76) Al Kareem
This Name of Allah appears in the Qur’an 3 times.
Indeed My Lord is free of need and generous [an Nahl 16:40]
O Mankind what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the generous [al Infitar 82:6]
So Exalted is Allah, the Soverign, the Truth; there is no diety except Him, Lord of the noble throne [al Muminoon 23:116]
In the Hafs qira’a, Kareem in this ayah becomes a siffat of the ‘arsh. But in other qira’aat. It is kareemu thereby refering to Allah as Al-Kareem. In a hadith Rasoolullah sallalahu alayhi wassalam mentioned. Indeed your Lord is generous and shy, if His servant raises his hands towards Him [in supplication], He becomes shy to return them empty. [at Tirmidhi]
77) Al Akram
This Name of Allah appears in the Qur’an once. Allah says:
Recite, and your Lord is Most Generous [al Alaq 96:3]
Both these Names come from the word Karama – which means someone or something that is excessively generous, giving, beneficent. Az Zujaaji says: it means to grant someone their request very quickly. Because Kareem is so generous, whenever He sees His slaves wanting and requesting something, He grants it very quickly. Az Zujaaji also says: Kareem means; jawaad – excessively generous, Al Azeez – powerful. As-safoo – forgiving. These are all found in the Arabic meaning of the word Kareem. Al Khattabi says: Kareem means al katheerun khair, a lot of good, excessive good. The arabs call something that benefits a lot or has so much good kareeman. It also means something excessively beautiful, gorgeous. Allah describes Himself as Kareem and also describes His ‘Arsh as Kareem.
Al Khattabi says: to whom all blessings originate from. He is al Kareem who bestows and spreads out His blessings, His good, His glory to the whole of creation. He forgives the sinner, removes the sins of the dhaalim, grants the requests of mankind. Al Ghazzali says: Al Kareem is the One, that when He is asked, He fulfils His promise. When He gives, He gives without limits, and He continues to give, even though His rights are taken. He never forgets or neglects anyone that asks. He removes their problems, and removes the veil of hardship, He bestows upon one who asks with His Name, ease, tranquility and peace. He is Al Kareem, Al Akram. Ibn Qayyim says: Al kareem is excessively beautiful, His Might is great and He can benefit greatly. Khairun adheem wa naf’a. He is more virtuous than anything. For He is Allah, One who describes Himself as Kareem. He is excessively generous and beautiful.
Ibn Qayyim also says: Al Akram is on the pattern of ‘af’al. No one who can be more generous and beautiful than Him. Al Akram means He is the highest in generosity and beauty. In Jannah, on the Day of Increase, when those who see the Face of Allah return back home, the people will say; You have become more beautiful than when you left. They will reply, By Allah even you have become more beautiful than when we left you. How is this so? Because they saw a face that saw the face of Allah, thus they increased in beauty.
Al Khattabi says: He is Most generous of all of those who are generous, the most beautiful of all of those who are beautiful. The word Kareem/Akram can also mean the one who is most powerful, always victorious. Ibn ‘Arabi al Maliki says: when Allah says He is Kareem/Akram, the believer should know that His Karm is katheer (abundant). And He is the One, that when He gives, He continues to give – even when His rights are taken. This can be seen in the case of the kuffar and mushrikoon, who are still provided by Allah even though they transgress upon His rights. Allah is the fastest in granting good. Whenever someone wants to obtain any good or benefit from Allah, Allah will respond to His request, faster than anything else. He is Al Kareem haqeeqi (literally). This shows that He is mighty and great as no one can continue to give without their kingdom decreasing except Allah. Allah gives and gives, without any part of His kingdom being taken away. He doesn’t have a limit so He is Infinite in His generosity and in His Kingdom. He will continue to give and this will never fade away and His kingdom will never decrease. He is Al- Waarith – He will inherit everything that He has given. He is al Kareem, He is Allah the one who grants with the Name Al Kareem, and gives, without a reason, the One to whom all blessings begin and all blessings will end. Akramul akrameen – the greatest of those who are generous. He takes people out from conditions that are difficult, He changes the ahwaal [states] of people just by saying kun fa ya kun.
Benefits we can learn from these Names
1. True muhabba for Allah. For He is the one, that has granted the creation the wonders of His blessings. He continues to bless us, and even though we haven’t granted Him His right to pure, perfect ‘ibaadah, yet He is al Kareem, He continues to give us. This deserves a muhabba that is sincere and real, for if He is the one that continuously bless us with His Ni’am (blessings) then what if He was to stop? Indeed mankind are in dire need of the generosity of Allah.
2. Have hayaa/shyness in displeasing and angering Allah, by the very blessing He’s given you by the Name Al Kareem. How can a man use these blessings, His eyes or any other limb that Allah has given Him through His Name al Kareem, to anger and upset Him?
3. Trust in Allah. Have Tawakkul upon the one who is generous and from who all blessings originate from. He is the One that gives and grant and He is the One that chooses the states of people. A person may fear for His rizq but any person who has a real tawakkul in Allah, and is truly reliant, Allah will feed His stomach just like the bird in the morning, allowing it to return to its nest full. How important it is to have tawakkul. Our hearts need to believe in this concept. We wouldn’t fear, worry or grieve over things like rizq if we know and believe that Allah is Al Kareem and Ar Razzaq. Have tawakkul upon Allah, Al Hayy, Al Azeez, Ar Raheem.
