MAGAZINE: EDITION MAY 2021
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The Nature of God

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 Holinessaba 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.


105. The Helper (Al-Naṣīr)

أَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمۡ أَنَّ ٱللهَ لَهُۥ مُلۡكُ ٱلسَّمٰوٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۗ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللهِ مِن وَلِيّٖ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ 

‘Dost thou not know that the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah alone? And there is no protector or helper for you beside Allah.’ [1]

The attribute النَّصِیْرُ (Al-Naṣīr) is derived from the Arabic root نَصَرَ  (Na-ṣa-ra). According to the Arabic lexicon, Al-Munjid, نَصَرَ means to help. أَنْصَارٌ (Anṣār) is the plural form of Naṣīr.

أَنْصَارٌ also refers to those helpers of Madinah who aided the cause of Islam in the beginning.

It has been narrated by Jabir (ra) that the Holy Prophet (sa) stated: 

‘I have been granted five distinctions which none of the prophets was granted before me. Firstly, I have been reinforced with awe extending as far as a month’s journey, secondly the entire earth has been made for me a mosque and a means of purity, thirdly, the booty of war has been made lawful for me; it was never made lawful before me; fourthly, I have been granted the honour of intercession with the Lord and fifthly, while prophets before me were sent to their nation, only I have been sent for all of mankind.’ [2]

The Imam of the Age

Explaining the divine succour granted to him by Allah the Almighty, the Promised Messiah (as) states:

‘I alone am the light of this age of darkness. He who follows me will be saved from falling into the pits prepared by the Devil for those who walk in the dark. I have been sent by God to lead the world in humility and peace to the True God, and to re-establish the reign of moral values in Islam. God has provided me with heavenly signs for the satisfaction of seekers after truth, and has shown miracles in my support. He has disclosed to me secrets of the unseen and of the future which, according to the scriptures are the real criteria for judging and identifying the true claimant to this divine office. He has vouchsafed to me true Knowledge and comprehension of verities.’ [3]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 2:108.
  2. Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tayammum, Hadith No. 335.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Jesus in India (Qadian, India: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2016), 12-13.

106. The Maker or Originator (Al-Fāṭir)

قُلِ ٱللَّهُمَّ فَاطِرَ ٱلسَّمٰوٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ عٰلِمَ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَٱلشَّهَٰدَةِ أَنتَ تَحۡكُمُ بَيۡنَ عِبَادِكَ فِي مَا كَانُواْ فِيهِ يَخۡتَلِفُونَ

‘Say, “O Allah! Originator of the heavens and the earth; Knower of the unseen and the seen; Thou alone wilt judge between Thy servants concerning that in which they differed.”’

الفَاطِرُ (Al-Fāṭir) is derived from the Arabic root فَطَرَ (Fa-ṭa-ra) meaning to rip apart, split open or to crack. [2] According to the Arabic lexicon Al-Munjid, فَطَرَ الْاَمْرَ (Faṭara al-Amr) means he originated something. 

The active participle has been used in the Holy Qur’an with reference to the creation of the heavens and the earth. For example, in the Quranic verse quoted above, the clause: فَاطِرَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ means that God Almighty is the Originator of the heavens and the earth and it is He Who created them initially. Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) has narrated that he was not aware of the meaning of فَاطِرَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ until two Arab Bedouins came to him over a dispute of the ownership of a well. One of the Bedouins said: أَنَا فَطَرْتُـهَا (Ana Faṭartuhā) meaning that he started it or created it. [3]

This attribute has been used in a supplication that the Holy Prophet (sa) used to make in his prayers. Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Auf (ra) relates: ‘I asked A’ishah (ra), Mother of the Believers, about the words the Messenger of Allah (sa) would recite at the beginning of his prayers during the night. Hazrat A’ishah (ra) stated that the Holy Prophet (sa) would begin the prayers at night with the following prayer:

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ جِبْرَائِيلَ وَمِيكَائِيلَ وَإِسْرَافِيلَ فَاطِرَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ عَالِمَ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ أَنْتَ تَحْكُمُ بَيْنَ عِبَادِكَ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ اهْدِنِي لِمَا اخْتُلِفَ فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِكَ إِنَّكَ تَهْدِي مَنْ تَشَاءُ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ

