Ahmadiyya Priangan Timur


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Four Principal Attributes of Allah

God Almighty has four principal attributes which may be called the mothers of all attributes. Every one of them makes a demand upon our humanness. These four are Rububiyyat, Rahmaniyyat, Rahimiyyat and Malikiyyat of the Day of Judgement.

For its manifestation, Rububiyyat demands nothingness, or a state resembling nothingness. Every form of creation, whether animate or inanimate, comes into being through it.

For its manifestation, Rahmaniyyat demands the absence of existence and its operation is related only to animates and not to inanimates.

Rahimiyyat demands for its manifestation an affirmation of their nothingness and non-existence from the part of creation which is endowed with reason and relates only to man. Malikiyyat of the Day of Judgement demands for its manifestation humble supplication and pleading and relates only to such of mankind as fall like beggars on the threshold of Unity and spread forth their mantle of sincerity in order to receive grace and, finding themselves empty handed, believe in the Malikiyyat of God. These four attributes are in operation all the time. Of these Rahimiyyat moves a person to supplication and Malikiyyat consumes a person in the fire of fear and terror and gives birth to true humility, for this attribute establishes that God is the Master of recompense and that no one has the right to demand anything. Forgiveness and salvation are through grace.

[Ayyam-us-Sulah, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 14, pp. 242-243]

In Surah Fatihah God Almighty has set forth four of His attributes, namely, Rabb-ul-‘Alamin, Rahman, Rahim and Malik-i-Yaum-id-Din. The order in which they are mentioned is the natural order of these four attributes and they are manifested in this order. Divine grace is manifested in the world in four types.
The first is the most general grace. This is the absolute grace which perpetually envelops everything from the heavens to the earth without distinction of animate or inanimate. The coming into being of everything from non-existence and its fullest development is through this grace. Nothing is outside of it. All souls and bodies were manifested and are manifested through it and all were developed and are developed through it. This grace is the very life of the universe. Were it to be withdrawn for an instant the universe would come to an end; and had it not been for this grace, there would have been no creation. In the Holy Qur’an this grace is named Rububiyyat and by virtue of it God is called Rabb-ul-‘Alamin, as is said at another place:
God is the Rabb of everything
 al-An‘am, 6:165
Nothing in the universe is devoid of His Rububiyyat. So the attribute of Rabb-ul-‘Alamin is mentioned first of all in Surah Fatihah and it is declared:
‘All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.’
al-Fatihah, 1:2

as of all the attributes of grace, this has natural priority, both because it comes into manifestation before the other attributes of grace and because it is the most general in its scope, inasmuch as it comprehends everything whether animate or inanimate.

The second type of grace is general grace and the difference between this grace and the one previously mentioned is that the first one comprehends the whole of the universe and the second one is a special Divine bounty which is bestowed upon animates. In other words, the special attention of the Divine towards living thingsis called the general grace. It operates in respect of all living things according to their needs without their having any right or title to it. It is not the consequence of, or reward for, any action. It is by the blessing of this grace that every living thing lives, eats, drinks and is safeguarded against dangers and has its needs fulfilled. Through it all the means of life which are needed by every animate or its species for their own continuance, are made available. It is the consequence of this grace that whatever the souls need for their physical development has all been provided, and for those who in addition to physical development are in need of spiritual development, that is to say, they possess the capacity for such development, the Word of God has descended through eternity at the time of its need.

