Rizwan Khan, Missionary, USA
20. Yā Rabb – O Lord! – يا ربّ
The name ar-Rabb means Lord, Possessor, or Owner. It also means Fosterer, Nourisher, or Completer, and The One Who brings things to a state of completion by degrees. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: رب, Entry: رَبٌّ; (Friday Sermon, 17 November 2006, Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol. 4, pp. 575-577)
Ar-Rabb (The Lord) and al-Mālik (The Master) are synonymous in their meanings of “Possessor” and “Owner.” (Lisan al-‘Arab, Ibn Manzur, Root: ربب, See “الرَّبُّ: هو اللّه عزّ وجل، هو رَبُّ كلِّ شيءٍ أَي مالكُه”)
This name is also mentioned under as-Samad (The Besought of All).
Use in Prayer
The meaning of “One who brings things to a state of completion by degrees” in ar-Rabb is especially relevant to our spiritual progress. Many failures related to prayer are because of our impatience and going to extremes.
Our lower self is impatient; it either wants to become a saint overnight or it wants to despair and give up. (Ahmadi aur Ghayr Ahmadi mein Farq, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 20, p. 484; Malaikatullah, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 5, p. 550) If we find ourselves overly motivated, the name ar-Rabb (The Lord) reminds us that no matter how much we pray within a certain period of time, the lordship of Allah Almighty will only nourish us with gradual and natural progress. Allah’s lordship (rubūbiyyah) means no one can become a saint overnight. Rather, there is a stage-by-stage process. On the other extreme, if we find ourselves despairing, the name ar-Rabb (The Lord) reminds us that Allah Almighty is still just as ready to accept our prayers as He was when we were feeling overly motivated. The nourishing lordship (rubūbiyyah) of Allah Almighty is there for anyone who continues to pray when they think it isn’t worth it. When we say Yā Rabb (O Lord!), we pray to Allah Almighty, knowing that He spiritually nourishes us by degrees, similar to how He physically nourishes us.
21. Yā Samad – O Besought of All! – يا صمد
The root of samad means to have recourse to someone. As-Samad is the Chief to Whom we have recourse for our needs and without Whom nothing is accomplished. (Lisan al-‘Arab, Ibn Manzur, Root: صمد, See “السَّيِّدُ المُطاع الذي لا يُقْضى دونه أَمر، وقيل: الذي يُصْمَدُ إِليه في الحوائج أَي يُقْصَدُ”; Lane’s Lexicon, Root: صمد, Entry: صمد, صَمَدٌ)
As-Samad (The Besought of All) and ar-Rabb (The Lord) are synonymous in their meaning of “chief.” (Lisan al-‘Arab, Ibn Manzur, Root: ربب, See “الرَّبُّ يُطْلَق في اللغة على المالكِ، والسَّـيِّدِ، والـمُدَبِّر، والـمُرَبِّي، والقَيِّمِ، والـمُنْعِمِ”)
In some Quranic commentaries, as-Samad (The Besought of All) is defined as Ghaniyy (Self-Sufficient). However, as-Samad (The Besought of All) does not just mean the One who is independent of everyone (ghaniyy), it also means everyone is dependent on Him. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, p. 534)
The names al-Mughnī (The Enricher), ar-Razzāq (The Great Sustainer), and al-Muqīt (The Giver of Nourishment) focus on Allah Almighty and what He provides. However, the name as-Samad (The Besought of All) focuses on us and how we depend on being provided for. As-Samad (The Besought of All) describes how Allah Almighty is the One on whom we depend completely.
Use in Prayer
The name as-Samad (The Besought of All) reminds us that nothing can be accomplished without Allah Almighty. When we say Yā Samad (O Besought of All!), we are reminded that we only have recourse to Him, and we helplessly pray that He fulfils our every need.
