Knowing Allah through His beautiful names 4 – Al Ghani, Al Noor, Al Haadi, Al Wahab, Al Kareem
The first principle of Islam is monotheism – to know Allah Almighty, His attributes, His beautiful names and so on and to this end we have been getting acquainted with Allah Almighty through His attributes from a chapter in the book, Shajarat al Maarif by Imam Al-Izz bin Abdus Salam. He talks about how we can emulate these names in our lives and daily interactions. It’s a beautiful book (may Allah Almighty have mercy on him).
Al Ghani – the Bountiful
One of the names is Al Ghani, which has different translations, such as the Bountiful and the Self-Sufficient. These evoke the concept of giving and at the same time the concept of the giver having no need Himself. Thus Allah is the One who provides for us and no one provides for Allah Almighty because He is the Giver. If we connect to this name and reflect upon it, we are assured that Allah Almighty will suffice us. He gives us and provides for us and takes away our dependence on anyone other than Himself.
When you are connected to Al Ghani, Allah Almighty will make you Ghani – self-sufficient as well. If we think of Maryam (peace be upon her) in her seclusion, clinging to Al Ghani, He provided for her from nowhere. Before her pregnancy, her heart was purely attached to Allah and He provided her rizq from the Unseen without her having to lift a finger.
Her Lord accepted her with a gracious reception, and brought her a beautiful upbringing, and entrusted her to the care of Zakariyyah. Whenever Zakariyya entered upon her in the sanctuary, he found her with provision. He said, ‘O Maryam, where did you get this from?’ She said, ‘It is from Allah; Allah provides to whom He wills without reckoning.’ (Al-Imran:37)
Allah Almighty provides for whom He wills with no limits. When you reflect upon the name Al Ghani, Al Ghani is the One who gives, when you connect yourself to Him, He makes you Ghani as well. He makes your hand the upper hand. It’s not always related to money, because your provision can be money, knowledge, understanding, health, strength, position, authority, etc. Reflect upon this by help those who are in need. Help those who are in need of your help. Teach those who are ignorant because this is what they need. Give people a hand – whether it’s physical, financial, moral or spiritual support. All needed. Depends on time, place, people etc.
It was narrated from ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) that a mukatib (slave who had entered into a contract of manumission) came to him and said:
“I am unable to pay off my manumission; help me.” He said: “Shall I not tell you some words which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught me? And if you have debt like the mountain of Seer, Allah will pay it off for you. He said: ‘Say:
O Allah! Provide me with lawful (Halal) livelihood
اللّهُمَّ اكْفِني بِحَلالِكَ عَنْ حَرامِك، وَأَغْنِني بِفَضْلِكَ عَمَّنْ سِواك
Allahumma akfini bi halallika ‘an haraamika,
wa aghnini bi fadlika ‘amman siwaka
“O Allah! Provide me with lawful (Halal) livelihood, adequate to my needs instead of the unlawful (Haram), and make me suffice with Your graces needing nothing from anyone else” [Tirmidhi]
Here we can see, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is teaching us how to ask Allah Almighty for gheena which literally mean richness, as ghani ordinarily means rich person. If you say someone who hasn’t a penny is ghani it means his character or his knowledge is rich, or his etiquettes. By reflecting upon this name and asking Allah Almighty to enable you to emulate this name is enriching, though it requires training. Imam Al-Izz bin Abdus Salam, said that to get activate an attribute you have to keep reflecting upon it – reciting it and thinking about it and keeping it alive before your eyes. Otherwise you can read it once and feel you have understood it but not apply it. As with anything in life, the more you do something or think about it, you more it becomes part and parcel of you, and becomes your second nature. It needs effort from your side for it to bear fruit.
Al Haadi, Al Noor wal Haadi, Al Noor ul Haadi – the Light and the Provider of Guidance
In the Quran, there is a well-known ayah, Allah hu noor as samaa waati wal ard ‘Allah Almighty is the light of the heavens and the earth’. Thus Allah is the Light. He illuminates our hearts, our minds, and our life. The light shows you the way, clears the darkness from around you, shows you where to walk safely and gives you clear vision.
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp,
The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a brilliant star,
Lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people,
and Allah is Knowing of all things. [Surah Al-Nur 24:35]
When we are struggling, and see a glimmer of relief, we talk about the light at the end of the tunnel, as we are looking forward to getting out of the tunnel of darkness and heading into the light, which is a metaphor for our difficulties being resolved. The moment we see daylight we feel energised and positive and happy. We feel ready to get on with our day. So the first and the foremost thing you should do when you see the first light in the day is to start with the tasbeeh and dhikr of Allah Almighty and show gratitude and thankfulness to Allah Almighty that He has given us life after death, and remember that we will return to Allah Almighty.
