MAGAZINE: EDITION JUNE 2020
Islam 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, Nooruddeen Jahangeer Khan & Zafir Mahmood Malik of The Review of Religions.


50. The Reckoner (Al-Muḥṣī)

لِّيَعۡلَمَ أَن قَدۡ أَبۡلَغُواْ رِسَٰلَٰتِ رَبِّهِمۡ وَأَحَاطَ بِمَا لَدَيۡهِمۡ وَأَحۡصَىٰ كُلَّ شَيۡءٍ عَدَدَۢا

‘That He may know that they (His Messengers) have delivered the Messages of their Lord. And He encompasses all that is with them and He keeps count of all things.’ [1]

According to the Arabic lexicon Aqrab al-Mawarid, اَحْصَی الشَّیءَ (Aḥṣā ash-shai’a) means he counted or kept record of something. Small stones or pebbles are also referred to as الحصی (Al-Ḥiṣā). In earlier times, the Arabs would count with the help of small pebbles and stones, and so اِحْصَاءٌ (Iḥṣā’un) means to count. [2]

Hazrat Anas (ra) narrates that the Holy Prophet (sa) once passed by a Bedouin who was offering a supplication in his prayers in the following words: ‘O Ye Whom eyes cannot reach; the One Whose Being cannot be truly fathomed; there is none who can truly do justice to His praise; the One Whose Being is unaffected by the passage of time; the One Who has full knowledge of the weight of the mountains, depths of the seas, and even the number of droplets in the rain and the leaves on the trees; the One Who has full knowledge of that which lies in the darkness of the night and upon that which the sun shines its light in the day; nothing in the heavens and the earth can be concealed from Him, or can the oceans keep anything hidden from Him which lies in its depths; nor can a mountain hide that which is deeply hidden in its core. Make the latter part of my life the best days and make my final deed the best of all my deeds. The day I behold Your countenance, make that the best of my days.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) said to someone: ‘When he has completed his prayer, bring him to me.’ Upon finishing his prayer, the Bedouin was taken to the Holy Prophet (sa). The Holy Prophet (sa) was gifted a piece of gold which he gave to the Bedouin. The Holy Prophet (sa) then stated: ‘Do you know why I have given you this gold?’ He submitted: ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! You have bestowed this to me as an act of kindness upon me.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) replied: ‘Indeed this is true; however, the reason why I have granted you this gold is because you have praised your Lord in the most excellent manner.’ [3]

Allah’s Grace Encompasses Everything

The Promised Messiah (as) has elaborated on the all-encompassing nature of Allah’s grace in this way: ‘Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. That is to say, every light that is visible in the heights or in the depths, whether in souls or bodies, whether innate or acquired, whether overt or covert, whether internal or external, is a bounty of His grace. This is an indication that the general grace of Hazrat Rabbul-‘Ālamīn [Lord of all the worlds] encompasses everything and that nothing is deprived of His grace. He is the source of all grace and the ultimate cause of all light and the fountainhead of all mercies. His True Being is the support of the whole universe and the refuge of all high and low. It is He Who brought everything out of the darkness of nothingness and bestowed upon it the robe of existence. There is no other being that exists in its own right, or is eternal, or is not the recipient of His grace. The earth and the heavens, mankind and animals, stones and trees, and souls and bodies – all owe their existence to His grace. This is the general grace mentioned in the verse:  

ٱللَّهُ نُورُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۚ

[‘Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.’]

This is the grace that encompasses everything like a circle. There is no pre-condition for being the beneficiary of this grace.’ [4]

ENDNOTES

1. The Holy Qur’an, 72:29.

2. Taj al-‘Arus and Mufridat, Imam Raghib.

3. Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, Hadith no. 9448.

4. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya – Part III (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 92.


51. The Originator (Al-Mubdi’)

أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ كَيۡفَ يُبۡدِئُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُۥٓۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِيرٞ

‘See they not how Allah originates creation, then repeats it? That surely is easy for Allah.’ [1]

According to the commentary Aṭ-Ṭaybī, الْمُبْدِیُٔ  (Al-Mubdi’) is that Being Who creates something out of nothing. Similarly, according to Aqrab al-Mawarid, Allah the Almighty is the Creator, hence among His attributes is that He is Al-Mubdi’ and Al-Mu‘īd.

