» Aayatul-Kursi And Its Meaning
Aayatul-Kursi And Its Meaning
Allah! Laa ilaaha illaa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever-Living (Al-Hayy), the One Who sustains and protects all that exists (Al-Qayyoom).
Neither slumber, nor sleep overtake Him To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they wilt never encompass anything of His knowledge except that which He wills His throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them And He is the Most High (Al-‘Aliyy), the Most Great (Al-‘Atheem). [Soorah Al-Baqarah (2) Aayah 255]
This great verse incorporates the three types of Tawheed. It includes a number of names and attributes, each of which represents one of the foundations of the creed of Islam:
Allah's saying "Allahu Laa ilaaha illaa Huwa" establishes the principle of Uloohiyyah, which is itself the foundation of Tawheed, and from which stems Islam's attitude to life in general. This principle obliges us to be worshipers of none but Allah. Man should direct his service, worship and obedience to Him alone, adjudicate only by this laws and derive his values, ethics and ideas only from Allah.
Al-Hayy ul-Qayyoom - “The Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists", has confirmed two of His great names.
The Ever-Living is He who has a continuous life with no beginning or end. Allah is ascribed with a life that is self-sustaining. It has no external source, unlike the lives of creatures that have been granted to them by the Creator. As He was, together with His attributes, before all else, so shall He remain throughout endless time.
The One Who sustains and protects all that exists. It is He who sustains the lives of creation and manages all the conditions of the universe. He oversees everything: provides for it, preserves it, watches over it, manages it in the way and for the purpose that He pleases.
These two names "the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists" are among the greatest of Allah's beautiful names. Upon them, the rest of His names are based and around them all their meanings revolve. Allah’s being Alive requires all attributes of perfection, because any lacking of an attribute of perfection originates from the weakness of life. Therefore, if Allah has perfect life, He necessarily has all perfection.
Ibn Uthaimeen mentions.
“Furthermore Allah’s hayaat is characterized by the perfection of Attributes: hearing, sight, knowledge, ability, might and all qualities of perfection.” [Sharhul ’Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah By Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen]
The attribute of "the One Who sustains and protects all that exists" incorporates His perfect self-sufficiency and His perfect omnipotence. He does not need help from anybody in any way, and every creature depends on Allah's existence and management.
These two names have a great effect on the life of every Muslim who believes in them and comprehends their meanings. His conscience becomes constantly aware of Allah, in worship, love and obedience; for he knows that his Lord sustains his own life and the entire universe, in accordance with His Wisdom and plan. The servant thus adheres to the system Allah designed for his life, Islam, from which he derives his values and criteria and seeks guidance for his actions in all circumstances.
Allah's saying: "Neither slumber, nor sleep overtake Him" is a reiteration of the fact that Allah is the Sustainer of everything. Slumber and sleep contradict the quality of complete and perfect life and the attribute of the Self-Subsisting because sleep is only required of the creature who gets tired and needs rejuvenation and rest.
Allah’s saying: "To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth" confirms His ownership of all things. Allah enjoys an unfettered and absolute authority over His possessions, which He shares with no other being. Belief in those facts, once it takes root in the heart, has an immensely beneficial effect on a believer's life.
Allah's saying: "Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission?" makes clear the status of Lordship (Ar-Ruboobiyyah) and worship. Every human being is a servant of Allah. He does not exceed the boundaries of that status and therefore cannot intercede with Allah without His permission. Our faith (‘aqeedah) thus makes a clear distinction between the nature of the Supreme Creator and His worshippers. They neither mingle nor do they have a single characteristic in common. None can intercede except by Allah’s Permission: His Leave is universal. Even Muhammad (peace be upon him) who has the greatest rank with Allah cannot intercede except with the prior leave from Allah. He will be granted this permission after he (r) prostrates before Allah and praises Him with the great praises and glorifications which Allah guides him to it on that day. Then it will be said:
Raise your head and speak; you will be listened to, intercede and our intercession will be accepted.
[Saheeh Al-Bukhaari (Arabic/English)], vol. 6, no. 3 and no. 236.]
[It is known] that no one have a rank with Allah greater than that of the Messenger [Muhammad], nevertheless, he (peace be upon him) cannot intercede except with the prior leave of Allah.
