He is The Self-Sufficient, completely and unrestrictedly. He has absolutely no deficiency of any kind. Self-sufficiency is from the necessary consequences of His Essence; He is not in need of anything or anyone. He is The Self-Sufficient in Whose hands lie the treasures of the heavens and the earth, and the treasures of this life and the Hereafter. He suffices for the whole of His creation generally and is especially sufficient for the believers in that He confers upon their hearts nurturing knowledge and the realities of faith. (1)
قال الله تعالى: لَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللهَ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ
To Allah belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth. Verily, Allah, He is Al-Ghaniyyy (The Rich, free of all wants), The Worthy of all praise.
Surah Luqman [31: 26]
The Name of Allah Al-Ghaniyy is related closely to the divinity of Allah; Our ilaah (God), has to be Al-Ghaniyy, The Self-Sufficient and The All-Rich. He does not need anyone to help Him nor assist Him in the creation, nor in preserving and providing for His creatures.
This provision and sustaining to keep the heavens from falling on us, for example, or to keep the sun and the moon in their correct positions in the universe; All of these precise movements that occur, including the protection and preservation, Allah performs alone, without the need of anyone. He requires no helpers or associates, and that is why Allah, alone, deserves to be worshipped.
The richness of Allah has two meanings:
- The first is The One Who is free from any needs. Linguistically “Ghaniyy”, (rich) means that you are free from any need, want or desire; that you do not need anyone, and do not desire or seek benefit or support from anyone whatsoever, from any angle.
- The second meaning of Al-Ghaniyy is that Allah owns the treasures of the heavens and the earth. Allah owns every single thing and what He owns is unlimited. He can create anything by just saying, “Be!” and it will be. Allah’s richness has no limits, He has vast richness; more than any mind can grasp, Glorified is He.
Allah’s name Al-Ghaniyy was mentioned many times in the Quran, and it has a beautiful meaning in every verse. For example in Surah Al-An’am, Allah says:
قال الله تعالى: وَرَبُّكَ الْغَنِيُّ ذُو الرَّحْمَةِ ۚ إِن يَشَأْ يُذْهِبْكُمْ وَيَسْتَخْلِفْ مِن بَعْدِكُم مَّا يَشَاءُ كَمَا أَنشَأَكُم مِّن ذُرِّيَّةِ قَوْمٍ آخَرِينَ
And your Lord is The Rich (Free of all wants), full of Mercy, if He wills, He can destroy you, and in your place make whom He will as your successors, as He raised you from the seed of other people.
Surah Al-An’am [6: 133]
In this verse Allah invites His slaves to believe in Him and to worship Him alone. However, what we need to contemplate is this; does Allah actually need our worship? Does He need our prayers and charitable acts? The answer is very clearly, no! Allah is free from All needs. That is why Allah combined two of His Names in this verse; The Self-Sufficient and The Merciful, which means that Allah is inviting us to believe in Him out of His mercy, because Allah loves to treat us with His mercy and loves to reward us. Allah loves our repentance out of His mercy and not out of His need.
To understand this I will give an example:
If your son or spouse abandoned you for some reason and then returned to you, you would, as a result, be extremely happy because you need them; their companionship and their support. But Allah, on the other hand, is in no need of anyone. He does not want anything from us; His happiness with our repentance is merely out of His mercy.
قال الله تعالى: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَنتُمُ الْفُقَرَاء إِلَى اللهِ وَاللهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ ، إِن يَشَأْ يُذْهِبْكُمْ وَيَأْتِ بِخَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ ، وَمَا ذَلِكَ عَلَى اللهِ بِعَزِيزٍ
O mankind! it is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is The Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise. If He wills, He could destroy you and bring about a new creation. And that is not hard for Allah.
Surah Fatir [35: 15-17]
We need Allah, but Allah is Al-Ghaniyy, The All-Rich (all praise to Him), He is in no need of your worship, He is in no need of your your charity or your prayers. Does Allah need our striving against His enemies? No! Allah can destroy His enemies; indeed He can destroy all that is on this Earth, not only His Enemies, but every single one of us, and bring about another creation.
And thus accordingly, when you call people to Allah, to Islam, you need to know whom you are calling to. You are making dawah (calling) to Al-Ghaniyy. If all the people on the earth became good Muslims, this would not affect His Dominion, it would not increase His Kingdom. And if all the people on this earth disbelieved in Him, it would not diminish His Dominion in any way at all. Allah does not need you to be a Muslim, but you need to be a Muslim; you need to be a good slave to Allah.
Because Allah is The All-Rich, He does not benefit from those who spend for His sake, even if they were to spend millions. In the same way, people who are miserly and refrain from spending for Allah’s sake will not harm Him in any way.
