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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, Zafir Mahmood Malik and Nooruddeen Jahangeer Khan.


70. The Manifest (Aẓ-Ẓāhir)

هُوَ ٱلۡأَوَّلُ وَٱلۡأٓخِرُ وَٱلظَّـٰهِرُ وَٱلۡبَاطِنُۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ

‘He is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden, and He knows all things full well.’ [1]

According to the lexicon ‘Aqrab al-Mawarid, الظُّاهِرُ (aẓ-Ẓahir) is derived from the Arabic root, ظَهَرَ (a-ha-ra), which has several different connotations. One of the meanings of ظَهَرَ is بَرَزَ بَعْدَ الْاِخْفَاءِ, which means to become manifest after having been hidden. When the preposition عَلٰی (‘alā) is used with the word ظَهَرَ, it means ‘he became victorious’. Similarly, ظَهَرَ بِهِ (a-ha-ra bihi) means that one displayed pride over something. 

الظُّاهِرُ (aahir) is used as an attribute of Allah and it signifies that He is Manifest in terms of showing signs, whereas his entity is hidden [from physical eyes]. 

It is narrated that before going to sleep, the Holy Prophet (sa) would recite the following prayer: 

‘O Allah! Lord of the heavens and the earth. Our Lord of everything; the One Who causes the grain and the date-stone to sprout; Revealer of the Torah, the Gospels and the Qur’an; I seek refuge in You from the evil of everything that You shall seize by the forelock. O Allah, You are the First and there was nothing before You. You are the Last and there will be nothing after You. You are the Manifest and nothing is above You. You are the Hidden and there is nothing beside You.’ [2]

Perfect Certainty of the Divine 

Explaining how one can attain absolute conviction and knowledge of God Almighty, the Promised Messiah (as) states, 

‘If prayer did not exist, man would have no means by which to attain perfect certainty in cognisance of the divine. It is through prayer that a person is blessed with revelation. It is through prayer that one engages in converse with God Almighty. With constant supplication, when man reaches the state of the inner-self being annihilated in God (fana) through belief in God’s unity, and with love, sincerity and purity, it is then that the Living God, Who is Hidden from the people, manifests Himself to such a one.’ [3]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 57:4.
  2. Sunan Abi Dawud, Abwab an-Naum, Hadith No. 5051.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Malfuzat – Volume 2 (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2019) 11.

71. The Hidden (Al-Bātin)

هُوَ ٱلۡأَوَّلُ وَٱلۡأٓخِرُ وَٱلظَّـٰهِرُ وَٱلۡبَاطِنُۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ

‘He is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden, and He knows all things full well.’ [1]

According to the lexicon al-Munjid, الْبَاطِن (al-Bātin) means that which is hidden and concealed. Another meaning is one whose mysteries cannot be fathomed. Hence, according to another lexicon, Lughat al-Qur’an, الْبَاطِن is also used as an attribute of God because one cannot truly fathom the depths of His being. 

It is narrated that before going to sleep, the Holy Prophet (sa) would recite the following prayer: 

‘O Allah! Lord of the heavens and the earth. Our Lord of everything; the One Who causes the grain and the date-stone to sprout; Revealer of the Torah, the Gospels and the Qur’an; I seek refuge in You from the evil of everything that You shall seize by the forelock. O Allah, You are the First and there was nothing before You. You are the Last and there will be nothing after You. You are the Manifest and nothing is above You. You are the Hidden and there is nothing beside You.’ [2]

The Virtues of His Excellences 

Whilst explaining how the human soul is entirely dependent on God as the essential means of its sustenance, the Promised Messiah (as) states, 

‘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 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, 57:4.
  2. Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab-ud-Du‘a, Hadith No. 3831.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Lecture Lahore (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2008) 8-9.

72. The Ruler; The Protector (Al-Wālī)

إِنَّ وَلِـِّۧيَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِي نَزَّلَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَۖ وَهُوَ يَتَوَلَّى ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

‘Truly, my protector is Allah Who revealed the Book. And He protects the righteous.’ [1]

According to the lexicon Lisan al-‘Arab, there are various connotations which are derived from the root of الْوَالِیُ. For example, تَوَالَی الشَّیْئَ (tawālā ash-shai’a) means to follow after something. Another example is اَوْلٰی عَلَی الْیَتِیْمِ (aulā ‘alā al-yatīm), which means to counsel regarding the treatment of orphans. Similarly, اَوْلَانِیْ (aulānī) means ‘He bestowed countless favours upon me through various means.’ 

Among the attributes of Allah Almighty is الْوَالِی [al-Wālī] which means the Being Who is the Master of all creation and has complete power over it. 

It is narrated by Hazrat Hassan bin Ali (ra) that the Holy Prophet (sa) taught him a prayer and stated that it should be recited in the witr prayer: 

‘O Allah, guide me and count me among those whom You have guided; grant me security and count me amongst those whom You have granted Your protection; become my guardian and count me amongst whom You watch over; bless me in what You have granted and from everything You have decreed, save me from its ill effects. Indeed, all verdicts lie in Your hands Alone and no verdict can be passed against Your decree. The one is befriended by You can never suffer from humiliation. O Lord, bless are You and the Exalted.’ [2]

God – The Guardian of the Righteous 

Whilst explaining this attribute of Allah the Almighty, the Promised Messiah (as) states, 

‘God Almighty states, “And He protects the righteous.” Just as a mother protects her children, God Almighty declares that He is the guardian of the righteous. God Almighty disgraces the opponents of such a person and grants all kinds of blessings in their wealth.’ [3]

Endotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 7:197.
  2. Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, Kitabul Salat, Abwaab Al-Witr, Hadith No. 464.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Malfuzat, Volume 6, p.61.

