MAGAZINE: EDITION JULY 2020
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Ahmadiyyat The Nature of God

The Attributes of Allah

Mubarak Mosque

In the Mubarak Mosque in Islamabad, Tilford, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor
Ahmad (aba) envisioned having the attributes of Allah on its walls so people could reflect deeper on God’s existence. His Holiness (aba) guided minutely on all aspects of design and implementation.

This series delves deeper into each of God’s attributes to gain a better understanding of
His Being.

The calligraphy was designed by Razwan Baig, while The Review of Religions were given the opportunity to manage the project and produce each piece. Research for this series was compiled by Syed Mubashar Ayyaz (Research Cell) and translated into English by Shahzad Ahmed and Nooruddeen Jahangeer Khan.


The Living (Al-Ḥayy)

الحَییُّ

ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡحَيُّ ٱلۡقَيُّومُۚ‎

‘Allah — there is no God but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining.’ [1]

According to the Arabic lexicon, Al-Munjid, the word al-Ḥayy is derived from the Arabic root حَیِیَ (ḥa-yi-ya) which means he lived and it is the antonym of الْمَوْت (al-maut), or death. Al-Ḥayy is also an attribute of Allah the Almighty and means the One Who is Living and Eternal.

This attribute is also mentioned in one of the prayers of the Holy Prophet (sa). Bilal bin Yasar bin Zaid says: ‘My father narrated to me, from my grandfather, that he heard the Prophet (sa) say, “Whoever says: ‘I seek forgiveness from Allah, the Great, Who has no partner, the Living and Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining and I turn to Him,’ will be forgiven, even if he has deserted from his army [during battle].”’ [2]

The Living God

The Promised Messiah (as) elaborating upon how the two attributes of Ḥayy and Qayyūm are interrelated, states, ‘Two of God’s names are (Ḥayy) and (Qayyūm). Ḥayy means the Living One Who also gives life to others. Qayyūm means the Self-Subsisting One Who also sustains His creation. Only such things can benefit from God’s attribute Qayyūm which have already benefited from His attribute Ḥayy, for He supports the things that He has created, and not those which His hand has not even touched. Therefore, only he who believes God to be Ḥayy, i.e., the Creator, can believe Him to be Qayyūm, i.e., One Who sustains His creation. But he who does not believe God to be the Creator has no right to believe that He is the Sustainer. Here the concept of sustenance implies that everything would cease to exist if His sustenance was withdrawn. Things which have not been created by Him can obviously not be dependent upon Him for their sustenance. And if they do, they surely owe their creation to Him as well. In short, both these attributes of God, Ḥayy and Qayyūm, are interrelated and can never be separated from each other.’[3]

القَیُّوْمُ

The Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining (Al-Qayyūm)

وَعَنَتِ ٱلۡوُجُوهُ لِلۡحَيِّ ٱلۡقَيُّومِۖ وَقَدۡ خَابَ مَنۡ حَمَلَ ظُلۡمٗا

‘And all faces shall humble themselves before the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining God. And he shall indeed perish who bears the burden of iniquity.’[4]

According to the Arabic lexicon Al-Munjid, al-Qayyūm is derived from the Arabic root قَوَمَ (qa-wa-ma) which means اِسْتَوَی عَلیٰ قَدَمَيْهِ (Istawā ‘Alā Qadamaihi) which means he stood on his two feet. When used as an attribute for Allah, it means One Who has no beginning and is Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining.

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated: ‘When a matter would worry the Holy Prophet (sa), he would raise his head up towards the heavens and say: “Glory is to Allah, the Great.” And when he would fervently strive in supplication, he would say: “O Living, O Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining [God].”’[5]

Phenomenon Proving the Existence of the Creator

The Promised Messiah (as), explaining the attribute of al-Qayyūm in reference to the creation of the universe, states, ‘The existence of Allah, who combines in Himself all perfect attributes and is worthy of worship, is manifestly proven, because He in Himself is the Living and in Himself is Self-Sustaining. Nothing besides Him is living in itself or is self-sustaining in itself. In other words, nothing besides Him is characterised by life and sustenance on its own, without ‘illat-e-mūjidah [a cause of existence], nor can anything else be regarded as the ‘illat-e-mūjibah [causative factor] of the universe, which has been fashioned with utmost wisdom, and a firm and balanced order. This phenomenon proves the existence of the Creator of the universe, who combines in Himself all perfect attributes.’[6]

