The Well-Spring of Fatihah by Ahmad of Qadian (Mystical Secrets, Linguistic Miracles, and Prophecies)

fatihaa
Preliminary 
Sūrah Fātihāh
Arabic Recitation of the Fātihāh in 10 Styles
Introduction
The Seven Thunders

Introduction
Prediction of an Ancient Prophet about Fātihāh
Fātihāh contains Four Sciences
The Dual Seven
Sūrah Fātihā and the Rose
Five Oceans of Attributes of Supreme Being and the Order of Fātihāh
– First Ocean
– Second Ocean
– Third Ocean
– Fourth Ocean
– Fifth Ocean
Language of Fātihāh is Beyond Human Capacity
Fātihāh means Victory
A Holy Tree
Fātihāh is a Citadel
Prayer for All Mankind

Ta’awwudh
The Age of the Ruin of the Dajjāl

Basmala
Meaning of Ism
Basmala compared with the Avesta

All praise to Allah, Lord of all the Worlds
Allah is the Lord of the World of Element and Command
Meaning of ‘Ālamīn
Two Manifestations of Hamd (Praise)
Divine Providence – One Who Causes and Sustains Evolution
Rabb al-‘Ālamīn means Benefactor of All Nations
– Krishna
– Guru Nanak
– Buddha
– Zoroaster
– Israelite Prophets
‘Ālamīn refers to Extra-Terrestrial Life

The Gracious, the Merciful
Distinction between Rahmāniyyah and Rahīmiyyah
Divine Love and Prophets as Mirrors of Rahmān and Rahīm
Insān al-Kāmil (Perfect Man) is Manifestation of Divine Attributes
Muhammad and Ahmad are reflections of Rahmān and Rahīm
Muhammadiyyah and Ahmadiyyah periods of Islam

Sūrah Fātihāh

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ (١  – In the name of Allāh, the Beneficent, the Merciful
ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (٢  – The Praise be to Allāh, Lord of the Worlds
ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ (٣  – The Beneficent, the Merciful
مَـٰلِكِ يَوۡمِ ٱلدِّينِ (٤  – Master of the Day of Judgment
إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ (٥  – Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help
ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ (٦  – Show us the straight path
صِرَٲطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ (٧  – The path of those whom Thou hast favoured with your blessings. Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

Arabic Recitation of the Fātihāh in 10 Styles

Introduction

Sūrah Fātihāh is the opening chapter of the Qur’ān and contains its essence and summary. It was known by the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as Umm al-Qur’ān (the Mother of the Qur’ān) for this reason. The word fātihāh in fact means ‘opening’ and is also connotative of fath (victory). It is recited more than 40 times every day by Muslims in their five daily prayers. It is a beautiful treasure house of divine mysteries and prophecies, a glimpse of which I shall attempt to unveil here. This article is a compendium of writings by the Imām Mahdī and Promised Messiah, Hadrat Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad (‘alayhi al-salām) regarding the prophecies, linguistic miracles, and mystical secrets inherent in Sūrah Fātihāh. It is a compilation of excerpts from his larger 500 page commentary of Sūrah Fātihāh. Everything in the article past this Preliminary section is a direct quotation of Hadrat Ahmad of Qadian (as).

masih maud

The Seven Thunders
(A poem of mine about the first verse of the Fātihāh; henceforth after this poem, everything should be understood as a direct quotation of Hadrat Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad [as]):

In the name of the Master of the Loftiest Horizon

Who created this garden-planet in six eons, full of xenon, never tiring.

In the name of the Being that knows manifest and hidden

Of the universe expanding that’s always constantly bidding

You goodbye everytime the night sky

Bears witness to the moon

In preparation for the sun to rise.

Lord of the rain, thunder, lightning

Striking fear into the sightless

Elohim or Jehovah, Yahweh or as Brahma

Ahura Mazda or the Tao, His Inner Name was secret

But His Greatest Name is Allah, Who revealed this
through His Teaching

of

{ بِسمِ ٱلله الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيـمِ }

In the name of the Creator, the Compassionate, the Merciful

This complex spiritual formula is the elixir of eternity

Turning ashes into gold

Infusing deserts with the rain

And giving life to where is death

Do you want to walk on water?

Or do you choose to stay a moth

Flapping its wings towards the fire, distraught

Not knowing it will extinguish your life-force and cause your heart to stop

That fire is your lust, and anger, and deceit

But Bismillah’s the wizard that gives a wolf a skin of fleece

If you don’t know how to walk on water

Then at least comprehend the way to walk

And once you walk, come sail on the Ship of Bismillah

On the Ocean of Luminescence that is known as Fatihah

The opening of blessings, 7 seas on Heaven’s Ark

Keep sailing on this ship my friend, the sea is never dark

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Introduction:
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Prediction of an Ancient Prophet about Fātihāh
thunders
This is the same Fātihāh concerning which a prediction was made by one of the ancient Prophets. He said:

‘I saw a mighty angel descend from heaven. In his hand was the Fātihā [the word ‘open’ in this verse of the Bible is ‘fatuah‘] in the shape of a little book and by the command of the Almighty Lord his right foot came to rest on the ocean and his left foot on the earth and he called in a loud voice like the roaring of a lion. Seven thunder-claps issued forth from his mouth and from each was heard a pronouncement and it was commanded:

Seal up the words announced by the thunder-claps and inscribe them not. Thus said the Loving Lord. The descending angel swore by the Ever-Living One Whose light has illumined the face of the seas and the habitations, that there will not dawn an age greater in glory than that age.’ [Bible, Revelation 10:1-7]

Commentators of the Holy Qur’ān are agreed that that age is the age of the Promised Messiah.