قال الله تعالى: هَاأَنتُمْ هَؤُلَاء تُدْعَوْنَ لِتُنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ فَمِنكُم مَّن يَبْخَلُ وَمَن يَبْخَلْ فَإِنَّمَا يَبْخَلُ عَن نَّفْسِهِ وَاللهُ الْغَنِيُّ وَأَنتُمُ الْفُقَرَاء وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْماً غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوا أَمْثَالَكُمْ
Behold! You are those who are called to spend in the cause of Allah, yet among you are some who are niggardly. And whoever is niggardly, it is only at the expense of his ownself. But Allah is The Rich (Free of all wants), and you (mankind) are poor. And if you turn away (from Islam and the obedience of Allah), He will exchange you for some other people, and they will not be your likes.
Surah Muhammad [47: 38]
If you are miserly, withholding your money, you are, in reality, keeping good from your own self. You are preventing the benefit coming to you and as a result are depriving only yourself. Allah is Al-Ghaniyy, The All-Rich, but you are in need of Allah. You need His reward, you need His provision, you need Allah in every facet of your life. If you turn away from Allah and do not abide to Allah’s religion, He will surely replace you with a new people, and they will not be ungrateful like you.
Allah ordered us to spend for His sake from the pure and good money we have earned as well as from what Allah has allowed us to harvest from the earth. Do not choose the worst of your earnings or crops to give to those in need (for example almost rotten fruits or vegetables). Do not give them what you yourself would not accept unless your eyes were closed to avoid seeing the defect in it. Beware for Whom’s sake you are spending! You are spending for the Sake of Al-Ghaniyy, The All-Rich. Allah does not make it obligatory that you spend and give away the best of what you own, but at least what you give should be in good condition.
قال الله تعالى: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْفِقُوا مِنْ طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُمْ مِنَ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُوا الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنْفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُمْ بِآخِذِيهِ إِلَّا أَنْ تُغْمِضُوا فِيهِ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ
O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is rich (free of all wants), and Worthy of all praise.
Surah Al-Baqarah [2: 267]
From Allah’s richness is that He has no defects. He has no deficiency and He needs no one. This is why those who claim that Allah has a son, have given a great insult to Him. Allah does not need the company of anyone and no one resembles Him in any way. Allah is free from taking a wife and thus the very word (that Allah has son) is considered an insult to Allah. The perfection of Allah denies this.
قال الله تعالى: قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللهُ وَلَدًا ۗ سُبْحَانَهُ ۖ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ ۖ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ إِنْ عِنْدَكُمْ مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ بِهَٰذَا ۚ أَتَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
They (Jews, Christians and pagans) say: “Allah has begotten a son (children).” Glory be to Him! He is The Most Rich (free of all wants). His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. No warrant you have for this. Do you say against Allah what you know not.
Surah Yunus [10: 68]
Glorified is Allah, Al-Ghaniyy, He is in no need of a partner, and has no associates. How can we compare The Lord, The Creator, to any creature? How can we compare The All-Rich, The Self-Sufficient, The Sustainer, The All-Powerful, The One Who owns the heavens and the earth, with a creature who is weak in every way, needy in every way, who owns nothing and cannot benefit even his own self?
قال الله تعالى: لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ ۚ قُلْ فَمَنْ يَمْلِكُ مِنَ اللهِ شَيْئًا إِنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُهْلِكَ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ وَمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۚ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Surely, in disbelief are they who say that Allah is the Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary). Say (O Muhammad): “Who then has the least power against Allah, if He were to destroy Al-Massih (the Messiah), son of Maryam (Mary), his mother, and all those who are on the earth together?” And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them. He creates what He wills. And Allah is able to do all things.
Surah al-Maidah [5: 17]
From the perfection of His richness is that all the treasures of the heavens and the earth are in His hands alone. “Treasures” here are not limited to money. Rather, He has treasures of provisions, mercy, knowledge, happiness, health, strength and more; the list is endless. All the treasures are in the hands of Allah Alone and all praise is due to Him [alhamdulillah] for all these treasures, Al-Ghaniyy (The All-Rich), because He is The Most Generous, The Bestower of Bounties, The Merciful. He likes to be asked and likes to give. For Him giving is preferred over depriving, He loves to respond to us. His treasures are never reduced in quantity no matter how much He gives to us. The perfection and vastness of this richness shows clearly in the fact that Allah invites us to ask Him, and also in the way in which Allah rewards those who supplicate to Him!
