In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Reflection On Surah Al-Faatir
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ أَنتُمُ ٱلۡفُقَرَآءُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ وَٱللَّهُ هُوَ ٱلۡغَنِىُّ ٱلۡحَمِيدُ
O mankind! it is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise. [Surah al-Faatir. Aayah 15]
Allaah addresses all the people, informs them about their state of affairs and characteristics, that they are in need of Allaah in every way- in need of Allaah to bring them into existence, because they would not have existed if He did not bring them into existence.
They are in need of Allaah to give them physical strength, organs and limbs, which if they were not facilitated by Allaah for them, they would not have been able to perform any deed.
They are in need of Allaah to provide them with nourishment and provision, apparent blessings (i.e. Islamic Monotheism, and the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.) and hidden blessings (i.e. one faith in Allah (of Islamic Monotheism) knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise, etc). Had it not been that Allaah bestowed His bounty on them, treated them kindly and facilitated ease for them, they would not have received any provisions and blessing.
They are in need of Allaah to avert and repel hardship from them, remove distress and extreme hardship. Had Allaah not repelled this from them, relieve distress and remove hardship, it would have continued.
They are in need of Allaah to nurture them in various ways and take care of them. They are in need of turning to Him, loving Him, worship Him alone and direct acts of worship sincerely to Him alone. And if Allaah does not grant them the ability to do so, they will be destroyed, their souls and hearts would be corrupted as well as their affairs.
They are in need of Him to teach them that which they do not know and direct them to do that which contains their welfare. Had it not been that He has taught them, they would not have learnt, and it had not been for the knowhow and ability to act which He has granted them, their affairs would not have been upright.
They are in need of Allaah due to the very nature of their characteristics of dependence upon Him in every sense of the word and in every respect, whether they realise some of those different types of neediness or not. However, the one amongst them who is blessed with knowledge regarding this affair and acts accordingly – the one who does not cease to witness his neediness – in every situation – in his religious and worldly affairs, humbles himself to Allaah, asks Allaah not to abandon him to himself in the twinkling of an eye, aid him in all his affairs and recalls this affair at all times, this person is more worthy of being given complete assistance by his Lord and god (Allaah), who is more merciful to the human being than his mother.
[وَٱللَّهُ هُوَ ٱلۡغَنِىُّ ٱلۡحَمِيدُ – but Allah is Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise]- Meaning, the one who is absolutely self-sufficient in all ways, so neither is He in need of that which His creatures are in need of nor is He in need of that which the creation cannot do without, because of the perfection of His Attributes and due to the fact that they are all Attributes of perfection, and sublime (perfect) qualities (free from all deficiencies, faults, weaknesses).
And one of the affairs regarding Allaah’s self-sufficiency is that He suffices the creation in this worldly life and the Afterlife. He is [ٱلۡحَمِيدُ – Worthy of all praise]- Meaning, in His essence, and in His Names because they are perfect; and due to the fact that He has sublime Attributes and sublime Names (perfect and free from difficiences), because they are (Attributes, Names and Qualities) of generosity, kindness, justice, wisdom and mercy. And with regards to His commands and prohibitions, He is worthy of all praise due to that which is found in them and what results from them.
إِن يَشَأۡ يُذۡهِبۡڪُمۡ وَيَأۡتِ بِخَلۡقٍ۬ جَدِيدٍ۬
وَمَا ذَٲلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ بِعَزِيزٍ۬
وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ۬ وِزۡرَ أُخۡرَىٰۚ وَإِن تَدۡعُ مُثۡقَلَةٌ إِلَىٰ حِمۡلِهَا لَا يُحۡمَلۡ مِنۡهُ شَىۡءٌ۬ وَلَوۡ كَانَ ذَا قُرۡبَىٰٓۗ إِنَّمَا تُنذِرُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّہُم بِٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَأَقَامُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَۚ وَمَن تَزَكَّىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَتَزَكَّىٰ لِنَفۡسِهِۚۦ وَإِلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ
If He will, He could destroy you and bring about a new creation. And that is not hard for Allah. And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden, and if one heavily laden calls another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be lifted even though he be near of kin. You (O Muhammad) can warn only those who fear their Lord unseen, and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat). And he who purifies himself (from all kinds of sins), then he purifies only for the benefit of his ownself. And to Allah is the (final) Return (of all). [Surah Al-Faatir. Aayaat 16-18] [Ref 1]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: Allaah brought the servant out of his mother’s womb whilst he knew nothing, not able to do anything and owned nothing; neither able to give nor take; neither able to harm nor benefit. This state of neediness until he reached a more perfect state is something witnessed and tangible for everyone [to see], and i is well known that this is the very essence of the human being and he remains upon that state. He does not move from this state and enters into a state of Lordship – a state in which he becomes absolutely self-sufficient and not need of anyone and anything; rather he does not cease being a slave, a needy one to his Rabb [Allaah the Creator, All-Provider and the Only One Who Controls and Sustains Everything] and His Faatir [Allaah, The Originator and Creator of Everything].
However, after the human being was granted blessings, shown mercy, granted the means to reach a more perfect state, and Allaah -out of His Perfect Kindness and Generosity- granted him apparent blessings [i.e. to recognize the Messengers who were sent with Islamic Monotheism, granted him the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.] and the hidden blessings [i.e. granted him the innate disposition to recognize his Lord when the Messenger calls him to Eemaan, and granted him knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise, etc.], granted him hearing, sight and a heart, and taught him [i.e. gave him the means to knowledge], granted him ability, subjugated things to him, granted him [the desire and enthusiasm to pursue what is beneficial, and take action], enabled him to receive the service of those of his kind [i.e. gave him authority over other humans], subjugated to him horses and camels, gave him the ability to capture the animals in the sea, drop birds from the sky, subjugate wild animals, dig wells [irrigate water etc], plant trees, dig the earth, learn how to build, acquire the things that are of benefit to him, guard against and protect himself from that which is harmful to him; then the Miskeen [i.e. this absolutely poor, dependent human being] thinks that he has a share of authority and claims – for himself – a kingship [or authority] similar to that of Allaah [Glorified be Allaah and free is Allaah from all imperfections, partners, coequals, similarities etc], and begins to see himself in a manner other than what he was at first, forgets his [prior] state of non-existence, poverty and neediness, until he becomes as if he was not that poor and needy thing. [Ref 2]
Ref 1: An Excerpt From Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased
Ref 2: An Excerpt from Tareequl Hijratayn. pages 9-10. Slightly paraphrased