That age has already dawned and the seven voices have issued forth from the seven verses of the Fātihāh. This age is the apex in respect of goodness and guidance and there never will be a period of comparable glory and grandeur. After my departure from this world, there will appear no Messiah till doomsday, neither descending from the heavens nor emerging from a cave, except the one from among my progeny about whom the word of my Lord has already gone forth [there is an indication of this in the saying of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ); He (the Promised Messiah) will marry and beget children].[1]

Fātihāh contains Four Sciences

birds
The Fatiha has also been named Umm al-Qur’ān (Mother of the Qur’ān), for it comprehends the totality of the meaning of the Qur’ān in an excellent manner. It has embedded in it like in a shell all the gems and pearls of the Qur’ān. This sūrah is, as it were, a nest for the birds of spiritual knowledge and understanding.

The Qur’ān comprises guidance in respect of four sciences; the science of the origin of life, the science of eschatology, the science of Prophethood and the science of the Unity of the Divine Being and His attributes. There is not the least doubt that all these four are comprised in the Fātihāh, but the minds of most of Muslim scholars are unaware of them. They recite the Fātihāh superficially and do not reflect over its deeper meaning. They do not strive to release the flow of its seven streams but pass their days in sinful disobedience.

The Dual Seven
age_of_the_earth
Another of the names of this sūrah is al-saba’ al-mathānī (i.e. the Dual Seven). One reason for this title is that the surah comprises two halves, one half consists of the worshipper’s homage to the Lord and the other half describes the bounty of Providence towards His mortal servants.

It has also been said that it has been called the mathānī (i.e. unique) because of its exceptional merits among all the Divine Books, the equal of which is not to be found in the Torah or the Gospels or in the Books of Prophets. Also because it has seven verses from Allah the Bountiful, the recitation of each one being equal to the recitation of one seventh of the Exalted Qur’ān.

It has also been said that it has been named saba’ (i.e. seven) as it indicates seven gates of hell and each part of it wards off the flames of one of them by the command of Allah, the Gracious. Whoso, therefore, seeks to pass by these seven gates of hell in security, should enter this saba’ (seven-verse haven) with eagerness, begging of Almighty Allah steadfast attachment to it. Whatever of morals and conduct and beliefs leads into hell is in principle comprised in seven categories and these seven verses are antidotes to their fatal poison.

In the reported sayings of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ), several other titles of this sūrah are mentioned. It should, however, be enough to remember that it is a treasure-house of Divine mysteries. In addition the number of the verses of this sūrah (seven) is an indication of the age of the cycle of existence which is seven thousand years, each one of the verses reflecting the nature of each millennium; and the last millennium is the heaviest in error. This needed to be announced as this sūrah comprises the narration of that which pertains to the beginning through to the end.

Sūrah Fātihāh and the Rose

fatiharose
I beheld myself holding Sūrah Fātihāh, which had an exceedingly lovely shape in my hand. The paper on which it was inscribed appeared as if it was loaded with countless red and delicate roses. Every time this humble servant of Allah recited a verse of the sūrah, a number of these roses rose into the air with a sweet cadence. These roses were very soft, big, bright, moist, fresh and sweet-smelling, filling the heart and head with fragrance as they soared, thus inducing a state of ineffable joyousness in the mind altogether above and withdrawn from the world and all that it holds.

This revelatory vision (kashf) discloses the spiritual affinity existing between Sūrah Fātihāh and the rose.

The Properties of the Rose

The rose has properties the like of which man is unable to manufacture, and these are of two varieties.

External:

First, those that may be described as external. For instance, its colour is lovely, its fragrance is delightful and very pleasing, its petals are of an extreme delicacy in texture and, on the whole, it exhales a most agreeable air of freshness and purity.

Internal:

Secondly, there are properties inherent in it with which the Lord of Absolute Wisdom has endowed it, and which are to be found in its essence. Some of these are: it is wholesome for the heart and tones it up and reduces bile and revitalizes the system and lifts up the spirit, dissipates choler and phlegm and strengthens the stomach, liver, kidneys, intestines and lungs and is very beneficial for a variety of physical ailments.

It must be realized that identical unparalleled features are discernible in Sūrah Fātihāh, and indeed in every passage of the Noble Qur’ān, even as brief as comprising four verses or less.

The Properties of Sūrah Fātihāh
External:

First consider the diction and arrangement of the Fātihāh. The easy, flowing style, the perfect juxtaposition, the purest classical vocabulary, the sweet cadence, the grace and majesty. Every feature compels admiration and evokes homage and praise. It is a perfect whole, complete and flawless. With all its overpowering charm and beauty the Fātihāh is charged with truth and wisdom. Every phrase proclaims and induces righteousness. There is not. the least suspicion of falsehood or a single false note. There is not the least redundance. Yet nothing has been left out. There is no exaggeration nor any understatement. The beauty of form is complete and perfect, as in the rose, but in a far higher degree.

These are the external qualities of the Fātihāh [its cadence, linguistic form, and wording].

Internal:

Its internal properties encompass remedies for grave spiritual maladies. It provides healing for the ailments of mind and spirit. It has, besides, a vast provision for the development of the faculties of perception and reflection. It opens up vistas of sublime thought which had been closed to sages and philosophers. Its perusal fortifies faith in the heart of the spiritual pilgrim and heals it of all doubts, misgivings and apprehension.

Five Oceans of Attributes of Supreme Being and the Order of Fātihāh
ocean
The attributes together with the name of the Supreme Being mentioned in the beginning of this Sūrah, that is Allah, Rabb al-‘Ālamīn, ar-Rahmān, ar-Rahīm and Mālik Yawm ad-Dīn constitute, as it were, five oceans. 

