Tuesday 10 September 2019

99 Attributes of Allah: Al-Wasi - The All Embracing, The All Encompassing

Al-Wasi‘ "ٱلْوَٰسِعُ" - The All-Embracing, The Boundless, is  an all encompassing attribute of Allah. 
وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ 

"And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah . Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing." (Al Quran, Surah Al Baqarah 2:115).

Allah the Almighty is not confined to any particular place or direction. indeed all places and directions are His. Or in other words, Allah' realm is boundless and so is His vision and the range of His benevolence and mercy. Moreover, God's knowledge is all-embracing. He knows who remembers Him, as well as where, when and why he does that.

Allah, the Al-Wasi‘ , is everywhere and He cannot be contained in space. Al-Ghazali stated that “Al-Wasi‘ —the Vast—derives from expansiveness, and expansiveness is sometimes linked to knowledge, when it extends to and comprehends a multitude of objects; and at other times it is linked to charity and widespread blessings, extending as far as possible to whatever they descend upon”.

In the above verse, two attributes of Allah have been mentioned: Al-Wasi‘ "ٱلْوَٰسِعُ" and Al Alim "عَلِيمٌ". For the attribute Al Alim, please visit our earlier post here.

The  attribute Al-Wasi’ appears nine times in the Holy Qur'an to express the boundless magnificence of Allah.  Nothing is beyond Him, and there are no limits to any of His attributes. For Allah is beyond any limits and encompasses the whole of creation with His blessings, care, and kindness. He is All Sufficient and is sufficient for all.

اَلشَّيۡطٰنُ يَعِدُكُمُ الۡـفَقۡرَ وَيَاۡمُرُكُمۡ بِالۡفَحۡشَآءِ​ ۚ وَاللّٰهُ يَعِدُكُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَةً مِّنۡهُ وَفَضۡلًا ؕ وَاللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيۡمٌۚ  ۙۖ‏

"Satan frightens you with poverty and bids you to commit indecency whereas Allah promises you His forgiveness and bounty. Allah is Munificent, All-Knowing." (Al Quran, Surah Al Baqarah 2: 268)

The verse above amply highlight the Munificent of Allah and is very reassuring for those who unnecessarily get scared by the machinations of the Satan who frightens them with shortage of means of living and provokes them to adopt the path of malpractices and indecency to earn the Haram wealth. Allah on the other hands reassures the believers that those who walked the way of Satan will be forgiven, if they earnestly seek Allah's forgiveness and will be given much more than has been in their dreams for Allah's forgiveness and bounty is boundless. He sure is the One who is vast without limit and has limitless capacity and abundance.

"They also say among themselves: 'Do not follow anyone except him who follows your faith.' Say: 'Surely true guidance is Allah's. It is His favour that anyone should be given the like of what you have been given in the past, and that others should have been given firm evidence to proffer against you before your Lord.' Say: 'Surely bounty is in the Hand of Allah; He gives it to whom He wills. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing." (Al Quran, Surah 3. Al-i'Imran: 73)
Al-Waasi` comes from the root w-s-` (و-س-ع), and it is the opposite of constriction and difficulty. It carries three main meanings. The first meaning is that of being vast, sufficient in capacity or size, and spacious. The second main meaning of this root is to be plentiful and bountiful. The third is to embrace, comprehend, and pervade.

When we see the universe through the Hubble Telescope, we are spellbound to see the fathomless and boundless universe. And if the universes cannot be measured and its extents defined, our mind simply can’t grasp the boundlessness of Allah's might and power. That also means that He, the Al-Wasi’ is far more Encompassing than the bounds of the universe to sustain and master the movement and life of billions of galaxies and trillions and trillions of stars.

The Holy Quran has indicated that Allah's knowledge is vast and endless: 
"And his people disputed with him. He said: Do you dispute with me regarding Allah, and He has, indeed, guided me? And I do not fear in any way those that you set up with Him unless my Lord pleases; my Lord comprehends all things in His knowledge; will you not then mind" (Al Quran, Surah al-Ana`m 6:80).
In Surah Al A'raf 7:156, Allah says (part of the whole verse quoted):

 قَالَ عَذَابِىۡۤ اُصِيۡبُ بِهٖ مَنۡ اَشَآءُ​ ۚ وَرَحۡمَتِىۡ وَسِعَتۡ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ​ ؕ

I afflict whomsoever I wish with My chastisement. As for My mercy, it encompasses everything.

In the verse above, the word used here for ‘encompasses’ is from the same root of Allah’s attribute Al-Waasi`. His mercy encompasses everything. So remember Allah, when you sin or in distress. Ask His boundless forgiveness and vastness of bounties, for it is only He Who can redress your grievances and come to your rescue. No wordly deities can be any help to you. Only if we can understand !!

What do we learn from this attribute of Allah? Well to my reckoning, if we expect boundless bounties from allah, which we surely do not deserve, then we must also be ever giving if someone asks for help or mentary assistance. If Allah grants increases His blessings on us, we must resiprocate and give more to others, less blessed than ourselves.

You may refer to our post "99 Attributes of Allah" for complete list of 99 attributes of Allah Almighty with meaning and explanation.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
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