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August 10, 2011

An Introduction to the Lord of the Worlds – Day 10

by Umm Muawiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[This post picks up from where yesterday’s post left off.]

6) There is a difference between the Names of Allah and His Attributes.

[Note: I’m translating this portion from my teacher Ustadh Azeez Farhan’s class notes on Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah.

Haven’t heard of him, say the UAE folks? That’s sad because he’s one of the most knowledgeable people in the country.

Obviously, he lectures in Arabic. Here’s his website.]

What is the difference?

a) Well, obviously the Names of Allah are His Names e.g. Al-Hayy (the Ever-Living). Examples of His Attributes are His life, His knowledge, His Hand, etc. All of these are attributes that belong to Allah.

b) An Attribute can be derived from each Name but a Name cannot be derived from an Attribute.

For example, Allah is Ar-Rahman (the Most Merciful) and we derive from that His Attribute of Rahmah (mercy).

However, you can’t do it the other way around. One of the Attributes of Allah is Muhabbah (love). You CANNOT call Him Al-Muhibb (the One who loves).

One of His Attributes is Ridaa (Pleasure). However, you cannot call Him Ar-Raadhi (the One who is pleased).

So, the Attributes are wider in scope than the Names.

c) You can call upon (i.e. supplicate to) Allah by using His Names e.g. Yaa Ar-Rahman (O Most Merciful) or Yaa Al-Ghaffoor (O Oft Forgiving One)

[Note: Please call upon Allah by His Name and not by the translation of the Name!]

You are not allowed to call upon Allah using His Attributes. You cannot say Yaa Rahmatallah (O Mercy of Allah).

Imam Ibn Taimiyah (rahimahullah) reported the agreement of the Muslims on the kufr (disbelief) of the one who supplicates using an Attribute.

Important Note: Though we are not allowed to call upon Allah using His Attributes, we CAN use them for tawassul (seeking nearness) and istiadhah (seeking refuge).

For example, we can say “I seek refuge in the Izzah (Might) of Allah”. This is istiadhah.

Or we can say “Oh Allah, by Your Knowledge of the Unseen”. This is tawassul. [And this is the beginning of a supplication of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).]

d) It is allowed to call a person Abdur Rahman or Abdul Kareem. The word Abd (slave) precedes the Name of Allah.

However, it is NOT allowed to say Abdul Qudrah or Abdul Hikmah, where Abd precedes the Attributes of Allah.

Note: You can only use Abd before a Name of Allah, not before anybody else’s name. Some people are called Abdur Rasool or Abdul Hassan. This is not permitted.

Why not? Because then it would imply that you worship that person!

10) He is Ar-Razzaq (the one who provides in abundance), Al-Ghaniyy (the One free of all needs), As-Samad (the Self-Sustaining One), Al-Wakeel (the Disposer of Affairs), Al-Hayy (the Ever Living) upon whom the believers put their trust.

[You might be wondering why I grouped these Names in this order. Well, you’ll understand when I get to the end of this section.]

I’ll explain more about each Name as we get to it, insha-Allah.

As usual, let’s do this step by step.

1) We need Allah and He does not need us.

Remember the ayah (verse) which mentions the purpose of life?

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

“And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone). “ [Surah Ad-Dhaariyat (51) : 56]

Someone might say “Oh, did He create us because He needs us?”

Allah answers this question in the next two ayaat (verses):

مَا أُرِ‌يدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّ‌زْقٍ وَمَا أُرِ‌يدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ

“I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures).” [Surah Adh-Dhariyaat (51) : 57]

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الرَّ‌زَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ

“Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong.” [Surah Adh-Dhariyaat (51) : 58]

Notice something? First, Allah frees Himself of any need from His creation. After this, He states that He is the One who Provides for all of them.

Summary: We need Him and He does not need us.

Why am I stating this obvious fact?

Well, many people forget that Allah is the One who provides and they depend on others for their provision.

Yet others think that they are doing Allah some sort of favour by worshipping Him.


We are doing ourselves a favour by worshipping Allah, and this has been pointed out to us many times in the Quran. Insha-Allah, I’ll discuss this point when I discuss the Name “Al-Ghaniyy”.

2) Allah is the One who provides and He provides in abundance.

Ar-Razzaq is not the same as Ar-Raaziq, although Ar-Raaziq is also one of Allah’s Names:

قال الناس : يا رسول الله ! غلا السعر فسعر لنا ! فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : إن الله هو المسعر القابض الباسط الرازق ، وإني لأرجو أن ألقى الله وليس أحد منكم يطالبني بمظلمة في دم ولا مال

It was narrated that Anas ibn Malik (radiallahu anhu) said: “The people said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, prices have become too high; fix the prices for us.’ The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘Allah is the One who decrees prices, Who takes and gives, and He is the Provider. I hope that I meet Allah with no one among you making any claim against me concerning issues of blood or wealth.” [Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 3451. Graded “sahih” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 3451.]

[I just came across this amazing hadeeth tonight. Subhan Allah, Islam is really for every time and place. This hadeeth seems to be talking about our time! Let’s all remember the advice of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) the next time we start to complain about the high prices.]

Ar-Raaziq means the provider but Ar-Razzaq indicates the abundance of His provision. It also shows that He provides this provision to a vast number of recipients.

[Notice that Allah used Ar-Razzaq, and not Ar-Raaziq, in the ayah after the purpose of creation. Think about it.]

Allah says:

وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّـهِ رِ‌زْقُهَا وَيَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّ‌هَا وَمُسْتَوْدَعَهَا ۚ كُلٌّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِين

“And no (moving) living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterus, grave, etc.).” All is in a Clear Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfudh – the Book of Decrees with Allah).” [Surah Hud (11) : 6]

So, Allah provides for every creature. This shows us His Power, His Magnificence and His Mercy.

Just imagine: He provides for all the humans, all the animals, all the bugs, etc. Even that annoying cockroach that keeps running around in your kitchen is provided for by Allah.

Even that fly that keeps annoying you and keeps trying to taste your iftar is provided for by Allah.

Someone might say “Wait, is a disbeliever also provided for?”

Yes, but not to the same degree as the believer obviously.

Rizq (sustenance) is of two kinds:

[Note: Rizq is not just money.]

a) The general provision

This is what everyone gets whether they are believers or disbelievers. This the provision that the bodies require. It includes the lawful and unlawful provisions.

b) The specific provision

This is something that only the believers get. It is of two types:

1) Provision of the heart: That would include iman (faith), beneficial knowledge, guidance, etc

2) Provision of the body: These are the lawful provisions that aid in the obedience of Allah.

So when we ask Allah to provide us with rizq, it means we are asking for things like guidance, beneficial knowledge and lawful provisions.

Insha-Allah, I’ll continue this topic in tomorrow’s post.

PS. My apologies for not being able to finish one topic a day. I just have too much on my plate at the moment.

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