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One God Many Names | Al-Malik (The King)

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In one way or another – and for better or worse – everyone has a position of authority and exercises a level of influence on the lives of others. However, life experiences and the pages of history suggest that man’s predisposition to fail the test of power occurs more often than not. Man is, by virtue of his human construct, weak,[1] forgetful,[2] hasty,[3] stingy,[4] unjust and ignorant,[5] and in a constant battle against his evil-commanding soul.[6] When power is added to the mix, all forms of abuses – whether blatant or behind closed doors – are to be expected.

With this, we discover the pressing need of retreating to yet another Majestic name of Allāh. A name that will certainly tame man’s behavior, keeping him grounded no matter how high up the ladder of success he may ascend.

This name is Al-Malik (the King), which has a resemblance to two other names of Allāh: Al-Mālik (the Owner) and Al-Malīk (the Sovereign).

All three names have appeared in the Qur’ān. “Al-Malik” appears five times in the Qur’ān. For example, Allah says:

فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ

“So high above all is Allāh, the King…” [7]

“Al-Mālik” appears twice in the Qur’ān, although it appears more clearly as a name of Allāh in the Sunnah. For example, Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

The Owner of the Day of Recompense.” [8]

“Al-Malīk” (which shall be discussed later) appears only once in the Qur’ān:

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَنَهَرٍ (54) فِي مَقْعَدِ صِدْقٍ عِنْدَ مَلِيكٍ مُقْتَدِرٍ

“Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and rivers, in a seat of Honour, near a Sovereign perfect in ability.” [9]

1 – The linguistic origins of these names

All three of these names can be traced back to al-malk, which is in reference to al-rabt wa al-shadd / the tying and fastening of something. The Arabs refer to a possessor of something by saying malakahu (he owned it) due to the possessor’s power and control over it. This is why Imam Ibn Kathīr’s definition of Al-Mālik was:

المالك لجميع الأشياء، المتصرف فيها بلا ممانعة ولا مدافعة

“The owner of all things who executes his will over them without any resistance.”[10]

Allāh’s mulk (kingdom) is therefore in reference to His:

(1) Absolute possession

(2) Absolute control.

Allāh describes this Himself:

قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ مَالِكَ الْمُلْكِ تُؤْتِي الْمُلْكَ مَنْ تَشَاءُ وَتَنْزِعُ الْمُلْكَ مِمَّنْ تَشَاءُ وَتُعِزُّ مَنْ تَشَاءُ وَتُذِلُّ مَنْ تَشَاءُ بِيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“Say: ‘O Allāh, Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. All goodness is in Your Hands. You are certainly able to do all things.’” [11]

And He said:

لِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ

“To Allāh belongs the kingdom of the Heavens and the Earth – He creates what He wills…” [12]

And He said:

أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يُعَذِّبُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَغْفِرُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ

“Do you not know that to Allāh belongs the dominion of the Heavens and the Earth? He punishes whom He wills and forgives whom He wills…” [13]

In all of the examples above, the theme of absolute possession and absolute control are consistently featured as they are both what define Al-Malik.

2- The differences between Al-Malik (the King) and Al-Mālik (the Owner)

Although both of these names are derived from a common root, scholars have noted several key differences between the two:

(1) Al-Malik (the King) is النافذ الأمر في ملكه / He whose command comes to pass in His Kingdom. One may be an owner of something – a mālik of it – but if one’s command does not come to pass in it, then he is not its malik.[14] For example, a child or a senile person may have property in their name, but in reality it is the command of others that come to pass over the property, and not their command. As for Allāh, however, He is Al-Mālik (the Owner) of all, and Al-Malik (the King) Whose command comes to pass over every inch of His Kingdom.

(2) Al-Malik (the King) is in reference to absolute ownership, whilst Al-Mālik (the Owner) is in reference to specific ownership. Thus, an owner of a house, car, or a mobile phone is not referred to as a malik but a mālik of these specific items. However, when one has a vast variety of possessions and has full authority over them at the same time, he can be described as a malik.[15] Thus, Allāh is Al-Mālik and Al-Malik since He is the Owner of both what is specific and vast.

(3) Al-Malik (the King) is صفة ذاتية (a description of who Allāh is), whilst Al-Mālik (the Owner) is صفة فعلية (a description of what Allāh does).[16]

As for the name Al-Malīk (the Sovereign), it is an intensified form of Al-Malik (the King), further stressing His Kingship, just as you may stress the knowledge of the knowledgeable one (‘ālim) by describing him as ‘alīm.