The Discoverer; The Finder. (Al-Wājid)

According to the commentary of Asma-e-Husna, the word Al-Wājid means self-sufficient and is derived from the Arabic root, وُجْدٌ (wujdun), as it states in the Holy Qur’an:

أَسْكِنُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ سَكَنْتُمْ مِنْ وُجْدِكُمْ

‘Lodge them during the prescribed period in the houses wherein you dwell, according to the best of your means…’[7]

According to the first volume of Asma’ullāh al-Husna, the attribute al-Wājid does not exist in its noun form in the Holy Qur’an nor in the Sunnah as-Sahihah.[8]

Furthermore, according to Al-Mu’jam al-Wasit, al-Wājid is one of the attributes of Allah and means He is Self-Sufficient and is never subjected to any form of deficiency.

Abu Dharr (ra) narrates that the Messenger (sa) of Allah said: ‘Allah, the Most High said: “O servants of Mine! All of you are astray except whom I guide, so ask Me for guidance and I shall guide you. All of you are poor except whom I enrich, so ask Me and I shall provide for you. All of you are sinners except whom I have pardoned, so whoever among you knows that I am the One able to forgive, and seeks My forgiveness, I shall forgive him. If those who are before you and those after you; the living among you and the dead among you, the fresh among you and the dry among you were all to become like the most righteous and pious amongst you, it would not make even a fly’s wing of difference to My sovereignty. Similarly, if those who are before you and those after you; the living among you and the dead among you, the fresh among you and the dry among you were all to become like the most wretched amongst you, it would not make even a fly’s wing of difference to My sovereignty. And, if those who are before you and those after you; the living among you and the dead among you, the fresh among you and the dry among you were all to gather in one place and seek whatever their hearts desire and I were to grant them all their desires, it would still not make an iota of difference to My sovereignty. It can be likened to the example of one who passes by an ocean and dips a needle into it and then takes it out. This is because I am the Most Generous and Lofty. I do as I will. I only have to instruct for one to be granted anything, likewise, I only have to instruct to mete out punishment. And when I intend a thing, I only say to it, ‘Be!’ and it is.”’[9]

Harmony in One’s Words and Deeds

Explaining the importance of purifying one’s self and establishing concordance in one’s actions and deeds, the Promised Messiah (as) explains that God Almighty is Self-Sufficient and is not in need of anyone. He writes, ‘True fear of Allah demands that a person examine the degree to which his words and actions accord with one another. A person whose words and actions are at odds with one another should know that they shall incur the wrath of Allah. If one’s heart is impure, it will never find favour in the sight of God no matter how pure one’s words may be; in fact, this arouses the wrath of God. My community ought to realise that they have come to me so that I may sow the seed which transforms them into a fruitful tree. So, everyone ought to examine their selves to become cognisant of their inner and outwardly state. If, God forbid, the hearts of my followers are not in harmony with their words, they shall not be met with a blessed end. Allah the Exalted does not care for a community with hollow hearts who make empty claims, for He is Self-Sufficient. The victory at Badr had already been prophesied and there was every reason to believe that the Muslims would triumph. But the Holy Prophet (sa) continued to weep and pray to his Lord. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) inquired as to the need for such fervent supplication when victory had already been promised. The Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘God is Self-Sufficient.’ That is to say, perhaps hidden conditions lay beneath the surface of this divine promise.’[10]

اَلْمَاجِدُ

The Glorious (Al-Mājid)

وَهُوَ الْغَفُوْرُ الْوَدُوْدُ ذُو الْعَرْشِ الْمَجِيْدُ

‘The Lord of the Throne, the Lord of honour.’[11]

According to the Arabic lexicon Lisan al-Arab, al-Mājid is derived from the Arabic root مَجَدَ (ma-ja-da). اَلْمَجْدُ (al-Majd) means glory and honour. الْمَجِیْدُ is also an attribute of Allah the Almighty and is derived from the same root and is the superlative form of the word.

