Allah. God. Lord of all the worlds. What does God’s name and His attributes signify? Do God’s attributes indicate that His Majesty is confined to our own realm of being? Or, perhaps that His Worship extends beyond the limits of existence as we know it? How can we say that God is Limitless when the Holy Qur’an specifically mentions one hundred and one attributes?
These are some of the questions upon which this article hopes to shed a slim ray of light for the benefit of our readers in response to the proposition that shapes our title, as well as to perhaps prompt a latent disposition for developing a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the Beloved.
The outline of the concept put forward by Islam concerning the relation between God’s attributes and His Being can be derived from the opening two verses of the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an.
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ
“In the name of Allah, the Most-Gracious, Ever-Merciful.” [1:1]
Here, in the first verse, the Arabic word used for “name” is ism. In fact, ‘name’ is a loose translation of the Arabic. Ism draws on two fundamental sources, which in Arabic are wasm and samud. Wasm connotes a mark or a label, so name in relation to wasm derives an arbitrary nature, for example, ilāh in Arabic is used for any concept of a god or gods, but the proper noun by which God refers to Himself in the Holy Qur’an is Allah. This is the personal name of God, the closest English translation of which is ‘God’. Samud however, derives a meaningful nature and connotes height. This accounts for the qualities attributed to one’s name, hence, we recognise God’s attributes as His names. Accordingly, when Allah is used in view of this understanding of ism, we recognise His personal name as well as all of His qualities which are described in the Holy Qur’an and also observed by human beings. For this reason, to a Muslim, the name Allah brings with it an immense feeling of love.
Reflecting on the title of this article, the question is proposed with consideration to the Islamic concept of the operation of God’s attributes in their totality, essentially putting forward the question: if God’s attributes as described in the Holy Qur’an, are the means through which He is meant to be recognised, how then could He exercise His Godliness (i.e. be God) without His creation? This question takes root in a misunderstanding of the concomitance of God’s attributes. Islam holds that God’s Perfection is demonstrated by the harmonious operation of His attributes, and directs our focus, for example, to the first four attributes mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, which are appreciated as encompassing the essence of them all.
Both the Bible and Holy Qur’an talk about man being made in God’s likeness or His image. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad — Khalifatul-Masih IVrh, on numerous occasions, has explained that the only appropriate understanding of this is that the human psyche is the best reference for reaching an understanding of God, but that this is the extent of our reach on this matter. The way that a piece of art, while it cannot be recognised as being wholly equal to the artist himself, is infused with their impression. In light of this, when we examine how the Holy Qur’an proposes that one fulfils the purpose of their existence, we learn that it is to imitate God by nurturing and practising His known attributes so far as is within our capacity. The Promised Messiahas in The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, dedicates some fifty-five pages to explaining that moral values being exercised on their proper occasions is the path to becoming a godly person. This can only point to the understanding that God’s perfection is not in exhibiting all of His attributes concurrently for each and every cause, rather that each attribute at the time of their operation, is manifested perfectly.
The misunderstanding demonstrated by the question at hand, however, indicates that God must always be exercising all of His attributes simultaneously. This is dismissible as a useless and superficial understanding of God. For example, it would be impossible to reconcile the idea that God may exact vengeance on any creation of His whilst also granting forgiveness for the same cause. To take on this perspective would be to completely undermine the principle attributes of God recognised across all worldviews, for example His Justice and Wisdom. One of these is encompassed in the second verse of the Holy Qur’an:
اَلۡحَمۡدُ لِلّٰہِ رَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ
“All Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds,” [1:2]
Rabbul-‘Alamin, which is rendered into English as “Lord of all the worlds”, in its true essence means the Developer of all spheres of existence. With the claim that God has the power and freedom to create universes beyond the one to which we belong, it would be entirely inconsistent to limit God’s attributes to those which are applicable to our existence or are perceptible to our limited faculties. If one recognises that those spheres of existence subsumes the minuteness of atoms, whose complexity is likened to a universe in and of itself, why can they not then also extend beyond the farthest reaches of existence as we know it? In the Holy Qur’an, God is described as being the Incomprehensible, or the Subtle, pointing to the Power and Will of God beyond detection by human senses or consciousness.
With this in mind, it is important to point out that the beginning of mankind’s capacity for, and guidance towards, the recognition of God does not signify the beginning of His existence. This would be like claiming that atomic particles were non-existent before 1897, simply because men did not possess adequate instrumentation or understanding for acknowledging them before that time.
