The ‘Beautiful Names of Allah’ Exhibition
A rare excerpt from my diary of Hajj 2014
Friday, 26th September 2014 I visited the Names of Allāh Exhibition in Al-Madīnah Al-Munawwarah after Maghrib.
At the exhibition, there were displays of the names of Allāh, their meanings and āyāt in which they were mentioned. There was also a scientific twist to them, with facts, video clips and big posters highlighting the greatness of Allāh through His Beautiful names.
A few parts stood out for me: 1. There was a wall covered with a huge picture of the universe. Towards the right, there was a scientific fact stating how many light years wide the universe was. Then at the top, was the āyah:
أَوَلَمْ يَنْظُرُوا فِي مَلَكُوتِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ مِنْ شَيْءٍ وَأَنْ عَسَىٰ أَنْ يَكُونَ قَدِ اقْتَرَبَ أَجَلُهُمْ ۖ فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ
Have they not looked into the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and into the things Allah has created, and into the fact that their time might have possibly drawn near? In which other discourse, then, shall they believe after this? (7:185)
This brought tears to my eyes as the grandeur of Allāh who created all that, and it being only a part of His creation, set in.
2. Another poster had an active volcano on it, highlighting the Name of Allāh القادر (The Able). The āyah quoted on it was:
قُلْ هُوَ الْقَادِرُ عَلَىٰ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابًا مِنْ فَوْقِكُمْ أَوْ مِنْ تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِكُمْ أَوْ يَلْبِسَكُمْ شِيَعًا وَيُذِيقَ بَعْضَكُمْ بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ ۗ انْظُرْ كَيْفَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَفْقَهُونَ
Say, “He is fully capable that He should send a punishment from above you or from beneath your feet, or to put you in confusion through divisions, and make some of you taste troubles through some others. See how We bring forth explaining verses from different angles, so that they may understand. (6:65)
3. There was a mini cinema-esque space, where the screen was set up in a semicircle. You were meant to sit at the front, and the space it was set up in was so small you couldn't sit/stand far enough back for you to be able to take in the full screen in your field of vision.
The exhibit started off with a shot of Al-Masjid An-Nabawī, and zoomed out, gradually zooming out past the milky way, and then the universe as a whole. All the while, there was a counter telling you how far you were from the earth. The scientific fact mentioned in point 1 was again presented, and then the viewers’ attention was drawn to the point that all this was under the first heaven only, whereas there were 7 heavens in total, plus Jannah, Jahannam and the rest of it. So, one couldn’t even begin to imagine the full scale of the creation of Allāh, let alone Allāh Himself. This instilled in the heart and mind the greatness and awe of Allāh.
As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that the reason why the set up was such that you couldn't take it all in your scope of vision at once, was to make you realise that you can never fully encompass the magnitude of Allāh's creation, because of your weakness as a mortal human.
On reflection, it is encouraging to see Islamic material presented using modern technology in this manner. Undoubtedly, it has a deeper and wider effect than just plain, boring text. I feel it is imperative that we embrace modern technology in our methods of teaching the Sharī‘ah. We are very much backward and behind in this regard.
May Allāh bless us all with this realisation constantly, and may we value Allāh as He should be valued. Āmīn