Then Allah followed them up with five human needs as beneficiaries, placing the latter five as apposites each of them to the corresponding one of the former five, each one of the beneficiaries drinking deep of its appropriate attribute, gathering from it the meaning it encompasses, to the deep satisfaction of the Seers.

First Ocean
ocean1
The foremost of these is the ocean of Allah’s name and the phrase: We worship Thee alone, derives benefit from it like things assembled and arrayed face to face.

The truth of the matter is that man has been created like one sick, ailing and thirsty and the quenching of his thirst, the proper functioning of his liver and his healing are to be found in the water of Divine worship. He cannot be restored to health and his thirst cannot be quenched except by turning his attention to Him, with love brimming over for Him and running towards Him like seekers of water hastening to quench their thirst.

Second Ocean
ocean2
The second of these oceans is the one called Rabb al-‘Ālamīn (the Lord of Universal Providence), its beneficiary being the phrase: Thee alone do we implore for help. When a person learns that Allah sustains the worlds, all of them, there being not a stage that He does not look after, and perceives his own self prompting him to evil, he humbles himself and is filled with anxiety and turns for protection to His door and clings to the hem of His robe and enters His hall, minding all its regulations, so that He may be pleased to extend His Providence to him and treat him with generous benevolence, He being the Most Benevolent One. Divine Providence is the attribute that bestows upon everything its appropriate shape and would not leave it in an imperfect state.

Third Ocean
ocean_bg_10_by_moonglowlilly-d5mkl0t

The third ocean is ar-Rahmān, its beneficiary being: Guide us along the straight path; so that the worshipful servant may join the ranks of those who were guided aright. The attribute Rahmān provides for all the needs of every being that has been favoured with sustenance by the attribute Rabbubiyyah (Universal Providence) [infinitive of the word Rabb meaning Lord/Sustainer/Creator]. The function of Rahmāniyyah is equipping with appropriate faculties. It is the virtue of this attribute that it clothes every being with the garment that covers up its imperfections, grants it embellishment, applies salve to its eyes, washes clean its face, provides it with a mount to ride on and instructs it in riding.

 

Fourth Ocean
bigoceanThe fourth ocean is ar-Rahīm. Its beneficiary is: The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy favours; so that a worshipper may become one of God’s chosen favourites. The attribute Rahīmiyyah leads one to those favours which are enjoyed exclusively by God’s obedient servants, in contrast with the universal bounty of Allah which embraces all beings from men down to snakes and serpents.

Fifth Ocean
blue_ocean_horizon_moon_ships_night_sky_1366x768_1715
The fifth ocean is the attribute Mālik Yawm ad-Dīn (Master of the Day of Judgment); and its beneficiary is: Not those who incurred Thy wrath or who went astray. The full manifestation of Allah’s wrath and of His abandoning some in error and misguidance will take place only on the day of Requital. On that day Allah will manifest Himself through His displeasure and His favours, inflicting humiliation and bestowing honour, on a scale on which He will not have manifested Himself before.

That is what we had set out to describe, namely, some of the subtle points and literary niceties of this Sūrah which are like beacon lights for the seers, and its unique and beautifully ordered eloquence which encompasses fine points, rare pearls of wisdom and uncommon insights into Divine purposes. You will not find its parallel among the ancients or among contemporaries. Its literary merits are doubtless of singular excellence and its foothold is far above the mountain-tops of science and it enchants the hearts of the discerning. Now that you have learnt the order of arrangement of these five oceans, one after the other, you should appreciate it and be of the grateful. If you desire to be one of the beneficiaries you will recognize the order of beneficence by the order of the respective oceans.

Here is an excellent example of orderliness. First there is al-hamdu lillāh, Allah combining in Himself all perfect attributes, possessing every excellence and free from every imperfection and shortcoming, secondly, Rabb al-‘Ālamīnthirdly ar-Rahmān, fourthly ar-Rahīm and fifthly Mālik Yawm ad-Dīn.

Language of Fātihāh is Beyond Human Capacity

bismillahAll human expression falls short of perfection, for one reason or another. Too great concern for elegance of expression may involve some sacrifice of truth or accuracy, as indeed is often the case, and a strict adherance to these may demand a lowering of the standards of eloquence and elegance of expression. Too often what is deemed as praiseworthy turns out to be mere verbal exuberance devoid of profundity and empty of worthy content.

The Fātihāh, as we have sought to demonstrate, possesses a many-sided perfection. It is truth at its purest, it sets forth realities, it responds to the urgent needs of the human soul, it prescribes remedies for all spiritual ills, it carries conviction through its perfect reasoning, it meets the requirements and needs of every contingency. It does all this at a level of elegant expression which is flawless and matchless.

Fātihāh means Victory

The title fātihāh is also used as connoting victory [from the Arabic word al-fath meaning ‘victory’]. It confirms a believer in his faith and a disbeliever in his disbelief, that is, it distinguishes between them. It opens up the heart and expands the mind. Sūrah Fātihāh should, therefore, be read repeatedly. It is important to reflect deeply on this prayer.

A Holy Tree
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Verily the Fātihāh is a holy plant that yields constantly the fruits of pure insight and fills one with drink from the goblets of truth and wisdom. When a person opens his heart to admit its light, that light enters therein and makes it aware of its mysteries, and whoso shuts this door draws, by his own act, darkness upon himself and witnesses his own ruin and joins the spiritually dead.