The light from Allah Almighty goes with us even in our grave. Those who are the people of light in this dunya, will have light in the akhirah and light in their graves. How do we get this light? Through the guidance which Allah Almighty has sent through the Quran. His words are the light in our life. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said As Salat un Noor:
Salah is light. [Muslim]
If you want to increase this light in this life, be regular in your salah. Salah will enlighten your heart, will enlighten your life. It will give you special connection with Allah Almighty – the provider of light. In his Farewell Sermon, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), during his Hajj, standing on plains of Arafah, he made many long supplications and one of these was the supplication for divine light which is one of my favourite supplications.
“O Allah, place light in my heart, light in my tongue, light in my hearing, light in my sight, light behind me, light in front of me, light on my right, light on my left, light above me and light below me; place light in my sinew, in my flesh, in my blood, in my hair and in my skin; place light in my soul and make light abundant for me; make me light and grant me light.”
اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ فِي قَلْبِي نُورًا, وَفِي سَمْعِي نُورًا, وَفِي بَصَرِي نُورًا, وَعَنْ يَمِينِي نُورًا, وَعَنْ شِمَالِي نُورًا, وَأَمَامِي نُورًا, وَخَلْفِي نُورًا, وَفَوْقِي نُورًا, وَتَحْتِي نُورًا, وَاجْعَلْ لِي نُورًا أَوْ قَالَ : وَاجْعَلْنِي نُورًا
When you connect yourself to Allah Almighty, He provides you with this light and when you are in a very strong connection with Allah Almighty, you become light as well, i.e. when people see you, they will see the light of Allah Almighty through you.
As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said in the hadith that among the best people are those who remind you of Allah when you see them.
Asma bint Yazid (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon her) said:
أَلَا أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِخِيَارِكُمْ
Shall I tell you about the best of you?
They said, “Of course, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet said:
خِيَارُكُمْ الَّذِينَ إِذَا رُءُوا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
The best of you are those who, when they are seen, inspire others to remember Allah Almighty. [Ibn Majah]
There are people, who the moment you see them, you remember Allah Almighty. They have a special aura, a special light because of the special barakah Allah Almighty has given them. This is a special light coming from Allah Almighty. We can increase this light by seeking knowledge. The more we seek knowledge, the more we know, and knowledge is also light; it clears the darkness of ignorance from our minds and our life. The more we know, the more it destroys the darkness. So when you reflect upon this name, Allah Almighty will beautify you with knowledge and knowledge is guidance.
Al Haadi – the Provider of Guidance
Allah is Al Noor and also Al Haadi, the provider of guidance. When are connected to Allah Almighty, and have authentic knowledge of the Quran and of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), you become a light from Allah Almighty. People gain knowledge and guidance from you which you received from Allah Almighty. You guide people to the straight path as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) guided people to the straight path and Allah Almighty says:
‘Indeed you guide them, you guide to the straight path’
There are plenty of narrations on the importance of providing guidance and showing the path to people and clarifying the way for them. In one of these narrations, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as reported by Sahl ibn Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
وَاللَّهِ لَأَنْ يَهْدِيَ اللَّهُ بِكَ رَجُلًا خَيْرٌ لَكَ مِنْ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَكَ حُمْرُ النَّعَمِ
By Allah, that Allah guides a man through you is better for you than a herd of expensive red camels. [Bukhari]
A camel was used for transport, and a red camel was the best kind, so the Prophet (peace be upon him) was saying in our terms that to guide a single person is better than hundred Ferarris. It’s better than the whole world to you if Allah Almighty facilitates guidance for somebody through you.
Guidance (hidayah) is so important, but we cannot penetrate anyone’s heart unless Allah wills it.
لَا تَهۡدِي مَنۡ أَحۡبَبۡتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَهۡدِي مَن يَشَآءُۚ وَهُوَ أَعۡلَمُ بِٱلۡمُهۡتَدِينَ
Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.
Guidance itself is not in our hands, but we can try to explain, clarify, and facilitate for others to understand. We can answer their questions, clear confusion, provide the evidences, but reaching their heart is beyond our reach. It is only Allah who can do that. It is an internal matter for someone to accept belief. No one knows what’s in the heart, but Allah Almighty. If they are sincere, He will facilitate guidance for him or her. If they are not sincere, then they will block the guidance.
Let’s be a light and show people the path. Showing the path is not always verbal, it can be through actions. Demonstrating Islam in our compassion for others, leading by example, rather than preaching through words. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the best leader. He brought people to Islam through his character, through his mercy, through his kindness, through his gentleness and generosity.
You need to have the internal light to be able to provide light to people. This can start with baby steps – seeking knowledge, having the right intention, sincerity and making dua. Then Allah Almighty inshallah will elevate you from level to level inshallah.
