Al-Momin

What is that one blessing which is so essential for us, that if we do not have it then all other blessings lose their value… That is the blessing of peace and security.

All over the world there is a lack of peace as more and more countries are facing war and destruction… there is no place on earth which could be considered safe and secure…

Even in developed and “secure” countries, more and more people have now started questioning themselves why after attaining all material success they could ever wish for; why are they still not at peace within themselves? Why is there a constant feeling of fear hovering over them?

Why is there no peace in homes? Families have become so distant from each other… even within a household parents and children have become strangers…there is conflict and mistrust infused in the air and the same home which was considered a haven of peace, has now become a battleground of conflicting interests and emotions…

So where do we turn for peace… how can we find security that we need so desperately?

The answer, the solution, the salvation comes from Allah… as he calls himself “Al-Momin”… which means the giver of peace!

How amazed would be the people of the world if they knew that Muslims worship “Al-Momin” and yet they have no peace in their lives…!!!

How is it possible that you connect day and night to the giver of peace; and yet you are so troubled and insecure?

The reason is that firstly most of us say that we believe in Allah but we don’t worship him… that in itself is a contradiction in itself… your soul is craving for a connection with its Creator, and you keep filling it with physical and worldly stuff which cannot satisfy it… so how can you be at peace when the soul inside is screaming for its need…? try feeding a crying baby who has been separated from his mother; and you will understanding the situation of a soul which is starving for its lord…

Secondly there are those Muslims who worship Allah but have only learnt the words and actions involved in performing the rituals… and they are totally ignorant about Allah…

So this is why their lives are devoid of peace because they have not even recognized who they are worshipping… they have no idea what are Allah’s attributes and names and how these names can have an impact on their lives…

Therefore the solution is in acquiring this knowledge and spreading it to others so that we can have a meaningful relationship with Allah and find peace and security through his worship and obedience…

So let’s find out about Allah’s beautiful name Al-Momin…

The word Momin comes from the root A-Mi-Na… which means peace or security

So Al-Momin means the one who gives peace and security…. The “true” believer of Allah is also called a momin because on one hand he finds peace in his constant relationship with Allah and then transfers this peace to others too…Thus you will always feel secure in the presence of a true believer of Allah because you will have certainty that he will not do any injustice to you…

Just as doubt is the opposite of faith; similarly injustice is the opposite of peace…

Therefore those who want peace must have faith in Allah… and faith means to believe that Allah will never do any injustice to anyone because he is Al-Momin… So imagine someone who is in the company and protection of an All-Mighty being who will always do the best for him and will never abandon him… and will never do any injustice to him… can such a person ever have any fear for what’s going to happen? Or will he have any grief over what has happened? That’s why Allah says in the Quran… “surely the friends of Allah… will have no fear on them nor will they have any grief”

But the question is: what is going to be my role in such a relationship? Because no relationship is one sided… If Allah is promising such peace, safety and satisfaction for his friends then what can I do to become worthy of being his friend?

The good news is that we are all eligible for this honour if we truly want it… if we truly recognize him, connect to him through understanding Quran and worship him with complete love and submission of the heart… do all that he has commanded us to do… leave all that he has forbidden us… then surely we will be among those who live this life with peaceful hearts even if all around them is chaos and troubles… because we know that Allah never does any injustice… because we know beyond any doubt that Allah is Al-Momin…

Also those who want peace in their lives must keep others safe from their injustices… never do any injustice to anyone… neither in their presence nor in their absence… Because it is absolutely essential that we must want good for others just as we want good for ourselves… this is the key to peace… the key to being secure in the pleasure of Allah… who is Al-Momin…

Assalaam

From among the most beautiful names of Allah is Assalaam…which means “The one who is Absolutely Perfect”.

Normally we just think of Allah half-heartedly… as if from a distance…so when we say he is great or that he is flawless…these words don’t really impact our hearts because we are not really actively paying attention or analyzing the attributes of Allah closely.

