In this part of the series on the continuing study of Allah’s Beautiful Names and Attributes, we explore two of Allah’s Names which are mentioned in the greatest, most magnificent verse in the Holy Qur’an, and that is Ayat Al-Kursi:
Allah – there is no deity except Him, Al-Hayy (the Ever-Living), Al-Qayyûm (the Sustainer of [all] existence). Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi (‘Seat [of Power]’) extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. (Sûrah Al-Baqarah, 2:255)
The Name of Allah, Al-Hayy, is paired with the Name of Allah, Al–Qayûm two other times in the Holy Qur’an:
Allâh — there is no deity except Him the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of Existence. He has sent down to you, [O Muḥammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. [Surah Âli ‘Imrân, 3:2-3]
He [Allah] knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, but they do not encompass [what He knows] in knowledge. And all faces will be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of Existence. And he will have failed who carries injustice. [Sûrah Ṭâ Hâ, 20:110-111]
THE EVER-LIVING, ETERNAL
Al-Hayy, is derived from the Arabic three-lettered root word, ḥâ-yâ-yâ, and can hold several meanings:
- To live, to be in the state of living, to preserve alive, to prolong life
- To become apparent or distinct
- To revive, vitalize and bring into being, make living
- To be sound or whole or true
As a Name of Allah, Al-Hayy is the One who has a continuous life with no beginning or end. His life is self-sustaining and has no external source, whereas our lives have been granted to us by the Creator. Al-Hayy is the One who calls all life into being and He is the source to which we will all return. Al–Hayy is mentioned on its own in many verses of the Qur’an, for example,
And rely upon Al-Hayy (the Ever-Living) who does not die, and exalt [Allah] with His praise. And sufficient is He to be, with the sins of His servants [fully] Aware. (Sûrah Al-Furqân, 25:58)
Allah’s Name, Al-Hayy, affirms the attribute of life to Allah, a perfect and complete state of life. This means that Allah’s existence was never preceded by non-existence and will never be followed by an end to His existence. Nothing can or ever will diminish Allah’s perfect and complete state of being. Since Allah has perfect life, it follows that all of His Attributes are also perfect, complete, and infallible, such as His hearing, sight, power, capabilities, strength, mercy, knowledge, and awareness.
When we understand Allah’s Name, Al-Hayy, and all that it encompasses, we will be able to remember Allah in times of difficulty and when we feel alone. When you find none by your side, know that Allah is there and will always be there. Rectify what is between Allah and yourself by performing acts of obedience and avoiding sin, and Allah is there and He will rectify your affairs and help you get through the tough days. Make du’â and put your trust in Allah.
When faced with tribulation, say the following supplication as it will help alleviate your anxiety and worry.
The Prophet’s servant, Anas bin Malik, relates that if any distress befell the Prophet (ﷺ), he would say,
“Ya Hayyu, Ya Qayyum, bi-Rahmatika astaghîth.”
O Ever-Living, O Sustainer of all existence, in Your mercy I seek relief!
(Mustadrak al-Hâkim, vol.1 p.509; Shu’ub al-Imân of Imâm Bayhaqi, Hadith #10231)
THE SELF-SUBSISTING, ALL-SUSTAINING
Allah’s Name, Al-Qayyûm, means that Allah is the Sustainer of Himself and of all of creation in existence. He is the Self-Subsisting. He manages everything that is in creation. All of His creation needs Him, while He is self-existing and is completely free from any dependence or need of anything else or anyone else.
Al–Qayyûm sustains, protects, oversees, provides for, watches over, and manages all that exists. All of creation’s existence is dependent upon Him, the sky and the earth, mountains and trees, the sun and moon, and all people and animals.
Al–Qayyûm comes from the Arabic three-lettered root word, qâf-waw-mîm, which can hold several meanings:
- To stand or to rise up
- To be or begin
- To be ongoing and to exist
- To be founded or to be built on
- To manage and to make right
CONNECTING WITH ALLAH THROUGH HIS NAMES
With the study of each of Allah’s Beautiful Names comes the impact of Allah’s Name in our lives. To illustrate, take a look at Allah’s Name, Al-Rahîm, The Especially Merciful, which we previously studied, along with Al-Raḥmân, The Entirely Merciful. The more I learn of Allah’s infinite mercy, the more I too want to treat others with mercy; those under my care, my family, and loved ones.
