AL-TANZIL
The
Revelation
 
[26:192]

“Allah” the Name of God

By Dr. Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

[All of Allah’s divine names and attributes are summed up in the word “Allah”]

“So know that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sins of) believing men and women. And Allah knows well your moving about and your place of rest.” [Muhammad 47; 19]

This verse, in which the name ‘Allah’ is mentioned, sums up Islamic Monotheism, because it includes the entire religion of Islam, the entire faith and the entire good righteous work the whole religion of Islam stands on.

Didn’t Allah say: “And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We revealed to him that there is no god but Me (Allah). So worship Me (Alone).” [Al-Anbiya’ 21; 25]

That there is (no one but Allah who has the right to be worshipped) is the essence of the messages of all of Allah’s prophets and messengers and the testimony of Islamic Monotheism.

Meanings of the Name ‘Allah’

1- Scholars of Islamic theology say: The word “Allah” is “a proper noun that refers to that perfect and absolute divine Self, Which is infinitely pre-existent, and Whose existence is definitive”.

Thus, in existence, there is only one divine Self; Allah, Whose existence is definitive. Other existing things are either tentative (i.e. possible to exist or not exist) or impossible (i.e. can never exist).

The word “Allah”, in this context, refers to the Creator, the Originator, the Shaper, the Maker, the Sovereign, the Almighty, the Omnipotent, the Proud, the One and Only, the Unique, among all the other beautiful divine names of Allah. This means that all of Allah’s divine names and attributes are summed up in the word “Allah”, which refers to the One Who is qualified with all Attributes of Perfection and Oneness. But what does the Arabic word “Ilah” (god) mean?

...worship is ultimate love combined with ultimate obedience; and you shall never be able to worship Allah, love and obey Him, unless you know Him.

2- The Arabic word “Ilah” (god) is derived from the word “Aliha”, which means: “to worship”, which, in turn, means: “to love and obey”. In other words, worship is made up of love and obedience. Obedience without love is not worship, nor is love without obedience: Worship is utmost love combined with utmost obedience. Once again: the word “’Abada” (to worship) means “to love and obey”, but who is the one worshipped? It is Allah, because, as religious scholars say, no one but Allah has the right to be worshipped.

He is the creator; and there is no creator but Allah; the provider, the giver, the withholder, the exalter, the debaser, the honor giver, the one Who does whatever He pleases, the All-Mighty, the Omnipotent, the Irresistible Subduer, the All-Powerful …etc. If all of Allah’s divine names and attributes are put together, they refer to “Allah”, the only One Who has the right to be worshipped. Therefore, worship is ultimate love combined with ultimate obedience; and you shall never be able to worship Allah, love and obey Him, unless you know Him. In other words, worship consists of three stages (knowledge, love, and obedience) and is conducive to real happiness and prosperity.

3- Another meaning is derived from the Arabic word “Aliha”, which means: “to be baffled or confused”. In this sense, the word “Allah” refers to the One and Only Lord, Who is Infinitely Great, Mighty and Majestic that the minds of His slaves get confused and baffled at, and are by no means able to conceive, His Infinite Divine Greatness, Might or Majesty:

“Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of all worlds.” [Al-A’raf 7; 54]

“Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Disposer (and Guardian) over all things.” [Az-Zumar 39; 62]

4- “To seek refuge with” is another meaning derived from the Arabic word, “Aliha”. In this sense, the word “Allah” refers to the One with Whom all creatures seek refuge. Hence, the statement “There is no god but Allah” means that no one but Allah is the All Mighty, the All Great Lord with Whom all creatures, including human beings, can seek refuge or shelter.

At the Core of Monotheism

Monotheism is to worship only the Lord, Allah, All-Mighty, Alone; to rid yourself completely of anyone else but Allah: you love none but Allah
1- You do not need gods of the earth; you need only One God, namely Allah, All-Mighty, Who is in the heaven. This is Monotheism - the essence of psychological health - because a monotheist is someone who believes that all his affairs are in the Hand of One God, Allah, All-Mighty, Whom he fears, After Whom he aspires, Whose Good Pleasure he seeks, and Whose Divine Commands he obeys.

Monotheism is to worship only the Lord, Allah, All-Mighty, Alone; to rid yourself completely of anyone else but Allah: you love none but Allah, fear none but Allah, aspire after none but Allah, hope for none but Allah, and seek to please none but Allah:

“O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you, so that you may attain self-protection.” [Al-Baqarah 2; 21]

Therefore, Allah is the Only One Who has the right to be worshipped.

2- On the issue of godhood Allah says:

“Have you seen him who has taken as his god his own vain desire? Would you then be a disposer of his affairs or a guardian over him?” [Al-Furqan 25; 43]

In other words, if you love something so much that you disobey Allah for it, this means that you actually worship such thing instead of Allah.

3- When he was about to drown, Allah’s worst enemy, Pharaoh, sought refuge with Allah alone: “And We (Allah) took the children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh, with his hosts, followed them in oppression and enmity, till when drowning overtook him, he said: ‘I believe that there is no god but He (Allah), in Whom the children of Israel believe, and I am one of the Muslims (those who submit to Allah’s Will).” [Yunus 10; 90]

As for Prophet Jonah, peace be upon him, when he was devoured by the whale and, hence, entered into three kinds of darkness, he invoked none but his Lord, Allah, All Mighty, to help him:

“And remember Jonah: when he went off in anger, and imagined that We (Allah) shall not punish him! But he cried through the darkness: ‘There is no god but You (Allah)! Glorified and Exalted are You! Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers.” [Al-Anbiya’ 21; 87]

if you know Allah in weal, He knows you in woe
But why did Allah answer Jonah’s, and not Pharaoh’s, invocation, although they were both in distress, and they both confessed: “There is no god but Allah”?
Religious scholars said “Pharaoh did not know Allah before his distress, therefore, his invocation did not avail him anything in time of distress; while Prophet Jonah knew Allah before his distress, so when distress came his invocation availed him. That is why if you know Allah in weal, He knows you in woe and that is why Allah answered Jonah’s, but not Pharaoh’s, invocation. Jonah was of those who extolled praises of the Lord, Allah, while Pharaoh was not. Thus if your faith in Allah is already strong and deeply rooted before distress, this means that you have already deposited something good with Allah, namely righteous work, firm belief in Him and His infinite divine mercy, pardon, love and power:

“And to Allah belongs the Unseen of the heavens and the earth, and to Him return all affairs (for decision). So worship Him and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.” [Hud 11; 123]

4- The best and most sublime kind of faith is to believe in the Lord, Allah, only because He is really the creator and, therefore, deserves to be worshipped:

“Whosoever desires might, then to Allah belongs all Might. To Him ascend the goodly words, and righteous work exalts him (man); but those who plot evil things, theirs will be severe torment; and the plotting of such will perish.” [Fatir 35; 10]

“And whosoever submits his face (himself) to Allah, while he is a good-doer, then he has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold. And to Allah return all matters (for decision).” [Luqman 31; 22]

“(True) believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and lives for the Cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful!”[Al-Hujurat 49; 15]

“Say: ‘O Allah, Owner of the Kingdom! You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take away the kingdom from whom You will. You endue with honor whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the Good. Verily, You are Powerful over all things.” [Al-‘Imran 3; 26]

“Say: ‘He is Allah, the One.” [Al-Ikhlas 112; 1]

http://www.onislam.net/english/reading-islam/understanding-islam/belief/452384--allah-the-name-of-god.html
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