"O son of Adam, as long as you call upon Me and put your hope in Me, I have forgiven you for what you have done and I do not mind. O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and then you would seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins that are close to filling the earth and then you would meet Me without ascribing any partners with Me, I would certainly bring to you forgiveness close to filling it." In this Hadithi Qudsi, Allah gives hope to mankind more than any other narration. It displays the quality and attribute of Allahs mercy. Indeed, He is ar-Rahman, the Most Compassionate, and ar-Raheem, the Most Merciful. In this Hadithi Qudsi, Allah tells man of the greatness of His forgiveness and mercy so that no one would despair due to the amount of sins he may have committed. This is supported by the following verse of the Holy Quran: Say: O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah az-Zumar 39:53) This hadith teaches us the importance of realizing Allahs mercy, having faith and hope in Him especially when making dua, calling to Allah alone for forgiveness, and the importance of repentance in the life and faith of a believer. Allah catches the attention of mankind by calling out, O son of Adam! This is a call to every human being. Why didnt Allah say, O mankind or O People? The significance of this specific call is because it was the first human being, Adam (alaiyhis-salam) who committed the first sin. Adam was an example to all humans of the consequences of sin and how to turn to Allah for forgiveness of ones sins. This gives hope that even after committing a violation, ones sins can be forgiven if one repents to Allah sincerely the same way that the father of mankind sinned, repented, and was forgiven by Allah. Allah calls out to His servants, a call of forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. For He knows that man was created weak and is prone to fall into sin. After calling out to mankind, Allah informs them that as long as they call on Him and put their hope in Him, He will forgive them and not mind. This statement alone can convince one to have hope and never to despair. When one calls out to Allah or makes dua, he is displaying his need and dependence of Allah. He is demonstrating his weakness to the fact that he has no power to do anything for himself. It is the essence of submission and servitude. It is also a recognition of Allahs attributes of kindness, generosity, forgiving and merciful nature, and His unlimited power and knowledge. Humans are never in a situation where they are not in need of Allah. A believer always turns to Allah to ask for guidance as well as to seek forgiveness of sins and shortcomings. Allahs says, Call on me and I will respond to you. One of the most important conditions of making dua is that one must completely trust that Allah will respond. One must also supplicate with sincerity, hope, and seriousness. One must not have any doubt at all on whether Allah will respond to ones call or if He accepts the dua. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, Supplicate Allah while you are certain of a response. And know that Allah does not respond to a supplication from a heart that is heedless and inattentive. He also forbade that one say, Oh Allah, forgive me if You will. But he said, Instead, you should ask with will and conviction for there is nothing so great to Allah that He cannot grant it. When supplicating, one should truly seek Allahs aid and His forgiveness and demonstrate his need for Allah and submit to Him with fear and hope in receiving the desired response. Allah advises in Surat al-Araaf 7:56: And invoke Him in fear and aspiration (of hope). Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to those who do good. Another important condition of supplication is that one must not become hasty and impatient and stop supplicating because he did not receive a response sooner or at all. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, You are responded to as long as you do not become hasty and say, I supplicated and it is not being or was not responded to. And the final condition of ones dua being responded to is that one must make sure he is living off of halal and permissible means. Allah says, Put your hope in Me. Man was not created sinful, but he was created weak. He is prone to fall into the temptations of sin and the whispers of Satan and when he does, he should always remember to turn to Allah, call upon Him, and ask for forgiveness with hope in His mercy. Allah stated in a Hadithi Qudsi, I am with My servant as He expects of Me. The meaning of this is that Allah treats His servants the way he expects Him to. If one has hope in Allah and trusts Him, Allah will act accordingly to that servants beliefs and faith. And if he does not have faith and is in despair of his Lords mercy, Allah will act accordingly. Not having hope in Allah and despairing of His mercy is a great sin and an act of kufr. Allah quotes Prophet Yaqoob (alaiyhis-salam) in the Quran: Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people. (Surah Yusuf 12:87) One must be hopeful of Allahs mercy and forgiveness and fearful of His punishment. It is this fear that should lead one to seek Allahs forgiveness with hope. Allah says: Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Surat al-Maaidah 5:98) In the above verse, Allah gives us reason to fear because His punishment is justly severe, as well as good reason to have hope, since He is the Most Forgiving and Merciful. There should be a balance between fear and hope and not too much or too less of one or the other. If there is too much fear, then a person may negate Allahs quality of mercy and ascribe to Him unkindness (Allah forbid!). There was a sect called Khawaarij, who worshipped Allah only in fear and held the belief that anyone who commits major sins was a disbeliever and would be thrown into the Hellfire forever. This is