But really studying these beautiful names of Allah in depth takes us on a journey of enlightenment because it makes us look at these attributes of Allah very deeply and closely…and so when we see the magnificence of Allah from the eyes of our heart then we can truly feel the love that is a direct result of really knowing and experiencing Allah’s beauty and perfection.

So let’s try and get a glimpse of the awesome name: Assalaam…

Allah (subhanahu wa taala) introduces himself in the Quran:

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ ۚ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ{23

He is Allah, besides Whom there is no god; the King, the Holy, the Absolutely Perfect, the Granter of security, Guardian over all, the Mighty, the Supreme, the Possessor of every greatness Glory be to Allah from what they set up (with Him).

Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala alone is the one who deserves the name Assalaam… because of his extreme perfection in his being, in his names and also in his actions. In other words perfection is inseparable from His majesty.

Allah is free from the weakness of tiredness… free from the need to sleep…

He was always alive and will remain alive forever… death cannot touch him…

His powers and abilities do not ever diminish… Allah is forever constant… his attributes do not change…

His actions are absolutely perfect… he does not do anything against wisdom…

His justice is flawless… he never does any zulm to anyone

His knowledge is perfectly encompassing each and everything…not even the tiniest particle can escape his notice…

Similarly all other attributes of Allah like Hearing and seeing, planning and executing his commands… etc… all are extremely perfect and flawless.

Thus infact the name Assalaam is so great that it encompasses all the other names of Allah too… because all the names and attributes are absolutely perfect.

So the question arises: how does this beautiful name Assalaam impact our lives? What benefit does it have for us?

The answer to this can be understood if we ponder upon how and why do we lack productivity in our lives? Mostly we suffer from a lack of energy due to negative thinking. Sometimes we are brooding upon our own imperfections and weaknesses… and other times we become pessimistic when we see the flaws in people whom we live and work with. It’s like a constant battle of nerves which we keep fighting and the reason why it becomes like such a huge challenge is simply due to the fact that we love perfection but we fail to understand that ONLY Allah is the One who is free from flaws. All others must have some weakness or the other just because Allah made us like this… and then we think why didn’t Allah make us perfect? Well, that’s because this life is a test. How could we earn the rewards of patience if we didn’t have to face the weaknesses of people? How would we recognize the worth of good behavior of one person if didn’t have any opposite to compare it with?

However despite all our weaknesses we still have the desire for perfection and it can be fulfilled only when we are able to develop a strong bond with Allah who is Assalaam. Therefore the realization of Allah’s perfection and finding comfort in the name Assalaam is something that is of utmost importance if we want to remain enthusiastic and optimistic.

And that is why Allah made the utterance of this name so common that every single time we meet someone we greet each other with Assalamu alaikum… which is a reminder that the peace and blessings which we send on others is due to the awesome perfection of Allah. But we never realize while greeting others that we are in fact spreading the name of Allah. Imagine how meaningful our salaam would become if we understand that through it we are reminding ourselves and others that Allah is just absolutely and unimaginably perfect!!

Another blessing of this name is that it is a means of increasing love in our hearts. You see the feeling of love cannot exist in a heart that is full of grudges or jealousy or other negative feelings. So when we say Assalaam and realize how perfect Allah is then it causes us to severely dislike our bad feelings and we hasten to remove them from our hearts… so they become clean enough to be able to love… as is proved from the Hadith of Allah’s Messenger:

Abu Huraira (r.a.) narrated that Prophet (s.a.w) said:

You will not enter paradise until you have faith

And you will not have faith until you love one another

Should I not inform you about something that if you will do it then you will love one another? Spread “Assalaam” amongst yourselves.

And so in every salah too we say Assalaam to the Messenger of Allah and upon all the righteous slaves of Allah…

The Prophet (s.a.w) said:

“Allah is the one who is Assalaam… so when you sit during salah you should say:

‘All worship is for Allah and prayers and goodness… Assalaam upon you O Prophet… and the mercy and blessings of Allah (be upon you) … Assalaam upon us and upon the righteous slaves of Allah”

And the Prophet (s.a.w) said that when someone says this then this greeting reaches all the good slaves of Allah, in the heavens and the earth.

