الْحَيُّ and الْقَيُّومُ will be discussed together.
الْحَيُّ comes from Hayaat (Life) and in this form it means The Ever Living and The Alive.
الْقَيُّومُ comes from Qawmaa which literally means to stand. This is an intensive superlative form of Qawmaa meaning The Self-Existing and The Self-Subsisting and has the connotation of everlasting. It also comes from “establishment” so in that context it can also mean The One Who administers and oversees the universe.
Ibnul Qayyim (Rahimahullah) says there are two parts to الْقَيُّومُ,
• Allah ta’ala being Qaaim (established) and self-subsisting in His essence (Dhaat) and that means He is Self-subsisting and does not need anyone
• Allah ta’ala being Qaaim in terms of establishment of His creation.
Therefore Allah ta’ala is Qaaim Himself and He keeps everything Qaaim. He is Self-Subsisting and gives the universe the ability to subsist.
الْحَيُّ is that being Whose existence is forever; He always was, always is and always will be. He has always been in existence and has existence which has no beginning or ending. This is something humans do not understand because for humans life begins and ends and for all creation there is a beginning and an ending (i.e. planets and stars which are millions of years old but they had a beginning and will have an ending).
Another way to define it is One Who is always alive and never dies. He does not go through any type of non-existence. In Surah Qasas (verse 88) Allah ta’ala says,
And do not invoke any other god with Allah. There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him. Everything is bound to perish except He Himself. All authority belongs to Him. And to Him you will ˹all˺ be returned.
Therefore His existence is Baaqee (Will always be there). It is pre-eternal and eternal. There are two words in Arabic, أَبَد and أزَل (forever/eternal) which have a similar meaning but has a slight difference.
أَبَد means something that will never end i.e. Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا – i.e. people will be in Jannah forever. It is not pre-eternal but once it is made then it is forever. The soul/Rooh for example, is “Abadi.”
أزَل is something that was always there and always will be there so it is pre-eternal. Only Allah ta’ala is pre-eternal as everything else has a beginning though some things like Jannah and Jahannam are “Abadi” (forever) after their beginning. Allah ta’ala is both أزَل and أَبَد and Azal includes Abad.
The attributes of Allah ta’ala have different categories and الْحَي is from the Sifaati Dhaatiyaa (Inherent in Himself) and الْقَيُّوم is from the Sifaati Af’aal (His actions i.e. He is active, interacting, overseeing, administering.)
In the Qur’an
Both these Sifaat are mentioned together in the Qur’an three times.
1. In Aayatul Kursi (Surah Baqarah: 255) - اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ. Right after this Allah ta’ala says, لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ- He neither slumbers nor sleeps. Allah ta’ala not being tired is evidence of His being قَيُّوم . He is beyond being tired or sleepy and He cannot be tired or sleepy in administering and subsisting the creation.
2. Surah Aali ‘Imraan, verse 2 (Same as above) in conjunction with Tawheed. This is evidence of Allah ta’ala’s Oneness i.e. there is only One Being Who is Self-Existing, Self-Subsisting and keeping the universe going.
3. Surah Taha: 111 وَعَنَتِ الْوُجُوهُ لِلْحَيِّ الْقَيُّومِ (Their faces shall be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Ever-existent).
Commentators say regarding this verse;
وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ - And We have created every living thing from water [Surah Ambiyaa:30]
Allah ta’ala is الْحَي and He is also the giver of live and He gives life according to how He wants i.e. humans with intelligence and other forms with varying levels of intelligence, plants, micro-organisms etc.
It is mentioned in Hadith that when in difficulty or distress, recite:
O Living, O Sustaining, in Your Mercy I seek relief! يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيثُ
‘Ali RA says during the Battle of Badr he found the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam in Sajdah repeating يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ.
The Muslims were facing a huge army in Battle of Badr. It was under extreme circumstances that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam called out Allah ta’ala by these two names so we too can call out to Allah ta’ala by these names in Sajdah without asking for anything.