It is through the operation of this grace of Rahmaniyyat that man fulfils his millions of needs. He has available to him the surface of the earth for residence, the sun and the moon for light, air for breathing, water for drinking, all varieties of food for eating, millions of medicines for treatment, a large variety of garments for wearing and Divine Books for guidance. No one can claim that all this has been provided through the blessing of his actions, that he had performed some good action in some previous existence in consequence of which God has bestowed these numberless bounties upon mankind. It is thus established that this grace which is manifested in thousands of ways for the comfort of all animates is an exgratia bounty, which is not bestowed in consequence of any action but is a manifestation of Divine compassion, so that every animate should achieve its natural purpose and all its needs may be fulfilled. By virtue of this grace, Divine bounty provides for the needs of mankind and all animals and affords them protection so that their capacities should not remain in the realm of potentiality. The existence of this Divine attribute is established by the observation of the law of nature. No reasonable person would deny that the sun, the moon, the earth, and the elements, and all other necessary things which are found in the universe, and upon which the life of all animates depends, are manifested through this grace. The name of this grace, of which everything that breathes takes advantage according to its needs, without distinction of man or beast, believer or non-believer, good or bad, and of which no animate is deprived, is Rahmaniyyat, and by virtue of it God has been called Rahman in Surah Fatihah after Rabbul-‘Alamin. The attribute al-Rahman is referred to at several other places in the Holy Qur’an. For instance:

al-Furqan, 25:61-64
This means that: When the disbelievers, pagans and atheists are admonished that they should prostrate themselves before the Rahman, they feel aversion towards the name Rahman and enquire: What is Rahman? The answer is that Rahman is the Blessed Being, Who is the perpetual source of all good and Who has made mansions in the heaven and has placed the sun and the moon in those mansions which provide light to the whole creation with-Rahman has made for all mankind day and night which follow each other so that a seeker of understanding should draw benefit from this wise arrangement and should find release from the coverings of ignorance and indifference and so that he who is eager to be grateful should render thanks.
The true worshippers of Rahman are those who walk humbly upon the earth and when the ignorant ones address them harshly they reply to them in words of peace and compassion.
That is to say, they offer kindness in place of harshness, and in return for abuse, they pray for their revilers and thus they exhibit gracious qualities, for the Gracious One bestows the bounties of the sun, the moon, the earth and other countless favours upon all His creatures regardless of whether they are good or bad.
In these verses, it has been expounded that the word Rahman is used for God because His mercy encompasses all good and bad alike. At another place this mercy has been referred to in the verse:

I inflict My chastisement upon whom I so determine and My mercy encompasses everything.
 al-Anbiya’, 21:43
 At another place it is said:
 Tell these disbelievers and the disobedient ones that were it not for the attribute of Rahmaniyyat, they could not have averted divine chastisement.
al-Anbiya’, 21:43
virtue of Rahmaniyyat that He grants respite to the disbelievers and pagans and does not seize them quickly. At another place Rahmaniyyat is referred to as:

Do they not observe the birds flying above them with their wings spread out and closed down. It is the Gracious One Who keeps them from falling down.

This means that the grace of Rahmaniyyat so encompasses all animates that even birds which seem to have little value, fly joyously in the current of this grace. As this grace follows naturally after Rububiyyat, it has been mentioned in that order in Surah Fatihah.

The third type of grace is special grace. The difference between this and general grace is that in the case of the general grace, a beneficiary is not under obligation to make himself good, or to bring his ego out of the coverings of darkness, or to put forward any effort to take advantage of it. By virtue of general grace, God Almighty bestows upon every animate all that it needs according to its nature without asking and without any effort on its part. But in the case of special grace, striving and effort, purification of the heart and supplication, attention towards God and all kinds of appropriate efforts are needed. He alone receives this grace who seeks it and this grace descends upon one who works for it. The existence of this grace is also proved by observation of the law of nature. It is obvious that those who strive in the cause of God and those who are indifferent cannot be equal. Without doubt, a special mercy descends upon people who strive truly in the cause of God and withdraw from every darkness and disorder. By virtue of this grace, in the Holy Qur’an, God's name is Rahim. Because the attribute of Rahimiyyat is special and follows upon the fulfilment of certain conditions, it is mentioned after Rahmaniyyat, for Rahmaniyyat was manifested before Rahimiyyat manifested itself. On account of this natural order Rahimiyyat is mentioned after Rahmaniyyat in Surah Fatihah and Allah the Exalted says:
‘The Gracious, the Merciful

This attribute is mentioned at several places in the Holy Qur’an. For instance, at one place it is said:
‘And He is Merciful to the believers’
al-Ahzab, 33:44
This means that God's Rahimiyyat is confined to the believers and that a disbeliever and a rebellious one have no share in it.