Al-‘Izz bin ‘Abd al-Salam (died in the year 660 AH), may Allah have mercy on him, said in his book, “The Tree of Knowledge,” in the chapter on how to develop oneself with names and attributes of Allah:
“It is appropriate to respond to each attribute of His attributes with the best of treatments:
So, we respond to His Majesty with the greatest reverence, as there is no majesty like His Majesty,
And we respond to His Beauty with the utmost love, as there is no beauty like His Beauty,
And similarly, develop with all other attributes.
So, if you develop yourself with Ihsān goodness, then be kind to everyone you can show kindness to, with all the goodness you can offer. By doing so, you will be close to your Lord according to the attributes you develop, and in this, let the competitors compete.”
Al Wahab – the One who gives continuously
In Arabic hiba is a gift, and Allah Almighty is Al Wahab – the One who gives all the time. He gives provisions (rizq) and opportunities and we also need to train ourselves to give.
With each name we ask Allah Almighty to enable us to reflect upon that name truly in our life. We say, ‘Ya Wahab, enable us to be givers as well. Give us and provide for us and enable us to provide for others and so on.’ How to do demonstrate this quality? Keep giving. Giving is not necessarily money, sometimes people don’t need your money, they just need a word of encouragement, a smile, time, to feel your compassion and your support. Often it is easier to give money than to give time. However it is not necessary to have a big bank account to emulate this name. We need to be able to spread the salam to others, greet people warmly, welcome them, show kindness, this is how we how we show the attribute Wahab in our lives. If someone is in difficulty, we can help them, and we can also make dua for them. If they are ill and we can’t do anything for them we can keep them in our dua.
Al Jawaad Al Kareem – The most generous
Jawaad Al Kareem is also an attribute of giving stemming from generosity. When someone is so generous, you long for his gifts. When you ask from Allah He will not disappoint you, because He is Al Kareem. We need to teach ourselves how to be generous. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was generous
Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
عن ابن عباس رضى الله عنهما قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ وَكَانَ أَجْوَدُ مَا يَكُونُ فِي رَمَضَانَ حِينَ يَلْقَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ وَكَانَ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ فَيُدَارِسُهُ القُرْآنَ فَلَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدُ بِالخَيْرِ مِنَ الرِّيحِ المُرْسَلَةِ
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was the most generous of people and he was even more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel would meet him. He would meet him every night of Ramadan to study the Quran. Thus, the Prophet would be more generous than a refreshing wind. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Thus the Prophet (peace be upon him) took generosity to an even higher level. He was generosity squared. The generosity of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Ramadan was beyond explanation and a reflection of the quality of Al Kareem. He would give as one who did not fear poverty (peace be upon him). In Arabic we say ‘he gives as he fears no poverty’ and this brought many to Islam. Once a Bedouin would come to ask Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to give him something, and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would point to a valley full of sheep or goats, and say take it all. The Bedouin would be astounded. He would find this act of generosity a sign of his prophethood and embrace Islam and go back to his people to tell them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) could give like that because he was supported by the divine. Money wasn’t an issue for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). However, money is a big deal for all of us. We can pretend that money isn’t an issue, but deep down it’s an issue and we need to train ourselves to let go, and train ourselves to give, with moderation of course. Neither be tight-fisted nor be wasteful. This is the Quranic equation or golden rule for spending. Be generous with moderation and without excessiveness.
Ask Allah Almighty to help you to be a person of generosity. Train yourself to give a few pounds if you have difficulty in giving. Start with a few pounds, then increase to £10, £15, £20 and so on. Release yourself from the cage of miserliness. Ask Allah Almighty to enable you to see the reality of the akhirah. Give assured of the reward from Allah Almighty and mindful that Allah Almighty has given to you this wealth in the first place.
When Allah Almighty describes the attributes of the muttaqeen, the people of taqwa in the opening of Surat al-Baqarah, He says they are one who:
ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ٣
who believe in the Unseen, establish prayer, and donate from what We have provided for them, [2:3]
- Believe in the Unseen.
- Establish salah – pray regularly and on time.
- Spend out of what Allah provided for them.
Their provision did not come from themselves, it is from Allah. If Allah Almighty wills, you will receive provision, or if He wills, you will not get anything – your qualifications, positions etc. You are not doing Allah Almighty a favour by spending, you’re doing yourself a favour by spending, to free yourself from the punishment of miserliness in the akhirah. There are many verses covering the consequences of miserliness.
Al Kareem is a beautiful name, and we have many people called Kareem. It’s a nice and optimistic name, so hopefully we can reflect upon this name and be the reflection of this name in our lives. Let’s be people of generosity and goodness and be people of light and guidance and people of support and help to others inshallah.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim 28th Feb 2023 Transcribed by S Jawaid
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