3- The difference between the kingdom of man and that of Al-Malik   

In the Qur’ān, Allāh described some of His creation as being malik (king).

Allāh said:

وَقَالَ الْمَلِكُ ائْتُونِي بِهِ

“And the malik [king] said: ‘Bring him to me.’” [17]

And Allāh said:

وَكَانَ وَرَاءَهُمْ مَلِكٌ يَأْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ غَصْبًا

“There was after them a malik [king] who seized every ship by force.” [18]

So, whilst people can be given the title of malik, this is not to be understood as there being – Allāh forbid – any resemblance between the two. Below is a sample of the infinite differences:

(a) The limitations of man’s kingdom

Man’s kingdom usually spans over specific territories but not others. He may own a house, but not the one next door. He may own a street, but not the adjacent one. In fact, in the entirety of human history, only four individuals have ever been known to have reigned over the entire globe: two Muslims (Prophet Sulayman and Dhu al-Qarnayn) and two non-Muslims (Nebuchadnezzar and Nimrod).[19] Nevertheless, even in their cases, their kingdoms were limited to their time. Every kingdom was at one point non-existent, and there shall come a time after it when, again, it must perish. Man’s kingdom is temporal. He is compelled to hand it over sooner or later willingly or forcefully, as he either leaves it or it leaves him.

During his dying moments, Al-Ma’mūn (the seventh Abbasid Caliph, son of the legendry Hārūn Al-Rashīd) requested to be carried off his bed and laid flat on the ground. There, with his face on the ground in humility to Allāh, he was heard saying:

 يا من لا يزول ملكه.. ارحم من قد زال ملكه

“O You Whose kingdom never perishes, have mercy on the one whose kingdom has perished.”

Travel the world and ponder over the remains of civilisations and the ruins of the kingdoms of the past. See the ruins of Babylon in Iraq, the Roman Colosseum in Italy, the Parthenon in Greece, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, or the ancient stone complexes of Petra. Such ruins are poignant reminders that the kingdoms of man do not last. The kings who had once upon a time ascended thrones were eventually forced to descend into their graves.

As for Allāh’s Kingdom, it has always been His and can never be taken away from Him, neither by coups, illness, nor death. His Kingdom is not limited to time or space; it extends from the eternal past all the way into the eternal future. Allāh was King before creation, will remain King after their destruction, and will be the True King when creation is finally resurrected from their graves to hear Al-Malik declaring:

لِمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ

“To Whom does the Kingdom belong to on this Day?”[20]

(b) Man’s kingdom requires others

Man cannot build a kingdom without help. He needs deputies, architects, financers, and the like. The kings of today simply cannot do without third-party help, as it is people who put people in power.

As for Allāh, who were the ones who helped Him bring about creation? Who were His supporters and consultants? Allāh answers:

وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ

“He has no partner in His Kingdom.” [21]

He also says:

مَا أَشْهَدْتُهُمْ خَلْقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَا خَلْقَ أَنْفُسِهِمْ

“I did not make them witness to the creation of the Heavens and the Earth or to the creation of themselves…” [22]

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

كَانَ اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ شَيْءٌ غَيْرُهُ، وَكَانَ عَرْشُهُ عَلَى المَاءِ، وَكَتَبَ فِي الذِّكْرِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ، وَخَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ

“(In the beginning), it was Allāh and nothing else with Him. His Throne was above water, and He wrote everything in the book, and He created the Heavens and the Earth.” [23]

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) also said that Allāh said:

لَا تَسُبُّوا الدَّهْرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ قَالَ أَنَا الدَّهْرُ الْأَيَّامُ وَاللَّيَالِي لِي أُجَدِّدُهَا وَأُبْلِيهَا وَآتِي بِمُلُوكٍ بَعْدَ مُلُوكٍ

“Do not curse time, for I am time, the days and nights belong to Me, I renew them and humble them how I will, and I bring kings after kings!” [24]

(c) Man’s kingdom diminishes when giving from it

When a family of two becomes three, Allāh’s Kingdom has effectively expanded as He now provides for yet another soul. With that in mind, the global human population growth amounts to around 83 million annually.[25] The global population has grown from 1 billion in 1800 to 7.6 billion in 2017. It is expected to keep growing, and estimates have put the total population at 8.6 billion by the mid-2030s, 9.8 billion by the mid-2050s, and 11.2 billion by 2100.[26]

As for the expansion of the universe, this is a different topic altogether. The universe has been expanding continuously for more than 13.8 billion years, and at an accelerating rate.[27]  Astronomers have pegged the universe’s current expansion rate — a value known as the Hubble constant, named after American astronomer Edwin Hubble — at about 44.7 miles per second per megaparsec (1 megaparsec is about 3 million light-years).[28]

Hence, whilst the kingdoms of man expand then diminish, Allāh’s Dominion is only ever-growing. Yet despite His spending on what is an ever-expanding Kingdom, His possessions are not reduced in the least.

The Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

يدُ اللهِ ملأَى لا يَغيضُها نفقةٌ ، سحَّاءُ الليلَ والنهارَ . وقال : أرأيتم ما أنفقَ منذُ خلق السماواتِ والأرضِ ، فإنَّهُ لم يَغُضْ ما في يدِه

“Allāh’s Hand is full, and is not affected by the continuous spending, day and night.” (Allāh) said: ‘Do you see what He has spent since He created the Heavens and the Earth? Yet all that has not decreased what is in His Hand.’” [29]

(d) Man’s behavior when kingdom makes it way to him

Any kingdom, insignificant as it may be, causes man to grow in his haughty tendencies and ruthlessness. Allāh said:

كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَيَطْغَى (6) أَنْ رَآهُ اسْتَغْنَى

“No! Indeed, man transgresses, because he sees himself as self-sufficient.”[30]

Whether we speak of the Bosnian ethnic cleansing, the genocide in Rwanda, or the Mongol army’s mass atrocities, episodes of barbarity continue to repeat themselves the moment a trace of kingdom arrives at the doorstep of man.

As for Allāh, despite being the King of kings and the Supreme Sovereign of the Heavens and the Earth, He remains the Most Patient, the Most Forgiving, the Most Forbearing, the Most Just, the Most Merciful, and the Most Subtle. Perhaps this is one of the wisdoms why, when Allāh describes His Kingdom on the Day of Resurrection, His name Al-Rahmān (the Most Merciful) features:

الْمُلْكُ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْحَقُّ لِلرَّحْمَنِ

True Kingdom, that Day, is for the Most Merciful…”[31]

This is as if Allāh reassures humanity that His monopoly on sovereignty on the Day of Judgment will not detract from His mercy towards creation.

Another salient behavioral trait seen in the kings of today is their tendency (as their kingdom grows) to proportionately drift further away from the laity of people and the downtrodden, instead reserving their time and attention to the elite.

Despite being the Owner of a galactic dominion that prostrates to Him in full, Al-Malik remains at the aid of every creature of His, hearing their individual du’ā, appreciating their individual pains whilst also providing for the birds, feeding the wild beasts, tending to the needs of fish, and guiding insects to their homes. His Kingdom has not distanced Him from His creatures, nor has He limited access to Himself to some over others.

(e) Man’s limited control over his kingdom

There will always be happenings that occur beyond the will of kings today, who may compel their subjects upon certain outward matters, but as for their inner states, the king remains powerless.

Historical accounts describes the terror that Muslims were subjected to at the hands of many systematic and state-sponsored attempts to eliminate religion. A father would pray away from the eyes of his son, fearing that he could be an informer. Others resorted to teaching their children the Qur’ān underground. Despite the many attempts to efface the Muslim identity – mosques reduced to rubble and thousands of innocent souls slain – authorities have nevertheless been unable to see their wishes through. Great Muslims have appeared – and continue to do so – from those very parts of the world. Once the grip of oppression had been released, the faithful returned to their mosques in droves. Man’s control over his own kingdom is therefore partial and incomplete.

As for Al-Malik’s command over His Kingdom, He has explained this Himself;

قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ مَالِكَ الْمُلْكِ تُؤْتِي الْمُلْكَ مَنْ تَشَاءُ وَتَنْزِعُ الْمُلْكَ مِمَّنْ تَشَاءُ وَتُعِزُّ مَنْ تَشَاءُ وَتُذِلُّ مَنْ تَشَاءُ بِيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (26) تُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَتُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَتُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَتُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَتَرْزُقُ مَنْ تَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

“Say, ‘O Allāh, Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honour whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is (all) good. Indeed, You are over all things able. You cause the night to enter the day, and You cause the day to enter the night, and You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give provision to whom You will without account.”[32]

His commands always come to pass. His will is always executed. His decree cannot be resisted, and why should that not be the case when He is Al-Malik Al-Haqq, the Sole True King.

The five-point analogy above helps makes sense of why Allāh’s name “Al-Malik” has featured several times besides His name “Al-Quddūs” (the Pure). Not only is He King of all, but His Kingdom is – as we have discovered – free from any defect.

