Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) called Himself Al-Mutakabbir in one verse of the Qur’an, which is in Surat al-Hashr (59:23):
العزيز الجبار المُتَكَبِّر
“The Almighty, the Compeller, the Supreme.”
His Name Al-Kabeer has been mentioned in six verses in the Noble Qur’an, such as:
عالمُ الغيبِ والشهادةِ الكبيرُ المتعال
“All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Most Great, the Most High.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:9)
And in Surat al-Hajj (22:62):
وأنّ الله هو العلىُّ الكبير
“And verily, Allah – He is the Most High, the Most Great.”
The Name Al-Kabeer has been mentioned in the Qur’an together with the Name Al-’Alee and Al-Muta’aal (the Most High).
The meaning of these two Names:
Qatadah said: “Al-Mutakabbir means the One Who is above any evil or oppression.”
Al-Khattabi said: “He is Exalted from the qualities of His creation.”
Al-Qurtubi said: “Al-Mutakabbir is the One Who is above everything by His Roboobiyah (Oneness of Lordship), there is nothing like unto Him. It is also said that Al-Mutakabbir is the One Who is High above any evil, defect and deficiency due to His Greatness and Grandeur.”
As regards the meaning of the Name Al-Kabeer, the scholars have said that it has a similar meaning to Al-Mutakabbir. Ibn Jarir said: “Al-Kabeer means the Most Great, nothing is greater than Him.”
Al-Khattabi said: “Al-Kabeer means the One Who is attributed with greatness and grandeur.”
Accordingly the meaning of Al-Mutakabbir and Al-Kabeer is:
1-The One Who is above every evil, oppression or wrong.
2-The One Who is exalted above the qualities of the creation, nothing is like unto Him.
3-The One Who is magnified, everything except His Majesty is small and insignificant.
4-The One Who (Alone), is the Majesty in the heavens and the earth.
The impact of believing in these two Names:
1- We should believe that Allah is, truly, greater than everything. He is greater than even the reality of His Majesty and Greatness being known. He is greater than being encompassed (or grasped) or anything of His Knowledge being encompassed.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat Ta-Ha (20:110):
ولا يحيطون به علماً
“They will never encompass anything of His Knowledge.”
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is Greater than the description of His Being or Attributes being known. Therefore, we are forbidden from contemplating about (the reality of) Allah and trying to understand how He is, because we will never reach or understand this with our deficient, limited mind. Allah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Contemplate about Allah’s Blessings (Favors) but don’t contemplate about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) .” [Reported by at-Tabarani and al-Baihaqi, authenticated by al-Albani in al-Silsilah no. 1788]
Whoever is willing to know his Lord and His Attributes, he should follow the way of the Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) because of all the creation he (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) knows most about Allah and His Attributes. Upon him (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) the Book (the Qur’an) was revealed, in which there is no verse but mentions Allah’s Names and Attributes, and upon him the Sunnah was revealed which explains the Book. Therefore, his (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) way is the safest way and his methodology is the right one; whoever follows it will be amongst the rescued ones.
He (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) described in an authentic Hadith, that the saved sect is the one which adheres to what he and all his Companions were adhering to in their belief, acts of worship and manners. [Ahmed]
2- Pride does not suit anyone except Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala). The Master is attributed with supremacy and highness, while the slave’s attribute is submission and humiliation.
There is a Hadith (narration) in the Sahih collection in which Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said: “Might is My Izar and pride is My Rida’, if anyone competes any one of them with Me, then I will punish him.” [Muslim]
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) threatened the arrogant with severe torment on the Day of Judgment. He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Ahqaf (46:20):
فاليَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ عَذابَ الهُونِ بِما كُنتُم تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ في الأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الحَقِّ وبِما كُنتُم تَفْسُقُون
“Now this Day you shall be recompensed with a Torment of humiliation, because you were arrogant in the land without a right, and because you used to rebel and disobey (Allah).”
Also Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat az-Zumar (39: 60):
أَلَيْسَ في جَهَنَّمَ مَثْوىً لِلْمُتَكَبِّرين
“Is there not in Hell an abode for the arrogant?”
They arrogantly refused to submit themselves to Allah and obey His Commandments. They refused to worship their Lord, as Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat as-Saffat (37:35):
إِنَّهُم كانوا إِذا قيلَ لَهُم لا إِلهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ يَسْتَكْبِرون
“Truly, when it was said to them: ‘La ilaha illa-Allah (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah)’, they puffed themselves up with pride (i.e. denied it).”
They rejected the Truth that the Messengers brought and did not accept it.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat ash-Shu’araa (26:111):
قالوا أَنُؤْمِنُ لَكَ واتَّبَعَكَ الأَرْذَلُونَ
“They said: ‘Shall we believe in you, when the meanest (of the people) follow you?’”
This indicates that they felt contempt for the followers of the Messengers because they were from among the poor and the weak. Therefore, they did not join or share the Faith with them.