But our problem is that on the one hand we don’t know the meaning of what we are saying in salah…and on the other hand even if someone knows the meaning they don’t concentrate on these words when they say it…

No wonder in spite of having the knowledge of Allah and His perfection we mostly remain empty and miserable because we do not make any conscious effort to internalize Allah’s names in our hearts or in our thoughts or actions.

So then how to bring a positive change in our life with Assalaam?

  • First of all we must focus deeply on the fact that Allah is absolutely flawless and perfect.
  • Secondly become absolutely convinced that Allah cannot do anything to us that is less than perfect… because all His decisions are based on his flawless justice and his perfect wisdom and his awesome knowledge of what is good and what is not good for us,
  • Thirdly accept the fact that human beings can never be perfect so we should stop expecting others to have perfection.
  • We love Allah and want to attain his friendship so we should always aim high in excellence… although we know we can never be perfect but it should be our goal in life to strive for excellence in everything that we do… constantly improving the standard of our worship, our behavior with people and also our routine activities… knowing that each and everything is being watched by the One who is absolutely Perfect…
  • Finally we should constantly remind ourselves that for such excellent people who love the perfection of Allah… He has prepared the paradise which he refers to as the “Dar-us-Salaam”… which means the house of perfection…a house which is free from the imperfections like disease or death, hunger or thirst… and all such afflictions

لَهُمْ دَارُ السَّلَامِ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ ۖ وَهُوَ وَلِيُّهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ {127

They shall have the abode of perfection with their Lord, and He is their protecting friend because of what they did.

Al-Quddoos

And from among the beautiful names of Allah is “Al-Quddoos” which means the ultimately pure and sacred. In the Quran Allah says:

يُسَبِّحُ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ الْمَلِكِ الْقُدُّوسِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ 

Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth declares the glory of Allah, the King, the Most Pure, the All Mighty, the Most Wise. (62:1)

It means that Allah is most pure and perfect in His being and in His names and attributes. He (swt) is free from all flaws and deficiencies.

Only Allah is the one who is not overcome by any weakness such as sleep… so he is always awake and aware of every single thing that is happening in the universe. He is free from the weakness of forgetfulness so he remembers each and every detail of what has happened in the past. And he is perfect in his knowledge therefore he knows exactly what is going to happen in the future.

His justice is perfect so he will never do any zulm on anyone. He is perfect in his being, so he does not need any partners… He is free from all needs so he doesn’t need our acts of worship… in fact it is us human beings who need to worship him because we are imperfect and incomplete… and so we need His love and approval to attain peace and comfort.

Man is by his nature attracted to purity and perfection. That is why we want to be connected to someone who is perfect and free from shortcomings. But when we seek perfection in people then we are bound to be disappointed because it is like looking for something in a place where it does not exist… On the other hand when we recognize Allah to be the ONLY one who is pure and free from all deficiencies then it opens for us a never ending pleasure of finding comfort in His perfection.

Therefore this beautiful name Al-Quddoos is very important for us because when we understand its implications that Allah is most perfect in all that He is… in all that He does and in all that He says then we can worship him with complete surrender. When we know that his decisions are perfect then we will stop worrying about what has happened to us or what is happening right now or what is going to happen in the future because we will have complete trust that Allah’s plans for us are perfect and it is our own imperfect understanding that prevents us from seeing the goodness in all things.

And most important of all when we recognize that Allah is Al-Quddoos then we realize that each and every word that He has revealed in the Quran is perfect for us and this will make us truly receptive towards His commands and will motivate us to follow the beautiful way of life of His Messenger (s.a.w)

Secondly we as human beings have a great need for purity and perfection in our own beings. That is why most of us go about claiming to be so good… But no one can be pure unless Allah makes us pure. Therefore this need of ours to seek Allah’s help in getting rid of our sins and bad habits connects us to Him most deeply and consistently.

So what are the ways to connect to Al-Quddoos…??

