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Some Core Concepts in Islam – Part III

DR.PASHA | December 07, 2009 | Section: Articles | 1286 reads

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Key to True Happiness

It is therefore in the understanding and acceptance of these miracles that human happiness really lies. Nor just for ourselves but also for others. Not just for this or that group, but for all human beings.

Key to true happiness, therefore, is to realize and to believe that it is to Allah that everything belongs. And it is Allah, therefore, that owns, plans, runs and manages everything.

To know this, and to accept it with the fullness of one’s heart, is where true happiness and success really lie — both here and in the hereafter. To deny and turn away from it is the sure path to a miserable existence — both here and in the hereafter.

These miracles and these proofs then are our pathway to success and happiness, not only in this world, but also in the next world. To turn a blind eye to them is to invite disaster for ourselves and for others.

As the Qur’an says: Wa Man A’arada ‘An Dhikree, Fa-Inna Lahoo Ma’eeshatan Dankaa. Paraphrase: those who turn away from me, what a miserable existence awaits them.

Is One Name More Equal than Others?

It is a most glorious and overpowering star-burst of Allah’s beautiful names, in the midst of which I am trying — unsuccessfully — to hold myself back from talking about ArRahmaan Ar-Raheem specifically.

But how can I stop talking about Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem when Allah’s own book won’t stop talking about them? When Allah’s own book begins with Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem, and when every chapter of Allah’s book thereafter begins with Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem — except for Surah Taubah?

Ar-Rahmaan! It is an attributive name of Allah but is it the same as all the other names or is it somehow first among equals? But suffice it to say there is nothing, and no one, in this world, or anywhere, nicknamed Ar-Rahmaan. Isn’t that miracle enough for you, yes, no?

And there is no one whose second name is Ar-Rahmaan, is there? There is no one the first among whose 98 attributive names is Ar-Rahmaan — Allah being his first and proper name – is there?

Except of course Allah, the Most Merciful — Ar-Rahmaan — master of the worlds and God of Rahmah. One whose mercy, love, compassion and caring know no bounds or limits.

Laa Ilaaha Illaa Huw! It is only right, fair and proper that he — and he alone — should be our lord, God and master!

It was he who sent his messenger as mercy to the worlds — Rahmatul Lil ‘Aalameen!

Rahmaan for all, Raheem for some? Could it be that? Allahu akbar! Limiting and channeling his mercy? A-Hum Yaqsimoona Rahmata Rabbik? Are they the ones doling out the mercy and love of your master? How could they? And how dare they?

Could it be that he is Rahmaan here and now and he is Raheem then, there and later?

Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! But does the difference matter? However, there is one distinction that does seem to hold: Rahmaan in himself, Raheem in his outreach to his creation — Khalq. But who is to say?

What he says is that he is both Ar-Rahmaan (and) Ar-Raheem. And he says it without the help or intermediacy of “and.” The implication is that he is the most merciful, loving, caring, compassionate, gracious and beneficent. And that again he is the most merciful, loving, caring, compassionate, gracious and beneficent.

And the same all over again — one more time. Eternally and endlessly, no matter how you look at it.

Not just once but twice over, Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem — which is a standing miracle in itself, which encompasses the miracle of the missing “Wau“! Did anyone notice that these two names, the way he uses them in his book are not separated by an “and” — or the letter “Wau” in Arabic language?

It is not Ar-Rahmaan “War” Raheem. It is Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem! Did anyone notice that? Right there is another miracle for you, as big and glaring a miracle as you can possibly have or handle.

Not once does the Qur’an use a “Wau.” Did anyone notice that? Do you want a bigger miracle or proof than that? I certainly don’t.

Not once — not twice, but every time the Qur’an uses those expressions — all 114 times of them. What amazing model of consistency coming out of the mouth of an unlettered man — a man who could neither read nor write, that God Almighty raised up in a culture of unlettered people, most of whom could themselves neither read nor write.

This level of precision in editing at a time when there were no computers or printing presses and when books and libraries were most uncommon? It is nothing short of another stupendous and lustrous miracle that the Qur’an is so full of.

This is another proof, all by itself, that the Qur’an is from God and that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is God’s true messenger to humanity.

What Does It Mean?