The attribute of الْمَجِیْدُ also appears in the durud, i.e. invoking salutations upon the Holy Prophet (sa). With regards to the importance of reciting the durud, Hazrat ‘Umar Bin al-Khattab (ra) says, ‘The supplication remains suspended between heaven and earth; until someone invokes blessings upon the Holy Prophet (sa), no part of it goes up to be presented before Allah the Almighty.’[12]

Hazrat ‘Abdullah Bin Mas‘ud (ra) narrates that the Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘On the Day of Judgement, the closest to me will be those who invoke Allah’s blessings upon me most frequently.’[13]

Excellence of Invoking Salutations upon the Holy Prophet (sa)

The Promised Messiah (as) has emphasized the importance of sending blessings upon the Holy Prophet (sa); ‘Through invoking blessings upon the Holy Prophet (sa)… it is my personal experience that, divine grace in the shape of wonderful light proceeds in the direction of the Holy Prophet (sa) and is absorbed into his bosom and then issuing therefrom numberless streams of it reach everyone deserving them according to his capacity. Certainly, no grace can reach anyone without the agency of the Holy Prophet (sa). Invoking blessings on the Holy Prophet (sa) brings into movement his throne from which these streams of light issue. He who desires to obtain the grace of God Almighty should invoke blessings on him persistently, so that divine grace might be brought into motion.[14]

اَلْوَاحِدُ

The One (Al-Wāid)

وَإِلَٰهُكُمۡ إِلَٰهٞ وَٰحِدٞۖ لَّآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

‘And your God is One God; there is no God but He, the Gracious, the Merciful.’[1]

According to the Arabic lexicon Aqrab Al-Mawarid, the attribute الْاَحَد (al-Aḥad) signifies the oneness of God in relation to His existence and being and that He has no partner. On the other hand, the attribute الْوَاحِد (al-Wāḥid) denotes to the uniqueness of His divine attributes in that God Almighty has reached absolute perfection in His attributes and there is no one who can attain such a level of excellence in these attributes.  

Abdullah bin Mas’ud (ra) relates that in the evenings, the Holy Prophet (sa) used to supplicate:

‘We, and the creation of Allah, enter the evening. And all praise is due to Allah, there is no god but Allah, Who has no partner.’[2]

Nothing Approximates to the Attributes of Allah

Explaining the unique distinction of the attributes of Allah the Almighty, the Promised Messiah (as) states, ‘All His attributes are appropriate to Him. They are not like human qualities. His eyes etc., are not physical and none of His attributes resembles human attributes. For instance, when a man is angry he suffers from anger himself and his heart loses its comfort and perceives a burning sensation and his brain is oppressed and he undergoes a change; but God is free from all such changes. His wrath means that He removes His support from one who does not desist from mischief and, according to His eternal law, He metes out to him such treatment as a human being metes out to another when he is angry. Metaphorically, it is called God’s wrath. In the same way, His love is not like the love of a human being, for a human being suffers in love also when he is separated from his beloved. But God is not subject to suffering. His nearness also is not like the nearness of a human being, for when a human being approaches near someone he vacates the space which he had occupied before. But God, despite being near is far, and despite being far is near. In short, every divine attribute is distinct from human qualities. There is only a verbal resemblance and no more. That is why in the Holy Qur’an Allah the Exalted says:

لَيۡسَ كَمِثۡلِهِۦ شَيۡءٞۖ

That is: Nothing approximates to God Almighty in its being or its qualities.’[3]


[1] The Holy Qur’an, 2:258.

[2] Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab-ul-Da’wat, Hadith no. 3577.

[3] Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Fountain of Christianity (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2007), 36-37.

[4] The Holy Qur’an, 20:112.

[5] Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab-ud-Dawat, Hadith no. 3436.

[6] Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Barahin-e-AhmadiyyaPart IV (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2016), 319.

[7] The Holy Qur’an, 65:7.

[8] Asma’ullah al-Husna, Vol. 1, Maktabah Shamila.

[9] Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab ar-Riqaq wal War’i, Hadith 2495.

[10] Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Malfuzat – Vol. 1 (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 10.

[11] The Holy Qur’an, 85:16.

[12] Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab-ul-Witr, Babu ma ja’a fi Fadlis-Salati ‘Alan Nabiyyi.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Al-Hakam, February 28, 1903, p. 7.

[15] The Holy Qur’an, 2:164.

[16] Sahih Muslim, Kitab adh-Dhikr wa ad-Dua wa at-Taubah wal-Istighfar, Hadith 2723a.

[17] Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), The Essence of Islam, Vol. 1, (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2007), 59-60.