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Objectives of studying Asma-ul-Husna
"To draw closer to Allah ta’ala through knowing His beautiful names."
When you love someone, you want to know them and Allah ta’ala has given us these 99 names and He wants us to know Him through them to whatever extent we can with our limited understanding.
"To try to adorn ourselves with the traits of Allah ta’ala even though the attributes and traits of Allah ta’ala are very high and obviously our level is going to be extremely low."
For a lot of the Asmaa -ul-Husnaa, one is to understand them at an academic level and then to understand them at a spiritual level to connect to Allah ta’ala. A third way is to understand them on an emotional level which is, “How can I use the names of Allah ta’ala to get myself therapy i.e. to control/manage and eliminate my negative emotions and deal with the different situations of my life."
At the end of every name, counsel/advise is given. We should make it our objective to adorn ourselves with the Akhlaaq/traits of Allah ta’ala. This means that the traits of Allah ta’ala are perfect and belong only to Him but we can try to learn and benefit from them and emulate the ones we can share in, on a personal level.
Study of the Asmaa -ul-Husnaa are not just for intellectual understanding but to enact on the knowledge we gain and harmonize our internal and external dimensions.
Verses in the Qur’an regarding Calling Allah ta’ala by His Beautiful Names
وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا
Allah has the most excellent names (over ninety-nine attributes); call on Him by them. [Suratul A’araaf:180]
The Hadith Regarding Memorising the Names of Allah ta’ala
The Hadith regarding the 99 names of Allah ta’ala has different variations.
لِلَّهِ تِسْعَةٌ وَتِسْعُونَ اسْمًا مَنْ حَفِظَهَا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ
Abu Huraira RA reported: The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,
“Allah has ninety-nine names and whoever preserves them will enter Paradise.” [Muslim]
Another variation has the word أَحْصَاهَا which means to count or include.
إِنَّ لِلَّهِ تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ اسْمًا مِائَةً إِلاّ وَاحِدًا مَنْ أَحْصَاهَا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ
What does it mean to حَفِظَهَا“Memorise” or أَحْصَاهَا“Innumerate”?
Scholars have written that “Memorizing” or “Innumerating” the names of Allah ta’ala means:
As mentioned in the verses of the Qur’an: "And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them” [al-A‘raaf 7:180].
So one may say for example, “O Most Gracious, have mercy on me; O Oft-Forgiving, forgive me; O Accepter of repentance, accept my repentance” and so on.
It is not just to know the meaning but to know it at a deeper level. Example: We know Ar-Razzaaq means “The Provider” but to know that He gives Rizq to everyone with some more than others.
If a person knows that He is One, he will not associate anything else with Him; if he knows that He is the Provider, he will not seek provision from anyone else; if he knows that He is the Most Merciful, he will do acts of obedience that are a means of attaining this mercy… And so on
He is Al-Khaaliq (The Creator). What does it mean to be Al-Khaaliq? There are other names with similar meanings i.e.
Al-Musawwir (The Fasioner/Bestower of forms) What is the difference? Some names have a similar meaning however they have subtle differences between them and one should know these subtle differences.
There are certain names which human beings can act upon i.e. Al-Kareem (The Generous), Ar-Raheem (The Merciful)
Some you cannot act upon i.e. showing anger, taking revenge, being proud, etc. which is not permitted for human beings. Example: “Al-Mutakabbir” (The Majestic) Human beings cannot be proud or claim greatness. This is the sole right of Allah ta’ala. Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah the Almighty said: Pride is my cloak and greatness is my garment, so whoever competes with me regarding these two will be thrown into the Hellfire.” [Abu Dawood]
Imam An-Nawawi (رحمه الله) said,
“To preserve them is said to mean to enumerate and count them in one’s supplication by them. It is said it means to persevere in them, to respect them in the best manner, to guard what they require, and to affirm their meanings. And it is said the meaning is to act by them and to obey Allah according to the implications of every name.” Source: Sharḥ Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2677
Are the Names of Allah ta’ala limited to 99?
Scholars say you cannot limit that Being Who is unlimited. Therefore Allah ta’ala’s attributes are unlimited though the Hadith mentions 99.
Imam Al-Nawawi (رحمه الله) stated in Sharh Saheeh Muslim,
“The scholars are unanimously agreed that this hadeeth does not mean that Allah has only ninety-nine names, or that He does not have any other names apart from these ninety-nine. Rather what the hadeeth means is that whoever learns these ninety-nine will enter Paradise. The point is that one may enter Paradise by learning them, not that the number is limited to these names.”
The Names mentioned in Hadith
إِنَّ لِلَّهِ تَعَالَى تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ اسْمًا، مِئَةً غَيْرَ وَاحِدَةٍ، مَنْ أَحْصَاهَا دَخَلَ الجَنَّةَ، هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لا إِلَهَ إِلا هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ، الرَّحِيمُ، الْمَلِكُ، الْقُدُّوسُ، السَّلامُ، الْمُؤْمِنُ، الْمُهَيْمِنُ، الْعَزِيزُ، الْجَبَّارُ، الْمُتَكَبِّرُ، الْخَالِقُ، الْبَارِئُ، الْمُصَوِّرُ، الْغَفَّارُ، الْقَهَّارُ، الْوَهَّابُ، الرَّزَّاقُ، الْفَتَّاحُ، الْعَلِيمُ، الْقَابِضُ، الْبَاسِطُ، الْخَافِضُ، الرَّافِعُ، الْمُعِزُّ، الْمُذِلُّ، السَّمِيعُ، الْبَصِيرُ، الْحَكَمُ، الْعَدْلُ، اللَّطِيفُ، الْخَبِيرُ، الْحَلِيمُ، الْعَظِيمُ، الْغَفُورُ، الشَّكُورُ، الْعَلِيُّ، الْكَبِيرُ، الْحَفِيظُ، الْمُقِيتُ، الْحَسِيبُ، الْجَلِيلُ، الْكَرِيمُ، الرَّقِيبُ، الْمُجِيبُ، الْوَاسِعُ، الْحَكِيمُ، الْوَدُودُ، الْمَجِيدُ، الْبَاعِثُ، الشَّهِيدُ، الْحَقُّ، الْوَكِيلُ، الْقَوِيُّ، الْمَتِينُ، الْوَلِيُّ، الْحَمِيدُ، الْمُحْصِي، الْمُبْدِئُ، الْمُعِيدُ، الْمُحْيِي، الْمُمِيتُ، الْحَيُّ، الْقَيُّومُ، الْوَاجِدُ، الْمَاجِدُ، الْوَاحِدُ، الصَّمَدُ، الْقَادِرُ، الْمُقْتَدِرُ، الْمُقَدِّمُ، الْمُؤَخِّرُ، الأَوَّلُ، الآخِرُ، الظَّاهِرُ، الْبَاطِنُ، الْوَالِي، الْمُتَعَالِي، الْبَرُّ، التَّوَّابُ، الْمُنْتَقِمُ، الْعَفُوُّ، الرَّءُوفُ، مَالِكُ الْمُلْكِ، ذُو الْجَلالِ وَالإِكْرَامِ، الْمُقْسِطُ، الْجَامِعُ، الْغَنِيُّ، الْمُغْنِي، الْمَانِعُ، الضَّارُّ، النَّافِعُ، النُّورُ، الْهَادِي، الْبَدِيعُ، الْبَاقِي، الْوَارِثُ، الرَّشِيدُ، الصَّبُورُ
There are variations of the names mentioned in Hadith. Some Scholars say 1,000 names of Allah ta’ala have been given to human beings, 300 in the Tawrah, 300 in the Injeel, 300 in the Zaboor and 100 in the Qur’an.
Can we know Allah Ta'ala?
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ
اللهم إني أعوذ برضاك من سخطك، وبمعافاتك من عقوبتك، وأعوذ بك منك،
لا أحصي ثناء عليك أنت كما أثنيت على نفسك
"O Allah! I seek protection against Your Wrath in Your Pleasure. I seek protection in Your Pardon against Your chastisement, I am not capable of enumerating praise of You. You are as You have praised Yourself."
Therefore by studying the names of Allah ta'ala, we will increase our awareness of how little we know.
The word Allah is the “personal name” of our Creator.
That being who is perfect and free from all defects.
In the Qur’an
The word “Allah” appears almost two thousand nine hundred and forty (2940) times in the Qur’an.
According to the Ulama this blessed name is greater in magnificence than the other 99 names of Allah ta'ala because it encompasses all the attributes of Allah ta’ala. Imam Tahawi, Imam ibnul Qayyim and Imam Razi رحمهم الله تعالى also concur with the statement that Ism-e-Azam is the word “Allah”. Some of the evidences are given below:
1. The word Allah demonstrates all the beautiful names of Allah and His divine attributes.
2. This name “Allah” is not used for anyone other than Allah ta’ala. Because Allah ta’ala said (the interpretation of which is that): ‘Do you know anyone who is the namesake of Allah (or similar in attributes to Allah)?’ Although it is not true. The word Allah is only used for Allah ta’ala.
3. All the Asma-ul-Husna belong to the word Allah and it shows its excellence over other names. Secondly it is often said that “Rahman, Raheem, Malik, Quddoos” all are names of Allah ta’ala, however it is never said that “Allah” is the name of Rahman OR “Allah” is the name of Raheem. Hence the conclusion is that in all the beautiful names of Allah, the root name is “Allah”.
4. Translation of a verse of Allah ta’ala is that: “Say whether you call Him Allah or call Him Rahmaan”
These Ulama state that Allah ta’ala has specifically mentioned these two names and even in these two names, the name “Allah” is superior and nobler than “Ar-Rahman” based on the following two reasons:
a. In this verse, the name “Allah” is mentioned prior to the name “Ar-Rahman” which shows that it is superior.
b. The name “Ar-Rahman” manisfests the perfection of His mercy, but not the perfection of His dominance, supremacy, magnificence, sanctity and honour. However the name “Allah” also manifests all these great qualities of Allah, which shows that it is superior.
Respecting the name of Allah
(1) A saint Bishr Hafi رحمه الله تعالى was asked what is the cause of your acceptability in the court of Allah since your name is popular amongst the people just like the name of a Nabi. He replied: It is only a favour of Allah and there is no excellence on my part. I was a sinful and hedonist type of person. Once whilst traversing a path I saw a piece of paper. I picked it up and it had بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم written on it. I cleaned that paper and kept it in my pocket. I only had 2 Dirhams at that time and I was not the owner of anything apart from those two dirhams. I went to a perfume seller and I purchased “ghalia” fragrance in exchange of those two dirhams and then rubbed that fragrance on that piece of paper. When I slept that night, I saw someone saying in my dream:
“O Bishr bin Harith! You picked up my name from your path and cleaned and perfumed it. We will perfume your name both in this world and the next.”
(2) Allah ta’ala’s name should always be taken with respect and reverance. Whenever we take the name of Allah, we should always add “تبارك وتعالى” or “تعالی” or “رب العزت” or “جل جلاله و عم نواله” both in writing and speaking.
Everything should be started with the name of Allah
The gracious Prophet صلی الله عليه وسلم said in a hadith:
“Every important matter that does not begin with the Name of Allah is incomplete.”
Therefore Rasulullah صلی الله عليه وسلم has emphasized that we should start everything with بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم. So much so that when eating food, when drinking water, when mounting an animal, when writing a letter or manuscript, in short in the beginning of every noteworthy task, Rasulullah صلی الله عليه وسلم would recite بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم.
Shaykhul Islam Mufti Taqi Usmani دامت برکاتہم says that apparently it is a small action, which is sometimes ignored considering it a customary practice. However in reality it is not a ritual, rather the purpose behind this is to cultivate a basic concern. It is the acknowledgment of such a significant reality which if kept in view, will change a person’s whole perspective regarding all the problems of life and his entire mindset in dealing with different kinds of affairs.
