If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls upon Me . They should, therefore, respond to Me and believe in Me so that hopefully they will be rightly guided. ( Surat al-Baqara, 2:186)
Prayer is an intimate and personal bond between people and Allah. Through prayer, people express all of their troubles and wishes to Allah and seek His help. In return, He hears His servants' calls and answers their prayers. He is closer to people than their jugular veins, knows and hears everything, and is fully aware of each inner thought. This being the case, even just thinking is enough to ask for something from Him. This shows how close Allah's answer is.
Believers are certain that Allah hears and answers their prayers in one way or another, for they know that Allah wills everything. For this reason, they never worry that their prayers will remain unanswered. Doubting Allah's answer means that one fails to appreciate His power. Allah answers each prayer with great ease. However, “answering a prayer” does not mean that the person receives an immediate answer or even the one that he or she is expecting. In one verse, Allah states:
Man prays for evil just as he prays for good. Man is prone to be impetuous. ( Surat al-Isra', 17:11)
Allah knows best what is good and what is bad for us, for He is the One Who directs all affairs. As is in all of His acts, He answers prayers in the way that best meets His many divine purposes, as the Qur'an reveals below:
Fighting is prescribed for you, even if it is hateful to you. It may be that you hate something when it is good for you, and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows, and you do not know. ( Surat al-Baqara, 2:216)
Allah's answer to all prayers, whether hidden or open, manifests His glory. No thought or wish remains unanswered. And, only Allah hears and answers prayers, for:
Those you call on besides Allah are servants, just like yourselves. Call on them and let them respond to you, if you are telling the truth. ( Surat al-A‘raf, 7:194)
The Safeguarder, The Protector
He is Allah—there is no deity but Him. He is the King, the Most Pure, the Perfect Peace, the Trustworthy, the Safeguarder , the Almighty, the Compeller, the Supremely Great. Glory be to Allah above all they associate with Him. ( Surat al-Hashr, 59:23)
The laws of physics, which ensure a flawless order in the universe, are the best evidence of the divine protection of Allah, Who created them, over His servants. For instance, what would happen if Earth's gravity were less? Primarily, light things would not remain fixed on Earth. In the mildest breeze, a dust or a sand particle would flit about for hours. The speed of rain drops would slow down, causing them to evaporate before falling on the ground. Newton 's law of gravitation, which explains the delicate balance between the orbits of Earth, the Moon, and the planets, is another example. A minor change in this balance would cause Earth to draw near to the Sun and thus burn or be thrown into space, where it would freeze.
What would a world deprived of friction between objects and surfaces look like? A pen would slip out of one's hand, books and objects would slide down tables, and a table would slide and hit the wall. In brief, all objects would slide and roll. In a world without friction, all knots would unfasten, nails and screws would come out, brakes would never function, and sounds would continue to resound from one wall to another...
Another example is Earth's secure and strong structure. Toward its center, the temperature rises by 30° Celsius (86° Fahrenheit) every kilometer, reaching probably 4,500° Celsius (8,132° Fahrenheit) at its core. When we consider that only 1 kilometer ( 0,6214 miles ) below the surface the temperature reaches 60° Celsius (140° Fahrenheit), we can grasp the dimensions of this threat. Despite this, however, all living beings lead their lives in absolute security, unaware of the magma boiling underneath them.
Clearly, Allah creates a perfect order on Earth's surface, which actually shelters an internal ball of fire. Thus, there is no room for any randomness. He holds sway over the heavens and Earth and protects all living beings in the universe against all threats, whether known to them or not. Meanwhile, He places the fetus in a very protected place. As these examples show, many things that seem normal to us are, in actuality, manifestations of His mercy and divine protection over His servants, for there is no other reason for the existence of such order and unity in the universe. Allah is the best of protectors.
High exalted be Allah , the King, the Real! Do not rush ahead with the Qur'an before its revelation to you is complete, and say: “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (Surah Ta Ha, 20:114)
Some people, despite the countless signs surrounding them, fail to appreciate Allah's greatness. Despite their helplessness, they grow arrogant and never think about our Creator, because they follow the urgings of their lower self, which encourages them to indulge in evil. Yet the faithful, aware of their helplessness before Allah's greatness, understand that they have no real power whatsoever. Allah calls attention to creation's helplessness and His greatness in the following example:
O mankind! An example has been made, so listen carefully. Those whom you call upon besides Allah cannot even create a single fly, even if they were to join together to do it. And if a fly steals something from them, they cannot get it back. How feeble are both the seeker and the sought! They do not measure Allah with His true measure. Allah is All-Strong, Almighty. ( Surat al-Hajj, 22:73-74)
Even though every corner of the universe manifests Allah's greatness, this vast manifestation is not sufficient to explain His infinite power and greatness. Allah is exalted above any partnership, defects, and limits. He is the sole Owner of all beautiful names and superior attributes. His knowledge, wisdom, might, power, mercy, compassion, and generosity is infinite.
The word “infinite” is a concept over which one has to think a lot in order to grasp Allah's greatness. After death, Allah will create people anew and make them start a new life either in Paradise or in Hell as a repayment for what they did in this world. Here, we are talking about infinity — not about a hundred years, a hundred thousand years, millions or even billions of years. That is, even if there were hundreds of trillions of people destined to live for a trillion years, they still would be unable to determine the exact limit of infinity.
