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34 - الْعَظِيمُ

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الْعَظِيمُ  is translated as The Magnificent, The Supreme Glory and The Most Grand. 
We should try to understand the Haqeeqat of this name as we say سُبْحانَ رَبِّيّ الْعَظِيْم  in every Ruku’ of every Rakat in every Salaah. 

It comes from ‘Adhmat (greatness). Kabeer is “Big” and Adheem is “Big / Immense” but in terms of greatness, respect, magnitude, glory etc. 



It is that Being Who is higher than the limit / parameter of the mind i.e. beyond our Aql, and the reality of His Adhmat is impossible to imagine.


We are left realising our own weakness in understanding His Adhmat even though we know He is عَظِيم however we try to understand as was discussed in the introduction to get a weak understanding which is better than no understanding. 


Allah ta’ala in His Dhaat and Sifaat is عَظِيم and nothing can compare to it. He is عَظِيم in all His names – His hearing, seeing, knowledge etc. and that is why we see this trait paired with many other traits. Therefore His being  الْعَلِيمُ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ has a level of Adhmat. The word عَظِيم is an adjective for all the Sifaat of Allah ta’ala. 


His Adhmat never fades. In the world we see the rank and greatness of people ending but the greatness of Allah ta’ala never ends and will never end. He is عَظِيم whether people believe in Him or not and whether people view Him as great or not. He does not need people to regard Him as great unlike important people in the world who need other people in order to be great. 


We cannot understand His Adhmat because we use the standard and parameter of Makhlooq i.e. if we saw a great teacher in the Masjid who has people carrying his things for him, we think he is being treated like a king and so we are comparing one thing of the Dunya with another and there is no standard for Allah ta’ala. His standard is so great that it surpasses the standard and parameter s defined by human beings. In Surah Nooh (verse 13) Allah ta’ala says,


مَا لَكُمْ لَا تَرْجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارًا - What is the matter with you that you do not regard the greatness of Allah.

Nooh AS is talking to his people and this is for all humanity. We can never understand the greatness of Allah as it should be understood. 


Etiquette of  الْعَظِيمُ

It is against the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala to equate someone or something to the level of Allah ta’ala i.e. saying to someone, “Only you and Allah know” or you tell something to someone and say, “You are the only one who knows except Allah” even though technically we are not putting the person on the level of Allah ta’ala. We do not think it in our hearts and we should not say it in words either. It shows lack of Adab to the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala. 


In the Quran

It is mentioned 9 times in the Qur’an. One is in Aayatul Kursi at the end - وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ


فَسَبِّحْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الْعَظِيمِ - So exalt the name of your Lord, the Most Great. [Surah Waaqiya:96]


اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ - Allah! There is no god but Him. He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.
 [Surah Naml: 26] – sometimes the Arsh is also called عَظِيم. 


Creation - a Sign of Allah ta’ala’s Adhmat

All of creation and the whole universe are the evidence of the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala. We cannot directly know it but know it through His creation when we reflect on certain Sifaat of Allah ta’ala. The movements of the planets, the millions of stars, the earth revolving around the sun at the speed of 1,670 kilometers per hour all shows the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala. It is hard to understand atheists. How can one not believe there is a God after looking at the universe? 


Allah ta’ala says in Surah Mulk (Verses 3-4),

الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا ۖ مَا تَرَىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ مِنْ تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِنْ فُطُورٍ

The One Who created the seven heavens, one above another, you will not see any flaw in the creation of the Compassionate. Look once again, do you see any flaw?


ثُمَّ ارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيْنِ يَنْقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ الْبَصَرُ خَاسِئًا وَهُوَ حَسِيرٌ

Then look still another time, yet again your sight will come back bewildered, and feel exhausted.


The whole universe is so complex yet so well connected and complete that people can look and study and become exhausted and realise there is still so much more and not understand it and this is all pointing towards the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala and if we cannot understand the creation of Allah ta’ala how can we understand Allah ta’ala Himself? 

Then there is the human body regarding which Allah ta’ala mentions in places in the Qur’an telling us to look at our own bodies in which we will find signs i.e. the growth of the child in the mother’s womb. Both these sciences of astronomy and biology can become the means of finding the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala however  His Adhmat is not restricted to any one field and a person does not need to know Arabic or study Qur’an and Hadith (though this helps). With a good intention and with the heart and eyes open, everything leads to the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala and the Dunya becomes low / humiliated. We see people who are very close to Allah ta’ala (Aarif-billaah), in their eyes the things of the Dunya have no value even though they utilize it. 


