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70 & 71 - الْمُقَدِّمُ الْمُؤَخِّرُ

Bint e Aisha

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الْمُقَدِّمُ  الْمُؤَخِّرُ


الْمُقَدِّمُ and الْمُؤَخِّرُ will be discussed together. 



الْمُقَدِّمُ is translated as The Expediter and The Promoter. It comes from the root word قدم and literally means to be sent/put ahead, to precede something, to promote something, to expedite something. قَدِيْم means old. 

الْمُؤَخِّر is translated as The Delayer and the Postponer. It comes from أخر and means the last, to be delayed, to put back. 


Both names are Ism Faa’il (Doer forms in Arabic – words which made into the active form) so الْمُقَدِّم is The One Who promotes or puts something ahead and الْمُؤَخِّرُ is the opposite, The One Who keeps back, delays or postpones something. 


These two names are opposite to each other and contradictory in a way but both are used for Allah ta’ala and His Sifaat.



الْمُقَدِّمُ is defined as The One Who takes everything through its different phases and stages. 
Therefore Allah ta’ala is promoting, expediting or progressing stage by stage for everything and every person in His creation. He makes whoever He wants progress, and being الْمُؤَخِّرُ, He can make them delayed or left behind. 


Both these Sifaat are Dhaatiyaa (Essence of Allah ta’ala) and as discussed before, some of the Sifaat of Allah ta’ala are Fa’liyaa (To do with His actions) and the Dhaatiyaa are about His essence / inherent qualities. 


In terms of Taqdeer

It is also defined in terms of Taqdeer i.e. whoever He wants to, He advances or promotes in terms of Deen. Another way to explain مُقَدِّم is being advanced and the most مُقَدِّم in their ranks are the Ambiyaa so it is synonymous with being “Muqarrib” – to be in close proximity. Allah ta’ala makes some of His Makhlooq مُقَدِّم (Promoted, advanced and also means one who is close). 


Both of these Sifaat are subject to the wish and wisdom of Allah ta’ala. The subject of free will and destiny is a highly intense and academic subject and difficult to understand but the point is that Allah ta’ala can promote/ advance or demote/ delay someone through His will and wisdom. 


In Du’a

Both these names are used in a Du’a the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam made:


اللَّهُمَّ  اغْفِرْ لِي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ، وَمَا أَسْرَرْتُ وَمَا أَعْلَنْتُ، أَنْتَ الْمُقَدِّمُ وَأَنْتَ الْمُؤَخِّرُ، لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ 


O Allah! Please forgive me my previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but you. [Bukhari]


Understanding Allah ta’ala being مُقَدِّم and مُؤَخِّر

All the universe is proof of Allah ta’ala being مُقَدِّم and مُؤَخِّر i.e. Allah ta’ala brings the day into night and the night into day and similarly people have good and bad days, the ups and downs of life, the rise and fall of empires where Allah ta’ala raises / promotes certain nations or people or removes / decreases their advancement and this Allah ta’ala being مُقَدِّم and مُؤَخِّر and this is how one can understand what these words mean on a larger scale and on the micro level for us. 


Sometimes we are progressing in the Dunya, economically, socially, religiously and on a personal level and sometimes we feel we are left behind and all of us go through this at some point. To know that behind the scene it is actually Allah ta’ala, and he is both, مُقَدِّم and مُؤَخِّر gives people hope when they are going through a down period or slowing down when before they were progressing.


Story regarding Shaykh Al-Andalusi

This is a famous story regarding Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Andalusi which is recorded by a Scholar of the ninth century. 


In Baghdad, the seat of the Islamic state, was a pious saint by the name of Abu Abdullah Al-Andalusi. He was a well-known scholar and Muhaddith and twelve thousand disciples sat at his feet. He knew thirty thousand Ahadith by heart, and could recite the Qur’an in all the various modes of Qiraa’at.


On a certain occasion he was going on a journey and was accompanied with a large crowd of attendants among whom were the well-known Junayd Baghdadi and Shaikh Shibli (Rahimahumullah). 


Shaikh Shibli continues the story: Our caravan was travelling along safely and comfortably with the grace of Allah, until we passed by an area where Christians were residing. When we reached the Christian village, we searched for water but could not find any. We went about the village and discovered that there were many churches, temples of sun-worship and synagogues. Some of the people worshipped idols and others prayed to the cross. We were amazed at their condition.


We passed all this and reached the outskirts of the village where we found a well and a few girls drawing water for people to drink. Amongst these girls was one who was exceedingly beautiful. She wore a gold necklace around her neck. When Shaikh Abu Abdullah saw her the colour of his face changed. The Shaikh asked the other girls who she was.


They replied: “This is the daughter of the ruler of this village.”


The Shaikh replied: “But, why has her father dishonoured her by leaving her to give people water to drink?”


The girls replied: “Her father has done this so that when she marries she will be able to honour and serve her husband. He does not want her to become boastful of her status.”


The Shaikh sat down with his head bent forward and remained silent. For three days he did not eat or drink. He would only perform his Salaah. His disciples and companions did not know what to do or say.
Shaikh Shibli says : ‘I decided to speak to him. I approached him and said, “O Shaikh, your disciples and companions are perplexed with your silence for the last three days. Please speak to us.”


The Shaikh replied: “O people, know that my heart has become filled with love for the girl I saw the other day. It is not possible for me under any circumstances to leave from here.”


Shaikh Shibli replied: “Our leader! You are the spiritual guide of Iraq. Your piety is well-known far and wide. Your disciples number over twelve thousand. By the sanctity of the Noble Quran do not bring disgrace to us and them.”


The Shaikh replied: “O people, my lot has already been sealed by fate. I am nothing. The cloak of sainthood has been removed from me and the signs of guidance have been taken away from me.”