With regards to the Day of Resurrection, Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) relates that whilst delivering a sermon, the Holy Prophet (sa)said: ‘You will be gathered before your Lord (on the Day of Judgement) in such a state that you will bare-footed, unclothed and uncircumcised.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) then further stated: ‘Just as Allah the Almighty states:

يَوۡمَ نَطۡوِي ٱلسَّمَآءَ كَطَيِّ ٱلسِّجِلِّ لِلۡكُتُبِۚ كَمَا بَدَأۡنَآ أَوَّلَ خَلۡقٖ نُّعِيدُهُۥۚ وَعۡدًا عَلَيۡنَآۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا فَٰعِلِينَ

“Remember the day when We shall roll up the heavens like the rolling up of written scrolls by a scribe. As We began the first creation, so shall We repeat it – a promise binding upon Us; We shall certainly perform it.”’ [2] [3]

Allah – The Source of All Forms of Beneficence

The Promised Messiah (as) has expounded on this attribute of Allah’s in this way: ‘Listen, O you who can: What is it that God desires from you? All He desires is only that you become solely His and do not associate any partners with Him, neither in the heavens nor on the earth. Our God is that God Who is alive even now as He was alive before. He speaks even now as He used to speak before. And even now He hears as He heard before. It is a false notion that in these times He only hears but does not speak. On the contrary, He hears and also speaks. All His attributes are eternal and everlasting. None of His attributes is in abeyance, nor will it ever be. He alone is the One without any associate; He has no son, nor has He any wife. He alone is peerless and there is no one like Him. And He is the One Who is unique in that none of His attributes are exclusively possessed by anyone beside Him. He has no equal. He does not share His attributes with anyone. None of His powers is less than perfect. He is near, yet far and He is far, yet near. He can reveal Himself to Ahl-e-Kashf [Kashf is a unique spiritual visual experience which one has in a state of wakefulness]. He has no body, nor any shape. He is above all, but it cannot be said that there is anything beneath Him. He is on the divine throne, but it can’t be said that He is not on the earth. He is the sum total of all perfect attributes and He is the manifestation of every true praise. He is the source of all that is good and encompasses all powers and He is the source of all forms of beneficence. He is the One to Whom everything returns. He is the Lord of all the realms. He possesses every perfection and is free from all defects, imperfections and weakness. It is His sole prerogative that all those who belong to the earth as well as all those who belong to the heavens should worship Him. Nothing is impossible for Him. All souls and their potentialities and all particles and their potentials are His and only His creation. Nothing comes into existence without Him. He reveals Himself through His powers, His omnipotence and His signs. We can attain Him only through Him. He always reveals His Being to the righteous and shows them His omnipotence – and this is the only means by which He is recognised and the path He favours is recognised.’ [4]

ENDNOTES

1. The Holy Qur’an, 29:20.

2. The Holy Qur’an, 21:105.

3. Sahih al-Bukhari, Ahadith al-Anbiya, Hadith No. 3349.

4. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Al-Wasiyyat (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2005), 12-14.


52. The Repeater (of Life) (Al-Mu‘īd)

يَوۡمَ نَطۡوِي ٱلسَّمَآءَ كَطَيِّ ٱلسِّجِلِّ لِلۡكُتُبِۚ كَمَا بَدَأۡنَآ أَوَّلَ خَلۡقٖ نُّعِيدُهُۥۚ وَعۡدًا عَلَيۡنَآۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا فَٰعِلِينَ

‘Remember the day when We shall roll up the heavens like the rolling up of written scrolls by a scribe. As We began the first creation, so shall We repeat it – a promise binding upon Us; We shall certainly perform it.’ [1]

According to the Arabic lexicon there are various meanings of Al-Mu‘īd. For example; the one who wields power and expertise and also means one who repeats. When used as an attribute of God, Al-Mu‘īd means the one repeats life.

During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (sa), when his daughter, Hazrat Umme Kulthoom (ra), passed away and her coffin was being lowered into the grave, the Holy Prophet (sa) recited the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:

مِنۡهَا خَلَقۡنَٰكُمۡ وَفِيهَا نُعِيدُكُمۡ وَمِنۡهَا نُخۡرِجُكُمۡ تَارَةً أُخۡرَىٰ

 ‘From it have We created you, and into it shall We cause you to return, and from it shall We bring you forth once more.’ [2]

Subsequently when the grave was completed, the Holy Prophet (sa) gave some branches and advised to cover the gaps between the bricks. He then stated: ‘Although this does not have any effect on the deceased, it pleases those that see it.’ [3]

The Truth about the Ascension of Jesus (as)

While God is the Repeater of life, He Himself has stated that all those who are born will die on earth, as the Promised Messiah (as) has explained: ‘Thus, the real issue that needs to be settled and decided is whether it is true that Jesus (as), may peace be upon him, did indeed ascend to heaven with his earthly body, in contravention of divine practice. If it can be proven from the clear and explicit statements of the Holy Qur’an that Jesus (as), may peace be upon him, was in fact raised with his earthly body to heaven, then there would be no need to dispute his physical return, because, in keeping with Qur’anic authority, if one were to go to heaven with an earthly body, he would necessarily have to return. So if Jesus (as) has gone to heaven bodily, there is no doubt as to his return. The reason is that, even if he was not required to return to earth for any other purpose, he would still need to come back to die, as there is no place in heaven for graves. And it is established from the clear and explicit statement of Holy Qur’an that every human being shall die only on earth, be buried only in the earth, and be resurrected from the earth, as God says: 

