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March
02
1992
Islamic Ideology - Names of Allâh 1996 : Al-Kabeer (The All-Great)
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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.
 Oh, Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us. You are the All- Knower, the Wise. Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge. Show us the righteous things as righteous and help us to do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us to keep away from them.
  O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity.

Allâh’s Beautiful Name: Al-Kabeer:

In this lecture, we will be dealing with the thirtieth of Allah’s Beautiful Names, “Al-Kabeer” (The All-Great). But first, I would like to make clear that man is naturally predisposed to seek and love only great paramount magnificent things. That is why when man gets to know the Lord, Allah, the All-Great, he attains tranquility and peacefulness, simply because his pure original human nature is made this way. In other words, man is never happy and contented unless he knows his Lord, Allah, the All Mighty, the All-Great, the King, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, among His other Divine Names and Attributes. Allah, Glory to Him, addresses this issue

“And to Allah do belong (all) the Most Beautiful Names, so call Him thereby, and leave the company of those who deny His Names, (as) they will be requited for what they used to do.”

[VII; 180]

Undoubtedly, there is a kind of harmony and consistence between man’s pure original human nature and Allah’s Beautiful Divine Names and Attributes. In other words, as a human being, you are naturally predisposed to glorify and magnify those who are great and magnificent; and the Lord, Allah, Glory to Him, is the All-Great. You are naturally predisposed to turn to those who are generous; and Allah, Praise to Him, is the Most Generous. In fact, all kinds of human loss, stray and deviation vanish the moment man gets to know his Lord, Allah, the All-Great. To this effect, the Quranic Verse goes

“Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah: Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”

[XIII; 28]

I always reiterate that each and every human being seeks two things, namely safety and happiness. If man knew that his pure original human nature makes him seek and love perfection, and that Allah, Glory to Him, is the Source of all Perfection, the whole truth would be crystal clear to him. But what makes man disappointed and even frustrated? The answer is: when you expect someone to be perfect, but suddenly find out that he is not, you are greatly shocked and disappointed. In fact, all of those who admire people who claim to be perfect, but suddenly find out that they are by no means as such, they are greatly shocked and frustrated. However, if man admires his Lord, Allah, the All-Great, the Fountain of Perfection, he will never be shocked or disappointed. To this effect, Allah, Praised and Exalted, says

“And they will not receive admonition unless Allah so wills; He is the One Who deserves that mankind should fear and the One Who deserves to forgive.”

[LXXIV; 56]

Before we set out to talk about Allah’s Beautiful Name “Al-Kabeer” (The All-Great), I would like to clarify this fact: Man’s pure original human nature makes him naturally predisposed to love those who are great, generous, merciful, powerful, …etc. Once he gets to know that the Lord, Allah, Glory to Him, is the Source of all Beautiful Names and Attributes, he admires and loves Him, he feels secure and peaceful with Him, and, hence, he attains happiness in the life of this present world and the world to come. If, for one single moment, he fancies that he could be happy or peaceful away from Allah, he is absolutely wrong. This is exactly what religion calls for. Allah, the All-Great, says

“Nay! Verily, it (Allah’s Religion) is but an admonition.”

[XIII; 54]

Allah’s Religion clarifies to man, and reminds him of, his pure original human nature. A car, for example, is made to run along smooth improved roads, where it is very comfortable, enjoyable and easy to drive and control. But if it goes off the smooth roads for which it is made, it gets into troubles and is no longer comfortable or easy to drive. Similarly, if man gets to know his Lord, Allah, the All-Great, for Whom he is made, he is rightly guided and he is in full harmony with his pure original human nature. In other words, man finds himself when he finds his Lord. Notice when you are in a party or meeting, how you admire those who are well versed in rhetoric and those whose words are eloquent and reflect good education and wisdom. This is because you are naturally predisposed to love and admire those who are great and admirable. Therefore, as soon as you get to know that Allah is the All Mighty, the All-Great, the Most Gracious, and the Most Merciful, and that His Divine Names and Attributes are all Most Beautiful, you turn to Him with true love and sincere devotion. So, what is the essence of Religion? The essence of Religion is to turn to Allah with love and devotion. Who is a disbeliever? A disbeliever is someone who turns away from Allah to someone or something else: a woman to marry, a perishable worldly enjoyment, wealth, a high social position, power, or affluence, …etc. A true believer is someone who turns to Allah, All-Great.
Now, from among the Quranic Verses that refer to Allah’s Beautiful Name “Al-Kabeer” (The All-Great) are:

“(Allah is) The All-Knower of the Unseen and the Seen, the All-Great, the All-Exalted.”

