Thursday 7 May 2020

99 Attributes of Allah: Al Bāsiṭ - The Extender

Al Bāsiṭ  " الْبَاسِطُ " is the One who extends and expands the provisions (rizq), life and death.

The term Bāsiṭ is not specifically used as a Beautiful Name in the Qur'ān. Instead this attribute has been derived from the many qualities of Allah mentioned in the Qur'an. linguistically, "Al-Bāsiṭ" is from the root baa-seen-ta (b-s-t - bast) which means one who stretches his hand as a gesture of graciousness and good will to help others. And who else is more gracious and best helper than Allah Almighty for He alone extends his graciousness to everyone whether someone believes in Him or not.

اللَّهُ الَّذِي يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ فَتُثِيرُ سَحَابًا فَيَبْسُطُهُ فِي السَّمَاءِ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ وَيَجْعَلُهُ كِسَفًا فَتَرَى الْوَدْقَ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خِلَالِهِ ۖ فَإِذَا أَصَابَ بِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ ۝

"Allah is he Who sends forth the winds so they raise a cloud, then He spreads it forth in the sky as He pleases, and He breaks it up so that you see the rain coming forth from inside it; then when He causes it to fall upon whom He pleases of His servants, lo! they are joyful 

In the above quoted verse, from [Surat 30 Ar-Rūm: 48 (The Romans) - سورة الروم)], the attribute of Allah's graciousness is explained that it is He alone who raises the healthy clouds loaded with rain water and then spreads these to wherever He wants to turn the dead earth into life and grows life saving crops for man and animals. And we have seen that in one area it rains while the adjacent area is denied for it is He alone who knows how much is to be given and to whom.

In Surah ii Al Baqarah (The Cow), Allah exhibits this attribute of Him when He endowed His servant Saul (Talut), a mere thirty years old young man, with many intellectual and physical capacities so that he could rule over his people:

وَقَالَ لَهُمۡ نَبِيُّهُمۡ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ قَدۡ بَعَثَ لَـکُمۡ طَالُوۡتَ مَلِكًا ​ؕ قَالُوۡٓا اَنّٰى يَكُوۡنُ لَهُ الۡمُلۡكُ عَلَيۡنَا وَنَحۡنُ اَحَقُّ بِالۡمُلۡكِ مِنۡهُ وَلَمۡ يُؤۡتَ سَعَةً مِّنَ الۡمَالِ​ؕ قَالَ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ اصۡطَفٰٮهُ عَلَيۡکُمۡ وَزَادَهٗ بَسۡطَةً فِى الۡعِلۡمِ وَ الۡجِسۡمِ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ يُؤۡتِىۡ مُلۡکَهٗ مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيۡمٌ‏ 

And their Prophet said to them: “Indeed Allah has sent forth Saul (Talut) as your king.”269 They said: “By what right shall he rule over us when we are more worthy than he to dominion, for he is not very wealthy?” He said: “Allah has chosen him over you and has endowed him abundantly with both intellectual and physical capacities. Allah indeed has the power to bestow dominion upon whomsoever He wills. Allah is All-Resourceful, All- Knowing.”

It may be noted that Allah, the Al Bāsiṭ  is always helping His servants and extending as much help that one may require, He sometimes also withholds His blessings as a test or as a punishment as has been said in the following 245th verse of Surah ii Al Baqarah (The Cow):

مَنۡ ذَا الَّذِىۡ يُقۡرِضُ اللّٰهَ قَرۡضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضٰعِفَهٗ لَهٗۤ اَضۡعَافًا کَثِيۡرَةً  ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ يَقۡبِضُ وَيَبۡصُۜطُ وَ اِلَيۡهِ تُرۡجَعُوۡنَ‏ 

Who of you will lend Allah a goodly loan which He will return after multiplying it for him manifold? For Allah has the power both to decrease and increase, and to Him will you be returned. 

In the verse above two attributes of Allah have been mentioned: Al Qābid (The With holder) and Al Bāsiṭ (The Extender). Thus these two attributes are opposite to each other. Allah usually and most of the time is at the giving end in Extending His countless bounties to His servants. If we look around, we will fail to count the bounties and blessings of Allah there are which have been laid out and extended to us.

But there are times, when as a test or as a punishment Allah With Holds His blessings and men become helpless and falls at mercy of his Creator. These are times of extreme weather, famine, drought and extreme floods and Tsunamis which sweep away lands and vegetation leaving behind lifeless stretches, devolving man of His blessings.

The Arabic lexicon and commentary Tāj al-'Arūs, as interpreted by E.W. Lane, says:
Qabd [Qābid] and Bast [Bāsit] are terms applied by the investigators of truth among the Sūfīs to the two contrary states of the heart, from both of which it is seldom or never free: the former being an affection of the heart withholding it from dilation and joy; whether the cause thereof be known, as the remembrance of a sin or an offense, or of an omission, or be not known...
We will talk more about the attribute Al Qābid (The With holder) in one of our next posts.

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

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran

Photo | References1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

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