1- Whenever you feel disappointed by others remember Only Allah is perfect… Say Allah you are Al-Quddoos and I am so happy that your perfection is infinite… your perfection is enough to comfort me… (this will release your heart from the pain it suffers from other people’s mistakes)

2- Whenever you feel hopeless about your own self because of your sins… then think that Allah is Al-Quddoos and He is free from all weakness… He made you weak so that you could turn back to him again and again… so glorify his perfection and repent again and again for your mistakes.

3- When you feel alone and helpless then think of Al-Quddoos that He is perfectly able to help you any time and all the time… so rely upon Him and be assured in His support for the believers.

4- Remember that the more you proclaim the purity of Allah the more He will purify your heart from all negative things… So make a lot of tasbeeh of this name. Our Prophet (s.a.w) used to say the following dua in His Ruku and Sujud:

Subboohun Quddoosun Rabbul Mala’ikati warrooh

(most perfect, most pure, the Lord of the angels and Jibra’il)

In the pre-dawn hours Our Prophet (s.a.w) used to include the following words in his zikr:

Subhaan Al-Malikil Quddoos

(Most perfect, the most sacred King)

5- Allah is most pure so He loves purity… therefore make utmost efforts to purify your hearts from all bad thoughts and negative ideas… purify your intentions for his sake only… purify your speech from all evil words… purify your actions from all things that are forbidden. Also purify your self by keeping clean… your food from all contamination… your wealth by paying zakah… etc

6- Also remember that whoever refrains from doing zulm (injustice) then Allah will purify such a person. So try to give right to everyone… even if you are not being given your due rights. Expect Allah to compensate for that and keep doing good for the pleasure of Al-Quddoos.

Al-Malik

The more I study Allah’s names the more it makes me realize that the reason for all our worries and dissatisfaction in this world is that we have never known or pondered upon the names and attributes of Allah. And therefore we don’t recognize His true worth. This lack of recognition creates such a void in our lives that we remain insecure, restless and dissatisfied no matter where we are or whatever we have. Therefore if we want to attain peace and security then learning about Allah’s names and attributes should be among our top most concerns…

One of the most beautiful names of Allah is Al-Malik… which means “The King”.

Also sharing the same root words are two other names of Allah…

Al-Maalik which means “The Owner”… and

Al-Maleek which it is the superlative form of “The King”.

So the first question which arises in our minds is that what is the difference between the owner and the king? Don’t they both mean the same thing?

Well the difference is that when someone is a king it doesn’t necessarily mean that he owns the entire scope of his kingdom. He might have authority and control but he doesn’t own everything. On the other hand some people have ownership of some property or title but other dominating people have acquired all the control and so the owner cannot exercise his authority. But these are the weaknesses of human beings… while Allah, (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) has not only complete ownership of this unimaginably vast universe but also has the absolute authority and control of each and every thing that it contains… thus He is the Al-Malik and He is the Al-Maalik

Allah is “The King”… He alone is the Master of all that we can see and all that we know and also of those beings and those things which we do not know. The Ruler of this world as well as the hereafter…

He is Al-Maalik who owns everything and everyone… we are all His possessions… He is the king of all kings and the owner of all the owners of the world and all that they own… And He has the utmost power and control over all His possessions.

Sometimes people own things but they cannot use them the way they would like to… but Allah can do whatever He wants… He is the complete owner of his will and completely independent in exercising His power.

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ 

 Blessed is He in Whose hand is the kingdom, and He has power over all things (67:1)

On the contrary the ownership and control of people is just temporary and therefore not real…

The reality is that we are all totally empty handed except that which Allah gives to us as a test… All that we have is actually the possession of Allah and He has given it to us for a very short time… not for making us the masters of those things but merely to test us as to how we use them… how we speak and think… how we act…

But our tragedy is that we fail this test badly… because we think that we are the owners of whatever we have… we forget that these things belong only to Allah. This misconception leads to arrogance and carelessness about the real Owner… and so we fail to give Him that status which he deserves…

Just imagine how foolish would be a servant who is given the permission to move around the palace of a king so as to work in it and is allowed to hold various objects to clean them, repair them… etc and he starts imagining himself to be the owner of the palace… starts acting like the king and assumes that he doesn’t need to obey the orders of his master…!!! Imagine what will be his end? What can he achieve by this self deception?