Allāh said:

يُسَبِّحُ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ الْمَلِكِ الْقُدُّوسِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ

“Everything in the Heavens and the earth is exalting Allāh, Al-Malik (the King), Al-Quddūs (the Pure), Al-‘Azīz (the Mighty), Al-Hakīm (the Wise).”[33]

Again, this annexation is found where Allāh said:

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ

“He is Allāh, besides whom none has the right to be worshipped, Al-Malik, Al-Quddūs…” [34]

Similarly, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would say after completing his Witr prayer:

سبحان الملك القدوس «ثلاثًا»

“Exalted by Al-Malik, Al-Quddūs [three times].” [35]

One can say, in the same breath, that this is also why Allāh’s name Al-Malik features alongside the topic of the Day of Judgement in many passages of the Qur’ān. When he is king, man is possessed to forget just how temporal, limited, and borrowed his kingdom actually was. Hence, it will be on the Day of Reckoning that man will realise in the starkest of ways that kingdom only ever belonged to Al-Malik, whilst everything in his hands was but a mirage.

This pairing between the two – the name Al-Malik and the mentioning of the Day of Reckoning – is found where Allāh said:

وَلَهُ الْمُلْكُ يَوْمَ يُنْفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ

“And the Kingdom is His when the horn will be blown…” [36]

It is also found where Allāh said:

يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّهِ

“The Day when no soul will have the power to do anything for another soul, and the command, that Day, is entirely Allāh’s.” [37]

And where Allāh said:

يَوْمَ هُمْ بَارِزُونَ لَا يَخْفَى عَلَى اللَّهِ مِنْهُمْ شَيْءٌ لِمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ لِلَّهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ

“The Day when they shall all come out, nothing of them being hidden from Allāh, (it will be said to them) to Whom belongs the Kingdom this Day? To Allāh, the One, the Prevailing.” [38]

Similarly, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

يَطوي اللَّهُ السَّماواتِ يومَ القيامةِ ، ثمَّ يأخذُهُنَّ بيدِهِ اليُمنى ، ثمَّ يقولُ: أَنا الملِكُ، أينَ الجبَّارونَ ؟ أينَ المتَكَبِّرونَ ؟ ثمَّ يطوي الأرضينَ، ثمَّ يأخذُهُنَّ بيدِهِ الأُخرى، ثمَّ يقولُ: أَنا الملِكُ، أينَ الجبَّارونَ ؟ أينَ المتَكَبِّرونَ ؟

On the Day of Standing, Allāh will fold the heavens and will take them in His right hand, and will say, ‘I am Al-Malik! Where are the tyrants? Where are the arrogant?’ Then Allāh will fold the Earth and will take it in His other hand, and will say, ‘I am Al-Malik! Where are the tyrants? Where are the arrogant?’” [39]

Bearing in mind that the diameter of the observable universe is estimated to be about 91 billion light-years, the One who is able to gather it all within His Hand is indeed deserving of being described as Al-Malik Al-Haqq, the Only True King.

In short, the five-point analogy above compels one to fall into a prostration of gratitude to Allāh, saying “Alhamdulillāh”, as Allāh said:

وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي لَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَدًا وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ وَلِيٌّ مِنَ الذُّلِّ وَكَبِّرْهُ تَكْبِيرًا

“And say Alhamdulillāh [all praises to Allāh], Who has not taken a son and has had no partner in Kingdom and has no protector out of weakness, and glorify Him with great glorification.’”[40]

Alhamdulillāh that True Kingdom has not been placed in the hands of man.

Alhamdulillāh that our existence has been entrusted to no one but Allāh.

Alhamdulillāh that Al-Malik is none other than Al-Malik.

4- The effects of believing in this name

To call upon Him using it

Consider how people would react if an affluent businessman was to set up an office for himself in the middle of the city and announce that anyone who requires a profitable business idea, an interest-free loan, charity, or a grant could come to him. What if this office had belonged to a king? A cursory glance at people’s behaviour during the sales of festive seasons gives a fairly accurate portrayal of how people would react. The offer in the analogy above is in fact existent and lends itself on a nightly basis. The Giver of this opportunity is no mortal, but Al-Malik Himself.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

يَنْزِلُ اللَّهُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ حِينَ يَمْضِي ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الأَوَّلُ فَيَقُولُ أَنَا الْمَلِكُ أَنَا الْمَلِكُ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ فَلاَ يَزَالُ كَذَلِكَ حَتَّى يُضِيءَ الْفَجْرُ ‏

