An-Nahj Al-Asmaa fee Sharh Asmaa Allaahul-Husna by sheikh Muhammad Humood An-Najdi

The Name of Allaah Al-Barr is mentioned once in the Noble Qur’an and that is in Surat At-Tur (52:28):

إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ

“Verily, We used to invoke Him (Alone and none else) before. Verily, He is Al-Barr, the Most Merciful.”

The Meaning of the Name:

Ibn Jarir said: “’Verily, He is Al-Barr means He is the Most Subtle with His servants.” [Jami’ul-Bayan]

Az-Zajjaj said, after mentioning the linguistic meaning of Al-Barr: “And Allaah is Barr with His creation, i.e. He is good to them and reforming their states.” [Tafseer Al-Asmaa’]

Al-Khattabi said: “Al-Barr is the One Who is Kind with His servants, being good to them. His kindness and benevolence encompasses all His creations; He has been generous to them with His provision. He is Al-Barr to the good-doer by multiplying the reward for him, and He is Barr to the wrongdoer by forgiving and pardoning him.

As to what pertains to the attributes of the creatures: a man is called Barr if he is beneficial and good (to others). A man is Barr with his parents, i.e. he is dutiful to his parents and this is the opposite of ‘Aaq (i.e. undutiful).” [Sha’n Ad-Du’aa]

Al-Haleemi said: “Al-Barr means He Who is gentle with His servants; He wants for them ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for them. He pardons many of their evil deeds, and will not punish them for all their sins. He recompenses them for every good deed ten times the like thereof, and whoever brings an evil deed shall have only the recompense of the like thereof. He writes for them (in their records) their intention to do good, but will not write upon them their intention to do evil.” [Al-Minhaj]

Al-Qurtubi said: “This is one of Allaah’s practical Attributes (the Attribute of His Action) which extends to all of His servants in this world and is particular (for the believers) in the Hereafter. There is no one in this world but Allaah’s benevolence and kindness is extended to and bestowed upon him. Allaah says in Surat Luqman (31:20):

وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَـهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً

“And (He) has completed and perfected His Graces upon you, (both) apparent (i.e. Islaamic Monotheism, and the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.) and hidden [i.e. one’s faith in Allaah (of Islaamic Monotheism), knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise].”

As for the Hereafter: Only the one upon whom the nearness to Allaah has been bestowed will be particularized with Allaah’s Birr to dwell in the delight of His Light, not the one who will dwell in His Fire.” [Al-Kitab al-Asna]

The Impact of Believing in this Name:

  1. Allaah, the Exalted is Barr, Merciful with His servants, Kind to them, good to them and reforming their religion and their states (conditions) in this world. In this world, He has also granted and given them their share of good health, strength, wealth, position, children and supporters without limitation.

Allaah says in Surat Ibraaheem (14:34):

وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا

“And if you count the Blessings of Allaah, never will you be able to count them.”

This includes every good deed and all benevolences because they are all impacts of the Barr. The believer and the disbeliever both partake in that.

As for the religion, He (Ta’ala) has bestowed upon the believers the guidance to believe and He helps them to perform acts of obedience to Him, and He gives them abundant reward for that in this world and the Hereafter.

It is He Who has brought everything into existence; from Him are the means and the provisions. All praises and thanks be to Him (both) in the first (i.e. in this world) and in the last (i.e. in the Hereafter).

2. Out of Allaah’s goodness (kindness) to His servants is giving respite to the evil doer among them, giving him chance after chance to repent, despite His ability to quickly punish him. Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Al-Kahf (18:58):

وَرَبُّكَ الْغَفُورُ ذُو الرَّحْمَةِ لَوْ يُؤَاخِذُهُم بِمَا كَسَبُواْ لَعَجَّلَ لَهُمُ الْعَذَابَ بَل لَّهُم مَّوْعِدٌ لَّن يَجِدُواْ مِن دُونِهِ مَوْئِلاً

“And your Lord is Most Forgiving, Owner of Mercy. Were He to call them to account for what they have earned, then surely, He would have hastened their punishment. But they have their appointed time, beyond which they will find no escape.”

Ibn Al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) said in explaining the hidden aspects in regards to repentance: “Of these aspects is to know His Birr (kindness, courteousness, etc.) in concealing the slave whilst the slave is committing the sin in the midst of His perfect sight of him. If Allaah willed, He could expose (scandalize) him among His creation such that they would be cautious of him. He (Ta’ala) does this out of His complete and perfect Birr (kindness).

One of His Names is Al-Barr and this Birr (kindness) is given to the slave from his Master (Allaah) despite His complete richness of him (i.e. He has no need of him), and the slave’s complete need of Him. This is so that he (the slave) will be occupied with (witnessing) this Grace, Birr and Ihsaan (benevolence) and the generosity (of his Lord), thereby forgetting his sin. He will stay with Allaah, showing Him humility which is more beneficial for him than being occupied with his wrongdoing.

The slave should be occupied with Allaah (Ta’ala) and be heedless of other than Him; this is the utmost goal that should be attained.

