MAGAZINE: EDITION APRIL 2021
The Nature of God

The Attributes of Allah

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 translated into English by Shahzad Ahmed, Zafir Mahmood Malik and Nooruddeen Jahangeer Khan.


100. The Healer (Al-Shāfī)

وَإِذَا مَرِضۡتُ فَهُوَ يَشۡفِينِ

‘And when I am ill, it is He Who restores me to health.’ [1]

الشَّافِی  (Al-Shāfī) is derived from the root شَفَی  – یَشْفِی (Shafā – Yashfī) and means he restored someone to health and he cured someone from an illness. شَفَی اللهُ الْمَرِیْضَ – (Shafā Allah al-Marīd) means that Allah the Almighty cured the illness of the patient. [2]

In a tradition reported by Hazrat A’ishah (ra), when someone would fall ill, the Holy Prophet (sa) would place his right hand on them and pray in the following way:

‘O Lord of mankind! remove the malady, cure him for Thou art the Healer. There is no cure but through Thine healing power, a cure the like of which leaves no trace of the malady.’ [3]

The Ultimate Cure is From Allah

Explaining the fact that everything originates from Allah the Almighty, the Promised Messiah (as) states:

‘There is no doubt that when one is unwell, only Allah the Almighty can grant cure, and it is Allah the Almighty Who has placed special properties in the medicines one uses. Hence when one uses medicines, they have an effect. When one feels thirst, it is Allah Who quenches the thirst, but in order to do so, Allah the Almighty has created water. Similarly, when one is hungry, only Allah the Almighty can remove one’s hunger, but in order to do so he has created the necessary provisions. In the same manner, Allah the Almighty has decreed for the victory of Islam and the breaking of the cross, however, for this come to fruition Allah the Almighty has created certain means and laws.’ [4]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 26:81.
  2. Al-Munjid.
  3. Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Islam, Hadith No. 46.
  4. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Malfuzat – Volume VIII (1984), 230

101. The Lord of the Throne (Dhū al-‘Arsh)

فَٱدۡعُواْ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ وَلَوۡ كَرِهَ ٱلۡكَٰفِرُونَ

رَفِيعُ ٱلدَّرَجَٰتِ ذُو ٱلۡعَرۡشِ يُلۡقِي ٱلرُّوحَ مِنۡ أَمۡرِهِۦ عَلَىٰ مَن يَشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ لِيُنذِرَ يَوۡمَ ٱلتَّلَاقِ 

‘Call ye then on Allah, being sincere to Him in religion, though the disbelievers may be averse. He is of most exalted attributes, Lord of the Throne. He sends the Word by His command to whomsoever of His servants He pleases, that He may give warning of the Day of Meeting.’ [1]

الْعَرْش al-‘Arsh is derived from the root wordعَرَشَ  (‘A-ra-sha). It has been used in the Holy Qur’an in different meanings. According to Arabic lexicon, Taj al-‘Arus, الْعَرْشُ مِنَ الْبَیْتِ (al-‘Arsh min al-Bait) when al-‘Arsh is used in connotation to a house, it means the ceiling or roof of a house. When al-‘Arsh is used in reference to Allah the Almighty, it means the ‘Throne of Allah’, which has no end. According to Imam Raghib, regarding the ‘Throne of Allah’, we only possess knowledge of its name and aside from this, man has no knowledge about its reality. [2] According to some opinions, al-‘Arsh could also refer to the highest heaven.

This attribute is found in the Ahadith. When the Holy Prophet (sa) 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.’ [3]

Allah Governs Everything Through the Medium of Angels

Explaining how Allah the Almighty exerts his power over everything, Promised Messiah (as) says:

‘A look at the bodily system shows that man hears by means of air, and sees by means of sunlight. Why are these two ‘couriers’ appointed to the bodily system although the physical and spiritual laws of God should be mutually consistent. What a pity! The Vedic wisdom stands in contradiction to the laws of nature in every situation. Who says God is not Omnipresent? He, on the other hand, is not only Omnipresent but is also the Lord of the Throne. An ignorant person would not understand this fine insightful point. It is a point worth pondering that although everything in this world happens under Allah’s command, yet in order to enforce His will, He has ordained certain means. Take for instance, a poison that kills a man and an antidote that benefits. Can we imagine that these two affect the human body on their own? No, not at all! On the contrary, they exert adverse or beneficial effect by the will of God. Thus, they too represent a type of angels. Indeed, each and every particle of the universe whereby a variety of changes takes place is an angel of God. And [our belief in] tauhid [Oneness of God] is not complete, unless and until we acknowledge each and every particle to be an angel of God, because if we do not accept all causes that exist in this world to be the angels of God, we will have to admit that all these changes in the human body and in the universe are taking place on their own without the knowledge, intention, and approval of God Almighty. If so, we will have to admit that God is simply idle and unaware. Hence, this is the secret behind the belief in angels that without it, tauhid cannot stand, and we have to concede that every object and every effect is beyond the will of God.’  [4]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 40:15-16.
  2. Mufradat Imam Raghib.
  3. Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Da‘wat, Hadith No. 6345.
  4. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), The Philosophy of Divine Revelation (Farnham, Surrey:
    Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 399-400.