"الله معي" is the Excellence of Imaan
“Allah is with me”. It seems like a trivial sentence however its belief and deep concentration is very beneficial in protecting a person from sins as well as from anxiety and depression. In Surah al-Hadeed Allah ta’ala Himself says:
وَهُوَ مَعَكُمۡ أَيۡنَ مَا كُنتُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ بَصِير
"and He is with you wherever you are. And Allah, of what you do, is Seeing."
Dua at the times of distress and grief
Rasulullah صلی الله عليه وسلم taught this dua to Hazrat Asma bint Umais رضي الله عنها and asked her to recite it at the times of distress and anguish:
اللَّهُ اللَّهُ رَبِّي، لَا أُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا
"Allah, Allah is my Rabb, I do not ascribe any partners to him."
Hence one should keep reciting it when overcome with distress/anxiety. In short it is never futile to call upon the name of Allah.
1. A Muslim servant should make this belief firm in his heart that my Master, my Lord, the One who solves my problems and removes my difficulties is no one other than Allah ta’ala.
2. When this belief will become firm then he will only strive and make efforts in the worship and servitude of Allah ta’ala.
3. The slave who only makes the magnificence and perfection of Allah the object of his life and gives no importance whatsoever toghairullah (someone other than Allah) then this person is blessed with these qualities:
- He becomes independent of everyone other than Allah ta’ala.
- When overcome with trouble or distress, he immediately contacts Allah ta’ala.
- He does nothing which goes against the pleasure of Allah ta'ala.
Translated from Sharh Asma-ul-Husna (Maulana Muhammad haneef Abdul Majeed)
These two names will be discussed together as they are very similar in meaning and come from the same root word,رحم which means “softness”.
الرَّحْمَنُ = “The Lovingly Beneficent“, “Most kind” and “Most Gracious”
الرَّحِيمُ = “The Most Merciful” and “The Most Compassionate.”
What is the Difference between them?
Scholars have mentioned a few differences of which the following three are well known and the most accepted among them.
1.رَحْمَن is a trait of Allah ta’ala which is in His Dhaat. It is innate in Him and therefore it is in Allah ta’ala’s essence to be Rahmaan while رَحِيم is a trait which needs to be manifested upon an object to be apparent. Therefore رَحْمَن is a trait which is innate in Allah ta’ala whether Makhlooq is there or not while رَحِيم is a trait which needs Makhlooq to be manifested upon.
2.رَحْمَن is when He is asked, He gives i.e. that being Who is giving and رَحِيم is when he is not asked He gets angry.
3.رَحْمَن is Allah ta’ala’s general and expansive mercy that encompasses and includes everybody whether deserving or not, Believer or disbeliever i.e. when rain falls, it is not discriminatory. It benefits everyone and we see this in the world. Everyone eats, drinks, lives etc. whether they do good or evil so Allah ta’ala is giving them through His being رَحْمَن .
رَحِيم is “Khaas” – Allah ta’ala’s more exclusive/selective mercy for the Believers and doers of good and some Scholars say it is exclusive for Maghfirat of the Believers in this world and to enter Jannah in the Aakhirah.
Therefore رَحْمَن is general and for this world and رَحِيم is exclusive and for the Aakhirah.
رَحْمَن is that name which is very close to Allah ta’ala’s Dhaat so humans cannot share in it i.e. a person can be Raheem (merciful) or Kareem (generous) however it cannot be said that he is Rahmaan. It is exclusive for Allah ta’ala and it is also similar to Allah ta’ala’s Dhaati name in terms of not being made dual or plural and there being no feminine form of it unlike Raheemah and Kareemah. It is also the most know attribute of Allah ta’ala and is used by Allah ta’ala to describe Himself.
Allah ta’ala has used both these names in the Tasmiyah بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Qur’an
رَحْمَن is mentioned 57 times
رَحِيم is mentioned 114 times
(Outside of the Tasmiyah)
وَإِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ
Your God is One God; there is no God save Him, the Beneficent, the Merciful. [Baqarah 163]
In this verse Allah ta’ala describes Himself.
الرَّحْمَٰنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى
The Beneficent One, Who is established on the Throne [Surha Taha 5]
Allah ta’ala often substitutes His Dhaati name with رَحْمَن which shows that رَحْمَن is very close to the name of Allah ta’ala and this is a Sifat that He, among all the Sifaat, wants to be known as.
In this verse Allah ta’ala says He is “Established on the Arsh” and according to the Qur’anic verses and Hadith, the Scholars say the Arsh surrounds (envelopes) all of creation and Allah ta’ala has situated Himself on it. Allah ta’ala cannot be given a locality but it is His Rahmah which is encompassing /enveloping the entire universe.
In another verse Allah ta’ala says;
وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ
My mercy encompasses all things [Suarh Al-A’raaf: 156]
Therefore it shows that literally Allah ta’ala has established His Rahmah on the Arsh and figuratively His Rahmah is above and beyond everything.
So this trait is probably the most dominant, strongest and closest to Allah ta’ala. It is the trait He wants to be known as and the trait He wants to be invoked by the most i.e. we begin with the name of Allah ta’ala and these two names in the Tasmiyah when we recite the Qur’an or when doing anything.
Description of His Rahmah and Who is Deserving of it
Allah ta’ala has made His mercy mandatory/incumbent upon Himself as mentioned in the Qur’an,
قُلْ لِمَنْ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ قُلْ لِلَّهِ ۚ كَتَبَ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ ۚ لَيَجْمَعَنَّكُمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
Ask them: “To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth?” If they don't respond, tell them: “To Allah!” He has decreed mercy for Himself, that is why He does not punish you for your misdeeds right away. He will certainly gather you all together on the Day of Resurrection; there is no doubt about it. Yet those who have lost their souls will not believe [Surah Al-An’aam:12]
Knowing that Allah ta’ala is merciful no matter how bad people seem, gives a sense of hope and peace. It is mentioned in the Qur’an and the Hadith that becoming hopeless of Allah ta’ala’s mercy is a type of Kufr. However in the next part of the verse Allah ta’ala says He will definitely gather people on the Day of Judgement so though He is Most Merciful, His punishment is also there. He gives people time and opportunities to make Tawbah and change but there will come a day when it will be cut off and people will be gathered, judged and punished or rewarded according to their deeds.
Therefore have hope but also know that you will be accountable for your deeds and there is this balance in our Deen unlike other religions like Christianity where emphasis is put of God’s mercy with the belief that He will not punish. In our Deen there is mercy of Allah ta’ala and it is extreme and far reaching and a beautiful trait however at the same time there is an ending to the time given to make Tawbah.
Rahmah comes on Whom?
In verse 54 of the same Surah, Allah ta’ala says,
وَإِذَا جَاءَكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ ۖ أَنَّهُ مَنْ عَمِلَ مِنْكُمْ سُوءًا بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
Whe those who believe in Our revelations come to you, say: “Peace be upon you. Your Rabb has decreed mercy upon Himself. If anyone among you commits evil because of ignorance and thereafter repents and mends his ways; you will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful.” [Surah Al-An’aam: 54]
This verse mentions three traits which we should have in our lives:
The verse tells us how we can utilise this beautiful trait of Allah ta’ala and become more deserving of it. Firstly, believe in Allah ta’ala and then if a person does a bad deed out of ignorance and then does Tawbah and takes measures to change, then Allah ta’ala is غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
فَإِنْ كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُلْ رَبُّكُمْ ذُو رَحْمَةٍ وَاسِعَةٍ وَلَا يُرَدُّ بَأْسُهُ عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
So if they give the lie to thee (Muhammad), say: Your Lord is a Lord of all embracing mercy, and His wrath will never be withdrawn from guilty folk. [Surah Al-An’aam: 147]
رَحْمَةٍ وَاسِعَةٍ is very open and exclusive mercy. The verse says that even though people deny Him, Allah ta’ala is extremely merciful. He will give them opportunities and time in this world. He will let them have a good life and not punish them even though they do evil and oppress others however as the next part of the verse says, there will be a day when His anger and punishment will not be repelled from these people.
His Rahmah is such that He gives people chances again and again, but in this world.
In a well-known verse in Surah Hijr Allah ta’ala tells the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam to inform His salves that He is الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
نَبِّئْ عِبَادِي أَنِّي أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Announce, (O Muhammad) unto My slaves that verily I am the Forgiving, the Merciful. [Surah Hijr: 49]
And this is mentioned many times in the Qur’an i.e. that His mercy isوَاسِعَة however He punishes as well.
وَأَنَّ عَذَابِي هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الْأَلِيمُ
but at the same time My punishment is also the most painful punishment.[Surah Hijr: 50]
It is mentioned in Hadith,
“Allah has one hundred mercies, out of which He has sent down only one for jinn, mankind, animals and insects, through which they love one another and have compassion for one another; and through it, wild animals care for their young. Allah has retained ninety-nine mercies to deal kindly with His slaves on the Day of Resurrection.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
It is the one part of mercy that we see in the world where humans and animals are merciful and ninety-nine parts are kept for the Day of Judgement. In another Hadith it is narrated,
لما خلق الله الخلق، كتب في كتاب، فهو عنده فوق العرش: إن رحمتي تغلب غضبي
“When Allah created the creatures, He wrote in the Book, which is with Him over His Throne: ‘Verily, My Mercy prevailed over My Wrath’” [Bukhari & Muslim]
تغلب means “More dominant”
‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (radiyallahu ‘anhu) has narrated,
“Some captives were brought to Nabi sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, among whom was a breast feeding woman. When she found a child among the captives, she took it and suckled it. Nabi sallallahu ‘alayhi wasalla) said to us, ‘Do you think this woman will cast her child into a fire?’ We said, ‘No, if she has the power not to.’ Then Nabi sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child” [Bukhari & Muslim]
An important Question – Why does Allah ta’ala allow Suffering?
An important question comes up here that Allah ta’ala is Arham – extremely Merciful. He is Arhamur Raahimeen – The Most Merciful of those who show mercy. His Rahmah is above and beyond everything and He has the power to remove any problem or difficulty. The question which Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) and a lot of us have is, He still lets people go through pain, suffering, tragedy, hardship etc. and for many the suffering is extreme. This causes a lot of people, Muslims and non-Muslims who have sensitive hearts and are thinking people that why does Allah ta’ala allow suffering?
Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) has answered this question in depth.
Something bad may contain something good however we do not see it or understand it because our concept is different on what it means to be merciful. Sometimes we have to amputate a limb to save the body which is being merciful although the person may not see it.
Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) gives an example of a child who, due to some sickness, has to have a limb amputated. The mother refuses thinking her child will lose a limb and she is being merciful in her own way. The father however understands that without the amputation the child will lose his life. Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) explains that a person who is ignorant thinks the mother is being compassionate but an intelligent person will see the whole picture and understand that the father is being more compassionate and more loving because he knows that to save the child the limb has to be amputated.
Through this analogy Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) shows that sometimes Allah ta’ala puts us in difficulty and even extreme difficulty to save us from something greater and this gives solace when we see suffering i.e. in Yemen, Syria and other places where we cannot do much and it causes heartache. For our own Imaan and sanity we should know that Allah ta’ala is Merciful and He knows exactly what they are experiencing unlike us who only know what we read on the media. Yet He is allowing it to happen therefore what they are going through in the Dunya must prevent them from any difficulty in the Aakhirah and therefore the difficulty of this Dunya is not against the mercy of Allah ta’ala but is a part of His mercy.
This is something for us to remember when we are going through any difficulty even though it may extreme. We know that Allah ta’ala is Raheem and He is protecting us and alleviating pain and difficulty of the Aakhirah and this is one of the most beautiful things for the people of Imaan.
Sometimes in difficult situations we make Du’a and when the difficulty is not removed we lose hope however it is mentioned in Hadith that Du’a is accepted in one of three ways;
· Allah ta’ala will give what is asked for
· He will not give what is asked for but some evil which was meant to happen is diverted away from the person and since we do not know it was diverted (as the evil does not happen) we think our Du’a is not accepted however the Du’a prevented it from happening. Du’a can change destiny.
