The Nature of God

Allah the Exalted – Part 11

Portrait of the Promised Messiah (as) & Imam Mahdi (Guided One), Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as)

The Promised Messiah (as) wrote over 80 books in Arabic, Urdu, and Persian. Excerpts of his collected works have been translated into English and organised by topic.

The Review of Religions is pleased to present these excerpts as part of a monthly feature. Here the Promised Messiah (as) discusses the complete knowledge of God Almighty and why there is the need for divine revelation.

Extracts from The Essence of Islam – Vol. I, 145-158.

This is the eleventh part of a multi-part series.

قَدۡ اَفۡلَحَ مَنۡ زَٮكَّهَا [1]

‘He who loves the Holy One;

Must purify himself in order to find Him.’

Every people claims that there are many among them who love God Almighty, but what needs to be known is whether God loves them or not. The proof of God’s love is that first He removes the veil that prevents a person from believing with certainty in the existence of God. Because of this veil man admits the existence of God with dark and blurred understanding and very often at the time of trial denies His existence altogether. The removal of this veil cannot be achieved except through converse with God. A person drinks of the fountain of true understanding on the day when God addresses him and conveys to him the good news: I am present. At that stage man’s understanding does not remain confined to conjecture or argumentation. He comes so near to God as if he sees Him. It is entirely true that perfect faith in God is achieved only when He informs a person of His Own existence.

The second sign of God’s love is that He not only informs those dear to Him of His existence, but manifests especially to them the signs of His mercy and grace, by accepting their prayers concerning matters which are apparently beyond hope and informing them of it through His revelation and His speech. This reassures them that their God is Powerful Who hears their prayers and informs them of it and delivers them from difficulties. They then understand the mystery of salvation and are convinced of the existence of God. By way of awakening and warning, other people also might occasionally have the experience of true dreams, but the experience of the converse of God is something entirely different. It is vouchsafed only to those who are His favourites. When such a one supplicates God Almighty He manifests Himself to him with His glory and causes His spirit to descend upon him and intimates to him the acceptance of his prayer in His loving words. He who has this experience very frequently is called prophet or muhaddath.

—Hujjat-ul-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 6, pp. 42-43

A servant displays his sincere love for God by his good behaviour, but God’s response is astonishing. In response to the rapid advance of the servant, God rushes towards him like lightning and displays signs for him on earth and in heaven and becomes the friend of his friends and the enemy of his enemies. Even if five hundred million people oppose him God humiliates them and makes them helpless like a dead insect. He destroys a whole world for the sake of that one person and makes His earth and heaven the servants of such a one. He blesses his words and sends down a rain of light on his dwelling. He puts a blessing in his clothes and his food and even in the dust upon which he treads. He does not let him die a failure and Himself answers all objections raised against him. He becomes his eyes with which he sees, and becomes his ears with which he hears, and becomes his tongue with which he speaks, and becomes his feet with which he walks, and becomes his hands with which he deals with his enemies. He personally takes on the enemies of his friend, draws His sword against the wicked ones who persecute him, and makes him victorious in every field. He conveys to him the secrets of His decrees. The very first purchaser of his spiritual beauty who comes forward after his good behaviour and personal love is God Himself. Then how unfortunate are the people who should live in such an age and such a sun should rise upon them and they should continue to sit in darkness.

—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 21 p. 225

After perfection of the spiritual structure, the flame of the personal love of God falls upon the heart of a person like a spirit and bestows upon him the condition of being ever present before God. Spiritual beauty manifests itself at its fullest when such a one arrives at his perfection. This spiritual beauty which might be called good behaviour far exceeds the beauty of countenance by virtue of its strong attraction. The beauty of countenance can only win the mortal love of one or two persons and soon declines. Its pull is very weak. But the spiritual beauty which has been called good behaviour is so strong in its pull that it draws a whole world to itself so that every particle of heaven and earth is pulled towards it. This is the philosophy of the acceptance of prayer.

When a person possessing spiritual beauty who is penetrated by the spirit of divine love, supplicates for an impossible or very difficult object and carries his supplication to the limit, then on account of his spiritual beauty, every particle of this universe is drawn towards him by the command of God Almighty, and such means are provided as are adequate for his success. Both experience and the book of God establish that every particle of the world has a natural love for such a person and his prayers draw all particles towards him as a magnet draws iron, and extraordinary matters come to light on account of this attraction which are not mentioned in physics or in philosophy. Ever since the Creator has fashioned the world of bodies from particles, He has invested every particle with that attraction and every particle is a sincere lover of spiritual beauty and so also is every good soul because that beauty is the manifestation of truth. It was that beauty on account of which God commanded the angels:

اُسۡجُدُوۡا لِاٰدَمَ فَسَجَدُوۡا اِلَّا اِبۡلِيِسَ [2]

There are many today like Iblis who do not recognize that beauty, but that beauty has accomplished great things. 