[XIII; 9]

“Intercession with Him profits not except for him whom He permits. So much so that when fear is banished from their hearts, they (the angels) say: ‘What is that your Lord has said?’ They say: ‘The truth. And He is the Most High, the All-Great.’”

[XXXIV; 23]

Once again, when you are in a party or meeting, you naturally admire those who are well versed in rhetoric and whose words are eloquent and reflect great education and wisdom. You are naturally predisposed to admire those who are most beautiful, most intelligent, most eloquent, most powerful, most generous, most merciful, …etc. Once you know that Allah, All Mighty, is the Source of all such perfect qualities, you turn to Him with love and devotion and consequently you attain happiness in this present world and the Hereafter. To this effect, Allah, the All-Great, says

“See how We prefer one above another (in this world), and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preferment.”

[XII; 21]

A nurse is not as admirable as a doctor or a hospital director; a soldier is not as admirable as a leader; a street matches-seller is not as admirable as a great businessman. Also, businesspeople are of different ranks, and so are scientists and scholars:

“See how We prefer one above another (in this world), and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preferment.”

The number of ranks is great and so are the distances between ranks. In the life of this present world, there are certain things in which all people are equal. They all eat and drink, they all sleep, they all live in dwellings and wear clothes, …etc. There are many things in common among all mankind in the life of this present world. But in the Hereafter, things will be completely different. Ranks there will be too many and the distances between them will be so great. The problem is that ranks of this present world mean nothing simply because they are perishable and ephemeral, while those of the Hereafter mean everything simply because they are everlasting and unlimited. Ranks of this present world are abrogated by death. Death makes all human beings equal whether they are now strong or weak, rich or poor, well or unwell, beautiful or unbeautiful, famous or infamous, noble or lowly, …etc. Death is the grand leveler. Moreover, those who are now rich and powerful may be poor and weak when they stand before the All Mighty Lord on the Day of Judgment. The poor and weak in this present world may become rich and powerful in the Hereafter. More importantly, ranks of the Hereafter are genuine and enduring while those of the present world are fake and ephemeral. Once again:

“See how We prefer one above another (in this world), and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preferment.”

In this context, Ibn Omar, may Allah be pleased with him said:

“While we were offering prayers with Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), a man said: ‘Allah is the Ever All-Great! All Praises ever belong to Allah! All Glory to Allah, day and night!’ Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH) asked, ‘Who said such words?’ The man said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I did!’ Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), said, ‘Amazingly, the Gates of the Heaven were opened for them (the man’s words).’” Ibn Omar said, “I have never left such words ever since I heard Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH) say what he said (about them).”

Such Islamic words as “I bear witness that Allah, Alone, has the right to be worshiped”, “Praise to Allah”, “Allah is Greatest”, “There is no power or might except with Allah”, “If Allah so wills”, …etc, all have great meanings; but it is ignorant people who have rendered such great words meaningless. Now, when an ignorant dishonest person promises to do something and says, “I’ll do that if Allah so wills” this means that he does not really intend to keep his promise. If an ignorant person does not really intend to discharge his financial liabilities, he says “I’ll pay the money back if Allah so wills”. It is a big mistake to say in amazement, “Allah is Greater!” when you see a machine invented by a foreigner. This is not the proper occasion where such words are to be said. In fact, if we knew the real denotations and connotations of the foregoing words and invocations, “I bear witness that Allah, Alone, has the right to be worshiped”, “Praise to Allah”, “Allah is Greater”, “There is no power or might except with Allah”, “If Allah so wills”, …etc, our entire life would be completely different. That is why Allah, the All-Great, says

“Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this present world. But the remaining good things are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope.”