However, Allah has such a vast knowledge that everything we consider “infinite” is within His knowledge. From the moment that time was created until eternity, Allah determines every event, thought, and moment of time, as the Qur'an proclaims:
We have created all things in due measure. Our command is only one word, like the blinking of an eye. We destroyed those of your kind in the past. But is there any rememberer there? Everything they did is in the Books. Everything is recorded, large or small. ( Surat al-Qamar, 54:49-53)
Then when He granted them a healthy, upright child, they associated what He had given them with Him. But Allah is far above what they associate with Him! ( Surat al-A‘raf, 7:190)
He Who guides you in the darkness of land and sea and sends out the winds bringing advance news of His mercy. Is there another deity besides Allah? May Allah be exalted above what they associate with Him! ( Surat an-Naml, 27:63)
Allah created you, then provides for you, then will cause you to die, and then will bring you back to life. Can any of your partner-deities do any of that? Glory be to Him, and may He be exalted above anything they associate with Him! ( Surat ar-Rum, 30:40)
He Who Reveals His Greatness in All
He is Allah—there is no deity but Him. He is the King, the Most Pure, the Perfect Peace, the Trustworthy, the Safeguarder, the Almighty, the Compeller, the Supremely Great . Glory be to Allah above all they associate with Him. ( Surat al-Hashr, 59:23)
Allah describes His greatness through the examples He gives in the Qur'an. For example, when Prophet Musa (as) requested “My Lord, show me Yourself so that I may look at You!” Allah replied: "You will not see Me, but look at the mountain. If it remains firm in its place, then you will see Me.” The rest of the account is related, as follows:
... But when His Lord manifested Himself to the mountain, He crushed it flat and Musa fell unconscious to the ground. When he regained consciousness, he said: “Glory be to You!...” ( Surat al-A‘raf, 7:143)
When Prophet Ibrahim (as) said: “My Lord, show me how You bring the dead to life,” Allah replied: “Take four birds and train them to yourself. Then put a part of them on each mountain and call to them; they will come rushing to you. Know that Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.” ( Surat al-Baqara, 2:260) This way, Allah showed him a sign of His greatness.
Allah told Prophet Lut (as) to leave his city early in the morning with the believers and not to look back. That morning, He destroyed the unbelieving nation and rescued Prophet Lut (as). Allah made the fire coolness and peace for Prophet Ibrahim (as). By the hands of Prophet ‘Isa (as), He healed the blind and brought the dead to life. In the time of Prophet Musa (as), He parted the sea and drowned Pharaoh's army. This is how Allah manifests His greatness and part of His infinite power.
Allah openly reveals His greatness and power at every moment and in every incident. At dawn, He sends a hurricane toward those who greedily feel attached to this life of the world, or turns their cities upside down and makes them uninhabitable. This way, He strips them of their possessions and goods.
He submerges an entire city by pouring a heavy rain upon it, or ruins it by sending a great earthquake. The skies and the ground, the wind and the rain, all of which act under His surveillance, bring an unseen destruction to that city, and its people witness Allah's overwhelming power. No doubt, Allah is al-Mutakabbir . In the face of His power and strength, no one can become arrogant. He is the sole authority before Whom all will prostrate.
The Shaper; The Proportioner
O man! What has deluded you in respect of your Noble Lord? He Who created you and formed you and proportioned you . (Surah al-Infitar, 82:6-7)
A human being comes into being from the union of a sperm and an egg, which results in a single cell. This cell, as the Qur'an informs us, first looks like a lump of flesh. Then, Allah transforms it, makes it develop in the womb for a specified time, and then brings it forth as a human being. This new being is perfect in every way. As Allah proclaims:
Allah made Earth a stable home for you and the sky a dome, formed you, gave you the best of forms, and provided you with good and wholesome things. That is Allah, your Lord. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. (Surah Ghafir, 40:64)
As the Qur'an informs us, humanity was given the best form of all living beings on Earth and Allah displays countless signs of His creation both inside and outside the human body. Even the human body displays Allah's perfect artistry. Consider its symmetry: Its legs and arms, as well as the ratio of the body to the arms, legs, and head, are strikingly perfect. For instance, the length of the body is eight times the head's length. The length of the head is three times the length of the nose, and there is a distance of one eye between the two eyes. The ratio and length of our legs and arms are both aesthetic and fully functional.
In order to see this symmetry's perfect details, it is enough to gaze at the people around you. Indeed, these details were—and continue to be—typical of each person who has ever lived and who will live in the future, for this is how Allah creates. And, Allah's creation is flawless. Some of the verses regarding Allah's perfect creation are as follows:
He created and molded. ( Surat al-A‘la, 87:2)
He created the heavens and Earth with truth and formed you, giving you the best of forms. And He is your final destination. ( Surat at-Taghabun, 64:3)
He forms you in the womb however He wills. There is no deity but Him, the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 3:6)
He is Allah—the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and Earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. ( Surat al-Hashr, 59:24)
One Who Is Called upon for Help
Say: "Lord, judge with truth! Our Lord is the All-Merciful, the One Whose help is sought in the face of what you describe." ( Surat al-Anbiya', 21:112)
People need to feel Allah's existence and power both in times of difficulty and of ease. In other words, during every moment of their lives, all people are in need of prayer, for unless Allah wills, they cannot attain anything. Given that we are created with many inherent weaknesses, people can only live by means of Allah's mercy and favor.
On the other hand, Allah is the sole Deity in Whom one can take refuge. People are in need of Him, and therefore seek help and guidance only from Him. Without His permission, no one can help himself or someone else. Allah has the strength to make anything at any time He wills. When He decides on something, He just says to it “Be!” and it is.