But what does it mean — this case of the missing “Wau” between Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem? I don’t know, except that it leaves me speechless and wonder-struck. The fact that nothing separates the two: Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem!

Does it mean, among whatever else it means, nothing comes between the eternal and boundless fount of that love and mercy and its eternal and timeless and limitless flow to his creation?

Not even an “and” — a tiny little “Wau”? I don’t know! I don’t understand.

Except, of course, to say what the Qur’an itself says: Rahmatee Wasi’at Kulla Shai’! It is just one, uninterrupted, unstoppable flood of divine mercy, love, compassion, tenderness, caring, beneficence, munificence and the rest that envelops everything.

You think about that and you go and figure that out, as someone I know put it recently — may Allah bless him! I certainly don’t understand it.

The man has a Ph.D. in engineering. But that did not stop him, Alhamdulillah, from using his brainpower, and his training and education, to “think” and to try to “figure out” the marvels and miracles of Allah’s Deen.

Nor did it stop him from inviting his fellow-Muslims and fellow-humans to do likewise: To Think.

It is Allah’s kingdom. He guides whom he wants, how and when he wants. As for those whom Allah misleads, you will find neither helper nor guide for them. Wa Many-Yudlil, Fa-lan Tajida Lahu Waliyyam Murshida, is how the Qur’an puts it.

But what is inescapable is the overflow of Allah’s mercy from every direction that envelops his creation in every way. And who could better say it than Allah himself:

Rahmatee Wasi’at Kulla Shai? Paraphrase: My mercy, love, tenderness, kindness, caring, beneficence, compassion and grace extend to everything.

Or his angels whom he taught and made to say: Rabbanaa Wasi’ta Kulla Shai-in Rahmatan wa Ilmaa! Paraphrase: Our Lord, your love and your knowledge cover everything.

And then did you ever take time out to “think” about those ninety-nine lovely names of Allah? How so many of them actually talk about his infinite caring, giving, love, generosity and kindness in different ways and under different headings?

Rahmaan had to be coupled with Raheem, as if one was not enough! And as if all this was not enough, these two most glorious names and attributes had to be further highlighted by other names and attributes — such as Ghafoor and Ghaffaar!

What can I say? I am speechless and wonderstruck. You want proof? Go find it on your own. This to me is proof enough for a million lifetimes if I had them.

While so many of us are so busy fighting one another over so many issues, most of them so trivial and inconsequential, I feel all I want to do is to lose myself in the beauty of these two most beautiful names of Allah — and let my whole being, let every cell in my body, be dazzled and lit up by the power, majesty, radiance and glory of these two names and attributes of Allah – Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem!

And then move on to do what little I can to let the rest of the world know about them and share their glory, light, majesty, power and brilliance!

And now, after all this, we are saying there is more? There are things beyond even Ar-Raheem, just as Ar-Raheem follows, impossibly as it seems to us, Ar-Rahmaan? How is it possible? But clearly it is. And it is one of those most amazing miracles of the Deen of Islam — and of the most glorious Al-Qur’an.

And of Allah’s most wonderful and beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.

Al-Asmaa’ Al-Husnaa! All those most, most beautiful and wonderful names of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’aala! Let us take a look at some of them.

Another Miracle, another Proof

And while we do that, let us pick up another miracle along the way: the most wonderful miracle of the divine expression “Subhanahu wa Ta’aala.”

You know you find yourself saying it all the time if you are a Muslim, right? Every time you say Allah, you would also tend to say “Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.” Or just say “Ta’ala” as in “Allah Ta’ala.” Right?

You also know that most Muslims in most parts of the world would do that too: say it exactly the way you say it — “Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala” or simply “Allah Ta’ala.”

Ever wonder what an amazing thing this is? Same common expression, being used in precisely the same context, by hundreds of millions of people around the world — a veritable united nations and united colors of humanity: from India to Indonesia; from Japan to Jordan; from Malaysia to Morocco; from America to Australia, Europe, South America and the Caribbean?

How this single common expression unites and binds over a billion and a half people together? Allahu Akbar! If you are looking for miracles, look no more, for, this is a miracle that is staring you right in the face. It is as good or big a miracle you are ever going to find in this world.