Therefore if we don’t give the due importance to Al-Maalik… the Master… the Owner… then it is our own loss. Our dignity is in being humble to Al-Malik… and our success is in His obedience.

But we can never come out of our self deception if we never ponder upon the Majesty of Allah… Did you know that the size of this entire universe, with all its galaxies and stars and planets… when compared to Allah’s footstool is like a small ring in a desert!! And then this footstool is like a small ring as compared to the Throne of Allah. So how great is Allah? His magnificence is beyond our imagination…

فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْكَرِيم

So exalted be Allah, the True King; no god is there but He, the Lord of the honorable Throne. (23:116)

Allah the most supreme King and Master… Al-Maleek… can enforce His laws on the whole universe without any hindrance whatsoever. Billions of galaxies and trillions of stars are all moving according to Allah’s orders and they cannot dare to disobey their Master; who is the King of the heavens and the earth, the angels and the Jinn, human beings and the birds and the beasts, Owner of the sun and the moon, Ruler of the night and the day, the air and the oceans, the clouds and the lightening… everything big or small is subservient to the will of Allah because He is Al-Malik, and also Al-Maalik.

Then there are those who are known as Kings because of having certain control or authority in this world. But the ONLY one who truly deserves this title is no one else except Allah because all other kings are nothing but slaves of Allah.

The kings of this world have only a limited authority and also for a limited time… They just have limited resources while Allah’s treasures are unlimited…

These kings need the help of so many people to run their governments… but Allah has no need of any partner or helper.

These temporary kings have a limited knowledge and they don’t even know if their orders are being implemented or not. But Allah is The Real King… who knows each and every little thing… not a leaf falls without his knowledge… nor a seed grows without his orders…

So how sad it is that we are so impressed with these apparent kings and remain in fear and awe of them… and expect favours from them thinking that they will fulfil our needs… And remain oblivious to the Real King… Al-Malik… who OWNS all these kings… we neither fear Him nor do we obey Him… and what does it bring us but humiliation? Because when we don’t accept Allah as our Master then we become slaves to people… And when we become slaves to people then it is like begging from a beggar… what could be more degrading than that?

قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ مَالِكَ الْمُلْكِ تُؤْتِي الْمُلْكَ مَنْ تَشَاءُ وَتَنْزِعُ الْمُلْكَ مِمَّنْ تَشَاءُ وَتُعِزُّ مَنْ تَشَاءُ وَتُذِلُّ مَنْ تَشَاءُ ۖ بِيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ 

Say: O Allah, Master of the Kingdom! You give the kingdom to whomsoever You please and take away the kingdom from whomsoever You please, and You exalt whom You please and abase whom You please… in Your hand is all goodness; surely, You have power over all things. (3:26)

Thus Allah’s name Al-Malik gives us freedom from all anxieties. How can a person be anxious about the fulfilment of his needs when he knows that his provision is guaranteed by The King whose treasures have no end… how can we fear people when we know that they are also slaves of Al-Maalik… and they can neither harm us nor give us any benefit without the orders and permission of Allah. So those who live with this consciousness will be the successful ones on the day of the final judgement and will attain the real closeness of the Supreme King… Al-Maleek :

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَنَهَرٍ

فِي مَقْعَدِ صِدْقٍ عِنْدَ مَلِيكٍ مُقْتَدِر

Surely those who are conscious of Allah (and guard against evil) shall be in gardens and rivers… In the seat of honor with a most Powerful King. (54: 54,55)

Therefore Allah’s blessed people are those who remain conscious of the absolute power and authority of Allah… those who understand that they are only slaves of Allah… they are neither deluded by any pride in their temporary status or possessions… nor are they deceived by the control and possessions of other people. Thus they put all of their trust in Allah, they surrender themselves completely to His command… For Allah is their worship and To Him Alone they look for help and provision.