22. Yā Ghaniyy – O Self-Sufficient! – يا غنىّ
The root of ghaniyy means being free from want, or being wealthy. Al-Ghaniyy means He Who has no need of anyone in anything. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: غنى Entry: غنى، غَنِىٌّ)
A person who is ghaniyy is wealthy and free of want or need from people. He is independent of people. However, a person who is a malik (king) is connected with people as their king. Although he is also wealthy and free of want or need from people, he has made himself responsible for taking special care of them as their king. People have expectations of their king that they don’t have of a wealthy person.
Al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient) and al-Malik (The King) are similar in that both lack for nothing. The difference is that Al-Malik (The King) also means that everyone needs Him. Al-Malik (The King) includes the meaning of al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient). (The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God, al-Ghazali, pp. 25, 160)
This name is also mentioned under al-Wājid (The Wealthy) and al-Mughnī (The Enricher).
Use in Prayer
The Holy Prophetsa prayed with the name al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient) in mind at the Battle of Badr. He was asked what the need was for his fervent weeping and begging when victory had already been promised. The Holy Prophetsa replied, ‘God is Ghaniyy (Self-Sufficient).’ That is to say, perhaps hidden conditions lay beneath the surface of this divine promise. (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 10) Although Allah Almighty loved the community of Muslims more than anything else in this world, the Holy Prophetsa knew that Allah Almighty is Self-Sufficient and not in need of anybody. If the Muslims had not met His standard, He could allow them to be wiped out and then raise a people who would meet His standard. When we pray, the name al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient) inspires fear because we bring to mind how Allah Almighty has no need for us. If He has taken special care of us as our Malik (King), it is His special mercy. Otherwise, He is al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient), and we can be wiped out like so many people before us, and it would be no loss to Him.
Since Allah Almighty is Self-Sufficient (Ghaniyy), our prayers must be filled with weeping, sincerity, and heartfelt anguish to attract His grace. Otherwise, He does not pay any attention. (Aina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 5, p. 349; Nusrat-ul-Haqq, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 21, p. 33) When we pray, the name al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient) reminds us that Allah Almighty is under no obligation to accept our prayers, and we are entitled to nothing.
When we say Yā Ghaniyy (O Self-Sufficient!), we pray to Allah Almighty knowing how insignificant we are and that Allah Almighty is completely independent of us.
23. Yā Wājid – O Wealthy! – يا واجد
The root of wājid means rich and without want. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: وجد Entry: وجد ,وَاجِدٌ) Al-Wājid means The Wealthy.
Al-Wājid (The Wealthy) and al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient) are synonymous. Both refer to Allah Almighty as being Self-Sufficient. (Lisan al-‘Arab, Ibn Manzur, Root: وجد) When contrasted, the difference is that the root of ghaniyy has a greater emphasis on self-sufficiency, whereas the root of wājid has a greater emphasis on being wealthy.
Use in Prayer
When we say Yā Wājid (O Wealthy!), we pray to He who is the only possessor of every concept of abundance and wealth, and we pray that He grants us abundance.
24. Yā Mughnī – O Enricher! –
Al-Mughnī is The Provider of the Means of Sufficiency. (The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary, p. cccxxix) al-Mughnī means He who satisfies, or contents, His servants. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: غنى Entry: مُغْنٍ)
Al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient) and al-Mughnī (The Enricher) come from the same root.
Use in Prayer
The Holy Prophetsa taught someone in debt to pray, “Make me independent (aghninī) of all those besides You.” (Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, Kitab ad-da‘wat ‘an rasulillahsa, Hadith 3563)
If we are in debt, our dependency on people is a burden we constantly feel weighed down by. When we say Yā Mughnī (O Enricher!), we pray to be made ghanī, which is to be independent and free of need, and to be sufficed and content.
However, true self-sufficiency does not come from riches. As long as a person is materialistic, he is always a slave to this world, and no amount of wealth will ever make him truly self-sufficient. The Holy Prophetsa said,
“Wealth (al-ghinā) does not lie in the abundance of worldly goods; rather, wealth (al-ghinā) is feeling sufficiency (ghinā) in the soul.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ar-riqaq, Bab al-ghina ghina n-nafs)
When we pray, the name al-Mughnī (The Enricher) reminds us that Allah Almighty is not just al-Ghaniyy (Self-Sufficient) Himself, but He has the power to make us ghaniyy (self-sufficient). He has the power to free us from dependency on anyone else and dependent on Him alone. When we say Yā Mughnī (O Enricher!), we pray for sufficiency in the soul.
