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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The Answer to the Quest of Nature

The Great Attributes of God:

A study of the great attributes of God shows that all these names of God are an introduction of God to man. Psychology has proved that man is by birth a seeking animal. By instinct he wants to find a superior being who will compensate for all of his shortcomings, and become the focus of his feelings and emotions.

The great attributes of God are indeed the answer to this question. These names of God are not a representation of the most superior God in any absolute sense. They rather introduce God in His relation to man. Therefore, when a person comes to know of these divine attributes with their full meaningfulness, he all of a sudden discovers that superior God that he had been seeking all along.

For instance, one of the divine names is Al-Ghani, that is, “Self-Sufficient,” a Being who does not need anything from others, but rather has the power to fulfil the needs of everyone. This feeling is indwelling, consciously or unconsciously in every human being. Later, when a person learns that one of God’s attributes is that He is self-sufficient, he immediately realizes that he has discovered the God he had been searching for all along. This is the reality which is expressed in this verse of the Quran: “O men! It is you who stand in need of God—God is self-sufficient, and praiseworthy.” (35:15)

Similarly, there is another feeling which is found in all human beings, consciously or unconsciously, and that is, everyone feels that he or she is a creature who is in need of sustenance. Sustenance means all those things on which human lives depend.

At all times an individual feels himself to be in need of many things—water, food, air, oxygen and light, etc. In this world, all these things are available in abundance and in the right proportions.

Man, by nature, wants to know who that Being is who provides for all the things he requires, without demanding anything from him. Man wants to fully acknowledge this superior Benefactor and with profound feelings of gratitude he wants to surrender himself before that Being. Here it is the great attributes of God which guide him.

One of the names of God is Al-Razzaq, the Giver. When a person discovers God as the Giver, he feels, all of a sudden, that he has found the answer to his desire. This is the reality which has been expressed thus in the Quran: “It is God Who is the great Sustainer, the Mighty One, the Invincible.” (51:58)

Every person has yet another need. The present world in which an individual has to lead his life has been created in such a way that no one can live here in an ideal way. Under the influence of desires and wishes, individuals repeatedly make mistakes. In these situations a person thinks of how he might save himself from the feeling of guilt and how it might be possible to purify his soul. Here again, he finds the source of solace in the divine attributes.

As we know, one of God’s names is Al-Ghaffar, the Forgiver. It is in this concept of the Forgiver that one’s mind finds solace. The following verse of the Quran guides us: “God says, ‘O My servants, who have committed excesses against their own souls, do not despair of God’s mercy, for God surely forgives all sins. He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.’” (39:53)

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