Friday, August 20, 2010

From Tafseer Al-Mizan , Ch.1, Verse 3-4 الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

QUR'AN: The Lord of the worlds, the Beneficent the Merciful. The Master of the Day of Judgment.

"ar-Rabb" is the Master Who manages the affairs of His servant. The word, thus connotes the idea of ownership. Ownership (in our social structure) is a special relationship of one thing with another - a relationship that allows the owner to do with the owned thing as he wishes. When we say, "This thing belongs to us", it shows that it has a special relationship with us that allow s us to do with it as we wish; had it not been for this relationship, we would not have had this authority over it. In this social context, it is an idea which the society has laid down but which has no existence outside imagination. This idea is derived from another real and positive concept, which too is called "ownership": Our limbs and faculties, like the sight, the hearing, the hands and the feet, belong to us - they exist because of our own existence, they have no independent existence, they depend on us for their existence and continuity, and we use them as we like. This is the real ownership.

The ownership that may be attributed to Allah is the real one, and not that which is based on subjective outlook. Obviously the real ownership cannot be disjoined from management of the affairs of the owned thing. The owned thing depends on the owner in its existence, as well as in all affairs related to its existence. Allah is "ar-Rabb " the Lord of everything because the Lord is the owner who manages the affairs of, and looks after, the owned thing - and only Allah has this attribute.

"al-'Alamin" is the plural of al-'alam (the world) which literally means, "what one is known with." This paradigm is used for "instrument", like al-qalab (the mold, the form), al-khatam the seal, the instrument of sealing) and at-taba' (the stamp, the impress). The word al-'alam is used for the universe - the whole creation taken together. Also it is used for each genes or species taken separately, for example, the inorganic world, the vegetable world, the animal world, the human world. It is also used for a class of a species, like the Arab world, the African world etc. This last meaning is more appropriate in the context of these verses: The verses that enumerate the good names of Allah until they come to "the Master of the Day of Judgment." The judgment is reserved for mankind alone or together with the jinn. Therefore, the "worlds" should refer to the worlds of the human beings and the jinn, that is, their various groups. The word al'alamin (the worlds) has been used in this sense in other Qur'anic verses too. Allah says: ...and has chosen you above the women of the worlds (3:42);... so that he may be a warner to the worlds (25:1); What! do you commit an indecency which any one in the worlds has not done before you (7:80).

"The Master of the Day of Judgment": We have explained above the meaning of ownership, that is, mastership. The word "al-malik" is derived from al-milk (possession, to possess). Some reciters have read this word as "al-malik" (the sovereign, the king); it is derived from al-mulk (country; kingdom). The king is the one who has the authority to manage his nation's affairs; nevertheless he does not own the nation or the country. In other words, he holds the authority for management and administration.

The reciters have given the reasons for their preference. of either recitation. But the fact remains that Allah is the Master as well as the King, and both words are equally correct, so far as the divine authority is concerned. Looking at it from linguistic point of view, the word, "King" is generally used in context of time and period. It is said, "the King of that time"; but they do not say "the master of that time", as it would be stretching the meaning too far. In this verse, Allah has used this word in reference to a certain "day"; therefore, linguistically, it would be more proper to say, "the King of the Day of Judgement." Moreover, Allah has used the word, "Kingdom" in context of the same day in other verse: To whom belongs the kingdom of this day? To Allah, the One, the Subduer (of all) (40:16).


ar-Rida (a.s.) said in explanation of the divine words: In the name of Allah: "It means: 'I mark my soul with one of - the marks of Allah', and it is (His) worship." He was asked: "What is the 'mark'?" He said; "The brand." ('Uyunu 'I-akhbar and Ma'ani 'I-akhbar).

The author says: This meaning emanates from the explanation given earlier that the preposition "in", herein connotes beginning. As the servant marks his worship with the name of Allah, he brands his soul - real doer of the worship - with one of the divine marks.

It is narrated in at-Tahdhib from as-Sadiq (a.s.), and in 'Uyunu 'I-akhbar and at-Tafsir of al-Ayyashi from ar-Rida (a.s.) that this verse "is nearer to the Greatest name of Allah than the iris of the eye is from its white."

The author says: This tradition will be explained when we shall talk about the Greatest name.

