By Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
The Qur’ān refers to Allah as al-Fātir six times in connection with the creation of the heavens and the Earth; for instance: “Shall I take for my protector any other than Allah, the Bringer into Existence of the heavens and the Earth? – He who gives sustenance and is never given sustenance?” [Sūrah al-An`ām: 14]
This name conveys the meaning of bringing into existence from nonexistence – of Allah creating the heavens and the Earth from absolute nothingness.
The Qur’ān invokes this meaning when it says: “Then will they say: ‘Who will cause us to return?’ Say: ‘He who brought you into existence in the first place!’” [Sūrah al-Isrā’: 51]
Here, the Qur’ān counters the skepticism of those who doubt the resurrection with the argument that since Allah created you the first time when you never before existed, He can surely create you again.
Another connotation of the name al-Fātir is that of bringing something forth by cleaving something asunder, like plants from seeds and rain from storm clouds. This idea is expressed in the following verse: “Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the Earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?” [Sūrah al-Anbiyā’: 30]
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to beseech Allah by this name in his supplications. He would say: “O Allah! Lord of Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, Bringer into Existence of the heavens and the Earth, Knower of the seen and unseen! You shall judge between Your servants in what they disagree about. Guide me to the truth in these disagreements, by Your leave, for You guide whom You please to the straight way.” [Sahīh Muslim (770)]
Likewise, among the supplications we offer at the commencement of our formal prayers is the following: “I turn my face with sincere faith to the One who brought the heavens and the Earth into existence. I am not a polytheist.” [Sahīh Muslim (771)]
This name seems to point to the very moment of creation, when the universe first came into existence. It inspires the heart to dwell on Allah’s might, power and wisdom, in His bringing the universe into being and then His determining how everything in it is to be. He created existence as we know it in an absolute sense, yet He also created this unique sky, and this Earth, this specific tree, that individual person, and that particular stone…