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.
الْمُقَدِّمُ and الْمُؤَخِّرُ will be discussed together.
الْمُقَدِّمُ is translated as The Expediter and The Promoter. It comes from the root word قدم and literally means to be sent/put ahead, to precede something, to promote something, to expedite something. قَدِيْم means old.
الْمُؤَخِّر is translated as The Delayer and the Postponer. It comes from أخر and means the last, to be delayed, to put back.
Both names are Ism Faa’il (Doer forms in Arabic – words which made into the active form) so الْمُقَدِّم is The One Who promotes or puts something ahead and الْمُؤَخِّرُ is the opposite, The One Who keeps back, delays or postpones something.
These two names are opposite to each other and contradictory in a way but both are used for Allah ta’ala and His Sifaat.
الْمُقَدِّمُ is defined as The One Who takes everything through its different phases and stages.
Therefore Allah ta’ala is promoting, expediting or progressing stage by stage for everything and every person in His creation. He makes whoever He wants progress, and being الْمُؤَخِّرُ, He can make them delayed or left behind.
Both these Sifaat are Dhaatiyaa (Essence of Allah ta’ala) and as discussed before, some of the Sifaat of Allah ta’ala are Fa’liyaa (To do with His actions) and the Dhaatiyaa are about His essence / inherent qualities.
In terms of Taqdeer
It is also defined in terms of Taqdeer i.e. whoever He wants to, He advances or promotes in terms of Deen. Another way to explain مُقَدِّم is being advanced and the most مُقَدِّم in their ranks are the Ambiyaa so it is synonymous with being “Muqarrib” – to be in close proximity. Allah ta’ala makes some of His Makhlooq مُقَدِّم (Promoted, advanced and also means one who is close).
Both of these Sifaat are subject to the wish and wisdom of Allah ta’ala. The subject of free will and destiny is a highly intense and academic subject and difficult to understand but the point is that Allah ta’ala can promote/ advance or demote/ delay someone through His will and wisdom.
Both these names are used in a Du’a the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam made:
O Allah! Please forgive me my previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but you. [Bukhari]
Understanding Allah ta’ala being مُقَدِّم and مُؤَخِّر
All the universe is proof of Allah ta’ala being مُقَدِّم and مُؤَخِّر i.e. Allah ta’ala brings the day into night and the night into day and similarly people have good and bad days, the ups and downs of life, the rise and fall of empires where Allah ta’ala raises / promotes certain nations or people or removes / decreases their advancement and this Allah ta’ala being مُقَدِّم and مُؤَخِّر and this is how one can understand what these words mean on a larger scale and on the micro level for us.
Sometimes we are progressing in the Dunya, economically, socially, religiously and on a personal level and sometimes we feel we are left behind and all of us go through this at some point. To know that behind the scene it is actually Allah ta’ala, and he is both, مُقَدِّم and مُؤَخِّر gives people hope when they are going through a down period or slowing down when before they were progressing.
Story regarding Shaykh Al-Andalusi
This is a famous story regarding Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Andalusi which is recorded by a Scholar of the ninth century.
In Baghdad, the seat of the Islamic state, was a pious saint by the name of Abu Abdullah Al-Andalusi. He was a well-known scholar and Muhaddith and twelve thousand disciples sat at his feet. He knew thirty thousand Ahadith by heart, and could recite the Qur’an in all the various modes of Qiraa’at.
On a certain occasion he was going on a journey and was accompanied with a large crowd of attendants among whom were the well-known Junayd Baghdadi and Shaikh Shibli (Rahimahumullah).
Shaikh Shibli continues the story: Our caravan was travelling along safely and comfortably with the grace of Allah, until we passed by an area where Christians were residing. When we reached the Christian village, we searched for water but could not find any. We went about the village and discovered that there were many churches, temples of sun-worship and synagogues. Some of the people worshipped idols and others prayed to the cross. We were amazed at their condition.
We passed all this and reached the outskirts of the village where we found a well and a few girls drawing water for people to drink. Amongst these girls was one who was exceedingly beautiful. She wore a gold necklace around her neck. When Shaikh Abu Abdullah saw her the colour of his face changed. The Shaikh asked the other girls who she was.
They replied: “This is the daughter of the ruler of this village.”
The Shaikh replied: “But, why has her father dishonoured her by leaving her to give people water to drink?”
The girls replied: “Her father has done this so that when she marries she will be able to honour and serve her husband. He does not want her to become boastful of her status.”
The Shaikh sat down with his head bent forward and remained silent. For three days he did not eat or drink. He would only perform his Salaah. His disciples and companions did not know what to do or say.
Shaikh Shibli says : ‘I decided to speak to him. I approached him and said, “O Shaikh, your disciples and companions are perplexed with your silence for the last three days. Please speak to us.”