Importance of the Combination of الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ
Some Scholars say this combination of الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ is Ism A’zam by which Du’a are accepted.
Ubayy ibn Ka’b reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “O Abu Mundhir, do you know the greatest verse in the book of Allah?” I said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet sallallaaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “O Abu Mundhir, do you know the greatest verse in the book of Allah?” I recited the verse of the throne (ayat al-Kursi), “Allah, there is no God but Him, the Living, the Sustainer.” (2:255) The Prophet struck me on the chest and he said, “By Allah, Abu Mundhir, rejoice in this knowledge!” [Muslim]
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam once mentioned to Faatimah RA to recite the following supplication morning and evening,
يا حَـيُّ يا قَيّـومُ بِـرَحْمَـتِكِ أَسْتَـغـيث ، أَصْلِـحْ لي شَـأْنـي كُلَّـه ، وَلا تَكِلـني إِلى نَفْـسي طَـرْفَةَ عَـين
(Translation: On You Who is Everliving and Sustains and Protects everything, I seek assistance through the means of your mercy, correct for me all my affairs and do not entrust me to my Nafs (myself) for the moment of a blink of an eye.’) [Mustadrakal-Haakim , Shu’ubul Iemaan of Imaam Bayhaqi]
It is narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam heard a man saying:
“O Allah, I ask of You by the fact that You are Allah, there is no god except You, the One, the Self-Sufficient Master, who begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.”
He sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,
“He has called upon Allah by His Greatest Name, which if He is asked by it, He gives, and if He is called upon by it, He responds.” [Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood]
If a person says the following 3 times before going to bed,
I seek the forgiveness of Allah the Mighty, Whom there is none worthy of worship except Him, The Living, The Eternal, and I repent unto Him … he will be forgiven even if he has committed sins as much as the foam of an ocean. [Abu Dawood Tirmidhi]
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said if a person recites the above his sins will be forgiven even if he should have run away from the battlefield.
We do not have the reality of the power of Du’a with the names of Allah ta’ala in them. We should try to understand the words and make Du’a with feeling.
Make the Heart Alive
Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) narrates that if a person recites 40 times between the Sunnah and Fardh of Fajr Salaah the following, the person’s heart will become alive and it will be protected from dying.
الْوَاجِدُ is translated as The Finder and The Resourceful. It comes from Wujd and is also translated as The One Who lacks nothing. It is not found in all the Asmaaul Husnaa books and there is not much commentary on this name.
وَاجِد is a person who gets what he wants but this implies he did not have it and now he got it and this cannot be said about Allah ta’ala. When it is used for Allah ta’ala it means The One Who is Resourceful and lacks nothing.
In the Qur'an, the verb وَجَدَ is translated as to find and that is why it is translated as The Finder.
In the Qur’an
In Surah Dhuhaa (verse 7-8),
وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ – Did He not find you lost and gave you guidance?
وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ - Did He not find you poor and made you self-sufficient?
For us, Allah ta’ala is The Most Resourceful so when we need to ask, ask from Allah ta’ala.
الْوَاحِدُ is similar to الْاَحَدُ, both translated as “The One” but there is a difference. Here it is also translated as The All-Inclusive, The Indivisible and the manifestation of Unity. It is also translated as The Unique.
It is that Being Who is One and Alone and always has been so and no one can be another with Him. He is One in all His perfections and no one can be with Him in His perfections. He cannot be duplicated nor divided. Allah ta’ala is The One and everything stems from Him.
One commentator says it is Waajib on us as His creation to believe He is Unique in all His perfection. Therefore the way we speak and act we have to regard Allah ta’ala as One and we have acknowledged it and all our worship is for Him.
If we look at it mathematically, the Asl – core, of all math and number is one and it is by adding 1 and 1 that we get 2. An example mentioned in the commentary is that for the world, the sun is one and the source of light is white. However we see it in different forms and colours i.e. prisms or glass emits different colours. So Allah ta’ala is One and the way people regard / perceive / view Him is different.