(Also) of the hidden aspects is witnessing Allaah’s Hilm (Forbearance) in giving respite to the person who commits a sin. If He willed, He could hasten the punishment for him, but He is Al-Haleem (the Forbearing) Who is not hasty. This will make the person know his Lord by His Name Al-Haleem and witness the Attribute of Hilm (forbearance). He will worship Him with this Name, and (know) that the wisdom and the good that were behind the sin and this state is more beloved to Allaah and more reforming for the slave and more beneficial than missing it.

(Also) of the secrets of repentance is that the slave will know the generosity of his Lord in accepting his excuse if He asked that from him. And that is without his using the Qadar (Decree) as an excuse for committing the sin because that is considered as opposition to Allaah.

Allaah would then accept his excuse out of His generosity and this will result in making the slave be occupied with remembering and thanking Him and result in an extra love for Him which was not there before (this event). This is because your love for who has appreciated, thanked you for your benevolence and recompensed you for it, then he forgave you your wrong deed and did not punish you will be multiplied love, more than your love for his favors and benevolence.

Also of the hidden aspects of repentance is that the slave witnesses His Grace in His Forgiveness. In fact, forgiveness is a grace from Allaah; for if He would have taken you with punishment (for not fulfilling His Right), He would have been just and praiseworthy. But He has pardoned by His Grace and not because you deserve it. This will result in you being grateful to Him, loving Him, turning to Him in repentance, rejoicing with Him and knowing Him with His Name Al-Ghaffar (the Forgiving) and witnessing this Attribute of forgiveness and worshipping Him in accordance to it. And this is the perfect servitude, love and knowledge.” [Madarij As-Salikeen]

3. Allaah, the Exalted, is Barr (Kind, Subtle, Courteous, etc.) with His Awliyaa’ (chosen believing slaves, friends, etc.) and Truthful in His Promise to them of reward.

Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-A’raaf (7:44):

وَنَادَى أَصْحَـبُ الْجَنَّةِ أَصْحَـبَ النَّارِ أَن قَدْ وَجَدْنَا مَا وَعَدَنَا رَبُّنَا حَقًّا فَهَلْ وَجَدتُّم مَّا وَعَدَ رَبُّكُمْ حَقًّا قَالُواْ نَعَمْ

“And the dwellers of Paradise will call out to the dwellers of the Fire (saying), ‘We have indeed found true what our Lord had promised us; have you also found true what your Lord promised (warned)?’ They shall say: ‘Yes.’”

In Surat Az-Zumar (39:74) Allaah (Ta’ala) says:

وَقَـالُواْ الْحَـمْدُ للَّهِ الَّذِى صَدَقَنَا وَعْدَهُ وَأَوْرَثَنَا الاٌّرْضَ نَتَبَوَّأُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ حَيْثُ نَشَآءُ فَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَـمِلِينَ

“And they will say: ‘All the praises and thanks are to Allaah Who has fulfilled His promise to us and has made us inherit (this) land. We can dwell in Paradise where we will; how excellent a reward for the (pious, good) workers!’”

4. Allaah, the Majestic is Barr and loves the Birr (i.e. all kinds of righteousness and every act of obedience to Allaah) and He commands with it. He loves the ones who are characterized with this attribute from among His pious believers. One of the most comprehensive verses that mentions the deeds of the Birr (good and righteousness) is the statement in Surat al-Baqarah (2:177):

لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَـكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ وَالْمَلَـئِكَةِ وَالْكِتَـبِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَءَاتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِى الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَـمَى وَالْمَسَـكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَوةَ وَءَاتَى الزَّكَوةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَـهَدُواْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِى الْبَأْسَآءِ والضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

“It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness and every act of obedience to Allaah) that you turn your faces towards the east and (or) west (in prayers); but Al-Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allaah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, and the Prophets and who gives his wealth, in spite of his love for it, to the kinsfolk, the orphans, and the poor, and the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs As-Salaat (the prayer) and gives the Zakaat, and who fulfills their covenant when they make it, and who are patient in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during the battles). Such are the people of the truth and they are pious.”

Allaah (Ta’ala) praised the two cousins ‘Iesa (Jesus) and Yahya (John) for their dutifulness to their parents. He (Ta’ala) is describing ‘Iesa (‘Alayhis-salaam) in Surat Maryam (19:32):

وَبَرّاً بِوَالِدَتِى وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِى جَبَّاراً شَقِيّاً

And Barr (dutiful) to my mother, and made me not arrogant unblessed.”

He (Ta’ala) also describes Yahya (‘Alayhis-salaam) in Surat Maryam (19:14):

وَبَرًّا بِواَلِدَيْهِ وَلَمْ يَكُن جَبَّاراً عَصِيّاً

“And Barr (dutiful) towards his parents, and he was neither arrogant nor disobedient (to Allaah or to his parents).”

Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) made (considered) all virtuous good conduct as being acts of Birr.

