What Allah Wrote Upon His Self
Posted by Farouk A. Peru
A huge part of Quran is about understanding how Allah sees the world and human existence. In doing so, we may thus be able to ‘plug in’ to this concepts and benefit most from Allah’s plan. Quran sets this information in a perfectly arranged manner so that it may hit us in the optimum way and thus making us truly understand.
In this essay, we will look at the occurrences of the idea of ‘What Allah Wrote Upon His Self’ (kataba Allahu ‘ala nafsih). First we must understand what the phrase ‘Allah wrote’ means. In Quran, a writing of something indicates an order or command. For example it is written for us the fast (2/183). Therefore, when Allah wrote something, we can understand it to mean he ordered or ordained. It must happen because the one who ordered it was Allah and He is capable with all things (bikull shay’in qadeer).
What about His ‘self’? The word ‘self’ (nafs) or usually translated as ‘soul’ is mostly used for human beings. It is used for Allah only three times including the two times analysed in this essay. The self denotes personality, character, behaviour but should not be limited to these definitions alone. The ‘self’ of Allah refers to how Allah acts in this given situation.
What ‘Allah wrote upon Himself’ refers to how Allah has decreed He would act in a given situation. This is mentioned twice in Quran – Chapter 6 Verse 12 and Ch 6 Vs 54. In both cases what Allah wrote upon Himself was ‘ar-rahmah’. ‘Rahmah’ comes from the word ‘rahm’ meaning ‘womb’. A womb is where a baby is first conceived and nurtured until it is delivered. Therefore ‘rahmah’ is a means for a person to become fully human and to grow until he is fully ready to meet Allah.
Let us analyse each of these verses: Say, “To whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and earth?” Say, “To Allah .” He has wrote upon His Self Rahmah. He will surely assemble you for the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt. Those who will lose themselves do not believe. (6/12) In 6/12, we are told that whatever is in the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah. In this belonging, Allah has undertaken upon His Self Rahmah or a means of evolution. This shows that everything in existence can attain evolution including us. The goal of this evolution is for the day of assembly which there is no doubt. This may also indicate that if we were to access this rahmah, we may be privy to this state of doubtlessness. Those who not continuously believe in this will lose their selves.
Next, we have 6/54:
And when those come to you who believe in Our signs, say, “Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed upon His Self Rahmah: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself – indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.”
In 6/54, we are told about those who come to us who are consistently believing in Allah’s signs. It should be noted that Allah’s signs are not only in His book but also in reality itself. There are people who learn from the lessons of reality and grow from them. These are people on whom we should wish and bring peace. When we do so, we are thereby activating what Allah wrote upon His Self – Rahmah.
From these verses which talk about what Allah wrote upon Himself, we can formulate that everything in the universe can access the rahmah of Allah – His facility of evolution. It takes the continuous belief in His signs and acting with peace in order to do so.