102. The Lord of the Dignity (Dhu al-Waqār)

مَّا لَكُمۡ لَا تَرۡجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارٗا وَقَدۡ خَلَقَكُمۡ أَطۡوَارًا 

‘What is the matter with you that you expect not wisdom and staidness from Allah? And He has created you in different forms and different conditions.’ [1]

الْوَقَار– al-Waqār is derived from the root word وَقَرَ (Wa-qa-ra). It has been used in the Holy Qur’an in different meanings. According to Arabic lexicon, Taj al-‘Arus and Al-Qamus, الْوَقْرُ – means a heaviness in the ears or a loss in one’s hearing, as is used in the verse: 

وَمِنۡهُم مَّن يَسۡتَمِعُ إِلَيۡكَۖ وَجَعَلۡنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمۡ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفۡقَهُوهُ وَفِيٓ ءَاذَانِهِمۡ وَقۡرٗاۚ

‘And among them are some who give ear to thee; but We have put veils on their hearts, that they should not understand, and deafness in their ears…’ [2]

It is also used in the connotation of dignity and reverence. For example, in Chapter 48, verses 9-10, it is stated:

إِنَّآ أَرۡسَلۡنَٰكَ شَٰهِدٗا وَمُبَشِّرٗا وَنَذِيرٗا * لِّتُؤۡمِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَتُعَزِّرُوهُ وَتُوَقِّرُوهُۚ وَتُسَبِّحُوهُ بُكۡرَةٗ وَأَصِيلًا

‘We have sent thee as a Witness and a bearer of glad tidings and a Warner, that you should believe in Allah and His Messenger, and may help him, and honour him, and that you may glorify Him morning and evening.” 

Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), the second head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, stated that the attribute of Dhu al-Waqār means: ‘He Who does everything with reason and to fulfil a certain purpose.’ [3]

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) has narrated a tradition from the Holy Prophet (sa) in which Allah the Almighty has stated: 

الْعَظَمَةُ إِزَارِي، وَالْكِبْرِيَاءُ رِدَائِي، فَمَنْ نَازَعَنِي وَاحِدًا مِنْهُمَا، أَلْقَيْتُهُ فِي النَّارِ

‘Honour is My cloak, and pride is My robe. Whosoever competes with Me in regards to either of them, I shall throw him into Hell.’ [4]

The Reality Behind the Differences Amongst the Creation of Allah 

Explaining the reasons why discrepancies are seen amongst the creation of Allah, the Promised Messiah (as) states:

‘The third wisdom in the differentiation of ranks is the desire to demonstrate a wide array of [divine] powers and to draw the attention of His creatures to His own greatness. He says:

مَّا لَكُمۡ لَا تَرۡجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارٗا وَقَدۡ خَلَقَكُمۡ أَطۡوَارًا

Meaning that, what ails you that you do not admit the greatness of God, in spite of the fact that to demonstrate His greatness, He created you with distinct physical features and differing moral characters. That is, the differentiation of capacities and temperaments was created by the All-Wise so that His greatness and power may be recognised, as He has said at another place:

وَٱللَّهُ خَلَقَ كُلَّ دَآبَّةٖ مِّن مَّآءٖۖ فَمِنۡهُم مَّن يَمۡشِي عَلَىٰ بَطۡنِهِۦ وَمِنۡهُم مَّن يَمۡشِي عَلَىٰ رِجۡلَيۡنِ وَمِنۡهُم مَّن يَمۡشِي عَلَىٰٓ أَرۡبَعٖۚ يَخۡلُقُ ٱللَّهُ مَا يَشَآءُۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٞ

This means that Allah has created every animal from water. Some of them move on their bellies, some of them on two feet and others on four. Allah creates what He pleases. Allah has the power to do all that He wills. [5]