“Allāh descends every night to the lowest Heaven when the first one-third of the night is over and says, ‘I am the King. I am the King. Who is there to supplicate Me so that I answer him? Who is there to beg of Me so that I grant him? Who is there to beg forgiveness from Me so that I forgive him?’ He continues like this until the day breaks.”[41]

Call upon Him by saying, “O Allāh, I ask You, as You are Al-Malik, that you grant me…” This format of du’ā was part of the du’ā of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). He would implore Allāh by saying:

اللهُمَّ أَنْتَ الْمَلِكُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ أَنْتَ رَبِّي، وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ، ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي، وَاعْتَرَفْتُ بِذَنْبِي، فَاغْفِرْ لِي ذُنُوبِي جَمِيعًا، إِنَّهُ لَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ

“O Allāh, You are the King, there is none worthy of worship except You. You are My Lord, and I am Your slave. I have wronged myself, and I admit to my sin, so forgive for me all of my sins. Indeed, there is none who forgives sins but You.” [42]

Similarly, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said to Mu’ādh:

أَلا أُعلِّمُك دعاءً تدعو به لو كان عليك مثلُ جبلِ أُحُدٍ دَيْنًا لأدَّاه اللهُ عنك ؟ قل يا معاذُ

“Shall I not teach you a du’ā which, if you say it, Allāh will take care of your debts even if they are like a mountain in size? Mu’ādh, say the following:

اللهمَّ مالكَ الملكِ تُؤتي الملكَ مَن تشاءُ ، وتنزعُ الملكَ ممن تشاءُ ، وتُعِزُّ مَن تشاءُ ، وتذِلُّ مَن تشاءُ ، بيدِك الخيرُ إنك على كلِّ شيءٍ قديرٌ . رحمنُ الدنيا والآخرةِ ورحيمُهما ، تعطيهما من تشاءُ ، وتمنعُ منهما من تشاءُ ارحمْني رحمةً تُغنيني بها عن رحمةِ مَن سواك

‘O Allāh, Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. All goodness is in Your Hands. You are certainly able to do all things. You are the Rahmān of this world and the next, and their Rahīm. You give from them to whom You will and deprive from whom You will. Have mercy upon me, a mercy that will suffice me from the mercy of all others.’”[43]

Surrendering to every decree of Al-Malik

“Why is so-and-so member of my family yet to embrace Islam despite my du’ā?”

It is Allāh’s Kingdom and He has not given permission yet.

“Why am I still poverty-ridden despite my perpetual efforts to find an income?”

It is Allāh’s Kingdom and He has not given permission yet.

“Why is it that, from all people, I am yet to recover from my illness?”

It is Allāh’s Kingdom and He has not given permission yet

“Why is it that happy marriages have seemingly arrived at everyone’s doorstep but mine?”

It is Allāh’s Kingdom and He has not given permission yet.

Appreciating that Al-Malik is free to do as He wishes in His Kingdom is fundamental to your belief in this name.

Allāh said:

 قَالَتْ رَبِّ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لِي وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ قَالَ كَذَلِكِ اللَّهُ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ

“(Maryam) said, ‘My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?’ The angel said, ‘Such is Allāh; He creates what He wills.’”[44]

Allāh said:

وَمَنْ يُهِنِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ مُكْرِمٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يَشَاءُ

“And whoever Allāh humiliates, none can honour him. Surely, Allāh does what He wills.”[45]

Allāh said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُدْخِلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ

“Surely Allāh will cause those who believe and do good deeds to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow. Surely Allāh does what He wills.”[46]

Allāh said:

وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلُوا وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ

“And if Allāh had willed, they would not have fought, but Allāh does what He wills.”[47]

Since the Heavens, Earth, and all of existence are His, it is only befitting that decisions are also solely His. This is a reality that the Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus) will attest to on the Day of Reckoning after being confronted with news about those who had worshipped him besides Allāh. Prophet ‘Isa will say:

إِنْ تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ وَإِنْ تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

“If You should punish them, indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them, indeed it is You who is the Most Mighty, Most Wise.”[48]

So do not cry over spilled milk. Accept His Kingship over your destiny and find solace in submission to your Owner and Malik. Realise that what was taken from you was not to add to Him, for how can that be when dominion is already His? You are left with one other option: it was taken away from you for you, as Ibn al-Qayyim said:

فإنه ما مَنَعَك إلا ليُعطيَك، ولا ابتلاكَ إلا ليُعافيَك، ولا أمَرضَكَ إلا ليَشفِيَك، ولا أماتكَ إلا ليُحيِيَك؛ فإياكَ أن تُفارِقَ الرضا عنه طرفةَ عين

“He only prevented you from matters in order to give you, and only tested you to grant wellbeing to you, and only caused you to fall ill to cure you, and only gave you death to grant you life. So, beware of ever distancing yourself from contentment for even the blinking of an eye.”[49]

Allow your heart to rest, proceed with positivity, and submit to the decree of Al-Malik.