a gross extremism and straying from the correct path. Yet, another sect, which emerged within the first century of Islam, had no fear and believed that sins did not affect ones faith and that as long as one believed and testified in Islam, he would enter Paradise regardless of his actions. Both of these extremes lead to a dangerous consequence. To understand the balance of fear and hope of Allah, let us look at the very first chapter of the Quran, Surat al-Fatiha. The first verse says, All praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. In this verse, love for Allah is expressed. We acknowledge that Allah is our Lord and the Lord of all the worlds. He is the Creator of all things; He sustains and nourishes everything; He gives life and death; anything good that we have is from Him; and everything is dependant on him and nothing can happen unless Allah wills it to happen. In the second verse we express our hope in Him by stating, ar-Rahma-nir-Raheem. The meaning of which is: The Beneficent, the Merciful. When we mention these two names of Allah, then we have hope, since He is the One, who is full of mercy and we hope He will forgive out mistakes and shortcomings. We should never lose hope because there is no reason to. And in the third ayah of Surat al-Fatiha, fear of Allah is expressed when we recite, Master (King) of the Day of Judgement. When we recite this verse, we remind ourselves of the Day that we will be standing in front of our Lord and be questioned for our deeds, a Most Awful Day. It will be a day in which not even the smallest action will be hidden. This reminder of the Day of Judgement should bring fear to our hearts. Fear and hope, both should be equally proportioned in our hearts, in our worship, and in our dua to Allah. Allah says: Call out to Him with fear and hope. (Surat al-Araaf 7:56) They forsake their beds to call their Lord in fear and hope. (Surat as-Sajdah 32:16) The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, The like of these two qualities do not unite in the heart of a servant except that Allah gives him what he hopes for and protects him from what he feared. In the Hadithi Qudsi that is being discussed in this paper, Allah says, O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and you would then seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you. Here, we will discuss the importance of repentance and seeking forgiveness and its virtues. First of all, we should never lose hope or stop asking for Allahs forgiveness. Its importance is shown to us in the following hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam): O people! Turn to Allah in repentance and seek His forgiveness, for surely I make repentance a hundred times every day. Repentance is such a great act of worship that doing it can totally erase ones sins altogether, as the Noble Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, One who repents from sins is like one without sin. When a person sins and then sincerely turns to Allah for forgiveness, one will find Allah ready to accept his repentance and to forgive him, as this verse indicates: And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself, but then seeks forgiveness from Allah, he will find Allah forgiving and merciful. (Surat an-Nisaa 4:110) Everyone commits sin and does wrong, but Allah is always willing to forgive and He always gives them a chance to repent and seek His forgiveness. A believer should never forget the fact that Allah is so forgiving. If Allah had willed, He could have held everyone accountable for his or her sins, but He has decreed that He shall allow His servants to seek His forgiveness and that He shall in fact forgive who and what He wills. In fact, Allah commands that His servants seek His forgiveness: And seek Allahs forgiveness. Certainly, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Surat al-Muzzammil 73:20) Repentance is an act, which purifies the soul and brings the servant closer to His Lord. It puts the heart at rest from guilt. It protects one from falling prey to his desires and lusts and increases his faith. Allah then says in the Hadithi Qudsi that is being discussed, O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins close to filling the earth and then you would meet Me without ascribing any partners with Me, I would certainly bring you forgiveness close to filling it. Look at how great Allahs mercy, compassion, and love is! The least Allah asks for is that one not ascribe any partners and gods with Him, for, He is alone in His Sovereignty. And after that if one commits sins and seeks sincere forgiveness, Allah will forgive him and shower His mercy upon him. However, one is not forgiven if he seeks repentance from Allah at the time of death when he sees the angels or when the sun rises from the west at the approaching of the Day of Judgement. This is confirmed by the following verse: And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says, Now I repent, nor of those who dies while they are disbelievers. For them, We have prepared a painful torment. (Surat an-Nisaa 4:18) Allah also does not forgive one who commits shirk, which is the association of partners with Allah. Forgiveness will only come to those who die while adhering to tawheed and avoiding any form of shirk. Verily, Allah does not forgive that partners should be set up with Him, but He forgives whatever is less than that for whomever He wills. And whoever sets up partners with Allah has indeed invented a tremendous sin. (Surat an-Nisaa 4:48) Verily, Allah forgives not the setting up of partners with Him, but He forgives whom He pleases whatever is less than that. And whoever sets up partners with Allah has indeed strayed far away. (Surat an-Nisaa 4:116) We must ask ourselves this question: Would we be willing to forgive anyone who hurts us and disobeys us constantly as easily as Allah is Able to forgive? Most probably, the answer would be no. But our Creator is