This issue continues the series exclusive to AMUST on the 99 divine attributes of Allah.
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87. Al-Jāmi’ – The Gatherer of All
It is He who has sent down the Book to you. Some of its verses are clear and precise1 in meaning – they are the basis of the Book – while others are allegorical.2 Those with deviation in their hearts pursue the allegorical, so as to create dissension by seeking to explain it: but no one knows its meaning except Allah. Those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, ‘We believe in it: it is all from our Rabb.’ But only the wise take heed.
‘Our Rabb, do not let our hearts deviate after You have guided us. Bestow upon us Your mercy. Surely You are a Munificent Giver.3
Our Rabb, You will surely gather all mankind on the Day of whose coming there is no doubt. Allah never fails to fulfil His promise.’
Arabic word ‘muhkam’ is used for a firm and stable commodity. Here this points out the verses which are clear and their meanings have no ambiguity in their interpretation. Their words bear the testimony of obvious meanings. These verses are the foundations of the Qur’an, meaning that they fulfil the purpose of the revelation. These verses expose the misgivings. The basic rules and regulations of the beliefs, worships, ethics, objectives and the permitted and prohibited have been dealt with these muhkam verses.
‘Mutashābah’ verses are allegorical by nature. These are required when essential information above the mysterious allegories are expressed in order to set up a life imagination in this world. There are mysteries that are beyond the understanding of the humans which cannot be observed or tested or can not be explained in a clear and well known style of expression. So the Mutashābah’ style is used to provide humans a better understand of their meaning.
This style of expression cannot depict the exact meaning but allows a faint concept to be visualised. However, the trouble is that the more anyone attempts to find the true sense of these concepts, he/she should have to comprehend even more vague and abstract ideas which tends lead the person astray. Hence the one those who wish to seek the truth should not dwell on ideational gymnastics, but be content with these faint ideas and remain assured that Allah knows the real truth and therefore, He has revealed it to human beings not as a truth but as an allegory to have some idea.
Hence no one should be upset that, without the true meaning of allegories, it is impossible to believe. Actually the reality is that a sensible person can acquire the faith in the Qur’an as the Word of Allah, by sincere thinking and the comprehension of the Muhkamat (precise clear) words of the Qu’ran and not by seeking to apply far-fetched interpretations of the allegories. When a person believes by pondering the Muhkamat of the Qur’an, then the allegories do not arouse any wrong impression in their minds and hearts.
88. Al-Ghanyī: The Self Sufficient
Those who spend their wealth for Allah’s cause may be compared to a grain of corn which sprouts into seven ears, with a hundred grains in each ear: for Allah grants manifold increase to whom He wills; Allah is infinite and all knowing. 1
Those who spend their wealth for Allah’s cause and do not follow their almsgiving with taunts and insults shall be rewarded by their Rabb; they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve. 2
A kind word and forgiveness is better than a charitable deed followed by hurtful words: Allah is self-sufficient and forbearing. 3
Believers, do not cancel out your charitable deeds with reminders and hurtful words,4 like one who spends his wealth only to be seen by people, and not believing in Allah and the Last Day. Such men are like a rock covered with earth: a shower falls upon it and leaves it hard and bare.5 They will gain nothing from their works. Allah does not guide those who deny the truth.6
The compensation from Allah for a person shall be increased according to the sincerity and passionate emotions that person has when spending his/her wealth for the sake of Allah. Allah gives so much grace to one grain of corn which can grow into seven hundred grains. Hence it is never difficult to give your charity so much that one cent returns seven hundred times its value. The attributes of Allah have been mentioned here for this reality: firstly, Allah is All-Encompassing – He is not a miser to not bestow upon you the recompense of your spending as as it deserves. Secondly, He is Allah the All-Knowing, well aware of what you are doing and what your spending and with what passion and sentiment. He is never unacquainted about your dealings and their nature to return with best recompense.
There should be any fear that the recompense will not be given to them nor any grief on their spending.
The words reflect the important directive to humans from Allah: firstly, Allah does not need your charity and secondly Allah Himself is Forbearing, He likes only those who are not puerile (shallow and showy) and malicious rather they should be magnanimous and forbearing. Allah is the One who bestows unaccountably other means and facilities of life upon you and forgives your mistakes and follies many times, so how can he like the persons who, while giving a loaf to a poor person, go on mentioning their favour by repeating it many times. Hence the hadith where the Prophet (s) declares: “Allah says deprive the honor of dialogue and nice meeting on the Day of Resurrection with a person who reminds his favour upon any of his giving to anyone.”
The pretence of such a person himself is evidence that he does not believe in Allah and the Resurrection. His action means that he considers these people as his gods from whom he wants recompense. He expects neither recompense from Allah nor does he have the belief of the accounting of all deeds on the Day of Recompense.
In this parable, rain refers to charity. Rock refers to the degenerated type of intention and sentiment with which the charity has been performed. Then the layer of dust is the evident form of the virtue under which the worse type of interaction is hidden. With this clarification, this parable can now be grasped fully.
The narration of rain is the manifestation of growth and products, but when the futile upper layer is very shallow the layer underneath is only a hard rock that exists. The rain instead of being advantageous would become means to deliver mere losses. Similarly, charity has the capability of the growth of benefits but the conditions of yielding a healthy return lies in sincere and virtuous intent. If the intention is not correct then the advantage of the rain is wasted.
Here the Arabic word ‘kafireen’ is used not in the sense of unbelievers but as the thankless persons who are the misusers of the divine blessings. He boasts of the All-Bestowed bounties so the people can admire his spending instead of for the pleasure of Allah. Or if he spends wealth as a kind of dishonour and disrespect of the persons to whom it is given, he is the most thankless and ungrateful to his Allah. As he himself is not desirous of having the pleasure of Allah, Allah is also not interested in showing to him the way to His pleasure.
Continued in AMUST issue #132 November