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52 & 53 - الْقَوِيُّ الْمَتِينُ

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      الْقَوِيُّ   الْمَتِينُ 


الْقَوِيُّ and الْمَتِينُ will be discussed together as they are similar in meaning. 



الْقَوِيُّ is translated as Inexhaustible Strength and The Supremely Strong. 

الْمَتِينُ is translated as The Firm and The Steadfast. 


Both these names come together in Surah ‘Aadiyaat, verses 58:  

إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ 

Surely it is Allah Who is the giver of all sustenance, the Lord of Power, the Invincible.



الْقَوِيُّ  - absolute, perfect power over all things. It is similar to Qaadir (Allah ta’ala having Qudrat i.e. power to control) so it is more in terms of controlling and الْقَوِيُّ means power in the absolute sense. 


Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullah) says الْقَوِيُّ means no one can dominate Him and no one can escape Him even if they tried and no one can delay or overrule His decision once He decides on any matter.


الْمَتِينُ – Has the meaning of intense power. It is that power which cannot be separated from Him i.e. it is part of His essence. He finds no difficulty in any of His matters and neither does He feel tiredness. 


The subtle difference between the two names is that  الْمَتِينُ has more intensity than الْقَوِيُّ. Another way to differentiate them is الْقَوِيُّ means complete and perfect power and الْمَتِينُ means intense or extreme power. Therefore الْقَوِيُّ is more comprehensive in His perfect power and الْمَتِينُ is in terms of its intensity.


Allah ta’ala is immeasurable but it’s like looking at the width and depth of something and if you think of width than قَوِيّ is the word and in terms of Allah ta’ala’s depth and intensity of power, it would be مَتِين. 

Another way to describe Allah ta’ala’s power is that it is such power that fulfills His intention. Whatever He intends, He can do and does not have to deliberate over it. Allah ta’ala’s power surrounds all things with no fault or weakness in it. People who are powerful in the world have some weakness or fault and there is no super hero who is absolutely powerful as they have some fault or weakness embedded in them. There is no absolute power except Allah ta’ala. 


Allah ta’ala has the power to humiliate or give respect and this is mentioned in many ways in the Qur’an and in the stories of the Seerah where people tried to weaken the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and the Muslims  and erase Islam however Allah ta’ala made Islam stronger and this is the running theme in Seerah. We think people give respect or disrespect but it is Allah ta’ala.


In the Qur’an

These two names appear once as in the verse mentioned earlier. 


الْقَوِيُّ is mentioned 10 times paired with other names – 7 times with الْعَزِيزُ. 


فَلَمَّا جَاءَ أَمْرُنَا نَجَّيْنَا صَالِحًا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِنَّا وَمِنْ خِزْيِ يَوْمِئِذٍ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ الْقَوِيُّ الْعَزِيزُ

When Our Judgement came to pass, We saved Saleh and those who believed with him, through a special grace from Us, from the disgrace of that Day. Indeed your Rabb is All-Strong, All-Mighty 
[Surah Hood:66]


It is mentioned twice with شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ. 

إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ - Surely Allah is Mighty and severe in punishment. [Surah Anfaal; 52]


Note on Paired Names:

Scholars say when Allah ta’ala’s names are paired, the pair combine to form a unique name and if one of them is paired with another name, that combination will another nuance to the meaning. 


الْقَوِيُّ in Dhikr – “A Treasure from the Treasures of Jannah” 

The commentary spends time on لا حَوْلَ وَلا قُوَّةَ إِلا بِالله (There is no might and strength except with Allah) which is sometimes mentioned as a form of Dhikr, sometimes when awestruck and sometimes as emphasis as in ما شاء الله لا حَوْلَ وَلا قُوَّةَ إِلا بِالله


Abu Musa RA reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said to me,
“Shall I not guide you to a treasure from the treasures of Jannah?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” Thereupon he sallallaahu ‘alayhiw asallam said, “Recite,
‏لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله‏

[Bukhari and Muslim]


Imam Nawawi’s (Rahimahullah) Explanation of this being a “Treasure of Jannah”

Scholars have tried to understand this Hadith and Imam Nawawi (Rahimahullah) writes that it is called one of the treasures of Jannah because “hawl” means to give some type of movement i.e. “Harakah” or to try to look for a path in a certain direction (To be in search for some path). Therefore, 
“Laa hawl” means “there is no movement” plus 
“Laa Quwwata” means no strength/no path/no way out/no exit/no escape, and
“Illaa billah” means “except for Allah”. 


It is usually translated as “There is no might and no strength except with Allah” however it means, “There is no ability to move (“Laa hawl”) and no way out (“Laa Quwwata”) except with Allah.”