A retreat to Al-Malik

Never again will the worshipper of Al-Malik be seen begging from creation, nor will his heart latch on to creation during his times of need. In the face of every ordeal, his retreat will be to Al-Malik. He will opt for the greatest shortcut in existence; skipping middlemen and knocking upon the door of the King Himself. Such a person asks himself, “Why would I beg from people when in reality they possess nothing for themselves, let alone for others?” His reasoning is accurate as it is perfectly in line with the Qur’ānic one:

وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَمْلِكُ لَهُمْ رِزْقًا مِنَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ

“And they worship besides Allāh that which does not possess for them provision from the Heavens and the Earth at all, nor do they have any power.” [50]

Allāh said:

وَالَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ مَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِنْ قِطْمِير

“And those whom you call upon other than Him do not possess even a Qitmīr (the thin membrane that wraps around the date seed).”[51]

It is this realisation that spurred our Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) to declare that Kingdom is Allāh’s during each and every morning and evening, then, after doing so, request from Allāh alone.

He would say:

أَمْسَيْنَا وَأَمْسَى الْمُلْكُ لِلَّهِ، وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ، رَبِّ أَسْأَلُكَ خَيْرَ مَا فِي هَذِهِ اللَّيْلَةِ وَخَيْرَ مَا بَعْدَهَا، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا فِي هَذِهِ اللَّيْلَةِ وَشَرِّ مَا بَعْدَهَا، رَبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْكَسَلِ وَسُوءِ الْكِبَرِ، رَبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابٍ فِي النَّارِ وَعَذَابٍ فِي الْقَبْرِ

“We have come to the evening, and in the evening, the Kingdom belongs to Allāh. Praise is due to Allāh. There is no god but Allāh, having no partner with Him. His is the Sovereignty and His is praise, and He is able to do all things. My Lord, I beg of You the good that lies in this night and the good that follows it, and I seek refuge in You from the evil that lies in this night and from the evil of that which follows it. My Lord, I seek refuge in You from laziness and senility. My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the torment of hell and from the torment of the grave.”[52] [53]

Notice the prophetic nuance. He first attests that Kingdom is entirely Allāh’s, and then – since this is the case – reserves his requests for Al-Malik. Why should anyone else be retreated to when Al-Malik has been discovered and access to Him has been granted?

When Al-Mahdi (the third Abbasid Caliph who reigned from 775 to his death in 785) performed Hajj, he entered the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina. Everyone inside stood up for him with the exception of one person: Ibn Abi Al-Dhi’b, a jurist of Madina. Al-Musayyib Ibn Zuhair said to him, “Stand up! This is the leader of the believers.” Ibn Abi Al-Dhi’b replied:

إنما يقوم الناس لرب العالمين

“People stand before Allāh, the Lord of the Worlds.”[54]

Upon hearing this, Al-Mahdi said to Al-Musayyib:

 دعه ، فلقد قامت كل شعرة في رأسي

“Leave him alone, for every hair on my head has just stood on end.” [55]

Therefore, retreating to Al-Malik and allowing your heart to fill from His awe is highly liberating, hugely consoling, and infinitely empowering.

Humbleness towards people

Allāh said:

الْمُلْكُ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْحَقُّ لِلرَّحْمَنِ

“True Kingdom, that Day, is for the Most Merciful.”[56]

When informing mankind of His Sovereignty on the Day of Judgement, Allāh also mentions His Mercy, as if to tell us that kingdom can never be complete or beautiful in the absence of mercy – an important lesson for those in power.

Whether one’s authority is over a country, a business, cars, employees, a household, or the like, a heart that has recognised and prostrated to Al-Malik gushes with humility before its Lord. The fruits of this show up in the dealings with people, as it did with the greatest of them all: Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).

On the day when Mecca was conquered, a man came to speak to the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), and when his eyes fell on the Messenger, he was overcome by awe and began to shake. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) strove to calm him down by saying to him:

هَوِّن عليك ، فإني لستُ بملِكٍ ، إنما أنا ابنُ امرأةٍ من قريش كانت تأكل القَديدَ

“Be calm, for I am not a king. I am just the son of a woman from Quraish who used to eat dry meat.”[57]

Knowing Al-Malik is to know that the money that you count today was counted by hands before yours and will be counted by hands after yours. Your home was inhabited by people before you and will be inhabited by people after you. Knowing Al-Malik, therefore, rouses inner humility by force. It leaves no room for self-admiration, selfishness, or pride. It allows one to be quick to offer and accept apologies, to give excuses to people, to offer the benefit of the doubt, to show patience towards ignorant behaviour, and to be far more interested in discharging the rights of others than claiming one’s own. His consciousness of Al-Malik has humbled him.