The Holy Qur’an was bestowed on mankind to teach the fullest means by which man may meet his Creator through the use of the faculties granted to him in this life. Therefore, it must be in this light that the attributes of God presented therewith, are to be appreciated. In fact, God Almighty unmistakably tells us in the Holy Qur’an that the reality of His attributes far outreaches human conception. He states:
قُلۡ لَّوۡ کَانَ الۡبَحۡرُ مِدَادًا لِّکَلِمٰتِ رَبِّیۡ لَنَفِدَ الۡبَحۡرُ قَبۡلَ اَنۡ تَنۡفَدَ کَلِمٰتُ رَبِّیۡ وَ لَوۡ جِئۡنَا بِمِثۡلِہٖ مَدَدًا
“Say, ‘If the ocean became ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord came to an end, even though We brought the like thereof as further help.’” [18:110]
So, what can we take away from all of this? For one, the Holy Qur’an reveals one hundred and one attributes of God in relation to the human capacity to understand them. The verse quoted makes it clear, however, that there are more. Many more. This takes us back to the word ism. When used in the context of Allah, it indicates a mark or loftiness. Undeniably, there is no other being to whom this can be applied so truthfully or comprehensively. Secondly, it is incoherent to hold both beliefs, that God is the Lord of all the worlds but that this is the only world to have ever existed, as this would rely on upholding the application of some attributes of God at the cost of others. Therefore, this could in no way be a position held in view of God’s attributes being in perfect agreement, as they are so incontrovertibly described to be in the Holy Qur’an and demonstrably manifested in every aspect of being. Hence, there is no reason to believe that God, as understood in Islam, is reliant on His creation as the means of His Sovereignty or Being.
Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Graces Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK Games
Mercy For Mankind MKA Games – The Full Report
On Sunday 4 July 2021 Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK organised the first in-person event after lockdown as a charity fundraiser. The Mercy4Mankind event took place on the school fields of Waverly Abbey Primary School adjacent to Islamabad.
A total of 14 sporting competitions were organised as part of the day from a slow bike race to tug-of-war with Khuddam participating in them throughout the day. This was the first in-person event of this size since the beginning of the pandemic and saw a registered attendance of 268.
A live stream for viewers at home was organised from Aiwan-e-Mahmood with reporting live from the field also taking place—walking the viewers through the various competitions on offer.
A total of £23,000 was raised under the Mercy4Mankind Charity Challenge which was setup in Khuddamul Ahmadiyya with M4M celebrating the teachings of love and mercy presented by the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.
By far the highlight of the day was when Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba graced the occasion with 3 exhibition competitions taking place before Huzooraba. This was the first time most Khuddam had seen Huzoor in person since the lockdown began and many were overjoyed at the opportunity. The finals of the Bike Race, Slow Bike Race and Tug-of-War took place before Huzooraba, as well as an exhibition match between National Amla and Regional Qaideen. Huzooraba remained with Khuddam until the end of the competitions and led everyone into silent prayer.
The pandemic has been difficult for many, this event was described by many as a much needed gathering to re-kindle the Khuddam spirit of brotherhood. Of course, seeing Huzooraba brought a whole new feeling to the event.
Inspirational Accounts of Pioneering Life Devotees of Ahmadiyyat
When the Holy Prophetsa declared his prophethood to the people of Arabia, they turned against him. Those who were once his dear friends became thirsty for his blood, so much so that they set a bounty for his capture. On the other hand, there were some who supported him and stood by his side like in the battle of Badr [the first battle fought in Islam]. There were some who, despite having only the very basic necessities of life, opted to go on preaching campaigns. This was merely because of the level of trust that they had in God Almighty, that whatever should happen to them, God would not waste their faith.
One of the moving incidents found in the history of Islam is Hazrat Imranra, whose entire family was martyred in front of his eyes but he did not let go of his trust in God, and as a result the Holy Prophetsa gave him the glad tidings that his family are in paradise.
The dedication of life at that time required the person to lay his life down for the propagation of Islam through defensive wars and other confrontations but as time elapsed, there became a change in the nature of dedication. Once the Holy Prophetsa assigned companions to teach the Holy Qur’an to some people of a certain tribe, and seventy huffaz [people who have memorised the entire Qur’an] were appointed for this task. They had no idea of what the future held for them. They presented their lives for the pleasure of God Almighty. Later there was a conflict and many were martyred.