Allah is Al-Qayyûm, He manages the affairs of all creation. And Allah is pleased with the believer who helps his brother and sister in Islam in their need, who helps take care of someone else’s affairs, and who brings ease to someone experiencing difficulty.
Look at the reward promised to the believer who pardons the one who borrowed money and is unable to repay the debt:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,
A man would give loans to the people and he would say to his servant: If the debtor is in hardship you should forgive the debt that perhaps Allah will relieve us. So when he met Allah, then Allah relieved him. (Ṣaḥîḥ al-Bukhârî 3293)
To the best of your abilities, extend a helping hand to others. Bring ease to others whenever you can, and have firm trust that Allah, Al–Qayyûm, will take care of your affairs and bring ease to you in return.
When you mention Allah’s Beautiful Name, Al– Qayyûm, you should remember a very special act of worship, and that is the prayer of qiyâm al-layl [standing in the night]; the late night voluntary prayer. This wonderful Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (ﷺ) should be revived in every home. Try to cultivate this habit and you will notice many positive changes in your life.
The late night Prayer is a mark of the righteous believer who loves Allah and whom Allah loves. There are such high rewards for this Prayer because it is almost the only prayer that is done in secret. Usually, none sees you standing on your rug for this prayer except Allah, because everyone else in your household is asleep. It is the most sincere act of worship done solely to gain Allah’s pleasure.
Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,
Our Lord [Allah] descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of every night, and He says: Who is calling upon me that I may answer him? Who is asking from me that I may give him? Who is seeking my forgiveness that I may forgive him? (Jami’ Al-Tirmidhi 3498)
Qiyâm al-layl raises a person in status before Allah, increases good deeds, absolves bad deeds, and brings one closer to Allah. Prayer at night is light for the believer, and it is attended by the angels of mercy. There is so much blessing in this prayer. You may think that you will feel tired the next day due to lack of sleep. However, when you actually do wake up for this prayer and perform it with mindfulness, the next day your body feels rejuvenated and not sleepy or tired at all!
The time for praying qiyâm al-layl begins after ‘Isha’ Prayer and lasts until the break of dawn. The best time to pray it is the last third of the night. If you think you will be unable to pray qiyâm every night, aim to pray qiyâm once a week, or at least once a month. Keep it part of your routine.
It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said:
“I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and a man was standing and praying. When he bowed, prostrated and recited the tashahhud, he supplicated, and in his supplication he said:
“Allahumma inni as’alu-ka bi-anna la-ka al-hamd, La ilaha illa ant, Al-Mannanu, Badi’u al-samawati wa al-ard, ya Dha al-Jalali wa Al-Ikram! YA HAYYU YA QAYYUM! Inni as’alu-ka.
O Allah, indeed I ask of You since all praise is due to You — there is none worthy of worship but You, The Bestower, The Creator of the heavens and earth, O Possessor of majesty and honor, O EVER-LIVING, O ETERNAL! I ask of You.)’
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: ‘Do you know what he has supplicated with?’ They said: “Allah (SWT) and His Messenger know best.” He said: ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, he called upon Allah by His greatest Name, which, if He is called by it, He responds, and if He is asked by it, He gives.'” (Sunan Al-Nasa’i #1300)
In conclusion, we will end our discussion with a shorter supplication to memorize and to say every morning:
“O Ever Living, O Self-Subsisting and Sustainer of all. By Your mercy I seek assistance. Rectify for me all of my affairs. And do not leave me to myself, even for the blink of an eye.”
Yâ hayyû, yâ qayyûmu. Bi-rahmati-ka astaghîth. Aslih l-î sha’-nî kullah. Wa lâ takil-nî ilâ nafsî, tarfata ‘ayn.