The same beauty was in Noah (as), out of regard for which the Lord of Honour and Glory destroyed all his enemies by the torment of water. Then Moses(as) appeared with the same spiritual beauty, and he, after suffering for a few days, became the occasion for the ruin of Pharaoh. Then last of all the Chief of the Prophets and the best of mankind, our lord and master Muhammad, the chosen one (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) appeared with a grand spiritual beauty in praise of which it is enough to cite the verse:

دَنَا فَتَدَلّٰ فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوۡسَيْنِ اَوۡ اَدۡنيٰ [3]

This means that: That Prophet (sa) drew closer to God and then leaned towards mankind and thus discharged fully that which was due to God and that which was due to man and demonstrated both kinds of spiritual beauty. 

—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 21, pp. 219-221

In the article that was read out in the meeting, it was stated that Permeshwar is free from anger, rancour, hatred and envy. Perhaps the meaning of the speaker was that in the Holy Qur’an the word anger has been used with reference to God. In contrast, he desired to convey that the Vedas is free from any affirmation that God becomes angry. But this is his mistake. It should be borne in mind that no undue tyrannical wrath is attributed to God Almighty in the Holy Qur’an. All that is meant is that, on account of His holiness, God possesses an attribute which resembles wrath and that attribute demands that a disobedient one who persists in his rebellion should be chastised. God also possesses another attribute which resembles love and that demands that an obedient one should be rewarded for his obedience. The first attribute has been named wrath for the purpose of illustration, and the second one has been termed love. But neither is His fury like human fury, nor is His love like human love. God Almighty has said in the Holy Qur’an:

لَيْسَ كَمِثۡلِهِ شَيۡءٌ [4]

That is to say: There is nothing like God or His attributes.

We enquire from the speaker why does Permeshwar, according to the Vedas, punish sinners, so much so that He degrades them from the status of humanity and makes them dogs, swine, apes and cats, etc. One has to admit that He possesses an attribute that demands such punishment. This attribute is described in the Holy Qur’an as God’s wrath…

If Permeshwar does not possess an attribute that demands that He should punish sinners, then why does He incline towards punishment? He must possess an attribute that demands recompense and that attribute is called wrath, but that wrath is not like the anger of man, but is suited to the dignity of God. That is the wrath that is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an…When God bestows His bounty upon those who act righteously, it is said that He loves them. When He punishes those who act viciously, it is said that He is angry with them. Thus as wrath is mentioned in the Vedas so is it mentioned in the Holy Qur’an; the only difference being that, according to the Vedas the wrath of God in its severity can turn men on account of their sins, into insects, etc. but the Holy Qur’an does not carry God’s wrath to such extremes. The Holy Qur’an says that despite punishment God maintains the humanity of a person and does not condemn him to some other existence, which shows that according to the Holy Qur’an God’s love and mercy are greater than His wrath, and according to the Vedas the punishment of sinners is unlimited and Permeshwar is all anger and has no trace of mercy. It appears clearly from the Holy Qur’an that a time will come when God will have mercy upon all the dwellers of hell.

—Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, pp. 46-50

The Gospel directs us to pray: ‘Our Father that art in heaven hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and put us not in temptation, but save us from evil for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever.’[5]

But the Qur’an says that the earth is not empty of God’s holiness which is proclaimed not only in heaven, but also on earth. As it is said:

وَاِنۡ مِّنۡ شَيْءٍ اِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمۡدِهِ [6]

يُسَبِّحُ لِلّٰهِ مَا فِي السَّمٰوٰتِ وَمَا فِي الۡاَرۡضِ [7]

These verses mean that: 

Every particle of earth and heaven glorifies and proclaims the holiness of Allah and; everything in them is engaged in His glorification and praise.

The mountains remember Him, the rivers remember Him, the trees remember Him and many righteous ones are occupied with His remembrance. Whoever fails to remember Him in his heart and by his tongue and does not humble himself before God is compelled to humble himself by being put through diverse types of torment by divine decree. Whatever is recorded of the angels in the book of God that they are completely obedient to Him, the same is said of every leaf and every particle in the earth. Everything is obedient to Him, not a leaf can fall without His command, no medicine can heal without His command, nor can any food prove agreeable without it. Everything prostrates itself at the threshold of God in extreme humility and worshipfulness and is occupied with His obedience. Every particle of the earth and mountains, every drop of the rivers and oceans, every leaf of trees and plants and all particles of men and beasts recognise God, obey Him and are occupied with His glorification and praise.

