Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In Thy name, we live Episode 1

In Thy name, we live
Episode 1

In the name of Allah[1] (God), The All-Merciful, The Ever-Merciful.  All Prayers and Blessings of Allah be upon our master, the most noble Prophet Muhammad (SAWS)[2].
In our program “In Thy Name We Live” we will be talking about The Most Beautiful Names of Allah.  This program has two important features; first is the special place from which we air, Makkah - near the Ka’ba, Second is the special occasion,  the holy month of Ramadan.

Talking about The Most Beautiful Names of Allah before the Ka’ba makes me feel the greatness and solemnity of Allah.  Before starting this episode, I kept reflecting on this sanctified place above which there is the much-frequented fane[3] which is visited by 70 000 angels each day until the Day of Judgement.

Allah says what can be translated as, "And as We made the Home an ingathering for mankind and a (place of) security…” (TMQ[4], 2:125).  Allah has also ordered Ibrahim (AS) (Abraham) to call on people for hajj[5] in this place, though it was completely deserted.  As a result, millions of people visit this place since that time.  Besides, from this holy place, the Prophet (SAWS) set forth on his journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and  it is also where  the Prophet (SAWS) put the black stone with his own hands.  As for the special occasion which is Ramadan, we all know how Allah shower us with His forgiveness, mercy, generosity as well as many other graces during this holy month.

In our program we will only talk about The Most Beautiful Names of Allah that are mentioned in Qur'an.  Every day we will choose a name to talk about and discuss its influence on our life and surroundings; we will try to get closer to Allah through this name.  Today’s episode consists of four main points.  First is the purpose of our program, second are the signs of creation by which we know the Names of Allah, third is why our program is called “In Thy Name We Live” and fourth is general remarks.

The purpose of our program is to know Allah and consequently love Him, fear Him obey His orders and submit to His decrees.  Our religion can be summarized as knowledge that leads to obedience and consequently to happiness.  That is why Allah says what can be translated as, “Ta-Ha (These are the names of letters of the Arabic alphabet. They are sometimes understood as one of the names of the prophet, and Allah knows best), In no way have We sent down the Qur’an upon you for you to be wretched, (We have not sent it down) except as a reminding to him who (is) apprehensive; A successive sending down from Him Who created the earth and the exalted heavens. The All-Merciful has upon the Throne leveled Himself (How He has done so is beyond human understanding). To Him belong whatever is in the heavens, and whatever is in the earth, and whatever is between them, and whatever is beneath the ground. And in case you are loud in (your) speech, then surely He knows the secret and whatever is (yet) more concealed. Allah -there is no god except He. To Him belong The Fairest Names.” (TMQ, 20: 1-8).

Abdullah Ibn-Huzafa, for example, was sent by the Prophet (SAWS) to deliver a letter to the Roman king. The King captured Abdullah and tortured him to give up Islam, but he refused.  When the king ordered his soldiers to kill Abdullah, he cried. The king thought fear got into him but Abdullah said that he wished he had numerous souls to sacrifice them in the way of Allah one after the other.  Al-Khansa’ is also an example.  Before embracing Islam she wrote many elegies for the death of her brother.  After knowing Allah and embracing Islam, she received the news that her four sons were martyred.  However she did not grieve but submitted to Allah’s decree saying, “ِِAl-hamdulillah (all praises be to Allah) Who gave me the honor of having four martyred sons.”

Hence, we need to know Allah with our hearts.  We need to worship Allah as if we see Him, if not, He sees us.  knowing Allah will help us perfect all our deeds.  The Prophet (SAWS) once asked Haritha how he was, he told him that he came to be a true believer.  When the Prophet asked Haritha for a proof of what he said, he told him that he felt as though he could see the throne of Allah,  jannah (Paradise) and hell.  As a result, he prefered qiyam (voluntary night prayer) and fasting to the worldly pleasures. 

Ibn-Omar once said that he saw the tribune of the Prophet (SAWS) trembling when he (SAWS) glorified Allah and mentioned some of His names, to the extent that Ibn-Omr feared that the Prophet (SAWS) would fall of it.  If we know Allah we will know the purpose of our life. 

Let's move to our next point which is the signs to know The Most Beautiful Names of Allah.  Allah gave us two approaches through which we can know His names.  One is Qur'an and the other is the universe.

The prophet (SAWS)[6] asked Haritha about his mood today. He said that he is now a real believer. The prophet (SAWS) asked him what the proof is. Haritha told him that he feels as if he has seen Allah's (SWT)[7] throne, the people in paradise live happily, and those in hell are screaming from torture. As a result, his soul has renounced the present life, and he decided to spend the night in qiyam (voluntary night prayer), and the day in fasting.  The prophet (SAWS) then told him that he has known Allah (SWT). This is the knowledge that I am talking about.