· Neither of the above happens however in compensation Allah ta’ala will give so much in the Aakhirah that the person will wish none of his Du’a made in the world were accepted.
Therefore the Dua not being accepted the way we want, is also His mercy and it is mercy we cannot see.
What are the lessons for us to Learn?
لَا يَرْحَمُ اللَّهُ مَنْ لَا يَرْحَمُ النَّاسَ
“Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to people” [Bukhari & Muslim]
النَّاسَ – all human beings. Therefore showing mercy to human beings is a way to attain Allah ta’ala’s mercy for ourselves.
In another Hadith it is mentioned;
ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ
“Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” [Tirmidhi]
Therefore show mercy to people be they Muslims or non-Muslims, good or bad, which unfortunately is something we are very short of. We do not even show mercy to our own children and families. Show mercy through your words and actions, by giving Naseehah, dealing gently with people, not looking down on anyone and looking with the eye of mercy at disobedient people (Hate the sin, not the sinner). Try to meet the needs of people in poverty or in need of education etc. and if you cannot, then show you care and make Du’a for them and that is also being merciful.
Mercy should also be shown to all other living things. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,
إن الله كتب الإحـسـان عـلى كــل شيء
“Indeed, Allah prescribed ihsaan in all things.”
There is mention in Hadith of a woman who was forgiven through her kindness to a dog;
“A prostitute had once been forgiven. She passed by a dog panting near a well. Thirst had nearly killed him, so she took off her sock, tied it to her veil, and drew up some water. Allah forgave her for that.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
Therefore learn these names of Allah ta’ala and make intention that I want to be more merciful to all of creation. Insha-allah
A separate point which is attached to the concept of mercy is صله رحمى - joining ties of kinship which is mentioned in the Qur’an.
وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ
“… and fear Allāh through whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut) family ties. [Surah Nisaa’:1]
Interestingly the word Rahmah is used for family ties and also used for the womb of a woman.
It is mentioned in a Hadith;
الرَّحِمُ مُعَلَّقَةٌ بِالْعَرْشِ تَقُولُ مَنْ وَصَلَنِي وَصَلَهُ اللهُ، وَمَنْ قَطَعَنِي قَطَعَهُ اللهُ
“The bond of relationship is suspending from the Throne, and says: ‘He who keeps good relations with me, Allah will keep connection with him, but whosoever severs relations with me, Allah will sever connection with him“. [Muslim]
This shows that Rahmah is maintaining family ties and to invite the Rahmah of Allah ta’ala, we should maintain family ties. Another Hadith mentions;
“Allah’s mercy will not descend on people among whom there is one who severs ties of kinship.” [Baihaqi, Shuab Al-Iman]
Therefore one of the ways to invite the mercy of Allah ta’ala is maintaining family ties and this is important for us as for a lot of us family ties are there however we do not see the worth in it (appreciate it) and we do not understand the definition.
What does it mean to maintain family ties?
With people we have issues with or with whom we do not get along, maintaining family ties can be at a minimum level which is to say and reply to Salaam, share in happy occasions, give condolences on sad occasions and visit when sick. It does not matter whether our family are Believers on non-believers. We should have a merciful attitude to all our family. If the family are non-believers and they invite you to a wedding or other occasions where you know there will be Haraam activities then you do not have to attend however wish them well.
Sometimes people are good and merciful to others but neglect the family and do not show them even a quarter of the mercy they show others.
Du’a to invoke the mercy of Allah ta’ala
Recite in illness or in other difficulty:
يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّوْمُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيْث
On You Who is Ever-living and Sustains and Protects everything, I seek assistance through the means of your mercy [At-Tirmidhi]
ياَ أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ
Oh the Most Merciful of those who show mercy
الْمَلِكُ is translated as The Absolute Ruler and means The True King.
Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) says it is The One Who in His Dhaat (Essence) and Sifat (Attribute) has no need of any existing thing while every existing thing needs Him.
Therefore everything is dependent on Allah ta’ala and Allah ta’ala is dependent on no-one. We cannot dispense with Him and we cannot live without His Being so الْمَلِكُ means One Who is Indispensible.
Everything other than Himself is subject to Him so He is The King of Kings.
The kingship of a king among humans is temporary and limited. It is not absolute. He still needs his subjects i.e. their loyalty, tax etc. while Allah ta’ala is that King Who truly does not need anyone. He is truly independent of His creation.
He has given us human beings power and authority to some extent and to own land, money, homes etc. however we are not the true owners. Sooner or later it will leave us or if we have it now, then when we die it will belong to our inheritors. Therefore Allah ta’ala is the true Owner and true King and in Surah Faatihah - مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ - we say Allah ta’ala is the Owner of the Day of Judgement.
In the Qur’an
In Surah Mu’min Allah ta’ala says,
يَوْمَ هُمْ بَارِزُونَ ۖ لَا يَخْفَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ مِنْهُمْ شَيْءٌ ۚ لِمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ ۖ لِلَّهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ
The Day when they all shall come forth from their graves with nothing hidden from Allah. It will be asked: "Whose is the Kingdom today?" No one shall dare to speak, and Allah Himself will say: “It is Allah's, the One, the Irresistible.” [Qur’an 40:16]
Allah ta’ala will ask this question after the blowing of the trumpet the first time after which the world will be destroyed. Therefore on the Day of Judgement there will be no king or authority except Allah ta’ala.
This is a Sifat in which we can share to the extent that we are kings of what we have i.e. our lives, homes etc. however in reality Allah ta’ala is the True King.
Though this Sifat of Allah ta’ala is present in the Dunya it will be manifested and in full recognition in the Aakhirah. Allah ta’ala mentions in Surah Faatihah that He is the Owner of the Day of Judgement because in the Dunya He has given us a share in being kings/owners/having authority etc. however on the Day of Judgement only Allah ta’ala will have it and the semblance of kingship and authority Allah ta’ala allowed humanity, will end.
It is narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
“Allah will seize the earth on the Day of Resurrection and will roll up the heavens in His Right Hand, then He will say: ‘I am the King, where are the kings of the earth?” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
According to ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood RA, a Jewish scholar came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and said,
“O Muhammad! verily, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious would carry the Heavens on the Day of Judgment upon one finger and earths upon one finger and the mountains and trees upon one finger and the ocean and moist earth upon one finger, and in fact the whole of the creation upon one finger, and then He would stir them and say: ‘I am your Lord, I am your Lord’.
Thereupon Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhiw asallam smiled testifying what that scholar had said. He then recited this verse: “And they honour not Allah with the honour due to Him; and the whole earth will be in His grip on the Day of Resurrection and the heaven rolled up in His right hand. Glory be to Him I and highly Exalted is He above what they associate (with Him)” (Az-Zumar:67) [Al-Bukhari]
Therefore Allah ta’ala is the Haqeeqee (true) King and all other kingships will end.
Everything belongs to Allah ta'ala
Mothers should teach their children that Allah ta’ala is the true Owner of everything and not us. There are stories related regarding Scholars of the past who rebuked their children for saying words like “The maalik of the home is not in” instead of saying “The person of the house is not in.”
Shaykhul Hadith Zakariyyah Khandlawi (رحمه الله) who has authored many books said he was rebuked by his father for saying “My pillow” and as a child he was very hurt but later realised his father had taught him a very important lesson. Parents of the past noticed these things and did Tarbiyat of their children. Therefore we should teach children not to say “My” this or that, as today we have the “me, me” culture but in actuality nothing belongs to us. Everything belongs to Allah ta’ala and we only have what we say is “mine” temporarily. We know this in our Aqeedah but the Haqeeqat (reality) of it is absent. If we had this reality, it could actually protect us from the love of the Dunya. It will become a protective mechanism against a lot of negative emotions. When a person knows that it is Allah ta’ala Who owns everything then giving money to charity is not going to be a big deal and we will be saved from greed and miserliness and jealousy i.e. why does this person have such and such and I do not.
Advice of Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) regarding the name الْمَلِكُ
Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) mentions the story of a Wali of Allah ta’ala who was told by a Prince to ask him for his needs. The Wali of Allah ta’ala replied, “Is that the way to speak to me when I have two servants who are your masters?” The Prince asked who were his masters and the Wali of Allah ta’ala replied that they were greed and desires. He said, “I have conquered them but they have conquered you. I rule over them and they rule over you.”
Therefore if we conquer these two bad traits of greed and desires then we are masters over them. People may be kings and have authority but if they are ruled by greed and desires then they are servants to these two traits.
The person will also have certainty that my life, wealth and time is an Amaanah and Allah ta’ala is the True Owner of not just the wealth I have but He owns my life and time. He realises that it’s not just me but I have to do things for other people for the sake of Allah ta’ala and he then will give time for Allah ta’ala.
الْقُدُّوسُ is translated in English as The Holiest and The Most Pure.
It means Allah ta’ala is that Being Who is free from all defects, traits and weaknesses – understood as the Holy One – and Pure from any similar example and pure from children. Ibn Katheer (رحمه الله) says pure from any shortcomings, that Dhaat Who has perfect traits.
In the Qur’an
This name is mentioned only twice in the Qur’an.
هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ ۚ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
He is Allah, than whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him).
This is a powerful verse with many Asmaaul Husnaa mentioned within it including الْقُدُّوسregarding which it is mentioned in a Hadith;
“Whoever when he wakes in the morning says three times:
اعوذ بالله السميع العليم من الشيطان الرجيم
“I seek refuge in Allah the All-Hearing and All-Knowing against the accursed satan”
and then recites the three verses from the last part of Surah al Hashr, will be assigned seventy thousand angels to pray for him until the evening, and should he die that day, he would have died a martyr”
[Ibn Ahmad, Darimi, Tirmidhi]
The verses are :
هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ ۖ هُوَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ
هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ ۚ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ ۖ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
[Surah Hashr: 22-24]
The second verse is:
يُسَبِّحُ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ الْمَلِكِ الْقُدُّوسِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ
All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth Allah, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the Mighty, the Wise [Qur’an 62:1]
The verse mentions that everything in the heavens and the earth does Tasbeeh of Allah ta’ala and as mentioned in Surah Bani Isra’eel, we do not understand;
تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ ۚ وَإِنْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَلَٰكِنْ لَا تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا
The seven heavens, the earth and all beings therein declare His glory. There is not a single thing but glorifies Him with His praise, but you do not understand their hymns of His glory. The fact is that He is very Forbearing, Forgiving. [17.44]
Allah ta’ala is الْقُدُّوسُ and whatever He puts His Tajalli on (Special/Attentive Rahmat), also becomes Quddoos (Holy). Whatever Allah ta’ala has sworn by in the Qur’an or has referred to as “Muqaddas” has the status of being holy. It can be time i.e. Allah ta’ala swears by time, Laylatul Qadr, the month of Ramadhaan etc. or it can be places i.e. Allah ta’ala refers to the Valley of Tuwaa where Musa AS was blessed as “Muqaddas” and the Baytullah.
This name is used in some major Du’a. ‘Aishah RA has reported:
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam used to recite in his bowing and prostration:
سبوح قدوس رب الملائكة والروح
“Subbuhun Quddoosun, Rabbul-malaa’ikati war-rooh
“You are the Most Glorious. The Most Holy. You the Rabb of the angels and of Jibra’eel” [Muslim]
This is also mentioned in the Du’a recited during the Taraaweeh Salaah.
It is Sunnah to read سُبْحَانَ الْمَلِكِ الْقُدُّوْسِ three times after Witr Ṣalaah. This was the general habit of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam who would raise and prolong his voice the third time as reported in several authentic narrations. [Musnad Aḥmad Sunan Abū Dāwūd Sunan al-Nasāʾī ]
السَّلامُis translated in English as “The Source of Peace” (Sukoon). It is mentioned only once in the Qur’an in verse 23 of Surah Hashr.
