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Thursday, November 14, 2019

99 Attributes of Allah: Al Qayyum - The Self Subsisting

Allah is Al-Qayyūm " ٱلْقَيُّومُ " , the Self Subsisting, upon whom the whole order of existence rests and depends. The One Who stands alone, for Allah is the self-existing.


اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ 
"Allah, (there is) no god but He, the ever-Living, the self-Subsisting, the One through Whom all things subsist" (Quran, Surah 2 Al Baqarah: 255)

Al Qayyūm appears three times in the Qur'an, paired with the attribute Al Hayy, as can be seen in the opener of the Ayat ul Kursi mentioned above.  In fact both these attributes are supportive of each other in meaning and in actuality. And that these two attributes are one whole that is not divisible. While Al Hayy signifies the attribute of ever-lasting life, the  al-Qayyūm attribute is the significant of the self subsistence of Allah. Thus, the attributes of al-Hayy and al-Qayyūm express two aspects of the One Life. It could thus be said that Al-Qayyum exists absolutely on His own, not through others, while every being exists through Him and because of Him. 

Irrespective of the number of gods or objects of worship set up by ignorant people, the fact remains that godhead in its entirety, belongs exclusively to the Eternal Being, Who is indebted to no one for His existence. In fact, He is not only self-existent, but upon Him rests the entire order of the universe. He alone wields all sovereign authority over His dominion. None shares either His attributes or His power and might, and no one has the same claims against the creatures as He. Hence, if anywhere in the heavens or the earth someone sets up anything or anybody as an object of worship and service (ilah) either instead of or in addition to the One True God this amounts to declaring war on reality.

In Surah 20 Ta Ha, verse 111, the combination of Al Hayy and Al Qayyum appears as following:
وَعَنَتِ الۡوُجُوۡهُ لِلۡحَىِّ الۡقَيُّوۡمِ​ؕ وَقَدۡ خَابَ مَنۡ حَمَلَ ظُلۡمًا‏  
(20:111) All faces shall be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsisting Lord, and he who bears the burden of iniquity will have failed;

The attribute Qayyum comes from the root of qayim, that means it is He Who brings everything to life.

Revered Islamic scholar Waheed ud Din quotes following while explaining the meanings of Al Qayyūm:
The attribute of al-Qayyūm is also nicely described by the words of Acts 17:28 which say: "in Him we live and move and have our being."
The name al-Qayyūm also has much the same meaning as the Hebrew phrase in Exodus 3:14 which is written as: "I am that I am, or I am that which I have become."
As Sri Aurobindo wrote in his commentary of the Isha Upanishad: "God is the only Being and all other existences are only His becomings."
Abu Hurairah has been reported as saying that whenever Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) faced a serious difficulty, he would raise his head to the sky and supplicate, "Subhan-Allah al-'Azim (glory be to Allah, the Mighty)." And when he implored seriously and strongly, he would say "Ya Hayyu, Ya Qayyum (O Ever-Living One, O Self-Existing One upon Whom we all depend)."    (Tirmidhi)

Herein under, listen to this beautiful poetic work by Camille Adams Helminski about Al Hayy and Al Qayyum - it kept me spellbound for a long time. The choice words is so beautiful and appropriate to describe the attributes of Allah, so heart moving, so absorbing !!
You may refer to our post "99 Attributes of Allah" for complete list of 99 attributes of Allah Almighty with meaning and explanation.

Author's Note: The data for this post has been collected from the references as given below. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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