25. Yā Razzāq – O Great Sustainer! – يا رزّاق
The root of razzāq refers to the means of subsistence. Ar-Razzāq means The Supplier of the means of subsistence. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: رزق, Entry: رزق، الرَّازِقُ; Friday Sermon, 6 June 2008, Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol. 4, pp. 221-229)
This name is also mentioned under al-Muqīt (The Giver of Nourishment).
Use in Prayer
There is a proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ The name ar-Razzāq (The Great Sustainer) brings to mind the One who is not just The Giver of sustenance but the One who is The Giver of the means of sustenance. When we say Yā Razzāq (O Great Sustainer!), we ask Allah Almighty for the means of subsistence.
26. Yā Muqīt – O Giver of Nourishment, O Powerful! – يا مقيت
The root of muqīt means to feed, nourish, or sustain. It also means having the power to do something. Al-Muqīt means The Possessor of Power as He gives everyone food. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: قوت, Entry: قوت، اقوت، مُقِيتٌ)
The meaning of giving food in al-Muqīt (The Giver of Nourishment) is similar to ar-Razzāq (The Great Sustainer). The difference is that al-Muqīt is specific to nourishment, whereas ar-Razzāq is broad and applies to all means of sustenance. (The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God, al-Ghazali, p. 109)
Al-Muqīt (The Giver of Nourishment) also has the meaning of al-Hafīz (The Preserver) and al-Muqtadir (The Omnipotent). (Lisan al-‘Arab, Ibn Manzur, Root: قوت, See “وفي أَسماء الله تعالى: المُقِيتُ، هو الحَفِيظ، وقيل: المُقْتَدِرٌ”)
Use in Prayer
When we pray, the name al-Muqīt (The Giver of Nourishment) brings to mind how vulnerable our body is and how quickly we would be in a crisis if our access to food was disrupted. After a few days without eating, all our luxuries would give us no comfort, and every one of us would happily trade away our most expensive possessions for just some food. When we say Yā Muqīt (O Giver of Nourishment!), we remember how fragile our body is, and we seek nourishment from Allah Almighty.
27. Yā Qādir – O Possessor of Power! – يا قادر
28. Yā Qadīr – O All-Powerful –
29. Yā Muqtadir – O Omnipotent! – يا مقتدر
The word Qādir means decreeing or deciding. It also means possessing power or ability. The words Qādir, Qadīr and Muqtadir are synonymous, with Qadīr being in the intensive form and Muqtadir being more intensive. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: قدر, Entry: قَادِرٌ)
The names al-Qādir (القادر), al-Qadīr (القدير), and al-Muqtadir (المقتدر) seem synonymous, but the distinct way each is used in the Holy Quran makes their differences clear. Al-Qādir (The Possessor of Power) is usually used when Allah Almighty brings people to attention through a special manifestation of His power that is outside what they are accustomed to. Al-Qadīr (The All-Powerful) is the broadest in its application and is usually used about the power of Allah Almighty manifested through His established laws. Al-Muqtadir (The Omnipotent) is usually used where opposition is mentioned. When opponents try to overpower Divine decree, the power of Allah Almighty that descends at such times to protect His beloveds and destroy His enemies is a manifestation of al-Muqtadir. (Friday Sermon, 10 January 1986, Khutbat-e-Tahir, Vol. 5, pp. 35-36)
This name is also mentioned under al-Qawiyy (The Strong), al-Qahhār (The Most Supreme), and al-Majīd (The Ever-Noble).
Use in Prayer
When we say Yā Qādir (O Possessor of Power!), we ask Allah Almighty for a special manifestation of His power.
Whenever we observe the power of Allah in an aspect of the general laws of nature, we bring to mind the limitless power of al-Qadīr (The All-Powerful). When we say Yā Qadīr (O All-Powerful) and pray that we always act in accordance with His established power and decree, never against it.