Fātihāh is a Citadel
citadel1The Fātihāh is truly at once a fortified castle, a bright light, a teacher and a helper. It secures the commandments of the Qur’ān against addition or subtraction like securing the frontiers of a realm thus preserving its integrity. It may be compared to a camel carrying every needed provision by way of food, drink, clothing etc. that transports its rider to the land of the beloved. Or it is like a reservoir with an abundant supply of water as if it were the confluence of many streams or the channel of a mighty river. I find that the benefits of this noble Sūrah and its fine qualities are beyond count and defy computation and that it is not within human capacity to enumerate them, even if one were to dedicate a whole lifetime to this enterprise.

The ignorant and the thick-headed have not appreciated it as it deserves to be appreciated. They read it, but repeated perusal does not help them to appreciate its excellences. This Sūrah mounts powerful assaults on those who reject it and works swiftly on sound minds. Whoso has deliberated on it analytically and has drawn close to it, pondering with a mind illumined like a bright lamp, has found it the light of the eyes and the key to secrets.

This is the truth without a doubt and no conjecture. If you are in any doubt, then be up and try it yourself laying aside lethargy and indolence; and quibble not about how and when.

Of the marvels of this Sūrah is that it has eulogized Allah with a eulogy that is beyond the capacity of man to excel. We pray to Allah to judge between us and our people by means of the Fātihāh and we place all our trust in Him.

Amīn, yā Rabb al-‘Alamīn! [Amen, O Lord of all the worlds]

Prayer for All Mankind

[When reciting the Fātihāh during the Islamic prayer, Salāt] one should include (1) all mankind (2) all Muslims and (3) all the participants in the Prayer service. In this manner all mankind will be included in the prayer and this is the Divine purpose.

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أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم – Ta’awwudh (I seek refuge from Satan, the Accursed):
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The Age of the Ruin of the Dajjāl

The time has now come when falsehood will perish and there will not survive aught of imposture and darkness and all religions will disintegrate except Islam and the earth will be filled with justice, equity and light, even as it was full of cruelty, ingratitude, injustice and falsehood. That will be the time of the ruin of the group whose ruin has been foretold. By ruin is meant the breaking of their power and the emancipation of those held in bondage by them [the Western powers].

In short, by the expression, Satan, the rejected, is meant the old lying Dissembler [Dajjāl] whose slaughter had been foretold as an event ordained and determined upon. That is why Allah made it incumbent upon the Muslims to recite the formula: I seek Allah’s protection against Satan, the rejected, before reciting the basmala of the Fātihāh, so that the reader may remind himself that the age of the Dajjāl shall not extend beyond the age of the people mentioned in the last of the seven verses of the Fātihāh. Thus the Divine decree had determined in the beginning of time that surely the said rajīm [rejected] shall be slain in the latter age and mankind shall be delivered from the bites of this venomous reptile.

Time has now entered upon its last round and the age of the world has entered its seventh millennium in terms of both the solar and lunar calendars. In this age the rejected one has assumed in symbolic shape the garb of a people who have arrived at the last limit of error and who are mentioned in the last word of the Sūrah Fātihāh [the Christians]. None grasps this point but the enlightened.
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Basmala (In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful):
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Meaning of Ism

bismillah_by_wilayat-d1ex6f0Know then that the word ism that occurs in bi’ismi’llāh [in the name of God] is a derivative of wasm and wasmun in Arabic meaning the mark left by branding. In Arabic ittasamar rajulu is used when a person chooses for himself a mark of identification by means of which people distinguish him from others. Simat al-ba’īr and wisam al-ba’īr are also considered derivatives of wasmun and mean branding a special mark on a camel to serve as its distinguishing mark. The phrase innī tawassumtu fīhi al-khayra wa mā rāituzzayr, i.e. I scanned his face and found only good in it, I perceived no trace of evil in it; is also derived from the same root. The word wasmiyyun is also derived from it; it means the first spring rain, for, when it falls, it leaves marks on the earth formed by the strong current of water, as springs carve out channels in their course.

Similarly they call the earth ardhun mawsūmatun when the first spring rain falls on it and by its flowering pleases the hearts of the cultivators. The word mawsimun (season) is also a derivative of wasmun as, for instance, mawsim al-hajj (the season of Pilgrimage) and mawsim as-sūq (market season) and other mawsimūn (seasons): for, these are occasions when people gather in large numbers for some common purpose. Also the word mīsamun is a derivative of wasmun and denotes beauty and good looks and is generally used for women. The Arabs used wasmun and its derivatives generally in a eulogistic sense whether relating to worldly welfare or to spiritual well-being.

In popular parlance the ism (name) of a thing stands for its distinguishing mark but, in the view of the learned, it signifies its reality. It is a fact that the names given by Allah to things signify their properties. In this blessed verse, the names Allah, Rahmān and Rahīm possess that characteristic. Each one of them denotes its particular properties and its nature. Allah is the name of the Being who combines in Himself all the excellences. Rahmān and Rahīm indicate that both these are attributes of Allah Who combines in Himself every kind of perfection and every kind of beauty.

Do not you see the Rahmāniyyah of Allah, the Supreme, extending over both the virtuous and the vicious? The sun and the moon shed their light and lustre alike on the saint and the sinner.

But Rahīmiyyah is a special beneficence, distinct from the grace of Rahmāniyyah and concerned exclusively with the evolution of the human species and the perfection of human nature. It is contingent upon effort and righteous activity and total suppression of selfish desires. Truly fortunate are those who become the recipients of these bounties. They are true men; the rest are but animals.

