Allah the Exalted Allah the Exalted Allah, the Exalted, the Glorious, Hallowed be His Name. This wealth is worth procuring though one might have to lay down one’s life to procure it. The God Who has manifested Himself to all the Prophets, and appeared to Moses(as) on Mount Sinai and appeared to Jesus on Mount Seir and shone forth to Hadhrat Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him, on Mount Paran, the same Mighty and Holy God has manifested Himself to me. He has talked to me and has said: I am the High Being to establish Whose worship all the Prophets were sent. I alone am the Creator and the Master and 4 The Review of Religions – July 2004 This is the fourth of a series to be printed over the next few months in The Review of Religions. It sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as) Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE E X A LTED; THE HOLY PROPHET( s a ); and THE HOLY QUR’AN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad, Allah have mercy on him and reward him graciously for his great labour of love. Amin. The English rendering is by the late Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Allah be pleased with him, and quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 1. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an. The Essence of Islam – Vol.1, part IV The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. have no associate. I am not subject to birth or death (Zameemah Risalah Jihad, p.8). The pure life that is free from sin is a brilliant ruby which no one possesses today. God Almighty has bestowed that brilliant ruby on me and He has commissioned me that I should inform the world of the way in which that brilliant ruby might be acquired. I affirm with confidence that by treading on this path everyone would certainly acquire it. The only way in which it might be acquired is the true recognition of God; but this is a difficult and delicate matter. A philosopher, as I have said already, contem- plating the heavens and earth and reflecting on the perfect orderliness of the universe, merely states that there ought to be a Creator. But I lead to a higher stage and affirm on the basis of my personal experience that God is. (Malfoozat, Vol. III, p.16). Our God is our paradise. Our highest delight is in our God for we have seen Him and have found every beauty in Him. This wealth is worth procuring though one might have to lay down one’s life to procure it. This ruby is worth purchasing though one may have to lose oneself to acquire it. O ye, who are bereft, run to this fountain and it will satisfy you. It is the fountain of life that will save you. What shall I do, and how shall I impress the hearts with this good news, and by beating what drum shall I make the announcement that this is our God, so that people might hear? What remedy shall I apply to the ears of the people so that they should listen? (Kashti Nooh, p. 30) God is the light of the heavens and the earth. Every light that is visible on the heights or in the valleys, whether in souls or in bodies, whether personal or impersonal, whether apparent or hidden, whether in the mind or outside it, is a bounty of His grace. This is an indication that the general grace of the Lord of the worlds envelopes everything and nothing is deprived of that grace. He is the source of all 5 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 grace and is the ultimate cause of all lights and is the fountain-head of all mercies. His Being is the support of the universe and is the refuge of all high and low. He it is Who brought everything out of the darkness of nothingness and bestowed upon everything the mantle of being. No other being than Him is in himself present and eternal or is not the recipient of His grace. Earth and heaven, man and animals, stones and trees, souls and bodies, have all come into existence by His grace. (Baraheen Ahmadiyyah, p. 181, footnote). The God of Islam is the same God Who is visible in the mirror of the law of nature and is discernible in the book of nature. Islam has not presented a new God but has presented the same God Who is presented by the light of man’s heart, by the conscience of man, and by heaven and earth. (Tableegh-e-Risalat, Vol. VI, p.15). Our soul and every particle of our being are prostrate before the Mighty, True and Perfect God from Whose hand every soul and every particle of creation together with all its faculties came into being, and through Whose support every being is sustained. Nothing is outside His knowledge, or outside His control, or outside His creation. We call thousands of blessings and peace and mercy on the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the chosen one, through whom we have found the living God who gives us proof of His existence through His Word. He demonstrates to us through extraordinary signs His shining countenance which possesses eternal and perfect power. We found the Messenger who manifested God to us and we found the God Who created everything through His perfect p o w e r. How majestic is His power that nothing came into being without it and nothing can continue to exist without its support. That true God of ours possesses numberless blessings, numberless powers, numberless beauties and beneficences. There 6 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 is no other God beside Him. (Naseem-e-Dawat, (Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press, 1903); now printed in Ruhani Khazain, Vol.19, p.3) The