4. Reflect on the fact Allah has given provisions for our hearts and souls as well as for our bodies. From Him being Al Kareem, He has sent to us Al Qur’an and His Messenger sallalahau alayhi wassalam. He made us from the Ummah of Muhmmad sallalahu alayhi wassalam, the first Ummah that will enter jannah. Abu Umaamah is reported to have said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
My Lord promised me that seventy thousand of my ummah will enter Paradise without being brought to account or being punished; with each thousand of them will be another seventy thousand, plus three handfuls of the handfuls of my Lord, may He be glorified. [Ahmad, at Tirmidhi, ibn Maajah] So the final number is around 4.9 billion + 3 full handfuls from Allah’s hand. Umar started saying takbir upon hearing this. The ‘ulema say one handful of Allah is more than the 4.9 billion! Allahu akbar! Allah is Al Kareem, shows the generosity He has to this Ummah, like none other. If we stay away from major sins, we can enter Jannah without hisaab and ‘adhaab, by the Mercy of Allah.
We should look to our hearts and see why have we preferred the creation over the creator and why we the abuse blessings that He has given us. We should take ourselves to account because of this, and strive to always please the Creator above the creation and use His blessings in ways that will benefit us and please Al Kareem.
5. Be generous to be close to Al-Kareem. Allah‘s Names and Attributes are of two types: those that are attributed only to Him (e.g. Al-Khaaliq, The Creator) and those that can and should be strived for to be attributed to ourselves, one of them is Al-Kareem. Be generous with your belongings, time, and even your words. The prophet salallahu ‗alayhi wa sallam said:
The generous one is close to Allah, close to people, far from the fire; a stingy person is far from Allah, far from people, far from Paradise; and the generous ignorant person is more beloved to Allah than a stingy worshipper. [At-Tirmidhi] Take upon yourself the siffat of karm – generosity. We need to take this siffat of Allah and profess it in ourselves and manifest it in the way we behave. Ibn Qayyim says: after studying the Names and Attributes of Allah, not only does your fear and hope increase but your relationship with Allah changes, and you become a better person by trying to take on characteristics from the characteristics of Allah. Allah is Al Kareem, therefore we should become generous. We should possess the siffat of karm, being generous, beautiful, helping others and giving them without them having to ask. Allah gives us provision and blessings even before we ask for them, so lend someone a hand when they are in need, even before they ask. Allah through His generosity will widen the graves of the righteous and will make the good deeds into a beautiful looking man who will be the companion of the righteous person in the grave, and Allah will open a window to jannah in the grave of the righteous person and a breeze of jannah will come in, that will remain until yawmal qiyyamah.
6. Allah mentions Akram after He says Iqra – read or recite. Therefore one of the greatest way of us showing generosity is by teaching people the deen of Allah. Sharing ‘ilm with other people and giving them the generosity of the heart.
7. Develop a relationship with the Quran al-Kareem. Allah‘s book, the Quran, is kareem because it is full of benefits and guidance, good things and blessings, it includes not a single error or contradiction. Open Al-Quran al-Kareem at least every single day; even if you read one ayah a day, understand it and let it transform your character, mind and heart and see how it will make you more kareem, insha‘Allah.
8. Study about Al-Kareem . Al-Kareem says: O man! What has made you careless about your Lord, Al-Kareem (the Generous). Study about Allah, learning about His Names and Attributes and what they mean to you. Do not be deceived by this world and by the Shaytaan.
9. Don‘t forget the fire. Indulging in all the blessings Al-Kareem gave you, don‘t forget about hellfire. The Prophet salallahu ‗alayhi wa sallam said,
The people will be thrown into Hell ( Fire) and it will keep on saying, ‗Is there any more?‘ till the Lord of the worlds puts His Foot over it, whereupon its different sides will come close to each other, and it will say, ‗Qad! Qad! (enough! enough!) By Your ‗Izzat (Honor and Power) and Your Karram (Generosity)!‘ Paradise will remain spacious enough to accommodate more people until Allah will create some more people and let them dwell in the superfluous space of Paradise. [Al-Bukhari]
Al Kareem and other Names
· Allah mentions Al Kareem with the Name Al Ghaniyy. Ibn Qayyim says: the reason why they are mentioned together is to show that when Allah is giving us blessings from His generosity, His richness never decreases. His richness is pure and perfect and infinite like all His other Attributes. This shows us that we don’t need to be rich to be Kareem. But on the contrary, when a person is Kareem, he becomes rich. Allah is rich and this is why He is generous. But Him being generous is the reason why He is rich. Advice to slaves of Allah. Want to become rich? Give in charity. Rasoolulllah sallalahu alayhi wassalam said:
Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people). [Muslim].
