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  الْحَيُّ  الْقَيُّومُ



الْحَيُّ and الْقَيُّومُ will be discussed together.



الْحَيُّ comes from Hayaat (Life) and in this form it means The Ever Living and The Alive.

الْقَيُّومُ comes from Qawmaa which literally means to stand. This is an intensive superlative form of Qawmaa meaning The Self-Existing and The Self-Subsisting and has the connotation of everlasting. It also comes from “establishment” so in that context it can also mean The One Who administers and oversees the universe. 



Ibnul Qayyim (Rahimahullah) says there are two parts to الْقَيُّومُ,

•    Allah ta’ala being Qaaim (established) and self-subsisting in His essence (Dhaat) and that means He is Self-subsisting and does not need anyone 

•    Allah ta’ala being Qaaim in terms of establishment of His creation. 


Therefore Allah ta’ala is Qaaim Himself and He keeps everything Qaaim. He is Self-Subsisting and gives the universe the ability to subsist. 


الْحَيُّ is that being Whose existence is forever; He always was, always is and always will be. He has always been in existence and has existence which has no beginning or ending. This is something humans do not understand because for humans life begins and ends and for all creation there is a beginning and an ending (i.e. planets and stars which are millions of years old but they had a beginning and will have an ending). 


Another way to define it is One Who is always alive and never dies. He does not go through any type of non-existence. In Surah Qasas (verse 88) Allah ta’ala says, 


وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ ۘ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

And do not invoke any other god with Allah. There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him. Everything is bound to perish except He Himself.  All authority belongs to Him. And to Him you will ˹all˺ be returned.


Therefore His existence is Baaqee (Will always be there). It is pre-eternal and eternal. There are two words in Arabic, أَبَد and  أزَل (forever/eternal) which have a similar meaning but has a slight difference. 


أَبَد means something that will never end i.e. Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا – i.e. people will be in Jannah forever. It is not pre-eternal but once it is made then it is forever. The soul/Rooh for example, is “Abadi.” 


أزَل is something that was always there and always will be there so it is pre-eternal. Only Allah ta’ala is pre-eternal as everything else has a beginning though some things like Jannah and Jahannam are “Abadi” (forever) after their beginning. Allah ta’ala is both أزَل and أَبَد and Azal includes Abad. 


The attributes of Allah ta’ala have different categories and الْحَي is from the Sifaati Dhaatiyaa (Inherent in Himself) and الْقَيُّوم is from the Sifaati Af’aal (His actions i.e. He is active, interacting, overseeing, administering.)


In the Qur’an

Both these Sifaat are mentioned together in the Qur’an three times.

1.    In Aayatul Kursi (Surah Baqarah: 255) -  اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ. Right after this Allah ta’ala says, لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ- He neither slumbers nor sleeps. Allah ta’ala not being tired is evidence of His being قَيُّوم . He is beyond being tired or sleepy and He cannot be tired or sleepy in administering and subsisting the creation. 

2.    Surah Aali ‘Imraan, verse 2 (Same as above) in conjunction with Tawheed. This is evidence of Allah ta’ala’s Oneness i.e. there is only One Being Who is Self-Existing, Self-Subsisting and keeping the universe going. 

3.    Surah Taha: 111   وَعَنَتِ الْوُجُوهُ لِلْحَيِّ الْقَيُّومِ (Their faces shall be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Ever-existent). 


Commentators say regarding this verse; 

 وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ - And We have created every living thing from water [Surah Ambiyaa:30]


Allah ta’ala is الْحَي and He is also the giver of live and He gives life according to how He wants i.e. humans with intelligence and other forms with varying levels of intelligence, plants, micro-organisms etc. 


In Du’a

It is mentioned in Hadith that when in difficulty or distress, recite: 

  O Living, O Sustaining, in Your Mercy I seek relief! يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيثُ 


‘Ali RA says during the Battle of Badr he found the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam in Sajdah repeating  يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ. 


The Muslims were facing a huge army in Battle of Badr. It was under extreme circumstances that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam called out Allah ta’ala by these two names so we too can call out to Allah ta’ala by these names in Sajdah without asking for anything. 


Importance of the Combination of  الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ


Some Scholars say this combination of  الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ is Ism A’zam by which Du’a are accepted.  


Ubayy ibn Ka’b reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “O Abu Mundhir, do you know the greatest verse in the book of Allah?” I said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet sallallaaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “O Abu Mundhir, do you know the greatest verse in the book of Allah?” I recited the verse of the throne (ayat al-Kursi), “Allah, there is no God but Him, the Living, the Sustainer.” (2:255) The Prophet struck me on the chest and he said, “By Allah, Abu Mundhir, rejoice in this knowledge!” [Muslim]


The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam once mentioned to Faatimah RA to recite the following supplication morning and evening,


يا حَـيُّ يا قَيّـومُ بِـرَحْمَـتِكِ أَسْتَـغـيث ، أَصْلِـحْ لي شَـأْنـي كُلَّـه ، وَلا تَكِلـني إِلى نَفْـسي طَـرْفَةَ عَـين 


‘Yaa hayyu yaa qayoomu, birahmatika astagheeth. Aslih liy sha-aniykulluhu wa laa takilniy ilaa nafsiy tarfata aynin.’


(Translation: On You Who is Everliving and Sustains and Protects everything, I seek assistance through the means of your mercy, correct for me all my affairs and do not entrust me to my Nafs (myself) for the moment of a blink of an eye.’) [Mustadrakal-Haakim , Shu’ubul Iemaan of Imaam Bayhaqi] 


It is narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam heard a man saying:


“O Allah, I ask of You by the fact that You are Allah, there is no god except You, the One, the Self-Sufficient Master, who begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.”


He sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,

“He has called upon Allah by His Greatest Name, which if He is asked by it, He gives, and if He is called upon by it, He responds.” [Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood]


For Forgiveness

If a person says the following 3 times before going to bed, 

أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ الَّذِي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْْقَيُّومُ وَ أَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ

I seek the forgiveness of Allah the Mighty, Whom there is none worthy of worship except Him, The Living, The Eternal, and I repent unto Him … he will be forgiven even if he has committed sins as much as the foam of an ocean. [Abu Dawood Tirmidhi]


The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said if a person recites the above his sins will be forgiven even if he should have run away from the battlefield.


We do not have the reality of the power of Du’a with the names of Allah ta’ala in them. We should try to understand the words and make Du’a with feeling. 


Make the Heart Alive

Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) narrates that if a person recites 40 times between the Sunnah and Fardh of Fajr Salaah the following, the person’s heart will become alive and it will be protected from dying. 

بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيثُ  لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ يَا حَىُّ يَا قَيُّومُ


We should practice on this especially when feeling spiritually low as the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,


“There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily this piece is the heart.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

Cannot be used in Name

قَيُّوم cannot be used as a name as only Allah ta’ala is قَيُّوم though عَبْد القَيُّوم  can be used. 


When one realises that Allah ta’ala is الْقَيُّومُ and He is The One Who is always there while people come and go, then one will trust in Him alone. 



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