The meaning of dedicating one’s life in accordance to the custom of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at is to serve the Jama’at whilst leaving behind all worldly desires and to take the service of the Jama’at as one’s prime objective keeping only the pleasure of God Almighty in mind. After dedication, there remains no room for personal desires or preferences, rather the life of the devotee becomes the property of the Jama’at. The following is a verse from the Holy Qur’an:
قُلْ اِنَّ صَلَاتِيْ وَ نُسُکِيْ وَ مَحْيَايَ وَ مَمَاتِيْ لِلّٰہِ رَبِّ الْعٰلَمِيْنَ
“Say, ‘My Prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” [6:163]
In accordance with this verse, the first devotee in the Ahmadiyya Jama’at was Hazrat Hakeem Maulana Nooruddinra, who moved to Qadian at the instruction of the Promised Messiahas.
Upon receiving a letter from Batala (a city in India), which read “Come and tend to a patient”, he replied “I am no longer the owner of my decisions, rather without the permission of the Promised Messiahas I cannot leave my position”. Therefore the sender acquired the permission of the Promised Messiahas to accompany Hazrat Hakeem Maulana Nooruddinra with him to Batala which was graciously granted.
On another occasion it has been reported that Hazrat Hakeem Maulana Nooruddinra said that “After coming to Qadian, I never thought of my hometown and thought of Qadian as my final destination.”
In September 1907, the Promised Messiahas initiated the “Life devotee” campaign and 13 people signed up for it in the early stages. On mentioning the qualities of Life devotes, Huzooras said “They should be content and wealth should not bother them, when the Holy Prophetsa sent someone for a Tabligh campaign, the appointee would prepare himself instantly for the task without demanding any allowance for the journey, nor making an excuse of longing for their families. This work can only be undertaken by such a person who dedicates himself for Allah the Almighty. God helps righteous people from Himself, as they take on a life of hardship for His sake.”
Expanding further on the qualities of life devotees, the Promised Messiahas stated that “They should be those who are patient and steadfast. There should be no negative enthusiasm in their nature. They should have the power to answer all hate speech with love. If they feel at risk of facing dishonesty or being deceived then they should leave such company or environment. They should keep doing their appointed tasks quietly and willingly”.
These are some of the qualities that the life devotees of this era should always keep in mind and act in accordance with to be counted as the successful. Some faith inspiring incidents of early life devotees are laid out below that show how they all manifest the qualities which were expected of a true life devotee.
Firstly, we begin with the account of Mubarak Ahmad Nazir, Missionary of Canada. On relating an interesting incident of his father when Mubarak Ahmad Nazir was eleven years of age, he said that “My father, Al Hajj Maulavi Nazir Ahmad Alira was a pioneering Missionary of Islam Ahmadiyyat. In 1945, I accompanied my father to Sierra Leone on a ship through a perilous journey. It took about three months from Qadian (India) to go to Sierra Leone and during this time I became seriously ill because of that long journey. I remember when we were about to board the ship, every passenger had to be checked by a doctor to make sure that they are fit to travel. When I went for my check up, the doctor looked at me, took my temperature, assessed me and evaluated my condition, and he told my father (Maulavi Nazir Ahmad Alira) ‘This boy I cannot carry… because he is at the point of death and in our ship we don’t have a cold storage room. I will only carry him under one condition that you sign on this paper that if he dies on the way, you will allow us to throw him overboard.’ I was the only son and I remember my mother started crying and said ‘Let’s take another ship.’ My father said ‘Don’t worry about him! Nothing is going to happen.’ He said ‘I don’t know when I will get another ship, I’m a Missionary, and I’ve been assigned a duty by His Holiness.’ I faintly remember he held my hand and he asked the doctor ‘Where do I have to sign?’ and whilst signing he jokingly or quiet sternly also said ‘If he dies throw him into the sea, but nothing will happen to him!’ Mubarak Ahmad Nazir ends on the note that the eleven year old child [pointing to himself] now is Alhamdulillah eighty five years old.”
This incident expresses that if you put your trust in God, for His cause, then He will also help you in your trials and tribulations. The fact of the matter is you should not lose hope at the first sign of difficulty. Zahoor Hussainra of Bukhara was another missionary, who travelled to Russia and faced trial and persecution. He reports that whilst in prison he saw the second Khalifara in a vision and Hazrat Musleh Maudra scolded him saying that “I have sent you to preach and you are quiet.” Upon this, he felt ashamed, and started to learn Russian with some of the inmates who knew the language. He was later freed and returned to India.
The lesson to be learnt here is that regardless of the circumstances, one should not get hopeless, rather he should make the best of what he is confronted with, like in this example of imprisonment where learning a language was the last thing anyone could have thought of, yet Maulana Zahoor Hussainra took this time and made use of it. He learnt the language by talking to others and not worrying about what would happen to him in that state of capture. Only he who trusts in God has the strength to carry out these tasks despite such overwhelming tribulation.