the Most Kind and He is the Most Perfect. Lo! Allah is a Lord of Kindness to mankind, but most of mankind give not thanks. (Surat al-Baqarah 2:143) In this Hadithi Qudsi, mankind is encouraged to seek Allahs forgiveness and repent, but there are five conditions of repentance, which must be met for ones repentance to be accepted. The first and most important is that the act of repentance be sincerely for Allah alone. Secondly, the person must feel remorse and guilt over his actions so much so that he wished he had never done it in the first place. The third condition is that the person must immediately cease performing the wrong and sinful act. Fourthly, the repentant person must have a firm intention to never commit the sin again. And lastly, the person must repent before it is too late, meaning before death approaches. Allah, Blessed and Exalted, finishes the Hadithi Qudsi with the following words, O son of Adam! If you were to come to Me with sins that are close to filling the earth and you would then meet Me without ascribing any partners to Me, I would certainly bring to you forgiveness close to filling it. Again, the mercy of Allah is clearly demonstrated by His Divine Words. However, there is a condition. One must not associate any partners with Allah, which is shirk. And Allah does not forgive shirk and if one dies without believing in Allah alone as ones Creator, then he will be doomed to the Hellfire for all of eternity. So, Allah emphasizes the importance of calling on Him alone. He has no and needs no partners, associates, wives, children, etc. There is no god, but Allah. None forgives sins except Him, so one seeking forgiveness should seek it only from Allah. Will they not repent to Allah and ask His forgiveness? For Allah is the Forgiving, the Merciful. (Surat al-Maaidah 5:74) And who can forgive sins except Allah? (Surah Ali Imran 3:135) Allah praises the one who truly believes, has hope, and seeks the forgiveness of his Creator, as did his father, Adam: Say: Shall I not inform you of things far better than those (things of this world)? For the pious, there are gardens with their Lord, wherein rivers flow. Therein (is their) eternal home and pure wives. And Allah will be pleased with them. And Allah is Seer of the slaves. Those who say, Our Lord! We have indeed believed, so forgive us our sins and save us from the punishment of the Fire. They are those who are patient, those who are true and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allah. Those who spend (in charity) and those who pray and beg for Allahs forgiveness in the last hours of the night. (Surah Ali Imran 3:15-17) Allahs forgiveness and mercy is far greater and more vast than the sins of the creation. One must always have trust and hope in Allah in both good times and bad times and especially when seeking Allahs forgiveness. And the believer who calls out to his Lord for forgiveness demonstrates his true weakness and that he is totally dependent on the Creator. When one confesses his sins to Allah and sincerely repents with hope in Allahs mercy, the heart should come to peace and the soul should feel rest. When a person has hope, he has no reason to despair because it only leads to destruction. Allah gives hope to all, especially those who despair that there is no reason to despair because Allah is the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy. Allah praises those who repent and turn to Him: And those who, when they commit a lewd act or wrong themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sinsand who forgives sins except Allah? And they do not persist in what (wrong) they were doing while they knew it. For such, the reward is forgiveness from their Lord and Gardens with rivers flowing through, wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is the reward of the doers (of good)! (Surah Ali Imran 3:135-136) source
Concept of God in Islam WAMY Series: On Islam No.9. Introduction God's Attributes The Oneness of God The Believer's Attitude Introduction It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah. Allah is the personal name of the One true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word "god," which can be made plural, as in "gods," or made feminine, as in "goddess." It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic. The One true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing, and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur'an, which is considered to be the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112, which reads:“ In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say (O Muhammad), He is God, the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone”. Some non-Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully and is not loving and kind. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur'an begins with the verse " In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate". In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we are told that “ God is more loving and kind than a mother to her dear child”. On the other hand, God is also Just. Hence, evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment, and the virtuous must have God's bounties and favors. Actually, God's attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake should not receive similar treatment from their Lord as people who oppress and exploit others their whole lives. Expecting similar treatment for them would amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negate all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world. The following Qur'anic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect. Verily, for the Righteous are gardens of Delight, in the Presence of their Lord. Shall We then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you? Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human-beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only. The concepts that God rested on the seventh day of creation, that God wrestled with one of His soldiers, that God is an envious plotter against mankind, and that God is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view. The unique usage of Allah as a personal name of God is a reflection of Islam's emphasis on the purity of the belief in God that is the essence of the message of all God's messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a deadly sin that God will never forgive, despite the fact that He may forgive all other sins. The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then he must be eternal. But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that he must be self-sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal and everlasting: "He is the First and the Last". He is Self-sufficient or Self-subsistent, or, to use a Qur'anic term, Al-Qayyum The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He. also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them. “ God is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth” (39:62-63). “ No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on God. He knows its lodging place and its repository” (11:16). God's Attributes If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then his attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be, for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment's thought shows that this is not feasible. The Qur'an summarizes this argument in the following verses:“ God has not taken to Himself any son, nor is there any god with Him: for then each god would have taken of that which he created and some of them would have risen up over others” (23:91). “ And why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than God, they (heaven and earth) would surely go to ruin” (21:22). The Oneness of God The Qur'an reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects it asks:“ Do you worship what you have carved yourself” (37:95). “ Or have you taken unto yourself others beside Him to be your protectors, even such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves” (13:16). To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham:“ When night outspread over him, he saw a star and said: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: I love not the setters. When he saw the moon rising, he said: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: If my Lord does not guide me, I shall surely be of the people gone astray. When he saw the sun rising, he said: This is my Lord; this is greater. But when it set, he said: O my people, surely I quit that which you associate, I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth; a man of pure faith, I am not one of the idolators” (6:76-79). The Believer's Attitude In order to be a Muslim, that is, to surrender oneself to God, it is necessary to believe in the oneness of God, in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. But this belief, later called Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah, is not enough. Many of the idolators knew and believed that only the Supreme God could do all this. But this was not enough to make them Muslims. To tawhid ar-rububiyyah, one must add tawhid al-'uluhiyyah. That is, one acknowledges the fact that it is God alone who deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstains from worshipping any other thing or being. Having achieved this knowledge of the one true God, man should constantly have faith in Him, and should allow nothing to induce him to deny truth. When faith enters a person's heart, it causes certain mental states that result in certain actions. Taken together, these mental states and actions are the proof for the true faith. The Prophet said:“ Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds”. Foremost among those mental stated is the feeling of gratitude towards God, which could be said to be the essence of ibada (worship). The feeling of gratitude is so important that a non-believer is called 'kafir', which means 'one who denies a truth' and also 'one who is ungrateful'. A believer loves, and is grateful to God for the bounties He bestowed upon him, but being aware of the fact that his good deeds, whether mental or physical, are far from being commensurate with Divine favors, he is always anxious lest God should punish him, here or in the Hereafter. He, therefore, fears Him, surrenders himself to Him and serves Him with great humility. One cannot be in such a mental state without being almost all the time mindful of God. Remembering God is thus the life force of faith, without which it fades and withers away. The Qur'an tries to promote this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of God very frequently. We find most of these attributes mentioned together in the following verses of the Qur'an:“ He is God; there is no god but He. He is the Knower of the unseen and the visible; He is the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. He is God; there is no god but He. He is the King, the All-Holy, the All-Peace, the Guardian of the Faith, the All-Preserver, the All-Mighty, the All-Compeller, the All-Sublime. Glory be to God, above that they associate! He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the Almighty, the All-Wise” (59:22-24). “ There is no god but He, the Living, the Everlasting. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Who is there that shall intercede with Him save by His leave? He knows what lies before them, and what is after them, and they comprehend not anything of His knowledge save such as He wills. His throne comprises the heavens and earth. The preserving of them oppresses Him not; He is the All-High, the All-Glorious” (2:255). People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. “ The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not "Three". Refrain; better it is for you. God is only one God. Glory be to Him -- (He is) above having a son” (4:171).