The Shaikh replied: “O people, know that my heart has become filled with love for the girl I saw the other day. It is not possible for me under any circumstances to leave from here.”
Shaikh Shibli replied: “Our leader! You are the spiritual guide of Iraq. Your piety is well-known far and wide. Your disciples number over twelve thousand. By the sanctity of the Noble Quran do not bring disgrace to us and them.”
The Shaikh replied: “O people, my lot has already been sealed by fate. I am nothing. The cloak of sainthood has been removed from me and the signs of guidance have been taken away from me.”
Saying this the Shaikh began weeping bitterly. “Proceed and leave me alone. My fate has been sealed,” he told them.
We were astonished. We begged Allah for His protection and we cried until the land beneath our feet became wet with our tears.
We returned to Baghdad. When the people heard of our return, they arrived in large numbers at the outskirts of the city to meet the Shaikh. They saw that he was not with us and asked where he was. We told them the entire story. Many of his disciples died out of grief when they heard of his condition. Others cried in sorrow and disbelief. Many begged Allah to guide the Shaikh to the right path and return him to them. All his places of instruction and preaching were closed down.
We remained in this sad condition for one full year. Finally, I, together with a few companions decided to visit the village again and find out how our Shaikh was doing. When we reached the village we asked regarding him and were told that he was in the woods looking after pigs. We asked: “What has happened?” We were told that he had proposed for the girl in marriage. But, the girl’s father had refused saying that her suitor had to meet certain conditions : he had to follow the same religion as her, he had to become a servant in the church and he had to look after the pigs. The Shaikh had fulfilled all these conditions and was currently seeing to the pigs.
“With broken hearts and tears streaming down our eyes, we went to the woods to find him. He was standing amongst the pigs. Around his waist was a string of beads. On his head was the traditional Christian hat. He stood leaning on the staff that he once used to lean on when delivering the sermon in the mihraab!
When he saw us he bowed his head in shame. We came nearer and said, “Assalaamu Alaikum.” He replied: “Wa Alaikumus salaam”.
Shaikh Shibli then asked: “O Shaikh, what is all this? What has happened to you? What has happened to all your knowledge and virtue?”
The Shaikh replied: “My dear friend and brothers, I am now no longer in control. Whatever Allah has desired for me, has come to pass. I was once amongst His beloved ones. Now He has thrown me very far away from His door. O Beloved ones of Allah, beware of being rejected and distanced from Allah. O Beloved ones of Allah, beware of Allah’s anger and being cut off from Him.”
Then turning towards the heavens he said: “O my Lord, I never expected such treatment from You.” Then he began crying bitterly and appealing to Allah.
Shaikh Shibli also begged Allah in a loud voice : “Only from you do we seek help. Upon You only do we rely. By Your grace, remove this difficulty from us! We have been overcome. Only you can save us!”
When the pigs heard our crying they began to rub their heads in the sand and began to yell so loudly that the mountains appeared to wail. Shaikh Shibli says : “I thought Qiyaamah had come.” The Shaikh continued to cry uncontrollably.
Shaikh Shibli continues: We said to him : “Shaikh, why don’t you return with us to Baghdad?” The Shaikh replied : “How can I? I have to see to the pigs, although I once saw to the hearts of men!”
I asked the Shaikh : “You were a Haafiz of Qur’an and you could recite the seven modes of Qiraat. Do you remember anything of the Qur’an?”
The Shaikh answered : “I have forgotten everything except two verses of the Qur’an: ‘He who Allah disgraces, none can grant him honour. Allah does as He wishes.’ And, secondly, the verse, ‘He who chooses kufr (disbelief) over Imaan (faith) he has certainly gone astray.’
I asked : “You knew thirty thousand Ahadith of Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Do you still remember any?”
He answered : “Only one: ‘One who leaves his faith, kill him!’ ”
Amazed at his condition, we left the Shaikh and headed for Baghdad. However, after we had walked for three days we suddenly saw the Shaikh in front of us. He was coming out of a river, where he had just performed a bath. In a loud voice he proclaimed the Shahaadah: “I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam is His messenger.”
We could not control our joy and happiness when we saw him. He asked us for some pure clothing which he then wore. He then performed Salaah. We expressed our gratitude to Allah for returning him to us and we asked him what had happened to him.
He replied : “When you left me, I turned to Allah with my former love and affection for Him : ‘O my Protector, I am a sinner and a transgressor.’ Allah forgave me and covered me in His mercy.”
We asked him : “But, why were you put through such an intense trial?”