A similar incident is found when, on 15 February 1920, Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra, arrived at the port of Philadelphia by ship from London as the first Missionary. As soon as he arrived, the immigration officer interviewed him and asked the reason for his arrival. He said that he had come to this region as a preacher of Ahmadiyyat, the true Islam. At that time, it was not customary to obtain a visa before coming to the United States. The immigration officer admitted people and allowed them to enter, but sometimes some people were barred from entering and were sent back.
A long interview was conducted with Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra in which he was asked if he believes in polygamy like other Muslims. Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra replied with full confidence that yes I have the same belief as what Hazrat Jibrailra revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, the Messenger of God, in our Holy Book, the Holy Qur’an. The immigration officer asked, “Will you also preach this polygamy here?” To which he replied, “Of course I will.” The immigration officer said “You know, it’s against our law.” To this he replied that we Ahmadi Muslims do not do anything against the law, but these laws are made by human beings based on mutual understanding and they also change. On this the immigration officer denied him entry to America saying that if he spread his teachings and changed the environment, he would make a mess in America. Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra politely asked the immigration officer if there was another option available to him. The immigration officer said you would be arrested and brought before a judge and they will prosecute you for refusing to obey the officer. He replied, “I accept this second option.” He was arrested that evening and sent to prison.
Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra waited for the trial in jail and spent this time preaching to other prisoners, and sent the report to Hazrat Musleh Maudra. Almost every day he would write a letter to Huzoorra and send a report of his preaching by post. During his time in prison, according to some reports, he had converted between seventeen and twenty-two people to Ahmadiyyat.
When he was brought before the judge, the judge was very impressed with his personality and the way he dressed and after an interesting conversation, the judge allowed him to enter the United States legally. Meanwhile, he also received enthusiastic replies through letters from Hazrat Musleh Maudra, in which it was announced that no power in the world could stop him from entering the United States. Henceforth, he established the first mission in Philadelphia.
This was again the level of trust and honesty with God Almighty that led to him entering a land legally where preaching was against the law. He not only preached but converted many people to Ahmadiyyat before even stepping onto US soil.
The last account presented in this piece is the account of a Missionary had who travelled to Spain. Due to the lack of financial resources of the community, Hazrat Musleh Maudra requested many of the missionaries stationed in Europe, to return home. Maulana Qamar Ilahi Zafar, having read the message from the Khalifahra, wrote back requesting permission to continue to work as a self-financed missionary. After receiving permission from Huzoorra, he worked as a street vendor selling homemade perfumes, primarily in El Rastro, an open-air market in Madrid. He often used his stalls as an opportunity to introduce the Islamic faith. For example, he reportedly used to chant,
“Huelan esta fragancia tan agradable, sin embargo esta fragancia no durará
mucho tiempo entre vosotros, pero yo conozco un aroma que es permanente y eterno.
Si lo desean, pueden tomar mi tarjeta y contactarme”
Meaning that “The pleasant fragrance that you are smelling does not last long, but I know of a scent that is permanent and eternal [i.e. Islamic teachings]. If you wish, you can take my card and contact me.” Under the rule of Francisco Franco, non-Catholic missionary work was banned and as a result Maulana Qamar Ilahi Zafar faced several arrests by the state police. Often, his perfume stall was subjected to vandalism from members of the general public. In spite of this, he managed to publish a number of books in Spanish during the Franco era.
Thus, we learn what the true essence of devotion means and what it takes to fulfil it, looking up on several key pioneering Missionaries, to understand how they stepped outside their comfort zones to spread the teaching of the true Islam. They have set the bar for all to follow. They have laid out the guide posts in which we can shape our lives and try to become devotees of the same calibre.
May Allah bless these souls and enable us to follow their footsteps. Ameen.
Waqf-E-Nau Highlights From The Year
Waqf-e-Nau retreat and a virtual mulaqat
The National Waqf-e-Nau Retreat held by MKA UK
MKA UK’s Waqf-e-Nau Retreat was streamed live on YouTube on 27 February 2021, and at the time of writing, it has been viewed over 13,400 times.
Throughout the day various important topics were covered including emphasising the importance of listening to Huzoor’saba Friday Sermons as well as presenting specific instructions for Waqifeen-e-Nau given by Huzooraba.
A live discussion was held where a few young Waqifeen-e-Nau discussed the importance of having a strong relationship with Khilafat and the Jama’at as well as requesting Huzooraba for guidance every step of the way. A similar segment was arranged to educate Waqifeen on the history of Jamia and to answer questions regarding studying in Jamia.