Being of God is hidden upon hidden and beyond of beyond and is most secret and cannot be discovered by the power of human reasoning alone, and no a rgument can prove it conclusively; inasmuch as reason can travel only so far that contemplating the universe it feels the need of a Creator. But the feeling of a need is one thing and it is quite another to arrive at the certainty that the God Whose need has been felt does in fact exist. As the operation of reason is defective, incomplete and doubtful, a philosopher cannot recognise God purely through reason. Most people who try to determine the existence of God Almighty purely through the exercise of reason, in the end become atheists. Reflecting over the creation of the heavens and the earth does not avail them much and they begin to deride and laugh at the men of God. One of their arguments is that there are thousands of things in the world which have no use and the fashioning of which does not indicate the existence of a fashioner. They exist merely as vain and useless things. These people do not seem to realise that lack of knowledge of something does not necessarily negate its existence. There are millions of people in the world who regard themselves as very wise philosophers and who utterly deny the existence of God. It is obvious that if they had discovered a strong reason for the existence of God, they would not have denied it. If they had discovered a conclusive arg u – ment in support of the existence God, they would not have rejected it shamelessly and in derision. It is obvious, therefore, that no one boarding the ark of the philosophers can find deliverance from the storm of doubts, but is bound to be drowned, and such a one would ever have access to the drinking of pure Unity. It is a false and stinking notion that belief in the Unity of God can be achieved 7 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 otherwise than through the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, nor can man achieve salvation without it. How can there be a faith in the Unity of God unless there is perfect certainty with regard to His existence? Be sure, therefore, that belief in the Unity of God can be achieved only through a Prophet, as our Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, convinced the atheists and pagans of Arabia of the existence of God Almighty by showing them thousands of heavenly signs. Up till today the true and perfect followers of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, present those signs to the atheists. The truth is that till a person observes the living powers of the living God, Satan does not depart from his heart, nor does true Unity enter into it, nor can he believe with certainty in the existence of God. This holy and perfect Unity is appreciated only through the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. (Haqiqatul Wahi, (Qadian, Magazine Press 1907); now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 22, pp. 117- 1180. It is not within the power of man to comprehend all the activities of the Divine. They are above reason and intellect and imagination. A man should not be proud of his pittance of knowledge that he has to some degree comprehended the system of cause and effect, inasmuch as that knowledge of his is very limited, as if it were a millionth part of one drop out of the ocean. The truth is that as God Almighty Himself is unbounded His activities are unbounded also. It is beyond and above human power to reach the reality of every activity of God. Contemplating His eternal attributes we can, however, affirm that as Divine attributes have never fallen into disuse, therefore, in God’s creation some species have always come into existence; but any personal co- existence is false. It is to be remembered that, like His attribute of creation, His attribute 8 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 of destruction has always been in operation all the time and that also has never fallen into disuse. The philosophers have put forth every effort to bring the creation of heavenly and earthly bodies within the purview of their physical laws and to establish the source of all creation, but they have utterly failed to do so. Whatever they have gathered together as the result of their physical research is quite incomplete and defective. That is why they have not been able to adhere to their theories through- out and have always changed them about. As their research is confined entirely to their reason and speculation and they receive no help from God, they cannot emerge out of their darkness. No one can truly recognise God till he understands that there are numberless activities of the Divine which are far beyond and above human power and reason and speculation. Before reaching this stage of understanding a person is either an atheist and has no faith in God, or if he does believe in God, that God is the result of his own reasoning and is not the God Who manifests His own Being and the mysteries of Whose powers are so numerous that human reason cannot encompass them. Since God has bestowed upon me the know- ledge that His powers are wonderful, that they have depth upon depth and are beyond of beyond, and are outside com- prehension, I have always held the philosophers as disbelievers and secret atheists. It is my personal observation, and I have had experience of such won- derful Divine powers, that we can only describe them as something coming into existence out of non-existence. I have described