The Shaikh replied: “When we arrived in the village and saw the temples, synagogues and churches I thought to myself: ‘These people are nothing compared to me. I believe and worship one Allah.’ At that moment I heard a voice from within me saying: ‘This Iman that you have, is not due to your goodness in any way. If you so wish, We will show you right now.’ Immediately I felt as if something left my heart and flew away. That was my Imaan leaving me.”
Shaikh Shibli says: “We were overjoyed. Our caravan arrived in Baghdad with great joy. The Shaikh’s places of teaching and preaching were reopened. In a short while his students numbered over forty thousand. Allah again returned to him his knowledge of Qur’an and Hadith and blessed him with further knowledge.” (Al-Mustatraf)
The story shows that it does not matter who a person is. He may be of a high rank in any field and it was Allah ta’ala Who had made him مُقَدِّم however in a second, Allah ta’ala can be الْمُؤَخِّرُ and the person can lose everything and be demoted. In the story Allah ta’ala had made Shaykh Al-Andalusi of the Muqaddimeen and then of the Mu’akhkhireen.
How do we connect with these names?
To know that the Tawfeeq of any good deed is only through Allah ta’ala’s Ihsaan. He gives us the ability to do good and He protects us from sin and therefore not to be proud regarding any blessing one has as in the story of Shaykh Al-Andalusi.
Not to blame others for our failures or being demoted. All failures, be they worldly or Deeni, are from Allah ta’ala and He is الْمُقَدِّمُ and الْمُؤَخِّرُ.
When feeling we are losing or being left behind then to make Du’a saying, “O Allah! You are الْمُقَدِّمُ and الْمُؤَخِّرُ so help me advance and progress.”
الأَوَّلُ is translated as The First and The Pre-existing.
الآخِرُ is translated as The Last and The End & Ultimate.
Allah ta’ala is The First and The Last. Again the two names seem contradicting but they are both attributes of Allah ta’ala.
الأَوَّلُ – He is the first of all things. This does not mean He is the first of things which are created because Allah ta’ala is The Creator Himself. It means the first of everything that happened in the universe i.e. He is the first that led to the creation of everything else. Everything came from Him and so He is the first in time.
It is that Being Who was the beginning for everything and there was no-one before Him.
الآخِرُ – Scholars have said that everything is “Faanee ” which means it is temporary and can be erased i.e. the possibility of it not existing is there. Even in the Aakhirah there is possibility that Allah ta’ala can end that eternal life. Whereas Allah ta’ala is “Baaqee” and He cannot be erased and in that way الآخِرُ means He is The Last.
Another way to understand these two names is that Allah ta’ala has no beginning and no end or limit. Therefore الأَوَّلُ and الآخِرُ covers the whole spectrum i.e. pre-existing and always existing. Even theoretically all of creation can end but Allah ta’ala is always there.
In the Qur’an
In Surah Hadeed (Verse 3) all four names (The previous two and these two) are together.
He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent, and He has the knowledge of all things.
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam had a habit of reciting Surahs at bedtime which began with, “Sabbah or Yusabbih” which are called the “Musabbihaat” and then he would say, “Verily in these Surah is a verse which is better than a thousand verses” and that verse is the one mentioned above.
In a Du’a the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam taught us to say:
Allahumma antal awwalu falaysa qablaka shay. Wa antal akhiru falaysa badaka shay. Wa antaz zahiru falaysa fawqaka shayun, wa antal batinu falaysa dunaka shay.
“Oh Allah you are the first and so there is nothing before you. And you are the last, and so nothing is after you. And you are the manifest, the apparent, so nothing is above you. But at the same time, you are the hidden so nothing is beyond you.”
Another Du’a the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam made when going to bed within which these names and the next two names are mentioned was,
O Allah, Lord of the heavens and Lord of the earth and Lord of all things, Cleaver of the seed and the kernel, Revealer of the Tawrah, the Injil and the Magnificent Qur'an, I seek refuge with You from the evil of every creature You seize by the forelock. You are the First and there is nothing before You; You are the Last and there is nothing after You; You are the Most High (Az-Zahir) and there is nothing above You, and You are the Most Near (Al-Batin) and there is nothing nearer than You. Settle my debt for me and spare me from poverty.
Advice Regarding Masnoon Du’a
There are many Masnoon Du’a and we cannot read all of them so it would be good to read each at least once in our lifetime the way the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam did at a particular time or occasion. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam did not make all these Du’a all the time and he made the Du’a because of the feelings in his heart. For the Ambiyaa and the Muqarraboon, Du’a are what they talk to Allah ta’ala through. It gives us an idea of where they used those words of Du’a. Making Du’a stickers and learning all of them is not the point. It is to make all the Du’a at some stage and use the variety of Du’a to approach Allah ta’ala.
