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37 - الْحَفِيظُ

Bint e Aisha

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الْحَفِيظُ  is translated as The Preserver and The Protector. 

It is mentioned only three times in the Qur’an but there is a lot of commentary on it. 


Sometimes it is understood as Haafidh – that being Who saves His slaves from all Deeni and worldly affairs that lead to destruction (Physical or spiritual) therefore it has the concept of saving. 


It can also mean Amaanah in terms of watching over someone or supervising a trust i.e. in Surah Yusuf it is used in terms of supervising the treasures where Yusuf AS mentions his qualifications.


قَالَ اجْعَلْنِي عَلَىٰ خَزَائِنِ الْأَرْضِ ۖ إِنِّي حَفِيظٌ عَلِيمٌ

Yusuf said: "Place me over all the resources of the land. Certainly I know how to manage; I have the necessary knowledge." [Surah Yusuf:55]


حَفِيظٌ - trustworthy / supervising

عَلِيم - he had knowledge i.e. of dreams


Sometimes the word is used in terms of preserving something or memorising like the person who has memorized the Qur’an is called a Haafidh.


In the Qur’an

It is mentioned 3 times in the Qur’an. 


Surah Hood (verse 57)

إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ - Indeed my Rabb is watching over everything.


Surah Saba (verse 21)

وَرَبُّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ - Your Rabb is watching over all things.


Surah Shura (verse 6)

وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهُ حَفِيظٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَا أَنْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِوَكِيلٍ

Those who take others as their guardians besides Him, Allah Himself is watching them; and O Prophet, you are not the disposer of their affairs.


Therefore with different nuances depending on how it is used. Among the different way it is used in the Qur’an, Allah ta’ala mentions safeguarding our prayer. In Surah Mu’minoon (verse 9) Allah ta’ala says,


وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَوَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ - and who are diligent about their Salah (prayers).

i.e. those who preserve their prayers meaning on time and fulfilling all its requirements. 


Allah ta’ala is الْحَفِيظُ

Allah ta’ala is الْحَفِيظُ in many ways and one of the greatest miracle of Allah ta’ala being  الْحَفِيظُ is as Allah ta’ala mentions in the Qur’an Himself in Surah Hijr (verse 9), 


إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ 

Surely We have revealed this reminder (The Qur'an); and We will surely preserve it Ourself.


He protects the Qur’an from any change. Allah ta’ala has taken this responsibility of the preservation of the Qur’an and this from this trait of being الْحَفِيظُ. 


Another point is the protection of His signs and the Ka’bah is one the biggest signs. Allah ta’ala made it in such a place where there was no water or habitation and He gave it a rank and He put love for it in people’s hearts. Allah ta’ala protected it from Abraha who wanted to destroy it and also throughout the time of the Mushrikeen. It was protected physically and spiritually and this is through Allah ta’ala being الْحَفِيظُ
Allah ta’ala protects the deeds of His servants and does not waste them unless the person does Shirk or Gheebat. In Fiqh the rule mentioned for a person who makes certain mistakes in Salaah, is that the Sajdah Sahw (Prostration of rectification) can be done and the Salaah is not wasted (though in certain situations the Salaah would have to be repeated). When we do not perform Salaah properly, the right of Allah ta’ala is that He demands we repeat it however Allah ta’ala does not want even the low quality actions to be wasted.


In Surah Mujaadilah (verse 6), Allah ta’ala says,

 يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا عَمِلُوا ۚ أَحْصَاهُ اللَّهُ وَنَسُوهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

On the Day of Judgement Allah will raise them all back to life, then inform them about what they have done. Allah has kept full record of their deeds even though they may have forgotten, for Allah is a witness over all things.


Therefore even if people have forgotten what they did, it is all recorded in the book of deeds. 


In Surah Naba’ it is used in the context of counting. 


Means of Protection

In the world we take measures and use means i.e. guards, security systems etc. for protection but we should realise that Allah ta’ala is The One Who is protecting us. The important people of the world take so many precautions but despite that they can get hurt because it is Allah ta’ala Who decides whether the means will work or not. He is الْحَفِيظُ. When a child is being born or a seedling is planted, it is Allah ta’ala Who is protecting it, nurturing it so that it thrives and grows. Allah ta’ala is protecting and watching over small animals in the jungle, the fish in the sea and all creatures. 


He protects people in strange and wondrous ways. ‘Umar RA had intended to kill the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam. On the way there he met someone who diverted his attention to his sister who had converted along with her husband. ‘Umar RA decided to see to his sister first but after listening to the words of the Quran, he accepted Islam himself. Therefore Allah ta’ala protected the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and created the means for ‘Umar RA to accept Islam. 


Khaleed bin Waleed RA was a great warrior and he hoped to attain martyrdom however Allah ta’ala protected him even though he fought in many battles and was often injured and he died in his home. On his deathbed he said he was dying like an old woman but Scholars have said that the reason was that he was given the title of Saifullah (Sword of Allah) by the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhiw asallam and Allah ta’ala being الْحَفِيظُ protected him as he could not have been defeated.


Ibraheem AS left his homeland with his wife Sara and they were travelling through the territory of a tyrant. Someone said to the tyrant that Ibraheem AS was accompanied by a very charming lady. So he sent for Ibraheem AS and asked him about Sarah.  Ibraheem AS said she was his sister. Ibraheem AS went to Sarah and said, “O Sarah! There are no believers on the surface of the earth except you and I. This man asked me about you and I have told him that you are my sister, so don't contradict my statement.”


The tyrant then called Sarah and when she went to him, he tried to take hold of her with his hand, but (his hand got stiff and) he was confounded. He asked Sarah to pray to Allah for him, so Sarah asked Allah to cure him and he got cured. He tried to take hold of her for the second time, but (his hand got as stiff as or stiffer than before and) was more confounded. He again requested Sarah, “Pray to Allah for me, and I will not harm you.” Sarah asked Allah again and he was cured. He then called one of his guards and said, “You have not brought me a human being but have brought me a devil.”


The tyrant then gave Hajar as a girl-servant to Sarah. Sarah came back to Ibraheem AS while he was praying. Ibrahim AS asked, “What has happened?” She replied, “Allah has spoiled the evil plot of the infidel (or immoral person) and gave me Hajar for service.”
Therefore Allah ta’ala works in wondrous ways. 



We should protect our prayers as mentioned in Surah Mu’minoon verse 9. 

We should protect the oaths we take as in Surah Maidah (verse 89) Allah ta’ala says, 

وَاحْفَظُوا أَيْمَانَكُمْ - Therefore, be mindful of your oaths.


We should protect ourselves, our bodies and our actions and also our family relations by using the means but realizing that Allah ta’ala is الْحَفِيظُ. 


Therefore Allah ta’ala has given us the ability to share in this trait. 


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