some instances of these signs at some other places. He who has not observed this wonder of Divine power has observed nothing. We do not believe in a God whose powers are limited by our reason and speculation and there is nothing beyond. We believe in the God Whose powers, like His Being, are unlimited, unconfined and unending. (Chashma Marifat, (Qadian, Anwar Ahmadiyyah Pre s s , 9 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 1908); now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 23, pp. 268- 269). The Holy Qur’an comprises teachings which work towards endearing God. They exhibit His beauties and remind us of His beneficence, inasmuch as love is created either by the observation of beauty or by the remembrance of beneficence. The Qur’ a n 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 fountain- head 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 Existing and everything exists through Him. He is All Sustaining 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 is the nature of that comprehension. 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. His mercy is of two kinds. One, which has been eternally manifested without being the result of any action on the part of anyone. For instance, heaven and earth, the sun and moon and planets, water and fire and air and all the particles of the universe which were created for our comfort, and all those things that were needed by us, were provided before our coming into being. All this was done when we were not even present. No action had proceeded from us. 10 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 Who can say that the sun was created on account of some action of his, or that the earth was created in consequence of some good action of his? This is the mercy which came into operation before the creation of man and is not the result of anyone’s actions. The second kind of Divine mercy comes into operation in con- sequence of human action. This needs no illustration. The Holy Qur’an sets forth that God is free from all defects and is not subject to any loss; and He desires that man should purify himself from defects by acting upon His instructions. He has said: He who is blind in this world will be blind in the h e re a f t e r ( C h . 1 7 : V.73). This means that he who has no insight in this world and is not able to see the peerless Being, will be blind after death and will be enveloped in darkness, inasmuch as man is bestowed insight in this life with which to see God and he who will not take that insight with him from this world will not be able to see God in the h e r e a f t e r. God Almighty has made it clear in this verse what progress He desires man to achieve and how far can man proceed by following His teaching. God sets forth in the Holy Qur’an the teaching by following which a person can see God in this very life. We are taught: Let him who hopes to meet his Lord work righteously and let him associate no one in the worship of his Lord (Ch.18:V.111). This means that he who desires to see God, Who is the true Creator, in this very life, should act righteously, that is to say, his conduct should exhibit no default and his actions should not be for show, nor should he take pride in them that he is such and such, nor should his actions be defective and incomplete, nor should they smell of anything which is inconsistent with his personal love of God. All his actions should breathe sincerity and faithfulness. He should abstain from associating anything with God and should worship neither sun nor moon, nor stars, nor air, nor fire, nor water, nor any other thing whatsoever. He should not 11 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 exalt worldly means so as to depend upon them as if they were God’s associates, nor should he depend upon his own enterprise and effort, for this is also a species of association. Having done everything he should consider that he has done nothing. He should have no pride in his knowledge, nor have dependence upon his actions. He should consider himself truly ignorant and slothful and his soul should be prostrate all the time at the threshold of God Almighty. He should draw the grace of God to himself through his suppli- cations. He should become like a person who is thirsty and is helpless and finds a fountain spring forth in front of him, the water of which is clear and sweet, and he crawls up to the fountain and applies his lips to it and does not let go till he is fully satisfied. In the Holy Qur’an, God describes His attributes thus: P roclaim: He is Allah, the Single; Allah, the Self Existing and Besought of all. He begets not, nor is He begotten; and t h e re is none like unto Him. (Ch.112:Vs.2-5). This means that our God is One in His Being and in His Attributes. No other being is eternal and everlasting and self-existing like His Being, nor are the attributes of any being like His attributes. A person’s knowledge needs a teacher and yet is limited. God’s knowledge needs no teacher and is unlimited. A person’s hearing is dependent upon air and is limited, but God’s hearing is inherent and is unlimited. A p e r s o n ’s seeing is dependent upon the light of the sun or some other light and is limited, but God’s seeing is by His inherent light and is unlimited. The power of man to create is dependent upon some matter and needs time and is limited. God’s power to create is neither dependent on any matter nor does it need time and is unlimited. All His attributes are without equal and as He