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Lesson - 4
| Bis-mil-laa-hir Rah-maa-nir Ra-heem.
|| In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.|
Al-ham-du lil-laa-hi Rab-bil aa-la-meen.
||All Praise is due to Allah, the Lord of
the worlds, |
||The Beneficent, the Merciful,|
||Master of the Day of Requital.|
|Ee-yaa-ka na -bu-du wa ee-yaa-ka nas-ta- een.
||Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help. |
|Ih-di nas si-raa-tal mus-ta-qeem
||Guide us on the right path,
|Si-raa-tal la-zee-na an- am-ta a-lay-him.
||The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours,
|Ghay-ril magh-doo-bi a-lay-him wa-lad-daal-leen.
||Not those upon whom wrath is brought down, nor those who
Attributes of Allah are Infinite
In my previous lesson, I have briefly discussed the vast and comprehensive
meaning of the verse
"All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds."
I would like to add that the attributes of Allah are infinite, and
for this reason they have not been enumerated in this verse. As mankind
takes advantage of His Rabubiyat, (attribute of nurturing unto
perfection) and progresses down the spiritual pathway, he becomes
more aware of His hasn (excellence), and benefits from His
Ihsan (goodness). His excellence being His attributes, and
goodness being the benefits given to His creation as a result of these.
Lord of the worlds (Rab-bil 'aa-la-meen) indicates that His
nurturing unto perfection (Rabu-biyat) is not limited to this
world, but will go on in the Hereafter where man is to continue spiritual
progress, and advance his knowledge of Allah's attributes. Hazrat
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the 14th century
Hijra, highlights this in one of his writings: "Since Allah's
excellence and attributes are unbounded, the spiritual progress of
man is infinite." Glory be to Allah and all praise is His; glory
be to Allah, the most High.
Four Basic Attributes of Allah
Out of the limitless excellence or attributes of Allah we have been
given knowledge of only four in this chapter:
Rabubiyat (nurturing unto perfection) is the attribute whereby,
after creating, He develops by stages all His creation to perfection,
within its limitations.
- Rab-bil 'aa-la-meen (Lord of the worlds, One who nurtures
- Al-Rahman (the Beneficent),
- Al-Raheem (the Merciful), and
- Maa-li-ki-yaw-mid-deen (Master of the Day of Requital).
These four basic attributes of Allah are the ones that benefit
His creation in this world.
Rahmaniyat (Beneficence) is the attribute which provides
for all His creation the essential means to reach the stage of perfection,
most of these provisions being made before bringing it into existence.
Raheemiyat (Mercy) is the attribute which rewards exceedingly
those who utilize these means.
Maa-la-ki yaw-mid-deen (Master of the day of Requital) is
the attribute as a result of which punitive measures are taken against
those who do not utilize the means provided, or break and disobey
the laws of Allah. This is to maintain law and order in the universe,
so that suitable conditions remain for the creation to advance to
its stage of perfection.
Lord of the Worlds
I would like to make one additional comment; the word 'aa-la-meen
(worlds) stands not only for the whole universe, but for all of
the creation in it, and all of mankind. In this way the Holy Quran
has presented a unique concept of the Divine Being; unlike previous
religions where this concept is either of a stone idol, an animal
such as a cow, inanimate objects like the fire, or heavenly bodies.
Those making a little progress declared a weak human being as god,
or came up with a national or tribal deity such as 'god of Israel'
or 'god of the Aryan nation.' The Holy Quran declares the Divine Being
as Rab-bil 'aa-la-meen (Lord of the worlds), i.e. One and Only
God for all creation and all nations. There cannot be a better conception
of the Divine Being than this. The idea of a national god led to divisions
and dissension in the human race and promoted the idea of racial supremacy.
The principle of One God for all humanity was advanced by the Holy
Quran at a time when no other nation believed in it. They all considered
themselves superior to others. Even within nations like the Hindus
of India, there existed class differences between various castes of
Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishas and Sudras. These divisions eventually
became part of organized religion. Prophets came to all nations for
their guidance; however, they erroneously accepted their own prophets
as the only truthful ones and rejected all others, leading to further
polarization of the human race and at times even to warfare. The Holy
Quran declared prophets of all nations to be from Allah, and announced
that Prophet Muhammad was a guide to all nations:
"Say, O mankind, surely I am the Messenger of Allah
to you all." (7:158)
Thus the foundation to unite all humanity under one banner was laid
down, by Allah sending Holy Prophet Muhammad as a messenger for all
mankind. He is also the Khatam-an-Nabiyyin (33:40), the seal
and end of all prophets, so that other prophets could not come after
him to erode the unity of the human race. Glory be to Allah, all praise
is His; Glory be to Allah, the most High.
