Exegesis of Dua Ahad
(Continued from previous issue)
O Allah, I beseech You in Your Noble Name, in the Light of Your Luminous Face and Your Eternal Kingdom. O Ever-living! O Self-Subsistent! I beseech You in the name of Your Name with which the heavens and the earth have lit up and in Your Name with which the past and the coming generations have become upright! O He Who has been always alive before the existence of all living things! O He Who shall be alive after the extinction of all living things! O He Who has been always alive even when there was nothing else alive! O He Who revives the dead ones and causes the living ones to die! O Ever-living! There is no god save You.
In the aforementioned verses of this supplication, we beseech Allah, Glorified be He, through His Name, Luminous Face, His Kingdom and His Specific Names. We shall mention some important terms here:
The literal meaning of the word ‘Wajh’ is face i.e. something which helps draw our attention towards a particular thing. ‘Wajh’ and ‘Jaah’ also mean value and position. This word has also been used at numerous places in the Holy Quran. We can refer to ‘Wajhullah’ (Allah’s Face), ‘Wajho Rabbik’ (Face of your Lord), ‘Wajho Rabbehim’ (Face of their Lord), etc.
What does the term “Allah’s Face” imply? Firstly, it is important to clarify that Allah and His Face are completely different. Imam Muhammad Baqir (peace be upon him) specifies:
“Surely Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, is far greater than being described through a face.”
[Al-Tauheed by Shaikh Saduq (may Allah be pleased with him), p. 149, chapter 12, H. 1]
Transcendence within the belief of Divine Monotheism (Tauheed) is an extremely important pillar according to the true religion and teachings of Ahle Bait (peace be upon them). It means to purify and sanctify Allah from all kinds of comparisons and resemblances. Allah is holier than and free from everything which is found in human beings. Then what does ‘Face’ in this statement refer to? Let us see what ‘Face’ means in the light of traditions of Aale Muhammad (peace be upon them).
Face (Wajh) refers to Religion
In the above tradition, at the outset, Imam Muhammad Baqir (peace be upon him) has sanctified Allah from the apparent connotation of the word ‘Face’. He then explains: “Rather it means that everything shall be destroyed except His religion and ‘Face’ (Wajh) is that through which He can be reached.”
Face (Wajh) means the path of truth
Haarith Ibn Mughairah al-Nasri, an extremely reliable companion of Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) and a traditionalist (Muhaddith), narrates that I inquired from Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) about the verse:
“Everything shall be destroyed except His Face”
[Surah Qasas (28): 88]
In his reply, the Imam (peace be upon him) said:
“Everything shall be destroyed except the one who took the path of truth.”
[Al-Tauheed by Shaikh Saduq (may Allah be pleased with him), p. 149, chapter 12, H. 2]
What is the path of truth? Obedience to and following the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) is the true face of God. Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) has explained the aforementioned verse as follows:
“Whoever comes to Allah with whatever he was ordered concerning the obedience of Muhammad and the Imams after him (peace be upon them), then (surely) he is the face which shall not be destroyed and then he recited ‘and whoever obeys the Messenger then indeed he has obeyed Allah’”
[Surah Nisaa (4): 80]
[Ibid, H. 3]
Face (Wajh) refers to Ahle Bait (peace be upon them)
Imam Baqir (peace be upon him) elucidated: “We are the Face of Allah. We keep frequenting the earth among you all. Whoever has recognized us has done so (his reward is fixed) but whoever is ignorant of us then indeed certainty (death) is in front of him.”
[Ibid, p. 150, H. 6]
If we summarise these three interpretations then we can conclude that Ahle Bait (peace be upon them) are the Face of Allah while the religion of Allah as also the path of truth also refers only to them.
Khaisama narrates that I inquired from Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) about this verse “Everything shall be destroyed except His Face.”
Imam (peace be upon him) replied:
“His religion. The Messenger of Allah and Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon them) are the religion of Allah and His Face.”
[Ibid, p. 151, H. 7]
Imploring by the means of His Noble Face in this statement of Dua Ahad refers to the sacred personalities of Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (peace be upon them). They are the luminous face of Allah and it is through their mediation that prayers are accepted.
Another term is “Mulkek al-Qadeer” (or Qadeem as per some narrations) which means “the everlasting or all-powerful kingdom”. Allah has complete dominance over His entire kingdom. He grants it to and takes it away from whomsoever He wishes. “Say: O Allah, Master of the Kingdom! You grant the kingdom to whomsoever You please and take away the kingdom from whomsoever You please, and You exalt whom You please and abase whom You please, in Your Hand is the good; surely You have power over all things.”
[Surah Aale Imraan (3): 26]
Although Allah bestowed human beings with power and freewill but He still has more authority over them as compared to themselves. He can withdraw from them whenever He wishes. No one should assume these things to be his own, rather they are all bestowed. Servitude also demands that we consider ourselves totally helpless in front of Him.