To have certainty that everything will end and Allah ta’ala is الأَوَّلُ and الآخِرُ and we are insignificant and temporary beings passing through this universe. We see through the names of Allah ta’ala the constant feeling of human beings being insignificant and Allah ta’ala is اكْبر in His Sifaat and his Af’aal.
الظَّاهِرُ and الْبَاطِنُ will be discussed together.
الظَّاهِرُ is translated as The Manifest One and The Evident.
الْبَاطِنُ is translated as The Hidden One and The Inner.
ظاهِر is something that can be seen. It is something external and بَاطِن is something internal. We see again two traits which seem contradictory.
How is Allah ta’ala ظاهِر and بَاطِن?
He is ظاهِر (Manifest) as there are clear proofs through which He can be manifested i.e. His creation, the universe, nature etc. and He is بَاطِن (Hidden from creation) as He cannot be seen like other worldly things which we can see, feel, touch, smell or imagine and we cannot communicate with Him as we would with other human beings with our ears and tongues. Therefore He is both ظاهِر and بَاطِن.
Allah ta’ala is ظاهِر due to His actions i.e. He manifests Himself through His actions (His creation) and due to His Sifat of being ظاهِر, there is no possible way to reject Him. No one can say there is no God and if someone rejects Allah ta’ala then His signs cannot be rejected as His perfect power is apparent through the universe. Therefore everything that is manifest in this world is a manifestation of Allah ta’ala and if Allah ta’ala was not there, there would be nothing.
Allah ta’ala is بَاطِن as He is not only hidden from our sight, hearing etc. but He cannot even be imagined or felt with our senses. He is veiled and as a Being, He is beyond our comprehension. We cannot understand Him directly or intellectually even though we can see his creation and signs.
The realization of Allah ta’ala’s existence can be obtained through His actions which is how He is ظاهِر and His being behind a veil and beyond our comprehension and imagination, is how He is بَاطِن. Whatever we know about Allah ta’ala in terms if His Dhaat is through what he chose to reveal of Himself in the Qur’an and the Hadith Qudsee. There are many verses in the Qur’an telling us to look at His signs because it is through His signs that we will find Him.
Connection between the two names
In a way it is through the ظاهِر that you realize He is بَاطِن and so this is the beautiful connection between the two names.
Looking at the Apparent to find the Hidden
It is through looking at the beautiful creation of Allah ta’ala like the sunset and sunrise in which one can revel and wonder at the beauty of its Creator that connects you to the بَاطِن.
Commentators spend a lot of time talking about this and mention the Ambiyaa who would ponder on Allah ta’ala and the most famous of them was Ibraheem AS.
For sure, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men of understanding. [Surah Aali ‘Imraa: 190]
أُولِي الْأَلْبَاب is translated as “Men of understanding” and it has the connotation of people of intellect but it is not in terms of being educated people with degrees as intellect is more than this. It is people who look beyond the apparent and then find the hidden. We cannot imagine the reality but we can realise it’s there through the signs.
Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and meditate on the creation of the heavens and the earth. Then cry out:" Our Rabb! You have not created this in vain. Glory to You! Save us from the punishment of Fire. [Surah Aali ‘Imraan: 191]
Everything in the world is a manifestation of the Attributes of Allah ta’ala
When we get Rizq from Allah ta’ala, it becomes apparent that He is الرَّزَّاقُ and when we see the creation of Allah ta’ala we realize that He is الْخَالِقُ and when we see the mercy of humans and creatures, we realize He is الرَّحْمَنُ الرَّحِيمُ and when we see the power of Allah ta’ala we realize it is a manifestation of الْكَبِيرُ.
Therefore all the names of Allah ta’ala are a manifestation of something in this world that we are seeing or experiencing. One of the beauties of Asmaa ul Husnaa is how to connect the things we see and the experiences of this life to the manifestations of the traits of Allah ta’ala.
In the Qur’an
Both names are used together in verse 3 of Surah Hadeed.
It is mentioned in the Tafseer of ibn Katheer (Rahimahullah) that ‘Abdullah ibn Abbaas RA who was a Mufassir, said that if a person has Waswasah in the heart regarding Allah ta’ala and Deen then to recite verse 3 of Surah Hadeed.
Imam Ghazali (Rahimahullah) writes that being الأَوَّلُ, He is the most manifest and being الآخِرُ, He is the most hidden, and this is the biggest paradox. He is the most manifest and the most hidden. His proofs are manifested throughout the universe but He is also the most بَاطِن. So it is a strange paradox that people want to talk to Him and know Him but He is hidden and in a way He is closest to us, He is there , He is with us.
Another thing Imam Ghazali (Rahimahullah) writes is that it is the last stage of Ma’rifat when a person is trying to get to know Allah ta’ala and goes through different stages of knowing and understanding Him (even in our weak, Naaqis way) and this is the last stage of knowing Allah ta’ala, to realize that He is ظاهِر and بَاطِن.