Basmala compared with the Avesta

The Zoroastrian scripture recites: In the name of the Eternal, Forgiving, Bountiful, Gracious, Just. This formula bears a superficial resemblance to bi’ismi’llah ar-rahmān ar-rahīm [in the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful], but it fails to convey the grand philosophical concept which is set forth in the attributes Rahmān and Rahīm. Besides the name azad (Eternal) does not possess the comprehensiveness which is inherent in the name Allah. This formula of the Zoroastrians thus bears no comparison with the basmala. It appears to have been a later plagiarised addition. In any case its limitations show that it is man-made.
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ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ – All praises to Allah, Lord of all the Worlds:
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Allah is the Lord of the World of Element and Command
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The expression employed here is not khāliq al-‘ālamīn (Creator of the worlds); but rabb al-‘ālamīn (the Lord Creator-Sustainer of the worlds) since some people deny His Providence and say that whatever they receive is the consequence of their actions. For instance, they [the Hindus] allege that if some of them had not sinned in a particular fashion and not been born as cows and buffaloes in a previous incarnation there would then have been no milk. Since khalq connotes fashioning and putting together, Divine wisdom employed here the expression rabb al-‘ālamīn which is more comprehensive and is also designed to indicate that He is the Rabb of the world of elements and command also, for elements proceed from command and compounds are fashioned.

Meaning of ‘Ālamīn

The word al-‘ālamīn encompasses all that is found in the world, of the groups of the guided as well as the parties of the misguided and the lost.

At times, the ‘ālam (realm) of misguidance and disbelief and transgression and excess flourishes until the earth becomes full of injustice and tyranny and people abandon the ways of Allah, the Lord of Majesty. They appreciate not the true nature of the relationship subsisting between the Creator and His creatures and do not render that which is due to Him as Provider and Sustainer. The world becomes dark like the blackest night and faith is pulverized under this affliction.

Then Allah initiates another ‘ālam (realm) and the earth is replaced with another earth and a fresh decree descends from heaven and men are granted perceiving hearts and eloquent tongues to render thanks to Allah for His bounties.

It is at this moment that Divine compassion and His eternal favour urge that a person be raised in heaven, who should dispel darkness and demolish that which Satan has built and raised up.

Then an Imām (leader) descends from the Rahmān (the Gracious One) to fight the armies of Shaytān (Satan) and these two forces join battle – only those perceive them who are gifted with insight – until falsehood is fettered and its mirage-like reasoning is obliterated.

In the eyes of its votaries the world is beautiful and attractive, but in the eyes of these people (the Prophets and Apostles and the righteous and the true) it is more offensive than offal and more evil-smelling than carrion. They turn to Allah with all their minds and bend down before Him with full sincerity of heart. As the foundations of a structure have priority over windows and cupboards to be constructed, so have these exalted ones priority over all other classes of the virtuous in this world.

I have been shown in a kashf (vision) that the most perfect, the most honoured, the most God-conscious and the most knowledgeable of them all, is our elect Prophet [Muhammad], salutations and peace be on him both in this world and in the high heavens; and that the most unfortunate of the people are those whose tongues lashed out at him attacking him, finding fault with him and cavilling at him without being privy to Divine secrets.

‘Ālam means something concerning which report and information can be given and which constitutes evidence of the existence of a perfect, independent and unique Creator impelling the seeker to have faith in Him and linking him to the party of believers.

‘Ālamīn covers, with the exception of the Creator Himself, every existing thing, whether in the realm of spirits or in the realm of bodies, whether of earthly creation or like the sun, the moon or other celestial objects, all of them being ‘ālamīn abiding under the providence of the Lord.

Two Manifestations of Hamd (Praise)

ahmadcalligraphyAllah, the Holiest, has indicated in His word Lord of the worlds (rabb al-‘ālamīn) that He is the Creator of everything and is praised highly in the heavens and in the earth and that His praise is celebrated constantly by His servants who are ever occupied with His remembrance. There is not a thing but celebrates His praise and glorifies Him all the time.

When one of His servants discards his own desires, is emptied of his passions, is wholly centered in Allah, His ways and His worship, and knows His Lord Who nurtured him by His favour, he glorifies Him all the time loving Him with all his heart, even with all the particles of his body. Such a one also becomes an ‘ālam (a world) one of the ‘ālamīn (the worlds). It is thus that Abraham was named Ummah (a people) in the Book of the Most Knowledgeable of all the knowledgeable (16.121).

Of the ‘ālamīn there was an ‘ālam when the Seal of the Prophets was raised. There was also to be another ‘ālam when Allah was to bring forth the other party of the faithful, in the latter period, as a mercy for the seekers. There is an indication of that in His Word: ‘To Him belongs all praise (al-hamd) in the beginning and in the end’ (28.71). Here Allah has referred to two Ahmads describing them as His two great bounties. The first of them is Ahmad [the one who praises God] the Mustafa (the chosen), our elect Prophet (on whom be the peace and blessings of Allah) and the other is Ahmad of the latter days, named Messiah and Mahdi by Allah, the Gracious. I have gathered this from His Word: ‘All praise (al-Hamd) belongs to the Lord of the worlds.’ Everyone possessing understanding may well deliberate the point.

Divine Providence – One Who Causes and Sustains Evolution
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Again, Allah possesses many varieties of beneficence. Of these four are basic. According to their natural order, the first is the Sustainer (Rabb) of the Universe, as stated in Sūrah Fātihāh. This means that the Providence of the Supreme God – that is, creating, sustaining and leading to the desired perfection – is operative and pervasive throughout the Universe, in the heavens, in the earth, in bodies, in souls, in the realm of substance and in the realm of essence and in animals, vegetables and minerals and all other realms. All are sustained by His Providence. Man receives sustenance from the spring of Divine Providence, from the early embryonic, even pre-embryonic state, to the time of death, and beyond in the stage of life in the hereafter. The Providence of God, because of its extending over all spirits and bodies and beasts and vegetables and minerals and the rest, has been called the most universal benevolence.

