Rizwan Khan, Missionary, USA
91. Yā Mubdi’ – O Beginner! – يا مبدئ
92. Yā Mu‘īd – O Restorer! – يا معيد
Together, al-Mubdi’ and al-Mu‘īd mean He who created mankind, and who returned them to death after life and, after death, to life on the day of resurrection.
The root meaning of mubdi’ is to begin, originate, or bring into existence. Al-Mubdi’ means the Creator who produced things at the beginning. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: بدأ Entry: بدأ، المُبْدِئُ)
The root of mu‘īd means returning or restoring something to a former state, and renewing or reproducing it. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: عود Entry: اعود) In application to this world, al-Mu‘īd (The Restorer) refers to how Allah Almighty causes one generation to replace the other. In application to the hereafter, al-Mu‘īd (The Restorer) refers to the new life that Allah Almighty gives us after death. (The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary, 10:5, p. 1219)
This name is also mentioned under al-Fātir (The Creator/Originator) and al-Badī‘ (The Originator).
Use in prayer
In almost every instance where the root of al-Mubdi’ (The Beginner) is used in the Holy Quran, it is accompanied by the root of al-Mu‘īd (The Restorer). We are thus reminded that the same God Who created from nothing can easily restore creation, even after it is destroyed to almost nothing. When we pray, the name al-Mu‘īd (The Restorer) reminds us how Allah Almighty has restored humanity after repeated destruction, and He has renewed His Divine communities despite countless trials and setbacks. Allah Almighty says, “He it is Who originates (يَبْدَأُ) the creation, then keeps repeating (يُعِيۡدُ) it, and it is most easy for Him.” (Surah ar-Rūm, 30:28) When we say Yā Mubdi’ (O Beginner!) and Yā Mu‘īd (O Restorer!), we pray knowing that no matter what loss we suffer, it is easy for Allah Almighty, Who created us from nothing, to restore and renew us from nothing.
93. Yā Fātir – O Creator/Originator! – يا فاطر
The root of fātir means to split. It is used to refer to a tooth splitting the flesh and coming out, which indicates the connection this root has with ‘bringing into existence’. Fātir also means the One Who extracts something by breaking the shell. Al-Fātir means the One who brings into existence for the first time. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: فطر Entry: فطر، فَاطِرٌ; The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary, p. cccxxxi)
The Holy Quran refers to: 1) The stage when nothing existed and the process of creation began for the first time; 2) and the stage when matter had come into existence but had not yet taken a definite material form. The name Fātir refers to the second stage of creation. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 3, p. 451)
The difference between al-Mubdi’ and al-Fātir is that the root of Mubdi’ refers to the general concept of a very beginning and start, whereas the root of Fātir refers to the specific point where creation physically started for the first time.
Use in prayer
When we bring to mind al-Fātir (The Creator/Originator), the thought of something being created from nothing should cause us some disorientation. Our mind can comprehend creating from something, but creating from nothing is beyond our experience. It doesn’t seem possible, but we cannot dismiss it because we know there must be a cause of all causes. When we say Yā Fātir (O Creator/Originator), we bring to mind how the power of Allah Almighty is incomprehensible. This reminds us that Allah Almighty has the power to accept our prayers.
The Promised Messiahas said, “Your God is One Who has suspended numberless stars without any support and Who has created heaven and earth from nothing. Then would you think so ill of Him as to imagine that your objective is beyond His power?” (Essence of Islam, Vol. 2, p. 213)
Sometimes when we pray, we can think that maybe we are asking too much of Allah and that accepting our prayer would somehow be difficult for Him. When we say Yā Fātir (O Creator/Originator), we are reminded that if Allah Almighty created everything we see from nothing, then creating the means for the acceptance of our prayer is easy for Him.