We should know that every Ni’mat of this world is a manifestation of Allah ta’ala.
Everyone has a ظاهِر (the outer which the world can see) and a بَاطِن (the inner which no one can see) forms and to know them and to work on both the outer actions and the Tazkiyah of the heart and to follow the Sunnah in both.
To know that Allah ta’ala is aware of our ظاهِر and بَاطِن, how we act in front of others and how we really are in private.
To stay away from both type of sins as Allah ta’ala mentions in the Qur’an,
Forsake the outwardness of sin and the inwardness thereof. Lo! those who garner sin will be awarded that which they have earned. [Surah An’aam: 120]
Therefore refrain from open sins and secret sins. The inner sins are having bad or negative feelings in the heart like envy, jealousy, pride etc. These are diseases of the heart and we should try and purify the heart while making Du’a for the purification of the heart.
الْوَالِي is translated as The Sole Governor and The Friendly Lord. It means The Ruler in terms of organization, planning, implementing, preserving etc.
It is The One Who plans the affairs of the creation, rules them and takes charge of them. The connotation is in terms of government organization. In Hajj there is a person called a “Mutawalli.” He is the person who takes care of all the affairs of the Hujjaaj. He organizes and takes care of and directs the Hujjaaj. This is what this name means.
If Allah wants to afflict a people with misfortune, none can ward it off, nor they can find any protector besides Him.
All systems are in the power, rule and protection of Allah ta’ala and that is Allah ta’ala being الْوَالِي and we can entrust الْوَالِي to solve our worries and problems.
Story Regarding Abdullah bin Zubayr (RadiyAllahu anhu)
When Zubair (radiyAllahu anhu) prepared for the battle of Jamal, he called his son Abdullah RA and said, “O my son! Today one will be killed either as an oppressor or as an oppressed one. I see that I will be killed as an oppressed one. My biggest worry is my debts. Do you think, if we pay the debts, there will be something left for us from our money?” Zubair (radiyallahu anhu) added, “O my son! Sell our property and pay my debts.” Thereafter he willed his property and said,
“If you should fail to pay part of the debts, appeal to my Master to help you.” Abdullah RA did not understand what his father meant so he asked, “O father! Who is your Master?” His father replied, “Allah (is my Master).”
Abdullah bin Zubayr RA said, “By Allah, whenever I had any difficulty regarding his debts, I would say, ‘Master of Zubayr! Pay his debts on his behalf .’ and Allah would (help me to) pay it.”
Zubayr RA was martyred leaving no Dinar or Dirham but two pieces of land, one of which was (called) Al-Ghaba, and eleven houses in Madeenah, two in Basra, one in Kufa and one in Egypt. In fact, the source of the debt which he owed was that if somebody brought some money to him for safekeeping Zubayr RA would say, “No, (I won’t keep it as a trust), but I take it as a debt, for I am afraid it might be lost.”
The debt was paid due to his trust in Allah ta’ala. Similarly we should make Du’a, “O Allah! You are الْوَالِي, help my affairs!”
الْمُتَعَالِي is translated as The Supremely Exalted and The Most High. “Muta’aal” is a derivative of الْعَلِيُّ – The Most High. “Muta’aal” is in the intensive form so it means “The Supremely High.”
It is that Being Who is Pure, High and His Sifaat are purer and higher than all of Makhlooq’s and He is so pure that to be compared with the traits of creation is a type of insult. There is no comparison. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam did do it but in a way which showed Allah ta’ala as higher i.e. in the superlative form. It is done due to the limit of our intellect however Allah ta’ala is beyond being compared with creation.
In the Qur’an
It comes in the Qur’an in two forms. “Ta’ala” means to be high and is mentioned in the Qur’an.
الْبَرُّ is translated as The Gracious Benefactor and The Source of Goodness. بِرٌّ means goodness. الْبَرُّ is an ‘Ism Faa’il.
For Allah ta’ala it is One Who is the source of (and grants) goodness. It is One Who is Muhsin (Well-wisher). He is The Absolute Doer of Good and from Whom every good deed and beneficence comes from. It is one of the Jamaali Sifaat.
In the Qur’an there is a word (الْبَر) meaning dry land. The connection made to this word is that dry land is vast and Allah ta’ala being الْبَرُّ, His goodness is vast, common to all whether Believer or disbeliever.
It is One Who wishes well, One Who fixes affairs and One Who is kind to His creation. It is One Who wants ease for His slaves and not difficulty. It is One Who is forgiving of many sins through His Fadhl. He does not catch a person for every sin. Allah ta’ala says in Surah Nahl (verse 61),
If Allah were to punish people ˹immediately˺ for their wrongdoing, He would not have left a single living being on earth.