It is worthy of note that the operation of the attribute of Rahimiyyat has been confined to the case of believers, but Rahmaniyyat is not so limited. Nowhere is it stated that God is Rahman towards believers. The mercy which is specially related to the believers is always described as Rahimiyyat. At another place it is said:

 The Rahimiyyat of Allah is close to those who do their duty to the utmost.

It is worthy of note that the operation of the attribute of Rahimiyyat has been confined to the case of believers, but Rahmaniyyat is not so limited. Nowhere is it stated that God is Rahman towards believers. The mercy which is specially related to the believers is always described as Rahimiyyat. At another place it is said:

Those who believed and migrated from their homes or shed their selfish desires, and strove in the path of Allah hope for His mercy, for Allah is Most Forgiving, Ever-Merciful.

This means that His Rahimiyyat is certainly bestowed upon those who deserve it. There is no one who seeks Him and does not find Him.

The fourth kind of grace is the most special one. This grace cannot be achieved merely by striving and effort. The first condition for its manifestation is that this world of means which is narrow and dark should be demolished altogether and the full power of the Lord of Unity should manifest its perfect brilliance nakedly without the intrusion of other means. This last degree of grace where all other graces end, is distinguished from other graces by being perfect in the sense that it is open and clear and there is no covertness or deficiency in respect of it. That is to say, there should be no doubt left with regard to the determined bestowal of this grace, nor with regard to the reality and pure and perfect mercy of this grace. The generosity of and the rewarding by the Eternal Master, the Bestower of the grace, should appear as bright as the day. The recipient of this grace should know with certainty and should feel it as a matter which is patent that the Master of the kingdom is bestowing a grand bounty, and great delight upon him by His determination, attention and special power. And that for his righteous conduct he is receiving the reward which is perfect and everlasting, most clear and superior, most desirable and loved, and that there is no aspect of a test or trial involved.
To become the beneficiary of that complete, perfect, lasting and superior grace, it is necessary that the person concerned should be transported to another world from this defective, opaque, narrow, confined, mortal and doubtful world, because this grace is an experience of grand manifestations in which the beauty of the true Benefactor should be clearly seen and should be experienced as a certainty, so that no stage of manifestation and certainty should be left out and no veil of material means should obstruct it. Every detail of complete understanding should come into operation in full force. The manifestations should be so clear and definite that God Himself should convey that they are free from every test and trial. This manifestation should carry with it high and perfect delights possessing so completely one's heart and soul and every spiritual and physical faculty to such a degree as could not possibly be exceeded.
This world which is defective in its essence, clouded in its appearance, mortal in its being, doubtful in its conditions, and narrow in its extent, cannot bear these grand manifestations. Pure lights and eternal bounties, and those perfect rays which are everlasting cannot be contained in it. For this manifestation, another world is needed which should be wholly free from the darkness of material means and should be the perfect and pure manifestation of the power of the One Supreme Being.

This most special grace is to some degree enjoyed in this very life by those perfect personalities who tread completely along the path of truth and, discarding their selfish designs and desires, lean wholly towards God. They die before their death, and though they appear to be in this world, they in truth dwell in the other world. Inasmuch as they withdraw their hearts altogether from the material means of this world, breaking away from the habits of humanness and turning away altogether from that which is beside Allah, adopt the way which is above the ordinary. God Almighty treats them in the same way and, in an extraordinary manner, manifests those lights for them which in the case of the others are only manifested after death. They experience to some degree this most special grace in this life.
This is a very special grace and is the ultimate end of all graces. He who achieves it arrives at the greatest good fortune and enjoys eternal prosperity which is the fountainhead of all joys. He who is deprived of this grace is condemned forever to hell. By virtue of this grace, God Almighty has named Himself Malik-i-Yaum-id-Din in the Holy Qur’an. The recompense referred to in this juxtaposition is the perfect recompense, the details of which are set out in the Holy Qur’an. That perfect recompense cannot be manifested without the manifestation of complete Mastership. This is referred to at another place where it is said:

al-Mu’min, 40:17
This means that: On that day God's Rububiyyat will manifest itself without the intervention of material means and it will be observed and felt that everything besides the great power and might of Allah is nonexistent.