“O Allah, Lord of Gabriel, Michael, and Israfil [names of Angels]; the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who knowest the unseen and the seen; Thou decidest amongst Thy servants concerning their differences. Guide me, with Thy permission, in the different views (which the people) hold about Truth, for it is Thou Who guidest whom Thou wilt to the straight path.”’ [4]

God: the Possessor of Countless Wonders 

Whilst explaining the importance of professing faith in God, the Promised Messiah (as) states:

When you stand up in prayer, it is necessary for you to have firm faith that your God has power over all things. Only then will your prayer be accepted and you will behold the wonders of God’s power that we have beheld. Our testimony is based on observation and not on hearsay. How should the supplication of a person be accepted and how should he have the courage to pray at times of great difficulty, when according to him he is opposed by the law of nature, unless he believes that God has power over everything? O fortunate ones, follow not these practices. Your God is One who holds aloft innumerable stars without the use of columns and who has created heaven and earth from nothing. Then would you think so ill of Him as to imagine that your objective is beyond His power? Such ill-thinking will frustrate you. Our God possesses countless wonders, but they are visible only to those who become His out of sincerity and loyalty. He does not disclose His wonders to those who do not believe in His power and who are not sincere and loyal to Him. How unfortunate is the man, who even now, is unaware that there is a God who has power over all things. Our paradise lies in our God. Our highest delight is in our God for we have seen Him and found every beauty in Him. This wealth is worth procuring though one might have to lay down one’s life to procure it.’ [5]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 39:47.
  2. Mufradat Imam Raghib.
  3. Malik Ghulam Farid, MA, Dictionary of the Holy Qur’an (Tilford, UK: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2006), 657.
  4. Sahih Muslim, Kitab Salat al-Musrifin wa Qasriha, Hadith No. 770.
  5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Noah’s Ark (Farnham, UK: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 34-35.

107. The One Who Manifests (Al-Mubīn)

يَوۡمَئِذٖ يُوَفِّيهِمُ ٱللهُ دِينَهُمُ ٱلۡحَقَّ وَيَعۡلَمُونَ أَنَّ ٱلله هُوَ ٱلۡحَقُّ ٱلۡمُبِينُ

‘On that day will Allah pay them their just due, and they will know that Allah alone is the Manifest Truth.’ [1]

According to the Arabic lexicons ‘Aqrab al-Mawarid and Lisan al-‘Arab, أَبَانَ الشَّیَٔ (Abāna al-Shai’) means he made something clear and manifest. بَانَ الْحَقُّ (Bāna al-Haqq) means that the truth became manifest or became known. It also means to cut, separate and sever something.

 خَلَقَ ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ ۝عَلَّمَهُ ٱلۡبَيَانَ means He (God) created man and taught him eloquent speech, whereby he could discriminate and thus be distinguished from other creatures.

In another tradition of the Holy Prophet (sa), it has been narrated by Hazrat Mu’adh bin Jabal (ra), ‘One morning the Messenger (sa) of Allah was delayed in coming to us for the fajr [morning] prayer that it was almost on the verge of sunrise. The Messenger (sa) of Allah quickly came out and the iqamah [second call to prayer] for salat [prayer] was made. The Messenger (sa) of Allah kept the salat relatively brief and after concluding it, he announced, “Remain in your rows as you are.” The Messenger (sa) of Allah then turned towards us and stated, “I shall inform you what kept me away from you this morning. I woke up in the night, performed the ablution and then offered my prayer as much as was decreed for me. Thereafter, I began to feel sleepy to the point that I fell asleep. At that moment I saw my Lord, Blessed and Most High, in the most excellent manner. Allah the Almighty stated, ‘O Muhammad!’ I submitted, ‘I am here at Your service, my Lord.’ Allah the Almighty then stated, ‘Do you know what the exalted angels were arguing over?’ to which I submitted three times, ‘O my Lord, I do not know.’” The Messenger (sa) of Allah then stated, “I saw Allah the Almighty and He placed the palm of His hand between my shoulders and I felt the coolness of His fingers in my chest and everything became clear for me and I then understood. Allah the Almighty then again asked, ‘Do you know what the exalted angels were arguing over?’ I submitted, ‘regarding the acts of atonement.’ Allah the Almighty stated, ‘What are the acts of atonement?’ I submitted, ‘To walk towards the congregational prayer, to remain seated in the mosque after the prayer has concluded, to perform the ablution in an excellent manner even in difficult circumstances.’ Allah the Almighty then stated, ‘What else?’ To which I replied, ‘to feed others, to be soft in speech and to offer prayers in the night whilst others are sleeping.’ Thereafter, Allah the Almighty stated, ‘Ask of Me whatever you want!’ Upon this I submitted, ‘O Allah! I seek from You the ability to perform good deeds, abstaining from evil, to love the poor and I seek Your forgiveness and mercy. And when You will for the fitnah [disorder] to be spread amongst a people, then cause me to die before it emerges. O Allah! I ask You for Your love and the love of those who love You. And the love of such deeds which will grant me the nearness of Your love.’” The Messenger (sa) of Allah then stated, “This dream is true and you ought to remember it and teach it to others as well.”‘ [2]