He allocates provisions among His servants, pours down rain from the heavens, and grants blessings. He heals people when they are sick, makes them laugh or shed tears, exalts whoever He wills, and directs all affairs from heaven to Earth. No one can protect themselves if our Lord withholds His blessings or sends a disaster, and no one can deflect a blessing if He wills to bestow it. Thus, the universe and all of its inhabitants, whether living or non-living, takes refuge in Him and asks for help only from Him. The Qur'an reveals these facts, as follows:
Do they make things into partner-deities who cannot create anything and are themselves created; who are not capable of helping them and cannot even help themselves? If you call them to guidance, they will not follow you. It makes no difference if you call them or stay silent. Those you call on besides Allah are servants, just like yourselves. Call on them and let them respond to you, if you are telling the truth. Do they have legs with which they can walk? Do they have hands with which they can grasp? Do they have eyes with which they can see? Do they have ears with which they can hear? Say: “Call on your partner-deities, try all your wiles against me, and grant me no reprieve. My Protector is Allah, Who sent down the Book. He takes care of the believers.” Those you call on besides Him are not capable of helping you. They cannot even help themselves. If you call them to guidance, they do not hear. You see them looking at you, yet they do not see. ( Surat al-A‘raf, 7:191-98)
The Cleanser; He Who Cleanses from Idolatry and Spiritual Evil
And when He overcame you with sleep, making you feel secure, and sent down water from heaven to purify you and remove the taint of Satan from you , and to fortify your hearts and make your feet firm. ( Surat al-Anfal, 8:11)
Human beings make mistakes throughout their lives. No doubt, believers make every effort to avoid such mistakes and strive not to commit them by living according to Allah's religion. This fact is related in the Qur'an, as follows:
If Allah were to take mankind to task for what they have earned, He would not leave a single creature crawling on it; but He defers them until a specified time. Then, when their time comes, Allah sees His servants! (Surah Fatir, 35:45)
In compliance with this divine command, sincere believers are not expected to be infallible or sinless; rather, they are expected to seek Allah's pleasure, abide by the limits that He has established for them, turn to Allah in repentance, and take refuge in His mercy. As the Qur'an informs, Allah will purify them, for Allah “desires to remove all impurity from His servants.” This is related in the following verse:
... Allah desires to remove all impurity from you, O People of the House, and to purify you completely. ( Surat al-Ahzab, 33:33)
Although a person may have committed great sins, rebelled against Allah, and lived by principles that are utterly contrary to Allah and His religion, Allah is so compassionate that He may purify those of His servants who sincerely repent. Furthermore, Allah informs us that He may even purify and forgive unbelievers and hypocrites who have fought Him and His religion if they ever turn to Him with a sincere heart. One verse reads:
The hypocrites are in the lowest level of the Fire. You will not find anyone to help them. Except those who repent, put things right, hold fast to Allah, and dedicate their religion to Allah alone; they are with the believers. Allah will give the believers an immense reward. ( Surat an-Nisa', 4:145-46)
These words are manifestations of Allah's infinite mercy toward His servants. Clearly, only He can purify His servants from idolatry, evil, and spiritual uncleanliness. Allah is the most compassionate of the Compassionate.
He Who Makes His Servant's Path Easier in Goodness and Wickedness; He Who Places No Unbearable Burden on Anyone
Allah desires ease for you ; He does not desire difficulty for you. You should complete the number of days and proclaim Allah's greatness for the guidance He has given you, so that hopefully you will be thankful. ( Surat al-Baqara, 2:185)
Allah always directs us toward ease. At the base of Islam, the religion with which He is pleased, always lies this ease. The Qur'an reveals this profound truth, as follows:
Strive for Allah with the effort due to Him. He has selected you and has not placed any constraint upon you in religion—the religion of your forefather Ibrahim... ( Surat al-Hajj, 22:78)
Allah has made the Qur'an easy for those who are willing to take heed, and its commands make human life easy. For instance, He does not hold the blind, the lame, or the sick responsible, and shows ways that lessen His servants' burden during times of hardship and travel. He also states that He will forgive people, whatever their sins may be, provided that they repent sincerely. One verse reads:
We have made the Qur'an easy to remember. But is there any rememberer there? ( Surat al-Qamar, 54:17)
Meanwhile, Allah calls attention to the fact that believers can easily attain all forms of success:
We will ease you to the Easy Way . ( Surat al-A‘la, 87:8)
Every ease that we feel or see is from Allah, for they all come from His glory. He is the Most Compassionate of the compassionate, and He does not desire difficulty for His servants:
Allah desires to make things lighter for you. Man was created weak. ( Surat an-Nisa', 4:28)
Allah knows what we can and cannot do, and thus does not desire any difficulty for us. This is also related in “Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire difficulty for you” ( Surat al-Baqara, 2:185). Even under the severest conditions, He makes our tasks easy and shows us a way out. Allah reminds His servants of this blessings in the following verses:
Did We not expand your breast for you and remove your load from you, which weighed down your back? Did We not raise your renown high? For truly with hardship comes ease; truly with hardship comes ease. ( Surat al-Inshirah, 94:1-6)
Allah makes the ways of attaining His good pleasure and mercy easy for believers. On the other hand, He informs us that He will pave the way to difficulty for unbelievers:
But as for him who is stingy, self-satisfied, and denies the Good, We will pave his way to difficulty. ( Surat al-Layl, 92:8-10)
He Who Purifies His Servants (of all faults, shame, and spiritual impurity)
Do you not see those who claim to be purified? No, Allah purifies whoever He wills. They will not be wronged by so much as the smallest speck. ( Surat an-Nisa', 4:49)
Infallibility and perfection are qualities unique to Allah. We may forget, become heedless, and make mistakes, but Allah does not. Such traits indicate our weakness and need of Allah in every situation. Given this, believers feel regret once they recognize their mistakes, repent, and are careful not to repeat them. Just considering themselves sinless and faultless is a great sin in itself. One verse reads:
To whoever avoids the major sins and indecencies—except for minor lapses, truly your Lord is vast in forgiveness. He has the most knowledge of you when He first produced you from dust and when you were embryos in your mothers' wombs. So do not claim purity for yourselves. He knows best those who guard against evil. ( Surat an-Najm, 53:32)
Sincere believers are conscious of their mistakes and weaknesses. For this reason, they repent continuously and pray for Allah's mercy and good pleasure. In return, Allah covers their mistakes, forgives their sins, purifies them, and enables them to attain a superior position.