Truly this recognition is the essence of our worship and therefore the very purpose of our lives… May Allah, Al-Malik, help us to realize His Perfect Ownership and Kingdom… may He relieve us from our ignorance and heedlessness… ameen  

 

 

Al-Raheem

Al-Raheem is another beautiful name of Allah which depicts His compassion and mercy. It originates from the same root as Al-Rahman. In the opening line of Quran and then in the beginning of Al-Fatihah we see both these names side by side. Although they seem similar yet there is a difference…

The name Al-Rahman expresses Allah’s mercy and compassion which is for all his creation whereas his beautiful name Al-Raheem describes His special love and mercy which is only for his believers… the true and conscious believers… those who are obedient to Him… those who follow Allah’s commands and avoid doing things that he has forbidden…

The name Al-Raheem reminds me that my most precious possession in this life is my faith in Allah… because it is only due to this faith that I am entitled to this special mercy of Allah which he showers on me in this world and will bless me with it in the hereafter too… provided I remain true and obedient to Him till the last breath.

The best gift which Al-Raheem has given the believers is the gift of faith and this is from his special mercy. Also from this mercy is the gift of Quran and the Prophet (s.a.w) who taught the Quran…about whom Allah says:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ 

 And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.

Also from the mercy of Allah is the gift of a conscious heart… a soft and humble heart… which enables a person to remain obedient to Allah and to show mercy and kindness to people. Therefore when we are able to do something good… whether for Allah or for people… then we must give thanks to Allah because it is only due to His mercy that we are able to fight the devil and only his mercy enables us to defeat our own selfishness.   

Someone might say that if believers are so special to Allah then why are they going through so many difficulties in this world? Where is the special mercy of Al-Raheem?

The fact is that all the decisions of Allah are based on his complete knowledge and wisdom… and even if the believers have to suffer any harm they get benefit from it because of their faith. As our Prophet (s.a.w) promised to us in a Hadith the gist of which is:

The situation of a believer is amazing because he gets benefit from all that happens to him… and this speciality is only for the believer… when something good comes to him he is thankful and this becomes beneficial for him… and when anything bad happens to him he remains patient and so this becomes a source of great rewards for him…

So Allah’s mercy never ends… He is all the time taking care of us but we keep feeling deprived and lost because our own faith is not strong… and because we are so immersed in our worries and anxieties that we fail to perceive Allah’s blessings in all that happens to us in life.

That is why Allah calls to us to ponder in His creation so that we can see with our own eyes the proofs of His never ending mercy, love and compassion…

The following three verses from Surah Ar-Rum always fill me with a renewed hope and faith in Allah’s Mercy…

اللَّهُ الَّذِي يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ فَتُثِيرُ سَحَابًا فَيَبْسُطُهُ فِي السَّمَاءِ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ وَيَجْعَلُهُ كِسَفًا فَتَرَى الْوَدْقَ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خِلَالِهِ ۖ فَإِذَا أَصَابَ بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ {48}وَإِنْ كَانُوا مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ لَمُبْلِسِينَ {49}فَانْظُرْ إِلَىٰ آثَارِ رَحْمَتِ اللَّهِ كَيْفَ يُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {50}

Allah is he Who sends forth the winds so they raise a cloud, then He spreads it forth in the sky as He pleases, and He breaks it up so that you see the rain coming forth from inside it; then when He causes it to fall upon whom He pleases of His servants, lo! they are joyful. Though they were before this, before it was sent down upon them, confounded in sure despair. Look then at the signs of Allah’s mercy, how He gives life to the earth after its death, most surely He will raise the dead to life; and He has power over all things. (30:48-50)

How merciful is Allah that he has not left us alone or helpless… rather he takes care of all our needs… even those needs which we don’t even realize… like the need of our heart to keep beating, the blood to keep circulating… the lungs to keep breathing… the eyelids to keep blinking…

But our most important need is to recognize His mercy… that is the only thing that can keep us strong and hopeful… So we should ponder and contemplate in His beautiful name Al-Raheem and remind each other about it too…

نَبِّئْ عِبَادِي أَنِّي أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ 

 Announce, (O Muhammad) unto My slaves that verily I am the Forgiving, the Most Merciful,(15:49)

We can appreciate the value of this name Al-Raheem by the fact that in just one single surah, Ash-Shuara, which is the 26th chapter of the Quran, Allah has repeated the following verse eight times:

وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ

And verily your Lord is exalted in Might, Most Merciful

Finally what should be our response to Al-Raheem? How can we use this name to bring a positive change in our lives and also in the lives of those around us?