That is why God Almighty has said:

يُسَبِّحُ لِلّٰهِ مَا فِي السَّمٰوٰتِ وَمَا فِي الۡاَرۡضِ [8]

That is to say: Everything in the earth glorifies Allah and proclaims His holiness as does everything in heaven.

Then how can it be said that God is not glorified in the earth? Such a sentiment cannot be expressed by a person of perfect understanding. Of the things of the earth some obey the commandment of the law and some are obedient to divine decrees and some are occupied with obedience of both. The clouds, air, fire and earth are all devoted to the obedience and glorification of God.

If any human being disobeys the commandments of divine law, he follows the commandments of divine decrees. No one is outside the ambit of these two commandments. Everyone bows down to the heavenly kingdom in some form or the other. It is true that having regard to the purity and corruption of human hearts, heedlessness and remembrance of Allah prevail in the earth by turns, but this ebb and flow does not occur by elf, but only in obedience to the divine will. That happens which God wills. The alternation of guidance and error proceeds like the alternation of day and night according to the light and command of God and not by itself. Despite this, everything hears His voice and glorifies Him. But the Gospel says that the earth is empty of the glorification of God and the reason is indicated in the sentence that follows, namely, that the kingdom of God has not yet arrived on the earth. That is why God’s will has not been put into effect on the earth as it operates in heaven. The teaching of the Qur’an is altogether contrary to this. The Qur’an states clearly that no thief, murderer, adulterer, disbeliever, disobedient one, rebellious one or offender can commit any evil upon the earth unless he is authorised from heaven. Then how can it be said that the kingdom of heaven does not operate upon earth? Does some adverse possession stand in the way of the enforcement of God’s command on the earth? Indeed not.

God Himself made one law for the angels in heaven and another one for man on the earth. In His kingdom of heaven, God has given no choice to the angels. Obedience is inherent in their nature. They are not able to disobey. They are not subject to error or forgetfulness. But human nature has been given the choice of obedience and disobedience. As this choice has been given from above, therefore, it cannot be said that because of a disobedient person, God’s kingdom has been excluded from the earth. God’s kingdom is in operation all the time and in every way. Yet it is true that there are two systems of law. One for the angels in heaven, which is the law of divine decree which the angels cannot disobey, and there is another law which is in operation on earth that man has been given the choice of good and evil. But when a person supplicates God for power to overcome evil, then with the support of the Holy Spirit he can overcome his weakness and can safeguard himself against sin, as is the case with the prophets and messengers of God.

In the case of those who have been guilty of sin, asking for forgiveness can deliver them from the consequences of sin and they are spared chastisement in respect of it, for when light comes darkness is dispelled. Those offenders who do not beg for forgiveness suffer punishment for their offences. In these days, the plague has also descended upon the earth as punishment and the rebellious ones are being destroyed. Then how can it be said that the kingdom of God does not operate upon the earth?

Do not be misled by the thought that if there is a kingdom of God upon earth then why is any sin committed? Sins are also subject to the divine law of decrees. Although the offenders put themselves outside the law of Shari’ah they cannot put themselves outside the law of decrees. Then how can it be said that sinners do not bend to the yoke of the divine kingdom?…

If divine law were to take on extreme harshness and every adulterer were to be struck down by lightning, and every thief were to be afflicted by some disease whereby his hands would become rotten and fall away, and every rebellious one who denies God and His religion were to die of the plague, then before the expiry of a week the whole world would put on the garments of righteousness and good behaviour. Thus, there is God’s kingdom on earth, but heavenly law has bestowed this much freedom that offenders are not immediately seized with punishment. Yet, punishment is also continuously in force. Earthquakes happen, lightning strikes, volcanoes erupt and destroy thousands of lives, vessels sink, many lives are lost in railway accidents, storms are encountered, houses fall, snakes bite, wild beasts rend, epidemics spread and not one, but many doors of destruction are open which divine law has appointed for the punishment of offenders. Then how can it be said that God’s kingdom does not operate upon earth?

The truth is that the kingdom is there. Every offender has handcuffs around his wrists and chains around his feet, but divine wisdom has softened its law to a degree that the handcuffs and the chains do not manifest themselves immediately. But if an offender persists in his wrongdoing they carry him to hell and push him into a torment in which he neither lives nor dies.

