Al-Jalil / Al-Jaleel

(The Majestic One)

Al-Jalil Meaning:

The Glorious, The Majestic, The Sublime

Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is Al-Jaleel (in Arabic: ٱلْجَلِيلُ): He is the one who is great and above all in dignity and rank. He is majestic and the source of all attributes of greatness. To Him all honour and sincere devotion is due.

Mentions of Al-Jaleel:
From Quran & Hadith

From the root j-l-l which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to be supremely great. To be glorious, majestic. To be sublime, to be high, lofty, far above, independent. The word Jalal (جلال) comes from the same root meaning greatness, majestic, and loftiness.

In some books discussing the ninety names of Allah, al-Jalil is not included. This is because of the ninety-nine names only 81 are explicitly mentioned in the Qur'an, al-Jalil not being one of them. Because of this there's some discrepancy: Ibn Hazm, Ibn Hajar, and Ibn al-Arabi all exclude al-Jalil from their list of the 99 names. Most others include al-Jalil. It is also similar to the name Dhul Jalali Wal Ikram (the possesor of majesty and honor).

وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو ٱلْجَلَـٰلِ وَٱلْإِكْرَامِ

Wa yabqaa wajhu rabbika zul jalaali wal ikraam

English Translation:
"And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor." (Qur'an 55:27)

The All-Majestic is an attribute only Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ can attain. What does it mean to be absolutely majestic? It means you have complete knowledge, strength, sovereignty, wealth, power, and dominion among all the other attributes. There are many names which denote Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ greatness, we have al-Jalil, considered to be the greatness or perfection of all His attributes/qualities, al-Kabir (the great) who's very essence is perfection, al-Azeem (the magnificent one) the one who is described as tremendous because of the perfection of both His essence and attributes together.

"And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, 'My Lord, show me [Yourself] that I may look at You.' [Allah] said, 'You will not see Me, but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.' But when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious. And when he awoke, he said, “Exalted are You! I have repented to You, and I am the first of the believers.'" (Qur'an 7:143)

This ayah explains how Musa (as) asked to see Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ. But Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ responded that no one could bear to see Him, warning Him of the danger. Instead, He made his presence to a nearby mountain. What followed was decimation of the mountain, it was levelled, flattened, or transformed into a small hill. In that split second, just being close to His presence, Ibrahim (as) fainted.

The connection of this story with the name al-Jalil is Allah's beauty can't be understood through sight. The way we metaphorically see Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ beauty is through the study and understanding of the attributes that make Him "The All-Majestic." Imam al-Ghazali writes of Allah's attributes, "and that is beautiful comportment 'or' beautiful disposition' perceived by insight rather than by sight." The one who understands how the inner has been perfected and properly proportioned will gain much more satisfaction or joy than the one who judges beauty just by sight.

In this hadith we see where the attribute of Allah being called al-Jaleel originates, Mu'adh ibn Jabal narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, said: 'Those who love each other for the sake of My Majesty (جَلاَلِي) shall be upon podiums of light, and they will be admired by the Prophets and the martyrs.'" [1]

This also covers the important topic to love for the sake of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ. It's a message that encourages us never to stop searching for the good in humanity. To love your fellow person unconditionally because that's what Allah loves and will reward us for doing. Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger ﷺ as saying: Verily. Allah would say on the Day of Resurrection: Where are those who have a mutual love for My Glory's sake? Today I shall shelter them in My shadow when there is no other shadow but the shadow of Mine. [2]

The believer further benefits from knowing and understanding al-Jalil by trying to perfect his interior attributes. Doing so will bring more beauty and pleasure into this world than any superficial looks could bring. As Ghazali put succinctly, "exterior beauty is of lesser worth."

[1] Sahih (Darussalam) Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2390
[2] Sahih Muslim 2566

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