Amiru'l-mu'minin (as.) said that (this verse) is from the chapter of The Opening; and verily the Apostle of Allah used to recite it and count it as one of its verses, and he used to say, "The Opening of the Book is 'the seven oft-repeated' (verses)." ('Uyunu 'I-akhbar)

The author says: This matter has also been narrated by the Sunni narrators. ad-Dar-qutni narrates from AbuHurayrah that he said: "The Apostle of Allah said: When you recite (the chapter of) The Praise (i.e., The Opening), you shall recite, In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, because it is the source of the Book and (is) the seven oft-repeated (verses), and, In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful is one of its verses.

as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "What have they done? May Allah destroy them! They proceeded to the greatest verse of the Book of Allah, and thought that it would be an innovation (unlawful act) if they recited it loudly! "(al-Khisal)

al-Baqir (as.) said: "They stole the most exalted verse of the Book of Allah, (that is) In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. It should be recited at the start of every big or small work, so that it may be blessed.

The author says: There are numerous traditions of this meaning coming from the lmams of Ahlu 'I-bayt (a.s.). All of them prove that the verse (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful) is a part of every chapter, except the ninth ("Repentance"); and the Sunni traditions also prove it:

Anas (ibn Malik) said that the Apostle of Allah said: "Just now a chapter has been sent down to me." Then he began reciting, "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful."(as-Sahih, Muslim)

AbuDawud narrates from Ibn 'Abbas (and they say that its chain is "correct") that he said: "Verily, the Apostle of Allah did not know the separation of a chapter (and in another narrative it is 'end of a chapter') until came down to him: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful."

The author says: This matter has been narrated by Shi'ite narrators also from al-Baqir (a.s.).

It is reported in al-Kafi, at-Tawhid, Ma'ani 'I-akhbar and at-Tafsir of al-'Ayyashi that as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, inter alia, in a tradition: "And Allah is God of everything, ar-Rahman (the Beneficent) for all His creations, ar-Rahim (the Merciful) especially for the believers."

as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:"ar-Rahman (the Beneficent) is a special name with a general attribute; and ar-Rahim (the Merciful) is a general name with a special attribute."

The author says: The preceding commentary may explain why the mercy of "the Beneficent" is general for the believer and the unbeliever alike, and why that of "the Merciful" is reserved for the believer only. The description given in this tradition that "the Beneficent is a special name with a general attribute, and the Merciful is a general name with a special attributed, perhaps this refers to the fact that the mercy of the Beneficent is limited to this world and is common for the whole creation; and that of the Merciful is common to this world and the hereafter but is reserved for the believer. In other words, the mercy of the Beneficent is reserved for the creative blessings that are bestowed on believers and unbelievers alike; and that of the Merciful is common to the creative and legislative blessings (the latter opening the way to happiness and felicity) and is reserved for believers, because only the bounties bestowed upon will last for ever, and the (good) end is for guarding (against evil) and for piety.

It is narrated in Kashfu 'I-ghummah that as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "A mule of my father was lost. He said: ifAllah brought it back to me, I would thank Him with Praises He would pleased with.' Shortly afterwards, it was brought before him with its saddle and rein (intact). When he sat on it and arrayed his clothes, he raised his head towards heaven and said: 'Praise be to Allah.' He said nothing more. Then he said: 'I did not omit nor did I leave out, anything; I have declared that all Praises are for Allah, Powerful and Great is He!; because there is no praise but it is included in this (formula)." It is narrated in Uyunu'l-akhbar that 'Ali (a.s.) was asked about its explanation. He said: "Verily, Allah has explained to His servants broadly some of His bounties on them, as they can not know all His bounties in detail - they are beyond enumeration and description. Therefore, He said: Say: 'All praise is for Allah on what He has bestowed upon us.' "

The author says: The lmam points to the fact mentioned earlier that the praise, in this verse, is from the servant, and that Allah has revealed it to teach him the manners of servitude and worship.

From the Philosophical Point of View

Reason tells us that an effect, as well as all its characteristics and affairs, depend on its cause; whatever perfection it may be having, is a shadow of the cause. If beauty or goodness has any existence, then its perfect and independent entity is for Allah only, as He is the Cause of all causes. The praise and thank is addressed, in reality, to the cause which creates the perfection and excellence referred to. As every perfection is caused by Allah, every praise and thank, in reality, is addressed to Allah. Therefore, all praise is for, and due to Allah.

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