For, every object that is extant is the beneficiary of this Divine attribute and every entity owes its very existence to it. Divine Providence is thus the creator of every existing thing and sustainer of every extant object, yet it is man that benefits most by it, for the entire creation of God is of service to man. Man has, therefore, been reminded that his God is the Lord and Providence of the Universe, so that the horizon of his hopes may be extended and he may believe that God, the Supreme, has immense beneficial powers and that He can bring into being an extensive variety of means for his benefit.

Rabb al-‘Ālamīn means Benefactor of All Nations

earth-from-space-1There is no reason why, if He is Rabb al-‘Ālamīn, the Lord of Universal Providence, and not only the Lord of Israel or the Lord of the Aryas, He should attach Himself permanently to a particular people in a manner that could be construed as partiality or favouritism.

To denounce such notions God, the Exalted, began the Holy Qur’ān with the verse al-hamdu li’llāhi rabb al-‘ālamīn [all praise is to God, the Lord of all the worlds], and in a number of places He made it clear in the Holy Qur’ān that it was an error to hold that His Prophets had been raised only among a particular people or in a particular country and, that on the contrary, He had not neglected other peoples and other lands. The Holy Qur’ān has expounded in diverse ways that as God has made provision for the material welfare of the people of all lands so has He made provision for the spiritual sustenance of every people. The Holy Qur’ān says: ‘There has not been a people but had a Prophet or Apostle sent to it’ (35.25).

It is thus established that the true and perfect God whom every person must accept and believe in is Rabb al-‘Ālamīn, the Lord of Universal Providence, His Providence not being confined to any particular people, or particular time or particular country.

He is the Lord of all peoples, all ages, all places and the source of all grace and every physical and spiritual capacity proceeds from Him and everything that exists is sustained by Him. He is the support of every creature. His grace comprehends all peoples, all lands and all epochs.

Our God has never discriminated between one people and another.

This is illustrated by the fact that all the potentials and capabilities which have been granted to the Aryans have also been granted to the races inhabiting Arabia, Persia, Syria, China, Japan, Europe and America. The earth created by God provides a common floor for all people alike, and His sun and moon and many stars are a source of radiance and provide many other benefits to all alike.

Likewise, all peoples benefit from the elements created by Him, such as air, water, fire and earth, and similarly from other products created by Him like grain, fruit, and healing agents, etc.

Krishna
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Srī Krishna claimed to be the recipient of God’s Word and his followers not only believe him to be a Messenger but some consider him to be God personified. There is no doubt, however, that Srī Krishna was a Messenger and a representative of God in his time, and God conversed with him.

Guru Nanak
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Likewise, from among the Hindu people of the Latter Days was one named Gurū Nānak, whose saintliness has become a byword in this country. His followers, the Sikhs, number no less than two million. Bābā Sāhib openly claims to be the recipient of revelation in the Janam Sākhis and the Granth. He was one of those whom God, the Mighty, the Glorious, made drink out of His goblet of love. He was born among Hindus only to bear witness that Islam is from God.

Buddha
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Buddha was [another] brave soul. He did not agree with the erroneous view that the Vedas are everything and that there is nothing beyond them. Nor did he believe in any people, country or tribe as being exceptional. In other words, he did not agree that the Vedas enjoyed a monopoly and it was only this faith, this language, this country, and the Brahmans which had been permanently and exclusively registered in the court records of God to become the recipients of His revelation. He suffered greatly because of expressing these different views and he was accused of being an atheist or an agnostic. Similarly scholars and researchers of Europe and America, who do not accept the godhead of Jesus, and whose hearts refuse to believe that God can be crucified, are atheists according to the Christian priests.

Zoroaster
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In addition, the religion of Zend-Avesta [Zoroastrianism] raised the flag with the claim that, ‘No one else is like us’ and they monopolized the institution of prophethood to their own family. They related such a long history of their religion, that those who used to pride the longevity of Vedic history were put to shame.

Israelite Prophets
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In their turn, the faith of the Hebrews crossed every limit when they asserted that Syria was declared to be the eternal seat of God’s sovereignty and that only the pious from among them would be considered worth of being sent for the reformation of the world. The work of reformation remained limited to the House of Israel, and the revelation of God became the prerogative of only their House under the seal of God. All others who rose with a claim were considered liars and imposters.

O those who possess wisdom! Please decide with justice if, in the entire realm of physical laws created by God, there is a single piece of evidence in favour of these views. Why then should His spiritual laws be based on such biased attitudes?

‘Ālamīn refers to Extra-Terrestrial Life
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‘All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.’ (59:25)

The dwellers of the heaven and the dwellers of the earth glorify Him. This is an indication that the heavenly bodies are also populated and their dwellers follow Divine guidance.

The expression Rabb al-‘Ālamīn is most comprehensive. If it were established that any of the heavenly bodies are inhabited their habitations and their dwellers would be covered by this expression.

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ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ – The Gracious, the Merciful:
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Distinction between Rahmāniyyah and Rahīmiyyah

Rahmāniyyah
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He bestowed upon each one the faculties and powers that are best suited to the life it has to live, and equipped each with appropriate bodies and limbs making available to each all that was needed for their survival, for the birds and the beasts and for men, all that was suitable. Not only that, He created the celestial bodies and the earth thousands of years before the coming into existence of these creatures, to provide the means of sustenance and protection for them. This shows that the Rahmāniyyah of God, the Supreme, is not contingent on the work of any creature; it is, in fact, pure grace which came into operation long before the creation of these objects. Man enjoys the largest share of this beneficence, for everything serves to promote his welfare.

