Sura Al-Ala (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-02

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Pronounce the purity of the name of your Most Exalted Lord, [1] who created (everything), then made (it) well, [2] and who determined a measure (for everything),then guided (it),[3] and who brought forth pasturage, [4] then turned it into blackening stubble. [5] We will make you recite, then you will not forget [6] except that which Allah wills. Indeed He knows what is manifest and what is hidden. [7] And We will facilitate for you (to reach) the easiest way. [8] So, extend advice (to people) if advice is useful. [9] The one who fears (Allah) will take to the advice, [10] and it will be avoided by the most wretched [11] who will enter the Biggest Fire, [12] then he will neither die therein, nor live (a life worth mentioning). [13] Success is surely achieved by him who purifies himself, [14] and pronounces the name of his Lord, then offers prayer. [15] But you prefer the worldly life, [16] while the Hereafter is much better and much more durable. [17] Indeed this is (written) in the earlier divine scripts, [18] the scripts of Ibrahim and Musa. [19].

Commentary
Ruling [1]
Scholars have ruled that when anyone recites the verse: سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى (Pronounce the purity of the name of your most exalted Lord...87:1) it is commendable to say:

سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى
'I pronounce the purity of my most exalted Lord.'

This was the practice of all the noble Companions, like Sayyidna 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn 'Umar, Ibn Zubair, Abu Musa and 'Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud رضي الله عنهم اجمعين. Whenever they started reciting the Surah, they would recite:

سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى
'I pronounce the purity of my most exalted Lord.' [Qurtubi].

It should be noted that the desirability of reciting this is outside of the prayer.

Ruling [2]
Sayyidna 'Uqbah Ibn 'Amir Al-Juhani رضي الله عنه narrates that when the Surah Al-A'la was revealed, the Holy Prophet (SM) instructed:

'Say this (Subhgna Rabbiyal-A'la) in your sujud [prostrations]'

سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى (Pronounce the purity of the name of your Most exalted Lord.) The word tasbih means 'to pronounce the purity' and سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ signifies to 'honour the name of your Lord'. When the name of Allah is pronounced, it should be done with utmost humility and respect.

His name should be kept pure and free from anything that is unbecoming to His sublime status.Allah should be called by the names He Himself has stated or taught the Holy Prophet (SM). It is not permitted to call Him by any other name.

Ruling [3]
Besides,it is also included in the above imperative that there are some names exclusively meant for Allah; calling human beings or any other creation by those specific names is contrary to declaring the purity of Allah. Therefore, it is not permissible. [Qurtubi]. Nowadays, people are not particular about names like 'Abdur Rahman, 'Abdur-Razzaq, 'Abdul Ghaffar and 'Abdul Quddus. They call the persons bearing these names 'Rahman', 'Razzaq', 'Ghafar', 'Quddus' and so on, for short. People have got into the habit of shortening such names without realising that the speakers as well as the listeners are committing a sin. People commit this joyless sin day and night without any reason.

Some commentators interpret the word 'ism' does not mean 'name' in this verse. Instead, they say, it is referring to the Dhat or the 'Being' of Allah. According to the Arabic expressions, this interpretation is not unlikely, and the Qur'an has used the word 'ism' in that sense also. The Hadith that instructs us to recite the tasbih in sajdah [prostration] is not "I pronounce the purity of the name of my most exalted Lord, but "I pronounce the purity of my most exalted Lord". This indicates that in this context 'ism' is not used in the sense of 'name' but it refers to the Being of Allah Himself. [Qurtubi].

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