الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيم The All-Mighty, the All-Wise
Allah, the One and Only God, is the All-Mighty and the All-Wise. He is not only the All-Mighty and All-Wise, but the truth is that He alone is AII-Mighty and All-Wise. The Arabic word 'Aziz signifies a mighty and powerful Being Whose decrees cannot be prevented by any power in the world from being enforced, Whom no one can oppose and resist, Who has to be obeyed by every one whether one likes it or not, Whose rebel cannot escape His accountability and punishment in any way; and Hakim signifies that whatever He does He does it wisely. His creation, His administration and rule, His commands and guidance, all are based on wisdom. None of His works is tarnished by any trace of folly or ignorance.
There is another fine point here, which one should fully understand. Seldom in the Qur'an has Allah's attribute of `Aziz (AII-Mighty) been accompanied by His attributes of being Qawi (Strong), Mugtadir(Powerful), Jabber (Omnipotent), Dhuntiqam (Avenger) and the like, which only signify His absolute power, and this has been so only in places where the context demanded that the wicked and disobedient be warned of Allah's relentless punishment. Apart from such few places, wherever the word 'Aziz has been used for Allah, it has everywhere been accompanied by one or other of His attributes of being Hakim (Wise), Alim (Knower), Rahim (Merciful), Ghafur (Forgiving), Wahhab (Generous) and Hamid (Praiseworthy). The reason is that if a being who wields un-limited power is at the same time foolish, ignorant, un-forgiving as well as stingy and devoid of character, its power and authority cannot but lead to injustice and wickedness. Thus, wherever injustice and wickedness is being committed in the world, it is only because the one who wields authority over others, is either using his power un-wisely and foolishly, or he is merciless and hardhearted, or evil-minded and wicked. Wherever power is coupled with these evil traits of character, no good can be expected to result. That is why in the Holy Qur'an Allah's attribute of `Aziz has necessarily been accompanied by His attributes of being All-Wise and Knowing, Compassionate and Forgiving, Praiseworthy and Generous, so that man may know that the God Who is ruling this universe has, on the one hand, such absolute power that no one, from the earth to the heavens, can prevent His decrees from being enforced, but, on the other, He is also AlI-Wise: His each decision is based on perfect wisdom; He is also AII-Knowing whatever decision He makes, it is precisely according to knowledge; He is also Compassionate: He does not use infinite power mercilessly; He is Forgiving as well: He does not punish His creatures for trifling faults, but overlooks their errors; He is also Generous: He does not treat His subjects stingily, but liberally and benevolently; and He is also Praiseworthy: He combines in Himself all praiseworthy virtues and excellences.
The full importance of this statement of the Qur'an can be better understood by those people who are aware of the discussions of the philosophy of politics and law on the question of sovereignty. Sovereignty connotes that the one who possesses it should wield un-limited power: there should be no internal and external power to change or modify his decision or prevent it from being enforced, and none should have any alternative but to obey him. At the mere concept of this infinite and un-limited power, man's common-sense necessarily demands that whoever attains to such power, should be faultless and perfect in knowledge and wisdom, for if the one holding this power is ignorant, merciless and evil, his sovereignty will inevitably lead to wickedness and corurption. That is why the philosophers who regarded a single man, or a man-made institution, or an assembly of men as the holder of this power, have had to presume that he or it would be infallible. But obviously, neither can unlimited sovereignty be actually attained by a human power, nor is it possible for a king, or a parliament, or a nation, or a party that it may use the sovereignty attained by it in a limited circle faultlessly and harmlessly. The reason is that the wisdom that is wholly free of every trace of folly, and the knowledge that fully comprehends all the related truths, is not at all possessed even by entire mankind, not to speak of its being attained by an individual, or an institution, or a nation. Likewise, as long as man is man, his being wholly free of and above selfishness, sensuality, fear, greed, desires, prejudice and sentimental love, anger and hate is also not possible. If a person ponders over these truths, he will realize that the Qur'an is indeed presenting here a correct and perfect view of sovereignty. It says that no one except Allah in this universe is possessor of absolute power, and with this unlimited power He alone is faultless, All-Wise and All-Knowing, Compassionate and Forgiving, and Praiseworthy and Generous in His dealings with His subjects. (Tafheemul Quran)
Compiled by Ishaq Zahid
Oct. 27, 2007