Imam Nawawi (Rahimahullah) says this phrase shows utter submission/servitude and if a person, while saying these words, was to acknowledge this with certainty that one is powerless to move or to do anything except with the power of Allah ta’ala then that Kayfiyyat (condition of the heart) is something that will take the person to Jannah and that is why it is one of the treasures of Jannah. ~~end~~


When that condition becomes a part of one’s life, it will protect the person from disobedience of Allah ta’ala. Also when we look at the لا, it is a negation and the إلا الله is the affirmation so we are negating the Ghayrullaah or the power of anything else.


لا حَوْلَ also means there is no power to stop evil except through Allah ta’ala. There is no way to save ourselves from disobedience and to be obedient except through Allah ta’ala’s help and we as humans are powerless. These are different reasons why it is called a treasure from the treasures of Jannah. 


Hidden Shirk

One of the objectives of studying the Asmaaul Husnaa is to connect with Allah ta’ala and to protect ourselves from hidden Shirk. Sometimes we think a particular person or doing the ‘Aalimah course will make me pious. The Scholars do not say we will make you pious. The people assume it however these are the means. The expectations are from means and not Allah ta’ala and this is what the لا is negating. No one has the power to make anyone pious. If the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam had had the power, he would have given Hidaayah to his uncle Abu Taalib. 


A person once said to Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahimahullah) that he wanted what was in the Shaykh’s chest i.e. the love of Allah ta’ala, Taqwaa etc. and he asked the Shaykh to give it to him. In order to teach the person that it was Allah ta’ala Who had power to give and not him, the Shaykh (Rahimahullah) said, “My chest has phlegm in it, shall I give that to you?”


Therefore yes, there is benefit in spending time with the Ahlullaah, the close friends of Allah ta’ala and to attain knowledge but power to change us does not lie with the Mashaikh, Scholars or teachers. It is Allah ta’ala Who grants it and when we know that then we will not have that expectation from anyone other than Allah ta’ala and we will ask only Allah ta’ala for everything.


لا حَوْلَ وَلا قُوَّةَ إِلا بِالله – in Sorrow & Difficulty

Many Scholars of the past have stressed on this Dhikr which is mentioned in Hadith. Some have mentioned a virtue of this Dhikr saying it is very effective in sorrow and difficulty. It is mentioned in the book that reciting it 40 times with feeling will help in difficult situations. This is “Mujarrab” meaning over the years Scholars have had experience of its effect. It is also something which reminds us that it is only Allah ta’ala Who is in control and has the power to change the situation. 


Mujaddid Alf Thaani (Rahimahullah) said that in order to protect one’s self from all difficulties and pain and to reach your goals, one should read لا حَوْلَ وَلا قُوَّةَ إِلا بِالله in abundance.


To Acknowledge the Strength of Allah ta’ala & our Weakness

The common thread seen between the Du’a of the Ambiyaa AS is,

•    Deep humility
•    Acknowledgement of their weakness


When Musaa AS was chosen as Prophet, he looked at and acknowledged his own weaknesses. He admitted he had a knot in his tongue and acknowledged he did not know how to talk to people and so to send his brother Haroon AS with him. He did not think he was deserving of prophethood and yet he was one of the greatest Prophets in history. 


The Ma’rifat (Realisation) that Allah ta’ala is الْقَوِيُّ  is the realisation of one’s weakness which becomes much more visible.  


Beautiful Du’a of a Famous Taabi’ee (Aamir bin Abdullaah Tameemee RA)


Ilaahi laqad khalaqtanee bi amrika

(O Allah, You made me according to Your power/command)

Wa akamtanee fee balaayaa haadhihid dunyaa fee mashi-atika

(You have placed me in the difficulties of this world through Your wish)

Thumma qultanee  idh thamtika

(Then You said to me, hold fast to the Deen of Islam i.e. obey me)

Kayfa ath-thumtiku illam tumsiknee bi nutfika

(How do I hold fast to You if You do not hold fast to me with Your Fadhl?)

Yaa Qawiyyu Yaa Mateen!


The feeling behind this Du’a is beautiful even if not said in Arabic. He is saying, “O Allah, You put me in this world and in difficult situations and then You tell me to hold fast. I cannot hold fast to You until YOU hold fast to me through Your grace. You are Al-Qawiyyu and Al-Mateen”    ~~end~~


الْمَتِينُ - Allah ta’ala gives His different creation different powers and abilities in certain areas i.e. the power of memorization people have, the power of smell that ants have, the power of hearing that bats have etc.  This comes from Allah ta’ala being الْمَتِينُ but however the intensity of all power, it is Allah ta’ala Who is 



When we realise the power of Allah ta’ala we will realise our lowliness and this is how it is with the people who have Ma’rifat of Allah ta’ala and are close to Him. The more distant a person is from Allah ta’ala the more arrogance there is in them and they think they can do anything. A person who realises the power of Allah ta’ala is confident in the power of Allah ta’ala and is not affected by the power of people or become awestruck at their wealth. 



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