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God's Essence - In Dua SabaaH

Q:

What is the meaning of  يا من دل على ذاته بذاته (Ya man dalla 'alaa dhaatihi bidhaatih) in dua
Sabah?

 

A:

 

يا من دل على ذاته بذاته (Ya man dalla 'alaa dhaatihi bidhaatih)

"O He who indicated towards His Essence by His Essence"

God is unlimited and therefore cannot be known in the true meaning of knowing which
is to comprehend something by encompassing it. That is that God's Essence cannot be
known and we have a lot of Ahadith explaining this issue. Rather what is understood
of God is what can be comprehended by man is His manifestation of creation. Those
that make a hard separation between God and His creation say that only other than
God can be understood. This leaves God detached from his creation.The other extreme
is to say that God is His creation and this is also unacceptable as His creation is
full of deficiency and He is perfect. So His creation indicates towards His Essence
but that creation is not completely detached from Him while He is not limited by His
creation.

What does it mean when we say that His Essence is unlimited? It means that nothing
falls outside of His Essence. Rather everything is a manifestation of His Essence
without His Essence being limited by that manifestation. So it is nothing other than
His Essence that indicates towards His Essence. But understand that it is not a
literal statement. It is the limited Essence indicating towards the unlimited Essence
as nothing falls outside of the Essence. But that does not mean that everything is
God in a pantheistic sense.

In short this is one of the most intricate phrases
concerning tawhid. This is perhaps why the next phrase in the Dua restresses the
importance of Gods detachment from His creatures 

Zoheir Ali Ismail