Know that the Messenger of Allah is among you. If he were to obey you in many things, you would suffer for it. However, Allah has given you the love of faith and has made it pleasing to your hearts, and has made disbelief, deviance, and disobedience hateful to you. People such as these are rightly guided. ( Surat al-Hujurat, 49:7)
Loving faith, deriving pleasure from material and spiritual tastes, as well as hating disbelief and seeing it as evil, seem to be natural inclinations. However, they actually are blessings attained by Allah's favor. Allah relates this metaphysical truth in the verse quoted above.
In order to show the value of this great blessing and gift to believers, Allah creates the opposite situation for unbelievers. Failing to see the beauties engendered by faith, unbelievers derive pleasure from the gloomy and troublesome system of those who are far from religion. All of the evil and indecency found in the systems of unbelief have been made to seem good to them. This secret is divulged in the Qur'an, as follows:
Is someone on a clear path from his Lord like those whose bad actions have been made to seem good to them and who follow their own desires? (Surah Muhammad, 47:14)
Believers, who know Allah, notice His compassion for them, recognize that they exist only by His will, and that everything they like and take pleasure in come from Him. They attain the superiority of Allah's love and faith. Believers do not need to please anyone other than Allah, and so they ask for no other being's help. Indeed, people find peace only in the remembrance of Allah. They consider doing good deeds in order to earn Allah's good pleasure, living by His religion's code of moral excellence, observing His commands and prohibitions, being concerned about their fellow Muslims, and striving for the Hereafter as sources of joy and happiness.
You may travel about in the land for four months and know that you cannot thwart Allah, and that Allah will humiliate the unbelievers. ( Surat at-Tawba, 9:2)
Humiliation is one of the punishments that Allah sends to unbelievers in this world. For unbelievers who are devoted to ostentation and seeking others' approval, humiliation is a very severe punishment. In the Qur'an, Allah describes this punishment, as follows:
Those before them also denied the truth, and the punishment came upon them from where they did not expect. So Allah made them taste disgrace in the life of the world, and the punishment of the Hereafter is far worse, if they only knew. ( Surat az-Zumar, 39:25-26)
Allah manifests this attribute through believers and especially through those of His Messengers. The following verses call attention to this fact, as follows:
... Allah will punish them at your hands, disgrace them, help you against them, and heal the hearts of those who believe. He will remove the rage from their hearts. Allah turns to anyone He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. ( Surat at-Tawba, 9:14-15)
The message Prophet Sulayman (as) sent to the unbelievers was as follows:
"Return to them. We will come to them with troops they cannot face, and will expel them from it, abased and humiliated." ( Surat an-Naml, 27:37)
On the other hand, in many verses Allah gives the news of a degrading punishment awaiting unbelievers in the Hereafter, one that they deserve because of their arrogance and pride in this world. As stated earlier, one of the unbelievers' major goals is to gain other people's appreciation, and so they praise themselves rather than glorify Allah. Thus, Allah makes humiliation the essence of their punishment in Hell, for their humiliation in front of other people will cause them to experience the greatest anguish. One verse reads:
On the Day when those who were unbelievers are exposed to the Fire: “You dissipated the good things you had in your worldly life, and enjoyed yourself in it. So today you are being repaid with the punishment of humiliation for being arrogant in the land, without any right, and for being deviators.” ( Surat al-Ahqaf, 46:20)
The humiliation and abasement experienced in Hell is unprecedented and of various kinds. This humiliation will even manifest itself upon their bodies. For example, dust and debasement will darken their faces, as the following verses reveal:
Some faces on that Day will be downcast. ( Surat al-Ghashiya, 88:2)
But as for those who have earned bad actions—a bad action will be repaid with one like it. Debasement will darken them. They will have no one to protect them from Allah. It is as if their faces were covered by dark patches of night. Those are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, forever. (Surah Yunus, 10:27)
While manifesting His attribute of al-Mudhhill upon unbelievers, Allah manifests His names of ar-Rahman and ar-Rahman ar-Raheem upon believers. By granting His Paradise and mercy, our Lord purifies them of all forms of evil. Contrary to the unbelievers' humiliation, Allah will grant His sincere servants His good pleasure, Paradise , and blessings.
That it is He Who enriches and Who satisfies. ( Surat an-Najm, 53:48)
Allah, the true Owner of all wealth, tests some people with wealth and others with poverty. In His capacity of al-Warith (the Inheritor), Allah is the sole inheritor of everything. When people die, they leave behind all of their possessions. As for those who take pride in their possessions and wealth and thus fail to remember Allah, the Qur'an relates the following:
Do they imagine that, in the wealth and children We extend to them, We are hastening to them with good things? No indeed, but they have no awareness! ( Surat al-Mu'minun, 23:55-56)
Allah may reward whomever He wills with great wealth. The Qur'an calls attention to the great wealth granted to such Messengers as Prophet Ibrahim (as), Prophet Muhammad (saas), Prophet Dawud (as), and Prophet Yusuf (as). Prophet Sulayman (as), on the other hand, asked for unprecedented wealth, and Allah answered his prayer.