Allah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance, shall not enter Jannah (Paradise).” A man said, “One loves his dress to be nice, and his sandals be nice.” He said: “Verily, Allah is Beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance is rejecting the Truth and disregarding people.” [Muslim]
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) affirmed that arrogance is rejecting the Truth and denying it with pride and disregarding people i.e., defaming them and feeling contempt for them.
Arrogance was the reason behind the destruction of the previous nations, as it was the reason behind the destruction of Iblees when he was cast from the Mercy of Allah, because he refused to prostrate himself to Adam (‘Alayhissalaam) and therefore disobeyed Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala). Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Baqarah (2:34):
فَسَجَدوا إِلاَّ إِبْليسَ أَبَى واسْتَكْبَرَ وكانَ مِنَ الكَافِرين
“And they prostrated except Iblees, he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).”
3- There is no tyrant in the land but has this disease (arrogance and pride). The cure for it is, that the slave should continuously remember that he has no power or might except with his Lord and that Allah is the Most High, the Most Great over all His creation, Who is Able to take revenge from the strong for the sake of the weak and helpless people.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) mentioned in Surat an-Nisaa’ (4:34):
والَّلاتِي تَخافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ واهْجُرُوهُنَّ في المضاجِعِ واضْرِبُوهُنَّ، فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فلا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبيلاً، إِنَّ الله كانَ علِيًّا كَبيراً
“As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.”
This is a threat for men who transgress against women without reason; that Allah, the Most High, the Most Great, is their Wali (i.e. Guardian) and He will take revenge from those who oppress them or transgress against them. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir 2/491-492]
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is reminding men that He is the Most High, the Most Great, in order to warn them against oppression, arrogance and transgression against the woman who is weak.
4- Pride and arrogance prevent one from acquiring or seeking knowledge, because the arrogant person looks down upon sitting before a knowledgeable person or a scholar to learn from him. He considers that a humiliation for himself. Therefore, he prefers to stay ignorant, so he joins arrogance and ignorance.
Moreover, he might dispute and argue without knowledge in order not to be called ignorant and someone who does not know anything.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Hajj (22:8-9):
“And among men is he who disputes about Allah, without knowledge or guidance, or a Book giving light (from Allah). Bending his neck in pride (far astray from the Path of Allah), and leading (others) too (far) astray from the Path of Allah. For him, there is disgrace in this worldly life and on the Day of Resurrection We shall make him taste the torment of burning (Fire).
Also Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat Ghafir (40:56):
“Verily, those who dispute about the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, without any authority having come to them, there is nothing else in their breasts except pride [to accept you (Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam)) as a Messenger of Allah and to obey you]. They will never have it (i.e. Prophethood which Allah has bestowed upon you). So seek refuge in Allah (O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) from the arrogant). Verily, it is He Who is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.”
The righteous predecessors condemned arrogance when seeking knowledge, and said:
Whoever admires his opinion will go astray and whoever is satisfied with his mind will slip or err. Whoever becomes arrogant will be humiliated, whoever mixes with the mean will be despised and whoever accompanies (sits with) the scholars, will be honored.
- Ibrahim bin al Ash-’Ath said: “I asked al-Fudail bin ’Eyadh about humbleness, he said, ‘to submit yourself to the Truth and accept it from whomever you hear it, even if he is the most ignorant among the people; it requires from you to accept it from him.’”
- Sa’eid bin Jubair said: “The man is considered ’Alim (knowledgeable and a scholar) as long as he is learning. If he left (abandoned) learning and thinks that he is dispensable (satisfied) with what he knows, then he is the most ignorant.
- With Allah’s Prophet, Moses (‘Alayhissalaam), Prophethood did not stop him from seeking knowledge from who was lower than him. He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) asked al-Khidr (‘Alayhissalaam):
هَلْ أَتَّبِعُكَ على أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمْتَ رُشْداً
“May I follow you so that you teach me something of that knowledge (Guidance and True Path) which you have been taught (by Allah)?” (Al-Kahf 18:66)
- Al-Humaidi (the student of Imam ash-Shafi’e) said: “I accompanied ash-Shafi’e from Makkah to Egypt. During this journey, I was learning the religious matters from him and he was learning the Hadith from me.”]
- Ahmed bin Hanbal (Rahimahullaah) said: “Ash-Shafi’e said to us, ‘You know more than me about the Hadith (narration). If you come across an authentic Hadith, then tell it to us, in order to take it (act upon it).”
Source: An-Nahjul-Asma fii Sharh Asma’ullahil-Husna, by Shaikh Muhammad Humoud Al-Najdi.
- Al-Muhaymin (The Ever-Watching)
- The Name of Allaah: At-Tawwaab (The One Who Accepts the Repentance) - Part 2
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- The Name of Allaah: Al-Haadee (the Guide)
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