Now that you know that Allah is The All-Rich and that His treasures and creations are endless, know Allah told us that He has prepared Paradise for His believers. Just imagine this! Allah is the All-Beautiful, The Creator of beauty, so imagine how beautiful His Paradise will be! If you were invited to a resort owned by a king, what would you expect? A private island, motor boats, a private jet, gardens and greenery, delicious food and drinks and much more. In anticipation you would imagine and dream of the pleasures waiting for you.Yet you must keep in mind that this king is just a poor slave of Allah, he does not provide for himself and his resources are extremely limited. What about the Paradise which Allah has prepared for His believers? Have you ever felt the yearning and desire for Paradise? We need to trigger our desire for the Paradise, our yearning for it, and we therefore need to resist the trials of the worldly pleasures and focus on our great aim which is to attain Allah’s pleasure and entering Paradise.
قال الله تعالى: إِنَّمَا يُؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهَا خَرُّوا سُجَّدًا وَسَبَّحُوا بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ ، تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ، فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّا أُخْفِيَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ، أَفَمَن كَانَ مُؤْمِنًا كَمَن كَانَ فَاسِقًا ۚ لَّا يَسْتَوُونَ، أَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ الْمَأْوَىٰ نُزُلًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ، وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فَسَقُوا فَمَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ ۖ كُلَّمَا أَرَادُوا أَن يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا أُعِيدُوا فِيهَا وَقِيلَ لَهُمْ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ النَّارِ الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ
Only those believe in Our ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), who, when they are reminded of them fall down prostrate, and glorify the praises of their Lord, and they are not proud. Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allah’s cause) out of what We have bestowed on them. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do. Is then he who is a believer like him who is fasiq (disbeliever and disobedient to Allah)? Not equal are they. As for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah, Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, for them are Gardens (Paradise) as an entertainment, for what they used to do. And as for those who are fasiqun (disbelievers and disobedient to Allah), their abode will be the Fire, every time they wish to get away therefrom, they will be put back thereto, and it will be said to them: “Taste you the torment of the Fire which you used to deny.
Surah As-Sajdah [32: 16-20]
Allah said regarding Paradise that no one can truly imagine the pleasures, joy and beauty of it. He has kept the reality of it hidden, but it awaits you if you but believe in Him. So now let us question ourselves; do we really believe in Allah’s promise? Yes, perhaps we know that Allah’s promise is true and yet the effect of our belief in this is not apparent upon ourselves or in our lives. Why are we not eager to attain Paradise?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said,
If you want to know whether you are successful or not, and if you understand the truth about this life or about yourself, then it is according to two pillars of knowledge:
The first pillar is that you must truly know yourself and realize your weakness and your dire need to Allah, while the second pillar is to know about Allah and truly comprehend His vast power, knowledge and might.” (2)
You need to know your limitations and weaknesses. If you were to look at yourself and see that you have been blessed with health, or being in the company of those who love and support you then do not ever think, “That’s it, I have everything I need”. No, do not be fooled by this health you have or the strength you are now enjoying by the Grace of Allah. One microbe, one tiny microbe which is not even seen by the naked eye, is all it takes to affect your health greatly. Indeed, it can destroy you if Allah wills. Think about the amount of pain you suffer from even a tiny abscess on your tooth and the amount of pain you can suffer due to it. Imagine, even a tiny insect can cause you tremendous pain! You are nothing but truly helpless, you cannot stop neither harm nor pain.
We are always in need of Allah while Allah, is the All-Powerful, All- Knowledgeable, The Sustainer, The All-Rich, in need of no one. So know yourself and know Allah.
Moreover, if you understand this you can enjoy being a slave of Allah, glorified is Allah. Now you can actualise true submission, acknowledging that you are in dire need of Allah.
We need to be obedient slaves to Allah but Allah does not need anyone, He does not need our worship. Accordingly, if you do any act of obedience do not think you are doing Allah a favor. If you accept Islam never think that you have done Allah a favour, rather,
Allah is The One Who has granted you the biggest favour by guiding you to Islam. We need to understand this and make it a reality in our lives.
قال الله تعالى: يَمُنُّونَ عَلَيْكَ أَنْ أَسْلَمُوا قُلْ لا تَمُنُّوا عَلَيَّ إِسْلامَكُمْ بَلِ اللهُ يَمُنُّ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ هَدَاكُمْ لِلإِيمَانِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
They regard as favour upon you (O Muhammad) that they have embraced Islam. Say: “Count not your Islam as a favour upon me. Nay, but Allah has conferred a favour upon you, that He has guided you to the Faith, if you indeed are true.
Surah Hujurat [49: 17]
Once you have this understanding and realization of your true essence, only then shall you begin to accomplish what you have been created for and act according to your true purpose in life with true submission, reliance, faith, love, hope and fear.
Above is a transcription of a class given by teacher Zaynab El-Kateb, based on the book Fiqh Al-Asmaa Al-Husnaa by Shaikh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-Badr.
1- Explanation of Allah’s names by Imam Nassir As-Saadi
2- Tareeq Al Hijrateyn – Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim طريق الهجرتين