In short, there are two systems of law, one is that which relates to the angels, which is that they have been created for obedience and their obedience is a characteristic of their bright nature. They cannot commit sin, but also they cannot make progress in goodness. The second system of law relates to mankind, which is that by their nature they can be guilty of sin, but they can also make progress in goodness. Both these natural laws are unchangeable and as an angel cannot become man, so man cannot become an angel. These systems of law are eternal and are not liable to change. The law that operates in heaven cannot operate on earth, nor can the law that operates on earth operate in respect of angels. If human defaults end in repentance, man can be much better than angels for angels cannot make progress in goodness. Human sins are forgiven through repentance. divine wisdom leaves some individuals free to commit sins so that thereby they should become aware of their weakness and may be forgiven through repentance. This is the law that is appointed for man and it is suited to man’s nature.

Error and forgetfulness are characteristics of human nature and they are not characteristics of angels. Therefore, the law that regulates angels cannot be put in force in respect of men. It is an error to attribute any weakness to God Almighty. It is the consequences of the operation of laws that are manifested upon the earth. Is God so weak that His kingdom and power and glory are limited to heaven or is it that there is some other god who is in adverse possession of the earth? The Christians should not emphasise that God’s kingdom operates only in heaven and is not yet in operation on the earth, for they hold that heaven is nothing. If heaven, where God’s kingdom should operate, is nothing and God’s kingdom has not yet arrived upon earth, this would mean that God’s kingdom does not rule anywhere. Whereas we observe with our own eyes that God’s kingdom is in operation on the earth. According to His law, our lives come to an end and our conditions change continuously. We experience hundreds of types of comfort and pain. Thousands of people die by God’s command and thousands are born, prayers are accepted, signs are displayed and the earth produces thousands of types of vegetables, fruits and flowers by His command. Then is all this happening without the kingdom of God? Heavenly bodies seem to continue in one condition and no outward change is felt with regard to them, which should indicate the existence of a Being Who brings about change. But the earth is continuously undergoing change. Everyday millions of people pass out of the earth and millions are born and in every way the control of a powerful Creator is felt. Is there still no kingdom of God on earth?

The Gospel puts forward no reason why the kingdom of God has not arrived on earth. It is true that Jesus (as) prayed for deliverance all through the night in the garden and as it is recorded in Hebrews 5:7 that prayer was accepted, yet God did not have the power to deliver him. This, according to the Christians, can be a reason for affirming that at that time there was no kingdom of God upon earth. But I have experienced greater trials and have been delivered from them. How can I deny the kingdom of God? Was that case in which I was, at the instance of Martyn Clarke, charged with conspiracy to murder in the court of Capt. Douglas, less grave than the case which was brought by the Jews against Jesus (as) in the court of Pilate, on account of religious differences and not because of any charge of murder? But as God is the King of the earth as He is the King of heaven, He informed me in advance of that case that such a trial was coming and then He told me that I would be discharged. This was announced to hundreds of people in advance and in the end I was discharged. It was the kingdom of God which delivered me from this case which had been brought against me at the joint instance of Muslims, Hindus and Christians. Thus not once, but scores of times, I witnessed the kingdom of God upon earth and I had to believe in the verse:

لَهُ مُلۡكُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ [9]

To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth;

and I had to believe in the verse:

اِنَّمَا اَمۡرُهُ اِذَا اَرَادَ شَيْئًا اَنۡ يَّقُوۡلَ لَهُ كُنۡ فَيَكُوۡنُ [10]

This means that: Heaven and earth obey Him and when He wills a thing and He says to it: Be; it happens at once.

Then He says:

وَاللّٰهُ غَالِبٌ عَلٰۤى اَمۡرِهِ وَلٰكِنَّ اَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُوۡنَ [11]

That is to say: God’s command over His will is supreme, but most people are unaware of His wrath and Omnipotence.

—Kashti Nuh, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, pp. 32-42


[1] ‘Surely, he prospers who augments it.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 91:10.

[2] ‘“Submit to Adam”, and they all submitted. But Iblis did not.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 2:35.

[3] The Holy Qur’an, 53:9-10.

[4] The Holy Qur’an, 42:12.

[5] The Bible, Matthew 6:9-13

[6] The Holy Qur’an, 17:45.

[7] The Holy Qur’an, 62:2.

[8] Ibid.

[9] The Holy Qur’an, 57:3.

[10] The Holy Qur’an, 36:83.

[11] The Holy Qur’an, 12:22.