Ibn Katheer (رحمه الله) says السَّلامُ is that Being Who is pure from all faults and shortcomings and He is complete is His Dhaat (Essence), Sifaat (Attributes) and Af’aal (Actions). The descriptions may seem similar to الْقُدُّوس which means that Being Who is pure from all faults, but here it says Allah ta’ala is perfect in His Dhaat, Sifaat and Af’aal.
السَّلامُ is the One who is Free from all imperfections and deficiencies, because of the Perfection of His Being, of His Attributes and His Actions.
Al Qurtubi states: السَّلامُ is the One who is safe from all deficiencies. He explains as Salaam in three ways:
1) The One free from every fault, and He is absolved of every deficiency.
2) He gives Salaam to His 'Ibaad (slaves) in Jannah. We learn from the Qur’an that the dwellers of paradise will be greeted with salaam, by Allah, by the angels and by each other. In Surah Yaseen verse 58, Allah ta’ala says: سَلَامٌ قَوْلًا مِن رَّبٍّ رَّحِيمٍ People in Jannah will be told “Salaam, a statement from their Rabb, the Most Merciful.”
3) The One Whose creation is free from His dhulm (injustice). He keeps His creations safe from any injustice on His part and His creation is free from injustice from Him. What does this tell us? Allah is السَّلامُ and there is no way He can be unjust. Many times we read in the Qur’an: وَمَا ظَلَمَهُمُ اللّهُ وَلَكِنْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ, ‘Allah did not wrong them, rather they wronged themselves’.
Another definition is: "That Being in Whom one has hope for ‘Aafiyah (safety, protection and goodness.)"
Salaamati from Sharr on Three Occasions
According to Sufyaan bin Uyayna RA there are three occasions in a person’s life when he/she is overwhelmed by fear: when he emerges from the womb (Birth), at the time of death when he sees creation he has never seen before i.e. the beginnings of the afterlife, and on the Day of Judgement. It is mentioned in Surah Maryam regarding Yahya AS that Allah ta’ala granted him Salaamati from the Sharr (Difficulty) of these three occasions. This shows that this is the same manner Allah ta’ala will deal with the Believers and we should seek Salaamati from Allah ta’ala. If a person tries to live a good life in this world then he/she will attain it. In Surah Nahl it is mentioned:
الَّذِينَ تَتَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ طَيِّبِينَ ۙ يَقُولُونَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمُ ادْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
Those whom the angels cause to die (when they are) good. They say: Peace be unto you! Enter the Garden because of what ye used to do. [Surah Nahl:32]
The Concept of Protection/Security
Another point regarding this name is the concept of protection which is something we are all concerned about and it comes from this trait of Allah ta’ala. We have to have Yaqeen (Certainty) in it. The Asbaab (Means) are there and we should take measure for protection however we must realize that true protection comes from Allah ta’ala.
Let us consider the example of cancer. If cancerous cells are developed in the body and the immune system is strong, it fights and kills those cells but if for some reason they are not strong or the cancer cells are too strong, it leads to cancer. You do not know the immune system is fighting the cancer cells in your body and this is Allah ta’ala being As-Salaam. He is there protecting you in so many different ways and we do not even realize it. You leave home in a car and one small thing could have led to an accident and you say, “That was a close call.”
If Allah ta’ala was to take away His being As-Salaam, we cannot do anything. We would be sitting ducks. If Allah ta’ala does not protect someone, no one can do anything to help them and if He wants to protect someone no one can do anything to harm them. The following is an episode regarding Amr bin Al-‘Aas RA who was the governor of Egypt and played an important part in internal conflicts within Islam after the death of the third Khalifah, ‘Uthmaan ibn Affaan RA.
Following the murder of Uthman RA and the dispute between the supporters of Ali RA and the supporters of Muawiyah RA as successors, Amr RA represented Muawiyah RA in the arbitration as opposed to Abu Musa Ashaari RA who represented Ali RA.
During the unrest of this time members of an extremist group planned to assassinate three important Muslims simultaneously. They were Ali RA, Muawiya RA and Amr bin Al-‘Aas RA.
One of them traveled to Kufa to kill Ali RA. He was Abdur-Rahmaan ibn-Muljim. When Ali RA came to lead the Fajr Salaah, ibn-Muljim struck Ali RA. He got seriously injured and died a couple of days later.
In Shaam, Muawiya RA was struck and injured by the attack however he survived. In Egypt, Amr ibn Al-‘Aas RA, did not come to lead the Fajr Salaah on that day, and the person who came to lead the prayer was killed instead. Afterwards the killer said he had intended to kill ‘Amr but Allah ta’ala intended the other person.
Therefore we should have certainty that Allah ta’ala is السَّلامُ and having this certainty gives a person peace.
Salaamati of Wealth
There are some things which decreases the Salaamati and Barakah of wealth. Some are mentioned below:
Women shopping during the Jumu’ah Adhaan and Khutbah
· Not giving people what is due to them i.e. people at work, inheritance etc.
· Deception and dishonesty in business transactions
· Haraam Rizq – affects Barakah.
If a person has a lot of wealth but it is from Haraam sources or one infringes on the rights of others, the peace (Sukoon/Salaamati) that the wealth should have brought him will be removed. He will find he has problems in his relationships with his wife, children etc. or other problems which removes the peace of heart.
Salaamati of Body
For the Salaamati of body, one should recite Ayatul Kursi, Surah Falaq and Surah Naas regularly.
· Reciting Surah Faatihah, Ikhlaas, Falaq and Naas, blowing on hands and rubbing the hands all over the body is Sunnah.
Hazrat Mufti Wali Hasan Sahab رحمة الله عليه would say that Surah Falaq and Surah Naas are the last Surahs of the Qur'an and it indicates that Muslims will need these Surahs during the fitnah near the end of times. So we should make it a habit to recite these Surahs abundantly.
Salaamati of Children
· Make a habit of giving a lot of Sadaqah
· Give away the things they do not use. People tend to keep these things as memories
· Teach children to recite the Surahs mentioned in Sunnah and blow over themselves
· When children (or people of the house) leave home say “Fee-amaanillaah” – “Aman” means peace/tranquility
· Make Du’a for them. Prophet sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam used to make Du’a for his grandchildren to be protected from Sharr (Evil)
· Du’a for protection:
اَعُوْذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّةِ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ ، وَهَامَّةٍ ، وَمِنْ كُلِّ عَيْنٍ لَامَّةٍ
Protection against any type of Black Magic & Crisis Situations of Life
There are ten ways mentioned in the commentary of the Asmaaul Husnaa:
1. The Salaf used to use verses of the Qur’an for all types of remedies and in difficulties
2. One has to have Yaqeen (Certainty) in Allah ta’ala that everything happens with His command and no one can benefit or harm except by His will
3. Preventative measure: It is very beneficial to recite Surah Baqarah. It is effective in situations of black magic or other negative effects from people. As it is quite long, a little everyday may be recited so that it is completed every week or a recording may be played in the house. Do not give money to someone else to recite it.
4. According to some Scholars, verses of the Qur’an should be recited and then blow on water and drink it. This is very beneficial in eliminating effects of black magic
5. Be regular in Salaah and also perform the Sunnat and Nafl prayers at home and make Dhikr. This helps one get through major difficulties
6. Another means of protection is not to have pictures of animated things in the house. It is mentioned in a Hadith, “The angels do not enter a house in which there is an image.” [Bukhari & Muslim] It decreases Allah ta’ala’s protection in the Dunya.
7. Keeping the home free from impurities is also beneficial
8. Give sadaqah daily according to your ability as it is mentioned in the hadith that sadaqah prevents calamities. And according to hadith it is better to give sadaqah in the beginning of a day.
9. To say (according to some, to write it) مَا شَاءَ اللهُ لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ outside the home or at one’s workplace for protection against negative effects of people
10. Refrain from Dhulm (Injustice) of all types whether the person is a Believer or disbeliever. A conscientious decision not to be unjust to anyone brings Salaamati from Allah ta’ala. It is mentioned in a Hadith: “Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and Allah” [Bukhari]
It is very important to be careful about hurting anyone unjustly. Some relationships are very sensitive i.e. husband/wife, parent/child etc. in which we can be unjust but think nothing of it as it’s a close relationship. Allah ta’ala protect us from the Du’a of anyone we may have unjustly hurt (sometimes people can get hurt however not unjustly). If we have hurt anyone we should seek forgiveness and if we cannot then we should make Du’a for them and Allah ta’ala will forgive us.
Dua for Salaamati
يا حي يا قيوم برحمتك أستغيث أصلح لي شأني كله ولا تكلني إلى نفسي طرفة عين
"On You Who is Everliving and Sustains and Protects everything, I seek assistance through the means of your mercy, correct for me all my affairs and do not entrust me to my Nafs (myself) for the moment of a blink of an eye."
أَللّٰهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ لِىْ دِيْنِىَ الَّذِىْ هُوَ عِصْمَةُ أَمْرِىْ وَ أَصْلِحْ لِىْ دُنْيَاىَ الَّتِىْ فِيْهَا مَعَاشِىْ وَ أَصْلِحْ لِىْ آخِرَتِىَ الَّتِىْ فِيْهَا مَعَادِىْ وَاجْعَلِ الْحَيَاةَ زِيَادَهً لِّىْ فِىْ كُلِّ خَيْرٍ وَّ اجْعَلِ الْمَوْتَ رَاحَةً لِّىْ مِنْ كُلِّ شَرٍّ
"O Allah! Rectify for me my Deen which is a means of guarding my matters and my world which is a means of my livelihood, and make good my hereafter in which is my returning, and make my life a means of abundance of all good and my death a means of comfort and peace free from all bad." (Sahih Muslim)
اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِي بِحَلالِكَ عَنْ حَرَامِكَ وَأَغْنِنِي بِفَضْلِكَ عَمَّنْ سِوَاكَ
"O Allah! Suffice me with your halal from the haram, and make me independant with your grace from all besides you."
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَفْوَ وَالْعَافِيَةَ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَفْوَ وَالْعَافِيَةَ فِي دِينِي وَدُنْيَاىَ وَأَهْلِي وَمَالِي اللَّهُمَّ اسْتُرْ عَوْرَاتِي وَآمِنْ رَوْعَاتِي وَاحْفَظْنِي مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَىَّ وَمِنْ خَلْفِي وَعَنْ يَمِينِي وَعَنْ شِمَالِي وَمِنْ فَوْقِي وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أُغْتَالَ مِنْ تَحْتِي
"O Allah, I ask You for forgiveness and well-being in this world and in the Hereafter. O Allah, I ask You for forgiveness and well-being in my religious and my worldly affairs. O Allah, conceal my faults, calm my fears, and protect me from before me and behind me, from my right and my left, and from above me, and I seek refuge in You from being taken unaware from beneath me."
أَعُوذُ بِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ الَّذِي لَيْسَ شَيْءٌ أَعْظَمَ مِنْهُ ، وَبِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ التَّامَّاتِ الَّتِي لا يُجَاوِزُهُنَّ بَرٌّ وَلا فَاجِرٌ ، وَبِأَسْمَاءِ اللَّهِ الْحُسْنَى كُلِّهَا مَا عَلِمْتُ مِنْهَا وَمَا لَمْ أَعْلَمْ ، وَمِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ وَذَرَأَ وَبَرَأَ
"I seek refuge in Allaah, the most Greatest. There is nothing equal to His Greatness. And I seek refuge in His complete and powerful Words, which cannot be surpassed by any good or bad person, and (I seek refuge in) all the Names of Allaah which I know and which I do not know, from the evil of all those things which He created, and created them errorless and scattered them all over."
اللهم أنت السلام ومنك السلام تباركت يا ذا الجلال والإكرام
"O Allah, You are Al-Salaam and from You is all peace, blessed are You, O Possessor of Majesty and Honor."
Aakhirah is Daar-as-Salaam
Allah ta’ala has called Jannah, “Daar asSalaam”. The Aakhirah is the real home, the true source of peace. No matter how much effort we put in to make this Dunya a place of Sukoon for us, there will always be problems. Jannah is the place of all types of Salaamati - peace, security and safety. That is where there will be no pain, grief or danger.