[XVIII; 46]

Religious scholars asked: What are the remaining good things in the above Quranic Verse? Some said: They are: “Praise to Allah! Glory to Allah! No one but Allah has the right to be worshipped.” If you read the Verse and understand that the remaining good tings are: great wealth, a high social status, power, or a comfortable luxurious life, …etc, you are completely and definitely wrong, simply because all things are nothing compared to such great notions as: “Allah, Alone, has the right to be worshiped”, “Praise to Allah”, “Allah is Greatest”, “There is no power or might except with Allah”, “Allah is the Ever All-Great”, “All Praises ever belong to Allah”, “All Glory to Allah”…etc. Yes, indeed, because when you really say, “All Praises ever belong to Allah”, this means that you praise Him. If you really say, ‘Allah is the Ever All-Great”, this means that you magnify Him. If you really say, “Glory to Allah”, this means that you glorify Him. If you really say, “Allah is Greatest”, this means that you magnify Him. And if you really say, “No one has the right to be worshipped except Allah, Alone”, this means that you bear witness that there is no god but Him. If you really and believingly praise Him, magnify Him, glorify Him, and bear witness to His Oneness, this means that you know Him. If you know Him, this means that you know everything and that you attain eternal happiness by such knowledge, which is really unmatched by all of the perishable pleasures and enjoyments of this present world.
Dear reader! Allah, All Mighty, says

“And His (Alone) is the Majesty in the heavens and the earth, and He is the All Mighty, the All-Wise.”

[XLV; 37]

Allah, Glory to Him, describes Himself as being The All-Great and All Mighty, and He says that the Majesty in the heavens and the earth belongs only to Him. And if He bids us to magnify and glorify Him, He does so only to help us attain happiness with Him, to turn to Him with love and devotion, and consequently to accomplish the first and foremost goal of our creation and existence.
Sometimes, you find a human being boasting arrogantly of himself to others; but when Allah, All Mighty, describes Himself as being The All-Great, The Most High, and that all the Majesty in the heaven and the earth belongs to Him, and when He bids us to magnify and glorify Him:

“And magnify your Lord (Allah)!”

[LXXIV; 3]

He does so only in order to help us know Him duly and attain happiness by such knowledge.
Now, in order to make our study of this Divine Name complete and thorough, we need to speak about its different derivations. In fact, this Divine Name comes in different forms: “Al-Kabeer” (The All-Great), “Al-Mutakabir” (The All-Proud) and “Al-Akbar” (The Greatest). Allah, All Mighty, says:

“Allah has promised the believers, men and women, Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eden. But the greatest Bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah: Such is indeed the supreme success.”

[IX; 72]

“And remembrance of Allah is greater; and Allah knows what you do.”

[XXIX; 45]

