Al Malik – The King and Owner of Dominion
Allah has three Names that are similar to Malik: Maleek (مليك) and Maalik (مالك). The meaning for all three names is: One who possesses the attribute of Mulk. What is Mulk? Kingdom, dominion, power, authority. Mulk has three meanings:
1) Possession and ownership (لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ To Him belongs the Ownership of the heavens and earth 2:107)
2) Control and authority (لَكُمُ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ For you in the authority this day 40:29)
3) Ability and power (لاَ يَمْلِكُونَ They do not possess ability 13:16)
Words for the same root
Milaak (ملاك): Milaak is used for marriage; where one person will have authority over the other. The husband does not own her but he has a degree above her.
Maalik (مالك): Maalik is used for an owner, when they possess something.
Malik (ملك): Malik is used for a king, he possesses and has authority.
These three Names show different levels of authority, power and ownership.
Malik is the One who executes His command in His possession. Every malik (king) is not able to execute their amr (will). Malik is the one who owns and also has authority and command. The one to whom the amr (commanding) and nahy (forbidding) belong too. Only Allah has the power to command and forbid, He has the action and the word (kun, fa yakoon–be and it is). According to ibn Qayyim, Malik is the One who rules by His words, command and the One who gives the hukm (ruling).
Proof of these Names
Al Malik: appears eleven times in the Qur’an times and out of those eleven, five times it was used for Allah azza wa jal. For example, Allah ta’ala says:
فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ
Then High above all be Allah, the True King. (20:114)
Al-Maleek: Used once in the Qur’an, the righteous will be:
فِي مَقْعَدِ صِدْقٍ عِنْدَ مَلِيكٍ مُقْتَدِرٍ
In a seat of truth, near the Omnipotent King. (54:55)
Al-Maalik: This Name is not mentioned in the Qur’an, but it is used in a duaa in Bukhari which states: La Maalik il Allah, There is no King except for Allah.
Malik and Maleek have the similar meanings, Sovereign, King. The different one is Maalik. What is the difference between Malik and Maalik? Maalik is the owner, and Malik is the one who owns and executes his command. For example, one can be a maalik of their house but they cannot control how much the bills are. Al Malik is the One with Supreme Authority whose Command is executed.
Allah is The Malik, The Maalik and The Maleek, what does this mean?
It means Allah is One of Incomparable Greatness. No one is like Him in His Greatness, He is Al Malikul Haqq. He is the One who possesses the absolute disposal of affairs. He can command, make, and do whatever He Wants. It also means that Allah ta’ala gives Mulk to whoever He wants, because Mulk belongs to Him.
What should we know about Allah ta’ala from these names?
- There is no Maalik except Allah ta’ala. We learn this from the hadeeth: ‘La Maalik il Allah’ (there is no King except Allah) and from the ayah 3:26: اللَّهُمَّ مَالِكَ الْمُلْكِ تُؤْتِي الْمُلْكَ مَنْ تَشَاءُ وَتَنْزِعُ الْمُلْكَ مِمَّنْ تَشَاءُ ‘O Allah, Possessor of Sovereignty, You Give kingdom to Whom You will and take it away from whom You will!’ (3:26) He is Maalik al Mulk. In His Hand is the Power.
- He does whatever He wants. إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ ‘Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” and it is!’ (36:82) He doesn’t even have to explain the command, just ‘be’ and it is.
- The kings and all the owners are humble in the sight of Allah and they are lower. No matter how great a king may be, like Dhul Qarnayn or Sulayman alayhi sallam-whether just or unjust, they are humbled and lowly compared to Allah. The unjust owners will be the worst on the Day of Judgment. Even the owners of animals will be punished if unjust (remember the story of the lady who owned the cat who did not feed it?). This shows us that if a person is maalik in one way or another, they will be accountable for what he owns and what he is responsible for, but only Allah ta’ala will not be accountable, He is the Just. In a hadeeth in saheeh Bukhari narrated by Abu Hurayrah radi Allahu anhu, Allah ta’ala will hold the earth on the Day of Judgment and He will roll up the skies in His Right Hand and He will say, ‘an al Malik’, I am the King, ‘ayn almuluk al ardh?’, where are the kings of the earth? No one will speak, because Allah ta’ala is THE King on that day. All the kings of earth will be humbled on the Day of Judgment near Allah azza wa jal.
- Prohibition of naming yourself great names. Only Allah is Al Malik, Maalik and Maleek. A hadeeth in Saheeh Bukhari states that the worst name near Allah ta’ala on the Day of Judgment is one named: Maalikul Mulk, King of Kings. According to Ibn Hajr, he says: from this we learn it is haraam to name oneself or others with these names. It does not befit a human being to call oneself with this name.
- We should be humble in front of The King. Anyone who realizes that Allah is Malikul Haqq, they can only be humbled in front of Allah, he will not raise himself above the level of an ‘abd (slave). He will consider himself as an ‘abd, which is why the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was called ‘abd many times in the Qur’an. Humility is not just in the heart, but also in a person’s posture and body language. How do the ebaadur Rahmaan (surah Furqan) walk upon the earth? Hawnan, humbly and gently.
- Every Malik or owner/king has his own space. They have their own limitations that no one should trespass, or do anything that would degrade, insult or disrespect him or her in anyway. We learn this from a hadeeth in Bukhari and Muslim (one of the 40 hadeeth Nawawi), the halaal is clear and the haraam is clear… like the one who grazes his animals near the himaa’. (the himaa’ is the grounds that a king has set aside only for his animals, the kings private property. ) Then the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, every king has a himaa’ and the himaa’ of Allah is what He has prohibited. Himaa’ is well secured and almost sacred that none can come near it, that is why this translation uses “sanctuary”. All of us in our roles in life have some level of authority or ownership over something or someone, and we have our own ‘himaa’ that we hold dear and sacred, that we protect and safeguard. Ask yourself: what is your himaa’? And to Allah belongs the Highest and Best example, Allah is THE Malik, and what is His himaa’? The himaa’ of Allah is what He has prohibited. The private grazing land that we cannot enter is what Allah has made haraam for us. We know that if we commit that which is haraam, we will be accountable for it, but think of the deeper lesson behind this hadeeth…How would you react if someone trespassed YOUR himaa’? Just as it is disrespectful for someone to trespass your himaa’, if we are committing haraam is disrespect to Allah ta’ala–we as lowly slaves are trespassing His Himaa’, The King of Kings, and it does not befit a slave to disrespect his Master in any way. This teaches us that we must remain within our bounds. Remember, Allah is Al Malik, so we should remain as a servant near Allah and not do anything that He does not approve.
Duaas with these Names
There is a hadeeth in Bukhari and Muslim, whoever says: la ilaha il Allahu waHadu, la shareeka lahu, lahul Mulk, wa lahul Hamdu, wa huwa ‘alaa kuli shayyin Qadeer, ‘None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, without partner, to Him belongs all sovereignty and praise, and He is over all things omnipotent.’ 100 times he will receive the reward of freeing ten slaves. There are many variations of this duaa that we learn from the sunnah.
Allahu ta’ala a’lam.