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Lesson 4

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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,
Ar-Rah-maa-nir Ra-heem The Beneficent, the Merciful,
Maa-li-ki yaw-mid-deen. 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 go astray.

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:
  1. Rab-bil 'aa-la-meen (Lord of the worlds, One who nurtures unto perfection),
  2. Al-Rahman (the Beneficent),
  3. Al-Raheem (the Merciful), and
  4. 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.
Rabubiyat (nurturing unto perfection) is the attribute whereby, after creating, He develops by stages all His creation to perfection, within its limitations.

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." (55:1-2)
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.

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