A particularly enjoyable session was held with Omair Aleem, in-charge of Makhzan-e-Tasaweer, in which he spoke about Waqf and his many precious memories with Huzooraba formed through accompanying him on numerous tours.
Other key highlights included informative careers workshops where three Waqifeen-e-Nau described their areas of work and how Hazrat Khalifatul-Masihaba guided them with respect to their area of expertise. An interactive quiz was also held where approximately 800 people participated. It comprised of questions about general knowledge, history of Islam, history of the Jama’at and the scheme of Waqf-e-Nau.
To conclude the programme, a keynote address was delivered by Sadr Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK from the MTA Studios in Islamabad. The subject of his speech was the famous announcement of Hazrat Musleh Maudra, “A servant of God is looking for you”. He also mentioned some incidents of Hazrat Amirul Mumineenaba from when Huzooraba was serving as a Waqf-e-Zindagi in Ghana.
Waqf-e-Nau university students Mulaqat with Huzooraba
In what proved to be a blessed weekend for Waqifeen-e-Nau in the UK, on 28 February 2021, Waqf-e-Nau university students from Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK were blessed with an opportunity to have a virtual mulaqat with Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba.
The students were seated in the Baitul Futuh Mosque, London and a live stream connected them with Hazrat Amirul Mumineenaba in Islamabad, UK.
After a short video presentation showcasing highlights of the Waqf-e-Nau Virtual Retreat that took place the previous day, Huzooraba opened the floor to the Waqf-e-Nau students to ask questions.
Question: What can a Waqf-e-Nau medical student do to ensure that he becomes the best doctor for the Jama’at? (By Hamaad Muin Ahmad)
Answer: Huzooraba said:
“A medical student should study regardless of whether he is a Waqf-e-Nau or not. If you do not study well then you will not attain a degree. Therefore, whether one is a medical student or studying in any other field, they should concentrate on their studies and secondly, they should focus on their prayers and in strengthening their relationship with Allah. They should offer their five daily prayers at their appointed times. If an atheist studies diligently and works hard whilst not believing in God, it does not matter; he will still be granted the reward by Allah the Almighty for his hard work that he puts in his studies. But an Ahmadi Muslim is someone who claims that he believes in Islam, in the existence of Allah the Almighty and has conviction that Allah the Almighty grants him His help. So along with his studies, he will also have to prove that he has a strong relationship with Allah. Therefore, when prayer will be accompanied with the hard work of an Ahmadi, it is then that they will attain true success. Do not think that just because an atheist attains success, therefore, you should attain success too [without prayer]. There is a difference between the two and you have to consider this difference. There is a very subtle difference between the two which ought to be remembered. If you keep this in mind, then you will develop a relationship with Allah the Almighty and you will pay attention towards your studies as well. In this way, you will be able to achieve your targets.”
Question: Should a Waqf-e-Nau, who is studying and also has a responsibility in the Jama’at, prioritise their studies or Jama’at work? (By Abdul Bari Mughal)
Answer: Huzooraba said:
“If they are studying, then they should examine whether they can be just with their Jama’at responsibilities along with their studies or not. If they cannot do justice then let the [Jama’at] authorities know, especially in the exam period, that I have exams going on so I cannot give full time to the duties. Then at that time, focus on your studies. After exams, on weekends or during any such spare time, one should give time to the Jama’at, instead of wasting it. But you should not use study as an excuse that you cannot do Jama’at work and not even study at that time. Give first preference to studies but give service to Jama’at in your spare time. When your studies are complete, you should write [to the Jama’at] and say that you are ready to fulfil your Waqf [life dedication] and that you are giving your complete time for the service of the Jama’at. Then without any greed or ulterior motive, fulfil your Waqf too.”
Get the Tariq Magazine through your letterbox each month.
View Khuddam Pledge as a Personal Challenge: Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V
10 Photos from today – Ijtema 2021 Day 2
Echoes of Durood in the British Countryside
Reflections on Khilafat
The Power of Durood Shareef
‘They Are Living, Only You Perceive Not.’
Khilafat3 weeks ago
“I Love my Caliph, But He’ll Never Know” By Syed Talay Ahmad
Editorial2 weeks ago
Meet the Young British Teenagers Eager to Seek the Guidance of their Khalifah
Editorial3 weeks ago
It’s Only an Hour, But its Impact Lasts Forever
Ijtema1 week ago
Echoes of Durood in the British Countryside
Ijtema1 week ago
10 Photos from today – Ijtema 2021 Day 2
Ijtema1 week ago
Day 1 – Ijtema 2021 Photos
Editorial5 days ago
View Khuddam Pledge as a Personal Challenge: Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V