So grab hold of this miracle. Understand and cherish it and share it with the rest of the world.

All this is part of the rope of Allah, about which Allah gave the guarantee that it will never snap — Lan-fisaama lahaa! It is your bridge to Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

And it is, on this earth, 1400 years old — going back to the time of our beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.

If it is a miracle you want, look no more. And if it is proof you want whether or not this book is from Allah and if this man Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is God Almighty’s true and last messenger, then look no farther. You are holding that miracle in your hands and you have that proof right here at your fingertips.

Directly from the Qur’an

Did you ever wonder where we Muslims got these expressions from: Subhaanahu and Ta’ala individually or together? And how we got into the habit of saying them so mechanically and routinely and so uniformly without the slightest variation over the ages or across the globe?

Did you ever ask yourself how this level of constancy came about in practice over 1400 years and all over the world, when quite probably there isn’t another expression like that in any other culture, religion, lore, literature or practice?

Well, that is what I am calling a miracle and a proof of the divine origin of the Qur’an for, that is where those expressions came from: directly from the Qur’an! Nothing less.

They came to us directly out of the pages of the Qur’an — and in saying them the way we do, we are directly applying the Qur’an to and in our life.

That means one simple and clear thing: Every time we say Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, we are practicing the Qur’an — yes, practicing the Qur’an, nothing less – in our daily life. That is what it means.

Did you see the kind of miracles you are swimming in – if only you opened your heart and mind and saw them and accepted and embraced them?

Not even Hadith, mind you, but the Qur’an itself — directly. All this came to you directly from the Qur’an. Even though Hadith would have been good enough, and it would have been wonderful — like a lot of things that we Muslims do that come from Hadith — and even though these are expressions that Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, used himself and taught his followers whom he called his Companions.

So, in that way, they automatically become part of Hadith.

But the fact remains that this thing is directly from the Qur’an. Like a lot of other things that we have been talking about in these pages. That is where we got those expressions from: the Qur’an.

That means, these expressions are all parts of different Aayats of the Qur’an, including this one: Subhanahu wa Ta’aala ‘Ammaa Yushrikoon.

Therefore, the story of these divine expressions in the Qur’an is most instructive and exciting. Let us follow it step by step.

First, there is “Ta’ala,” all by itself (7:190; 23:92; 27:63). Then, there is “Subhanahu,” all by itself (9:31). And then the two come together in the form of “Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.”

Not just once, but twice (10:18; 39:67).

Will someone please check these references and make sure they are all correct. And then will you all tell me if this is not a miracle then just what it is. How in the world could an unlettered man sitting in a cave 1400 years ago have possibly put together such fine and sophisticated piece of editing together? Could you even believe such a thing is possible?

Could you tell me that? But clearly, it is not only possible, it is real. It is right there in your hands and you can see it with your own eyes.

Another interesting and to me absolutely overpowering miracle in the Qur’an. That is exactly what it is. That is what a miracle is: something that you cannot even think is possible becomes real. And that is part of the proof for the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.

Qur’an in Practice

And what do the Muslims do? They take those parts of the Aayats of the Qur’an and put them in practice by repeating those divine expressions every time they mention the name of Allah: Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Ironclad divine guarantee that the Qur’an will never atrophy and will never suffer from disuse, no matter how much the Muslims may try to neglect it.

That is what the Muslims learned from the Qur’an. And that is part of how the Muslims practice the Qur’an.

That is right: Muslims, thus, put the Qur’an into practice. Just as Allah’s beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, taught them to do. And the way the entire generation of the noble companions of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and their followers put these things into practice.

And the way every single great generation after them did thereafter — for the past 1400 years — till it came down to our generation, in our own time and place, wherever we live today — in a firm and unshakable chain of narration, practice, teaching and continuity.

Do you think any other example of this kind exists anywhere? If it does, go find it and embrace it. If it does not, then know that this could only have come from God. And also understand full well that only he could have preserved and safeguarded it, as he promised and undertook he would.

So there, that is your evidence; that is your proof; and that is your miracle. You have it all in your hands. What else do you want and what more are you looking or waiting for?

The question is not whether the miracle and proof is there, the question is whether you have the mental clarity, personal integrity and moral courage to believe and accept the evidence of your own eyes.




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