مِنۡهَا خَلَقۡنَٰكُمۡ وَفِيهَا نُعِيدُكُمۡ وَمِنۡهَا نُخۡرِجُكُمۡ تَارَةً أُخۡرَىٰ

 [“From it have We created you, and into it shall We cause you to return, and from it shall We bring you forth once more.”] [4]

Granted, it is possible that he is ill when he descends from heaven, or becomes ill on the way, and then dies upon reaching the earth. I say this because it is established from ahadith [plural of hadith] that the Jesus (as) to come will descend clad in two saffron-coloured sheets, and all interpreters of dreams agree that a saffron-coloured sheet denotes illness.’ [5]

ENDNOTES

1. The Holy Qur’an, 21:105.

2. The Holy Qur’an, 20:56.

3. Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Hadith No. 22187. 4. The Holy Qur’an, 20:56.

5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya – Part V (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 499-500.


53. The One Who Bestows Life (Al-Muḥyī)

فَٱنظُرۡ إِلَىٰٓ ءَاثَٰرِ رَحۡمَتِ ٱللَّهِ كَيۡفَ يُحۡيِ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ بَعۡدَ مَوۡتِهَآۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمُحۡيِ ٱلۡمَوۡتَىٰۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٞ

‘Look, therefore, at the marks of Allah’s mercy: how He quickens the earth after its death. Verily, the same God will quicken the dead; for He has power over all things.’ [1]

According to the Arabic lexicon Al-Munjid, Al-Muḥyī has many meanings such as: the one who resurrects after death, the one who reforms and revives something and the one who grants life. Al-Muḥyī is also an attribute of God Almighty and means the One Who grants life.

Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) relates that when the Holy Prophet (sa) would complete his morning prayer and after the sun had risen, the Holy Prophet (sa) would say: ‘Greetings to the new day, all those who are present, bear witness: In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is His Messenger, and I bear witness that faith is that which has been expounded by God Almighty, and the book is that which has been revealed by God Almighty, and I bear witness that the Hour will certainly come, there is no doubt about it, and because Allah will raise up those who are in the graves.’ [2]

God Almighty – Free from All Defects

One way for us to realise that Allah is the Bestower of life is to ponder the systems in nature that sustain us. As the Promised Messiah (as) writes: ‘For, it is contrary to logic that millions of things should escape disorder and disruption and never fall victim to calamity. Therefore, the fact that the things whose existence and sustenance is not essential [in their own right], but rather, their going out of order at one time or another is more of a possibility than their survival, have suffered no decline and have come into being and continue to exist in an orderly manner with perfect structure, and the continued availability of billions of essential things in the universe, are clear proof that for all of them there is a Bestower of life, Protector, and Sustainer, Who combines all the perfect attributes in Himself. That is, He is the Planner, the Wise, the Gracious, the Compassionate, Eternal and Ever-Living in His own Being, and free from every defect. He is not subject to death or destruction and is free even from slumber and sleep, which, in substance, resemble death. Thus, He is the Being Who combines in Himself all perfect attributes, Who brought into being the contingent universe with perfect wisdom and appropriateness and chose its existence in preference to its non-existence. He alone, on account of His perfection, His creative power, His rububiyyat [providence], and His self-existence, is worthy of worship.’ [3]

ENDNOTES

1. The Holy Qur’an, 30:51.

2. Kanzul Ummāl, Kitabul Azkār, Hadith no. 4947.

3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya – Part IV (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2016), 320-321 (Sub-footnote No.3).


54. The One Who Causes Death (Al-Mumīt)

كَيۡفَ تَكۡفُرُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَكُنتُمۡ أَمۡوَٰتٗا فَأَحۡيَٰكُمۡۖ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمۡ ثُمَّ يُحۡيِيكُمۡ ثُمَّ إِلَيۡهِ تُرۡجَعُونَ

‘How can you disbelieve in Allah? When you were without life, He gave you life, and then He will cause you to die, then restore you to life, and then to Him shall you be made to return.’ [1]

According to the Arabic lexicon Al-Munjid, Al-Mumīt means the One who brings an end to life.

The Holy Prophet (sa) once stated: ‘Whosoever recites the following prayer in the marketplace, Allah the Almighty shall grant him immeasurable reward and shall forgive countless ills of his, and build a house in paradise for him: “There is none worthy of worship except Allah, He is one and has no partner, to Him belongs the Sovereignty, and to Him belongs all praise. He is the One Who bestows life and causes death, He is the Living and is free from death. In His hands lies all good and He has power to do all things.”’ [2]

Everything Ultimately Returns to God

Ultimately, everything returns to the Creator, as the Promised Messiah (as) eloquently stated, ‘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 the nature of that comprehension is. 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.’ [3]

ENDNOTES

1. The Holy Qur’an, 2:29.

2. Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Kitab ad-Da’wāt, Hadith No. 3429.

3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Lecture Lahore (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publication Ltd., 2008), 8-9.