There is a well known Hadeeth that says that Allah (SWT) has 99 names, whoever count them enter paradise. People understand the word "count" as "memorize", although there is a great difference between them. The meaning is to calculate, understand, and analyze them. Allah (SWT) said what can be translated as, "Indeed He has already enumerated them, and He has numbered them with (exact) numbering"(TMQ, 19:49).

How Allah (SWT) shows himself to us?

Allah (SWT) provided us with two means to know Him; the Qur'an, and nature.  For example, the first ayah[8] revealed to the prophet (SAWS) is, "Read: In the Name of your Lord Who created"(TMQ, 96:1) Each Surah[9] starts with, "In The Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Ever Merciful". Surat Al-Fatiha includes many of The Most Beautiful Names of Allah, and you have to read it in every prayer.  Another Sura is Al-Ikhlas which is equal to one third of the Qur'an as the Prophet has said. Have you ever felt the name of Allah The Everlasting Sovereign whenever you read this Surah?  This name means that you resort to Allah (SWT) in your distress because He is The Only One. Allah (SWT), in other ayahs, explains a certain issue then ends the ayah with his Most Beautiful Names as a summary to what came before. Allah (SWT) also says what can be translated as, "And as Ibrahîm (Abraham) said, “Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.” He Allah) said, “And have you not believed?” He (Ibrahîm) said, “Yes indeed, but that my heart be composed.” Said He, “So take four of the birds, then wring them to you (and divide them); thereafter set a portion of them on every mountain; thereafter call them; they will come up to you with hasty diligence (and) know that Allah is Ever-Mighty, Ever-Wise” (TMQ, 2:260).  Therefore try to read the Qur'an this year in Ramadan in search for The Most Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT), and whenever you make dua’a (supplication), ask Allah (SWT) by these names.

Everything in nature glorifies Allah (SWT), but we cannot comprehend their language. Allah (SWT) sends you messages through nature to know him.  For example, when there is rain, you remember Allah (SWT) the Superb Provider.  When someone dies, you remember Allah (SWT), the Ever Living.  The whole universe is a huge mosque where man gets to know The Most Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, "and decidedly not a thing (is) except that it extols His praise, but you do not comprehend their Extolment. Surely He has been Ever-Forbearing, Ever-Forgiving" (TMQ, 17:44).

Why we called the program "In Thy Name We Live"

Many people consider The Most Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT) a good omen in celebrations and the like.  Others know them by heart but they cannot imagine that every minute in our life is linked to those names.  This program is to insure that our life is linked to those Most Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT), and to show how the whole universe lives in them.

In Surat Al-Hashr some of the most beautiful names of Allah (SWT) are mentioned successively. This Surah is about a battle between Muslims and Jews who were defeated.  That is why this great number of the Most Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT) are mentioned in the Surah to remind us that those names are the cause of our victory. They are not far away from our life.  Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, "He is Allah, The Creator, The Initiator, The Supreme Fashioner. To Him (belong) the Fairest Names. Whatever is in the heavens and the earth extols to Him, and He is The Ever-Mighty, The Ever-Wise" (TMQ, 59:24).


[1] The word Allah is the Arabic term for God. Although the use of the word "Allah" is most often associated with Islam, it is not used exclusively by Muslims; Arab Christians and Arabic-speaking Jews also use it to refer to the One God. The Arabic word expresses the unique characteristics of the One God more precisely than the English term. Whereas the word "Allah" has no plural form in Arabic, the English form does, and the word 'Allah' in Arabic has no connotation of gender. Allah is the God worshipped by all Prophets, from Adam to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
[2] Salla Allah alayhe Wa Salam [All Prayers and Blessings of Allah be upon him]
[3] a place above the Ka’ba in the seventh heaven where angels go to pray
[4] TMQ=Translation of the Meaning of the Qur'an.  This translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (Surah:Ayah) of the Qur'an.  Reading the translated meaning of the Qur'an can never replace reading it in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed.
[5] The pilgrimage to Makkah during the first half of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, and is the fifth pillar of Islam.
[6]  Salla Allah alayhe Wa Salam [All Prayers and Blessings of Allah be upon him]
[7]  SWT = Suhanahu wa Ta'ala  [Glorified and Exalted Be He].
[8]  A verse in the Qur'an
[9]  A chapter; the Qur’an is comprised of 114 surahs

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