عُجْرَةَ فَقَالَ أَلاَ أُهْدِي لَكَ هَدِيَّةً خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقُلْنَا قَدْ عَرَفْنَا كَيْفَ نُسَلِّمُ عَلَيْكَ فَكَيْفَ نُصَلِّي عَلَيْكَ قَالَ ‏ “‏ قُولُوا اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ ‏

Abdur Rahman bin Abi Laila says, ‘Hazrat Ka’b (ra) bin ‘Ujrah met me and said, “Should I not offer you a gift which the Holy Prophet (sa) granted us?” He stated, “The Holy Prophet (sa) came to us and we asked him that we had already learnt how to offer salutations of peace upon him, but how were we to invoke blessings upon him? The Holy Prophet (sa) stated, ‘Say, “O Allah, bless Muhammad (sa) and his people as you have blessed Abraham (sa) and his people, surely You are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious. O Allah, prosper Muhammad (sa) and his people as you prospered Abraham (sa) and his people, surely You are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.’’’”’ [3]

Seeking Forgiveness from Allah — The Cure for Spiritual Contraction

The Promised Messiah (as) writes, ‘Man undergoes a state of both spiritual contraction (qabz) and spiritual expansion (bast). In the state of spiritual expansion, one’s pleasure and delight in worship heightens, the heart is opened, one’s inclination towards God increases, and warmth and comfort is derived from the prayer. However, on certain occasions, man experiences a state in which this passion and eagerness is lost and the heart becomes constricted. When this state of affairs arises, one should seek forgiveness from Allah profusely, invoke salutations upon the Holy Prophet (sa) abundantly, and offer prayer again and again. This is the only way to do away with one’s state of spiritual contraction of the heart.’ [4]


ENDNOTES

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 85:15-16.
  2. Imam Raghib, Mufridat Al-Qur’an.
  3. Sahih Muslim, Kitabus Salat, Hadith no. 70.
  4. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Malfuzat – Vol. 2, (Islam International Publications Ltd., 2019) 15.