In the Qur’an
It is mentioned 27 times in the Qur’an, at times as وَاحِد and other times as وَاحِدًا but never as الْوَاحِدُ.
O my fellow-prisoners! Which is far better, many different lords or Allah—the One, the Supreme?
This was when Yusuf AS was speaking to his fellow prisoners giving them Da’wah on the concept of Tawheed.
Tawheed is the foundation of our Deen and extremely important. No ‘Ibaadat is accepted without it and Allah ta’ala forgives everything except Shirk which is denial or negation of Tawheed. The mission of all the Ambiyaa was to teach Tawheed.
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam sent Mu’adh ibn Jabal RA to Yemen in order to call the people to Islam and teach them the practices of the religion. Ibn Abbas RA reported that when the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam sent Mu’adh RA to Yemen, he said to him:
“Verily, you are coming to a people among the people of the Book, so call them to testify there is no God but Allah and I am the Messenger of Allah. If they accept that, then teach them that Allah has obligated five prayers in each day and night. If they accept that, then teach them that Allah has obligated charity to be taken from the rich and given to the poor. If they accept that, beware not to take from the best of their wealth. Be on guard from the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and Allah.”
So he was sent to teach Tawheed even to the Ahle-Kitaab. Though they are regarded as monotheistic their religions are mixed in with other beliefs. Tawheed is included in any work of Da’wah. Even in the five pillars of Islam the first thing is Imaan and the Kalimah, the meaning of which is the concept of Tawheed.
Wahdaaniyat of Allah ta’ala
The Wahdaaniyat of Allah ta’ala is mentioned in the Qur’an in different ways. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam is told to say to the people,
Say: Lo! my worship and, my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. [Surah An’aam: 162]
In a Hadith Qudsi Allah ta’ala says,
“The son of Adam denied Me and he had no right to do so. And he reviled Me and he had no right to do so. As for his denying Me, it is his saying: He will not remake me as He made me at first (1) - and the initial creation [of him] is no easier for Me than remaking him. As for his reviling Me, it is his saying: Allah has taken to Himself a son, while I am the One, the Everlasting Refuge. I begot not nor was I begotten, and there is none comparable to Me.(1) i.e., bring me back to life after death.” [Bukhari]
Allah ta’ala calls it “reviling Him” and therefore every type of Shirk is vehemently forbidden. It is not permissible to compoare Allah ta’ala to any creation. Our minds are limited to creation and Allah ta’ala is beyond that and that is part of Allah ta’ala being الْوَاحِدُ – that He is diffenert to anything in the universe. Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an,
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ
“There is nothing like Him [Surah Shura:11]
This is also a concept of الْوَاحِدُ, that there is nothing like Him. He is alone in His uniqueness.
If there were other gods in the heavens or in the earth besides Allah, both the heavens and earth would have been in a state of disorder.
Allah ta’ala is talking about the skies and the earth saying that if there was in them another God besides Allah ta’ala they would have been corrupted. Having more than one person in charge can wreak havoc in the universe. Even in human sociology in group dynamics when you have more than one leader, it causes problems.
A lot of these verses are from Madani Surahs trying to convince the Ahle Kitaab of Tawheed by giving rational and emotional proofs.
In Surah Aali ‘Imraan (verse 8) Allah ta’ala Himself testifies to His Oneness;
Allah (Himself) is witness that there is no God save Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witness). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God save Him, the Almighty, the Wise.
In Surah Saaffaat Allah ta’ala takes three oaths to emphasise the attribute of His Oneness;
إِنَّ إِلَٰهَكُمْ لَوَاحِدٌ - Lo! thy Lord is surely One.
We should testify to His Oneness in our beliefs, actions and lives and in the way we interact with creation. When a person has Yaqeen in the Oneness of Allah ta’ala and knows He is One and only He has perfect power, then it is only Him the person will turn to and fear only Him and not any person or system.