Allah says: "He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what Will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they will never encompass anything of His knowledge except that which He wills". This is a confirmation that His knowledge encompasses all time and place and things. It is also a reference to the weaknesses of human beings and the limitations of their knowledge which does not exceed that which Allah wishes them to know. A Muslim's awareness of this fact makes him ever-conscious of his Lord, mindful of the limits of behavior and conduct He has set, and quick in turning to Allah in gratitude and repentance. It also makes him avoid arrogance and self-satisfaction.
Allah's saying: "His Kursi (footstool) extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them" is proof of the completeness of His power. The size of the Kursi (as explained in the authentic hadeeth) is in comparison to the ‘Arsh (Throne) that of a person’s ring thrown into a vast desert.
Allah concluded this great verse by mentioning two of His beautiful names: And He is the Most High (Al-‘Aliyy), the Most Great (Al-‘Atheem).
3. Al-‘Ali [The Most High]
Al-‘Ali [The Most High]means that He is High and Exalted above His creation. No one transgresses by trying to rise to His status without being reduced to humiliation in this world and disgraced with punishment in the Hereafter.
Al-‘Atheem [The Most Great]
Al-‘Atheem [The Most Great] means that all greatness is Allah's, and that nothing is of equal status with Him, but everything is below Him. When man becomes aware of Allah's greatness and Exaltation, he realizes his own worth and settles in the station of worship of his Lord. He does not transgress against Allah's bounds, but fears Him, obeys His commands, and rectifies his conduct towards Him and towards His creation.
These then are some of the facets of the greatness of this verse. Each Muslim should learn it by heart, contemplate its meanings and recite it often. There are many Ahaadeeth relating to its excellence and merits. One is a long hadeeth narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be please with him) in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported to have said to him: "When you go to your bed, you should recite Aayatul-Kursi) from the beginning to the end, by reciting it there will be posted a guardian over you from Allah who will protect you during the whole night and the devil will not be able to come near you till morning." [Al-Bukhaari]
And on the authority of Ubayy Ibn Ka’b (May Allah be please with him) who reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Abul-Mundhir! Do you know which verse of Allah’s Book is the greatest?" - Ubayy (May Allah be please with him) replied: "Allah and His Messenger know best" -The Prophet (peace be upon him) then asked "Abul Mundhir! Do you know which verse of Allah's Book is the greatest?". Ubayy Ibn Ka'b (May Allah be please with him) said: "Allah! Laa ilaaha illaa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He) the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber, nor sleep overtake Him." Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) struck me on the chest and said: "Felicitation on your knowledge, O Abul-Mundhir."
Points of Benefit Derived From Aayaatul-Kursi
- Affirming Five Names of the Names of Allah: Allah, al-Hayy, al-Qayyoum, al-Aliyy, al-Atheem.
- Affirming that Allah is singled out with all worship (al-uloohiyyah):
He is the One Who alone has the right to be worshipped, or that He is the One who is worshipped rightfully and deservingly: None has the right to be worshipped but He [Allah].
- Refuting the claim of the polytheists who affirm other gods beside Allah.
- Affirming the sifah (attribute) of hayaat (Life) for Allah, and that His life is one of perfection, neither preceded by non-existence nor coming come to naught nor characterized by imperfection. On the contrary, our life originates in non-existence and will come to an end, and it is accompanied by imperfection. In fact, all of our life is imperfect, and that is why Allah described it by that which is lower. The Life of Allah, however, is perfect from all angles because of His saying: The Living, where the particle is for al-istighraaq, which comprises all the meanings of the qualities of the perfect life, as if He says, There is no one who is truly living except He. In fact, this is the case because there is none qualified with the life of perfection except Allah, the Most Mighty and most Majestic.
- Affirming al-qayyoumiyyah for Allah because He said: Such a description does not apply to the human being. There is not a person who is established on his own nor is there anyone who takes full charge of others by whom they subsist, because there is no human being except that he is in need of others. We need workers, and they need us. We need [our] women and they need us. We need our sons and daughters and they need us. There is no one who is absolutely in full charge (giving them care, maintenance, providing for them, etc.) of others. I may be able to take charge of someone else, but in a limited sense. That is why Allah said: Is He [Allah] Who takes charge (guards, maintains, provides, etc.) of every person and knows all that he has earned (like any other deities who know nothing)?
[Quraan Sooratur-Rad (13:33)]
- The aayah contains ismullaahi al-atham (Allah's Most Great Name) affirmed in His saying: Allah, there is no god worthy of worship except He, the one who possesses the perfect living, and Who is established on His Own, Self-subsisting, and by Whom all things subsist. These two Names were mentioned in three places in the Quraan, in the two soorahs known as az-zahraawayn [the bright ones] (Al-Baqarah 255 and Aal-Imran 2), and in Soorat Taha.