It is essential to focus attention on another aspect of the words,
"All praise is due to Allah." It directs mankind to recognize
Allah by His attributes. Someone may think that visual observation
is necessary to recognize things in this world. Science, however,
has now confirmed that the true state of matter can only be known
by becoming aware of its properties. If matter, which is creation,
has to undergo such scrutiny for its nature to be understood, then
Allah Who is the Creator can only be recognized through His attributes.
It is interesting to note that the word Rabb (Lord) and
not Khaliq (Creator) was used in the verse under discussion.
Further on in the Holy Quran it is clearly stated that Allah is
"The Creator of all things" (6:102). The word Rabb
(Lord) not only conveys the meaning of One Who creates, but also
of the One Who gradually advances His creation to the stage of perfect
development. Great wisdom underlies the use of this word in the
present context. For example, an atheist or argumentative person
could say that since no one has observed the first creation, how
could one say with certainty that there is a Creator? Although this
is an absurd objection, the word Rabb (One Who nourishes
unto perfection) provides a very satisfactory answer to it. It is
true that we have not observed our initial creation, however we
witness everyday in our lives the manifestation of this Divine attribute.
We witness every single creation evolving from a lower to a higher
stage. If we think about our own creation, we notice how the nutrient
substances derived from the earth are utilized by our bodies to
form the germ cell. The astonishing complexities of this cell are
still being discovered by science today. In all human beings, it
develops in the womb of the mother to form the amazing human body.
This highly developed creation and its organization astounds those
scientists who have investigated its development. From the stage
of infancy and helplessness, the human child progresses to the stage
of youthful vigor and vitality. Who is responsible for this gradual
development from the lower to the higher stage? Isn't the birth
and development of the human species, in fact all of creation in
a similar manner, very strong proof for the existence of a Creator
(Khaliq) and One Who nourishes unto perfection (Rabb)?
The evidence for the existence and the Unity of the Divine Being
presented in this attribute of Allah cannot, therefore, be denied
by a fair-minded atheist. In the days when most scientists were
leaning towards atheism, an incident regarding one of them is thus
related. While observing the development of the embryo in an egg
he exclaimed, "As if some God were making it!"
Today the oneness of all creation, its subordination and progression
under one universal law has clearly been proven by scientific discovery.
While studying this amazing and powerful universe, the words, "All
praise is for Allah the Lord of the worlds," are uttered spontaneously
by the contemplating soul.
The Beneficent, the Merciful
Physical creation and this worldly existence are only the first stage
of human development. "Lord of the worlds" (Rab-bil-'aalameen)
also implies that there are other worlds beyond this one, created
by our Rabb (One who nurtures us unto perfection), and He will
carry us there to complete our ongoing spiritual development. His
beneficence (the attribute of being Al-Rahman) has created
the means for our physical development, without any effort on our
part. He has likewise made the provision for our spiritual development
from the lower to the higher stages by revealing the Holy Quran. To
emphasize this fact, the verse "All praise is due to Allah the
Lord of the worlds" is followed by: "The Beneficent the
Merciful." This is further clarified by:
"The Beneficent (Al-Rahman) taught the Quran."
Whoever acts upon this guidance, Allah is Merciful (Raheem)
towards him and rewards him manifold. The Holy Quran refers to this:
"And He is ever Merciful to the believers" (33:43).
The real reward for the believer is in the world Hereafter where he
resides forever; the reward of this life ending with his death.
The verse Ar-Rahman nir-Raheem (the Beneficent, the Merciful)
also tells us that the Mercy of Allah works for us before every
event. Its blessing, however, continues with us if we utilize His
benevolence, the greatest of which is the Holy Quran. In other words,
the mercy of Allah does not end with manifestation of Divine beneficence,
but for the ones availing His guidance, it is further stimulated,
and produces the 'paradise of the heart,' or the peace and serenity
in the mind of the spiritual wayfarer. It assumes a more permanent,
apparent and palpable form for him in the life Hereafter. With a
tranquil mind, a person remains satisfied under all circumstances;
however, with loss of mental satisfaction, even the greatest luxuries
of this life cannot offer any comfort. Do not therefore consider
the paradise of the heart in this life as insignificant.