O Ever-living! O Self-Subsistent! I beseech You in the name of Your Name with which the heavens and the earth have lit up
Allah is the Ever-living Being but it should be borne in mind that that His life cannot be compared to our lives. Rather He is the creator and owner of our lives. We have been cautioned against drawing any mental, intellectual and perceptive image about Him. His Names are equally transcendental and praiseworthy just as His Essence. In other words, when we discuss about Allah’s life then we are only permitted to say that “there is no death for Him”. “(He is) Living (such that) there is no (concept of) death for Him.”
[Al-Tauheed of Shaikh Saduq (may Allah be pleased with him), p. 138-140, 146]
There is nothing like death for Him, unlike other living beings for whom there is life and death. Rather He is the creator of their life and death.
O Self-Subsistent means that He controls the entire universe and brings about peaks and troughs in their lives. All of us are completely under His control and power. He is the Authority, Master, Protector, Reformer and Controller over the entire creation and there are no exceptions to this. None can escape His Kingdom and Dominion. Everyone is humble and meek before Him.
After this, we beseech Allah through that Name which is the cause of the illumination of heavens and the earth. The word ‘Ism’ in Arabic means name or sign. It is derived from the root ‘wow-seen-meem (wa-sa-ma)’ which means sign. Hence, whenever we recite Bismillah (in the Name of Allah) it actually translates as ‘I indicate for myself that I am a creation of Allah and He is my creator’.
Imam Reza (peace be upon him) states: “Bismillah (In the Name of Allah) means that I specify for myself with one of the signs (Simat) of Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, and that is servitude.”
The narrator asked: What is the meaning of Simat?
Imam (peace be upon him) replied: “Sign.”
[Ma’aani al-Akhbaar, p. 3, H. 1]
It is imperative to mention few important points here. Firstly, All Divine Names and Attributes are not a part of Allah’s Essence. Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) explains: “Name is different from the Entity. All (divine) Names are different from Allah.”
[Al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 87, H. 2]
Secondly, Allah’s Names are of two kinds – Literal (Lafzi) and Universal (Kauni). Literal (Lafzi) are those Names which are words formed based on combining of alphabets such as “Allah”, “Rahmaan”, “Raheem”, etc. Universal (Kauni) refer to the entire creation of Allah which indicate towards Him (being their creator). All divine Names, Prophet Muhammad and his progeny (peace be upon them) are the Greatest of the Greatest of the Greatest Names of Allah (Isme A’zame A’zame A’zam). It is through their divine light that this universe is illuminated. Such statements are found in supplications: “The earth was illuminated through your light.”
[Al-Balad al-Ameen, p. 302]
How many Names of Allah are Lafzi? According to traditions, 4,000 Names of Allah are Lafzi.
A question arises here that if Allah is unfathomable through thoughts and imaginations, then what is the purpose of these Names? The reply is that it is He who has selected these Names for Himself. We have to call unto Him through these Names only. Neither do we have any right to coin a name for Him, nor has He permitted us for it. All His Names and Attributes are Tauqeefi i.e. no one has the right to say anything other than what He has ordered. In other words, we have been forbidden to call Him by any other name than what He has commanded.
Allah implements every command under the light of a specific Name. For details, one can refer to Dua Simaat which is to be recited on Fridays at the time of Asr.
And in Your Name with which the past and the coming generations have become upright!
This statement implies that means of success and good fortune in this world and the hereafter are provided for them. O He Who has been always alive before the existence of all living things! O He Who shall be alive after the extinction of all living things! O He Who has been always alive even when there was nothing else alive! O He Who revives the dead ones and causes the living ones to die! O Ever-living! There is no god save You.
We have already discussed about life and death above. Allah is the One who grants life and causes to die. He can cause anyone to die whenever He wishes and can grant life to whosoever He wishes. If He wants, He can cause His divine proof to remain alive amidst burning flames of fire. If He pleases, He can call His divine proof up to the fourth sky and keep him alive. If He wishes, He can keep His divine proof alive in the depth of a well. If He desires, He can cause His divine proof to remain alive even inside the belly of a fish. If He wants, He can keep His divine proof alive by concealing him from the people and granting him a prolonged occultation. Indeed, Allah the Almighty grants life.
It is a pity though, that so-called Muslims neither doubt over Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) being unharmed in the raging flames of fire nor about Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) being alive on the fourth sky. There are no reservations for anyone over the safety and well-being of Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) in the depth of a well and neither does anyone challenge the account of Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) in the belly of a fish. Ironically, if there is any objection, then it is only over the last divine proof of Allah, who will fill the earth with justice and equity, the twelfth successor of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) viz. His Eminence Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance), whose occultation and reappearance are proven from the Holy Quran and traditions.
We want the readers to pay attention towards an important point here. Any objection over the long life of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) is like actually casting a doubt over Allah’s divine power.
We pray to Allah, the Most High, that O Allah! We implore You for the sake of the holy existence of Your last divine proof, Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance), keep us steadfast on his Imamat during such turbulent times and protect us from doubts and objections raised by the enemies of Islam. Aameen!
[To be continued later… Insha Allah]