When we say Yā Muqtadir (O Omnipotent!), we pray that Allah Almighty manifests His power in support of His servants and against His enemies.
The word qādir is related to power and to deciding. We seek help from Allah Almighty in the istikhārah prayer with the words, وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ, “I seek power (astaqdiru) from Your power.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab at-tahajjud, Bab ma ja’a fi t-tatawwu‘i mathna mathna, Hadith 1166) The word astaqdiru (أَسْتَقْدِرُ) also means to ask for a decision and decree. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: قدر, Entry: استقدر) When we say Yā Qādir (O Decreer!), we let go of our right to decide something and pray that Allah Almighty decides what is best for us.
30. Yā Dārr – O Harmer! – يا ضارّ
31. Yā Nāfi’ – O Benefactor! – يا نافع
The root of dārr means to harm, hurt, or damage. The root of nāfi’ means to be profitable, useful, or beneficial. Ad-Dārr and an-Nāfi’ mean He Who harms and He Who benefits whoever He wills. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: ضر, Entry: ضرّ، ضَارٌّ; Lane’s Lexicon, Root: نفع Entry: نفع; Friday Sermon, 24 April 2009)
Ad-Dārr (The Harmer) and an-Nāfi’ (The Benefactor) are opposites.
Use in Prayer
Anyone who believes in God must believe in His power to cause harm and benefit. Without these attributes, belief in such a concept of God is of no use. The Holy Quran condemns the idolator and says, “He calls beside Allah on that which can neither harm (yadurr) him, nor benefit (yanfa’u) him.” (Surah al-Hajj, Ch. 22: V.13) The names ad-Dārr (The Harmer) and an-Nāfi’ (The Benefactor) tell them to be sensible enough to pray to a Being who has the power to do harm or give benefit in this world.
These names also remind us that we should not insistently pray for something materialistic that, if given to us, could ultimately be harmful to us. Allah Almighty sometimes accepts such prayers to teach a lesson. We should be cautious in our prayers because we address the One Who has the power to harm and benefit whoever He wills.
Also, we should remember that Allah Almighty never initiates harm to anyone; He reciprocates harm. The Holy Prophetsa said, “Whoever harms (dārr) others, Allah will harm (dārr) him.” (Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-birri wa s-silati ‘an rasulillahsa, Bab ma ja’a fi l-khiyanati wa l-ghishsh; Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-aqdiyah, Bab fi l-qada’) When such harm comes from Allah Almighty, it is so encompassing that there is no escape. Allah Almighty says, “And if Allah touch you with affliction (durr), there is none that can remove it but He.” (Surah al-An’am, Ch.6: V.18) When we say Yā Dārr (O Harmer!) and Yā Nāfi’ (O Benefactor!), we pray that Allah Almighty save us from the harm we could bring on ourselves from Him, and we pray that He shows beneficence to us.
32. Yā Qawiyy – O Strong! – يا قوىّ
33. Yā Dhal Quwwah – O Possessor of Strength! – يا ذا القوّة
The root of qawiyy has the meaning of strength and force. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: قوى, Entry: قُوَّةٌ) al-Qawiyy means The Strong, and Dhul Quwwah means The Possessor of Strength. Names that start with “Dhū” (Possessor of) emphasise the attribute more than the possessor of the attribute. The fa’īl (فَعِيْل) form of a word is more intensive than when the attribute is expressed with the word “dhū” (Possessor of). For example, Allah Almighty says, “Above every possessor of knowledge (dhū ‘ilm) is One possessing greater knowledge (‘alīm).” (Holy Quran, Yusuf 12:77) This verse shows that the word ‘alīm is more exclusive and intensive than the words dhū ‘ilm. The same difference exists between Al-Qawiyy (The Strong) and Dhul Quwwah (Possessor of Strength, Al-Jalīl (The Majestic) and Dhul Jalāl (Possessor of Majesty), Al-Karīm (The Generous) and Dhul Ikrām (Possessor of Bounty), and Ar-Rahīm and Dhur Rahmah (Possessor of Mercy). [Note: “dhū” and “dhī” are both Arabic words that indicate possession. Both are used depending on the grammatical gender and the consonantal environment of the word that follows.]