- The perfection of Allah's Life and qayyoumiyyah such that they are free from the slightest imperfection. The evidence is in His saying: Neither slumber, nor sleep overtakes Him. Perfection may be generalized considering what is predominant or more numerous although it may be deficient in certain aspects. However, negation of imperfection means that the perfection is absolute and in every respect is free from deficiency. In this sense the negation occurred in His Saying: Neither slumber, nor sleep overtakes Him.
- Affirming attributes of negation: negating any imperfection and implying perfection for Allah because of His saying: Neither slumber, nor sleep overtakes Him, and His saying: He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. These sifaat as-salbiyyah are those attributes which Allah has denied for His Self and which imply affirming the perfection of their opposites.
- Affirming that Sovereignty of Allah comprehends everything. The evidence is in His saying: To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth.
- This Sovereignty is exclusively His. The evidence lies in the same aayah: To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth, in which the predicate (gram. khabar) To Him has preceded the subject (gram. mubtada) which is the conjunctive noun Whatever. In this way, there is a grammatical state of hasr (exclusivity, restriction) which signifies that: To Him (Allah) alone belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth.
- Affirming the heavens and the earth, as in His saying: To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. The heavens are seven in number and similarly is the number of the earths as proven from other texts. [Evidence from the Quraan is in Soorat At-Talaaq (65:12) and from the sunnah as in the agreed upon hadeeth, "Whoever usurps the land of somebody unjustly, his neck will be encircled with seven earths [on the Day of Resurrection]."
[See Saheeh Al-Bukhaari (Arabic/English)], vol. 3, no. 632.]
- The Perfection of the Kingship of Allah, as evident in His saying: Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? This Kingship is not the same as His all-comprehensive Sovereignty. In fact, the power and perfection of kingship is more perfect than just all-comprehensive sovereignty.
- Affirming the intercession which is approved by Allah as evident in His saying: None can intercede except by Allah's Permission, otherwise the exception would not be correct. Hence, had the approved intercession been not affirmed, the exception would not be correct.
- Affirming the Permission which is His Command: None can intercede except by Allah's Permission.
- Affirming the ilm (Knowledge) for Allah and that His Knowledge comprehends the past, the present, and the future. The evidence is in His saying: And Allah Knows what happens to them (His creatures) in the future and what happened to them in the past.
- Refuting the claims of the extremists from the Qadariyyah [Those who say that whatever man does it is entirely of his own ability and free will, and that Allah's masheeah (Will) and qudrah (Ability) have no influence whatsoever on what man does. They also claim that the knowledge of Allah does not comprehend the actions of the creation until after they are executed.] by affirming Allah's all-encompassing Knowledge as in the statement. This constitutes a rebuttal of the extremist from the Qadariyyah who say that Allah knows the actions of His slaves only after they are carried out, denying that Allah knowledge comprehends everything.
- The rebuttal of the two sects, the Khawaarij and the Mutazilah by affirming the shafaaah (intercession). Both sects deny the general intercession approved for the Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) and for others and which applies to the people who committed sin. This negation is based upon their doctrine that the person who commits a major sin and die without repenting from it will be punished in the Fire forever. The two sects differed, however, as to whether such a person is considered a kaafir, or neither a believer nor a kaafir. The Kharijites, courageous against the truth and for it, said, The one who commits a major sin is kaafir and no longer belongs to the fold of Islam. The Mutazilites were fearful to oppose the people of Ahlus-Sunnah and the Kharijites. They took a cowardly position and said, We will sit in the middle of the road and say that the one who has committed a grave sin is in a position somewhere between the two; we neither say he is a believer nor a kaafir! Both sects, however, agreed that in the hereafter he will be in the Fire of Hell forever. That is why they denied the shafaaah (intercession). The generality of the aayah refutes the position held by both sects: Who is he that can interceded with Him except with His Permission?
- None will ever encompass anything of Allah's knowledge nor of His Hearing or His Sight: And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills.
- We comprehend no knowledge about Allah nor about His creation except that which He wills for us to know.
- Forbidding the takyeef (assigning a manner or a how) to the Attributes of Allah, because He did not inform us of the how they are. So if we claim the knowledge of the kayfiyyah (i.e. the condition or the how) of His Attributes, then we are lying.
