As an Arabic grammar lover (although I’m not very good with it) I love to look at words- yes you read right – I love to look at words! I know this may sound crazy, but honestly, words fascinate me!
Come, let me walk you through my beautiful fascination.
The Arabic Language
Let’s have a look at the English word ‘awe’ for example. I could say: ‘just looking at the creation of Allah puts me in awe. Alternatively, I could have used the word ‘astonished’ instead of ‘awe’, as it would give a similar meaning, right?
Well… no, no it wouldn’t.
The dictionary definition for the word ‘awe’ is ‘ an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear’.
So, in the above mentioned example, I’m taken aback and surprised by the beauty of the creation. I am also fearful, that if something so beautiful and complex such as life was created, then imagine the Creator Himself. How mighty must He then be?
Now come down to my weird level of thinking (heads down it’s a bumpy ride).
Unlike English, Arabic is much more beautiful and comprehensive. The Arabic language is based on a “root” system. Every word in Arabic comes from a root (usually consisting of three to five letters).
Let’s take a look at another example, this time in Arabic. Let’s look at the root letters ع ب د which form the word ‘Abd’ meaning servant. The word عبادة, meaning worship, also comes from these three root letters.
So, we are the servants of Allah. How? Because He is our Master and we worship Him. However, we are not just any servants, like the servants of the kings of this world; rather we are the servants of Allah, who is a Master like no other.
I came across a beautiful saying by Imam Razi (may Allah have mercy on him):
‘Allah has servants other than you, but you have no Rabb but Him. However, He nurtures you as though He has no other servant, yet you serve Him as though you have another Rabb.’
which made me ponder: knowing and realising that Allah has other servants, those that are more faithful to Him, yet Allah treats each one of us as if we are His only servant.
But why? Who are we in His eyes? Who are we in the eyes of Allah, who has created this universe, so vast and mighty, who has created everything inside of it with such perfection, and precision, with every detail fully covered, who has created minds and brains like ours? The same magnificent minds, like those of Einstein- how fascinating is Einstein to us? Now imagine his Creator.
So how is it that Allah treats us like we are Kings/Queens, when He is Allah?
For starters (Tip: grab a snack) let’s look at how Allah talks to me and you.
Allah and His Servants
Allah says in Surah Az-Zumar:
يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ
Oh MY servants who have transgressed upon themselves
Here Allah is addressing us, me and you- those people who have committed sin, who have transgressed- by using the word عبادي which means ‘MY servant’.
The letter ي at the end of the word is used to show possession. We belong to Allah. He is the one who gave us this body- fully equipped- with eyes and ears and everything created with perfection. Allah Himself says:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
We have created human beings in the best of forms
Then Allah continues to talk to His servant in Surah Az-Zumar saying:
لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا
Do not become despondent from the mercy of Allah. Surely Allah forgives all sins
Allah addresses us and says to us: Even though you may have gone against my orders, oh MY servant I will forgive you. Why? You ask. Because you are MY servant. If you remember me, I will remember you, and if you forget me, I will still remember you.
Look at how lucky we are to say ‘Allah is my Lord!’
Sayyidina Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) recited such beautiful poetry:
كفاني عزا أن تكون لي ربا
و كفاني فخرا أن أكون لك عبدا
انت لي كما احب
فوفقني الى ما تحب
Sufficient for my respect is that you are my Lord
And sufficient for my pride is that I am Your servant
You are for me as I love
Thus, make me for you as you love
Such was the love our predecessors had for their Creator that in the last portion of the night (before fajr) you would find them awake; at that time of the night when people are sleeping, when the rest of the masters and kings of this world have dismissed their servants, they no longer want to see them, at this time of the night our Allah calls out to us- His servants- saying:
“Who is calling out to me that I may answer him, who is asking from me so that I shall grant him, who is asking for my forgiveness that I may forgive him?” (Hadith)
A poet so beautifully once said:
لا تسألن بنى آدم حاجةً
و سل الذي أبوابه لا تُحجبُ
الله يغضبُ إن تركت سؤاله
و بنى آدم حينَ يُسألُ يغضبُ
Don’t ask the son of Adam (people) for needs
Ask He (Allah) who’s doors are never closed
Allah becomes angry (upset) when you leave asking Him
And the son of Adam becomes angry when you ask him
Tell me, have you ever come across someone that gets happy the more you ask of them? That because they love you so much, they get happy when you ask for something, even though you have disobeyed them, even though you did everything they told you not to do- have you?
During a conversation with Sayyidina Dawud (may peace be upon him), Allah said to him:
“If this is the love that I have for MY servants that have disobeyed me, that have ignored me, that have forgotten about me, then imagine my love for those that have been obedient to me.”
Allah continues to say:
يا ابن ادم اني احبك
فبحقي عليك كن لي محبا
“Oh son of Adam, I love you.
And because of the right that I have over you, you also love me.”
Did you read that? Allah is telling me that He loves me. My Allah loves me with all my faults. He is forgiving my shortcomings and letting me start over, because He loves me.
And because He is my Creator, My Lord and My Allah, I love Him.