Allah ta’ala’s Invitation to Daar-as-Salaam
In the Qur’an Allah ta’ala invites us to the place of peace,
وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَىٰ دَارِ السَّلَامِ
Allah invites you to the Home of Peace [Surah Yunus: 25]
Allah ta’ala calls/invites us to the place of peace. When a person is invited to a Daawat, they will make an effort and dress up and plan how to get there on time. They do not set off in home clothes or pajamas. They make sure of the directions and try to get there on time otherwise they will miss it. When Allah ta’ala invites you to Daar as-Salaam (Salaamati) it is your choice whether to accept or not and get ready on time. We should make effort for this special Daawat and invites others as well towards Salaamati and the person who cares and wishes good for others is a Shafeeq.
Salaam in Jannah
The people of Jannah will receive Salaam from Allah ta’ala and the angels.
In surah Yaseen verse 58, Allah ta’ala says:
سَلَامٌ قَوْلًا مِن رَّبٍّ رَّحِيم
“People in Jannah will be told ‘Salaam’, a statement from their Rabb, the Most Merciful.” [Surah Yaaseen: 58]
أَفْشُوا السَّلاَمَ – Spread Salaam
Spreading Salaam is a major part of Islam however we are lazy and negligent regarding it. It was the first thing the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam taught the people of Madeenah when he arrived there after Hijrah trying to make a community of people who were not getting along.
‘Abdullah bin Salaam RA said:
“When the Prophet came to Al-Madeenah, the people rushed to meet him, and it was said: ‘The Messenger of Allah has come! The Messenger of Allah has come! The Messenger of Allah has come!’ Three times. I came with the people to see him, and when I saw his face clearly, I knew that his face was not the face of a liar. The first thing I heard him say was when he said:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَفْشُوا السَّلاَمَ وَأَطْعِمُوا الطَّعَامَ وَصِلُوا الأَرْحَامَ وَصَلُّوا بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّاسُ نِيَامٌ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِسَلاَمٍ
“O people! Spread (the greeting of) Salam, feed others, uphold the ties of kinship, and pray during the night when people are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise with Salam.” [Ibn Majah]
Salaam of Greeting to Khadeejah RA
It is narrated that once Angel Jibra’eel came to the Prophet sallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and said, “Allah sends His Salaam to Khadeejah RA.”
Her reply was:‘innallaaha huwas Salaam’ - indeed Allah, He is Salaam, wa ‘alaa Jibreelas Salaam, and upon Jibreel be Salaam, and upon you, O Prophet of Allah’.
She did not say, “and salaam upon Allah ta’ala.” It shows that Khadeejah RA understood and realised that السَّلامُ is one of the names of Allah ta’ala and He is السَّلام Himself. From this we learn that Salaam cannot be sent to Allah ta’ala.
Spreading Salaam (Greeting) creates Love
It is mentioned in a Hadith,
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “By Him in Whose Hand is my life! You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I inform you of something which, if you do, you will love one another? Promote greetings amongst yourselves.” [Muslim]
This can be the Salaam of greeting or it can mean spreading peace among people. This is very important in this time of negativity and lack of peace.
Saying Salaam to those you know and those you do not know
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr RA narrated,
A man asked the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam, “Whose Islam is a good or what sort of deeds (or what qualities of) Islam are good?” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam replied, “To feed (others) and to greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know.” [Bukhari]
A Hadith is mentioned in Musnad Ahmed that one of the signs of the end of time is that a person will say Salaam to another only because he knows him. This is so true. Sometimes we do Salaam to someone we do not know and they ask, “Do I know you?” and we have to reply no and explain we are simply doing Salaam. Therefore we should do Salaam to all Muslims (obviously to the people of your gender only)
Saying Salaam is a Safety from Spiritual Diseases
In other Hadith it is mentioned,
“The person nearest to Allah is one who is the first to offer greeting.”[Abu Dawud].
“The one who is the first to greet is free from pride (Takabbur)” [Bayhaqi]
Spreading Salaam and saying it from the heart protects us spiritually and emotionally. It saves us from the major spiritual disease of arrogance and from negative feelings. It creates love for one another and love is a positive emotion.
Salaam when Entering the House
Anas bin Malik RA reported:
The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said to me, “Dear son, when you enter your house, say As- Salamu ‘alaykum to your family for it will be a blessing both to you, and to your family.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Children should be encouraged to follow this Hadith. It will become a means of Barakah for us and the children. Why? Because Salaam spreads peace and love.
Things which Increases Love between People
· Saying Salaam whether you know people or not
· Making place for someone in a gathering even if there is a gathering of a few
· Calling someone by a name they like
· Saying good things about someone in their absence to friends and family and covering their faults and making Du’a for their Islaah.
Things to do to Enter Jannah with Salamati
These deeds shown in Hadith bring Sukoon in the heart & spreads peace and love among people
· Feeding people
· Silah Rahmi – maintaining family ties
· Spreading Salaam - we do not even need money to do this, just the use of the tongue
· Tahajjud Salaah
Sayyiduna Thawban RA reports that when the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam would complete his Salaah, he would recite ‘Astaghfirullaah’ thrice and then say
اللهم أنت السلام ومنك السلام تباركت يا ذا الجلال والإكرام
‘Allaahumma antas salaam wa minkas salaam tabaarakta (yaa) dhal jalaali wal ikraam [Muslim]
Why do we say this after Salaah? What do you want protection, safety and security from? From the mistakes committed during the Salaah. A Salaah in which there is no Khushoo’ (humility) is struck back on the person and not taken. So it is as if you are saying “O Allah, if my Salaah was not proper, if there was anything You did not like, keep me safe from its consequence.”
الْمُؤْمِنُ is translated in English as The Remover of fear and The Giver of Tranquility which sounds similar to As-Salaam however it is more in terms of preservation and also has the meaning of peace/tranquility. الْمُؤْمِنُ also has the meaning of “Faith” though it is not in the translation.
In terms of understanding “Faith”
According to Shaykh Sa’di (رحمه الله) it is that Being Who due to the Kamaal of His attributes and Kamaal of His Jamaal (Beauty) and Jalaal (Anger/wrath) that He has sent His Prophets and His Books with clear evidences and signs and each of these evidences and signs affirm the Prophets who themselves are evidences and signs. Therefore the Bringer/Keeper of Imaan (Faith)
Allah ta’ala fulfills His promises & removes Hopelessness
Another understanding/ definition of this name is that Allah ta’ala fulfills His promises to His servants in the Dunya and Aakhirah. He also fulfills what they think of Him and does not make them hopeless.
These are different ways Scholars have described this name. He is the Giver of tranquility i.e. fulfilling promises, removing hopelessness and bringing signs which affirm a person’s Imaan.
In the Qur’an
It is mentioned once in the Qur’an, verse 23 in Surah Hashr.
Difference between As-Salaam and Al-Mu’min
Many things are mentioned in the commentary of this name which are also mentioned in the explanation of the name As-Salaam. One of the ways we can understand the difference between the two names is that As-Salaam is to bring peace more on a personal level i.e. feelings, emotions, family, children, finances etc. and Al-Mu’min is more on a deeper level in terms of peace in the world and in terms of our Imaan.
Aman (Peace / Tranquility)
Allah ta’ala can grant Aman and he can also retract it due to some reason and His wisdom. When this Sifat is decreased, the Sifaat of Al-Jabbaar and Al-Qahhaar take effect as they are opposite. Some of the Sifaat are opposite to each other and if one is decreased then the other will increase and vice versa.
Aman in the Body
Allah ta’ala removes fear and gives tranquility in terms of our worldly problems and also in terms of our body. He puts to work different body parts i.e. blood (which is liquid), bones (which are hard), skin (which is not liquid or hard), enzymes, cells etc. with some parts opposing to each other and balances them out. Allah ta’ala uses contradictions in order to bring Aman (peace / tranquility). This trait is used in opposition or complementation with the traits of Jabbaar and Qahhaar.
Allah ta’ala mentions in the Qur’an,
وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِلْمُوقِنِينَ
In the earth, there are signs for the firm believers,
وَفِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ
and also in your own selves; can you not see? [Surah Dhaariyaat: 20-21]
Many Scholars have talked about this in detail that our body parts are Aalami asghar, a smaller, microcosm of the bigger picture. The world has potentially harmful elements and similarly on a micro level, the body has some harmful substances i.e. bacteria, cancer cells etc. which can cause harm and Allah ta’ala protects us and grants us security from this potential harm because He is الْمُؤْمِنُ
Aman in the face of Fasaad
Allah ta’ala also grants Aman (Peace / tranquility) in the face of Fasaad, adversity, difficulty etc. though the biggest deterrent to our own development is our own selves through injustice caused by corrupt people. Even then Allah ta’ala gives Makhlooq peace. He has put a control on these factors which can hinder peace on earth so that despite all the evil which is done in the world which we know about, He protects us from being so affected by it so much that maybe we could not have been able to live. Had Allah ta’ala not controlled the nature of humans to make Fasaad on the earth, the world would have ended a long time ago. Allah ta’ala being الْمُؤْمِنُ is able to bring peace in this way.
Aman in Cities
Peace where we live is also a great Ne’mat because without peace it would be very difficult to prosper and no work can be done be it worldly or religious, despite there being other Nemat of people who can do the work and other resources available. We see this in places which have educated people and resources however due to war situations or corrupt governments there is no worldly or religious prosperity.
There is wisdom in the words of the Ambiyaa AS and especially the Du’a of Ibraheem AS when he made Du’a for Makkah Mukarramah:
وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَٰذَا الْبَلَدَ آمِنًا وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَن نَّعْبُدَ الْأَصْنَامَ
“Remember when Ibrahim (Abraham) said: “My Rabb! Make this city a city of peace and save me and my sons from the worship of idols.” [Surah Ibraheem:35]
آمِنًا – peace. This was before Makkah Mukarramah was established as a city. Because there was peace, the city of Makkah prospered as a commercial centre. Therefore peace is essential for prosperity.
In Surah Teen, Allah swears by the “Peaceful city” - وَهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ “and by this city of peace”
Aman in the Home
Similarly if there is no peace in a home then despite having everything else, the people will not prosper. We should make Du’a Allah ta’ala grants us peace in our homes, communities and cities.
Aman in Rizq
According to Shaykh Abd Al-Ghafoor Al-Mirsi, read Surah Quraysh eleven times after Fajr and Maghrib Salaah for Aman in Rizq and safety from enemies. In the Tafseer of Surah some Scholars recommend reading Surah Quraysh when in fear of any enemy or adversity.
Aman – Concept of Peace & Protection from Fear
Aman has the concept of peace as well as being protected from fear.
When Yusuf AS invited his family to Misr he said,
وَقَالَ ادْخُلُوا مِصْرَ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ آمِنِينَ
“and said: “Now enter the city. Allah willing, you will live here in peace.” [Surah Yusuf:99]
In Surah Quraysh, Allah ta’ala mentions the great favour bestowed upon the Quraysh,
الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُمْ مِنْ جُوعٍ وَآمَنَهُمْ مِنْ خَوْفٍ
“Who provided them food in the days of famine and made them secure against fear”
Allah ta’ala protected them from hunger and fear. They had freedom from hunger and from the fear of being attacked by others.
The point Allah ta’ala makes to the Quraysh in this Surah is that you get Aman due to living near the Baitullah. How much more Aman would you get if you became the servants of The One Who owns the Baitullah? We understand that when a person becomes a servant of Allah ta’ala they will have peace in their hearts and peace of not having to live in fear. Many times people live in fear but it is not due to living in a violent community or country. It is fear due to anxiety, phobias, paranoia etc. Allah ta’ala protect us from these fears (Aameen) and that is what الْمُؤْمِنُ means – The One Who gives tranquility and security from fear.
How is Aman Manifested?