Al-Qādir (The Possessor of Power) and al-Qawiyy (The Strong) seem similar, but there is a difference. The root of qādir refers to ability; the emphasis is on possessing power. (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: قدر , Entry: قدر) However, qawiyy refers to the strength to use that ability. For example, if hunger has weakened someone, he has not lost his qudrah (possession of his abilities); he has only temporarily lost the quwwah (strength) to use his abilities.
The opposite of strength (فُوَّةٌ) is weakness (ضَعْفٌ), (Lane’s Lexicon, Root: قوى, Entry: قُوَّةٌ) and the opposite of ability (قُدْرَةٌ) is inability (عَجْزٌ). (Al-Mufradat, al-Rāghib, Root: عجز) The name al-Qādir (The Possessor of Power) emphasises possessing limitless ability, whereas Al-Qawiyy (The Strong) emphasises the limitless strength and force to use that ability.
This name is also mentioned under al-Matīn (The Firm), al-Qahhār (The Most Supreme), and al-‘Azīz (The Mighty).
Use in Prayer
The Holy Prophetsa taught us to say, لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللّٰهِ, (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-adhan, Bab ma yaqulu idha sami‘a l-munadi, Hadith 613) meaning that there is no turning from disobedience, nor strength (quwwah) to obey, except by the help of Allah. (Al-Misbah al-Munir, al-Fayyumi, Root: حول, See “قِيلَ مَعْنَاهُ لَا حَوْلَ عَنْ الْمَعْصِيَةِ وَلَا قُوَّةَ عَلَى الطَّاعَةِ إلَّا بِتَوْفِيقِ اللَّهِ”; Lane’s Lexicon, Root: حول, Entry: حَوْلٌ) Although we know that we possess the God-given ability (qudrah) to obey, we admit that we are weak and lack the strength (quwwah) to obey. When we say Yā Qawiyy (O Strong!), we beg Allah Almighty, who is the source of all strength, to give us the strength to use our abilities for good. The Holy Prophetsa taught a companion to pray, اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي ضَعِيفٌ فَقَوِّنِي, “O Allah! I am weak, grant me strength (qawwinī).” (Al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn, Hakim al-Nishapuri, Kitab al-du‘a, wa al-dhikru al-du‘a alladhi ‘allama buraidah)
In the Holy Quran, Allah Almighty has mentioned His being Qawiyy (Strong) in many verses. In almost all instances, He speaks of the awful end of His enemies, or He gives warnings related to this. (Friday Sermon, 9 October 2009, Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol. 7, pp. 475-484) When we say Yā Qawiyy (O Strong!), we bring to mind the limitless strength of Allah Almighty to exercise His power, and we pray that He manifests that strength in our support.
34. Yā Matīn – O Firm! – يا متين
When applied to a person, the word matīn refers to someone who is strong and has firm muscles in his back. Al-Matīn means The Strong and Firm. (Friday Sermon, 16 October 2009, Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol. 7, pp. 485-494; Lane’s Lexicon, Root: متن, Entry: مَتِينٌ)
Al-Qawiyy (The Strong) and al-Matīn (The Firm) are synonymous. When contrasted, the difference between them is that a person being qawiyy (strong) means he has an effect and influence on others, while a person being matīn (firm) means he is not affected and influenced by others. (Kashf al-Ma’na ‘an Sirr Asma Allah al-Husna, Ibn Arabi, (55) Al-Ism: al-Matīn, See “فمن كونه قويا يؤثِّر، ومن كونه متينا لا يتأثّر”)
This name is also mentioned under al-Qahhār (The Most Supreme).
Use in Prayer
When we say Yā Matīn (O Firm!), we bring to mind the unbreakable firmness in the strength of Allah Almighty, and we ask Him to give us firmness and resolve in standing by our principles.