In fact, “Al-Kabeer” (The Al-Great), “Al-Mutakabir” (The All-Proud) and “Al-Akbar” (The Greatest) all refer to one and the same thing. However, in Prophetic Tradition we read that so long as we say believingly, “Allahu Akbar!” (Allah is Greater!), there is nothing that we magnify or fear except Allah, Alone. In order to understand the first meaning of this Divine Name “Al-Kabeer” (The All-Great), we have to know that the Arabic word “Kabeer” (great) is the opposite of “small” or “insignificant”, as we usually describe things as being great or small, greater or smaller, …etc. We say that this mountain is smaller or greater than that one, but that one is the greatest, …etc.
The word “small” or “insignificant” is the opposite of “big” or “great”. A typist, for example, is insignificant compared to the general director of a company; and the general director is insignificant compared to a Minister, who is, in turn, insignificant compared to a president or king. In the government, there are ranks and authorities, some of which are higher and greater than others. Compare, for example, an ordinary teacher to a school principal, a school principal to an educational director, and an educational director to a Minister of education.
Someone who owns 10,000 Pounds is small compared to someone who owns a million; and someone who owns a million is, in turn, small compared to someone who owns 100,000,000 or 1000,000,000, …etc. This is the first meaning of “Kabeer” (great), i.e. opposite of “small” or “insignificant”. But this meaning does not befit Allah, All Mighty, simply because He, Glory to Him, is far Exalted above being confined to a certain space, place or volume. He, Praise to Him, is not at all like any of His creatures. No space or place can ever confine Him, simply because He is the Creator of place and space. Also, He cannot be divided or taken to parts, simply because He is unlike any of His creatures. In short, Allah is unlike anything that you may imagine or think of.
Then, what does Allah’s Beautiful Name “Al-Kabeer” (The All-Great) exactly mean? In answer to this question, religious scholars say: With respect to Allah, All Mighty, the word “Kabeer” (Great) has to be understood from the mental rather than physical perspective. In other words, we have different meanings of the word “Kabeer” (Great). Physically speaking, the word “Kabeer”(great) may mean big in size, strong in power, or heavy in weight. It also has to do with knowledge or social rank. In fact, this meaning is applicable only to human beings or things, i.e. Allah’s creatures; but with respect to Allah, the word “Kabeer” (Great) has a mental connotation and embraces all kinds of “Greatness” from the viewpoint of mental conception.
The right thing to say about this Divine Name is that Allah, All Mighty, is the only One Who is Perfect and Most Noble. This is the first meaning of Allah’s Divine Name “Al-Kabeer” (The All-Great): Allah is far Exalted above being confined by a certain place, space or volume; but He is All-Great from the perspective of mental conception.
The second meaning of this Divine Name “Al-Kabeer” (The All-Great) is that Allah, All Mighty, is far too Great to be compared to any of His creatures. In other words, Allah, All-Great, is by no means like any of His creatures; and none of His creatures can ever be like Him. In this sense, the word “Kabeer” (Great) means “nothing is like Him” and “nothing can possibly be likened to Him”. He, Glory to Him, is far Greater and more Exalted than whatever you might think of Him.
Therefore, it is forbidden in Islam to envisage by acting the person of a holy Prophet, such as Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad, (PBUH), for example, because he is far exalted above being envisaged by an ordinary human actor.
As for the word “Akbar” (Greater), it means that Allah, All Mighty, is infinitely Greater than all of His creatures. This is a fundamental self-evident truth. Nevertheless, some humans turn to some false deities, other than Allah, The All-Greater, with glorification and magnification, worship and devotion. When we desire to admonish such ignorant deviant people and remind them that the Lord, Allah, All Mighty, is far Greater than the false deities they worship instead of Him, we do not really intend to make any kind of comparison between Allah, All Mighty, and His creatures – as nothing can ever be like Him – but we rather intend to take such ignorant people from polytheism to monotheism, i.e. from worshipping other creatures to worshipping the All-Great Creator, Who is infinitely Greater than all of His creatures.
The word “Akbar” (Greater) also means that the Lord, Allah, The All-Great, is Infinitely Greater than whatever human beings can ever know about Him. In other words, Allah, All Mighty, is far too Greater in Might, Power Wisdom, Mercy, …etc, than mankind can ever imagine. This is what “Alahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) means.
That is why Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), taught us to start our prayer with “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) and say it at each part of it. This means that when you want to offer prayers to Allah, you should keep in mind that He, Glory to Him, is Infinitely Greater that anything that might distract you from Him. For example, when you are in the presence of a great human being, such as a Minister, President or King, you are never distracted from them by reading a newspaper, for example, or anything else. Greatness of such people prevents you from so doing; and you just listen and look most attentively and carefully. So, how would the case be with Allah, The All-Great, Who is Infinitely Greater than whatever you may think or imagine?! This is what “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) means. Therefore, you should always turn to Allah with faithful worship and sincere devotion, for He is far Greater than whatever you may know, think or imagine about Him.