Another way to understand this name is as mentioned in Hadith,
“Verily, Allah has recorded good and bad deeds and He made them clear. Whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, then Allah will record it as a complete good deed. If he intends to do it and does so, then Allah the Exalted will record it as ten good deeds up to seven hundred times as much or even more. If he intends to do a bad deed and does not do it, then Allah will record for him one complete good deed. If he does it then Allah will record for him a single bad deed.” [Bukhari]
The whole world is surrounded / enveloped in this Sifat of Allah ta’ala, so all of humanity shares in this Sifat of Allah ta’ala being the source of goodness. In the Aakhirah however it will be exclusive to Allah ta’ala.
Allah ta’ala’s bounties and goodness are upon all of creation whether it is perceived or not through the senses and intelligence. We are not even aware of how Allah ta’ala protected us from something and how He took care of our needs. In Surah Luqmaan (Verse 20) Allah ta’ala says,
Indeed we used to pray only to Him. Surely He is the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Example of being بَرّ – Being Khayrkhwah/Well-wisher
It is goodness to tell someone what they are doing is wrong. Some people asked the prophet sallallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam for wealth and he gave them. They asked and he gave them. They asked again and he gave them and thereafter he said,
“Whatever I have of good I will never withhold from you, but whoever refrains from asking (of people), Allah will make him content, whoever seeks to be independent of means, Allah will make him independent, and whoever strives to be patient Allah will bestow patience upon him, and no one is ever given anything better and more abundant than patience.” [Bukhari]
Being a Khayrkhwah without the person realising it
Jareer ibn Abdullah RA once sent his servant for buying a horse. The servant made a deal for three hundred dirhams and brought the seller with him so he could be paid. Jareer ibn Abdullah RA looked at the horse and realized that the seller had undervalued it. “Would you sell it for four hundred?” he asked. The seller agreed. “How about five hundred?” he continued his unusual “bargaining” and finally bought the horse for eight hundred dirhams. He was later asked why he did so. “The seller was not aware of the true value of this horse,” he explained. “I have simply given him a fair price because I had promised to Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam to always be sincere and well-wisher for every Muslim.”
بِرّ – Piety/Righteousness
This word is often mentioned in the Qur’an as being a trait of the Believers. In Surah Aali ‘Imraan (Verse 92) Allah ta’ala says,
You can never attain righteousness unless you spend in the cause of Allah that which you dearly cherish; and whatever you spend, surely it is known to Allah.
It is reported that upon hearing this verse many Sahaba RA gave away what was beloved to them.
Abu Talha RA was the wealthiest of all the Ansaar in terms of the number of orchards that he owned in Madeenah. Opposite the Masjidun Nabawi stood one of his orchards in which was a well named Bir Haa. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam often used to drink there. This was his most beloved orchard.
When the above verse was revealed, he presented himself before the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam saying, “Bir Haa is dearest to me of all my wealth, so I wish to donate it in the way of Allah, in anticipation of the reward thereof and so that it be stored as a treasure for me in the Hereafter. You may spend it as you please in a worthy cause.” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam commented, “This orchard has earned a grand profit! I propose that it be distributed amongst some of your relatives.” Abu Talha RA accepted this proposal of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and distributed it amongst some of his cousins.
This is the best type of بِرّ to spend of what you love.
To be a well-wisher for everyone even if you see that you may not benefit by being their well-wisher or even if they do not realise you are being their well-wisher. Making a habit of helping others. To recognise Allah ta’ala’s Ihsaanaat and showing gratitude and to ask only of Allah ta’ala.
التَّوَّابُ is translated as The Acceptor of Repentance and The Oft-Forgiving.
Different words are used in the Arabic language for forgiving i.e. الْغَفُورُ الْغَفَّارُ and التَّوَّابُ is also regarding forgiveness.
Linguistically the meaning of تَوَّاب is to return or to turn people back. The legalistic meaning is to refrain, to stay away from something.
مَغْفِرة is to ask for forgiveness for what was done in the past.
توبة is to do with returning back to Allah ta’ala and has to do with refraining in the future. تَوَّاب is the superlative form of توبة.
It is The One Who gives the Tawfeeq to turn back to Him and accepts the Tawbah and it is a great Ni’mat of Allah ta’ala to be granted the ability to turn back. The beautiful part of it is that it does not matter how many times one does Tawbah. People get tired if we say sorry and keep making the same mistake but Allah ta’ala accepts Tawbah again and again.
It is The One Who returns to His slave the Fadhl of His Rahmah. This refers to the Rahmah that could have been taken away or distanced from the person after committing the sin. Allah ta’ala gives it back through His Fadhl and that is the power of Tawbah that the person is once again in the mercy of Allah ta’ala.