has no equal in His Being, no one is His equal in His attributes. If one of His attributes were to be defective, all His attributes would be defective and therefore his Unity cannot be 12 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 established unless He were without any equal in His attributes as He is without any equal in His Being. He is not anyone’s son, nor is anyone His son. He is Self-Sufficient and needs neither father nor son. This is the Unity which the Holy Qur’an teaches and which is the basis of our faith. (Lecture Lahore, (Lahore, Rifahi Aam Steam Press, 1904); now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 20, pp. 9- 13). God has commanded me to inform the members of my community that those who have believed with a faith which contains nothing of the world in it, and which is not coloured by hypocrisy or cowardice, and does not fall short of any degree of obedience, are the people who are approved by God, and God says that they are the ones whose feet are planted firmly on sincerity. Let him who has ears hear what is it that God desires of you. It is that you should become wholly His and should not associate anyone with Him in heaven or in earth. Our God is One Who is living today as He was living before, and Who speaks today as He spoke before, and hears today as He heard before. It is a false notion that in this age He hears but does not speak. Indeed, He both hears and speaks. All His attributes are eternal and ever- lasting. None of His attributes has fallen into disuse or will fall into disuse. He is the One without associate Who has no son and no consort. He is the Peerless One Who has no equal and like Whom no individual is absolutely qualified with any quality, and Whose attributes are not shared by anyone. None of His powers lacks anything. He is near and yet far and He is far and yet near. He can manifest Himself in any shape to those who have experience of visions but He has no body and no shape. He is above all but it cannot be said that there is anyone below Him. He is on His throne, but it cannot be said that He is not on the earth. He combines in Himself all perfect qualities and 13 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 is a manifestation of all true praise worthiness. He is the fountain-head of all excellences and combines in Himself all powers. All grace originates with Him and everything returns to Him. He is the Master of all kingdoms and possesses every perfect quality. He is free from every defect and weakness. It belongs to Him alone that all those on earth and in heaven should worship Him. Nothing is beyond His power. All souls and their capacities and all particles and their capacities are His creation. Nothing manifests itself without Him. He manifests Himself through His powers and His signs and we can find Him only through Him. He manifests Himself always to the righteous and shows them His powers. That is how He is recognised and that is how the path is recognised which has His approval. He sees without physical eyes and hears without physical ears and speaks without a physical tongue. It is His function to bring into being from nothingness. As you see in a dream, He creates a whole world without the agency of any matter and shows as present that which is mortal and nonexistent. Such are all His powers. Foolish is the one who denies His powers and blind is the one who is unaware of their depth. He does everything and can do everything except that which is inconsistent with His dignity or is opposed to His promise. He is one in His Being and His attributes and His actions and His powers. All doors that lead to Him are closed except the one door which has been opened by the Holy Qur’an. (A l – Wasiyyat, (Qadian, Magazine P ress 1905); now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 20, pp. 9-10). All praise belongs to Allah. All praise belongs to the true God Who combines in Himself all perfect attributes and Whose name is Allah. In the idiom of the Holy Qur’an, Allah is the name of that perfect Being Who is truly worshipful and combines in Himself all perfect attributes, and is free from all defects and is One without associate and is the 14 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 fountain head of all beneficence. In His Holy Book, God Almighty has described His name ‘Allah’ as combining in itself the attributes of all other names and qualities. No other name has been given this rank. Thus, Allah com-prehends all other perfect attributes. Alhamdu lillah, therefore, means that all types of praise, overt and covert, relating to personal perfection or relating to natural wonders are the characteristic of Allah, and no one is His associate in them. It also means that all true praise and perfect qualities which the wisdom of a wise one can think of, or the reflection of any thinker can conceive of are comprehended in God Almighty. There is no excellence, the possibility of which is vouched for by reason, of which God Almighty is bereft like an unfortunate human being. The wisdom of no wise one can point to an excellence which is not to be found in God Almighty. The maximum of all excellences that a person can conceive of is found in Him. He is perfect from every point of view in His Being and His attributes and His good qualities, and He is absolutely free from all defects. This is a truth which distinguishes a true religion from a false one. A study of all religions would reveal that there is no religion, other than Islam, which