Man has a tendency to forget his highly dependent nature. The intoxicating effects of wealth, ownership, and positions of power are greater than those of alcohol and drugs. Therefore, in their efforts of staying sober and humble, some buildings of authority around the world have the following sentence written on the doors of their quarters:

لو دامت لغيرك ما وصلت إليك

“If it had remained for those before you, it would never have reached you.”[58]

This is a humbling reminder and an ever-needed reality check for those who walk through its doors on a daily basis.

Your degrees, savings, health, splendid appearance, land, and loved ones are all on loan to you and shall soon be returned to their lender – Al-Malik – once your examination through them is complete. The verdict of this test shall be issued to you on the Day of Reckoning in the Court of Allāh. Surely, with such a mentality, every trace of self-importance and haughty behaviour towards people is stamped out. Such a person even becomes averse to titles of honour that he feels are too grand for him, in consciousness of Al-Malik above him.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

أَخْنَى الأَسْمَاءِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ رَجُلٌ تَسَمَّى مَلِكَ الأَمْلاَكِ

“The vilest name in Allāh’s sight on the Day of Resurrection will be that of a man who had called himself ‘the king of kings’.”[59]

He also said:

أَغْيَظُ رَجُلٍ عَلَى اللهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَأَخْبَثُهُ وَأَغْيَظُهُ عَلَيْهِ، رَجُلٍ كَانَ يُسَمَّى مَلِكَ الْأَمْلَاكِ، لَا مَلِكَ إِلَّا اللهُ

“The person whom Allāh will be angriest with on the Day of Judgement, and the worst type of person and target of His wrath, will be the person who was named Malik al-Amlāk [the king of kings]. There is no king but Allāh.” [60]

The worshipper of Al-Malik, therefore, harbours no interest in any titles, let alone expecting to be addressed or introduced as such. Always recall that terms such as أنا / “I” and لي / “mine” and عندي / “I have” were used by the worst of creation: Satan, the Pharaoh, and Qārūn.

As for Satan, he said:

أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ

I am better than him [Adam].” [61]

As for the Pharaoh, he said:

أَلَيْسَ لِي مُلْكُ مِصْرَ وَهَذِهِ الْأَنْهَارُ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِي

“Is the kingdom of Egypt not mine, and these rivers (that) flow beneath me.” [62]

As for Qārūn, he said:

إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ عِنْدِي

“I was only given (wealth) because of knowledge I have.” [63]

If and when one needs to use such terms, it is only ever in the context of one who prostrates to Al-Malik:

I am the sinner whose failings have burdened him.”

“My ignorance, shortcomings, and weaknesses are mine.”

I have a long way to go. I have little to be thanked about. I have a heart that needs remedying.”

More than this, however, the knower of Al-Malik will also begin to loathe those who excessively praise themselves, again in consciousness of Al-Malik. This is why some of our elders would, when hearing someone speaking highly of them, say in a short yet profound sentence:

Al-Mulk Lillāh” / “Kingdom is Allāh’s!”

Indeed, knowing Al-Malik does bring about a tangible shift in one’s attitude, perception of the world, and approach towards people. When an Arab Bedouin was seen travelling with huge amounts of wealth, he was asked: “Who does this wealth belong to?” to which he replied:

 لله في يدي

“It is Allāh’s, which He has placed in my hands.”

Similarly, Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyya would frequently be heard saying:

ما لي شيء ولا مني شيء ولا فيّ شيء

“I possess nothing, I have done nothing, and I am nothing.”[64]

Remove yourself from the equation. Submit to Al-Malik and then allow the fruits of this submission to reflect in your dealings with people.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’ān, 4:28