Allah ta’ala being التَّوَّابُ returns the slave back to His obedience and Allah ta’ala being التَّوَّابُ will not waste their good deeds due to the sin.
Another meaning of التَّوَّابُ is that He makes such means that when a person sees the signs of Allah ta’ala, he will turn again and again to Him. It can be any sign. Sometimes it can be a dream or something bad happening to a person who is stuck in some major sin, which makes the person repent. Therefore as التَّوَّابُ, Allah ta’ala sends a sign or warning as a direction to the person to turn back to Him.
In the Qur’an
It is mentioned 10 times in the Qur’an often with الرَّحِيمُ.
So glorify your Rabb with His praises, and pray for His forgiveness: surely He is ever ready to accept repentance. [Surah Nasr: 3]
Conditions of Tawbah
• To leave the sin immediately
• To feel remorse/ shame (Nadaamat) – without feeling remorse a person will not be inspired to make Tawbah. Therefore if a person left sin due to being caught in the sin without feeling remorse then it is not true Tawbah
• To make a firm resolution not to commit the sin again – even if there is probability of committing the sin again, the “want” to refrain has to be present. It is a great trick of Shaytaan to make a person feel what is the point of Tawbah when he is bound to commit the sin again
A fourth condition applies if the sin was in relation to Huqooqul ‘Ibaad – the rights of others, in which case one has to rectify the situation i.e. reimburse if someone was wronged or cheated, ask for forgiveness for backbiting etc.
Surely Allah loves those who turn to Him in repentance and keep themselves clean [Surah Baqarah: 222]
Even the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam made Dua’ for forgiveness though he was sinless.
Even though a person may have given up sins, there is always something for which they should be asking for forgiveness. They may be performing their prayers however with little concentration or there may be Ghaflat etc. The Muqarrabeen make Tawbah for that as well.
We should ask Allah ta’ala to forgive us even after doing good deeds i.e. to forgive the shortcomings and accept the deeds.
And (mention) Dhun Nun, when he went off in anger and deemed that We had no power over him, but he cried out in the darkness, saying: There is no God save Thee. Be Thou glorified! I have been a wrong-doer [Surah Ambiyaa: 87]
Story of the Man who killed 99 people
The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wassallam said,
“There was a man from among a nation before you who killed ninety-nine people and then made an inquiry about the most learned person on the earth. He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the negative and the man killed him also completing one hundred.
He then asked about the most learned man in the earth. He was directed to a scholar. He told him that he had killed one hundred people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the affirmative and asked, `Who stands between you and repentance? Go to such and such land; there (you will find) people devoted to prayer and worship of Allah, join them in worship, and do not come back to your land because it is an evil place.’
So he went away and hardly had he covered half the distance when death overtook him; and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of torment. The angels of mercy pleaded, ‘This man has come with a repenting heart to Allah,’ and the angels of punishment argued, ‘He never did a virtuous deed in his life.’ Then there appeared another angel in the form of a human being and the contending angels agreed to make him arbiter between them. He said, `Measure the distance between the two lands. He will be considered belonging to the land to which he is nearer.’ They measured and found him closer to the land (land of piety) where he intended to go, and so the angels of mercy collected his soul”. [Bukhari and Muslim]
The story shows that some places may not be conducive to a person’s spiritual progress as the environment can have an effect on people. Another point from the above story is that one should never despair of the mercy of Allah ta’ala.
Forgiveness comes from Allah ta’ala
Only Allah ta’ala can accept Tawbah and forgive our sins. No pious saint or Scholar can do so unlike Christianity where there is the concept of the confession and being forgiven. The Pious Scholars can guide on how to make Tawbah and how to refrain from sins and we can ask others to make Du’a for us to be forgiven but actual forgiveness comes from Allah ta’ala. No one has the power to forgive anyone’s sins no matter who they are. Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an,
“All of the children of Adam are sinners, and the best sinners are those who repent.”
Tawbah comes from the Heart
Tawbah is from the heart. The number of Istaghfaar and Salaatut Tawbah etc. can be done however that is to show what is in the heart. It is not a substitute for the feelings of the heart.
Emotional & Psychological Benefits of Tawbah
• It is a detoxification and cleanliness
• It becomes a trigger and a motivation factor for one’s good deeds to be improved. Those who make Tawbah after leading a sinful life become better Muslims, even become very pious or Scholars
• Regular Tawbah brings humility in the heart and improves one’s character
Istaghfaar for every Problem
It is related in Tafsir al Qurtubi that Hasan al-Basri (r.a) was once seated. A man came saying “O Master, I’m very sinful do tell me an act which I can do to be forgiven”. Hasan al-Basri (r.a) replied, “Go and do Istighfar”.