One point deserves special mention here: Allah's Messengers used their wealth to attain His good pleasure by doing good deeds. However, unbelievers take pride in their wealth and forget its real owner.
The Qur'an gives a detailed account of the wealth that a few people, who deserve to earn Allah's good pleasure and thereby attain Paradise , will enjoy in the Hereafter. This glory is depicted in the following verses:
So Allah has safeguarded them from the evil of that Day, has made them meet with radiance and pure joy, and will reward them for their steadfastness with a garden and with silk. Reclining in it on couches, they will experience neither burning sun nor bitter cold. Its shading branches will droop down over them, its ripe fruit hanging ready to be picked. Vessels of silver and goblets of pure crystal will be passed round among them, crystalline silver—they have measured them very exactly. They will be given a cup to drink mixed with the warmth of ginger. In it is a flowing spring called Salsabil. Ageless youths will circulate among them, serving them. Seeing them, you would think them scattered pearls. Seeing them, you see delight and a great kingdom. They will wear green garments of fine silk and rich brocade. They will be adorned with silver bracelets. And their Lord will give them a pure draught to drink. “This is your reward. Your striving is fully acknowledged.” ( Surat al-Insan, 76:11-22)
The Helper; The Supporter
We supported them , and so they were the victors. ( Surat as-Saffat, 37:116)
Allah is our sole helper and guardian. In all difficulties and situations, believers ask for His help and He accepts their call. In order to establish justice, acquire property and recover from an illness so that they could pursue Allah's good pleasure, the Prophets turned to Allah alone. In return, He answered their sincere calls and guided them at all times. Allah promises the following in His book:
Our Word was given before to Our servants, the Messengers, that they would certainly be helped. ( Surat as-Saffat, 37:171-72)
In this way, We have assigned to every Prophet an enemy from among the evildoers. But your Lord is a sufficient guide and helper. ( Surat al-Furqan, 25:31)
In “... it is Our duty to help the believers” ( Surat ar-Rum, 30:47), Allah states that He will help His believing servants. However, among the most important prerequisites for earning Allah's good pleasure is to help His religion, observe His limits meticulously, and strive for this cause. In return, He always helps them. As Allah promises, victory belongs only to those who believe in our Lord and struggle to attain His good pleasure and consent. One verse reads:
Allah has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land, just as He made those before them successors; will firmly establish for them their religion, with which He is pleased; and will give them, in place of their fear, security. “They worship Me, not associating anything with Me.” Any who do not believe after that, such people are deviators. ( Surat an-Nur, 24:55)
Allah does not leave believers alone and helpless in this world. Rather, He promises to help them both in this world and beyond. And, as He states, He keeps His promises:
We will certainly help Our Messengers and those who believe both in the life of the world and on the Day the witnesses appear. (Surah Ghafir, 40:51)
Allah is the Light of the heavens and Earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, the glass like a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it. Light upon Light. Allah guides to His Light whoever He wills, makes metaphors for mankind, and has knowledge of all things. In houses that Allah has permitted to be built and in which His name is remembered, there are men who proclaim His glory morning and evening. ( Surat an-Nur, 24:35-36)
Allah, the Light of the heavens and Earth, manifests this attribute upon people. As a blessing, He illuminates His servants who believe in Him, recognize and appreciate His greatness, turn to Islam (the only just religion), and live by its morality:
Is he whose breast is opened to Islam, and who is therefore illuminated by his Lord…? Woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah! Such people are clearly misguided. ( Surat az-Zumar, 39:22)
For the unbelievers, however, there is not a single source of “illumination.” Moreover, they cannot find a way out of the darkness in which they exist. Allah describes this darkness in the following terms:
Or they are like the darkness of a fathomless sea that is covered by waves above, which are waves above which are clouds, layers of darkness, one upon the other. If he puts out his hand, he can scarcely see it. Those to whom Allah gives no light, they have no light. ( Surat an-Nur, 24:40)
While Allah leaves unbelievers in this darkness, He guides His faithful servants to the light. The following verse reveals that these two groups are mirror opposites and believers are absolutely superior, for:
Is someone who was dead and whom We brought to life, supplying him with a light by which to walk among people, the same as someone who is in utter darkness, unable to emerge from it? That is how what they were doing is made to seem attractive to the unbelievers. ( Surat al-An‘am, 6:122)
Allah sends down warnings to believers in order to guide them to the light. His Messengers and the just Books that they bring are all sources of “light.” Those who comply with the divine message attain the true path and are illuminated. The Qur'an proclaims:
O Prophet! We have sent you as a witness, a bringer of good news, a warner, a caller to Allah by His permission, and a light-giving lamp. ( Surat al-Ahzab, 33:45-46)
He sends down Clear Signs to His servant to bring you out of the darkness to the light. Allah is All-Gentle with you, Most Merciful. ( Surat al-Hadid, 57:9)
O People of the Book! Our Messenger has come to you, making clear to you much of the Book that you have kept concealed, and passing over a lot. A Light has come to you from Allah, and a Clear Book. By it, Allah guides those who follow what pleases Him to the ways of peace. He will bring them from the darkness to the light by His permission, and guide them to a straight path. ( Surat al-Ma'ida, 5:15-16)
Allah's true servants will live happily until they die, and will be recognized by their light. Unbelievers, on the other hand, will remain in infinite darkness in the Hereafter as well, and will ask believers for some of their light. As the Qur'an states:
On the Day you see the men and women of the believers, with their light streaming out in front of them, and to their right: “Good news for you today of gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever. That is the Great Victory.” That Day, the men and women of the hypocrites will say to those who believe: “Wait for us so that we can borrow some of your light.” They will be told: “Go back and look for light!” And a wall will be erected between them with a gate in it, on the inside of which there will be mercy but before whose exterior lies punishment. ( Surat al-Hadid, 57:12-13)
Allah is the Protector of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness and into the light. But those who are unbelievers have false deities as protectors. They take them from the light into the darkness. Those are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, forever. ( Surat al-Baqara, 2:257)
He calls down blessing upon you, as do His angels, to bring you out of the darkness and into the light. He is Most Merciful to the believers. ( Surat al-Ahzab, 33:43)
And Earth will shine with the Pure Light of its Lord, the Book will be put in place, the Prophets and witnesses will be brought, and it will be decided between them with the truth. They will not be wronged. ( Surat az-Zumar, 39:69)
Those who believe in Allah and His Messengers—such people are the truly sincere—and the martyrs who are with their Lord will receive their wages and their light. But those who are unbelievers and deny Our Signs will be Companions of the Blazing Fire. ( Surat al-Hadid, 57:19)
O You who believe! Have fear [and awareness] of Allah and faith in His Messenger. He will give you a double portion of His mercy, grant you a Light by which to walk, and forgive you. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. ( Surat al-Hadid, 57:28)
Prophet Muhammad (saas) advises believers to say the following in their prayers:
“Allahumma: Put light in my heart, light in my tongue, light in my sight, light in my hearing, light on my right, light on my left, light above me, light beneath me, light in front of me, and light behind me. Put light in my soul, and give me great light.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
RABB AL- `ALIMEEN
Lord of All the Worlds
All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the Lord of Earth, Lord of all the worlds. All greatness belongs to Him in the heavens and Earth. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. ( Surat al-Jathiya, 45:36-37)
Our universe contains many other worlds of which humanity is utterly ignorant. For example, each plant and animal species contains numerous subspecies. Even such inanimate objects as winds and clouds have many different types. Just like people, all things might be said to live in universes of their own.
This aside, Allah created the invisible world of atoms, cells with glorious systems that form our body, and hundreds of other microscopic living beings. He is the Lord of a coral colony in the depths of the ocean, just as He controls the infinite number of micro-universes of invisible organisms, to the macro-universes of celestial bodies. He feeds all of their inhabitants and causes them to survive. The Qur'an, which proclaims that Allah is the Lord of all the worlds, states:
Allah made Earth a stable home for you and the sky a dome; formed you, giving you the best of forms; and provided you with good and wholesome things. That is Allah, your Lord. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. He is the Living—there is no deity but Him—so call on Him, making your religion sincerely His. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. (Surah Ghafir, 40:64-65)
People who ponder over the oceans and its inhabitants, their lives and food, the symbiosis they experience, the delicate balance, their reproduction and continued existence, appreciate Allah's infinite power.
Allah, the Lord of the universes as well as of the jinn and angels that exist in an utterly different time and space, created all of these beings and made them submit to Him. These universes, all works of His artistry and infinite power, are far beyond our wisdom and imagination. Faced with this greatness, we are obliged to turn to Allah, as Prophet Ibrahim (as) did. When Allah called him to submit, he said: “... I am a Muslim who has submitted to the Lord of all the worlds.” ( Surat al-Baqara, 2:131)
After that, we should strive to devote our lives to earning His good pleasure, for:
Say: “My prayer and my rites, my living and my dying, are for Allah alone, the Lord of all the worlds.” ( Surat al-An‘am, 6:162)
So the last remnant of the people who did wrong was cut off. Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds! ( Surat al-An‘am, 6:45)
Your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and Earth in six days and then settled Himself firmly on the Throne. He covers the day with the night, each pursuing the other urgently; and the Sun and the Moon and stars are subservient to His command. Both creation and command belong to Him. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. ( Surat al-A‘raf, 7:54)
The Exalter; The Raiser
Mention Idris in the Book. He was a true man and a Prophet. We raised him up to a high place. (Surah Maryam, 19:56-57)
People who are ignorant of religion lead a life that is far from Allah. Therefore, they neither observe His commands and prohibitions nor appreciate the countless blessings He grants out of His favor. Unable to think or exercise spiritual intelligence, they cannot appreciate Allah's glory.
Throughout history, Allah has sent Messengers to all societies to convey His commands, prohibitions, and recommendations. In this way, He calls upon people who are far from religion to abandon their ignorance and lack of knowledge and then grants them another opportunity to follow the straight path. These Messengers were members of the nations to which they were sent, and were known for their moral excellence, wisdom, and superior conscience. As the Qur'an states many times, Messengers are people chosen by Allah to warn their people. They are distinguished from their fellows by being the first to notice Allah's existence and greatness, and the nearness of the Hereafter. These features reveal their superiority.
After being granted prophethood, the Messengers called their people to the right path and warned them of the punishment of Hell. The difficulties that they faced, the hardships that the insolent unbelievers placed in their paths, and even the attempts on their lives never diverted them from the right path. On the contrary, such events deepened their faith. At times, Messengers met people who said: “We are Muslims submitted to our Lord,” but then suddenly deserted them when they encountered some difficulty. But they persevered, for these chosen servants of Allah were “on a sure footing with the Lord” (Surah Yunus, 10:2) and wholly submitted to Him.