Firstly we need to strengthen our faith and our relationship with Allah by calling upon Al-Raheem whenever we need to feel the reassurance of His Mercy. It can be such a small need as a broken shoe lace… he loves to be called upon and so when we keep asking him, then he makes us feel loved and cared for… the feeling of deprivation or loneliness just fades away like magic!

Secondly whenever we make any mistake we must turn to Him and ask His forgiveness because it is through his special mercy that he forgives whoever seeks to be forgiven. It doesn’t matter to Him how big the sin is or how many times you sin… His Mercy has no end… just be sincere in your repentance and be humble…

Thirdly our attitude towards people should also be that of forgiveness and mercy… the more kind and compassionate you are towards others… the more love and mercy you will receive from the Al-Raheem. And the more you forgive others the more Allah will open your heart and make it easy for you to be on your best behaviour at all times…

And finally remember to put your trust on Him in whose hands is the Power and control of all things:

وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْعَزِيزِ الرَّحِيمِ

And put your trust on the Exalted in Might the Most Merciful  

Al-Rahman

This is the most well known name of Allah and brings to mind His most beautiful attribute which is His boundless mercy, incomparable compassion and immense affection for His creation.

If we think about it we can see that the most basic and the most crucial need of any living being is to be loved and cared for. And that is why Allah places a new born into the arms of that one person who can love and care for him like no other human being and that is the mother. And that is why when we try to imagine the mercy of Allah we have the famous Hadith which says that Allah loves us more than our mothers.

We know that our purpose of existence is to worship Allah but we cannot truly worship without loving and fearing Allah simultaneously. In the Quran Allah tells us that one big sign of true believers is that they are most intense in their love for Allah. But how can we love Him if we don’t know or realize that His mercy has encompassed the whole universe… He is so merciful to even those who don’t give Him his right of worship, so how much merciful he must be for those who live in complete submission to His commands? This is such a thought which fills us with the true desire to worship Him because it makes us so sure of His appreciation and reciprocation for even our tiny little efforts that do sincerely out of love and adoration and submission to Him.  

Worship with love is entirely different because it becomes something that you love doing and not just a burden that has been thrown upon you. That is why Allah reminds us again and again of His name Al-Rahman. Which can never be translated to express its exact meaning… except that we can taste a glimpse of it by understanding that it is the most superlative degree of love, mercy and compassion… a mercy that is so vast and so great that we cannot even begin to imagine… A mercy that has enveloped the whole universe…

And you will be mesmerised by the intensity of Allah’s Rahmah when you consider that this entire mercy which fills the whole universe like air which leaves no space unfilled… is actually only one part out of the hundred parts of Allah’s complete mercy. In a Hadith the Prophet (s.a.w) tells us that Allah has only sent one part of His mercy to this world and kept ninety nine for the believers in the hereafter. And it is only just one percent mercy which he has spread all over His kingdom and due to which human beings are kind and merciful to one another and even the wild animals are merciful to their offsprings…

So now that we know that Allah is Al-Rahman, what then should be our response to it?

How should the knowledge and consciousness of this name affect our hearts and consequently our life?

First of all we should realize that if Rahmah or kindness is His topmost attribute then this must be his most beloved quality. And if we want to enter the group of His beloved people then we should develop this quality in our characters. Not just in outward gestures but also deep within the hidden chambers of our heart and soul we must feel kindness and mercy for all those around us. And when someone is being unpleasant and we don’t feel like being kind to that person then we should remember that Allah’s mercy is unconditional so we must also be unconditionally good to people as far as we can. Because Allah’s rahmah is for those who are compassionate to others.

Secondly we must pray to Al-Rahman to bless us with His mercy because everything in this universe is due to His mercy… all resources become available to us because of His mercy. So if we feel stuck in any situation or feel deprived and lost then we should call Him by this beautiful name and beg Him to send his mercy and solve our problems.

