The Name of God, God's Control, Truth of Our Claim
Issue 1051 » May 17, 2019 - Ramadan 12, 1440
Living The Quran
The Name of God
Al-Fatiha (The Opening) Sura 1: Verse 1
"In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful."
In the name of God. When someone mentions this word, he will attain to delight in Him in this world and the next; when someone recognizes it, he will throw away his lifeblood in seeking Him. When this word sits in the heart, it divests it of every occupation, and when a servant perseveres in its remembrance, it will make him secure from every terror.
In the name of Him who is king over all kings and whose kingship is not through retinue and army. He is far-seeing, near-knowing, and aware of the hidden. He sees all things, knows every work, and is aware at every moment—whether a loud call or the heart's secret, a bright day or a dark night. In the name of Him who in His gentleness yearns for those who yearn for Him, who in His good Godhood made a covenant and compact with the servant.
Were it not for His gentleness, who would dare to dream about His remembrance? Were it not for His solicitude, who could reach His Presence?
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi, p. 528
Understanding The Prophet's Life
Hudhayfah reports: 'When the Prophet wanted to sleep, he would say: "It is in Your name, my Lord, that I die and live". When he woke up from sleep, he would say: "Praise be to God Who has given us life after he has caused us to die, and to Him we all return." [Bukhari, Ibn Majah] [The Arabic wording of the first part is: "Bismik allahumma amutu wa ahya". The wording of the second part: "Al-hamd lillah alladhi ahyana ba da ma amatana wa ilayhi al-nushur".]
We note here that the Prophet (peace be upon him) compares sleep to death and waking up to coming back to life. This is a point the Prophet stressed many times. It is indeed accurate, because when we go to sleep, we lose consciousness of everything around us, in the same way a dead person is unconscious of what goes on next to him. Waking up is a return to activity and full control of one's senses.
This comparison is also stated in the Quran, when God says that He gathers people's souls when they die, but those who are not dead, He gathers their souls when they sleep. He then keeps with Him those who died and releases the others for a specified time. (39: 42) To acknowledge this, as the Prophet teaches us in this supplication, is to acknowledge God's control of our lives and that death is as near to us as the next time we go to sleep.
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality" - Adil Salahi
Truth of Our Claim
To pronounce the two sentences of the Confession of Faith (Shahada) ('There is no god but God - Muhammad is God's Messenger') is obligatory as an affirmation of the Divine Unity and testimony to the singleness of the One to Whom all worship is due. Complete fulfilment of this obligation requires that he who affirms the Divine Unity should direct his love to none but the One, the Unique, for love tolerates no partnership. There is little value in mere verbal affirmation. The degree of love is tested only by separating the lover from other things he loves.
Now, worldly goods are an object of love in everybody's eyes, being the means by which they enjoy the benefits of this world; because of them they become attached to life and shy away from death, even though death leads to meeting the Beloved. The truth of our claim to love God is therefore put to the test, and we are asked to give up the wealth which is the darling apple of our eye.
"Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship" - Imam al-Ghazali