73. The Most High (Al-Muta‘ālī)

عَٰلِمُ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَٱلشَّهَٰدَةِ ٱلۡكَبِيرُ ٱلۡمُتَعَالِ

‘He is the Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Incomparably Great, the Most High.’ [1]

According to ‘Aqrab al-Mawarid, الْمُتَعَال (al-muta‘āl) means that which is elevated. Similarly, another meaning of الْمُتَعَال is one who possesses an exalted rank. 

Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (ra) relates that the Holy Prophet (sa) stood on the pulpit and recited the following verse: 

وَالسَّمَوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

(‘And the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand. Glory to Him and exalted is He above that which they associate with Him.’) [2]

The Holy Prophet (sa) then stated, ‘Allah the Almighty will say, “I am the Subduer, I am the Exalted, I am the Sovereign, I am the Most High and I manifest My Majesty.”’ Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (ra) then stated that the Messenger (sa) of Allah explained this in such a passionate manner that he began to tremble and ‘we feared lest he should fall from the pulpit’. [3]

The Revealed Sermon

On 11 April 1900, the Promised Messiah (as) delivered a historic sermon in Arabic which served as a sign of Almighty God, and which has reference to this attribute: 

 ‘I destroy the practices of cruelty and sin. In my other hand, I possess an elixir by which I restore life to the hearts – an axe to destroy and a breath to revive. I possess glory, because, like the son of Mary, people have tried to uproot me. And, I possess beauty because, just like my Master, Ahmad, my mercy surges forth to guide the people who have become heedless of the Lord Who is the Most High. Are you, then, surprised at this, and do you ignore the time and its need?’

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 13:10.
  2. The Holy Qur’an, 39:68
  3. Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 2, p. 427, Musnad Abdillah bin Umar al-Khattab, Hadith No. 5608.
  4. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Tadhkirah (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2019), 484.

74. The Oft-Returning [With Compassion](At-Tawwāb)

أَلَمۡ يَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ يَقۡبَلُ ٱلتَّوۡبَةَ عَنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ وَيَأۡخُذُ ٱلصَّدَقَٰتِ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلتَّوَّابُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

‘Know they not that Allah is He Who accepts repentance from His servants and takes alms, and that Allah is He Who is Oft-Returning with compassion, and is Merciful?’ [1]

According to the lexicon ‘Aqrab al-Mawarid, تَابَ إِلَی اللهِ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ (tāba ilallāhi min dhanbihi) means one who has repented from his sins by turning to God Almighty. Furthermore, التَّوْبَة (at-taubah) means to have remorse in the heart and to seek forgiveness. According to the Arabic lexicon al-Munjid, التَّوَّاب (at-Tawwāb) is one of the attributes of Allah the Almighty and means the Oft-Returning with compassion. 

Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud relates that the Holy Prophet (sa) taught them the following words of prayer: 

‘O Allah, instil love within our hearts, and establish peace between us, guide us to the path of peace and tranquillity, bring us out of every kind of darkness into light, save us from the evils, both manifest and hidden, and bless our ears, our eyes, our hearts, our spouses, our children, and turn to us with compassion. Surely You are the Oft-Returning [with compassion], the Ever-Merciful. And make us grateful for Your blessings and enable us to offer praise for Your bounties and grant them Your acceptance and perfect them for us.’ [2]

The Eternal and Everlasting Attributes of God

Whilst explaining how the Allah the Almighty accepts the repentance of His servants, the Promised Messiah (as) states: 

‘As stumbling and sinning are characteristics manifested by defective souls, correspondingly, there are the eternal and everlasting attributes of God which are forgiveness and mercy. He is inherently Forgiving and Merciful. His forgiveness is not casual and coincidental, but is His eternal attribute which He loves and which He desires to exercise upon deserving people. Whenever a person turns to God with remorse and repentance at the time of stumbling and sinning, he becomes deserving, in the sight of God, that He should turn to him with mercy and forgiveness. God’s turning towards a remorseful and repentant person is not limited to one or two instances, but it is an eternal attribute of God Almighty. Whenever a remorseful and repentant servant turns towards God, this attribute is definitely manifested towards him. It is not a part of the divine laws of nature that those who are prone to stumble should not stumble, or that the nature of those who are in thrall to their beastly or aggressive traits should change. Rather, His law – which, since eternity, has been in operation – is that imperfect people who commit sin due to their personal deficiencies, should find forgiveness through repentance and istighfar.’ [3]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 9:104.
  1. Sunan Abi Dawud, Bab Tafri’ abwab ar-Ruku’ wa as-Sujud, bab at-Tashahhud, Hadith No. 969.
  2. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya – Part III (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018) 87-88.

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