There is a story mentioned about a Scholar (or writer) who met a Zaahid (Hermit) living on the outskirts of the town. He asked the Zaahid why, when people know the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala, still do not draw close to Him. The Zaahid replied that it is because they have a broken relationship with Allah ta’ala, meaning they have weak Imaan or do not pray or are involved in sin. 


Therefore even though people know the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala it does not translate into a close relationship with Him because they love the Dunya. It is mentioned in Hadith that love of the Dunya is the ruin of all things. Everything can be traced back to Hubb-Dunya i.e. desire for prestige, status, wealth, etc. The Dunya is the home of sin. A person who is truly intelligent (not IQ intelligent but spiritually intelligent) will take the love of the Dunya out of his heart and this does not happen overnight. It takes effort and thereafter the person will pay attention to the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala and do those things which build their relationship and closeness with Allah ta’ala. 


We should know with certainty that Allah ta’ala is الْعَظِيم. Even though we know it and believe in it, we look towards the Dunya. We say سُبْحانَ رَبِّيّ الْعَظِيْم in Ruku’ however it is not in our hearts. We are overwhelmed and have feeling of Adhmat when we look at mansions, nice cars, wealthy lifestyle etc. because we think they are عَظِيم however we should view it all as Hakeer (lowly) even though it is hard to do so when we are surrounded by it. We often do not realize the glitter and glamour of the Dunya is seeping into the heart. 


How did people of the past attain the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala in the heart? 

There is story about a religious man whose habit when he saw a big building to say, “This was dirt and now it is standing dirt (i.e. the building) and it will once again become dirt.”


This is so true, as it started out as dirt and then became a fancy building but will end up once again as dirt and that is the reality. It is temporary. When we think like this then the feeling of being impressed or overwhelmed will disappear. 


Tarbiyat of Children 

Children especially become impressed and overwhelmed with the Dunya i.e. places of entertainment, malls etc. We should be verbal regarding this with our children as people of the past were.


There was a king in India known to be strong and intimidating. During his rule there was a famous Scholar known as Shaykh Kutubuddeen who had a son called Nooruddeen. The son narrates that once the sultan was passing through the area where they lived and though people came out to see the royal procession, the Shaykh did not do so. When it came to the attention of the sultan, he summoned the Shaykh to his court. Both father and son arrived and Nooruddeen, being young, was overwhelmed by the beauty and aura. His father noticed his son being affected and said in a strong, firm way, “Al ‘Adhmatu lillaah” (All greatness is with Allah.) It had an immediate effect on Nooruddeen and the feeling of awe vanished and the people of the court who had seemed so important and impressive, became to him like a herd of goats. 


All Greatness belongs to Allah ta’ala

Therefore the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala is very empowering as all the names of Allah ta’ala are, and the people do not have any  power over us whether the power is physical, emotional or psychological. Some people have this strategy of making other people feel weak and powerless but all power and greatness belongs to Allah ta’ala. We should know this with certainty as especially in this day and age we fear what people say and think and we get overwhelmed by wealth, technology and power. All greatness belongs to Allah ta’ala. It is not with any person or system and we should have this realisation that people are just humans and acting like something they are not and Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an, 


اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ

You should know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, a show and boasting among yourselves, a quest for greater riches and more children. [Surah Hadeed: 20]


•    Not to have Adhmat for Ghayrullah (anything other than Allah ta’ala) and one of the aspects of having the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala is following His commands. The more Adhmat of Allah ta’ala one has, the more likely the person is to follow all the commands of Allah ta’ala’s. 

•    Using the Adhmat of Allah ta’ala in Du’a. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhiw asallam used to say in times of fear, anxiety, sadness or difficulty the following (Known as Dua-e-Karb),


لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ الْعَظِيمُ الْحَلِيمُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَرَبُّ الأَرْضِ وَرَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْكَرِيمِ

In this Du’a عَظِيم is used once for Allah ta’ala and once for the Arsh. 
We should also use this name in Du’a especially in times of fear, humiliation etc. 

•    We should keep in mind the meaning when we say the name in Ruku’.


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