88. Al-Ghaniyy الغني

Allah (SwT) has said,

O men! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah while Allah is self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy. (Qur’an, 35:15)

Both al-Ghaniyy and al-Mughni are among the Attributes of Allah (SwT).

Linguistically, ghina غنى, root word of al-Ghaniyy, means: independence by virtue of having self-sufficiency. It is the opposite of faqr, poverty, want, indigence, need, and the like. Independence or self-sufficiency is of various types: One is the absence of need, and none is independent of needing anyone or anything other than Allah (SwT). This meaning is implied in the verse saying,

“His is whatever in the heavens and on earth, and most surely Allahis the self-Sufficient, the Praised” (Qur’an, 22:64).

The other is the small or limited number of one’s needs, which is pointed out in this verse:

“And found you in want and made you free from want” (Qur’an, 93:8).

A third is what is mentioned by a few ignorant folks among the unbelievers who claimed that Allah (SwT) was poor while they were rich, whereupon the One Who has all the Glory and Honors responded by telling them that

“Allah has certainly heard the statement of those who said: Allah is poor and we are rich” (Qur’an, 3:181).

They had said so on hearing the verse saying,”Who will loan Allah (SwT) a beautiful loan...?” Perhaps they interpreted this verse literally, thinking that Allah (SwT) needed to apply for a loan! The Almighty answered them by saying,

“O men! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah while Allah is self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy” (Qur’an, 35:15).

The Almighty emphasized the same fact in another verse:

“... And whoever disbelieves, surely Allah is self-Sufficient, above any need of the worlds” (Qur’an, 3:97).

Al-Ghaniyy has no need, within Himself or in His Attributes or deeds, for anything or anyone at all. He needs none while everything and everyone needs Him. Al-Ghaniyy is the Perfect One due to what He has and what is with Him. Our Lord, the Most Praiseworthy, is referred to as such because need is a deficiency, and the needy person is incapable of attaining what he desires or aspires for. The one who is needed has an advantage, because of what he has, over the one who is in need of him.

Deficiency is out of the question in the case of the Absolute al-Ghaniyy, and incapacitation cannot be attributed to Him, Praise to Him, nor can anyone do Him a favor, for everything is His own creation and invention; He formed and created it, and it is totally dependent on Him in everything. Everything is exactly what the Creator wants it to be.

Everyone else besides Allah (SwT) is needy while He, al-Ghaniyy, does not need anyone. The Holy Prophet (S) is quoted as saying,”Wealth is not abundance of availability; rather, it is the richness of one’s own soul.” The highest degree of wealth is satisfaction, contentment with what is available with you; therefore, there is, indeed, no wealth like the feeling of contentment. A man may be very poor, yet he tries his best to look good in the eyes of the people. Notice what the Almighty says about such persons:

“... The ignorant man perceives them rich on account of their abstaining (from begging)” (Qur’an, 2:273).

The Almighty exists by virtue of the necessity for His existence, on His own merits; therefore, He needs none besides Himself. Everything and everyone besides Him may exist, yet its existence comes about when He creates it; so, He, and He alone, Praise to Him, is al-Ghaniyy.