Then all comfort and joy, and all reward and punishment, will appear clearly as coming from God. There will be no veil in between and there will be no room left for any doubt. At that time, those who had cut themselves asunder from everything for His sake will find themselves in a state of perfect bliss which will envelope their bodies and souls, their outside and inside, and no part of their beings will be deprived of this great good fortune.

Malik-i-Yaum-id-Din also indicates that on that Day comfort or suffering and pleasure or pain, whatever is experienced by man, will proceed directly from God Almighty, and He will be the Master of all conditions. In other words, meeting with Him or being cut off from Him will be the cause of eternal good fortune or eternal misfortune. Those who had believed in Him, adhered to Unity and had dyed their hearts in His pure love, will experience the lights of His mercy clearly and openly and those who had not achieved faith and love of God will be deprived of this delight and comfort and will be involved in painful torment.

….It will thus be seen that the priority given to the attribute Rahman over the attribute Rahim is necessary and is demanded by the rule of good composition. When the book of nature is studied, the first attribute of God which comes to notice is Rububiyyat, then His Rahmaniyyat, and thereafter His Rahimiyyat and finally His Malikiyyat. Perfect composition demands that the order followed in the book of nature should also be kept in view in the revealed book. To reverse the natural order in composition is to reverse the law of nature. For a perfect composition it is necessary that the order of the composition should be in such accord with the order of nature as if it were its photograph in which that which is natural and in fact prior should be prior in description also. Thus in these verses the highest eloquence is displayed in which the natural order is perfectly observed. The verses follow the order which everyone possessing insight would observe in the order of the universe. Is this not the straightforward way that the order in which Divine bounties appear in the book of nature should be followed also in the Revealed Book? To take exception to such an excellent and wise order is the characteristic of those blind ones who have lost at once both their sight and their insight.

 The eye of the ill-wisher, wherever it lands; Is prone to see evil even where there is good

We revert to the subject and proceed to expound what is set out in Surah Fatihah from Rabb-ul-‘Alamin to Malik-i- Yaum-id-Din. As expounded in the Holy Qur’an, it comprises four grand verities:

 The first verity is that God Almighty is Rabb-ul-‘Alamin, that is to say, that God is the Rabb and Master of all that which is in the universe. All that appears, is seen, felt or perceived by reason, is His creation, and that true existence belongs only to God Almighty and to nothing else. In short, the universe with all its components is created and is the creation of God. There is nothing in the components of the universe which is not the creation of God. Through His perfect Rububiyyat God Almighty controls and rules over every particle of the universe. after having created the world God has withdrawn from its control and that He has committed it to the law of nature so that He Himself does not intervene in any way. It is not like the maker of a machine who has no concern with it after it has been made. The creations of the True Maker are not unconnected with Him. The Rabb-ul-‘Alamin exercises His perfect Rububiyyat all the time over the whole universe and the rain of His Rububiyyat falls perpetually upon the whole universe. At no time is the universe deprived of the benefit of His grace. Even after the creation of the universe, that Source of Grace is needed every moment, without interruption, as if He had not yet created anything. As the world depended upon His Rububiyyat for its coming into being, it is equally dependent upon it for its continuation and sustenance. It is He Who supports the world every moment and every particle of the universe is kept fresh and flourishing because of Him. He exercises His Rububiyyat in respect of everything by His will and intent. It is not as if His Rububiyyat were exercised in respect of anything without His intent. In short, this verity means that everything in the universe is created and is dependent upon the Rububiyyat of God Almighty in respect of all its excellences and conditions, at all times. There is no spiritual or physical excellence which any created thing can acquire on its own without the determination of the Absolute Controller. Besides, it is latent in this and other verities that the
divine attributes, such as Rabb-ul-‘Alamin etc., are special
to Him and that none else is associated with Him in that
respect. The opening phrase of the Surah, namely, Alhamdu lillah, makes it clear that all worthiness of praise
belongs to God alone.

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