In this very same Surah al-Fatihah, the Holy Quran paints a portrait of God as it were, and presents it to the world for them to accept it. As such, four attributes have been presented in sequence which are known as the “Mother Attributes” of God Almighty. Just as Surah al-Fatihah is the “Mother of the Book”, in the same manner, the attributes of Allah Almighty that have been mentioned in this chapter are His mother – or source – attributes. These attributes are Rabb-ul-Alamin (the Lord of all the worlds); Al-Rahman (the Gracious); Al-Rahim (the Merciful); and Maliki Yawm-id-Din (the Master of the Day of Judgement). When a person contemplates over these four attributes, it is as if one can see the face of God. The grace of God’s providence (rububiyyat) is extensively far-reaching and general in scope, and it refers to the nourishing care by which God brings to a state of completion the whole of His creation in all their individual conditions, and the manner in which He supports their development to higher perfection. Now just reflect on how, when a person contemplates over the providence of Allah the Exalted, their hope becomes boundless. Then, there is God’s graciousness (rahmaniyyat), which means that without any action on the part of an agent, God furnishes the means that are necessary for their existence. For example, the sun, moon, air, water, etc., have been set in motion to sustain our lives without any prayer, request, action or deed on our part. Then, there is God’s mercy (rahimiyyat), which does not allow for our deeds to be wasted. Then, God being the Master of the Day of Judgement (Maliki Yawm-id-Din) demands that He grant us success. For example, if a person prepares assiduously for an exam, but they are short on their examination by a few marks, in worldly systems and institutions, no regard is given to this, and they are failed. However, in the case of God Almighty, His mercy covers a person’s shortcomings and passes them, as it were. Divine mercy possesses a quality of covering shortcomings. The God of the Christians does not overlook faults even slightly, otherwise, what need would remain for the Atonement? Similarly, the god of the Arya Samaj is neither Lord, nor Gracious because he bestows nothing without labour and action. This is to such an extent that in accordance with the principles of the Vedas, the commission of sin seems necessary. For example, if an individual desired to give some person a certain quantity of cow’s milk in return for a deed that they had performed – provided that this Hindu concept is deemed valid – reciprocally, it would be necessary for a Brahamo woman somewhere in the world at some point in time to commit adultery, so that in return for this act of transgression and immodesty, she may be transmigrated into the form of a cow, so that the person who is to receive the milk may have it – even if the woman was his wife at some point. Therefore, until such a process exists, no doer of any deed can possibly receive their reward from the treasures of the Vedic god, for the entire enterprise of this god runs on a process of doing and undoing. However, the God presented by Islam is deserving of all praiseworthy attributes and this is why it is He Who is the True Bestower. He is the Gracious and He confers His grace without any action on the part of an agent. He is the Master of the Day of Judgement, as I have stated, and He grants success. A worldly government can never take it upon themselves that each and every person who has a Bachelor of Arts would definitely be guaranteed employment. However, the government of God Almighty is a perfect administration, and possesses a limitless treasury. There is no shortage in His resources. He grants success to anyone and everyone who acts accordingly. Though He rewards virtue and good deeds, He also covers up the various weaknesses and shortcomings of man. He is Oft-Returning with forgiveness and Forbearing. Allah the Exalted is privy to thousands of faults in His servants, but He does not reveal them. A time does come when man becomes bold and continues to increase in his vices, without deriving any benefit from the forbearance of God and His covering up their shortcomings; in fact, he begins to grow stronger in an atheistic vein. It is then that the indignation of God no longer permits for such an audacious person to go unseized and so they are disgraced. Maulvi Abdullah Ghaznavi was given a revelation in relation to Muhammad Husain that he possessed a certain weakness. Muhammad Husain asked him to disclose it, but he responded by saying that the forbearing nature of Allah Almighty prevented him from doing so. Then, Maulvi Abdullah Ghaznavi also saw a dream in which Muhammad Husain’s clothes were torn; this dream has now come true. In short, my only intent was to elaborate that the mercy (rahimiyyat) of God has a distinctive quality which covers up the shortcomings of people, but before one’s weaknesses may be hidden, there needs to be some action. If there is a deficiency or shortfall in one’s actions, Allah the Exalted disguises them by virtue of His mercy. The difference between graciousness (rahmaniyyat) and mercy (rahimiyyat) is that the former has no relation to actions and deeds, whereas in the latter case, actions and deeds have a role to play; though human weakness exists as well. The mercy of God desires to cover man’s shortcomings. Furthermore, the Master of the Day of Judgement is a being who fulfils the objective at hand. Remember well that these “Mother Attributes” are a spiritual illustration, which depict God. As soon as one ponders over them, God immediately comes before us and the soul fervently falls into prostration before Him with pleasure. Hence, this chapter begins from اَلْحَمْدُ لِلہِ All praise belongs to Allah), and continues from here in indirect speech. After the mention of these four attributes, however, immediately thereafter the style of speech changes since these attributes, in a manner of speaking, bring God before us. It was only proper and in accordance with the demands of eloquence that the style of address hereafter changes from indirect speech to direct speech. Therefore, the completion of this initial portion of the chapter naturally turns our faces towards the addressee and upon this we say: اِیَّاکَ نَعْبُدُ وَاِیَّاکَ نَسْتَعِیْنُ “Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help.” One ought to bear in mind that the words اِیَّاکَ نَعْبُدُ وَاِیَّاکَ نَسْتَعِیْنُ appear together without anything between them. However, the phrase اِیَّاکَ نَعْبُدُ (Thee alone do we worship) takes precedence even in the context of time, because it was merely on account of the graciousness of God – and not due to any prayer or request of our own – that God made us humans and blessed us with a multiplicity of faculties and bounties. When these blessings were granted to us, we had not prayed for them; it was only since God had conferred His grace upon us that we received these favours. This is why servitude to God takes precedence.
(Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 202-205)