teaches that God Almighty is absolutely free from all defects and possesses to the full all praiseworthy qualities. The average Hindu considers his deities as partners in Providence and as sharers in God’s actions. He even regards them as capable of altering God’s designs and of upsetting His decrees. The Hindus also believe that their Parmeshwar, at one time or the other, by way of transmigration, was born in the shape of a human being or some animal even as filthy as swine, and that he became involved in all their ills and vices. In that condition he was subject, like others of the species, to hunger and thirst, pain and hurt, fear and sorrow, disease and death, humiliation and disgrace, and helplessness and weakness. Thus, it is obvious that such beliefs negate the high qualities of God Almighty and 15 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 reduce His eternal and ever- lasting glory and majesty. Their brothers, the Arya Samajists, who claim that they follow the Vedas strictly, deprive God Almighty of the power of creation. They hold that souls are uncreated and self-existing like God Himself, whereas reason would consider it a defect in God Almighty that He should be the Master of the world and yet should not be the Lord and Creator of something, and that the life of the world should not depend upon His support but should be self-existing. Of the two positions, one that He has brought into existence the whole universe out of His Own perfect power and is its Lord and Creator and that the whole of the universe is dependent upon His Providence and that the attribute of creation and its power is inherent in His being and that He is not subject to birth or death; and secondly, that the whole of creation, which is under His control, is not created by Him and is not dependent upon Him for its existence, and that He is not its Creator and Lord and does not possess the attribute of power of creation and is not free from the defects of birth and death, reason would surely support the first. It would not hold that He Who is Master of the world is not its Creator and that the thousands of wonderful qualities which are found in souls and bodies are self-existent, and there is no one who created them and that God who is called the Master of all is Master only in name. Nor would it hold that God is without power of creation or is helpless and defective and is given to the consumption of impure articles, or is subject to death, or pain, or suffering, or inaction, or igno- rance. On the contrary, reason bears witness that God Almighty should be free from all these low attributes and defects, and should possess full perfection. Full perfection demands the posses- sion of full power. If God Almighty does not possess full power and is not the Creator of anything and is not able to safeguard Himself against loss or defect, He would not have full perfection and by lacking full 16 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 perfection He would not be worthy of perfect praise. This is the case of the Hindus and Aryas. What the Christians attribute to God Almighty by way of His Glory is a matter which can be determined by a single question. God Almighty, Who is Perfect and Eternal and S e l f – S u fficient and non-depen- dent, had carried on all His great works through eternity by His Ownself. He alone created the universe without the aid of a father or son and bestowed upon souls and bodies all the powers that they needed and is Himself the Guardian and Support and Controller of the universe, and He brought into being through His attribute of Rahmaniyyat all that the souls and the bodies were to need without waiting for any action on their part, and created the sun and moon and numberless stars and the earth and thousands of bounties contained therein out of His pure grace, without the assistance of any son. Then the same Perfect God in the latter days, discarding all His glory and power, became dependent upon a son to make provision for the salvation and forgiveness of mankind, and that son so inferior as to possess no kind of similarity to the Father. He did not create like the Father any portion of heaven or earth which should bear testimony to his godhead. The Gospel of St. Mark in verse 12 of chapter 8 describes his helplessness in the words that he sighed and said: Why do the people of this generation seek after a sign? I tell you truly that no sign will be given to this generation. When he was put upon the cross the Jews said that if he would come back to life they would believe in him. But he did not show them this sign, nor did he prove his godhead and perfect power in any other way. Such miracles as he worked had been worked in l a rge numbers by previous Prophets and even the water of a pond possessed properties that manifested similar miracles. (See chapter 5 of the Gospel of St. John.) As he himself confessed, he was not able to show any sign in support of his godhead. Being born of a frail woman, he 17 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 according to the Christians, underwent such disgrace, humiliation and helplessness throughout his life as is the portion of the unfortunate and the deprived ones. He was a prisoner for a period in the darkness of the womb and was born through the urinary passage and passed through every condition to which the birth of human beings is subject, and did not escape a single one of them. Then he confessed in his own book, his ignorance and lack of knowledge and