An-Nahj Al-Asmaa fee Sharh Asmaa Allaahul-Husna by sheikh Muhammad Humood An-Najdi
The name Al-Baatin is mentioned once in the Noble Qur’an in Surat al-Hadeed (57: 3):
“He is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him), the Most High (nothing is above Him) and the Baatin (Most Near, nothing is nearer than Him), and He is, of things, Knowing.”
The Meaning of the Name:
Ibn Jarir (Rahimahullaah) said in Jami’ul-Bayaan: “Al-Baatin is the Most Near, nothing is nearer than Him, as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Qaaf (50: 16):
“And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge).”
Az-Zajjaj said: “Al-Baatin is He Who knows the inward and the hidden aspects of things. It is said ‘batantu so-and-so’, i.e. I know his inward and outward. And Allaah (Ta’ala) is the All-Knower of the apparent and the hidden matters.” [Tafseer al-Asmaa’]
Al-Khattabi said: “Al-Baatin is the One Who is veiled (screened) from the sight (vision) of the creation. It also means, He Who knows the apparent matters and Who is All-Watcher over what is hidden of the unseen matters.” [Sha’n ad-Du’aa]
Al-Hulaimi said: “Al-Baatin is He Who is not seen, but is known by His Actions.” [Al-Minhaaj]
The Impact of Belief in this Name:
1. Allaah (Ta’ala) is the greatest unseen. He is the One Who is veiled (hidden) from His creation. No one can see Him in this life. No vision can grasp Him in the Hereafter [because grasp means to encompass Him. If one cannot grasp the sea which is one of Allaah’s creations, then how can one grasp the Creator?]
We cannot encompass anything of the knowledge of what He has attributed Himself with in His Book or of what His Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has attributed Him with except what He wills for us to know.
He (Ta’ala) is manifest to His creation by His Actions, recited verses, and visible signs. Whoever contemplates the heavens and the earth and all what is therein, will know with certainty that they (these creations) have a Creator Who disposes their affairs.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Aal-‘Imran (3:190-191):
“Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allaah standing, sitting and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth (saying): ‘Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You. Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.’”
2. Indeed Allaah (Ta’ala) is All-Knower of the hidden (inner) and the apparent matters. Both matters are the same (equal) with Him. He (Ta’ala) says in Surat ar-Ra’d (13:10):
“It is the same (to Him) whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly, whether he be hidden by the darkness of the night or he moves about freely by day.”
The one who is hiding in his house and in the darkness of the night and the one who is walking freely in the daytime – they are both the same with Allaah.
3. Some of the Salaf (Predecessors) explained Al-Baatin as being the Most Near (nearer) to everything than anything else, as previously mentioned by Ibn Jarir (Rahimahullaah).
4. Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) mentioned a valuable speech concerning these four Names (the First, the Last, the Most High, and the Most Near) and their relation to the success of the lives of the slaves, and how to fulfil the servitude through them in his book “Tareeq al-Hijratain wa Baabus-Sa’adatain.” (Translates as: The path to the points of migration: Allaah and His Messenger and the gate of the two happiness)
He (Rahimahullaah) said: “Worshipping Allaah with His Name Al-Awwal requires one to be devoid of looking (giving heed) to the means or turning to it; one should merely look to His Graciousness and Mercy and know that He (Ta’ala) is the One Who started (and endowed) His slave with the good without there being a means from the slave. Where was the means when the slave did not yet exist? He was nothing before his creation.
“Has there (not) come upon man, a period of time when he was not a thing (even) mentioned?” [Surat al-Insaan 76: 1]
He (Ta’ala) prepared him and provided for him, and His Grace and Favors precede all the means; the means is a mere grace from Him. Whoever knows Allaah by His Name Al-Awwal according to this meaning, will show a special need for and a servitude to Allaah.
Worshipping Allaah by His Name Al-Aakhir also requires that one not trust or rely on the means, because it /they will inevitably vanish and come to an end and only the Eternal One will remain. Therefore, attachment to the means is like an attachment to something that ends and vanishes, while attachment (clinging) to Al-Aakhir is clinging to the Ever-Living Who never dies or perishes. If one looks at the means, he will find that Allaah (Azza wa Jall) was there before the existence of all the means, and that it is Allaah (Azza wa Jall) and His Eternity Who remains after all the means.
Allaah was there when there was nothing other than Him, and everything will perish (and come to an end) except His Face.
Contemplate servitude with these two Names and how they lead one to resort to Allaah Alone and to continuously be in need of Him and no one else. All matters start by Him and they will return to Him.
He is the Lord of everything and its Creator and Inventor. He is its deity and its end is to Him; there is neither reformation nor success except if one makes Allaah his main concern and the utmost goal which he aspires to reach.
He is the First (Al-Awwal) from Whom all creation started, and He is the Last (Al-Aakhir); to Him will end all the servitude of creation, their love and intentions.
There is no one after Allaah to be sought, worshipped and deified as there was no one before Him to create and bring into existence.
As for worshipping Allaah by His Names Adh-Dhaahir (the Most High), this has been explained by the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ’alayhi wa sallam): “And You are Adh-Dhaahir (the Most High) and nothing is higher than You and You are Al-Baatin (the Most Near) and nothing is nearer than You.”
When His absolute Highness over everything (by His being) is ascertained by the slave and he knows that there is nothing above Him at all; that He is the subjugator over His servants Who arranges every affair from the heavens to the earth, then it (the affair) will go up to Him. He (Ta’ala) says in Surat Faatir (35:10):
إليه يصعد الكلم الطيب والعمل الصالح يرفعه
“To Him ascend (all) the goodly words and the righteous deeds exalt it (i.e. the goodly words are not accepted by Allaah unless and until they are followed by good deeds).”
Then He (Ta’ala) will become a Lord to be worshipped and an Ilaah (deity) to Whom the heart of the slave is directed. This is contrary to the state of the one who does not know where his Lord is and whose heart is distracted. He has no Qiblah to direct himself to nor to have one to be sought and worshipped. Accordingly, he may take a created being like himself to worship and seek in all his affairs other than Allaah. Allaah says in Surat Yunus (10: 3-4):
“Surely, your Lord is Allaah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then He rose above the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty), disposing the affairs of all things. There is no intercessor (with Him) save after His permission. That is Allaah, your Lord, so worship Him (Alone). Then will you not remember? (3) Unto Him is the return of all of you; the Promise of Allaah is true. It is He Who begins the creation, and then will repeat it, that He may reward those who believed (in the Oneness of Allaah) and did deeds of righteousness with equity; while, as for those who disbelieved, theirs will be a boiling drink and painful torment because they used to disbelieve.” (4)
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat as-Sajdah (32:4-9):
“Allaah it is Who created the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, in six Days. Then He rose above the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). You (mankind) have none, besides Him, as a Waliyy (Protector or Helper) or an intercessor. Will you not then remember (or be admonished)? (4) He arranges (every) affair from the heavens to the earth; then it (affair) will ascend unto Him in a Day, the space whereof is a thousand years of that you reckon (i.e. reckoning of our present world’s time). (5) Such is the Knower of the unseen and the seen, the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful, (6) Who made all things He created good, and He began the creation of man from clay; (7) Then He made his offspring from semen of despised fluid (male and female sexual discharge); (8) Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him the soul (created by Allaah for that person); and He gave you hearing (ears) and sight (eyes) and hearts. Little is the thanks you give!” (9)
He (Ta’ala) introduced Himself to His slaves by His Speech (i.e. Qur’an) in a way that no one can deny except those who reject Him (Ta’ala), even though they claim that they acknowledge Him.
Worshipping Allaah by His Name Adh-Dhaahir draws (attracts) the heart towards Allaah (Who deserves to be worshipped Alone). It makes for him, a Lord Whom he seeks and a Samad (a Self-Sufficient Master, the One Who is sought in times of need, the One depended upon by all existence), Whom he resorts to for all his needs, and a resort whom he takes refuge in. If this is established in his heart and he knows his Lord by His Name Adh-Dhaahir, then his servitude becomes straight and he will always have a resort and shelter to Whom he can run.
The fruit of worshipping Allaah by His Name Al-Baatin (the Most Near and nothing is nearer than Him), is His special Nearness to those believers who call unto Him and ask of Him.
As mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Baqarah (2:186):
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor).”
He (Ta’ala) also says in Surat al-A’raaf (7:56):
“Surely, Allaah’s Mercy is (ever) near unto the good-doers.”
As if Allaah (Ta’ala) is saying: “Verily, Allaah is near with His Mercy to the good-doers.”
It is reported in the Saheeh that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “A slave becomes nearest to his Lord when he is in prostration. So increase in supplication while prostrating.” [Muslim]
In another narration he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Ar-Rabb (the Lord) becomes the nearest to His slave in the middle of the last part of the night.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “We were in the company of Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) (during Hajj). Whenever we went up a high place we used to say, ‘La ilaaha illa-Allaah, Allaahu Akbar (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah, and Allaah is the Most Great)’, and our voices used to rise, so the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘O People! Be merciful to yourselves (i.e. don’t raise your voices), for you are not calling a deaf or an absent one, but One Who is with you, no doubt He is All-Hearer, Ever Near (to all things).” [Al-Bukhaari, the Book of Jihaad]
This is His nearness to His slaves who call on Him and remember Him. There is no need for you to raise your voices because He hears your supplication even if it is said in a low voice. Allaah is All-Hearer, Ever Near.
This nearness is one of the impacts of His love. As His love increases, His nearness increases.
To worship Allaah by this Name is to worship with pure love, which entails (causes by necessity) the Ilaah (the Deity) to be the most Near to the person, even nearer to him than his own self, even though He is ad-Dhaahir (the Most High) and nothing is higher than Him.