- Rebutting the Muattilah (Negators of Allah's Attributes and Names), due to His saying: And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge. This is evidence against the Muattilah because they say, for example, that Allah has no real Hand. This necessitates that they encompass the negation of one of His Attributes. In this respect, both sects, the Muattilah and the people of takyeef (Mukayyifah) lied because Allah affirmed this Attribute (i.e. the Hand) to Himself. Accordingly, their claim that the true and real Attributes like the Hand, the Face, the Eyes, and so forth do not befit Allah is false and void. The basis for this fact is that knowledge is of two kinds:
- Affirmation, and
Therefore, you cannot negate anything as being a quality of someone (something) except with knowledge, just like you cannot affirm anything for someone (something) except with knowledge. So if those sects would deny the realties of the aforementioned Attributes of Allah then they must bring forth their proofs, if they are truthful. For example, Allah did not negate that the Attribute of the Hand from His Self, not even in one single aayah in the Quraan, nor did the Prophet (r) negate this Attribute in any hadeeth, nor did the righteous predecessors (as-salaf-us-saalih). Those sects, however, utter the negation of Allah's true and real Hand.
- Rebutting the position of the Mumathilah (those who liken Allah to His creation). Since the aayah: And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge. implies a rebuttal of the Mukayyifah, then by all reason it is a rebuttal of the Mumathilah.
- Affirming the masheeah (Will) for Allah because of His saying: Except that which he Wills.
- Rebutting the Qadariyyah and the Mutazilah who say that Allah, the Most High, does not Will anything as far as man is concerned. This is evident in Allah's saying: And they will never compass... Knowing that mans compassing of something is from his qualities and his qualities are a creation of Allah, and hence mans will is not independent from the Will of Allah].
- The greatness of the kursi, for His saying: His kursi extends over and encompasses the heavens and the earth.
- The Greatness of the Creator of the kursi because the greatness of the created implies the Greatness of the Creator.
- The kufr of the person who denies the heavens and the earth because this necessitates accusing Allah of lying. As far as the earth is concerned, I believe that no one denies it [its existence]. However, as regard to the heavens, there are those who deny them saying that what is above us is boundless and limitless space, and that there is only stars and diffused dust (sadoom) or the like. There is no doubt that the one who holds to this belief is a kaafir, whether he himself believes in this or he imitates those whom he reveres from the people who hold to this beliefwhile knowing the truth implied from the proofs of the Quraan and the sunnah.
- Affirming the Strength of Allah, and the proof is His saying He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them.
- Denying the mashaqqah (fatigue) from Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, because of His saying He feels no fatigue. This is one of the sifaat as-salbiyyah just like saying of Allah: And indeed We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in six Days and nothing of fatigue touched us.
[Quraan, Soorat Qaaf (50:3)]
- Affirming what is implied by the above statement: He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, from the attributes of Knowledge, Ability, Life, Mercy, Wisdom, and Strength.
- Affirming that the heavens and the earth are in need for someone who guards them, as stated in Allah’s saying (which means): He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. Had it not been for the guarding and preserving of Allah, they would have been ruined. Allah says:
Had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and masaajid (mosques), wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much would surely have been pulled down. [Qur’aan, Soorat Al-Hajj (22:40)].
And His saying: He withholds the heavens from falling on the earth except by His Leave. Verily! Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they move away from their places, and if they were to move away from their places, there is not one that can grasp them after Him. [Qur’aan, Soorah Faatir (35:41)].
- Affirming the Transcendence of Allah in His Essence and the Transcendence of Allah’s Attributes. And He [Allah] is the Most High, above everything.
- Rebutting those who believe in the doctrine of divine incarnation in human form (Al-Hulooliyyah) or in general by stating “Allah is not above everything but everywhere”, and that of those who negate the Attribute of Allah being Most High (Al-Mu’atillah) by saying, “He cannot be described as high or low or left or right or being separated from or associated with His creation.” In effect denying His existence!
- Warning against transgression upon others because of His saying, And He is the Most High, above everything and He is Most Great. If one is proud or thinks himself great then they should remember the greatness of Allah.
- Affirming the Greatness of Allah.
- Affirming the Attribute of Perfection which is in the combined Attribute of Transcendence and Greatness.
- Knowing that the sovereignty belongs to Allah which means we must not behave in His Kingdom except in accordance with what He is pleased with and that judicial rulings and decreeing must be based upon the Judgment of Allah and we must be content with the Pre-Decree of Allah. Finally, man should not act conceitedly upon accomplishing anything.
[From Commentary on Imaam ibn Taymeeyah’s Sharhul ’Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah By Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen]