A Commentary on the Hamd Surah - Part 6
Be aware that the holy words “All praise is for God”? accordance with what had already been mentioned is of the whole””inclusive sayings and if, with this finenesses and truths one praises human being to observe. Hence, the holy tradition refers to it. It is narrated that Imam Baqir (A.S) once came out a house and found that his mount had gone. He said: “If I find the mount, I will praise Allah as praising deserves.”? When his mount was found, he mounted, tidied his clothes and said: “All praise is for Allah.”?1 The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) is quoted to have said “’There is no god but Allah’ is half of a scale, and ‘All praise is for Allah’ fills the other half of the scale.”? This is because of what we have said “All praise is for Allah”? includes monotheism, too.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) is also quoted to have said: “The servant’s saying, ‘All praise is for Allah’ is heavier, in His scales, than seven heavens and seven earths.”? He (PBUH) is also quoted to have said: “If Allah gave to one of His servants the entire world, and then that servant said: All praise is for Allah; that saying would be better than what be had been given. “Further quotations from him (PBUH) say: “Nothing is more loved by Allah than one’s saying: ‘All praise is for Allah,’ as Allah Himself has so praised Himself.1 There are many similar hadiths.”? Allah the Exalted said: “rabb al-‘alamin”? (the Lord of the worlds). If “rabb”? means: “the Most High”? [muta‘ali], “the Constant”? [thabit] and “the Master”? [sayyid], then it is of the Names of the Essence. If it means: “the Possessor”? [malik], “the Owner”? [sahib], “the Victorious”? [ghalib] and “the Omnipotent”? [qahir], then it is of the attributive Names. If it means: “the Educator”? [murabbi], “the Benefactor”? [mun‘im], and “theCompleter”? [mutammim], then it is of the Names of Acts. “Al-‘alamin”? (the worlds), if it means: “Everything other than Allah,”? which covers all the stages of existence and the stations [manazil] of the invisible and visible, then we have to take “rabb”? to be of the Names of Attributes. If “world”? is “the visible world”? [‘alam al-mulk], which gradually takes place and reaches its perfection, then “rabb”? means a Name of Act. At any rate, here it does not mean a Name of Essence. Maybe, in a way, “‘alamin”? refers to the visible worlds, which attain their suitable perfection under the divine education and management. In this case, the word “rabb”? means educator, being one of the Names of Acts.
Do know that in this paper we refrain from explaining the linguistic, literary and structural aspects of the verses because others have mostly handled them. Certain points that have not been handled at all, or inaccurately handled, we shall properly deal with them.
It must be noted that the Names of Essence, Attributes and Acts, which have been referred to, are according to the terms of the people of knowledge. A learned man of the people of knowledge, in Insha’ al-Dawa’ir has divided the Names into the Names of Essence, the Names of Attributes, and the Names of Acts. He has said:
“The Names of Essence are: Allah, ar-Rabb (the Lord), al-Malik (the King), al-Quddus (the Holy), as-Salam (the Peace), al-Mu’min (the Faithful), al-Muhaymin (the Protector), al-‘Aziz (the Almighty), al-Jabbar (the Omnipotent), al-Mutakabbir (the Haughty), al-‘Ali (the Exalted), al-‘Azim (the Tremendous), al-Zahir (the Outward), al-Batin (the Inward), al-Awwal (the First), al-Akhir (the Last), al-Kabir (the Great), al-Jalil (the Majestic), al-Majid (The Glorious), al-Haqq (the Truth), al-Mubin (the Manifest), al-Wajid (the Finder), al-Majid (the Noble), al-Samad (the Everlasting Refuge), al-Muta‘ali (the Most High), al-Ghani (the Independent), al-Nur (the Light), al-Warith (the Inheritor), Dhu’l-Jalal (the Owner of Majesty), and al-Raqib (the Watcher). The Names of Attributes are: al-Hayy (the Living), al-Shakur (the Grateful), al-Qahhar (the Conqueror), al-Qahir (the Subduer), al-Muqtadir (the All-Powerful), al-Qawiyy (theStrong), al-Qadir (the Able), ar-Rahman (the Beneficent), ar-Rahim (the Merciful), al-Karim (the Generous), al-Ghaffar (the Forgiver), al-Ghafur (the Forgiving), al-Wadud (theAffectionate), al-Ra’uf (the Compassionate), al-Halim (theClement), al-Sabur (the Patient), al-Barr (the Righteous), al-‘Alim (the Omniscient), al-Khabir (the Aware), al-Muhsi (the Counter), al-Hakim (the Wise), al-Shahid (the Witness), al-Sami‘ (the Hearer) and al-Basir (the Seer). The Names of Acts are: al-Mubdi’ (the Beginner), al-Wakil (the Guardian), al-Ba’ith (the Resurrector), al-Mujib (the Responsive), al-Wasi’ (the Expansive), al-Hasib (the Reckoner), al-Muqit (the Nourisher), al-Hafiz (the Protector), al-Khaliq (the Creator), al-Bari’ (the Maker), al-Musawwir (the Shaper), al-Wahhab (the Giver), al-Razzaq (the Provider), al-Fattah (the Opener), al-Qabid (the Restrainer), al-Basit (the Spreader), al-Khafid (the Abaser), ar-Rafi‘ (the Exalter), al-Mu‘izz (the Honorer), al-Mudhill (the Humiliator), al-Hakim (the wise), al-‘Adil (the Just), al-Latif (the Subtle), al-Mu’id (the Restorer), al-Muhyi (the Life-Giver), al-Mumit (the Death-Giver), al-Wali (the Patron), al-Tawwab (the Relenting, the Accepter of Repentance), al-Muntaqim (the Avenger), al-Muqsit (the Equitable), al-Jami‘ (the Comprehensive), al-Mughni (the Enricher), al-Mani‘ (the Deterrent), al-Darr (the Harmful), al-Nafi‘ (the Beneficial), al-Hadi (the Guide), al-Badi’ (the Magnificent), and al-Rashid (the Prudent).
Concerning these divisions it is said that although they are all Names of Essence, yet considering the appearance of the Essence, they are called the Names of Essence, and, considering the appearance of the Attributes or the Acts they are called the Names of Attributes or of Acts. That is, whichever of these is more apparent, they are named after it. Consequently, sometimes in a Name two or three aspects appear at the same time, in which case it is regarded as a Name of Essence, Attribute and Acts or of two of these three, like “ar-rabb,” ? as has been said. But this question does not come to suit the writer’s taste, nor does it suit the Gnostic taste. What is apparent in this sorting is that the criterion for these Names is that when the spiritual wayfarer with the steps of knowledge reaches the stage of complete annihilation in Acts, Allah, the Exalted, appears to his heart through the manifestations of Names of Acts. After the annihilation in Attributes, the manifestations will be in the Names of Attributes, and after the annihilation in Essence, the manifestations will be in the Names of Essence. Should his heart have the ability of preservation after coming to sobriety, whatever he tells of his seeings of Acts would be Names of Acts. Similarly, whatever he tells of his seeing of Attributes would be Names of Attributes, and likewise the Names of Essence. There are, in this connection, details that do not suit these pages. That which is stated in the Insha’ al-Dawa’ir is not correct according to its own criterion, as is obvious on having a look at the Names.
It can be said that these divisions of “the three Names” are referred to in the Glorious Qur’an, in the last noble verses of the Surah of Praise.” Allah, the Exalted, says: “He is Allah, other than Whom there is no god, the Knower of the invisible and the visible. He is the Beneficent, the Merciful,” up to the end of the noble verses.
Perhaps the first of these noble verses refers to the Names of Essence, the second refers to the Names of Attributes and the third refers to the Names of Acts. Giving precedence to the Names of Essence over those of Attributes, and these over those of Acts, is according to the order of the facts of existence and of the divine manifestations, not according to the witnessings of the people of witnessing and the manifestations in the hearts of the people of heart. It should be realized that the noble verses have other secrets, but to mention them does not suit the situation. That the second verse is the Names of Attributes, and the third is the Names of Action, is quite clear. That “the Knower of the invisible and the visible,” “the Beneficent” and |the Merciful” are of the Names of Essence, is based on the fact that “the invisible” and “visible” are of the internal and external Names, and “Beneficence” and “Mercifulness” are of the manifestations of “the Most Holy Emanation” [fayd al-aqdas], not of “the Holy Emanation”. Confining these Names to the remembrance of Allah, whereas “Living” “Constant” and “Lord” seem nearer to the Names of Essence, is probably because of their comprehensiveness, as they are of the mothers of Names. And Allah knows better.
Adapted from: "A Commentary on the Chapter of ‘Praise’" by: "Ayatullah Khomeini (R.A)"
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