94. Yā Badī‘ – O Originator! – يا بديع
When used about a person, the word badī‘ refers to an inventor or innovator. When applied to Allah Almighty, it refers to originating a thing without any tool, instrument, or pattern and without matter. Al-Badī‘ means The Originator who creates without the similitude of anything pre-existing. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: بدع Entry: بَدِيعٌ; The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary, 2:118, p. 213)
When al-Mubdi’ (The Beginner) and al-Badī‘ (The Originator) are contrasted, the emphasis in al-Mubdi’ is on creating from non-existence, whereas the emphasis in al-Badī‘ is on creating in an original way that there is no example of previously. (Bihar al-‘Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Section 87, Chapter 72, See “توضيح : البدئ اي المبدئ الموجد لما سواه من كتم العدم، البديع أي المبدع خالق الخلائق لا على مثال سابق”)
Al-Mubdi’ (The Beginner) refers to the start of the creation of this world, not the stages after. Al-Mu‘īd (The Restorer) refers to the renewal of life in this world and the restoration of life in the hereafter, but it does not refer to the start of this world. However, al-Badī‘ (The Originator) can refer to all these stages. It can refer to any stage of creation that is so novel that it is without precedent, whether in this world or the hereafter. (Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya, Ibn Arabi, al-Bab 198, al-Fasl 38)
Use in prayer
When we pray, we sometimes think of the possible ways we think Allah Almighty could give us what we are asking for. If we cannot think of a possibility, or the possibilities we think of seem improbable, we can lose motivation to offer that prayer. The name al-Badī‘ (The Originator) reminds us that the creative powers of Allah Almighty are not confined to our estimates of His options. Rather, He can create in infinitely new ways and accept our prayers in ways we never knew of. When we say Yā Badī‘ (O Originator!), we pray knowing that even if what we want to happen seems improbable to us, Allah Almighty can create ways for it to happen that we never considered and were unknown to us before.
95. Yā Khāliq – O Creator! – يا خالق
96. Yā Khallāq – O Supreme Creator! – يا خلّاق
The root of khāliq means to measure or to make something according to a measure. When used about a person, khāliq refers to a leather worker because he makes something after measuring. When used about Allah Almighty, al-Khāliq means the One who brings into existence according to a proper measure. The emphasis in al-Khāliq is on Allah Almighty creating according to a predetermined plan. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: خلق Entry: خلق، خَالِقٌ; Kashf al-Ma’na ‘an Sirr Asma Allah al-Husna, Ibn Arabi, (12) al-Ism: al-Khāliq)
Al-Khāliq (The Creator) and al-Khallāq (The Supreme Creator) come from the same root. These two words are synonymous, but khallāq is in the intensive fa’’āl (فَعَّال) form. This form describes the repetition and frequency of the action in the root meaning. In both instances where the name al-Khallāq (The Supreme Creator) is used in the Holy Quran, it specifically describes how Allah Almighty creates again and again.
The name al-Khallāq (The Supreme Creator) emphasises that Allah Almighty never hesitates to destroy the wicked because He can easily bring into existence a better people. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 4, p. 109)
The name al-Khāliq (The Creator) is the broadest of all the names related to creation, and it can cover all of the stages other names describe. For example, it means He who creates from non-existence in a way that has no precedent. It also means to create from something. (Friday Sermon, 7 May 2010, Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol. 98, pp. 214-215; Lane’s Lexicon, Root: خلق Entry: خَالِقٌ)
This name is also mentioned under al-Bāri’ (The Maker), al-Musawwir (The Fashioner), and al-Wāhid (The One).
Use in prayer
The Holy Quran uses this root more than any other in describing the different aspects of creating. Thus, we use this name in prayer more broadly than any other name related to creating.
For example, if someone does not have children, he can pray, “Yā Khāliq (O Creator!), grant me a child.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 9, p. 269)
97. Yā Bāri’ – O Maker! – يا بارئ
The root of bāri’ means to be free of fault. It also means to create. Al-Bāri’ (The Maker) is He who has created things free from any faultiness. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: برأ Entry: برأ، بَارِئٌ)
Al-Khāliq (The Creator) applies to the creation of everything, whereas al-Bāri’ (The Maker) usually only applies to the creation of living creatures, or to the creation of souls. (Tafsir Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas, 59:25, Vol. 7, p. 389; Lane’s Lexicon, Root: برأ Entry: برأ)
This name is also mentioned under al-Musawwir (The Fashioner).
Use in prayer
When the Children of Israel began worshipping an idol, Allah Almighty reprimanded them by means of this name and said, “turn to your Maker (Bāri’).” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:55) This meant that they worshipped defective things they had made, but they should have instead worshipped al-Bāri’, which means the One who made them without any defect. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 1, p. 453)
When we pray, the name al-Bāri’ (The Maker) reminds us that we have been created perfectly for a spiritual purpose. When we say Yā Bāri’ (O Maker!), we pray that Allah Almighty helps us achieve the higher purpose for which He created us.