In return for their sincerity and trust, Allah made them distinguished both in this world and in the Hereafter. The related verses read:
This is the argument We gave to Ibrahim against his people. We raise in rank anyone We will. Your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing. We gave him Ishaq and Ya‘qub, each of whom We guided. And before him We had guided Nuh. And among his descendants were Dawud and Sulayman, and Ayyub, Yusuf, Musa, and Harun. That is how We recompense the good-doers. And Zakariyya, Yahya, ‘Isa, and Ilyas. All of them were among the righteous. And Isma‘il, al-Yasa‘, Yunus, and Lut. All of them We favored over all beings. ( Surat al-An‘am, 6:83-85)
AR-RAHMAN AR -RAHEEM
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
He is Allah—there is no deity but Him. He is the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible. He is the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful. ( Surat al-Hashr, 59:22)
Allah, the Most Gracious, manifests His infinite mercy and favor upon whatever He wills. We can survive only through this influx of visible and invisible blessings, all of which are submissive to Allah.
Allah encompasses His creation every day through His blessings. He causes millions of seeds to sprout, covers the earth's core with a temperature of 4,500° Celsius (8,132° Fahrenheit) with this fertile earth, pours down tons of clear water upon Earth's surface, simultaneously feeds countless living beings all over the world, creates the oxygen that circulates in our lungs, and sends countless other blessings that give life.
Allah creates every one of the 100 trillion cells that make up the human body and then teaches every one of them their individual tasks; places DNA, which comprises information that would fill a million pages, in the cell; makes this system operate through protein, fat, and water molecules that He puts in a cube far smaller than 1 millimeter ( 0.03 inch ); and gives each person a soul and keeps them alive until He wills otherwise.
From their birth to their death, each person receives and lives with Allah's blessings. Some see these blessings, grasp the purpose of their existence, and thereby devote themselves to Allah. Others do not, and so remain ungrateful and reject serving Him. Despite this, however, Allah manifests His graciousness upon all people, regardless of whether they are unbelievers, hypocrites, or polytheists. For example, He provides all people with air to breathe, water to drink, houses to live in, children, health, beauty, and many other blessings. This manifests His name “the Most Gracious.”
Prophet Muhammad (saas) says in a hadith:
“Allah is more merciful to His servants than a mother is to her child.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
In this life, Allah also grants blessings so that people may turn to religion, think, use their intellect, and thank Him. Those who turn away have only a short time, as short as the blink of an eye, to take advantage of these blessings. In the Hereafter, however, all blessings belong to believers who strove to draw near to Allah and earn His good pleasure while in this arena of testing. They give thanks to our Lord, for Allah is the Most Gracious and gives the good news of Paradise only to His faithful servants.
Gardens of Eden , which the All-Merciful has promised to His servants in the Unseen. His promise is always kept. (Surah Maryam, 19:61)
The All-Compassionate, the Most Merciful. ( Surat al-Fatiha, 1:2)
Say: “Call upon Allah or call on the All-Merciful; whichever you call upon, the Most Beautiful Names are His.” Do not be too loud in your prayer or too quiet in it, but try to find a way between the two. ( Surat al-Isra', 17:110)
On that day they will follow the summoner, who has no crookedness in him at all. Voices will be humbled before the All-Merciful, and nothing but a whisper will be heard. (Surah Ta Ha, 20:108)
Say: “Lord, judge with truth! Our Lord is the All-Merciful, the One Whose help is sought in the face of what you describe.” ( Surat al-Anbiya', 21:112)
On the Day when the Spirit and the angels stand in ranks, no one will speak, except for him who is authorized by the All-Merciful and says what is right. ( Surat an-Naba, 78:38)
O mankind! Have fear [and awareness] of your Lord, Who created you from a single self, created its mate from it, and then disseminated many men and women from the two of them. Heed Allah, in Whose name you make demands on one another and also in respect of your families. Allah watches over you continually. ( Surat an-Nisa', 4:1)
Allah protects and watches all beings; controls, watches, witnesses, and supervises everything from the stars and solar systems to atmospheric events and to the societies and plants covering this planet, and from the human body's complex and complicated systems to the micro- and macro-universes that are invisible to the naked eye.
People may think that they are not responsible to anyone, and thus may live without a purpose. But regardless of what they are doing, Allah sees them, for nothing can be hidden from His Sight. Allah repays anything done with justice, for He has comprehensive knowledge. Many people think that Allah created the universe and then left it to its own devices. Yet this is only a delusion and an assumption.
Allah knows every invisible cell down to its minute details. While functioning in perfect harmony with the trillions of other cells in the body, one day a cell can no longer control its replication and thus causes cancer. We have no control over such developments, but Allah knows all of this and controls every phase. Just as a person cannot take a step without Allah's will, that cell cannot function without His will. Given that He is the Creator, Allah knows everything and is the sole source of all knowledge. No being can do anything without Him knowing it. One verse reads:
... Allah is watchful over all things. ( Surat al-Ahzab, 33:52)
In this way, We have made you a middlemost community so that you may act as witnesses against mankind, and the Messenger [may act] as a witness against you. We only appointed the direction you used to face in order to distinguish those who follow the Messenger from those who turn back on their heels. Though in truth it is a very hard thing—except for those Allah has guided. Allah would never let your faith go to waste. Allah is All-Gentle, Most Merciful to mankind. ( Surat al-Baqara, 2:143)
All beings owe their existence to Allah's superior creation and the ensuing complex structures. This is one sign of our Lord's mercy and compassion, since no living being is responsible for its own survival but must submit to Allah's Will. Allah has already given every being whatever it needs. For instance, all living beings have various means of self-defense, such as a startling appearance, poisonous or flammable gasses, high levels of alertness and the ability to outrun their enemies, strong shields, camouflage, or the ability to play dead.