[2] Al-Qur’ān, 20:115

[3] Al-Qur’ān, 21:37

[4] Al-Qur’ān, 4:128

[5] Al-Qur’ān, 33:72

[6] Al-Qur’ān, 12:53

[7] Al-Qur’ān, 20:114

[8] Al-Qur’ān, 1:4

[9] Al-Qur’ān, 54:54-55

[10] Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr

[11] Al-Qur’ān, 3:26

[12] Al-Qur’ān, 42:49-50

[13] Al-Qur’ān, 5:40

[14] This was mentioned by Al-Zajjāji

[15] This was mentioned by Al-Khaṭṭābi

[16] This was mentioned by Al-Shawkāni

[17] Al-Qur’ān, 12:50

[18] Al-Qur’ān, 18:79

[19] Fatḥ Al-Bāri

[20] Al-Qur’ān, 40:16

[21]Al-Qur’ān, 25:2

[22] Al-Qur’ān, 18:51

[23] Bukhāri, on the authority of ‘Imrān Ibn Husain

[24] Musnad Ahmad

[25] https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/index.asp

[26] https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2017.html

[27] https://www.space.com/universe-expansion-rate-may-vary.html

[28] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cosmic-lenses-show-universe-expanding-surprisingly-fast/

[29] Bukhāri, on the authority of Abu Huraira

[30] Al-Qur’ān, 96:6-7

[31] Al-Qur’ān, 25:26

[32] Al-Qur’ān, 3:26-27

[33] Al-Qur’ān, 62:1

[34] Al-Qur’ān, 59:23

[35] Abu Dāwūd

[36] Al-Qur’ān, 6:73

[37] Al-Qur’ān, 82:19

[38] Al-Qur’ān, 40:16

[39] Muslim, on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar

[40] Al-Qur’ān, 17:111

[41] Muslim, on the authority of Abu Huraira

[42] Muslim, on the authority of ‘Ali

[43] Al-Tabarāni, on the authority of Anas

[44] Al-Qur’ān, 3:47

[45] Al-Qur’ān, 22:18

[46] Al-Qur’ān, 22:14

[47] Al-Qur’ān, 2:253

[48] Al-Qur’ān, 5:116-118

[49] Madārij Al-Sālikīn

[50] Al-Qur’ān, 16:73

[51] Al-Qur’ān, 35:13

[52] When it was morning, he would say the same supplication but with a slight variation in the beginning: “We have come to the morning, and in the morning, the entire kingdom belongs to Allāh…”

[53] Muslim, on the authority of Ibn Mas’ūd

[54] He adapted part of a verse from 83:6 where Allāh said in describing the Day of Judgement “The Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds.”

[55] Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā

[56] Al-Qur’ān, 25:26

[57] Dalā’il Al-Nubuwwa, Al-Bayhaqi

[58] As is found in the Government Palace in Beirut, Lebanon

[59] Bukhāri, on the authority of Abu Huraira

[60] Muslim, on the authority of Abu Huraira

[61] Al-Qur’ān, 7:112

[62] Al-Qur’ān, 43:51

[63] Al-Qur’ān, 28:78

[64] Madārij Al-Sālikīn

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About Ustādh Ali Hammuda

Ustādh Ali Ihsan Hammuda is a UK national of Palestinian origin. He gained bachelors and masters’ degrees in Architecture & Planning from the University of the West of England, before achieving a BA in Shari'ah from al-Azhar University in Egypt. He is currently based in Wales and is a visiting Imām at Al-Manar Centre in Cardiff, and also a senior researcher and lecturer for the Muslim Research & Development Foundation in London. Ustādh Ali is the author of several books including 'The Daily Revivals' and 'The Ten Lanterns", and continues to deliver sermons, lectures and regular classes across the country.

One comment

  1. Ustadh Ali Hammuda: “In one way or another – and for better or worse – everyone has a position of authority and exercises a level of influence on the lives of others. However, life experiences and the pages of history suggest that man’s predisposition to fail the test of power occurs more often than not.”

    I think that within our organisations, small or larger, whenever there is a power difference among individuals the need to be just becomes of paramount importance. Whether it’s between management and staff, teachers and students, teachers and parents, workers and customers, management and customers etc., justice can help even small and under resourced organisations flourish due to blessings from Allah. The opposite is also true as well funded organisations in which individuals are unjust to those they hold some power over never seem to be able to reach their full potential.

    Also, competence when in positions of power is also essential. Sometimes Allah gives you a small responsibility of power and tests your competence. It could be taking care of a couple of ‘miskeen’ individuals: a sister which young children whose husband has been unfairly detained or new Muslims who need various types of support. You may find yourself in increasing roles of responsibility and power, from smaller organisations to bigger ones, each time being tested to see how you will discharge your responsibility towards others.

    We should look to our roles within our organisations and see if we are failing our tests of power. Surely, if we are unable to deal justly and competently within our relatively small organisations then we shouldn’t be surprised if Allah Ta’ala doesn’t grant our ummah the ultimate nasr through our hands.

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