98. Yā Musawwir – O Fashioner! – يا مصوّر
The root of musawwir means to form, fashion, or sculpt. When used about a person, musawwir refers to a sculptor or painter. When used about Allah Almighty, al-Musawwir means The Former or The Fashioner. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: صور Entry: صوّر، مُصَوِّرٌ)
When the names 1. al-Khāliq (The Creator), 2. al-Bāri’ (The Maker), and 3. al-Musawwir (The Fashioner) are contrasted, each name has a unique emphasis. For example, when a house is built, it requires 1. planning, 2. building, and 3. designing. An analogy for the difference between these three names is that of 1. an architect, 2. a builder, and 3. a decorator. (The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God, al-Ghazali, p. 68)
ِAl-Khāliq (The Creator) refers to the intent to create, al-Bāri’ (The Maker) refers to manifesting the power of creation and making a body, and al-Musawwir (The Fashioner) refers to forming the attributes of the body. (Friday Sermon, 14 February 2003)
When only the names al-Khāliq (The Creator) and al-Musawwir (The Fashioner) are contrasted, they are interrelated like body and soul. Al-Khāliq (The Creator) refers to creating a thing and giving it a general physical form, and al-Musawwir (The Fashioner) refers to detailed formation and giving a child moral and spiritual faculties. (The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary, Surah Al-e-‘Imran, 3:7, p. 452)
Use in prayer
When we pray, the name al-Musawwir (The Fashioner) brings to mind the creative power of Allah Almighty in the last stages of creation. If someone is expecting a child, they say Yā Musawwir (O Fashioner!) and pray that Allah Almighty gives them a child with beautiful physical features and spiritual capacities.
99. Yā Muhyī – O Giver of Life! – يا محيى
100. Yā Mumīt – O Causer of Death! – يا مميت
The root of muhyī means life, and the root of mumīt means death.
Al-Muhyī (The Giver of Life) and al-Mumīt (The Causer of Death) are opposites.
This name is also mentioned under al-Bā‘ith (The Raiser of The Dead), al-Qābid (The Withholder), al-Bāsit (The Expander), and al-Hayy (The Living).
Use in prayer
Allah Almighty has created a system where life and death are inseparably interrelated. When a person dies, his body becomes a source of life for plants. Those plants are eaten, and their deaths are a source of life for the animals that need to consume them. We eat those animals, and their deaths are a source of life for us. Every life brings news of death, and every death brings news of life. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, vol. 6, p. 86)
The name al-Muhyī (The Giver of Life) is not positive in and of itself, and the name al-Mumīt (The Causer of Death) is not negative in and of itself. When we pray, we should pray for the blessings in these two names.
The Holy Prophetsa said, “Let not one of you wish for death because of a misfortune that befalls him. If he cannot help doing so, he should say: ‘O Allah, keep me alive as long as You know that life is better for me, and make me die when death is better for me.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-da‘wat, Bab ad-du‘a’i bi l-mawti wa l-hayah)
When someone we love is ill, we sometimes say, ‘Yā Muhyī (O Giver of Life!),’ and pray they are given life. However, we cannot forget the potential blessings in al-Mumīt (The Causer of Death) in certain circumstances, e.g., in situations where a loved one is suffering from a terminal illness and life would only prolong their suffering. This same principle applies if we say, ‘Yā Mumīt (O Causer of Death!),’ and pray for the death of an enemy, because we don’t know if that enemy will change and be a source of great good.
These two names also develop trust in Allah Almighty. For example, if we see that death is imminent and it seems there is no way to escape destruction, people ordinarily despair. However, a believer never despairs. He remembers that Allah Almighty is Muhyī (Giver of Life) and anything is possible for Him. On the other hand, when everything is going according to plan and we have no other reason to consider our destruction, a believer does not become arrogant. He remembers that Allah Almighty is also Mumīt (Causer of Death), so he never relies on only himself. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 6, p. 543)
When we say Yā Muhyī (O Giver of Life!) and Yā Mumīt (O Causer of Death!), we bring to mind how fragile life is, and we pray with a renewed sense of humility and reliance on Allah Almighty.
101. Yā Bā‘ith – O Raiser of The Dead! – يا باعث
When the root of bā‘ith is used for Allah Almighty, it means creating from nothing, bringing the dead to life, or sending a prophet. Al-Bā‘ith means the One who will bring mankind to life after death. (Al-Mufradat, ar-Raghib, Root: بعث; Lane’s Lexicon, Root: بعث Entry: بعث; Lisan al-‘Arab, Ibn Manzur, Root: بعث)
Al-Muhyī (The Giver of Life) and al-Bā‘ith (The Raiser of The Dead) are synonymous in their meaning of giving life, but al-Bā‘ith is used more specifically for life after death.
