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Monday, June 24, 2019

99 Attributes of Allah: Al Kareem - The Most Generous


Al-Karīm  الكريم  is one of the Divine 99 attributes of Allah that explains He is The Most Generous,  The Most Bountiful,  The Most Esteemed,  The Beneficent for if He was not so, we would have never been blessed with so much bounties and blessings we have had today despite the fact most of us do not deserve to have these owing to our sinful lives and thanklessness to Allah.

Let us see how this attribute has been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an with reference to the context:
يٰۤاَيُّهَا الۡاِنۡسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الۡكَرِيۡمِۙ‏ 
O man! What has deceived you about your generous Lord [Surah Al-Infitar 82:6]

In Surah Al Infitar Allah warns that the guardian angels are recording all actions of every human and on the Day of the Judgment these recordings will be presented to Him for Allah alone all by Himself will be the Judge. Allah remonstrates with humankind asking what it is that lures them away from Him.  Allah reminds them that it is He who created them, shaped them and proportioned them. What is it Allah is asking that prevents you from fulfilling your obligations to Him.  He has been gracious and generous towards you, raising you above all of creation.  Allah has assembled humankind and carefully balanced the physical, mental and spiritual aspects.  People should ponder their amazing bodies and minds and this alone should prompt them to show gratitude and respect to Allah.

Al Kareem is from the root k-r-m which has the following classical Arabic connotations:
  • to be generous, giving, beneficent
  • to be highly esteemed, honored, prized, valued
  • to be noble, grand, high minded
  • to be productive, fruitful, and
  • to be excellent, precious, valuable, rare
The Al Kareem attribute has also been used in verse 40 of Surah Al Naml:


قَالَ الَّذِىۡ عِنۡدَهٗ عِلۡمٌ مِّنَ الۡـكِتٰبِ اَنَا اٰتِيۡكَ بِهٖ قَبۡلَ اَنۡ يَّرۡتَدَّ اِلَيۡكَ طَرۡفُكَ​ؕ فَلَمَّا رَاٰهُ مُسۡتَقِرًّا عِنۡدَهٗ قَالَ هٰذَا مِنۡ فَضۡلِ رَبِّىۡ​ۖ لِيَبۡلُوَنِىۡٓ ءَاَشۡكُرُ اَمۡ اَكۡفُرُ​ؕ وَمَنۡ شَكَرَ فَاِنَّمَا يَشۡكُرُ لِنَفۡسِهٖ​ۚ وَمَنۡ كَفَرَ فَاِنَّ رَبِّىۡ غَنِىٌّ كَرِيۡمٌ‏  

The context in the above verse is when Prophet Solomon wanted throne of Queen Saba / Sheba to be brought to him before the Queen arrived to visit him and the throne was there in the blink of an eye. On this favour, the Prophet Solomon thanked Allah. The verse means:
Allah does not stand in need of somebody’s gratefulness. His Godhead is neither enhanced by an iota by somebody’s gratefulness, nor diminished by that amount by somebody’s ingratitude or thanklessness. He is Sovereign in His own right. His Sovereignty is not dependent on His creation’s acknowledgment or rejection. The same thing has been expressed in the Quran through the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him): “If you prove thankless, you and all the dwellers of the earth, (you should know that) Allah is All-Sufficient and worthy of all praise by Himself.” [Surah Ibrahim: Ayat 8]
The same theme is contained in a Hadith Qudsi related in Sahih-Muslim saying:
“Allah says: O My servants, if you all men and jinns, from the beginning to the end, together become like the heart of the most righteous person among you, it will not cause any increase in My Kingdom; and O My servants, if you all men and jinns, from the beginning to the end, together become like the heart of the most sinful person among you, it will not cause any decrease in My Kingdom. O My servants, it is your own deeds which I credit to your account, and then fully recompense you for them. So, whoever receives something good, let him be grateful to Allah, and whoever receives something else, let him curse his own self only”.
Linguistically, a person who is generous and always helping others by whatever he has is also called kareem. Anything held in its own category in high esteem is called kareem. Arabs are used to calling anything kareem if it has a commendable merit or quality. Muhammed, the Messenger of Allah, has said, "Prophet Yusuf is the most kareem of people," meaning in lineage and descent. They may describe something the presence of which can be identified by one of the physical senses as kareem.

