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CHAPTER 5: Who is the Lord of Muslims?

The Lord of Muslims is God of all the worlds and of all creatures. The word Allah is the literal Arabic translation of God. Several explanations have been used to explain the root meaning of the word Allah. It could imply the One that everything is attracted to, or include another linguistic meaning indicating an entity whose characteristics are beyond all human explanation. As noted earlier, Muslims reach God through reflection, prayer and action, not through imagery. We are taught to think of God through creation rather than appearance, for the features of our Lord are beyond human conception; we simply describe God as being an entity unlike any other. Muslims also believe that nothing can be compared to God; they recognize their Lord through divine attributes and by the great signs inside themselves and around them in the universe. The Qur’an describes the concept of God as:

The Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you pairs of yourselves, and of the cattle also pairs, whereby He multiplies you.  Nothing is as His likeness; and He is the Hearer, the Seer.

(The Counsel, Surah 42; 11)

 

The Attributes of God

God’s attributes are divided into several categories.  The first consists of those qualities that God exemplifies and inspires us to apply in our lives. For example, God is the Forgiver; therefore, we are also inspired to forgive others for their shortcomings, even though our ability to forgive is negligible in comparison to God’s. Similarly, God encourages us to practice patience, mercy, peace, etc. in our relationships with others.

Another category of divine attributes includes those that teach us the supremacy of God. Examples of these are: The Creator, the Resurrector, the Everlasting, the Self-Sufficient, the Most Exalted.

Humans cannot be described this way and are prohibited in Islam from aspiring to such attributes.

God has taught us some of these names, which appear in the list below:
 

The Beneficent

The Merciful

The Sovereign Lord

The Holy

The Source of Peace

The Guardian of Faith

The Protector

The Mighty

The Compeller

The Majestic

The Creator

The Evolver

The Fashioner

The Forgiver

The Subduer

The Bestower

The Provider

The Opener

The All-Knowing

The Constrictor

The Expander

The Abaser

The Exalter

The Honorer

The Dishonorer

The All-Hearing

The All-Seeing

The Judge

The Just

The Subtle One

The Aware

The Forbearing One

The Great One

The All-Forgiving

The Appreciative

The Most High

The Most Great

The Preserver

The Maintainer

The Reckoner

The Sublime One

The Generous One

The Watchful

The Responsive

The All-Embracing

The Wise

The Loving

The Most Glorious One

The Resurrector

The Witness

The Truth


 

The Trustee

The Most Strong

The Firm One

 

The Protecting Friend

The Praiseworthy

The Reckoner

The Originator

The Restorer

The Giver of Life

The Creator of Death

The Alive

The Self-Subsisting

The Finder

The Noble

The Unique

The One

The Eternal

The Able

The Powerful

The Expediter

The Delayer

The First

The Last

The Manifest

The Hidden

The Governor

The Most Exalted

The Source of All Goodness

The Acceptor of Repentance

The Avenger

The Pardoner

The Compassionate

The Owner

 

Sovereignty

     

God of Majesty & Bounty

The Equitable

The Gatherer

 

The Self-Sufficient

The Enricher

The Preventer

 

The Distresser

The Propitious

The Light

 

The Guide

The Incomparable

The Everlasting

 

The Supreme Inheritor

The Guide to the Right Path

The Patient

 

 

Several passages from the Qur’an can help us to better understand how Muslims call upon God.

For example, the five daily prayers of Islam begin with the opening words of the first Surah:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, The Beneficent, the Merciful,

Sovereign of the Day of Judgment,

You (alone) we worship; You (alone) we ask for help.

Guide us to the straight path:

The path of those whom You have favored; not of those who earn Your anger

nor of those who go astray

(The Opening, Surah 1; 1-7)

As the Creator of all things and bestower of all blessings, God alone is entitled to praise – present, past and future – whether divine blessings are given directly or indirectly.  For example, the heat and light of the Sun are a blessing from God, as are many blessings and bounties that come to us through intermediate agencies.

God is the sole author and originator of the Day of Recompense (also called Day of Judgment). This will truly be an extraordinary day, due to the great and important events destined to take place then. It will also be a day of unprecedented horror for some, since no false worldly authority will survive God’s judgment. On that day, God alone will be revealed to all beings as the sole and Omnipotent Ruler and Authority.

The fifth verse of the Qur’an’s opening surah confirms that seeking success from anyone besides God is totally forbidden in Islam. The blessed ones described in the seventh verse as “those whom You have favored” include the Prophets, the Righteous, the Martyrs and the Pious.

The ones who will receive God’s wrath are those who have knowingly deviated from the right way and no one throughout all of human history is exempt.

At the end of this Surah, the word Ameen (Amen) is traditionally recited, although it is not part of the original Qur’anic text. It means: “O God!   May it be so.”  

The first half of this opening surah summarizes our admiration and praise for God, while the second half is a prayer asking for divine wisdom and direction. Thus the first chapter of the Qur’an reminds us immediately to ask God to keep us on the right path and not let us go astray. In the Qur’an, Allah/God said that anyone who desires a religion other than Islam will be among those who are rejected on the Day of Judgment.

Islam also rejects the idea that social “good manners” in this life are alone sufficient to attain success in the hereafter; true good manners are rooted in full obedience to God, which provides us with a firm foundation of fear (reverence), hope and love. Without this solid foundation, our behavior can change dramatically under stressful situations.

It should be anticipated that through God’s perfection, one clear path is delineated for us. Alternative routes are chosen only when we cannot discern subtle differences in the options life presents to us. Frankly, different routes are frequently contradictory; so how can a perfect God command us to do things in a contradictory fashion?

 

The Relationship between God and Humans in Islam

The principles that define this relationship and govern our behavior operate on many different levels.

The first is that of humility and fear. While humanity is loved and honored by God, we have no power whatsoever over God’s will or actions. In Islam, humans see themselves as feeble organisms compared to God and absolute humility is the hallmark of a believer.  Humility and reverence are usually associated with the fear of divine wrath if we disobey God.

The second level is that of hope.  We hope for God’s mercy, sustenance and forgiveness in the hereafter in order to enter paradise and escape hell-fire.  In the Qur’an we are told that anyone who despises God’s mercy is a transgressor, but “If my worshippers ask for me, I am so near and I respond to their supplication if they call upon me.” (The Cow, Surah 2; 186)

A third and higher level of our relationship with God is based on love. We should love God for the divine attributes and qualities revealed to us – supremacy, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, etc. Although unknowable in essence, our Lord has given us all the bounties of creation and made the universe subservient to humankind. We love God for unconditionally blessing all of humanity, even those who are not believers, and especially for guiding us to the true religion.
 

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Al-Rashid Mosque was built in 1938 just after the Mother Mosque of America in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and several years after the 1929 mosque built in Ross, North Dakota.At the time there were about 700 Muslims in Canada. Hilwi Hamdon was the first woman to talk to Edmonton Mayor John Fry about purchasing land to construct the mosque. She, along with friends, collected fund from Jews, Christians and Muslims to construct the mosque.

The mosque was built by Ukrainian-Canadian contractor Mike Drewoth in a style resembling Orthodox churches and opened on December 12, 1938.

Click here to download a copy of the book Why Islam

 

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