Living beings did not acquire these features coincidentally or by themselves. Allah, Who creates everything flawlessly and with great knowledge, reveals His compassion by endowing them with attributes that enable them to lead their lives comfortably.
Aside from these attributes, one notices that whatever has been created to serve humanity is also superior. Indeed, people who ponder over the material and spiritual attributes they enjoy readily notice that they live in a world that was created especially for them. The fact that our survival is assured is one of the greatest signs of Allah's mercy. However, apart from our five senses, Allah has enabled us to think, an ability that makes us superior to all other living beings. Allah relates His attribute of ar-Rauf in the verses below, as follows:
On the Day that each self finds the good it did and the evil it did present in front of it, it will wish that there were an age between it and them. Allah advises you to beware of Him. Allah is Ever-Gentle with His servants. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 3:30)
Do you not see that Allah has made everything on Earth subservient to you, and the ships running upon the sea by His command? He holds back the heaven, preventing it from falling to the ground—except by His permission. Allah is All-Compassionate to mankind, Most Merciful. ( Surat al-Hajj, 22:65)
He sends down Clear Signs to His servant to bring you out of the darkness and into to the light. Allah is All-Gentle with you, Most Merciful. ( Surat al-Hadid, 57:9)
Truly, Allah is the Provider, the Possessor of Strength, the Sure. ( Surat adh-Dhariyat, 51:58)
Imagine that you open your eyes in a world without mountains or oceans; with black, very dry and barren land; without animals or food for human beings, except for grass; and with infertile soil and water located hundreds of kilometers away. In order to survive, you would eat only that bitter grass and walk hundreds of kilometers to drink water. And, after a life of hardship, you would die. Interestingly, you would never ask: “Why can't we grow juicy, delicious fruits, vegetables, and various other crops in this land?” because you would not even be aware that the land could yield such crops.
Allah, Who is very compassionate and merciful toward His servants, places people on fertile lands that yield countless blessings. Indeed, even without tilling them, lands yield green crops and clusters of flowers. Yellow, red, green, and orange fruits and vegetables come out of the soil, and the blue oceans abound with tasty fish. These aside, Allah places the meat of most animals and birds at our service, and gives them pure milk and honey. All of these are all blessings from Allah.
As Allah informs us in “Who is there who could provide for you if He withholds His provision? Yet still they obstinately persist in insolence and evasion” ( Surat al-Mulk, 67:21), if He wills, lands do not yield crops, rain does not fall, and soil turns barren. But since Allah is Most Gracious, Most Merciful, it is impossible to number His blessings. He commands in the Qur'an, as follows:
O mankind! Remember Allah's blessing to you. Is there any creator other than Allah providing for you from heaven and earth? There is no deity but Him. So how have you been deluded? (Surah Fatir, 35:3)
These blessings, which are granted in this world, have perfect counterparts in the Hereafter, as the Qur'an tells us:
No self knows the delight that is hidden away for it in recompense for what it used to do. ( Surat as-Sajda, 32:17)
The inhabitants of Hell, on the other hand, will have nothing to eat and drink but the tree of az-Zaqqum , boiling water, and bitter thorny bush for all eternity.
Say: “Who provides for you out of heaven and earth? Who controls hearing and sight? Who brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living? Who directs the whole affair?” They will say: “Allah.” Say: “So will you not guard against evil?” (Surah Yunus, 10:31)
So that Allah can reward them for the best of what they did and give them more from His unbounded favor. Allah provides for anyone He wills without reckoning. ( Surat an-Nur, 24:38)
The Everlasting Refuge and Sustainer
Allah, the Everlasting Sustainer of all. ( Surat al-Ikhlas, 112:2)
In the entire universe, all power belongs to Allah, the only One Who can remove a person's troubles and difficulties, and meet his needs. Sometimes people forget our Lord and take other guardians for themselves, who they believe can provide them with power, honor, and help. But this is a delusion, for there is no other deity other than Allah. Unless He wills otherwise, no one can help or harm anyone else. This fact is related in the Qur'an, as follows:
Do those who take the hypocrites as protectors, rather than the believers, hope to find power and strength with them? Power and strength belong entirely to Allah. ( Surat an-Nisa', 4:139)
Our only refuge from distress is Allah, the Lord of power and honor, for He answers all of His servants' prayers and eases, or fully removes, what is causing them hardship. Allah describes this, as follows:
He Who responds to the oppressed when they call upon Him and removes their distress, and has appointed you as inheritors of the land. Is there another deity besides Allah? How little you pay heed! ( Surat an-Naml, 27:62)
This verse states that some people fail to recognize or forget Allah's compassion and mercy and become ungrateful. However, as Allah states in “Say: ‘Allah rescues you from it, and from every plight'…” ( Surat al-An‘am, 6:64), only He saves us from every distress. In return, He expects us to notice this answer, ponder over its importance, submit to Him, and become His grateful servant.
The Prophet (saas) advises believers to take refuge only in Allah:
"When you ask, ask from Allah; when you seek help, seek it of Allah.” (Hadith at-Tirmidhi)