But what helps you know that Allah, All Mighty, is The All-Great? In answer to this question, religious scholars say: “You should sit with scholars, accompany wise people, and befriend great noble ones.” In other words, as a human being, you have your own character, personality, knowledge, experience, feelings, emotions, memories, …etc. Things differ greatly when you accompany those who are equal, superior, or inferior to you. Therefore, you should sit with holy religious scholars, accompany wise people, and befriend great noble ones. Why? The answer is: in order to learn from them. This is because if you befriend someone equal to you, you can learn nothing from him although you may enjoy being with him and spending a good time with him, as both of you have many things in common with each other. But if you accompany those who have better knowledge, experience or social status than you do, you get a lot of benefit from being with them. Since man is naturally predisposed to admire and love great noble people, you should befriend only those whom you believe are worthy of your friendship and company: you benefit sometimes from their good knowledge, sometimes from their good manners, sometimes from their great experience in life, sometimes from their eloquence and rhetoric, …etc. This is your share of this Divine Name “Al-Kabeer” (The All-Great).
Scholars are of three kinds: those who are well-informed in the field of Islamic Jurisprudence, those who are knowledgeable as regards Allah’s Divine Self and His Beautiful Divine Names and Attributes, and those who are educated in cosmic sciences, such as physics, chemistry, math, …etc.
Scholars of the first kind are those who are well versed in Islamic canonical laws and jurisprudence. They are ready to answer any questions about formal legal opinions or Islamic canonical laws.
Scholars of the second kind are those who are knowledgeable about Allah, All Mighty, and His Beautiful Divine Names and Attributes. They know Allah’s Greatness, and they are committed to His Divine Commands. They turn to Allah with true love and sincere devotion, and they are wise people. In other words, scholars of this kind are not only knowledgeable but also wise. By the way, I reiterate that those who attain more knowledge but fail to get right guidance are by no means loved or favored by Allah. This is because their religious knowledge grows but their knowledge about Allah does not. Therefore, their worship is not adequate enough, nor is their obedience or dutifulness to the Lord, All Mighty, despite their great knowledge about religion and its canonical laws. However, it is wise to attain both kinds of knowledge, namely knowledge about Allah and knowledge about His Religion, i.e. His Divine Commands.
Scholars of the third kind are those who are knowledgeable about Allah’s creatures. They are well versed in such disciplines of science as physics, chemistry, math, astronomy, history, psychology, sociology, …etc.
Great is the difference between knowledge about Allah’s creatures, knowledge about Allah Himself, and knowledge about Allah’s Religion (i.e. His Divine Commands). The token of knowledge about Allah’s Divine Commands is the ability to answer any question or inquiry about the canonical laws and principles of Allah’s Religion; but the token of knowledge about Allah Himself, is obedience and dutifulness towards Him, i.e. if you disobey Allah, this means that you do not know Him.
As far as religious scholars are concerned, they are of three levels: ordinary religious scholars are those who are well versed in Allah’s Religion, i.e. His Divine Commands and Canonical Laws: they are helpful as regards religious formal opinions. Wise religious scholars are those who are knowledgeable about Allah Himself: they know Allah, and they are faithfully devoted and sincerely committed to Him. The elite religious scholars are those who are knowledgeable about Allah Himself, as well as His Divine Religion and Commands.
In this context, Zaid Al-‘Ammi narrated the saying that goes: “O Scholar! Work according to your knowledge! Give of your wealth! Watch your tongue, and say only things that avail you with Allah! O scholar! The knowledge that you acquire but fail to apply avails you nothing in front of Allah when you encounter Him. O scholar! Deeds of obedience that you have been bidden to do should distract you from deeds of disobedience that you have been forbidden to do. O scholar! Do not be powerful by the work of other people but weak by your own work. O scholar! Do not let things that belong to other people distract you from your own things. O scholar! Sit with scholars, compete with them, and listen to them, but do not dispute with them. O scholar! Praise scholars because of their knowledge, and dispraise the ignorant because of their ignorance, but do not stay aloof from them: keep them near to you and teach them.”
A great person is someone who knows very well his Lord, Allah, All Mighty, turns to Him with true faith and sincere devotion and knows very well His Divine Commands. Such person attains every glory and honor. In other words, if you see a scholar who is well informed about Allah but lacks knowledge about His Divine Canonical Laws, you may not admire him. Similarly, if you see a scholar who is well versed about Allah’s Divine Canonical Laws but lacks knowledge about Allah, you may also not admire him. But if you see a scholar who knows Allah and His Divine Canonical Laws, you admire him, as Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), did. Also, it is rightly said