Everything has a beginning and an end and a highness and closeness. You have to know that you have a beginning and an end, an apparent (or dhaahir) and an unapparent (or baatin). Like everything, even the thought, the moment and the self and less than that or more than that has a beginning and an end. However, Allaah’s Awwaliyyah precedes the Awwaliyyah of everything else (He precedes everything) and His Aakhiriyyah is permanent after everything comes to an end, for He remains after everything. Moreover, His Dhahiriyyah is His Highness over everything. The meaning of Dhuhoor entails highness. His Butoon is His encompassment of everything such that He becomes nearer to one than his own self and this nearness is other than the nearness of the one who loves his beloved one.
The axis (central point) of these four Names is the encompassment, which is of two kinds:
1) Encompassment of time
2) Encompassment of place
His primacy (being the First) and His being the Last encompass the former (first) and the last (of everything).
His Highness and Nearness encompass everything high and near. There is nothing that is high but Allaah is higher than it and there is nothing near but Allaah is nearer than it, and there is nothing first but Allaah is before it (He preceded it with His primacy) and there is nothing last but Allaah is after it (He remains after it).
No heaven can hide another sky from Him and no earth can hide another earth from Him. The hidden is apparent to Him, and nothing apparent can hide any inward thing from Him.
The unseen is manifest to Him and the far is near to Him and the secrets are open to Him.
These four Names comprise the pillars of Tawheed.
Worshipping Allaah by these Names is of two ranks:
- The first rank is to testify (bear witness to) His Awwaliyyah (being first) in everything and His Aakhiriyyah after everything, and His Highness and ascendance over everything and His Nearness to His creation more than anything else.
- The second rank of worship is to treat each Name according to what it entails.
Knowing His primacy and precedence to everything, and by His Grace and Benevolence, makes one to single Him out when seeking the means. One does not turn to other than Him or to trust any other than Him or rely on any other than Him.
Who is the One Who, since you were nothing, decreed for you to be called Muslim, granted you the faith, protected you from worshipping His slaves and directed your heart to Him (Ta’ala)?
Therefore, implore the One Who protected you from prostrating to an idol, and decreed for you since before creation to have a firm precedence of honor (i.e. sure position due to one’s righteous deeds), to perfect His favor upon you as He commenced you without you taking any means from it. Seek the high and noble ranks with Him which will not be achieved except by obeying Him because Allaah decreed that nothing with Him can be attained except with obedience to Him. Whoever will be for Allaah as Allaah likes and wills, then Allaah will be for him more than what he expects. Whoever approaches Him, He will receive him even from a far place, and whoever acts seeking His might and strength, He will soften for him the iron, and whoever leaves something for His sake, He will give him more than what he needs, and whoever seeks religious affairs, will get what he wants.
Keep your love and nearness to Him Whose grace and good preceded you before you taking any means. He is the One Who bestowed upon you the means, and prepared for you the means and prevented the obstacles from you and made you reach your aim (praiseworthy goal). So put your trust in Him Alone and rely on Him Alone, deal with Him Alone, and prefer His Pleasure Alone. Let His love and pleasure be the Ka’bah (i.e. Qiblah) for your heart to be directed to and circumambulate around. (That is to say that the concern of the person is seeking Allaah’s Pleasure.)
If Allaah observes that in your heart, He will shower His blessings and graces upon you. Therefore, reform (for Him) your unseen which is seen and apparent to Him, and purify your inner-self which is also apparent to Him.
Bear in mind that these four Names comprise all the knowledge about Allaah (Ta’ala) and servitude to Him. Through these Names, the slave will witness the graces and favors of his Creator which he will not see from anyone else except by His might and power.
When the slave will not witness except the grace of His Maula, and His precedence of favors upon him, this will lead him to rid himself of admiring his own deeds which he used to see abundantly, and of having self-conceit.
He will then witness the Name Al-Mannan, the Bestower. Consequently he will be busy looking at the Might, Honor, Grace and Favor of his Lord. Witnessing His precedence or primacy will prevent him from looking at himself with admiration or honor.” End quote of Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) [Tareeq al-Hijratain by Ibn al-Qayyim, paraphrased and abridged]
5. Having knowledge about these four Names and their meanings has a great impact upon repelling the whispers (of the Shaytaan) and his plots.
Abu Dawoud reported in As-Sunan on the authority of Abu Zumail that he asked Ibn Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu): “There is something in my breast which I cannot talk about.” Ibn Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “Is it a doubt (that you find)?” Then Ibn Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) laughed and said: “No one is saved from this.
Allaah (Azza wa Jall) sent down the following verse in Surat Yunus (10:94):
‘So if you are in doubt concerning that which We have revealed unto you (i.e. your name is written in the Torah and in the Gospel), then ask those who read the book before you.’
Thus he (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) told me: ‘If you find something in yourself then say: ‘He is the First, and the Last, and the Most High, and the Most Near, and He is of everything All-Knowing.’” [Surat al-Hadeed 57:3]
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