The Manifestation of Almighty God

In relation to how Allah the Almighty granted him His support and manifested Himself to him, the Promised Messiah (as) states: 

‘God has appeared to me not only through His words but has also manifested Himself to me through His works and has shown – and will continue to show – such works in my support that are not shown in support of anyone unless he is the recipient of God’s special grace. People abandoned me, but God has accepted me. Who can compete with me in showing these signs? I have appeared so that God may appear through me. He was like a hidden treasure, but now, by sending me, He has designed to silence all atheists and all faithless people who say that there is no God. My dear people! To you who seek God, I convey the good news that the True God is He Who has revealed the Qur’an. It is He who has manifested Himself to me and Who is ever with me.’ [3]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 24:26.
  2. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Abwab Fada’il al-Qur’an, Hadith no. 3235.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), The Philosophy of Divine Revelation (UK: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2018), 781-782.

108. The Near (Al-Qarīb)

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌۖ أُجِيبُ دَعۡوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِۖ فَلۡيَسۡتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلۡيُؤۡمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡشُدُونَ

‘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]

القَرِیْبُ (Al-Qarīb) is derived from the root یَقْرُبُ – قَرُبَ (Qa-ru-ba, Yaqrubu) and means he was or became near to something. [2]

قَرَّبَ الْأَمِیْرُ فَلَانًا (Qarraba al-Amīru fulānan) means the governor or leader brought someone closer, but it signifies that such an individual was granted honour and that they would be given a special rank to serve the leader. [3]

In a tradition of the Holy Prophet (sa), Hazrat Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari narrates: ‘We were in the company of Allah’s Messenger (sa). Whenever we would enter a valley, we would exclaim in a loud voice: لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ “There is none worthy of worship except Allah” and اللهُ أَكْبَرُ “Allah is the Greatest,” so the Holy Prophet (sa) said, “O people! Take hold of yourselves [i.e. do not raise your voices], for you are not calling One Who is deaf or absent, but the One Who is with you, no doubt He is All-Hearing, and very Near. Blessed is His name and exalted is His majesty.”’ [4]

God is Closer to Man Than His Jugular Vein

Whilst explaining the nature of man’s relationship with God and the changes that take place the more one inclines to God, the Promised Messiah (as) states:

‘At this stage the streams of love for and devotion to Him surge up in such manner that to die in the cause of God and to endure thousands of torments for His sake and to become disgraced in His path, become as easy as breaking a small straw. One is pulled towards God without knowing who is pulling. One is carried about by a hidden hand, and to do God’s Will becomes the purpose of one’s life. At this stage God appears very close, as He has said:

نَحۡنُ أَقۡرَبُ إِلَيۡهِ مِنۡ حَبۡلِ ٱلۡوَرِيدِ

That is, “we are closer to him than his jugular vein.”

In that condition the lower relationships of a person fall away from him, as ripe fruit falls away automatically from the branch of a tree. His relationship with God deepens and he draws far away from all creation and is honoured with the word and converse of God. The doors of access to this stage are as wide open today as they were at any time, and divine grace still bestows this bounty upon those who seek it, as He did before. But this is not achieved by the mere exercise of the tongue, and this door is not opened by vain talk and boasts. There are many who seek but there are few who find. Why is that so? It is because this stage demands true earnestness and true sacrifice. Mere words mean nothing in this context. To step faithfully onto the fire from which other people run away is the first requirement of this path. Boasts avail nothing; what is needed is practical zeal and earnestness.’ [5]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 2:187.
  2. Lisan al-‘Arab.
  3. ‘Aqrab al-Mawarid.
  4. Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jihad wa al-Sair, Hadith No. 2992.
  5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2010), 130-131.