“He who acquires knowledge about Allah’s Canonical Laws but fails to acquire knowledge about Allah, Himself, will most probably be a profligate; and he who acquires knowledge abut Allah but fails to acquire knowledge about His Divine Canonical Laws will most probably be a freethinker.”

In other words, if you neglect knowledge about Allah’s Divine Canonical laws and depend on your own thinking, you will most probably say things that render you a mere atheist or disbeliever. Similarly, if you acquire knowledge about Allah’s Divine Canonical Laws but fail to know Allah, Himself, you will most probably disobey Him.
Therefore, there are two illaudable types of scholars: those who are well versed in Allah’s Divine Canonical Laws but are ignorant of Allah, and those who are well informed about Allah but know nothing about His Divine Canonical Laws. However, the great elite scholars are those who attain both kinds of knowledge, i.e. knowledge about Allah Himself as well as His Divine Canonical Laws. This is what true believers should do.
In fact, it is necessary in the context of the talk about this Beautiful Divine Name to explain the words “Al-‘Atheem”, “Al-Kabeer” (The All Mighty, The All-Great). These two words show that Allah, All Mighty, is Full of Pride; and His Divine Pride stems from His Being Perfect in His Own Self and Existence. Perfection of His Divine Existence comes from a couple of things: His Divine Existence, which has neither a beginning nor an end, and the fact that He, Glory to Him, is Self-Existent and needs none to bring Him into existence, as He is Infinitely Pre-Existent. Everything that comes into existence after it has been non-existent cannot be perfect, nor can everything that ends in non-existence. In Islamic theology, human beings are incidental in the sense that they come into existence after having been non-existent and that they will end in non-existence. Not only human beings but also all other things - except Allah, All Mighty, Alone - will inevitably be made to perish. Once again, Allah is All Mighty and All-Great, and He, Glory to Him, is Full of Pride. His Divine Pride stems from Perfection of His own Divine Self, which stems from Perfection of His Divine Existence, which, in turn, comes from the fact that His Divine Existence has neither a beginning nor an end. Also, Allah, All Mighty, is Self-Existent and Infinitely Pre-Existent. Existence of all things is conditional on His own Divine Will, for He, Alone, is the One Who brings things into existence.
In order to understand this Divine Name clearly, it is necessary to consider its reflections on human beings. For example, when we say that some person is “Kabeer” (great), this does not mean that he is perfect in himself but rather because his perfection is transferred to others. A scientist, for example, who does not teach others, is perfect himself but does not make others perfect; therefore, he is not a great person; but once his knowledge reaches other people, he is great in the sight of Allah. If you are perfect and your perfection pervades others, i.e. you help make other people as perfect as you are, then, you are a great person.
A great person, therefore, is someone who is perfect himself and makes other people perfect like him, someone who is knowledgeable himself and makes other people knowledgeable like him. But if he keeps his perfection and knowledge to himself, he is by no means great with Allah, All Mighty, but rather a selfish person. Unless your perfection pervades other people, you are by no means perfect. In this context, Allah, All Mighty, says

“By Al-‘Asr (the time)! Man is, indeed, in loss, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds and recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience.”

[CIII; 1-3]

The words “recommend one another to the truth” in this Quranic Verse show clearly that part of a believer’s activities should be to call others to Allah. A person might be a true believer, for example, but his wife is ignorant or disobedient, yet he claims that it is none of his business to teach her or guide her to the Right Path: such a person is not a great one in the sight of Allah. A person might claim to be a true believer, but he does not care about his children or whether they are believers and righteous or not: such a person is not great in the sight of Allah. A person might have a partner who is irreligious and far astray from Allah, yet he does not care about him or try to help him repent and reform: such a person is not great with Allah. In other words, you shall never be great in the sight of Allah unless your knowledge, perfection, good manners and call for Allah pervade other fellow humans. This is the meaning of “Kabeer” (great) as regards human beings.
Another important thing: When Allah, All Mighty, sees that you glorify Him, Alone, but not any other fellow human being, He loves you and brings you near to Him. But if you show inadequate humbleness or low self-esteem before other fellow humans and seek to please them at the expense of Allah’s Good Pleasure, you are by no means great in the sight of Allah.
A third important and delicate thing: If a true believer does not feel that he is at peace with Allah, but rather thinks that Allah, Most Gracious, will deal with him just as He deals with unbelievers or irreligious people, this means that he thinks badly of Allah, Most Gracious. Moreover, I would like to reiterate that if a true believer fears that Allah, All Mighty, will deal with him just as He deals with profligates and disbelievers, this feeling of fear reflects weak faith in Allah and is a kind of punishment for thinking badly of Him. In other words, Allah, Most Gracious, loves His believing slaves not only to trust in Him but also to feel confident and proud of Him. To this effect, the verses go:

Attribute your honor all to Allah,
It is firmly established and deeply rooted.
If you attribute your honor to a mortal,
Your honor will, like him, pass away.

In the same context, Allah, All Mighty says

“And do not become weak (before your enemy) nor be sad, for you will be superior if you are indeed (true) believers.”

