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God's Perfect Attributes

Islam describes God as a Perfect Being, possessing every excellence. The opening verse of the Holy Quran states: "All praise is due to Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of all the worlds."

As God has created all things, and all things depend on Him for their sustenance, He alone deserves all praise for the beauties and excellences to be found in different things, for all these beauties and excellences are derived from God. God has been called 'Rahman' in the Holy Quran, i.e. God has, out of His pure Grace and Bounty, created all those things the need of which was to be felt by man; for instance, parents to care for him, light and air, fire and water, different kinds of food and medicines, timber, iron, stone, etc. 

In fact, man cannot possibly feel any need which has not been met and provided for even before his birth! All this has been done under God's attribute of 'Rahmaniyyat'. God has also been called 'Rahim' in the Holy Quran, that is to say, He rewards all labour and effort according to its quality and merit. Man's effort is never wasted, and he is ever rewarded in true proportion to his merit.

He is called 'Malik-i-Yawm-id-Din', He is the Master of the Day of Judgement. In other words, apart from the operation of the laws of Nature, and the rewards or punishments which are meted out in this world, He has fixed the limits of every action, and as soon as those limits are reached, final judgement is passed on each action whereby the good are rewarded, and the evil ones are punished - subject always to this, that under His attribute of 'Malikiyyat' it is always open to Him to forgive and to remit the punishment.

He is called 'Qadir', i.e. to say, He has fixed the nature and properties of all things. Just as fire always generates heat and water extinguishes fire, but supposing, if sometimes fire generated heat and sometimes generated cold and likewise if water was to behave in different ways, men would have been totally confused and it would have been impossible to use water and fire for our benefit.

He is 'Sami' - i.e., He hears everything.
He is 'Hayy' - i.e., He is Himself alive and bestows life on others.
He is 'Khaliq' - i.e., He is the Creator.
He is 'Qayyum' - i.e., He supports the existence of others.
He is 'Samad' - i.e., nothing can exist without His support and assistance.
He is 'Ghafur' - i.e., He forgives our trespasses.
He is 'Subbuh' - i.e., He is free from all defects.
He is 'Ahad' - i.e., nothing is His equal.
He is 'Wahid' - i.e., all things had their origin in His command and He is the first cause of all creation.

Many other attributes of God are mentioned in the Holy Quran, which show that Islam teaches a perfect conception of God as possessing attributes which create love on the one hand and fear on the other, both of which are indispensable for a perfect relationship between man and God. A moment’s reflection will show that perfect unity and perfect obedience can be produced only either by love or fear. No doubt, love is the higher and the more perfect relationship, but there is equally no doubt that some natures are affected by nothing but fear. Thus Islam describes the Divine Attributes both of mercy and of punishment but always with a reminder that God says in the Holy Quran: "My mercy encompasses all things." (Al-Araf, 7: 157).

In other words, God's attributes of anger and punishment are governed by His attributes of mercy, because the object of anger and punishment is to reform and not to inflict pain. A question which may arise here is: Why cannot we see God if He exists?

God says in the Holy Quran: "God cannot be seen with the physical eyes but He reveals Himself to the eyes of man. He is too subtle to be seen by the eye of man, but He is aware of everything!" (Al-Anam, 6: 104)

He is too subtle to be seen by the eyes of man, but is aware of everything. Subtle things, for instance air and electricity cannot be seen by man. How can he then see God, Who is more subtle than the subtlest thing and is not made of matter however subtle, but is Himself the Creator of all things? But God manifests Himself through His powers and attributes and thus man is enabled to see Him with eyes of reason.

Lastly, I want to talk about the attribute of 'Unity of God' and what it means in Islam. In short, belief in the 'Unity of God' means that God is made the true object of a man's love, desire and worship and that Divine Glory and Majesty reign supreme in a man's heart and man is prepared to sacrifice his personal desires, passions and every worldly interest for the sake of God and that man gives preference to the commandments of God over all other commandments, desires and passions.

The relationship a man should have with God is according to Islam the absolute need for man to put the love of God above all other things, to respect and obey Him above all earthly things, to be ready to sacrifice all things to His Will, and not to disobey or tolerate the postponement of His commandments for the sake of any other object or desire. May God bless all of you to understand this sermon. Ameen.

----Extracts from the Friday Sermon of 28 April 2017(01 Shabaan 1438 AH), delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius. 

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