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Al-A‘la Al-‘Aliyy Al-Muta‘āl (The Most High - the High - the Exalted)

If any disaster, distress, or serious problem hits us hard, our hearts turn to the Most High Lord, our hands are raised to the High God, and we look towards the sky waiting for relief from the High, the Most High, the Exalted Lord.

Our Lord is the High, the Most High, the Exalted. He says: {...And He is the High, the Magnificent.} [Surat al-Baqarah: 255] He also says: {Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High.} [Surat al-A‘la: 1] And He says: {[He is] Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Great, the Exalted.} [Surat ar-Ra‘d: 9]

Our Lord the High, the Most High, the Exalted, is higher than all. Indeed, absolute Highness from all aspects belongs to Him.

* He is High in His essence, as He is established above His Throne, distinct from His creation, and Exalted above all beings. {The Most Compassionate rose above the Throne.} [Surat Taha: 5]

* He is High in His status. Indeed, He is Exalted and possesses all attributes of perfection, beauty, and majesty. None of His creation has anything similar, equivalent, or close. His servants cannot even encompass one single attribute of His. {...And they do not encompass Him in knowledge.} [Surat Taha: 110]

* He is High in His vanquishing power. He vanquished everything, and all beings are humbly submissive to Him and subject to His authority, dominance, and majesty. {And He is the Vanquisher over His servants...} [Surat al-An‘ām: 18]

Above the heavens, and upon the Throne, He is High,

being separate and distinct from the whole creation.

He possesses perfect and sublime attributes.

All praise is due to Him.

Where is Allah?

The great Companion Mu‘āwiyah ibn al-Hakam al-Sulami (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “I had a bondmaid who tended my sheep by the side of Mount Uhud. One day, I happened to pass that way and found that a wolf had taken a goat from her flock. I am, after all, a man from the children of Adam and I felt sorry - angry - as they feel sorry. So, I slapped her.

I came to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and he informed me that what I did was something grievous. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, should I set her free?’ He said: ‘Bring her to me.’ So, I brought her to him. He said to her: ‘Where is Allah?’ She said: ‘In the heaven.’ He said: ‘Who am I?’ She said: ‘You are the Messenger of Allah.’ Thereupon, He said: ‘Set her free, for she is a believer.’” [Narrated by Muslim]

Saying that Allah is in the heaven means that He is Exalted above the heaven. The preposition “in” here actually means “on”, like the verse that says: {...And I will crucify you in the trunks of palm trees...} [Surat Taha: 71]. “In” in this verse also means “on” - on the trunks of palm trees. We should not have the mistaken idea that the heaven encompasses Allah Almighty. Indeed, He is far exalted and greater than being encompassed by anything of His creation.

Let us pause here for a while, dear readers. Is it permissible for us to describe Allah Almighty by the opposite of what He described Himself with, like Him being present everywhere?

In Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “Allah Almighty described Himself as the High and the Most High, which is an attribute of praise and exaltation because it is an attribute of perfection; just as He praised Himself as the Magnificent, the All-Knowing, the Omnipotent, the All-Mighty, the Forbearing, the Ever-Living, the All-Sustainer, etc.

So, it is not permissible to describe Him by the opposite of these attributes. For example, we may not ascribe to Him the opposite of highness, which is lowliness, or the opposite of strength, which is weakness.

Indeed, He is far exalted above such imperfections and deficiencies that contradict the attributes of perfection established for Him.”

Part of monotheism is to believe that Allah is High and Exalted above the heavens and truly established above the Throne

He is indeed above everything, and it could not be otherwise, as He is managing all the worlds.

Allah Almighty says: {Indeed, your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and earth in six days and then rose over the Throne...} [Surat al-A‘rāf: 54]

Allah Almighty mentions that Jibrīl (Gabriel) and the angels descend to earth. He says: {The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter.} [Surat al-Qadr: 4] Descent can only happen from a high place.

He also mentions that the angels ascend to Him: {The angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him during a Day the extent of which is fifty thousand years.} [Surat al-Ma‘ārij: 4]

Allah Almighty also mentions that pious acts and good speech ascend to Him. He says: {...To Him ascends good speech, and righteous work raises it...} [Surat Fātir: 10]

So, to whom the deeds are raised?

If Allah Almighty Himself were everywhere, why would there be sending down, descent and the like?!

Our Lord is far exalted above having anyone similar or equal to Him.

And He is far exalted above having a wife or children. {And that exalted is the nobleness of our Lord; He has not taken a wife or a son.} [Surat al-Jinn: 3]

Moreover, Allah Almighty is far exalted above having a partner in His divinity. {But when He gives them a good [child], they ascribe partners to Him concerning that which He has given them. Exalted is Allah above what they associate with Him.} [Surat al-A‘rāf: 190]

The path..

Whoever knows the meanings of the three names: (Al-‘Aliyy, Al-A‘la, Al-Muta‘āli) will realize that Allah Almighty is High by the attributes of perfection, Exalted above any defect or deficiency, and Higher than His creation.

Whoever grasps this fact, in terms of knowledge and servitude, will feel self-sufficient, honorable, and strong by his Lord. {And We raised him to a high station.} [Surat Maryam: 57]

High status, in both the worldly life and the Hereafter, can be attained by:

Faith: {But whoever comes to Him as a believer having done righteous deeds - for them there will be the highest degrees.} [Surat Taha: 75]

Knowledge: {...Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by ranks...} [ِSurat al-Mujādilah: 11]

Humility: The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) is authentically reported to have said: “None acts humbly for the sake of Allah except that Allah elevates him.” [Narrated by Muslim]

When one of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) asked companionship of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) in Paradise, he said to him: “Help me achieve this for you by frequent prostration.” [Narrated by Muslim] In prostration, we say: “Subhāna rabbiya al-A‘la (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High).” Allah Almighty says: {Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High.} [Surat al-A‘la: 1]

Commenting on this Dhikr in prostration, some said that it denotes the utmost submission and humility on the servant’s part through the noblest part in him, namely his face, as he puts it on dust. So, when he is at the lowest level, as required by prostration, it is appropriate for him to describe his Lord as the Most High.

Hence, prostration is the position in which a person is closest to the Almighty Lord. The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The closest the servant is to his Lord when his is in prostration. So, increase supplication (therein).” [Narrated by Muslim]

You have achieved your wish..

As it becomes known that the world and its affairs are managed by the Most High Lord in Whose hand the dominion of the heavens and the earth is, so you who are sick, the Healer is in the heaven; O you who are needy, the Self-Sufficient is in the heaven; O you who are sad, the One Who consoles hearts is in the heaven; O you who are sterile, the Bestower is in the heaven; O you who are in debt, the All-Provider is in the heaven; O you who are distressed, the One Who gives relief is in the heaven.

So, turn your face and heart towards the heaven and supplicate to your Lord, the Most High; and rejoice and be hopeful, for He says from above the seven heavens: {And when My servants ask you concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me, so that they may be [rightly] guided.} [Surat al-Baqarah: 186]

Praise be to You, the Owner of bounty, glory, and highness.

Blessed are You; You give and withhold from whomever You will.

My Lord, my sins are too many and great,

but Your pardon is greater and more vast.

My Lord, You see my condition and know my need and weakness.

And You know my secret talk and innermost thoughts.

My Lord, if You leave or exclude me,

for whom would I possibly hope, and who would intercede for me?

O Allah, we implore You by Your name “Al-A‘la” to elevate us in this world and in the Hereafter.