I often speak of a comparative study I did of the Muslim names of God and the names of God used in the Bible. Not surprisingly, the names of God used by Christians have much in common with those used by Muslims. I enjoyed the entire study and learned a lot, but I did develop a list of favorites. I know, I know… We can’t pick and choose. Still, my favorite of all the 99 Muslim names of God is Al- Malik. This is an important common thread that allows vigorous, fruitful inter-faith dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
Whenever this name comes up in conversation I get excited. Most Muslims know this name of God, but few understand it’s implications to how they live (as is the case with most Christians as well). What does it mean that Allah is the King? The absolute ruler of all. Do we fear the King? Do we respect and reverence the King? How?
Al-Malik – The Absolute Ruler
The Quran says this about the name:
“And thus have We bestowed from on high this divine writ as a discourse in the Arabic tongue, and have given therein many facets to all manner of warnings, so that men might remain conscious of Us, or that it give rise to a new awareness in them. Know, then that God is sublimely exalted, the Ultimate Sovereign, the Ultimate Truth: and knowing this, do not approach the Qur’an in haste, ere it has been revealed unto thee in full, but always say: “O my Sustainer, cause me to grow in knowledge!” S. Ta Ha 20:113-114
Allah, the Ultimate Sovereign!
The Arabic name – Al-Malik actually translates to The King! I think this is a good place to start. God is The King! The concept of a king and a kingdom is quite common in the Arab World. Many Arab countries are governed by sovereign kings and so many Muslims are familiar with having a king and living in a kingdom.
In a kingdom, the king is honored. No one speaks badly about the king. No one (at least not in public). No one complains about the political situation or decisions that they don’t understand. No one acts in an unseemly manner in the presence of the king; there is a protocol to observe.
Allah is The King! He is the Sovereign Ruler, Creator, and Sustainer of the universe! He too, must be honored. Keep in mind, this is not just one of the Muslim names of God, reserved for Muslims alone. In like manner the Bible, the Word of God, instructs us that Allah is King as well. Allah is King forever and ever.
This is an eternal rule and He is a compassionate monarch. He hears the petitions of the humble and ensures justice for the fatherless and the oppressed. Yet, He is also a powerful king, the King of Glory. Allah, Al-Malik, is strong and mighty in battle.
When the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord, he fell to his knees as a man undone. He fell apart in the presence of the all-powerful King of all. We all know the natural picture of subjects of a king bowing or prostrating themselves as a sign of respect for the king. Isaiah, though a prophet of God in both Islam and Christianity, fell down and came undone in Allah’s presence.
Al-Malik is our judge and our lawgiver. He is not only the King of Israel, He’s the King and redeemer of all mankind. The Bible actually goes as far as to name Him the First and the Last, stating that besides Him there is no God. This is a great point of common ground with Muslims. There is no God, no King, but Allah.
A few interesting Scriptures on Al-Malik are the following: Zech. 9:9; John 1:49; John 18:37; 1Timothy 6:14-16
Take the time to look them up and study each of them. Of whom do they speak? What are the ramifications of their claims? I think these Scriptures and the Quranic Surra mentioned above are clear, and speak for themselves.
This is but one of the all important Muslim names of God, Al-Malik. It teaches, not only Arab Muslims, but all, to come to know and reverence the King who blesses and saves. Men ought to honor the King who rules and reigns. As in Arab kingdoms, the title – king is not just a fancy title.
The term King has significant meaning, and being a member of a kingdom has its privileges and its responsibilities. It is my constant prayer that Arab Muslims would hear of, acknowledge, glorify, and truly honor Al-Malik, the Mighty, and Sovereign King!