Al-Khaafidh (the Abaser) comes from the root kh-f-dh. It was used to refer to the camel when he lowers his head. When referring to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala, Ibn Atheer said, “It is He who lowers the oppressors and humiliates them.”
Al-Khaafid is the one who brings down tyrants and humiliates the arrogant Pharaohs. He humiliates whomsoever He will among His slaves, lowering him in status and making him unknown and insignificant. And Ar-Raafi’ elevates whomsoever He will among His slaves, raising him in status and position.
Hitler was unbelievably powerful during his time. Despite all the odds he turned his country into a world power. But his power was based on oppression. He was humiliated, brought down, and debased—he ended up committing suicide. This is the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. At times we see tyrants with great power, but eventually they are toppled down. And this is not just for rulers who are oppressive. When Iblees said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.” [38:76] He was expelled from Paradise. When Pharaoh said, “I am your most exalted lord.” [79:24] He was drowned.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala is not unjust. Everyone on this earth will be accountable for what they have done. The people who are killing and massacring innocent people for their personal gain will be handled by Al-Khaafid. Although we forget, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala remembers all of the lost souls: the Chechens, the Palestinians, the Iraqis, the Bosnians, the African slaves, the Sudanese, and every soul, Allah sees, hears and knows all things. And no injustice goes un-served.
Ar-Raafi’ is He who raises and exalts. When the Quraysh were mocking and debasing the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala comforted him in these words, “And We raised high (rafa`na) for you your repute.” [Ash-Sharh: 4]
Today, whenever the fitnah of mocking the Prophet erupts such as cartoons and films, there is someone interested in finding out more about Islam and we see more people embracing it. More than 1400 years after his death, people are still exalting his remembrance by sending Allah’s blessings on him.
Different Meanings of Allah’s Names: Al-Khaafid and Ar-Raafi’
✦ Al-Khaafid Humiliates Tyrants, Ar-Raafi’ Raises Friends of Allah
Al-Khaafid is the one who brings down tyrants and humiliates the arrogant Pharaohs, and ar-Raafi’ is the one who raises His close friends (awliya’) in status through their acts of obedience.
He humiliates whomsoever He will among His slaves, lowering him in status and making him unknown and insignificant. And He elevates whomsoever He will among His slaves, raising him in status and position. No one can rise except those whom He raises in status and no one can be humiliated except those whom He lowers in status.
✦ Al-Khaafid Lowers Justice, Ar-Raafi’ Raises Justice
The scholars said Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala lowers justice by causing oppressors to prevail, and He raises justice by causing justice to prevail. He lowers justice by means of the unjust and he raises justice by means of just leaders. By alternately lowering and raising the level of justice He tests His slaves to see how they will be patient in the face of adversity and thankful for times of ease.
✦ Al-Khaafid for His Enemies, Ar-Raafi’ for the Righteous
Shaykh Ibn Sa’di said in al-Haqq al-Waadih al-Mubeen (258) He is ar-Raafi’ for people who are righteous and knowledgeable and have faith, and He is al-Khaafid for His enemies.
The effects of these attributes prevail everywhere in the universe, giving precedence to some and putting others behind, benefiting some and harming others, giving to some and withholding from others, abasing some and exalting others. There is no difference in this between physical and moral, religious or worldly.
✦ Al-Khaafid Keeps His Enemies Away, Ar-Raafi’ Brings His Friends Closer
Shaykh Muhammad Khaleel Harraas said in Sharh al-Qaseedah al-Nooniyyah, 2/114: Allah, al-Khaafid, abases the kuffaar by making their lives miserable and keeping them away from Him, and ar-Raafi’ raises His close friends by drawing them close to Him and making them happy. He alternates things amongst His slaves, so He humiliates some people and makes them insignificant and takes away their pride, and He raises others by causing them to inherit the authority and land of the former.
Living by Allah’s Names: Al-Khaafid and Ar-Raafi’
Fear Al-Khaafid. If Al-Khaafid can bring down strong tyrants like Pharaoh and Hitler, then where do we stand? How many of us have a little Pharaoh or a little Iblees within us, justifying our arrogance? The lesson for us here is to be humble before Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala lowers, humiliates and debases us. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
من تواضع رفعه الله
“Whoever humbles himself to Allah, Allah will raise him.” (Muslim)
Obey Ar-Raafi and get raised. We must remember that there is a never a moment when we are obeying Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala except that we are elevated, and this should comfort us when we encounter opposition from other people. However, sometimes people act in a contradictory way. Their obedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala causes them to be arrogant—will Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala raise such a person? A person will not enter Paradise if he has an atom’s worth of arrogance in his heart. Our submission to Allah should instill humility and gratefulness within us and not arrogance.
This also has to do with our internal state. When we do something wrong, we sometimes feel debased, uncomfortable, and down. But when we do good, we feel uplifted. And that is Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala raising our spirits. We should reflect on the condition of our heart, and turn to Allah in repentance for healing our hearts.
May al-Khaafid debase our enemies, and may ar-Raafi’ make us of those who remember Him, and He loves and elevates them and brings them closer to Himself, aameen.