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The Understanding of the Word 'Hawqala'

15th July 2015
The Understanding of the Word 'Hawqala' (الحوقلة)

Firstly: What is intended by the word 'hawqala' (حوقلة)? It is a word that is summarised from the statement, 'Laa Hawla wa laa Quwwata illaa Billaah' (لا حول ولاقوة إلا بالله). This shortening of a phrase in Arabic is done if it was heard (had a precedent) from the early Arabs. It is realised by taking a few letters from a statement to form a single word. 

Shortening can also be done from two words, as was said in regards to a person attributed to the tribe of 'Abd Qays: (which became known as) 'Abqasi. 

Or it can be from an entire sentence, such as the word 'Basmalah', (بسملة) which is a summary of the sentence 'Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem'(بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ) or 'Hawqala'(حوقلة) which means 'Laa Hawla wa laa Quwwata illaa Billaah' (لا حول ولاقوة إلا بالله). [1] 

Imaam an-Nawawi رحمه الله mentioned that some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that this word has also been mentioned with the 'Laam'before the 'Qaaf'. [2] 

Secondly: The meaning of the statement 'Laa Hawla wa laa Quwwata illaa Billaah'. The meaning of Hawl is movement, while the meaning ofQuwwah is strength. Thus the meaning of this statement is that there is no movement from one state to another, and neither any strength for the slave to perform any of his affairs, except by Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, meaning by His help and tawfeeq and guidance. Some statements have been narrated from the Salaf (the pious predecessors), and the scholars after them, which further clarify the meaning. 

For example, in the statement of 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما. He explained it as such: "We have no power to act obediently except by Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, nor do we have strength to leave a sin except by Allaah." This was narrated by Ibn Abi Haatim. [3] 

It was narrated that 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said, in explaining its meaning, "There is no strength to stop sinning against Allaah سبحانه و تعالى except by His protection, and no power to obey Him except with His help." [4] 

It was narrated that 'Ali Ibn Abi Taalib رضي الله عنه said, "We do not own anything with Allaah, or instead of Him, we do not own except what He has allowed us to and it ultimately belongs to Him." [5] 

Zuhayr Ibn Muhammad رحمه الله was asked about the explanation of Laa Hawla wa laa Quwwata illaa Billaah,' so he said: "You do not take what you love except by Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, and you do not stay away from what you hate except with the help of Allaah." This was narrated by Ibn Abi Haatim. [6] 

Abul-Haytham ar-Raazee رحمه الله, an Imaam in the Arabic language, was asked about its meaning, so he said: "Hawl means movement, it is said:haal if a person moves, so it is as if a person is saying: there is no movement or ability except by the will of Allaah." [7] 

It was said that its meaning is: There is no strength in keeping evil away nor power to achieve any good except by Allaah. [8] 

All of these statements are similar in conveying the intended meanings of this great statement, which is why Imaam an-Nawawi رحمه الله said when he related some of these narrations: "They are all quite similar." [9] 

The I'raab (Arabic word structure) of this Statement

(لا) Laa: Meaning no, and it indicates (absolute) negation of anything else. 

(حولَ) Hawla: Movement, and it is with a fat-ha on the end of it, and the implication is: There is no movement in existent (except with Allaah). 

(قوّةَ) Quwwata: Strength, and it is with a fat-ha on the end of it, and the implication is: There is no strength in existent (except with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى). 

(إلّا) Illaa: Indicating an exception. 

(با الله) Billaah: This is from two words. The first is the letter baa' (ب), meaning 'by' or 'with', and the second word 'Allaah.' This is similar to a prepositional phrase in English. 

The scholars have mentioned five different ways to say this statement that are grammatically correct: 

1) Laa Hawla wa laa Quwwata illaa Billaah (لا حول ولاقوة إلا بالله) 

2) Laa Hawla wa laa Quwwatan illaa Billaah (لا حول ولاقوةً إلا بالله) 

3) Laa Hawlun wa laa Quwwatun illaa Billaah (لا حولٌ ولاقوةٌ إلا بالله) 

4) Laa Hawla wa laa Quwwatun illaa Billaah (لا حول ولاقوةٌ إلا بالله) 

5) Laa Hawlun wa laa Quwwata illaa Billaah (لا حولٌ ولاقوة إلا بالله) 

The scholar of the Arabic language, Ibn Maalik رحمه الله mentioned these five different ways in his famous 'Al-Alfiyyah' poem. [10] 

This statement also contains the word illaa (إلّا) (except or but) which indicates restriction in Arabic. The scholar as-Sakkaaki indicated that it is the most important way to confine or restrict ones statement. [11] 

Al-Akhdari mentioned the different ways of restriction and specifying in his poem 'Al-Jawhar al-Maknoon' as follows: 

1) illaa (إلّا) - meaning 'except.' 
2) innamaa (إنّما) - meaning 'only.' 
3) laakin (لكن) or bal (بل) - meaning 'rather.' 
4) To precede one word that would normally come after. [12] [13] 


[1] at-Tatbeeq as-Sarfi of 'Abdu al-Raajihi, p. 29 

[2] Sharh Saheeh Muslim, 17/27 

[3] It is mentioned by Imaam as-Suyootee in ad-Durr al-Manthoor, 5/393 

[4] Sharh Saheeh Muslim, 26/27 

[5] It is mentioned by Ibn 'Allaan in al-Fatuhaat ar-Rabbaaniyah, 1/242 

[6] It is mentioned by as-Suyootee in ad-Durr al-Manthoor, 5/394 

[7] Tatheeb al-Lugha by al-Azhari, 5/243 

[8] Sharh Saheeh Muslim, 27/17 

[9] Sharh Saheeh Muslim, 27/17 

[10] Cf. Matn al-Alfiyyah, p. 21 

[11] Miftaah al-'Uloom of as-Sakkaaki, p. 289 

[12] For example, Iyyaaka na'budu meaning 'You we worship' would normally be said as 'We worship you,' but to specify that only Allaah is worshipped alone, the word 'You' was brought first. This is why this aayah is translated as 'You alone we worship,' even though it does not literally use the word 'alone.' Allaah knows best. 

[13] Treasure from the Treasures of Paradise, Shaykh 'Abdur-Razzaaq Ibn 'Abdul Muhsin al-Badr, Daar us Sunnah, pp. 15-19. 

posted by Seifeddine-M on 15th July 2015 - 0 comments


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