Second person came and said, “O Master, for many days rains have stopped and there is drought. Tell me an action through which Allah (s.w.t) will send down rain to us”. Hasan al-Basri (r.a) replied, “Go and do Istighfar”.
Third person came and said, “I am under a lot of debt. I am working, but please make dua that Allah (s.w.t) give me wealth so I can be saved from debts”. Hasan al-Basri (r.a) replied, “Go and do Istighfar to Allah”.
Fourth person came and said, “It is a wish of mine that Allah (s.w.t) give me an offspring. So please make dua that Allah (s.w.t) gives me pious offspring”. Hasan al-Basri (r.a) replied, “Go and do Istighfar”.
Fifth person came and said, “I have an orchard please make dua that it gives more fruits, so that the return will be more.” Hasan al-Basri (r.a) replied, “Go and do Istighfar”.
Sixth person came and said, “If I was to get water spring in my house, I will be so pleased”. Shaykh Hasan replied, “Go and do Istighfar”.
Shaykh Hasan al-Basri’s (r.a) disciple, Ibn Sabih (r.a) who was sitting close, was very surprised thinking, “Why is it that Shaykh Hasan al-Basri (r.a) is giving the same solution of Istighfar to whoever comes to him”? So Ibn Sabih (r.a) eventually asked “Why are you giving one response for all the problems”? On hearing this Shaykh Hasan al-Basri (r.a) recited what Allah ta’ala said in Qur’an,
فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا - And I have said: Seek pardon of your Lord Lo! He is ever Forgiving.
يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِدْرَارًا - He will let loose the sky for you in plenteous rain,
وَيُمْدِدْكُمْ بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ أَنْهَارًا - And will help you with wealth and sons, and will assign unto you Gardens and will assign unto you rivers.
(Surah Nooh: 10-12]
Therefore Astaghfaar benefits us in different worldly ways.
Best Time for Istaghfaar
The best time for istaghfaar is at the time of Tahajjud. Allah ta’ala says in Surah Dhaariyaat (verse 18),
وَبِالْأَسْحَارِ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ - pray for forgiveness in the early morning (Before dawn).
A person who makes Tawbah regularly will never be humiliated.
الْمُنْتَقِمُ is translated as The Avenger and The Inflictor of Retribution. It comes from the root word “Intiqaam” meaning to take revenge. It is an Ism Faa’il so it means The One Who takes Revenge. This is one of the Jalaali Sifaat which shows the might and power of Allah ta’ala for those who are disobedient. It is a Fe’li Sifat i.e. the Sifaat that are enacted (Shown through His action).
It is The One Who punishes His disobedient slaves for their disliked deeds. The One Who, when He wants, He can grasp and take intense revenge i.e. there are no conditions or limitations after giving warnings, chances and opportunities to change.
Allah ta’ala’s being الْمُنْتَقِمُ
Allah ta’ala does not take revenge immediately. Intense retribution comes only after being given many opportunities to change. There have been many examples throughout history of people who Allah ta’ala took revenge from in this world.
Fir’awn was one of them. Musa AS was put in water and he was saved and Fir’awn drowned in the water and Allah ta’ala preserved his body as a sign for people.
Qaaroon was arrogant and proud of his wealth and he, along with all his wealth was swallowed by the earth. Namrood was an oppressive king who had Ibraheem AS thrown in a huge fire however Ibraheem AS was saved and this made Namrood angry and he disputed with Ibraheem AS. Namrood claimed divinity and along with his army was killed by mosquitoes.
Abraha came to destroy the Ka’bah and he along with his army was destroyed by birds (Mentioned in Surah Feel). The people of ‘Aad and Thamood who claimed to be mighty and powerful were also destroyed. These episodes are showing Allah ta’ala's power of being الْمُنْتَقِمُ.
Who could be more unjust than the one who is reminded of the revelations of his Rabb and he turns away from them? Surely We shall take vengeance on such criminals. [Surah Sajdah: 22]
Allah ta’ala is revengeful on those who commit injustice and sin. In a Hadith three sins are mentioned for which Allah ta’ala punishes in this world;
• Openly and knowingly fighting against the truth
• Disobeying parents
• Helping an oppressor
How much Revenge is allowed in the Shari’ah?
Taking the same revenge as the wrong done to a person is allowed in the Shari’ah however it often becomes excessive and it is better to forgive. Rather take revenge on the Nafs which makes a person distant from Allah ta’ala by not giving it what it wants or by punishing it.
To prevent one’s self from all injustice and refrain from anything which brings the punishment of Allah ta’ala.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
We apologise but you have been denied access to report posts in this thread. This could be due to excessively reporting posts and not understanding our forum rules. For assistance or information, please use the forum help thread to request more information. Jazakallah