In the Qur’an Allah ta’ala mentions some episodes regarding when He sends Aman and when He takes it away.
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُمْ بِظُلْمٍ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمُ الْأَمْنُ وَهُمْ مُهْتَدُونَ
“Those who believe and do not taint their faith with wrongdoings will feel more secure and will be better guided.” [Surah Al-An’aam: 82]
“do not taint their faith with wrongdoings” means, they do not mix their good deeds with major bad deeds or with injustice. Some Scholars say it means, they do not mix Imaan with Shirk and they are the ones who will have Aman and will be rightly guided.
When this verse was revealed, the Sahaba RA worried and asked Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam if they would not be protected since everyone commits some Dhulm. He replied that Dhulm is Shirk (In the Dhaat of Allah ta’ala and in His Sifaat.) “Dhulm” is translated here as “Shirk”
Therefore one of the ways to acquire tranquillity and remove fear is that we do not taint our Imaan with Shirk and there is logic in this. The more Imaan we have and the more we believe in the power of Allah ta’ala, the more He will protect us from fearing others. This verse shows that there is possibility that people can have Imaan and Shirk mixed together. Shirk is not just idol worship. It can have different variations, forms and dimensions. Shirk is giving the attributes of Allah ta’ala to anyone else, humans, Prophets, Angels or society. For example when we fear what society thinks of us more than we fear Allah ta’ala, this is a form of minor Shirk and we live in a type of fear of being judged and it is very destructive. When we get over this complex then we will progress in life and do well.
In another verse of the Qur’an Allah ta’ala gives the example of a village which was peaceful and secure with Rizq coming from all sides and they had no fear from external enemies however due to their ingratitude and not showing appreciation for the Ne’mat, they were deprived of the Aman and Itminaan.
وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا قَرْيَةً كَانَتْ آمِنَةً مُطْمَئِنَّةً يَأْتِيهَا رِزْقُهَا رَغَدًا مِنْ كُلِّ مَكَانٍ فَكَفَرَتْ بِأَنْعُمِ اللَّهِ فَأَذَاقَهَا اللَّهُ لِبَاسَ الْجُوعِ وَالْخَوْفِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ
“Allah gives you an example of a town which was enjoying security and peace, receiving its provisions in abundance from every quarter, but it became ungrateful to the favors of Allah. As a result, Allah made its residents taste the consequences of their doings, through inflicting upon them misfortunes of hunger and fear.” [Surah An-Nahl: 112]
How to Attain Aman
Allah ta'ala is the Sabab (means) of bringing Aman and Sukoon in people’s lives and we see from these two verses that if we want Aman in our lives then we should firstly stay away from Dhulm (sin/Shirk) and secondly, show gratitude and not be ungrateful as ingratitude causes anguish and showing gratitude increases the Ne’mah. If we make Shukr for the Ne’mat of Imaan then Allah ta’ala will increase it and if we make Shukr for peace then He will increase the peace.
الْمُؤْمِنُ comes from Imaan. So He is The One Who gives Imaan and Allah ta’ala also protects our Imaan.
The way to have our Imaan protected is:
• To show Shukr for this Ne’mat of Imaan. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam has shown us a Du’a with which we should fill our hearts and Allah ta’ala will protect our Imaan:
رَضِيْتُ بِاللهِ رَبّاً وَّبِالْاِسْلَامِ دِينًا وَّبِمُحَمَّدٍ رَّسُوْلًا
“I am happy with Allah as my Rabb, with Islam as my Deen and with Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam as my Nabi.”
• Not to hate any aspect of Deen. If we find we do not like certain people of Deen in terms of their personality or compatibility or any reason even then we should not hate them. Instead we should make Du’a for protection and the ability to love people of Deen.
Allah ta’ala is the Haqeeqee Mu’min and He protects from all Sharr (Evil). We have Sharr within our own selves as well and we should make Du’a from protection against it.
It is mentioned in a Hadith that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said three times, وَاللَّهِ لَا يُؤْمِنُ
“By Allah, he does not have faith!” It was said, “Who is it, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “He whose neighbor is not safe from his harm.”
Therefore when we do not protect others from our own bad habits, evil and even being bad neighbours by showing lack of consideration then it shows we do not have proper Imaan.
There is a connection between Imaan and Aman and when a person is protective of other people and protect themselves from their own Shirr and they protect themselves from Shirk and stays away from sin then it helps their Imaan. The Prophet sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam says a person does not have true Imaan when he does not protect other people (Mentioning neighbours specifically in this Hadith). In another Hadith it is mentioned,
الْمُسْلِمُ مَنْ سَلِمَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ وَيَدِهِ
“The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe.” [Bukhari]
Therefore a Mu’min is one from whom others are safe and keeping other people safe from our own actions (of the tongue, hands etc.) is being faithful to them. Al-Mu’min means Allah ta’ala is Faithful to us as He gives us tranquility and removes fear from us and we should also try to do the same for others.
Use in Du’a
Allah ta’ala is The One Who gives true Aman. We should use this name in Du’a and ask for Aman in the Dunya and Aakhirah. We are weak by nature and only Allah ta’ala can protect us.
We try to find people who are loyal and faithful in the Dunya but Allah ta’ala is the True Protecting Friend.
Who is our Al-Mu’min?
Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) gives an example of a man who is alone and pursued by his enemy. He falls down and is unable to move or defend himself without help or weapons. Then someone comes and attends to his need providing him with soldiers, weapons and a secure fortress. Now for this person who provided all the help and security, it would be fitting to call him his Al-Mu’min.
In the same way Allah ta’ala gives us humans who are weak by nature so much physically, spiritually and emotionally and He makes us strong. He is Al-Mu’min. He protects our Deen and Dunya and will insha-allah give salvation in the Aakhirah.
Allah ta’ala says in a Hadith Qudsi,
لا اله إلا الله حصني فمن قالها دخل حصني ومن دخل حصني أمن من عذابي
‘La ilaha illa Allah hisni wa man dakhala fi hisni amina min adhaabi'
“The words ‘la ilaha illa Allah’ is my fortress, so whoever says it enters my fortress and whoever enters my fortress is safe from my punishment.”
The Protector and The Bestower of Security. It is also translated as The Guardian.
It is a collection of three Sifaat which gives the definition of this word:
1. That Being has to have full knowledge of the condition (Ahwaal) of everything
2. That Being has to have full power and ability to take benefit out of that element or thing
3. That Being can obtain or remove the benefit of something regularly
Another way to describe الْمُهَيْمِنُ is that Being Who has complete knowledge of all hidden matters (Of the heart and everything else)
Yet another way to understand is He is supervising all matters of creation. He is The Guradian Who has full knowledge and the power of protection.
Once again there is this concept of protection and power and being guardian which is very similar to Al-Mu’min and As-Salaam.
How is this word Different?
الْمُهَيْمِنُ has the connotation of protection and supervision / tending to something and giving the ability to someone or something to protect themselves and Allah ta’ala has given everything a way to protect itself.
This can be by means of the natural reflexes or instincts and other means i.e. the eyes are so delicate and Allah ta’ala has given eyebrows, eyelashes and eyelids to protect them. All of Allah ta’ala’s creation has been given some type of protective means. Flowers have thorns, birds have beaks, certain creatures have claws or horns, the jellyfish looks harmless but it can sting and the octopus has a unique means of protection where in times of danger it can expel water through the end of its mantle, propelling it like a jet through the water and it can squeeze its body through tiny gaps to shake off predators.
Allah ta’ala being الْمُهَيْمِنُ has given creation the ability to protect itself.
In the Qur’an
It is mentioned once in the Qur’an, verse 23 in Surah Hashr.
Imam Ghazali (Raheemahullah) says when we should be aware that Allah ta’ala is our Protector, that He is supervising and protecting us. When a person is aware then there is security in life and it should increase our Yaqeen and decrease disobedience.
Just as a guard is given the job of protecting something and he knows his job is protecting that thing, so we also have the job of protecting what Allah ta’ala has given us and to use it in the proper manner and when the time comes to let things go then to return it in the right way.
Subtle differences in the names
We see subtle differences and nuances in the names which have similar meanings:
Al-Muhaymin – Guradian/Protector
Al- Mu’min – One Who removes fear
As-Salaam – One Who brings peace in the heart
The Mighty and The Eminent. It is also translated as The Most Dominant.
Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) says it is The One Who is so significant that few exist like him, yet he is also one for whom there is intense need as well as one to whom access proves dim cult. Unless these three meanings are combined, the term 'eminent' will not be used. There are many things in the world whose existence is rare, but if they are of little importance or not much use, they are not called 'eminent'. There are also many things whose significance is great, whose benefit is abundant, arid whose equal does not exist, yet if access to them be not difficult, they are not called 'eminent'. The sun, for example, as well as the earth, have no equal. The benefit from each of them is abundant and the need for both is intense, but neither of them is described as 'eminent', because access to observing them is not difficult. So it is inescapable that all three meanings go together.
‘Azeez is a word which can be shared with human beings. A person who is ‘Azeez is very respected, significant and people want to meet him. They need him but he is not so accessible. Allah ta’ala is الْعَزِيزُ and Most Dominat in this regard. He is needed, everyone needs Him to fulfill their needs but access is difficult. By “access being difficult” it means it is impossible to understand and comprehend Him. He is closer to us than the jugular vein and we make Du’a to Him.
One definition according to some Scholars is One Who is very strict when it comes to taking revenge from the enemies and when they intend punishment, no strength can remove the punishment. So very intent when taking revenge when need be and very intent in punishing.
Ibn Katheer (رحمه الله) says الْعَزِيزُ means the Being Who is dominant over everything and everyone is dominated by Allah ta’ala’s Jalaal. Therefore this is a Jalaali attribute.
Some attributes have Jalaal (Wrathfulness, anger, strictness) and some have Jamaal (Beauty)
Ibn Qayyim (رحمه الله) says there are four meanings to الْعَزِيزُ
1. That Being Who has power and no one can go against Him
2. The Dominant One and no one can dominate Him
3. The Revengeful One
4. The One Who has subtle powers so no one can compete with this Being, not even the strongest king or authority of this world.
The strength and power of Allah ta’ala comes from this Sifat of الْعَزِيزُ
In the Qur’an
It is mentioned 92 time in the Qura’n.
الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ
وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ ذُو انْتِقَامٍ - Allah is Mighty, capable of retribution.[Surah Aali ‘Imraan:3]
And this is one aspect of being الْعَزِيزُ
Paired with other names:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ - surely Allah is Mighty, Wise [Surah Baqarah:220]
Allah ta’ala has the power to do all these things but He also has wisdom.
وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ - And lo! thy Lord! He is indeed the Mighty, the Merciful. [Surah As-Shu’araa:9]
Two Sifaat being contradictory are paired together. Allah ta’ala is Mighty, Revengeful, Dominant but paired with Raheem. (My note: remember الرَّحِيمُ is exclusive mercy)
Therefore Allah ta’ala is الْعَزِيزُ for those who do not abstain from sin and do not care, and الرَّحِيمُ for those who try and make Tawbah when they do sin.
Shaykh Abul Abbaas al-Mirsi, the author of the famous commentary of Al-Mishkaat said true respect is given to those people who take their eyes off Makhlooq i.e. those who do not depend on Makhlooq for any of their needs. He says ‘Azeez comes from ‘Izzat (respect i.e. how people regard you and the level of significance they regard you with).
Human beings have respect when they do not depend on others. They depend on their Khaaliq, Allah ta’ala. True respect is when people respect you from the hearts where Allah ta’ala puts it and not when we demand, expect or make them respect us.
People who no longer have expectations from Makhlooq have self-respect which is very important whether other people respect you or not. Having self-respect does not mean we are arrogant and full of ourselves. Many people lose their self-respect. The way to attain it is not to have expectations from people and to focus on Allah ta’ala and our relationship with Him.