Saying this the Shaikh began weeping bitterly. “Proceed and leave me alone. My fate has been sealed,” he told them.


We were astonished. We begged Allah for His protection and we cried until the land beneath our feet became wet with our tears.


We returned to Baghdad. When the people heard of our return, they arrived in large numbers at the outskirts of the city to meet the Shaikh. They saw that he was not with us and asked where he was. We told them the entire story. Many of his disciples died out of grief when they heard of his condition. Others cried in sorrow and disbelief. Many begged Allah to guide the Shaikh to the right path and return him to them. All his places of instruction and preaching were closed down.


We remained in this sad condition for one full year. Finally, I, together with a few companions decided to visit the village again and find out how our Shaikh was doing. When we reached the village we asked regarding him and were told that he was in the woods looking after pigs. We asked: “What has happened?” We were told that he had proposed for the girl in marriage. But, the girl’s father had refused saying that her suitor had to meet certain conditions : he had to follow the same religion as her, he had to become a servant in the church and he had to look after the pigs. The Shaikh had fulfilled all these conditions and was currently seeing to the pigs.


“With broken hearts and tears streaming down our eyes, we went to the woods to find him. He was standing amongst the pigs. Around his waist was a string of beads. On his head was the traditional Christian hat. He stood leaning on the staff that he once used to lean on when delivering the sermon in the mihraab!


When he saw us he bowed his head in shame. We came nearer and said, “Assalaamu Alaikum.” He replied: “Wa Alaikumus salaam”.


Shaikh Shibli then asked: “O Shaikh, what is all this? What has happened to you? What has happened to all your knowledge and virtue?”


The Shaikh replied: “My dear friend and brothers, I am now no longer in control. Whatever Allah has desired for me, has come to pass. I was once amongst His beloved ones. Now He has thrown me very far away from His door. O Beloved ones of Allah, beware of being rejected and distanced from Allah. O Beloved ones of Allah, beware of Allah’s anger and being cut off from Him.”


Then turning towards the heavens he said: “O my Lord, I never expected such treatment from You.” Then he began crying bitterly and appealing to Allah.


Shaikh Shibli also begged Allah in a loud voice : “Only from you do we seek help. Upon You only do we rely. By Your grace, remove this difficulty from us! We have been overcome. Only you can save us!”


When the pigs heard our crying they began to rub their heads in the sand and began to yell so loudly that the mountains appeared to wail. Shaikh Shibli says : “I thought Qiyaamah had come.” The Shaikh continued to cry uncontrollably.


Shaikh Shibli continues: We said to him : “Shaikh, why don’t you return with us to Baghdad?” The Shaikh replied : “How can I? I have to see to the pigs, although I once saw to the hearts of men!”


I asked the Shaikh : “You were a Haafiz of Qur’an and you could recite the seven modes of Qiraat. Do you remember anything of the Qur’an?”


The Shaikh answered : “I have forgotten everything except two verses of the Qur’an: ‘He who Allah disgraces, none can grant him honour. Allah does as He wishes.’ And, secondly, the verse, ‘He who chooses kufr (disbelief) over Imaan (faith) he has certainly gone astray.’


I asked : “You knew thirty thousand Ahadith of Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Do you still remember any?”


He answered : “Only one: ‘One who leaves his faith, kill him!’ ”


Amazed at his condition, we left the Shaikh and headed for Baghdad. However, after we had walked for three days we suddenly saw the Shaikh in front of us. He was coming out of a river, where he had just performed a bath. In a loud voice he proclaimed the Shahaadah: “I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam is His messenger.”

We could not control our joy and happiness when we saw him. He asked us for some pure clothing which he then wore. He then performed Salaah. We expressed our gratitude to Allah for returning him to us and we asked him what had happened to him.


He replied : “When you left me, I turned to Allah with my former love and affection for Him : ‘O my Protector, I am a sinner and a transgressor.’ Allah forgave me and covered me in His mercy.”

We asked him : “But, why were you put through such an intense trial?”


The Shaikh replied: “When we arrived in the village and saw the temples, synagogues and churches I thought to myself: ‘These people are nothing compared to me. I believe and worship one Allah.’ At that moment I heard a voice from within me saying: ‘This Iman that you have, is not due to your goodness in any way. If you so wish, We will show you right now.’ Immediately I felt as if something left my heart and flew away. That was my Imaan leaving me.”


Shaikh Shibli says: “We were overjoyed. Our caravan arrived in Baghdad with great joy. The Shaikh’s places of teaching and preaching were reopened. In a short while his students numbered over forty thousand. Allah again returned to him his knowledge of Qur’an and Hadith and blessed him with further knowledge.” (Al-Mustatraf) 



The story shows that it does not matter who a person is. He may be of a high rank in any field and it was Allah ta’ala Who had made him مُقَدِّم however in a second, Allah ta’ala can be الْمُؤَخِّرُ and the person can lose everything and be demoted. In the story Allah ta’ala had made Shaykh Al-Andalusi of the Muqaddimeen and then of the Mu’akhkhireen.  



How do we connect with these names? 

To know that the Tawfeeq of any good deed is only through Allah ta’ala’s Ihsaan. He gives us the ability to do good and He protects us from sin and therefore not to be proud regarding any blessing one has as in the story of Shaykh Al-Andalusi. 


Not to blame others for our failures or being demoted. All failures, be they worldly or Deeni, are from Allah ta’ala and He is الْمُقَدِّمُ and الْمُؤَخِّرُ. 


When feeling we are losing or being left behind then to make Du’a saying, “O Allah! You are الْمُقَدِّمُ and الْمُؤَخِّرُ so help me advance and progress.”



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