An-Nawwas ibn Sam’aan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Al-Birr (piety) is good manners, and sin is that which pinches the heart (one feels a sense of shame/disgrace in committing it) and you do not like people to know of it.” [Muslim]

Wabisah ibn Ma’bad (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) reported: “I went to the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and he asked me, Have you come to inquire about Al-Birr (piety)?’ I replied in the affirmative. Then he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Ask your heart regarding it. Al-Birr (piety) is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart, and sin is that which causes doubts and perturbs the heart, even if people pronounce it lawful and give you verdicts on such matters again and again.’” [Ahmad]

5. The slave will never attain the Birr of Allaah (Ta’ala) in the Hereafter except in following what will lead him to His Birr, Pleasure and Mercy. He (Ta’ala) says in Surat Aal-‘Imran (3:92):

لَن تَنَالُواْ الْبِرَّ حَتَّى تُنفِقُواْ مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِن شَىْءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

“By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness — here it means Allaah’s Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allaah’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allaah knows it well.”

Qatadah said: “By no means shall you attain the Birr of your Lord unless you spend out of that which you love and desire of your wealth.” [Tafseer Ibn Jarir]

Ibn Jarir said: “By no means will you attain the Birr O believers; the Birr of Allaah which one seeks by his obedience to Him, worshipping Him and hoping that from Him, except by His Grace upon them of entering them into His Paradise and driving away His punishment from them. Therefore, many interpreters said that Al-Birr means Paradise, because the Birr of the Lord to His slave, and His honor for him in the Hereafter will be (shown by) admitting him into Paradise.”  [Tafseer Ibn Jarir]

What pertains to this meaning is the following statement of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “Truthfulness leads to Al-Birr (righteousness) and Al-Birr (righteousness) leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a Siddeeq (truthful person). Falsehood leads to Al-Fujur (i.e. wickedness, evil-doing), and Al-Fujur (wickedness) leads to (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allaah, a liar.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar said: “Basically Al-Birr is an abundant good. It is a comprehensive name (denotation) which refers to all kinds of good; every sincere continuous action is called Birr.” [Al- Fat-h]

His (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement: “Al-Birr leads to Paradise” confirms the statement of Allaah in Surat Al-Mutaffifeen (83:22):

إِنَّ الاٌّبْرَارَ لَفِى نَعِيمٍ

“Verily, Al-Abraar (the pious believers of Islaamic Monotheism) will be in Delight (Paradise).” [As said by Ibn Battal in Al-Fat-h]

6. Ibn Al-Qayyim said in his book “Ad-Daa’ wad-Dawaa’”: “Do not think that Allaah’s Statement in Surat al-Infitaar (82:13-14),

إِنَّ الاٌّبْرَارَ لَفِى نَعِيمٍ – وَإِنَّ الْفُجَّارَ لَفِى جَحِيمٍ

“Verily, Al-Abraar (the pious believers of Islaamic Monotheism) will be in Delight (Paradise); and verily, the Fujjaar (the wicked disbelievers, polytheists, sinners and evildoers) will be in the blazing Fire (Hell).”

is specific to the Day of Resurrection. Rather, these are in delight in their third abode just as those (the wicked) are in the blazing fire (Hell) in their third abode. There is no pleasure or joy in this world that is more delightful than the Birr of the heart, the soundness of the breast, knowing the Lord, the Exalted, loving Him and acting upon what He has commanded.

*note: The first abode is the life of this world (Duniya), the second abode is the life in the grave (Barzakh) and the third is in the Hereafter (Akhirah).

Is not the real life the life of the sound, pure heart? Allaah praised His Khaleel (Ibraaheem) for his sound heart in Surat as-Saffat (37:83-84):

وَإِنَّ مِن شِيعَتِهِ لإِبْرَهِيمَ – إِذْ جَآءَ رَبَّهُ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

“And, verily, among those who followed his [Nuh’s (Noah’s)] way (Islaamic Monotheism) was Ibraaheem (Abraham). When he came to his Lord with a pure heart [attached to Allaah Alone and none else, worshipping none but Allaah Alone — true Islaamic Monotheism, pure from the filth of polytheism].”

Also Allaah mentioned the statement of Ibraaheem (‘Alayhis-salaam) in Surat ash-Shu’raa (26:88-89):

يَوْمَ لاَ يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلاَ بَنُونَ – إِلاَّ مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

“The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail. Except him who brings to Allaah a clean heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifaq (hypocrisy)].”

The sound, clean heart is the heart which is clean from Shirk, hatred, malice, envy, miserliness, arrogance, pride, love of the world and leadership, etc. so it is clean from every deficiency (defect) that keeps him away from Allaah, and it is clean from every doubt that opposes Allaah’s news, and it is clean from every lust that opposes His command, and it is clean from every desire that competes with what He wants, and it is clean from every matter that cuts him off from Allaah. This sound, clean heart is enjoying a hastened delight of Paradise in this world and will also enjoy delight in the Barzakh (in the grave) and in Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.”

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