Third and most important thing is that we should try and understand that His mercy is not just expressed when he gives us the blessings of life but also when he tests us with problems. His mercy never ends… He doesn’t stop caring for us. That is why you will notice that even in the midst of the most terrible calamities he is caring for us in a million ways… but we fail to see… because the moment a slight unpleasant thing comes our way we react negatively and this negative reaction closes our intellect and opens the door of our heart for shaitan to come and deprive us of our faith and our tranquillity.

So we need to build our faith in Al-Rahman by constantly pondering on the signs of His mercy… both in our own bodies and also outside of us in the universe… there is no end to it… it is all so obvious but we just need to see it and believe it. And when the heart will truly be attached to Al-Rahman only then will it find the peace, happiness and tranquillity that it keeps yearning for… and this too shall happen only by the mercy of Allah… who is Al-Rahman.

Al-ilaah

Another beautiful name of Allah which we normally don’t recognize as a “name” is Al-ilaah… But the fact is that it is a most significant name of Allah through which we can truly recognize His Majesty and status.

In Arabic the word ilaah means someone who is worshipped. And when you add the prefix of “Al” then it means “The ultimate and the one and Only being which is worthy of worship”.

Al-ilaah can only be someone who is completely perfect in knowledge, power, compassion and wisdom. And these are only the attributes of Allah. Therefore Allah has told us in His Book… (2:163)

وَإِلَـهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ لاَّ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ الرَّحِيمُ

And your god is one God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

It is Allah’s mercy on us that He has put in us the love for completion and the love for perfection… because it makes us love Allah above all other things. But this can happen only when we accept that no other being can be perfect and complete except Allah. Only Allah is the one who is perfect in his own self. Which means that he does not need any other thing to make him complete… As opposed to this the creation no matter how perfect it might appear must have some deficiency or the other. This is the reason for all our disappointments and sorrows. Because we get deceived by appearances and we think our beloved people to be free from flaws… but when their flaws become apparent it makes us miserable and restless…

It is in human nature that we need to truly love and trust some being which is greater than us. We need some nucleus around which our life must revolve. Some higher purpose… which satisfies our need to be completely bow down before it… and to seek its support at all times.

And you will see that no other being or object has the magnificence or power to satisfy this need of ours… that is why the declaration of La ilaaha illallah is the first and foremost requirement of our faith.

The name Al-ilaah reminds us of our very purpose of existence… which is to worship Allah. Our hearts will find peace and tranquillity only when we fulfil this purpose.

To worship Allah does not mean just to fulfil some physical and verbal exercises rather it must involve our hearts… in complete humbleness and complete love. All our life must revolve around this need to please our Lord above all other things. So that even a morsel of food that goes in your mouth or a sip of water that you drink, reminds you of Allah… makes your heart pleased with gratitude and love… and delights you when you have conviction that even this simple little act will raise you in nearness to Allah and be a cause of reward in the hereafter… that is how every step of your way is an act of worship.

The spirit of worship is obedience. So beware of arrogance or self righteousness that causes you to pick and choose.

Also beware that worship should not cause you to be pleased with yourself… rather you should be concerned whether Allah is pleased with you or not. Beware that your own “self” should not become your ilaah

Because only Allah is Al-ilaah… and worship is due only to Him and no one else…

The beautiful name Al-ilaah is the key word in many duas but my all time favourite is that which Prophet Yonus (a.s.) made in the depths of anxiety and misery while he was trapped in the belly of a fish… It makes me so hopeful that if Allah could release His Prophet from such a calamity then the same words can save us from our troubles too… provided we utter these words with consciousness, humbleness and genuine guilt for our mistakes:

فَنَادَى فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ أَن لَّا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

And he called out within the darknesses, “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers”

So call on Al-ilaah with all your heart and rely only on Him to bring peace and tranquillity in your life… For Him should be our utmost love and devotion and complete obedience… because there is no one worthy of this status except Him… because He is Al-ilaah