الْاَحَدُ is also translated as The One but here there is more of a connotation of being alone.
The Difference الْوَاحِدُ between and الْاَحَدُ
الْوَاحِدُ is being unique and الْاَحَدُ is being alone. The number one in Arabic is وَاحِد and it has a second i.e. number two in Arabic is إثنان. It can be made feminine and a person can be described as وَاحِد - a unique person.
الْاَحَدُ is alone in His attributes. There is no number two after it and it cannot be ascribed to a person i.e. a person can be described as كَريم but not اَحَد. It is exclusive to Allah ta’ala.
Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullah) says it is that being Who has no Mithl (Example). There is no similar Being to Him. اَحَد is exclusive to Allah ta’ala and nothing is comparable to Him in terms of His essence and His Sifaat.
It is mentioned only once in the Qur’an in Surah Ikhlaas and it is used in the indefinite form which in Arabic, gives a word more expanse / comprehensiveness because when something is definite it is limited.
It is regarded as one-third of the Qur’an. Scholars say the Qur’an is divided into three major themes and one of these is Tawheed and Surah Ikhlaas is all about Tawheed which is why it is regarded as one-third of the Qur’an. The first verse of Surah Ikhlaas is an affirmation of Tawheed and thereafter His prefect Sifaat are mentioned. In this Surah all the different ways of rejecting Tawheed are alluded to in a subtle way.
Ways of Rejecting Tawheed
There are different ways a person can reject Tawheed;
• To reject Allah ta’ala altogether as atheists do
• To believe in God but to not believe in His attributes
• To believe in God and in His attributes but to do Shirk in deeds. There are different levels of Shirk and some Muslims also commit Shirk
• To ask help from others
• To attribute children to God as the Christians and the Mushrikeen did
The story of Bilaal RA is known to everyone. When he was persecuted he kept repeating Ahad! Ahad! Why did he not say Waahid! Waahid!? It was because he was asked to accept the idols of the Mushrikeen and he was saying, “He is the Only One, there is no one like Him.”
Scholars say it was an expression of his love for Allah ta’ala as when a person loves someone, they often mention the name of their beloved. It was also an answer to his tormentors and this tormented them in return. It is also said that he repeated the name as even though he was tormented, taking Allah ta’ala’s name gave him pleasure.
There were so many Sahaba RA, but the name of Bilaal RA is known to every child. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam loved him and Allah ta’ala granted him the status of being the first to call out the Adhaan. After the death of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam he moved to Damascus and only returned to Madeenah once. Hasan RA requested him to call out the Adhaan and when he did, it brought back memories to the people of Madeenah of the time when the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam was among them and Ahad! Ahad! was where it all began.
To connect to this name, use it in Du’a to call out to Allah ta’ala and in any difficulty turn to Him first which we forget to do when a situation occurs. A person with firm Yaqeen in Tawheed will turn to Allah ta’ala in all situations and in all ‘Ibaadah.
الصَّمَدُ is translated as The Satisfier of All Needs and The Eternal.
It is defined as The One Who we turn to for all our needs and One Who satisfies all the needs of the creation of this world and the Aakhirah. He is sufficient for all of creation and He is self-sufficient. We need Him and He does not need anyone.
Another definition is that He does not need nourishment and He is Baaqee (Eternal) and we are temporary.
Another way to understand it according to a commentator is that الصَّمَدُ is a comprehensive collection of all His traits.
Some Scholars say this name is the Ism A’dham.
In the Qur’an
It is mentioned only once in Surah Ikhlaas,
اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ - Allah is the Self-Sufficient (independent of all, while all are dependent on Him);
A man heard another man reciting Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad and repeating it. The next morning he came to the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and told him about that. The man thought that it was too little, but the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, it is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’an.” [Bukhari]
To connect to this name we should know He is The One Who can satisfy all our needs and so we should have all our hopes in Allah ta’ala and not in others.
