Al-Baqarah · Juz 3 · Qur'an Tafseer

Allah’s Greatest Name is in Ayat Al-Kursi


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


Part 1

Ayah 255 (Part 2) – Allah’s Greatest Name is in Ayat Al-Kursi

Imam Ahmad recorded that Asma bint Yazeed ibn As-Sakan said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say about these two ayaat (2:255 & 3:2) they contain Allah’s Greatest Name.”

Ibn Marduwyah recorded that Abu Umamah reported that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

اسْمُ اللهِ الْأَعْظَمُ، الَّذِي إِذَا دُعِيَ بِهِ أَجَابَ، فِي ثَلَاثٍ: سُورَةِ الْبَقَرَةِ وَآلِ عِمْرَانَ وَطه

“Allah’s Greatest Name, if He was supplicated with it, He answers the supplication, is in three Surahs – Al-Baqarah, Aal ‘Imran and Ta-Ha.”

Hisham ibn ‘Ammar, the Khateeb [orator] of Damascus (one of the narrators in the above narration) said, “As for Al-Baqarah, it is in,

اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَىُّ الْقَيُّومُ

‘Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists.’ (2:255); in Aal ‘Imran, it is in,

الم – ٱللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْحَىُّ ٱلْقَيُّومُ

‘Alif-Lam-Mim. Allah! None has the right to be worshiped but He, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists’ (3:1-2), while in Ta-Ha, it is in,

وَعَنَتِ الْوُجُوهُ لِلْحَىِّ الْقَيُّومِ

‘And (all) faces shall be humbled before (Allah), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists’ (20:111).”

Ayat Al-Kursi describes the Oneness of Allah and His Attributes in a unique manner – He is Living, He Hears and Sees, He Speaks, He is Self-existent, He is Eternal and Everlasting. He is the Creator of the entire universe, He is above changes and effects, He is the Master of the universe, He is so Exalted in His Majesty that no one can speak before Him without His permission. He is the Wielder of such absolute power that the tremendous function of creating the universe, sustaining it and making it work steadily, does not tire him. So all-encompassing is His knowledge that the minutest possible atom or drop, open or hidden cannot stay out of it.

Ayat Al-Kursi has Ten Complete Sentences

The first sentence:

اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ

“Allah! None has the right to be worshiped but He” means that Allah is the One and Only Lord of all creation. No creation can have the name Allah. What does the word Allah mean? It is Al-Illah meaning The God. Therefore, it doesn’t befit the creation to have this name. He is the only One who deserves worship and subservience. No human being or object deserves submission and worship. Everything that we have in this world is from Allah – He created it, He owns it and He sustains everything.

The second sentence:

الْحَىُّ الْقَيُّومُ

“Al-Hayyul-Qayyum” testifies that Allah is the Ever Living, Who never dies, Who sustains everyone and everything. All creation stands in need of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and totally relies on Him, while He is the Most Rich, Who stands in need of nothing created. Similarly, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,

وَمِنْ ءَايَـتِهِ أَن تَقُومَ السَّمَآءُ وَالاٌّرْضُ بِأَمْرِهِ

“And among His signs is that the heaven and the earth stand by His command,” (30:25).

The third sentence:

لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ

“Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him” means, no shortcoming, unawareness or ignorance ever touches Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Rather, He is aware of, and controls what every soul earns, has perfect watch over everything, nothing escapes His knowledge, and no secret matter is secret to Him. Among His perfect attributes, is the fact that He is never affected by slumber or sleep. Therefore, Allah’s statement, Neither slumber overtakes Him” indicates that no unawareness due to slumber ever overtakes Allah.

It is recorded in the Saheeh that Abu Musa radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “The Messenger of Allah delivered a speech regarding four words:

Allah does not sleep, and it does not befit His majesty that He sleeps. He lowers the scales and raises them. The deeds of the day are resurrected in front of Him before the deeds of the night, and the deeds of the night before the deeds of the day. His Veil is light, or fire, and if He removes it, the rays from His Face would burn whatever His sight reaches of His creation.”

The fourth sentence:

لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَـوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الاٌّرْضِ

“To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth” indicates that everyone is a servant for Allah, a part of His kingdom and under His power and authority. In a similar ayah, He said,

إِن كُلُّ مَن فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ إِلاَّ آتِى الرَّحْمَـنِ عَبْداً – لَّقَدْ أَحْصَـهُمْ وَعَدَّهُمْ عَدّاً – وَكُلُّهُمْ ءَاتِيهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ فَرْداً

“There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Gracious (Allah) as a servant. Verily, He knows each one of them, and has counted them a full counting. And every one of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection (without any helper, or protector or defender),” (19:93-95).

The fifth sentence:

مَن ذَا الَّذِى يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ

“Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission” is similar to another ayah in the Qur’an:

وَكَمْ مِّن مَّلَكٍ فِى السَّمَـوَتِ لاَ تُغْنِى شَفَـعَتُهُمْ شَيْئاً إِلاَّ مِن بَعْدِ أَن يَأْذَنَ اللَّهُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَرْضَى

“And there are many angels in the heavens, whose intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He wills and is pleased with” (53:26), and,

وَلاَ يَشْفَعُونَ إِلاَّ لِمَنِ ارْتَضَى

“They cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased,” (21:28).

These ayaat assert Allah’s greatness, pride, and grace, and that no one dares to intercede with Him on behalf of anyone else, except by His permission. Indeed, the hadeeth about the intercession, states that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

آتِي تَحْتَ الْعَرْشِ فَأَخِرُّ سَاجِدًا، فَيَدَعُنِي مَا شَاءَ اللهُ أَنْ يَدَعَنِي. ثُمَّ يُقَالُ: ارْفَعْ رَأْسَكَ، وَقُلْ تُسْمَعْ، وَاشْفَعْ تُشَفَّعْ قَالَ: فَيَحُدُّ لِي حَدًّا فَأُدْخِلُهُمُ الْجَنَّة

“I will stand under the Throne and fall in prostration, and Allah will allow me to remain in that position as much as He wills. I will thereafter be told, ‘Raise your head, speak and you will be heard, intercede and your intercession will be accepted.’” The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then said, “He will allow me a proportion whom I will enter into Paradise.”

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“Our Lord, accept (this) from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” (2: 127)

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