BismillahManifestation of God's namesUncategorized

Manifestations of God’s Names

The Second Station of the Fourteenth Flash (Part 1)

NOTE: The quoted passages are from Ustadh Bediuzzaman’s book and the commentaries below them are my own

First Mystery: I saw a manifestation of بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ “In the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate” in the following way

“The All-Merciful” (الرَّحْمٰنِ/Ar-Rahman) and “The All-Compassionate” (الرَّحِيمِ/Ar-Raheem) are two of the many Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT), and understanding the difference between them is essential to understanding the Second Station of the Fourteenth Flash. The name Ar-Rahman (The All-Merciful) is the One who is kind and benevolent to all of His living creation, including the humans (both the believers and the nonbelievers) and the animals. The name Ar-Raheem (The All-Compassionate), on the other hand, is the One who is benevolent to specifically the believers. These definitions will be elaborated in the next post.

on the face of the universe, the face of the earth, and the face of the human being are three stamps of Godhead (rububiyyah); each contained within one another and displaying a sample of the others.

The word translated as “Godhead” is actually the word “rububiyyah” (ربوبية), which is a form of the word “Rabb” (رب). The word “Rabb” in Arabic has such meanings as “the owner”, “the nourisher”, and “The One who is worshipped”. Throughout this chapter, I will use the word “rububiyyah” in the place of “Godhead”, since “rububiyyah” is the original word used in the Turkish text.

The author states that there are three stamps of rububiyyah, as we will see in the following passages. The fact that these stamps are “one within the other” and “each showing samples of the others” will be discussed and elaborated after the following analysis is made.

One is the great stamp of divinity (uluhiyya) appearing in the cooperation, support, embrace, [and] response [among the beings in] the entirety of the universe; بِسْمِ اللهِ [“In the name of Allah”] looks to this.

The works of any individual reveal the individual’s personality and character. If an author, for instance, writes about horses and ponies; we understand, by examining her work, that she has a fascination with certain types of animals. Similarly, this universe (since it is created by God) reveals that attributes and the names of God.

First, let us define/explain what “manifestation” means in the Risale-i Nur collection in general. Allah (SWT) has many names and this universe is a setting for the manifestation of these names. In other words, the names of God are being displayed in many different forms in every aspect of this universe. By displaying these before our eyes, God allows us to understand these attributes and to know Him better. In order to illustrate this, let us consider the following scenarios and examine some of the names being manifested or displayed:

  1. When a mother is feeding her baby, we see the name Ar-Raheem (The All-Compassionate) being manifested or displayed.
  2. When looking at a scholar, we see the name Al-Alim (The All-Knowing).
  3. The existence of poverty is a manifestation of the name Al-Ghani (The All-Sufficient).

God teaches us, through His messengers and prophets (peace be upon them), that He is Ar-Raheem (The All-Compassionate). In order for us to comprehend this name, He manifests/displays it in different ways, one of which is the compassion given to mothers. By looking at mothers, we are able to understand what it means to be compassionate, which in turn allows us to understand the name Ar-Raheem (The All-Compassionate). By looking at a scholar, on the other hand, we understand what Al-Alim (The All-Knowing) means[3]. The first two examples are clear in how they manifest the names of God, but what about the third one? How does poverty manifest the name Al-Ghani (The All-Sufficient)?

Money and wealth give us sufficiency. They allow us to live without asking others for financial help. In other words, they allow us to understand the concept of sufficiency, which in turn allows us to comprehend what it means for God to be Al-Ghani (The All-Sufficient). By this reasoning, a wealthy person is a manifestation of the name Al-Ghani (The All-Sufficient).  However, it is crucial to note that the concept of wealth and sufficiency is only understandable with the existence of poverty. In other words, if poverty did not exist (if all humans had the same degree of wealth), we would not be able to understand the concept of wealth/poverty. Similarly, if night did not exist; we would not understand the meaning of a day/night. In other words, God allows us to understand certain concepts by presenting both these concepts themselves and also their opposites. It is for this reason that poverty is a (indirect) manifestation of the name Al-Ghani (The All-Sufficient), because poverty allows us to understand this particular name of God.

As explained above, the names of God are being manifested in many different ways in this universe. These names are manifested either in the infinitesimal versions of these names[4] or their opposites. In the given examples, the mercy of a mother, the knowledge of a scholar, and the wealth of an individual are all infinitesimal versions of the names Ar-Raheem (The All-Compassionate), Al-Alim (The All-Knowing), and Al-Ghani (The All-Sufficient), respectively. The existence of sharks[5], uneducated individuals, and poverty are also manifestations of these names but in an indirect way. When the manifestations are infinitesimal versions of the names of God, we call them a “direct manifestation”. When the manifestations are the opposites of these names, we call them an “indirect manifestation.” Note that these two types of manifestations are not the only types. The field of mathematics, for instance, is also a manifestation of the name “Al-Alim” (The All-Knowing). It is unreasonable, however, to say that mathematics is or is not intelligent in and of itself (See Appendix A for an elaboration).

Notice that in this particular passage, the author draws our attention to the manifestations of God’s names through the “mutual assistance, co-operation, and embracing and corresponding to one another of beings”. In other words, he is looking at the totality of the universe and observing the manifestations through its interconnectedness. We see that every being in this universe is dependent on the rest of it: in order for the earth to exist as it is, for instance, it has to be at a certain distance from the sun, there has to be an intricate connection between the atoms, and so on. The beauty of a flower (which is a manifestation of the name Al-Jameel (The Beautiful)), on the other hand, is dependent on the atoms, water, and the light coming from the sun, and so on.

As mentioned in the First Word, “Allah” is the personal name of God which encompasses the rest of all His other names. What does this tell us? It means that every manifestation of every single name of God is also a manifestation of the name “Allah”. This is the reason why the word “Allah” (in a sense) corresponds to the totality of this universe.

[1] In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

[2] She (the queen) said (to her officials after receiving the letter), O chieftains, there has been delivered to me an esteemed letter. It is from Sulaiman, and it is (in the following words: ) With the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful. (An-Naml, verse 29,30)

[3] A scholar’s knowledge is (obviously) nothing compared to that of God. Nonetheless, the existence of scholars allows us to understand the concept of being knowledgeable.

[4] “infinitesimal version” means “an infinitely infinitesimal version”, since the attributes of a human being are nothing compared to the attributes of God. Given the considerable difference between God and humans, it is perhaps not even appropriate to use the term “infinitesimal”. We will only use it for the lack of a better term.

[5] Sharks are a manifestation (in the opposite way) of the name Ar-Raheem (The All-Compassionate) since sharks have no compassion to their offspring. In fact, baby sharks are forced to hide from their mothers so as to protect themselves from being eaten. Given the crucial role that sharks play in the ecosystem (“cleaning” the ocean due to their predatory instinct), it should be noted that the lack of mercy in sharks is a necessity for the ecosystem in general.

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