الْقَادِرُ and الْمُقْتَدِرُ will be discussed together.
الْقَادِرُ is translated as The All Powerful, The Empowered and The Capable and الْمُقْتَدِرُ is translated as The Creator of All Power, The All-Determining and The Prevailing.
They both mean The One Who has power. مُقْتَدِر is a more emphatic form of قَادِر.
This is a trait very much present in the Essence (Dhaat) of Allah ta’ala. He has power over every moment and He has the ability/potential to do whatever He wants. كُنْ فَيَكُونُ – Be and it is. He just has to intend for something and it happens, good or bad. He does not have to even say, “كُنْ” as He just has to intend it and it happens and whatever He decides to do, no one can stop Him.
Power hungry People
Humans have power to some extent however it is temporary. It is from Allah ta’ala and it is a trust (Amaanah). The power of humans also has weakness and fault. It is not absolute. The Haqeeqee (True) power is Allah ta’ala’s alone with no weakness or fault.
Yet people are power hungry and power is very corruptive. We see this historically where a person may start off good however on gaining a little power, they become corrupted and abuse the Amaanah given to them. Power intoxicates people and they begin to think they deserve it.
Some people are nice to everyone however show their power over their children by being abusive. We should not abuse the Amaanah of power given to us over people i.e. in our family, people working under us, over students etc. It should be used in a constructive way for Tarbiyah and not to abuse. Knowing Allah ta’ala is الْقَادِرُ and الْمُقْتَدِرُ will keep these negative traits in check.
Hadith - Asking for position of Authority
It has been reported on the authority of ‘Abdul Rahman bin Samura RA who said, The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said to me: “Abdul Rahman, do not ask for a position of authority, for if you are granted this position as a result of your asking for it, you will be left alone (without God’s help to discharge the responsibilities attendant thereon), and if you are granted it without making any request for it, you will be helped (by God in the discharge of your duties).”
Hadith – Allah ta’ala has more Power over us
Abu Mas’ood al-Ansari reported, “When I was beating my servant, I heard a voice behind me (saying), ‘Abu Mas’ood, bear in mind Allah has more dominance over you than you have upon him. I turned and (found him) to be Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam. I said, ‘Allah’s Messenger, I set him free for the sake of Allah.’ Thereupon he said, ‘Had you not done that, (the gates of) Hell would have opened for you, or the fire would have burnt you.’”
In the Qur’an
Allah ta’ala’s power is Wasee’ – comprehensive, unlimited and emphasized.
It is mentioned 12 times in the Qur’an as الْقَادِرُ,
4 times as الْمُقْتَدِرُ
45 times as الْقَدِيرُ
When one views Allah ta’ala as الْقَادِرُ, one does not need others. It prevents a person from turning to others and will turn to Allah ta’ala at all times. Allah ta’ala’s power is such that it does not need tools or means. Just intention is enough.
Major countries which are so advanced scientifically and in other ways are often left powerless by an occurrence of natural disasters or an illness like a virus. They cannot do anything about it and even fear it. Through occurrences like a tsunami or a volcano erupting with molten lava covering and destroying beautiful islands, Allah ta’ala is showing His power.
The commentary mentions that there is no such thing as a coincidence. Everything occurs with the power of Allah ta’ala. He often shows His power for our betterment especially when a person boasts about themselves and this can even be a pious person boasting about his piety.
Story regarding Sa’eed bin Musayyab, an early Muslim
He was with some people and said for 40 years he has been in the Masjid before the Adhaan was called. Soon thereafter he ended up arriving at the Masjid as people were leaving.Allah ta’ala showed him that it was not through his own power that he had arrived early at the Masjid for 40 years.
To know Allah ta’ala is our Mawlaa / Master and is Qaadir over everything and does what He wants. With this realisation a person will not have hopes in people. His hopes will be in Allah ta’ala. Even when someone does something for them they realise it is through the power and Fadhl of Allah ta’ala.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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