Complaining to People
Complaining to people decreases the respect a person can have in the Dunya. The habit of the pious and Salaf was that they would never complain to other people. They would only complain to Allah ta’ala
Respect is for Allah Alone
Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an in Surah Faatir,
مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعًا
If anyone is seeking honor, let him know that all honor belongs to Allah Alone. [Surah Faatir:10]
الَّذِينَ يَتَّخِذُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِنْدَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ فَإِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا
Those who choose the unbelievers to be their protectors rather than believers. Are they seeking honor in being with them? Whereas all honor belongs to Allah Alone. [Surah Nisaa’:139]
Whoever wants respect there is only one way and that is to obey Allah ta’ala and this is necessary for respect of the Dunya and Aakhirah. This is true respect and not what people show to those in authority in the Dunya.
Respect for the commands of Allah ta’ala
There is also this concept of respect that a person has respect for the commands of Allah ta’ala and the Sunnah even if they are not obeying or fulfilling the commands fully (though ideally all commands should be obeyed fully) and does not ask questions i.e. whether an act is a Fard, Waajib or a Sunnah and if they have to do it. This is the Ma’rifat (Knowledge) of this Sifat i.e. to be aware of and respect and obey the commands of Allah ta’ala and this is a quality lacking in us and especially in children.
Know your Reality - A Slave, always a Slave
Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi (رحمه الله) has given an example in the commentary of a person who is a slave. He is bought in a bazar and commanded to do certain duties and thereafter leaving him in charge, his master leaves. In his master’s absence the slave knows he is still a slave even though his master is not there and so when his master returns he has no delusions of being anything other than a slave.
Similarly we should know our Haqeeqat (reality) that I am a servant of Allah ta’ala and the respect I have is given to me by Allah ta’ala and if He takes it away we have to accept His decision.
Ways of Attaining Respect
We want respect from our husbands, children and other people and we want self-respect as well. How can we attain this respect?
It is mentioned in Hadith that Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,
“Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives another except that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah except that Allah raises his status.” [Muslim]
Whenever a person shows humility for Allah ta’ala and has no other ulterior motive, He raises his status. Looking at the verses mentioned before and the Hadith we see that the way to get respect is,
1. Obedience to Allah ta’ala. The more we obey Allah ta’ala the more Makhlooq will respect us
2. Having a forgiving nature increases respect and ranks in the eyes of others. When a person has the power to take revenge and still forgives then other people will have respect in their hearts for that person and they will be rewarded in the Aakhirah.
Musa AS asked Allah ta’ala who was the most respected person among His slaves. Allah ta’ala said it was the who had power (i.e. to take revenge) and he forgives.
Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) says all respect is from Allah ta’ala so we should remember when we are in any position of respect (i.e. due to our work, knowledge, family, religion etc.) that it is temporary and know that if I misuse it I will be humiliated or if Allah ta’ala wants to take it away, He can.
الْجَبَّارُ is the superlative form and translated as The Restorer and The Repairer. It is also translated as The Compeller.
At-Tabari says الْجَبَّارُ is The One Who Rectifies the matters of all creation and controls it.
Arabs used to call their kings Jabbaar so the Adhmat (Greatness) and strength of somebody comes from this word. There are two types of Jabr; one is when a person is weak and broken and to mend and rectify. The word Jabbaar means one who mends broken bones so Jabr is to mend broken bones. Another type of Jabr is to have such control that no one else can have and such height that no one else can reach.
In Urdu Jabr means to force someone to do something but this word is different.
In the Qur’an
It is mentioned once in the Qur’an, verse 23 in Surah Hashr.
Many du’a and Hadith contain this word: يا جابِـرَ الْمُنْكَسِرِينَ، - O Mender of the ones who are broken!
وَيا جابِرَ الْعَظْمِ الْكَسِيرِ،
O the Mender of broken bones,
Allah ta’ala is The Compeller. Other people try to compel or make something happen but it does not always happen. It only happens when Allah ta’ala compels it and will it to happen. Namrood tried to stop Ibraheem AS from spreading his Deen and Ibraheem AS became the father of all the Abrahamic religions. The Mushrikeen tried to stop the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam in Makkah but he became successful all over Arabia and later spread even further.
Jabbaar means Allah ta’ala does whatever He wants and no obstacle can stop Him and that is Al-Jabbaar.
Does not apply to Humans
As mentioned before, some Sifaat only apply to Allah ta’ala and not to humanity. This Sifat is one of them and only applies to Allah ta’ala. For us humans to feel we can dominate, control, force or compel people, is wrong as this is only for Allah ta’ala.
Allah ta’ala is Ghaalib, He is never Maghloob. Allah ta’ala is Dominant, He is never dominated. Allah ta’ala is Jaabir, He is in control. He is never out of control.
Use of this Name in Du’a
We should use this name of Allah ta’ala in Du’a to get rid of our sorrows, fears etc. He can turn difficulty into ease, sadness into happiness.
الْمُتَكَبِّرُ is translated as the Imperious (Imperious coming from imperial i.e. royal), The Supremely Great and The Perfection of Greatness. Another form of this name used in the Qur’an referring to Allah ta’ala is الكَبِير (The Great/Big). It is also used in Salaah when we say اللهُ اكْبَر (Allah is Great) which are from the same root word.
Allah ta’ala in terms of His Sifaat and condition is Pure and better and bigger (Big is the key word) than anything else. Everything in comparison to Allah ta’ala is small. Nothing is comparable to Him and everything is below or beneath Him in terms of Sifaat, strength, knowledge, power etc.
In the Qur’an
الْمُتَكَبِّرُ is used only once in the Qur’an in verse 23 in Surah Hashr and الكَبِير is used 6 times.
Not shared by Humans
This is a Sifat which cannot be shared by human beings. Some names like الرَّحِيمُ الْغَفّورُ can be shared by humans and we should be merciful and forgiving to fellow humans. Some names are reserved for Allah ta’ala alone and this is one of them.
For Allah ta’ala, this is His praise and to be used by anyone other than Allah ta’ala is a sin, a weakness and a fault to be called مُتَكَبِّرُ or to have that attitude. If a person feels and claims greatness i.e. “I am great/important” then it is a lie and it is wrong.
The word كبريـاء (Kibriyaa’) – Greatness, comes from this name. The greatness of the earth and the skies is only for Allah ta’ala. The oceans, mountains etc. do Tasbeeh of Him alone. We see this again and again in the Qur’an. Allah ta’ala says in Surah Jaathiya (verse 37),
وَلَهُ الْكِبْرِيَاءُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
To Him belongs greatness throughout the heavens and the earth, and He Alone is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.
Therefore no one can take part of His Kibriyaai (Greatness) or share in it and we are also part of the greatness of the earth. Whatever good human beings have done i.e. success in terms of inventions, coming up with interesting concepts or doing good for fellow humans is all indirectly contributed to Allah ta’ala since He gave human beings that ability, intelligence etc. to do it.
When a person realizes this then they realize their own humility as there is a connection between realizing one’s own humility and then realizing the greatness of Allah ta’ala. When a person is attentive and appreciative of the Ihsaanaat of Allah ta’ala upon humanity and does things for His pleasure then he realizes the greatness of Allah ta’ala and when that happens the person can appreciate the greatness of other people and show respect to others as well. True greatness however belongs to Allah ta’ala alone and it is Him alone we should please.
Disease of the Heart
Attributing greatness to one’s self is a disease of the heart. It is called Takabbur and it has different levels.
Some Scholars say it is an atomic disease i.e. seems very small but can cause great spiritual destruction like an atom bomb which can cause great destruction.
In a Hadith Qudsi Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said that Allah ta’ala said,
“Pride is my cloak and greatness My robe, and he who competes with Me in respect of either of them I shall cast into Hell-fire.” [Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah]
Allah ta’ala uses the analogy of a garment saying if anyone tries to snatch it they will go into Jahannam. A person who claims greatness thinks they can share in the greatness of Allah ta’ala but this is a trait no one can share.
Realising the Greatness of Allah ta’ala
One way to realise the greatness of Allah ta’ala is to reflect upon the whole universe and the signs of Allah ta’ala in all of creation. It makes a person feel small and insignificant. We should put ourselves in situations or environment where we can feel the Greatness and Supremeness of Allah ta’ala and to feel small, imperfect and insignificant i.e. looking up at the stars on a dark night in a rural area. Looking at the sky is something which brings a person closer to Allah ta’ala. In Surah Mulk (verse 3) Allah ta’ala says,
الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا ۖ مَا تَرَىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ مِنْ تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِنْ فُطُورٍ
“The One Who created the seven heavens, one above another, you will not see any flaw in the creation of the Compassionate. Look once again, do you see any flaw?”
Knowing Allah ta’ala but not knowing Allah ta’ala
Allah ta’ala is telling us to look at the sky and though Allah ta’ala is everywhere, the sky is something which makes you realize there is a whole universe we can glimpse into. The stars are millions of light years away and we can see them with our naked eyes but we cannot reach them. It is so strange that Allah ta’ala is telling us to look at the sky and you can look but do not really know though you can feel something is there. Allah ta’ala’s Greatness is something we can feel but we do not really know or understand the Haqeeqat and as was mentioned in the introduction, knowing Allah ta’ala but not knowing Allah ta’ala. Yes you can know Him and yes you can never know Him.
Ibraheem AS and His realising the Greatness of Allah ta’ala
Different Ambiyaa went through this. It is mentioned in the Qur’an regarding Ibraheem AS,
فَلَمَّا جَنَّ عَلَيْهِ اللَّيْلُ رَأَىٰ كَوْكَبًا ۖ قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّي ۖ فَلَمَّا أَفَلَ قَالَ لَا أُحِبُّ الْآفِلِينَ
When the night drew its shadow over him, he saw a star and said, "this is my Rabb." But when it set, he said: "I do not love to worship such a god that fades away." [Surah Al-An’aam 76]
فَلَمَّا رَأَى الْقَمَرَ بَازِغًا قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّي ۖ فَلَمَّا أَفَلَ قَالَ لَئِنْ لَمْ يَهْدِنِي رَبِّي لَأَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الضَّالِّينَ
Afterwards he saw the moon shining, he said; "This is my Rabb." But when it also set, he cried: "If my Rabb does not guide me, I shall certainly become one of those who go astray." [Surah Al-An’aam 77]
فَلَمَّا رَأَى الشَّمْسَ بَازِغَةً قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّي هَٰذَا أَكْبَرُ ۖ فَلَمَّا أَفَلَتْ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ
Then when he saw the sun with its brighter shine, and he said: "This must be my Rabb; it is larger than the other two." But when it also set, he exclaimed: "O my people! I am done with your shirk (associating partners with Allah” [Surah Al-An’aam 78]
He realised Allah ta’ala was Bigger/Greater than the sun, moon and stars and He controlled the movements of these huge objects.
Feeling Allah ta’ala’s Kibriyaai
To feel Allah ta’ala’s Kibriyaai in our hearts we should reflect upon it by looking at the universe and the world around us. We should realise the Greatness of Allah ta’ala both, in our hearts and on our tongues when we say اللهُ اكْبَر
In Surah Bani Isra’eel, Allah ta’ala tells says,
وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي لَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَدًا وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ وَلِيٌّ مِنَ الذُّلِّ ۖ وَكَبِّرْهُ تَكْبِيرًا
and say: "Praise be to Allah, the One Who has begotten no son and Who has no partner in His Kingdom; nor He is helpless to need a protector, and glorify His greatness in the best possible way." [Surah Israa: 111]
If we look at the Adhaan how many times is the Takbeer recited? It is recited six times and if one lives in a place where the Adhaan can be heard then for the five prayer times one hears it 30 times. Then in each Iqaamah for those who pray in the Masjid, it is heard another 30 times for the five prayers. Then while performing Salah the Takbeer is recited at the movement for each posture. It has been calculated that if one prays the five prayers with the Fard, Waajib, Sunnat and Nawaafil then the Takbeer is recited 96 times in each Salaah. The Takbeeraat are also recited during Hajj, in the ‘Eid and Janaaza Salaah, when slaughtering the animal etc. Allah ta’ala is constantly reminding us that He is The Greatest.