109. The Possessor of Bounty (Dhū al-Taul)

تَنزِيلُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلۡعَلِيمِ

غَافِرِ ٱلذَّنۢبِ وَقَابِلِ ٱلتَّوۡبِ شَدِيدِ ٱلۡعِقَابِ ذِي ٱلطَّوۡلِۖ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ إِلَيۡهِ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ

‘The revelation of the Book [i.e. the Holy Qur’an] is from Allah, the Mighty, the All-Knowing, the Forgiver of sin and the Acceptor of repentance, Severe in punishment, the Possessor of bounty. There is no God but He. Towards Him is the final return.’ [1]

According to the Arabic lexicon Lisan al-‘Arab, الطَّوْلُ (al-Taul) means excellence, power, wealth, greatness and grace. Thus, ذُوالطَّوْلِ (Dhū al-Taul) refers to that Being Who is the Possessor of all great attributes, i.e. Allah the Almighty is the Possessor of all excellences, the All-Powerful, the Great and the most Beneficent.

The meaning of Dhū al-Taul is a Being Who is All-Powerful, Self-Sufficient and the Benevolent. As such, in a tradition of the Holy Prophet narrated by Hazrat A’ishah (ra) it is stated that once the people complained to the Holy Prophet (sa) about a lack of rainfall. Thus, the Holy Prophet (sa) ordered the companions to pray to Allah the Almighty and stated that Allah would most certainly answer their prayers. Subsequently, the Holy Prophet (sa) offered the following supplication:

‘All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, the Gracious, the Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgment. There is none worthy of worship except Allah, Who does what He wills. O Allah! Thou art Allah, there is none worthy of worship except Thee; Thou art the Self-Sufficient, whereas we are poor. Send down rain upon us and make what Thou sendest down a strength and satisfaction for a time.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) then offered two rak‘at [units] of prayer. Thus, under the decree of Allah, the clouds poured forth so much rain that the drains began to fill with water and people had to run for cover. [2]

God Has Power Over Everything

One meaning of Dhū al-Taul is the All-Powerful God. Explaining this aspect of God’s power and might, the Promised Messiah (as) states:

‘Another subtle point that needs to born in mind is that, at times, when men of God show miracles, for instance, water is not able to drown them and fire is not able to harm them, the secret behind such manifestations is that at times when the friends of God focus their attention towards a particular thing, the All-Wise God – Whose infinite secrets man can never comprehend – shows a sign of His power, and their attention begins to exercise control in the universe. The convergence of the means which, for instance, cause the heat of the fire to cease casting its effect – whether these means are related to heavenly bodies, to some hidden properties of the fire itself, or to some subtle property of the body that is put in the fire, or whether it is a combination of all these – all such means come into operation through such attention and such prayer. It is thus that an extraordinary miracle is shown. But this does not cause us to lose faith in the reality of things, nor does it render knowledge useless, for it is itself a branch among the branches of divine knowledge. It has its own dimension, just as, for instance, the burning quality of fire has its own. Let us understand it this way: these are spiritual elements that manifest themselves by subjugating the fire, and they are peculiar to their own time and place. Human intellect falls short of understanding the secret that the perfect man is the locus for the manifestation of the spirit of God Almighty. And when the time comes for the perfect man to display this manifestation, everything begins to fear him as it fears God. You may now throw him before a beast or into a fire, he will suffer no harm; for at such moments the spirit of God Almighty is upon him and everything is under obligation to fear Him. This is the ultimate secret of divine knowledge, which cannot be understood without keeping company with the perfect ones. Being a very profound and rare phenomenon, every intellect is not aware of this philosophy. But, remember, everything listens to the voice of God Almighty. He has control over everything and He holds all the strings in His Hand. His wisdom knows no limit and it penetrates to the root of every particle. Nothing possesses properties that are in excess of His powers. All the qualities that things may possess are within the scope of His power.’ [3]

Endnotes

  1. The Holy Qur’an, 39:37.
  2. Sunan Abi Dawood, Kitab Salat al-Istisqa’, Hadith No. 1173.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Blessings of Prayer (Tilford, UK: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2007), 45-46 (footnote).

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