[III; 139]

In other words, true faith should be accompanied by high self-esteem, dignity, trust in the Almighty Allah, and a feeling of excellence. One of the Prophet’s venerable Companions was walking with great self-confidence. Some people thought it was improper to walk like that as it could be interpreted as a kind of insolent arrogance. Therefore, they said, “Arrogance in Islam?!” He, may Allah be pleased with him, answered, “NO! This is Honor of Faith!” In other words, when you obey Allah, All Mighty, you should feel proud of, and honored by, your obedience. When you are offered wine to drink, do not apologize, “Sorry! I have a stomach ache.” You should proudly say, “No! Not for me! I do not drink win because it is forbidden in my religion of Islam.” You should not be ashamed of Allah’s Religion or Divine Commands. You should be proud of your Faith and never try to find excuses for things that Allah, All Mighty, has made unlawful or forbidden. Do not say, “I have an ulcer in my stomach.” Say frankly and openly, “This is forbidden in my religion.” If you fail to show adequate respect for your Faith, you are a defeated person.
I reiterate: If you really believe that Allah is the All-Great, you should be proud of your Lord, Allah, All Mighty, you should put your trust in Him, you should be confident of Him, and you should rely on Him. Whenever you say, or hear, “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) while offering prayers or listening to the Athan (Call to Prayer), you should know what it really means. You should know that Allah, All Mighty, is far too Greater than anything that you could ever imagine or think of. I always confirm that those who say “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) but obey others than Allah do not know what it means. Even if they say “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) millions and millions of times with their tongues but fail to understand its real meanings, it would be as if they did not say it at all. We should give up formalities and void bombastic words and go back to the essence of Islamic Religion. Those who disobey their Lord, Allah, All Mighty, and seek to please any of His creatures instead of Him do not know what “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) means even if they say it millions and millions of times with their tongues. Someone who pleases his wife at the expense of displeasure of his Lord, Allah, All Mighty, does not know what “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) means. Frankly speaking, if you think that seeking the pleasure of a human being is better and more important to you than seeking Allah’s Good Pleasure, you understand nothing of that which you say. When you obey a creature and disobey the Creator, this means that you consider that it is better and more important to please a human being than to please the Lord, All Mighty. Unfortunately, this is the case with the majority of people! But when you, faithfully and truthfully, say, “Allah is the All-Great”, “Allah is the Rich”, “I shall never commit a sinful deed even if I were cut into pieces”, this means that you really understand what “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) means.
We have now got into the core of our lecture and the practical part of it. What is the benefit of saying “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater), Allah is “Al-Kabeer” (the All-Great), Allah is “Al-Mutakabbir” (the One Full of Pride), Allah is “Al-Kabeer Al-Muta’al” (The All-Great and the Most High), Allah is far Exalted above being like any of His creatures, …etc? What is the use of all of these delicate pieces of information so long as you turn to other creatures and forget the Creator?! The answer is: Of course nothing! In other words, a true believer is someone who turns to Allah, Alone, fears none with Him, sees none as greater than Him, fears no blames from unbelievers, and feels strongest when he says “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater). That is why it has been rightly said: “If you desire to be the strongest of all mankind, trust in Allah!” In fact, there are lots of tests and trials in the human life, in which Allah, All Mighty, puts you face to face with problems, some of which are so hard and difficult. In the face of such problems and hardships, if you do not know what “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) means, you will certainly fail the test. You should keep in mind that the foregoing Quranic Verse:

“Say: ‘Shall I inform you of things that are (far) better than those? For the pious there are Gardens, with their Lord, underneath which rivers flow, living therein forever, with purified mates, and in good pleasure of Allah. And Allah is All-Seer of (His) slaves.”

[III; 15]

was in fact revealed in the context of the talk about Paradise. After Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious, speaks about the trees, Gardens underneath which rivers flow, rivers of milk and honey, the purified mates of the Hour El-Een (fair females with wide lovely eyes) and Wildan Moukhalladoun (boys of everlasting youth), and all other kinds of enjoyments of Paradise, He says, “and in good pleasure of Allah”, i.e. the ultimate goal of a true believer is to make Allah pleased with him and to feel His Divine Pleasure.
Now, the last thing that I feel the need to refer to is: If you feel that Allah is pleased with you, such feeling is the ultimate goal ever that you can achieve in the life of this present world. I have always reiterated that When Allah, All Mighty, announced in His Divine Book, the Holy Quran, that He is pleased with the Prophet’s venerable Companions:

“Indeed, Allah was well pleased with the believers who gave the pledge to you (o Muhammad) under the tree: He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down tranquility upon them and rewarded them with a near victory.”