This is an indication that all these different species have been created by God so that the diverse powers of the Divine might be demonstrated. Thus, the differentiation in the temperaments and natures of different creations is due to these three considerations, which God has set out in the verses cited above.’ [6]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 71:14-15.
  2. The Holy Qur’an, 6:26.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an (London: The London Mosque, 1985), 302.
  4. Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Bab ma Dhakara fi al-Kibr, Hadith No. 26990.
  5. The Holy Qur’an, 24:46.
  6. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part III (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2014), 109 (Footnote Number 11)

103. The Sufficient (Al-Kāfī)

أَلَيۡسَ ٱللَّهُ بِكَافٍ عَبۡدَهُۥۖ وَيُخَوِّفُونَكَ بِٱلَّذِينَ مِن دُونِهِۦۚ وَمَن يُضۡلِلِ ٱللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُۥ مِنۡ هَادٖ 

‘Is not Allah sufficient for His servant? And yet they would frighten thee with those beside Him. And he whom Allah adjudges astray — for him there is no guide.’ [1]

According to Mufradat Imam Raghib, الْكِفَایَةُ (al-Kifāyah) means something that fulfils one’s needs and whereby they are able to attain their objective. According to al-Qāmūs al-Muhīṭ and Taj al-‘Arus, الْکُفْیَةُ (al-Kufyah) means the nourishment which is enough to sustain life.  رَجُلٌ کَافٍ وَکَفِیٌّ (Rajul Kāfin wa Kafiyy) means that the person is sufficient enough and there is no need required for anyone else. 

Hazrat Anas (ra) relates that when the Holy Prophet (sa) would retire to his bed, he would pray, ‘All praise is due to Allah, Who provided us with food and drink, Who is sufficient for all our needs and granted us His protection. How many are there who neither have one who is sufficient for all their needs nor one who affords them with protection.’ [2]

Is not Allah sufficient for His servant?

The Promised Messiah (as) states: 

‘When I received the revelation from Allah the Glorious concerning the death of my revered father, which I have just mentioned, I was naturally troubled by the thought that some sources of income which were available only during my father’s lifetime would now cease and we might be faced with adversity. Thereupon, I received the second revelation:

أَلَيۡسَ ٱللَّهُ بِكَافٍ عَبۡدَهُ

That is, “Is not Allah sufficient for His servant?”

This revelation afforded me complete comfort and satisfaction and it impressed itself upon my heart like a steel nail. I call to witness Allah, the Lord of Honour and Glory, in Whose hands is my life that He has demonstrated the truth of this revelation of glad tiding in a manner that I could not have conceived of. He has provided for me as no father could have done for a child.’ [3]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 39:37.
  2. Sahih al-Muslim, Kitab al-Dhikr wa al-Du‘a wa al-Taubah wa al-Istighfar, Hadith no. 4876.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Tadhkirah (UK: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 31.

104. The Bestower of Favours (Al-Mun‘im)

ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٰطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ * صِرَٰطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ

‘Guide us in the right path. The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings, those who have not incurred Thy displeasure, and those who have not gone astray.’ [1]

الْمُنْعِم (al-Mun‘im) is derived from أَنْعَمَ (An‘ama), which according to the Arabic lexicon al-Mu‘jam al-Wasit means he favoured and increased. Likewise, when used as an attribute of God Almighty, according to the lexicon ‘Aqrab al-Mawarid, al-Mun‘im means مَوْلَى النِّعْمَة (Mawlā al-Ni‘mah) i.e., the Possessor of Bounties and Favours.

The Holy Prophet (sa) has also mentioned a saying of God Almighty in which explains the conduct of a group of people whenever He bestows a favour upon mankind. 

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) relates that the Holy Prophet (sa) stated:

‘Do you not know what your Lord has said? He observed, “I have never endowed My servants with a favour, but a section amongst them rejected it and said, ‘[this blessing] was due to the stars.’”’ [2]

The Bestower of All Bounties

In one of the Arabic writings of the Promised Messiah (as), he has explained the meaning of al-Mun‘im, stating: 

Mun‘im means one who bestows all bounties, which man or any other creature can receive, according to its capacity, and is desirous of obtaining, so that it might arrive at its climax, as is said: “Our Lord is He Who has bestowed upon everything a perfect creation and has then guided it towards greater perfections (The Holy Qur’an, 20:51).” Thus everything was bestowed all the faculties that it needed, and was furnished with the guidance needed for achieving its climax.’ [3]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 1:6-7.
  2. Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, Hadith no. 232.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Minan al-Rahman, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 9 (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2009), 154.

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