Allah calls Himself Al-‘Aliy— The Most High, The Exalted — on eight occasions in the Quran. He’s the One Whose loftiness is both in His essence and in His attributes. Al-‘Aliy is above any imperfections, above the ‘Arsh (throne). Our minds are at a loss regarding His greatness and our intellect is incapable of conceiving His perfection!
The Most High, the One Above Everyone and Everything
Aliy comes from the root ayn-laam-waaw, which points to four main meanings. The first is to be high, lofty, and exalted and to ascend. The second main meaning is to overcome and overwhelm and the third to advance and exceed. The fourth main meaning is to be eminent.
This root appears 70 times in the Quran in fourteen derived forms. Examples of these forms are ta’aalaa (exalted is He), ta’aalaw (come), ista’laa (overcome), ‘uluwwan (haughtiness), and ‘illiyeen.
Linguistically, ‘uloow points to the attribute of loftiness, and a person is ‘alee when he is prominent. Al-‘Aliy, under whose control everything in existence is, is the Most High.
Al-‘Aliy Himself said: He is the Most High, the Great [Quran, 2:255] . . . judgment belongs to Allah, the High, the Great [Quran, 40:12], and … the Great, the Most High [Quran, 13:9].
Surah Al ‘Alaa– Your Lord, The Most High
Al-Musabbihaat are the surahs in the Quran that begin with the declaration (sabbaha) of the perfection of Allah. Of the musabbihaat, Surah Al-‘Alaa is the most beloved to the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He loved to recite this specific surah in every single Jumuah prayer and in both of the Eid prayers.
The first ayah is: sabbi hisma Rabbikal’alaa – Exalt the name of your Lord, the Most High. There are many narrations of the companions radiyallahu ‘anhum, including those of ‘Ali, that whenever the Prophet heard this ayah he would say: Subhana Rabbi al-‘Alaa, Subhana Rabbi al’A’laa (Glory to my Lord, the Most High). When this first ayah was revealed the Prophet said: Put it in your sujood. Thus in every sujood of our prayer we use this version of Rabb (Lord), by saying: Subhana Rabbi, al ‘Alaa.
The rising of good deeds
Our good words and deeds rise up through the heavens to Allah Al-‘Aliy. The Messenger of Allah said: Those who remember Allah and glory Allah by saying, Glory be to Allah, Allah is most Great, all praise is due to Allah and La ilaha illallah, these words go around the Throne buzzing like bees, mentioning those who said them. Would one of you not like to have something with Allah mentioning him? [Ahmad, Ibn Majah]
Ali bin Abi Talib reported that Ibn Abbas said: The good word is the remembrance of Allah, may He be exalted, which is taken up to Allah, and the righteous deed is the performance of obligatory duties. Whoever remembers Allah when doing an obligatory duty, his deed carries his remembrance of Allah and takes it up to Allah, may He be exalted. Whoever remembers Allah and does not perform the obligatory duties, his words will be rejected, as will his deed. [Tafsir Ibn Katheer]
So remember— words and actions!
How Can You Live by This Name?
1. Be humble.
Among the good manners adorning a believer is submission before the glory of Al-‘Aliy. Train yourself to submit to Him, and place no one or nothing above Him in your daily life. Fight your desires and train yourself to show patience and gratitude in all situations to please Al-‘Aliy. The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: Whoever humbles himself before Allah, Allah will elevate him. [Muslim]
2. Increase your sujood.
When are we closest to the highest? When we are in sujood, the lowest position we can be in! The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught us: Prostrate much because there is no Muslim that prostrates to Allah except that Allah raises him one degree in Paradise by it and forgives for him a sin. [Ahmad] The more you prostrate, the more you raise your ranks in paradise insha’Allah, until you reach the highest level, Jannat Al-Firdaws (Paradise). This is where the Prophet will be. And the roof of this particular level is the throne of Al-‘Aliy!
Make sure you don’t just prostrate with your body, but also with a heart full of humility.
3. Have many good deeds rising to Al-‘Aliy.
Say a lot of subhanAllah, alhamdulillah, Allahu akbar, and la ilaha illAllah combined with your obligatory deeds.
4. Make use of the third part of the night.
Al-‘Aliy descends to the lowest heaven each night; make use of this time to ask, ask, and ask. The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him? [Al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]
5. Call upon Al-‘Aliy.
Call upon Al-‘Aliy, using this beautiful name in your dua’, and ask Him with the highest aspirations for the highest Paradise without reckoning!
6. Say subhanahu wa ta’alaa.
Make it a habit to say ‘subhanahu wa ta’alaa’ (glorified and exalted is He) when you mention Allah.
O Allah, Al-‘Aliy, we know that You are far above any imperfection. Help us to be humble, to fight our desires, and to never place anyone or anything above You. Make us increase our sujood with body and heart. Accept our good words and deeds and aid us to pray to you night and day. Elevate our ranks until we reach the highest Paradise, ameen!
And Allah knows best.
The Understand Quran Academy Team
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