According to the Qur’ān, the meaning of Rahmān is One Who bestows not as a reward, nor in return for any service. Look at the system of the universe. There is the sun and there is the moon; there is corn and there is water and air and a variety of curative drugs and herbs to cure us of many ills. Can anyone point to the service rendered by him that earned this return?

Whosoever cares to reflect will find that God is Rahmān. All that is in the heavens and in the earth and in our bodies owes its origin to His Rahmāniyyah. When we were in the wombs of our mothers, the bounties that He favoured us with could not have been the reward of any of our deeds. The doctrine of the transmigration of souls [reincarnation] is also incidentally refuted by this phenomenon.

Rahīmiyyah
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The Divine attribute Rahīm, that is, He Who causes good results to follow upon beneficent action, refutes those who consider action as futile and irrelevant, and hold that prayer and fasting are of no account. Their attitude is that, if the Forgiving and Compassionate God so determines, one would go to heaven and if He decrees otherwise one would go to hell.

Sometimes these people say they are not aspiring to be saints that they should devote themselves to worship and good works. Whatever of good they can achieve without any special effort they consider is all that is called for, the rest is immaterial.

The Divine attribute Rahīm makes it plain that whoso strives and is devoted to God in love, is set apart from others and becomes a favourite of His. Allah Himself guides such people as He has said: ‘Those who strive in Our cause, We certainly guide them along the paths that lead to Us.’ (29.70)

God has not bestowed upon other animals the faculty of prayer and supplication or of righteous action. Only man has been endowed with this faculty. Man possesses the faculty of speech and is thus capable of attracting Divine grace by means of his supplications. Other creatures have not been endowed with that faculty. It should, therefore, be obvious that Prayer is a characteristic of human nature, having been embedded in it. If man fails to avail himself of this attribute, he degrades himself to the level of beasts, even lower, as low as that of vegetables. Out of His four attributes of Beneficence, God has reserved one, Rahīmiyyah, exclusively.

Intercession is also rooted in the attribute of Rahīmiyyah. It is Divine Rahīmiyyah that demands that the righteous should intercede for the wrongdoers.

Because the attribute Rahīmiyyah is exclusive and conditional it ranks after the attribute Rahmāniyyah. Rahmāniyyah came into operation first and Rahīmiyyah followed it and it was because of this natural order that it was mentioned after the attribute Rahmāniyyah in Sūrah Fātihāh in the words ar-Rahmān ar-Rahīm. The attribute Rahīmiyyah is mentioned in several passages of the Holy Qur’ān as, for example, in 33.44 it is stated: ‘Allah is Rahīm towards the believers’; meaning that the disbelievers and the rebellious have no part in it.

Divine Love and Prophets as Mirrors of Rahmān and Rahīm
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Allah chose to attach in this context to His Supername the two Divine attributes that epitomize fully all His other great attributes and these two are Rahmān and Rahīm. Reason also points in the same direction.

Allah manifests Himself in the universe at times as the Lover and at times as the Beloved, and these two attributes shed the light of the sun of Providence upon the earth of obedience. Allah in turn becomes the Beloved with the worshipper becoming the Seeker (lover) of this sought-after (beloved) and at times the worshipper (man) becomes the object of love (beloved) and God his Lover, choosing him as His objective.

There is not the least doubt that human nature being endowed with love, friendliness and yearning, man yearns for a Beloved who should draw him towards Himself through manifestations of beauty and bounty and that he should have a loving and comforting Friend Who should stand by him in times of fear and distress, secure him against the failure of his effort and fulfil his hopes. Allah, therefore, determined upon granting man in full measure that which his nature demanded and to perfect His favour unto him through His vast bounty. He, therefore, chose to manifest Himself to man through His attributes of Rahmān and Rahīm.

There is no doubt that these two attributes are a link between Divine Providence and human submission and by means of these two the circle of human insight into the Divine and human journey towards Him becomes complete. All other Divine attributes are comprehended in the refulgent light of these two attributes and are but drops in the vastness of their ocean.

Again, just as Allah the Supreme determined for Himself that He should be for man both the Beloved and the Lover so He determined in respect of His most obedient servants that they too should be, for their fellow-beings, in their characters and dispositions, reflections of His Being, making these two attributes their coverings and garments, so that submission may don the raiment of Providence and there should be left no deficiency in the spiritual evolution of man.

He thus raised Prophets and Messengers as mirrors, some reflecting His attribute Rahmān and others portraying His attribute Rahīm so that they should be both seekers and sought, loving and loved, living in mutual accord and affection through His vast grace, granting to some of them a large share of the attribute of being loved and to others a large share of the attribute of loving. Thus did He determine through His vast grace and His eternal beneficence.

Insān al-Kāmil (Perfect Man) is Manifestation of Divine Attributes
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Know then that the noun Allah is substantive and none knows its meaning but the All-Knowing, the Omniscient God. Allah, the Supreme Lord, has, in this verse, referred to the essence of this name, indicating that Allah is the name of the Being Who possesses the two attributes, Rahmāniyyah (beneficence without reference to merit) and Rahīmiyyah (beneficence incidental to faith and righteous effort). Both these are like clear water and agreeable nourishment proceeding from the spring of Rabbubiyyah (Providence) and all the other attributes are like their branches, the substantive attributes being Rahmāniyyah and Rahīmiyyah. These two attributes reveal part of the mystery of the Supreme Being.