Use in prayer
Denial of the Resurrection, whether by word or conduct, is at the root of all sin. This is why, after belief in the existence of God, the Holy Quran places the greatest emphasis on life after death. (The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary, Surah al-Waqi’ah 56:48, p. 3079) It is belief in the Resurrection that develops in us a love and fear of God. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 6, p. 171) The name al-Bā‘ith (The Raiser of The Dead) brings to mind that moment when we will leave this world behind forever and then begin a different life. It creates an anticipation of meeting Allah Almighty and an apprehension of facing accountability. When we say Yā Bā‘ith (O Raiser of The Dead!), we feel fear of the unknown after death, and we pray that Allah Almighty raises us with the righteous.
102. Yā Qābid – O Withholder! – يا قابض
103. Yā Bāsit – O Expander! – يا باسط
The root of qābid means to contract, make narrow, or draw and collect together. The root of bāsit means to expand, make wide, or spread out. Al-Qābid means The Withholder of the means of subsistence for Who He wills, and al-Bāsit means The One Who enlarges the means of subsistence for Who He wills. These names can also refer to taking and giving life. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: قبض Entry: قبض، قَابِضٌ; Lane’s Lexicon, Root: بسط Entry: بسط، بَاسِطٌ)
Al-Qābid (The Withholder) and al-Bāsit (The Expander) are opposites.
The meaning of taking and giving life in al-Qābid (The Withholder) and al-Bāsit (The Expander) is synonymous with al-Muhyī (The Giver of Life) and al-Mumīt (The Causer of Death). (Al-Mufradat, ar-Raghib, Root: قبض)
This name is also mentioned under al-Wāsi‘ (The Bountiful).
Use in prayer
In spiritual terms, qabd (contraction) and bast (expansion) refer to the two states of the heart. One state is spiritual expansion (bast), where our pleasure in worship and inclination to Allah Almighty increase, our hearts are opened, and we derive warmth and comfort from prayer. The other state is a spiritual contraction (qabd), where this passion and eagerness are lost and our heart becomes constricted. The only way to do away with the state of spiritual contraction (qabd) is to repeatedly seek forgiveness from Allah Almighty, recite durūd, and offer prayer. (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 269)
Al-Qābid (The Withholder) describes how Allah Almighty at times constricts our hearts, and al-Bāsit (The Expander) describes how Allah Almighty expands our hearts. (The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God, al-Ghazali, p. 81) The names Qābid (Withholder) and Bāsit (Expander) remind us that no one stays in the same state. Rather, it is human to alternate between spiritual contraction and expansion. Although one person’s spiritual contraction (qabd) can be very different from someone else who is at a different spiritual level, it is still inevitable that we all alternate between these states. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 9, p. 80)
Spiritual progress is two steps forward and one step back. We progress during expansion and consolidate during contraction. The name al-Qābid (The Withholder) reminds us that phases of spiritual contraction are necessary for our growth. They are a mercy, not a punishment. When we say Yā Qābid (O Withholder!), we pray that these phases are not prolonged because of our faults and that they are always a step toward greater spiritual growth and never a step toward decline. When we say Yā Bāsit (O Expander!), we pray that Allah Almighty opens our hearts to pleasure in worship.
104. Yā Wāsi‘ – O Bountiful, All-Embracing! – يا واسع
The root of wāsi‘ means wide and vast. The opposite of wāsi‘ is the word dayyiq, which means narrow. The meaning of vastness in wāsi‘ applies to many things. Al-Wāsi‘ means the One whose vast knowledge, power, mercy, and bounty encompass everything. Al-Wāsi’ is The Bountiful, whose abundance becomes vaster the more we ask. Al-Wāsi‘ also means The All-Encompassing and All-Embracing. (Al-Mufradat, ar-Raghib, Root: وسع; Lisan al-‘Arab, Ibn Manzur, Root: وسع; Taj al-‘Arus, az-Zabidi, Root: وسع; Friday Sermon, 8 May 2009, Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol. 7, p. 212)
Al-Bāsit (The Expander) and al-Wāsi‘ (The Bountiful) are synonymous in their root meaning. (Lisan al-‘Arab, Ibn Manzur, Root: بسط) The root of Bāsit emphasises expansion as opposed to constriction, and the root of Wāsi‘ emphasises vastness and wideness as opposed to narrowness. Both names describe how the blessings of Allah Almighty are expanded and enlarged for His servants. The difference is that the name al-Wāsi‘ additionally describes the encompassing nature of His essence, attributes, and blessings.
Use in prayer
When we feel surrounded by difficulties, the name al-Wāsi‘ (The All-Embracing) reassures us that we are never trapped because Allah Almighty encompasses us in His knowledge and power. When we say Yā Wāsi‘ (O All-Embracing!), we are reminded of how vast the bounties of Allah Almighty are, and we pray that He surrounds us with His embracing mercy.