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8 - الْعَزِيزُ


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The Mighty and The Eminent. It is also translated as The Most Dominant. 



Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) says it is The One Who is so significant that few exist like him, yet he is also one for whom there is intense need as well as one to whom access proves dim cult. Unless these three meanings are combined, the term 'eminent' will not be used. There are many things in the world whose existence is rare, but if they are of little importance or not much use, they are not called 'eminent'. There are also many things whose significance is great, whose benefit is abundant, arid whose equal does not exist, yet if access to them be not difficult, they are not called 'eminent'. The sun, for example, as well as the earth, have no equal. The benefit from each of them is abundant and the need for both is intense, but neither of them is described as 'eminent', because access to observing them is not difficult. So it is inescapable that all three meanings go together.


‘Azeez is a word which can be shared with human beings. A person who is ‘Azeez is very respected, significant and people want to meet him. They need him but he is not so accessible. Allah ta’ala is الْعَزِيزُ and Most Dominat in this regard. He is needed, everyone needs Him to fulfill their needs but access is difficult. By “access being difficult” it means it is impossible to understand and comprehend Him. He is closer to us than the jugular vein and we make Du’a to Him.


One definition according to some Scholars is One Who is very strict when it comes to taking revenge from the enemies and when they intend punishment, no strength can remove the punishment. So very intent when taking revenge when need be and very intent in punishing. 


Ibn Katheer (رحمه الله) says الْعَزِيزُ means the Being Who is dominant over everything and everyone is dominated by Allah ta’ala’s Jalaal. Therefore this is a Jalaali attribute. 


Some attributes have Jalaal (Wrathfulness, anger, strictness) and some have Jamaal (Beauty)


Ibn Qayyim (رحمه الله) says there are four meanings to  الْعَزِيزُ

1. That Being Who has power and no one can go against Him

2. The Dominant One and no one can dominate Him

3. The Revengeful One 

4. The One Who has subtle powers so no one can compete with this Being, not even the strongest king or authority of this world. 


The strength and power of Allah ta’ala comes from this Sifat of الْعَزِيزُ


In the Qur’an

It is mentioned 92 time in the Qura’n. 


الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ 
[Surah Hashr:23]


وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ ذُو انْتِقَامٍ - Allah is Mighty, capable of retribution.[Surah Aali ‘Imraan:3]

And this is one aspect of being الْعَزِيزُ 


Paired with other names:


إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ - surely Allah is Mighty, Wise [Surah Baqarah:220]

Allah ta’ala has the power to do all these things but He also has wisdom.


وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ - And lo! thy Lord! He is indeed the Mighty, the Merciful. [Surah As-Shu’araa:9]

Two Sifaat being contradictory are paired together. Allah ta’ala is Mighty, Revengeful, Dominant but paired with Raheem. (My note: remember  الرَّحِيمُ is exclusive mercy)


Therefore Allah ta’ala is الْعَزِيزُ for those who do not abstain from sin and do not care, and الرَّحِيمُ for those who try and make Tawbah when they do sin. 


‘Izzat (Respect)

Shaykh Abul Abbaas al-Mirsi, the author of the famous commentary of Al-Mishkaat said true respect is given to those people who take their eyes off Makhlooq i.e. those who do not depend on Makhlooq for any of their needs. He says ‘Azeez comes from ‘Izzat (respect i.e. how people regard you and the level of significance they regard you with). 

Human beings have respect when they do not depend on others. They depend on their Khaaliq, Allah ta’ala. True respect is when people respect you from the hearts where Allah ta’ala puts it and not when we demand, expect or make them respect us. 



People who no longer have expectations from Makhlooq have self-respect which is very important whether other people respect you or not. Having self-respect does not mean we are arrogant and full of ourselves. Many people lose their self-respect. The way to attain it is not to have expectations from people and to focus on Allah ta’ala and our relationship with Him. 


Complaining to People

Complaining to people decreases the respect a person can have in the Dunya. The habit of the pious and Salaf was that they would never complain to other people. They would only complain to Allah ta’ala


Respect is for Allah Alone

Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an in Surah Faatir,

مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعًا

If anyone is seeking honor, let him know that all honor belongs to Allah Alone. [Surah Faatir:10]


الَّذِينَ يَتَّخِذُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِنْدَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ فَإِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا

Those who choose the unbelievers to be their protectors rather than believers. Are they seeking honor in being with them? Whereas all honor belongs to Allah Alone. [Surah Nisaa’:139]


Whoever wants respect there is only one way and that is to obey Allah ta’ala and this is necessary for respect of the Dunya and Aakhirah. This is true respect and not what people show to those in authority in the Dunya.


Respect for the commands of Allah ta’ala

There is also this concept of respect that a person has respect for the commands of Allah ta’ala and the Sunnah even if they are not obeying or fulfilling the commands fully (though ideally all commands should be obeyed fully) and does not ask questions i.e. whether an act is a Fard, Waajib or a Sunnah and if they have to do it. This is the Ma’rifat (Knowledge) of this Sifat i.e. to be aware of and respect and obey the commands of Allah ta’ala and this is a quality lacking in us and especially in children.


Know your Reality -  A Slave, always a Slave

Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi (رحمه الله) has given an example in the commentary of a person who is a slave. He is bought in a bazar and commanded to do certain duties and thereafter leaving him in charge, his master leaves. In his master’s absence the slave knows he is still a slave even though his master is not there and so when his master returns he has no delusions of being anything other than a slave. 

Similarly we should know our Haqeeqat (reality) that I am a servant of Allah ta’ala and the respect I have is given to me by Allah ta’ala and if He takes it away we have to accept His decision. 


Ways of Attaining Respect 

We want respect from our husbands, children and other people and we want self-respect as well. How can we attain this respect?
It is mentioned in Hadith that Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,

“Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives another except that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah except that Allah raises his status.” [Muslim]

Whenever a person shows humility for Allah ta’ala and has no other ulterior motive, He raises his status. Looking at the verses mentioned before and the Hadith we see that the way to get respect is,

1. Obedience to Allah ta’ala. The more we obey Allah ta’ala the more Makhlooq will respect us

2. Having a forgiving nature increases respect and ranks in the eyes of others. When a person has the power to take revenge and still forgives then other people will have respect in their hearts for that person and they will be rewarded in the Aakhirah.

Musa AS asked Allah ta’ala who was the most respected person among His slaves. Allah ta’ala said it was the who had power (i.e. to take revenge) and he forgives. 



Imam Ghazali (رحمه الله) says all respect is from Allah ta’ala so we should remember when we are in any position of respect (i.e. due to our work, knowledge, family, religion etc.) that it is temporary and know that if I misuse it I will be humiliated or if Allah ta’ala wants to take it away, He can. 


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