Our Prophet, the guide to the path of righteousness, was granted a full measure of both, his name Muhammad being a reflection of Rahmān and his name Ahmad being a reflection of Rahīm. The secret underlying this is that man can not become perfect until he becomes a manifestation of Divine attributes. You realize by now that the culmination of all Divine attributes are those two attributes, namely,  Rahmāniyyah and Rahīmiyyah. You also realize that Rahmāniyyah is a universal grace which is wholly spontaneous benevolence, its benefit extending to every one, believer and disbeliever, even to all species of life. But Rahīmiyyah is a mercy manifested by the Best of Creators towards the Faithful, exclusive of the disbelievers and of beasts. It was thus necessary that Muhammad, the Perfect man, should reflect both these attributes. That is why he was named Muhammad and Ahmad by the Lord of the Universe and said Allah, in respect of him:

‘Truly there has come to you a Messenger, from among your selves; grievous is it on him that you should fall into trouble; ardently desirous is he of your welfare, being compassionate and full of mercy for the believers.’ (9.128)

In applying the words ‘Azīz and Harīth to the Prophet, Allah has indicated that he (ﷺ) reflected His attribute Rahmān by virtue of His mighty grace and that he was in truth a mercy for the worlds, for all of them, for man as well as beast and for the disbelievers as well as for the believers.

Allah, the Exalted, said of the Prophet: ‘We have not sent thee but as a mercy for all the worlds.’ (21.108) This can derive from the attribute Rahmāniyyah only, for Rahīmiyyah is associated exclusively with only one class, that of the believers. He then described the Prophet as compassionate and merciful towards the believers; and thus named him Rahīm as is not hidden from the observant. He praised him and to exalt and honour him conferred on him high and excellent moral qualities as is set out in the Noble Qur’ān. Should you want to know what this excellence of moral qualities is, then we would say: He is verily Rahmān and Rahīm and he (blessings be on him) had been granted these two lights when Adam was still in a state between water and clay, and he was the Prophet while there was no trace yet of Adam. Allah being Light, He determined to create a reflection of His Light; so He created Muhammad, one who is like a matchless pearl, and associated his two names Muhammad and Ahmad with His own two attributes Rahmān and Rahīm. Thus Muhammad excelled all those who came to Allah with a submissive heart. Both these names scintillate in the teachings of the Holy Qur’ān.

Muhammad and Ahmad are reflections of Rahmān and Rahīm
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Muhammad and Ahmad are derivatives of hamd and these were two names of the Holy Prophet (blessings of Allah and His peace be on him). In other words, these were two manifestations of hamd (glorification).

When the time of our master the Chief and the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad, approached, Allah, the Exalted and the Holy determined to unite the two attributes in one person and combined them in his person (on whom be numberless blessings and the peace of Allah). That is why He has made reference to the attributes of loving and being loved at the beginning of this Sūrah that it may be a clear indication of His determination to that effect. He, therefore, named our Prophet Muhammed and Ahmad, as He named Himself Rahmān and Rahīm, in this verse.

Indeed they are yardsticks for the spiritual evolution of a seeker who strives after perfection through becoming a manifestation of Divine attributes. No one has been granted a complete measure of these two except our Holy Prophet, the culmination of the Prophetic dispensation.

Allah determined to make the true followers of the Prophet also manifestations reflecting these two attributes so as to make it a recurring favour unto them, dispelling, at the same time, the notion of a specially-favoured person sharing in Divine attributes. He, accordingly, made the companions of the Holy Prophet and those who came after them, manifestations of the attribute Muhammad illustrating the Rahmānī characteristics, decreeing for them victory, and enriching them with perpetual favours.

He made the Promised Messiah manifestation of the attribute Ahmad, investing him with the grace and beauty of Rahīmiyyah and put in his heart compassion and tenderness, adorning him with excellent moral qualities.

This is the promised Mahdī (guide) concerning whom they contend and whom, even after witnessing the signs, they refuse to accept and thus adhere to falsehood and reject the truth.

This is the Promised Messiah but they recognise him not; they look at him and yet perceive not the reality. The attributes ‘Īsā (Jesus) and Ahmad are identical in their nature and similar in disposition and in their spirit signify grace and renunciation of war.

The Muhammadiyyah and Ahmadiyyah periods of Islam
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The Companions of the Holy Prophet were, in truth, manifestations of the power and majesty of Muhammadiyyah. They were called upon to kill those who had become beasts and wild cattle, in order to emancipate others from the prison of sin and rebellion and to lead them to virtue and guidance. It will thus be realized that the essence of Muhammadiyyah corresponds to the essence of Rahmāniyyah, there being no discrepancy between its aspect of power and glory and its aspect of beneficence.

In fact, Rahmāniyyah is the complete manifestation of Divine Majesty and Domination and it is a characteristic of Rahmāniyyah that the inferior be sacrificed for the benefit of the superior. This has been the way of Rahmān (the Gracious One) since the beginning of creation. Do you not see how the bacteria infesting the wounds of camels are destroyed to save the lives of the camels and the camels are in turn slaughtered, so that man may enjoy their flesh, and make use of their hides, and process out of their wool robes for decoration and adornment? All this results from the operation of the attribute of Rahmāniyyah for the purpose of safeguarding man and beast.

In the same way the Promised Messiah inherited the attribute Ahmad, the reflection of Rahīmiyyah and grace. Allah chose this name for him and his followers who are his spiritual family. The Promised Messiah is thus along with his followers the manifestation, by the command of Allah, of His Rahīmiyyah and Ahmadiyyah, so that His promise concerning the appearance of a people who would rank as Companions of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) may be fulfilled. No one dare attempt frustration of the designs of Allah. This also illustrates the true manner of the manifestations of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ).

References

1 I’jāz al-Masīh, pg. 72-73

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