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19 Ghayb - The Unseen

Posted on 1st May, 2021

19 Ghayb - The Unseen


This time again it is good to start with some information about the letter ghayn which does not exist in our alphabet. The transcription ‘gh’ represents a guttural sound, rather like a Parisian ‘r’.


The word ghayb is found 48 times in the Qur’an. It is translated in different ways by Abdel Haleem. Here are some examples:

He [God] has the keys to the unseen: no one knows them but Him. He know all that is in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowledge (Q 6:39).


            God know the secrets of the heavens and earth: He sees everything you do (Q 49:18).


Say: “God! Creator of the heavens and earth! Knower of all that is hidden and all that is open (Q 39:46).


This last example is particularly interesting. It refers to the belief in God the Creator which is fundamental for both Christians and Muslims. The first message Muhammad was called to proclaim was “Recite! In the name of your Lord who created” (Q 96:1) and Christians recite in their profession of faith: “I believe in God, the Creator of heaven and earth”.


God is the Self-Subsistent (Al-Qayyûm), not requiring anything or anyone to justify his existence. He is the Rich (Al-Ghanî), the one who has no need of anything. So there was no necessity for God to create the universe and all that it contains, including ourselves. We can say that the very fact that we exist is part of the Mystery (al-ghayb).


This surely leads us to praise and glorify God. Muslims pray: “Praise belongs to God, Lord of the worlds” (Q 1:2). Christians proclaim: “Glory to God in the highest”. We are united in this belief and in the way it influences our prayer.


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