Can you kindly give the logical flow of the attributes of God mentioned in the last few ayahs of Surah Hashar starting immediately after the mentioning of the greatness of the Qur’an up to the end?
May God reward you.
Before taking a close look at the mentioned attributes of God, it is important that the basic subject-matter of the Surah should be kept in mind.
The Surah is primarily a warning to the hypocrites, who even after having apparently accepted the call of the Prophet (pbuh) were conspiring against the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions. In the beginning, the Surah has warned these people through a reference to the events of the recent past (verses 1 – 17); within this reference, some of the objections raised by the enemies of the Prophet (pbuh) and the hypocrites are answered (verses 5 – 10); and in the last part of the Surah (verses 18 – 24), while addressing the Muslims, the hypocrites are reminded:
that they should be very mindful of their deeds, for soon they shall have to face the consequences of their deeds;
that the pious and the impious shall meet different ends;
that the Qur’an has completely clarified the path, which man should adopt for his eternal success;
that all the essential attributes of God require man to be extremely careful of the attitude that he adopts towards the Prophet of God and towards the guidance that God has sent down with His Prophet (pbuh).
Keeping the foregoing explanation in perspective, let us now take a look at the attributes of God mentioned in these verses:
The starting point of these attributes is ‘He is the God other than Whom there is absolutely no god’: all our hopes and fears should be directed towards Him, no one deserves to share our reverence and worship, no one will be able to punish us, if He forgives us our mistakes and no one will be able to help us, if He decides to punish us. In view of this fact, these hypocrites must remember that if their actions deserve to be punished by God, no one shall be able to save them from His wrath;
‘He knows the hidden as well as the apparent, He is extremely Merciful’: These hypocrites must keep in mind that they may have apparently accepted the call of the messenger, yet God is fully aware of what their conspiring hearts hide. Nothing is hidden from God. However, if they turn back towards God, repent for their deeds and seek His forgiveness, they shall find Him extremely forgiving and merciful;
Once again the first part is repeated, indicating its basic and central significance in man’s relationship with the Lord;
‘The King, the Pure, the Source of Peace, the Protector, the Guard/Criterion, the Mighty, the Strong, the Superior’: He is the ‘King’ and the ‘Ruler’ of the worlds, therefore His representatives (prophets) and His laws should be followed; He is the Pure – clear of all blemish and wrong – and, therefore He wants man to cleanse and purify himself, it is for this purpose that He has sent down His guidance; He is the source of all Peace Tranquility – in the life of this world as well as the hereafter – by following His laws and guidance, man would be blessed with everlasting peace and tranquility; He is the only reliable Protector and true Refuge from evil, man should therefore, turn to God to protect himself from the attacks of Satan; He is the Criterion of right and wrong. His directives and prohibitions should, therefore, form man’s standards of behavior; He is the Mighty, the Strong, the Superior. Man should, therefore, remain extremely heedful not to ignore the call of His messenger and opting for himself a path, other than the one recommend by Him.
‘He is absolutely clear of what they ascribe as partners to Him’: This is once again a reiteration of point number 1 and 3;
‘He is the Founder, the Creator, the Designer’: No one helped Him in either planning His vast creations, nor in creating them or beautifying them. Even after observing the vast creations of God, man still remains skeptical of how would God bring about a Day of Judgment? Just as God planned, created and designed this creation the first time, He would have absolutely no problem in repeating His creation, when He so decides;
‘His are all good attributes’: These are only some of the attributes of God that the Qur’an has mentioned. Besides these attributes, man should remember that all the qualities that man knows to be ‘good’ are the qualities of God and He is absolutely clear of any such qualities, which man knows to be ‘bad’;
The stated attributes are, in fact, those which have a special relevance to the abhorrent attitude of the hypocrites, who were secretly conspiring against God’s representative on earth – the Prophet and Messenger of God.
I hope this helps.
November 14, 2001