[XLVIII; 18]

This means that in the whole world and in all places and times, there is no rank higher or achievement better than attainment of Allah’s Good Pleasure. What benefit can you get if all creatures are pleased with you but Allah, All Mighty, is not?!! In this context, Allah, All Mighty, says

“Verily, to Us will be their return; and then verily, for Us will be their reckoning.”

[LXXXVIII; 24-26]

What benefit can you get if all people are pleased with you but the Lord, Allah, All Mighty, is not?! What benefit can you get if all people magnify and glorify you but your Maker, Allah, All Mighty, does not?! People’s pleasure is perishable but Allah’s Pleasure is everlasting and endless. Allah, all Mighty, addresses this issue

“Humiliation and disgrace from Allah and a severe torment will overtake the criminals for that which they used to plot.”

[VI; 124]

“They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord (Allah) and the meeting with Him. So their deeds are (all) in vain, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall assign no weight for them.”

[XVIII; 105]

“Nay! Surely, they will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day.”

[LXXXIII; 15]

“(It will be said): ‘Get you apart (from believers), o you criminals! Did I not command you, o children of Adam, that you should not worship Satan - Verily, he is a plain enemy - and that you should worship Me (Alone): such is the Straight Path. And indeed, he (Satan) did lead astray a great multitude of you. Did you not, then, understand? This is Hell, which you were promised! Burn therein, this Day, for that you used to disbelieve. This Day, We shall seal up their mouths, and their hands will speak to Us, and their legs will bear witness to what they used to earn.”

[XXXVI; 59-65]

What is the use of the entire present world if Allah is displeased with you?! What is the use of owning the whole world but losing Allah’s Good Pleasure?! Even if the largest companies in the world were yours, even if the five continents - with all of the factories and companies in them - were yours, this would be nothing if Allah, The All-Great, were displeased with you! These words are very accurate: If you are a true believer, it suffices you that the Lord, Allah, All Mighty, is pleased with you even if you were an ordinary person of the common. In other words, if you know Allah, All Mighty, if He is pleased with you, and if you are great in His Sight, this is the best thing that you can ever achieve in the life of this present world

That is why Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), once welcomed warmly an ordinary man, who came to him, saying, “Welcome to the man whom Gabriel has told me is coming!” “Who? Me?” The man asked in great amazement. Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), said, “Yes, my brother! (You are) unimportant in this present world but very important in the Upper World!”

You might be a simple ordinary person in this present world; but if you know Allah and stick to His Divine Religion, you are certainly great to Him. That is why a knowledgeable religious scholar says, “By Allah! If kings knew the (Bliss) in which we are, they would fight us for it!” By Allah! The scholar’s words are true! If kings knew the Bliss and Greatness that Allah, All Mighty, bestows on His righteous slaves, they would fight them for it!
Irreligious people are heedless of Allah’s Divine Commands, so they are insignificant to Him. They are made to live a trivial life that always ends in misery and wretchedness. But believers have a very distinguished status with Allah.
In fact, my first and foremost purpose of this lecture is to help my dear readers know the All-Great Allah in order to obey Him and, hence, attain His Divine Love and Favor.
To wrap up, I would like to report what the venerable Companion and Caliph, Omar Bin Al-Khattab, said to the Prophet’s uncle, Sa’d, may Allah be pleased with them both: “O Sa’d! You should never be deceived by your being the Prophet’s uncle, as all human beings are equal in the sight of Allah: They have no kinship with Him except their obedience to Him.” This means that your obedience to Allah is what counts, simply because it determines your status with Him. And as a true believer, you should know that Allah is All-Great; and therefore, you should be proud of Allah and put all your trust in Him. You should also know for sure that He will favor you with a very special kind of treatment, as He, Glory to Him, says

“Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous good deeds, in their present life and after their death? Worst indeed is the judgment that they make.”

[XLV; 21]

Translation  : Khaled Al-Athmeh
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