powerlessness and that he was not good. That humble servant, who was without any reason described as the son of God, was inferior to some of the major Prophets in his intellectual attainments and in his actions, and his teaching was also imperfect, being only a branch of the law of Moses (as). Then how is it permissible to attribute to the All Powerful God, Who is Eternal and Everlasting, this calumny that having been Perfect in his Being and Self-Sufficient and All Powerful, He in the end became dependent upon such a defective son and suddenly lost all His glory and His greatness? I do not believe that any wise person would permit such humiliation to be imagined concerning the Perfect Being Who comprehends all perfect qualities. (Baraheen Ahmadiyyah, pp.413- 419, footnote 11) It needs no argument that the true and perfect God to believe in Whom is the duty of every creature, is the Lord of the worlds. His Providence is not confined to a particular people or age or country. He is the Sustainer of all peoples, of all ages, of all places and of all countries. He is the fountain- head of all grace and every physical and spiritual power is bestowed by Him and the whole universe is sustained by Him and He is the support of all. G o d ’s grace comprehends all peoples, all countries and all ages, lest any people should complain that God bestowed His bounties upon others, but not upon them, or that others received a Book from Him for 18 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 their guidance, but they did not, or that in other ages He manifested himself through His revelation, inspiration and miracles, but that He remained hidden in their age. By bestow- ing His grace upon all He obviated all these objections and out of his vast qualities He did not deprive any people or any age of His physical or spiritual bounties. (Paigham Sulh, now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 23, pp.10-11). In order to bestow perfect understanding upon His humble creatures, God Almighty has set out His attributes in the Holy Qur’an in two aspects. First, He has described His attributes metaphorically as resembling some human qualities, as for instance, He is Noble, Merciful, Beneficent and becomes angry and has love and He has hands and has eyes and possesses shanks and has ears and that through eternity He has created, though nothing has personal co- existence, but only co-existence as species and even that is not essential or the operation of His attribute of creation, for though creation is one of His attributes, the manifestation of His Unity and Singleness is also part of His attributes. None of His attributes falls into permanent disuse, but a temporary cessation of its operation is permissible. Thus God manifested His attributes of resemblance to man. For instance, God is Creator, but to some degree man also creates or fashions; and man can be called noble for, up to a point, he possesses the quality of nobility; and man can be called merciful for, up to a point, he possesses the quality of mercy and the quality of anger; and he has eyes and ears etc. This could create a suspicion in one’s mind that man resembles God in respect of these attributes, and God resembles man. To repel this God has mentioned in the Holy Qur’an as a contrast His attributes of transcendence also, i.e. such attributes of which man does not partake at all in his being or in his qualities. God’s creation is not like man’s creation, nor is God’s mercy like man’s mercy, 19 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 nor is His wrath like man’s anger, nor is His love like man’s love, nor is He in need of space like man. The Holy Qur’an sets out clearly that in His attributes God is quite distinct from man. For instance, it is said: There is no one like unto Him. He is All-Hearing, All- Seeing. At another place it is said: Allah is He, save Whom, none is worthy of worship, the E v e r- Living, the Self- Subsisting and All- Sustaining. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep. To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows all that is before them and all that is behind them, and they cannot compass aught of His knowledge, except that which He pleases. His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth and the care of them wearies Him not. He is the Most High, the Most Great. (Ch.2:V.256) This means that true Being and true Existence and all true qualities belong only to God and that no one is an associate with Him in respect of them. He alone is alive in his Being and all others are alive through Him. He exists in His own Being and everything else exists through His support. 20 The Essence of Islam – Allah the Exalted The Review of Religions – July 2004 In this journal, for the ease of non- Muslim readers, ‘(sa)’ or ‘sa’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Salallahu ‘alaihi wa s a l l a m ’ meaning ‘Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ for the respect a Muslim reader utters. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘Radhiallahu ta’ala and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Also ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta’ala means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him.
Bringing together all the arguments from various religions, traditions and institutions as to why lending on interest should be considered wrong with special emphasis on the Islamic model of banking as a viable alternative to the interest-based global economy.