We are actually affected by the bigness of things i.e. a big country, a grand house, people who have a lot of wealth etc. and we start regarding them as important. Why? Because they are so big and Allah ta’ala is reminding us saying, “No, I am the Biggest” Therefore when we see these great things and are impressed by them or we are impressed by our own selves we should say اللهُ اكْبَر and we should be careful about giving greatness to our own selves.
Allah ta’ala is very patient with human beings. Scholars give an example of a man with many children the eldest of whom starts acting like the father to the younger ones. At first the father may find it amusing however after a point he will scold the eldest child. Similarly Allah ta’ala lets it go when a person starts thinking themselves great but eventually Allah ta’ala will punish.
Remedy to Inculcate Humility
Therefore we should have Istihzaar (awareness) of His greatness at all times and the best way to do it is to be humble in respect to Allah ta’ala and other people and our own selves and our achievements especially when we are praised. One way to divert attention away from our own selves when we are praised and we start to feel important and significant is to say اللهُ اكْبَر and think that it is Allah ta’ala Who is deserving of this praise, as any good which has come to me is from Allah ta’ala and He covers up all my negative points from creation. He puts a veil over them and makes apparent my good points.
We should realize our Haqeeqat/Asl and when we realize it, there will be no Takabbur. In the Qur’an Allah ta’ala says again and again to look at where we come from, what our origin is and what we are made of; an impure drop of water.
The Salaf Saaliheen used to make Tarbiyat of their children regarding this. There is a story about ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Azeez (رحمه الله), the famous Khaleefah after the Khulafa Raashideen. He was very pious and when he became Khaleefah he gave away a lot of wealth which he believed was impermissible for him and so his family had to become used to a lower standard of living. His son once made a ring worth a thousand Dinaar which was a lot of money and when ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Azeez (رحمه الله) heard, he wrote to his son saying, “It is better you sell the ring and feed a thousand hungry people and make a simple iron ring with the words,‘Rahimahullahu imran ‘Arafa qadarahu nafsihi’” – Meaning may Allah have mercy on such a man who recognizes the worth of his own self i.e. to realise how temporary and insignificant you are. This does not mean you feel lowly and degrade yourself but not to put so much importance on materialistic things because you deem yourself worthy of it.
Do not Forget your Haqeeqat
Although it is permissible in Deen to spend money and have good things but when a person does that it is opening the door to potential arrogance. A person can get infatuated with his own self and unfortunately we live in a very materialistic culture and this is not just in the Western cultures but also among Muslims. We are fixated with looking good and having an image and we spend a lot of money to that end. So again we are giving self-importance to ourselves and forgetting our Haqeeqat. What is the intention of spending so much money on something like a watch? If it is an investment like on gold and silver jewellery which a woman can wear as well then it is different however if it is to show off then it becomes a problem. As women we also need to keep in mind if something is Israaf (extravagance) and if it permissible. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam gave us very explicit guidelines and we should find out and we should refrain from anything which is Riyaa or Takabbur or Israaf and if it is Israaf then we should take the middle road. Scholars have said the middle line where Israaf is concerned is, “what in your community the people above you do not look lowly upon and those people below you do not think you are showing off.” Therefore it depends on people’s backgrounds, cultures and situations.
Everyone needs to be careful regarding Takabbur, especially people with a lot of wealth, intelligence and degrees, beauty, fame etc.
Maalik bin Dinaar (رحمه الله) was a famous Scholar. One day the son of a Wazeer walked by him with a lot of pride, arrogance and the gait of a prince. Maalik bin Dinaar (رحمه الله) said to him, “Won’t it be good to leave Takabbur.” The son of the Wazeer replied by asking if he recognized him meaning “how can you talk to me like this?” Maalik bin Dinaar (رحمه الله) said, “Yes I recognize you. Your beginning was an impure drop of water and your end will be a bad smelling body and in between you are carrying Najaasat i.e. in your stomach” meaning this is your Haqeeqat. When he said this, it touched the heart of the Wazeer’s son. He bowed his head and made Tawbah.
Summary of the Remedies of Takabbur
The more humility we see in our own selves, the more we will see Allah ta’ala as Al-Mutakabbir and the more we realise the greatness of Allah ta’ala , the more we will realize our own humility
These two names will be discussed together.
الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ are interconnected and similar in terms of their meaning.
الْخَالِقُ is translated as The Creator and the Planner. It means to create something out of nothing; bring something out of non-existence to existence without any raw materials, model or architectural plans, to make something with Hikmat and to run things in systematic way. All this comes under الْخَالِقُ and only Allah ta’ala is الْخَالِقُ
It is mentioned 11 times in the Qur’an.
الْبَارِئُ is translated as The Maker from Nothing and The Evolver. It has the connotation of making something in a systematic, principled way.
These two names are often used interchangeably however there is a subtle difference between the two.
In the Qur’an
In the Qur’an a lot is mentioned on how Allah ta’ala created everything.
اللَّهُ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَكِيلٌ
Allah is the Creator of all things and of all things He is the Guardian. [Surah Zumar: 62]
Allah ta’ala created everything and he also made everything in a systematic and orderly fashion and with a purpose.
Looking at the Signs
After mentioning the things Allah ta’ala created He says to look at them,
فَلْيَنْظُرِ الْإِنْسَانُ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِه - Let man reflect on his food [Surah Abasa: 24]
Addressing humanity Allah ta’ala says that he should look at the food he eats and how this sustenance is provided. Milk, which is a pure substance, is produced from between two impurities, blood and Najaasah.
وَإِنَّ لَكُمْ فِي الْأَنْعَامِ لَعِبْرَةً ۖ نُسْقِيكُمْ مِمَّا فِي بُطُونِهِ مِنْ بَيْنِ فَرْثٍ وَدَمٍ لَبَنًا خَالِصًا سَائِغًا لِلشَّارِبِينَ
Surely there is a lesson for you in cattle. We give you to drink of what is in their bellies, between bowels and blood - pure milk - pleasant for those who drink it. [An-Nahl: 66]
There is Aalami Akbar – the whole universe and the Aalami Asghar – our own selves which is the smaller world, a world unto itself. Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an,
وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِلْمُوقِنِينَ - In the earth, there are signs for the firm believers, [Surah Dhaariyaat:20]
People of Yaqeen will see the signs in the universe and in their own bodies, how Allah ta’ala has structured and balanced everything.
وَفِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ - and also in your own selves; can you not see? [Surah Dhaariyaat:21]
It is when one looks that one finds the signs and how everything has a purpose.
Allah ta’ala’s bounties are innumerable.
وَآتَاكُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ
He has given you all that you could ask for and if you want to count the favors of Allah, you will never be able to count them. In fact, man is unjust, thankless. [Surah Ibraheem: 34]
Thinking and reflecting on the signs of Allah ta’ala, whether it be the universe or our own bodies, will make us realise Allah ta’ala is الْخَالِقُ – making something from nothing and الْبَارِئ– making it in a systematic manner. It is mentioned in many places in the Qur’an to look at creation and to look at it with wonder.
Even those who do not believe, when they see the signs they say there has to be a God Who created everything so perfectly. Scientists have said they see embryology mentioned in the Qur’an. Regarding it Allah ta’ala says,
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ سُلَالَةٍ مِنْ طِينٍ - Indeed We have created man from an essence of clay,
ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً فِي قَرَارٍ مَكِينٍ - then placed him as a drop of semen in a firm resting place,
خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنْشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ ۚ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
then changed the semen into a leechlike mass, then leechlike mass into a fetus lump, then fetus lump into bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought him forth as quite a different creature from the embryo - so blessed is Allah, the best of all creators [Surah Mu’minoon: 12-14]
People in the olden days when there were no ultrasound used to believe that at conception there was a miniature person which grew into a baby before being born but from a piece of flesh there are 300 joints being made, millions of cells being created and a whole nervous system which is so long that if it was stretched out it would go around world twice and this is just the human. Then there are animals, each of which given an amazing feature. We cannot look at nature empty heartedly. We have to look with eyes of Imaan and you will say Subhaanallaah with a feeling of awe. The Tarbiyat of children can also be done because when you share this feeling with them it will touch something in their soul and they will feed off it.
Allah ta’ala is telling us to look at the signs however human beings are in their own delusion. Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an,
يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنْسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ - O man! What has lured you away from your gracious Rabb, (Allah ta’ala reminding us)
الَّذِي خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ - Who created you, fashioned you, proportioned you,
فِي أَيِّ صُورَةٍ مَا شَاءَ رَكَّبَكَ - and moulded you in whatever form He pleased? [Surah Infitaar: 6-8]
He made us male and female, different sizes and colours and this is all the creation of Allah ta’ala and we are all the creation of Allah ta’ala.Source
الْمُصَوِّرُ is translated as The Shaper of Beauty, The Fashioner and The Bestower of Forms. It comes from Tasweer (picture)
That Being Who made His Makhlooq into different forms (suras) so that they may recognize one another.
Allah ta’ala made Makhlooq and designed it systematically. Look at human beings, we all have one heart, two lungs etc. but He made us look different in colour, appearance, size etc. and everything has a specific Surah to be distinguished from others. He made us into men and women and different races. Millions of people from Adam AS till now but, yet no two faces are alike and no two finger prints are alike. The animals too are divided into different species and each one i.e. birds, are of different shapes, sizes, colours and characteristics. This shows the complete and perfect power of Allah ta’ala.
This name cannot be shared by human as only Allah ta’ala is Musawwir and so it is not permissible for humans to make pictures of animate things though this is not accepted by many people and many arguments are presented on the subject. According to classical Scholars it is impermissible and there are many Hadith which prohibit the making of Tasweer. There are exceptions where it is allowed i.e. educational purposes for children, legal requirements, identification etc.
فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ - “So blessed be Allah, the Best to create” [23:14]
In the Qur’an
It is used once in the Qur’an in verse 23 in Surah Hashr and mentioned in other forms in the Qur’an.
Allah ta’ala Created in the Best of Forms
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإنْسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
We have indeed created man in the best stature;
ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ
then We abase him to the lowest of the low [Surah Teen:4-5]
Unlike Christianity which believes that human beings are born out of sin, in Islam there is the concept that every human being is born pure. We are made in the best manner and with the best Rooh (Soul) which is essentially unblemished when we are born. Then when a person degrades himself when Nafs rules over him then, “We abase him to the lowest of the low” When human is good he can go higher than the angels and when he is bad he can be lower than the animals.
Beauty in Dhaahir & Baatin
Allah ta’ala is the Fashioner in the things we can see (Dhaahir) and also in things we cannot see (Baatin) which is the beauty inside which Allah ta’ala has formed i.e. the personality. Some people may look beautiful but their personalities, nature, Akhlaaq is bad, rude, mean etc. Others may not be so good looking, they may be over-weight with a not so good complexion however they have beautiful Akhlaaq and that is true beauty.
Signs in the Creation of Allah ta’ala
Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an,
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِلْعَالِمِينَ
And yet others of His signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors; surely there are signs in this for the knowledgeable (Surah Room: 22]
Usually “Ikhtilaaf” is regarded as a bad thing however these differences is the variety and diversity of Allah ta’ala and it is good. There is richness in diversity.
Allah ta’ala says He made people however He wanted and we see even in one family with four children how they are different in looks, skin colour and personalities. We hear parents saying they do not know where the child’s personality came from as he/she was not like the mother or the father but Allah ta’ala is Musawwir and He fashioned them.
Looking at the Three attributes Together
The three names, الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ all mean Creator in some sense but with subtle differences between them. Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) said that الْخَالِقُ is like the architect or constructor of a building i.e. designing the basic layout. الْبَارِئُ is the architect who is more detail orientated planning how big the rooms will be, where the bathroom will be etc. الْمُصَوِّرُ is more like the interior decorator and most detail orientated. Therefore there are different levels of detail in creation.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.