Tuesday 21 January 2020

99 Attributes of Allah: Al-Hafīz - The Preserver, the All Watching

One of the 99 attributes of Allah is Al Ḥafīẓ " ٱلْحَفِيظُ " (pronounced Al Hafeez), which means The Preserver, the Protector, the Guardian, the Oft-Conservator and the All Watching.

وَمَا كَانَ لَهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِالْآخِرَةِ مِمَّنْ هُوَ مِنْهَا فِي شَكٍّ ۗ وَرَبُّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ

"And he has no authority over them, but so that We may distinguish the one who believes in the hereafter from the one who is in doubt concerning it, and your Lord preserves all things" (Quran, 34:21)

The above verse from Surah Saba explains the attribute of Allah wherein it is being said that Allah is the One whose power preserves the heavens and the earth. The One who is the guardian and preserver of all the worlds.

Al Ḥafīẓ  comes from the verb ‘hifz – to preserve’ and literally means ‘to preserve, to guard and to protect’. In Surah 11 Hud, verse 57, it is said:

فَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَقَدۡ اَبۡلَغۡتُكُمۡ مَّاۤ اُرۡسِلۡتُ بِهٖۤ اِلَيۡكُمۡ​ؕ وَيَسۡتَخۡلِفُ رَبِّىۡ قَوۡمًا غَيۡرَكُمۡۚ وَلَا تَضُرُّوۡنَهٗ شَيۡـئًا​ ؕ اِنَّ رَبِّىۡ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ حَفِيۡظٌ‏ 

"If you, then, turn away (from the truth), know that I have delivered the message with which I was sent to you. Now my Lord will set up another people in place of you and you shall in no way be able to harm Him. Surely my Lord keeps a watch over everything."

وَالَّذِيۡنَ اتَّخَذُوۡا مِنۡ دُوۡنِهٖۤ اَوۡلِيَآءَ اللّٰهُ حَفِيۡظٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ​ۖ وَمَاۤ اَنۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ بِوَكِيۡلٍ‏ 

"Those who have taken others than Him as their protectors beside Him, it is Allah Who oversees them; you are no guardian over them." (Surah 42. Ash-Shura: 6)

Al-Hafīz is the One who protects that which He has created, and Whose knowledge encompasses that which He has brought into existence. He protects His servants from falling into sin and disaster, and He takes care of them in all situations. He records the deeds of His slaves and the reward or punishment for that.

Al-Hafīz has two meanings: One is the opposite of oversight or forgetfulness, and its meaning is derived from knowing. When we say that the Almighty safeguards things, we mean that He knows them in all their quantities and intricacies, and that such knowledge is not altered by diminution, oversight, negligence, or forgetfulness. The other is that al-Hafeez safeguards things against loss: He guards them, and all His characteristics and perfection are above extinction. He has also said: "Attend constantly to prayers and to the middle prayers, and stand up truly obedient to Allah" (Quran, 2:238), and, "His Dominion overspreads the heavens and the earth, and their upholding wearies Him not. He is All-High, All-Glorious." (Quran, 2:255).

Related names:
  • Raqīb refers to the One who has the attribute of watchfulness.
  • Wakīl refers to the One who is the trusted administrator.
  • Māni' - the One who protects and defends against harmful situations.
  • Muhaymin refers to the One who is the ever-watchful guardian and protector.
Thus one who contemplates on the meanings of al-Hafeez and eagerly longs for Him with all his heart is one in whose heart the love for His Lord is borne; the Lord Who protects His servant even when the latter is disobedient to Him, falling short of worshiping Him, lagging behind in adoring Him.

He reawakens his heart from its inattentiveness. It is then that Allah makes his heart like a preserved treasure of secrets, so he takes courageous stands, safeguarding his senses against committing sins, protecting his heart against spiritually harmful insinuations. 

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

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran

Photo | References1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

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