So when it comes as an attribute of Allah, one cannot fathom the level of generosity for its is limitless and sees no bounds and is immeasurable. And when He is giving, He gives to all, even to those who do not deserve them. He doles out His benevolence even without being asked. If a suppliant prays Him for forgiveness, one of the signs of His greatness is that He will erase that suppliant's sin if he truly repents, and He records a good deed for him in its place. 

Allah says in verse 261 of Surah Al Baqarah:
"The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like the parable of a grain growing seven ears (with) a hundred grains in each, and Allah multiplies for whomsoever he pleases, and Allah is ample-Giving, Knowing" 
Al Kareem attribute is not only in giving things or wealth or blessings, Allah is generous in forging too. Allah is the One Who deliberately and quite often overlooks. One of the signs of His Greatness is that He forgives whenever He is prayed for forgiveness; Allah has said:
"Ask forgiveness of your Lord; surely He is the most Forgiving" (Quran, 71:10).
And among the signs of His Greatness is that He forgives without reminding those whom He forgives of the types of sins and ugly things they had committed.

The Qur’an is also described as Qur’an Kareem. This means that the Qur’an is full of benefit and virtues. And that it is full of benefits, facts, and guidance, it is full of good things and blessings, it is perfect in every sense of the word, and it is free from any defect or imperfection. It is “Kareem” perfect and free from any defect or imperfection.

When Queen Sheba received the letter from Prophet Solomon, she is said to have regarded the letter as Kareem:
قَالَتۡ يٰۤاَيُّهَا الۡمَلَؤُا اِنِّىۡۤ اُلۡقِىَ اِلَىَّ كِتٰبٌ كَرِيۡمٌ‏ 
The Queen said:" Know my nobles that a gracious letter has been delivered to me [Surah An Naml 27:29] 

Allah is also "Kareem" in His dealings with His creation. Allah always goes over and beyond what is needed, when He does not have to. He forgives, He follows through and He gives. Al-Kareem is the One Who covers people’s sins and hide their flaws, and this is a Divine Attribute of Allah (Glorified and Sublime be He). Al-Kareem makes man, who is wretched poor and needy, a well-known man. Allah will make this poor, weak, wretched and needy servant someone to be mentioned by concealing his flaws from people and showing them the goodness he has:
And fulfill (your obligations to) My Covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My Obligations to) your covenant (with Me), and fear none but Me. (Al-Baqarah 2:40)
One could go on and on describing the endless meanings of Al-Kareem for Allah never abandons whoever seeks His shelter and takes refuge with Him: "And will never decrease the reward of your good deeds. (Surah Muhammad 47:35)

The Prophet of Allah has been reported as saying:
‘Allah (the Most High) says, ‘When engrossment with the Qur’an preoccupies a person from making dhikr and asking from me, I grant him better than what I grant to those who ask from Me.’ The Rank of the Word of Allah over other forms of speech is like the rank of Allah over all His creation.” (Abu Sa`eed - At-Tirmidhi)
Now watch and listen to explanation of attributes Al Kareem and Al Akram by Muhammad Tim Humble:
Having understood on the Al Kareem attribute of Allah, the question arises how should we inculcate the quality of being generous and exhibit it in our actions when it comes to dealing with other human beings and our brethren. We can do so by being generous to people, knowing that Allah compensates His servants because He is the ultimate in Generosity. Not simply in money, but in time and simple generosity in attitude. 

The Prophet ﷺ would never say “no” when he was asked for something. The Prophet ﷺ also said: “The generous one is close to Allah, close to people, far from the fire; a stingy person is far from Allah, far from people, far from Paradise; and the generous ignorant person is more beloved to Allah than a stingy worshipper.” (Tirmidhi)

May Allah help s to be generous, oft forgiving and helping to the best of our abilities. Aameen.

You may refer to our post "99 Attributes of Allah" for complete list of 99 attributes of Allah Almighty with meaning and explanation.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
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