A great many months has passed since I last wrote on the 99 Beautiful Names of God and I am happy to do so again, so today I write about names 54 through 56, Matin, Waliyy, and Hamid.
Matin is but one of the names that concerns God’s strength. In particular, this is the kind of strength “that makes one consistent and dependable…to keep on keeping on” (Meyer, Hyde, Muqaddam, and Kahn 59). A source of grounding, Matin, in helping one become “like a rock or a mountain,” helps one build integrity. to handle failures and successes, as well as harmonize one’s needs with those of the group.
Specifically associated with a cluster of names concerning God’s omnipotence, the sound-code of which the name Matin consists of suggests that the strength contained in the name Matin “is functioning in all circumstances and in all situations, without exception” and in so doing it “brings consistency, firmness, and rhythm” (147). Quite appropriate, as I consider the name, for in my own experience I go through periods of time where I move forward on whatever it may be, then lose focus or I stop practicing something I have begun. Matin is the strength to carry on.
Another word for Matin is “mastery.” Take, for example, learning to play a musical instrument. In order to master the instrument, one needs to keep on keeping on, one needs consistent practice. It is the practicing even when one does not want to practice, the doing when one does not want to do. I can’t think of how many times in my own life I have begun something to never finish it. Hm…Kind of like writing these posts on the 99 Names I had hoped to do within a given timeframe.
As such, Matin is, in part, about bringing consistency into our lives, about being grounded, and having a solid foundation, so that “no matter what happens, you have balance” and “you can recover after a fall” (149).
Similar to Wali, Waliyy is the “nearest friend, the one who realizes a deep, intimate, and loving relationship with everything and everyone without distinction” (59). God is and can be this kind of friend, a friendship of which “evokes complete and unreserved love” (59). I think of Jesus, what he said about God and what the Gospels depict of him and his treatment of others, in relation to such.
Rooted in the Arabic waliha, which “expresses intimacy with an ecstatic passion that is beyond rationality,” Waliyy “manifests complete and total unity” that is both immanent and transcendent (59). As such, the 55th name is a “remedy for loneliness and alienation” (59) and is, as such, one of the names making up a cluster of Names that speaks to the infinite presence of the Divine.
Waliyy and waliha are both rooted in walaa, meaning intimacy, total and complete intimacy. How hard is that? Personally I find it very difficult to be totally and completely intimate with another, even those I love the most. For me, and maybe you will relate too, it is very scary. One of my greatest fears is rejection and that fear keeps me from being totally and completely intimate.
Of course, Waliyy suggests God is the most intimate friend, and Waliyy “is the strongest word for union with the beloved
(167). The Qur’an states Allah is nearer than one’s jugular vein. The word for “nearer,” ‘aqrab, is “a synonym for Waliyy,” again suggesting that degree of utmost intimacy. Furthermore, this relationship is one based on love. According to the authors of Physicians of the Heart, the primary reference work for this series of posts, Waliyy can be applied to address “a deep sense of loneliness, alienation, disconnectedness” (168). I can’t even begin to describe how pervasive such feelings have been throughout my own life and how much I wish they didn’t continue to be.
Likewise, the authors detail a “program” of healing in these regards, suggesting that if one can work through the feeling of deep loneliness such begins to open up and “there arises a kind of spaciousness, a field through which sheer intimacy is experienced” (168). With the dissolving of the boundary encrusted around this feeling of loneliness, one begins to “experience the space of intimacy with the divine beloved.”, out of which flows “an infinity ocean of intimacy” (169).
One realizes one is “closely interrelated with every part of the universe” (169). And one can say goodbye, as it were, to those feelings of loneliness, isolation, disconnection.
Hamid is contained within the Arabic Alhamdulillah, which means that all gratitude and praise go to God. Hamd, or gratitude, not only has its source in God, but returns to God as well. Some Sufi traditions in particular even state that all things offers its gratitude, or says Alhamdulillah, in its own way.
As there are several names making up a cluster of names of gratitude, Hamid is, in particular, “a manifestation of infinite gratitude into each thing and all things” (238). As embedded in the name’s sound code, the gratitude that is Hamid “flows from essence toward multiplicity. In other words, it starts from God and moves outward into every single thing.
Words derived from the same root as Hamid “express an intense, flaming fire and a day of fierce heat” (239), suggesting the gratitude manifesting in every thing of creation is likened to a “burning heart or burning love” (239).
Of course we human beings do not overflow with gratitude all the time. Maybe we often complain. Maybe nothing ever goes right for us. Or we are always finding fault. Such, according to authors, stems from an ego attitude that blinds one “from perceiving the great abundance and richness of what is present” (239).
One aspect of a recovery group I am in emphasizes making gratitude lists. Of course I put my family, my children, all the obvious “stuff” that makes up my life (and by stuff I don’t limit myself to material things). But I also make water, air, the dirt, the sun, the birds, the bugs, and all those other things I depend upon not only for my life, but for life in general and when I do consider all those things I am grateful for, all those things I–we all–depend on, I cannot but feel a sense of deep gratitude well from within me and all those complaints, all that self-pity, and “why me?” thinking washes away.
And when it does, all is okay.