Say, “Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills of His servants and restricts [it] for him. But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] – He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers.” [Saba 34:39]
· Al-Kareem is related to Al-Wahhaab (The Giver) and Ar-Razzaaq (The Provider) in the sense that He initiates favours to His slaves, beyond what we deserve. Al-Kareem brought you into existence even though He was not obliged to do so. Al-Kareem gives us the whole world, as He tells us:
It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things. [al Baqarah 2:29]
· Our book, the Qu’ran, is not only an instruction but also a cure. Our prayers are not only rituals, but also treasure chests of multiple rewards. Our food is not just one kind, but an amazing variety of tastes, structures and flavours; this is the giving of Al-Kareem.
· Al-Kareem is related to Al-‗Afuw (The Pardoner) because even when you sin and forget about it, Allah deals with you generously and makes you live comfortably. It is He who covers your sins and when you turn to Him, out of His amazing generosity He doesn‘t just forgive but He completely erases your bad deeds and on top of this, He turns them into good deeds. He is At-Tawwaab. What a generous Lord!
· Al-Kareem is Related to Ash-Shakoor (The Appreciative), Al-Kareem rewards you generously when you only present to Him little sincere acts of worship. The ultimate example is Jannah: everlasting pleasure for a few years of worship in this life.
· Al-Kareem is also related to Al-Haleem (the Forbearing), whenever He gives He gives most generously and when Al-Kareem is disobeyed, He forgives most forbearingly, subhanaAllah. He has the most generous and gracious way of forgiving.
· Al-Kareem is related in meaning to Al-Wadood (The Loving); us being worthy of His divine love is truly a generosity we should recognise. Al-Kareem says:
Indeed, those who believe and work deeds of righteousness: the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection. [Maryam 19:96]
78) Ash Shakoor
This Name of Allah is mentioned in the Qur’an 4 times. For example Allah says:
If you loan Allah a goodly loan, He will multiply it for you and forgive you. And Allah is Most Appreciative and Forbearing. [at Taghabun 64:17]
And He says:
That He may give them in full their rewards and increase for them of His bounty. Indeed, He is Forgiving and Appreciative [al Faatir 35:34]
79) Ash Shaakir
This Name of Allah appears in the Qur’an twice.
And whoever volunteers good – then indeed, Allah is appreciative and Knowing. [al Baqarah 2:158]
What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing. [an Nisaa 4:147]
Comes from root word shakara. In lisaan al arab [Encyclopedia of the Arabic language] shukoor means to acknowledge goodness and to re-demonstrate goodness for the goodness that was acknowledged. It also means to be thankful, grateful, appreciative and to show actions of thankfulness and appreciation. Ibn Jarir At Tabbari says: shakoor means appreciative and thankful but more so appreciative for the goodness one receives. For example when a person turns towards Allah in repentance, Allah appreciates this, He doesn’t forget it. Him being Ash-Shaakir and Ash-Shakoor, Allah will multiply it with multiplications that we don’t understand and reward us with this . Regardless how small the deed is, it will be appreciated, and He will have a reward for it stored on yawmal qiyyamah and will give us the taste of the reward in this life to show that He hasn’t forgotten it.
Shaakir – appreciates an action, Shakoor is mubaalagha or exaggerated form of appreciation, appreciates all actions.
Imam as Sa’di says: from the meanings of Allah being Ash Shaakir and Shakoor, He appreciates all actions, an appreciation unlike anyone else. He has stored a mighty reward for the action He has appreciated. He continues to appreciate this action, when the person continues in it, or prevents it from being nullified. Allah multiplies reward over and over again without there being a limit. He appreciate all actions, no matter how small. Side note: During a minor sin, if someone knows its a sin, and knows that it displeases Allah and knows and remembers that Allah is looking and watching Him, but still persists in doing it, then this becomes a major sin. Minor sins is when you forget Allah watches and looks at the person and it is done in forgetfulness. Difference between hamd (praise) and shukoor (thanks) – Hamd is done from heart and tongue. Shukoor is done from heart, tongue and body. A person affirms it in their heart verbalises it on the tongue and then acts it out by their limbs. Something that is usually forgotten when making du’a is thanking Allah. After praising and glorifying Him and sending peace and blessings upon Rasoolullah salallahu alayhi wassalam, we should then thank Allah, and then start with our requests. This shows the shukoor in limbs, by worshipping Allah and doing that which He loves.
Allah‘s Name Ash-Shakoor does not mean He has to be thankful for anything, because everything we have comes from Him. It means He is the One who is the most thankful, as He gratefully gives large rewards. Ash-Shakoor even appreciates our intention.
Ash Shakoor says:
Is the reward for good [anything] but good? [ar Rahman 55:60]
All the good which you come with, will be given good. Don’t think Allah will not appreciate your actions. He will appreciate it and multiply it in ways we can’t even understand. Surah Ar Rahman, shows how He will appreciate.
Benefits we can learn from these Names
1. Thank Allah for everything He’s given us. Be grateful and Ash-Shakoor will give you more. Recognising any of Allah‘s favours is in itself a favour. Ash-Shakoor bestows His blessings on us even though He doesn‘t need us. Show your shukr for all He has given you and He will give you even more. Ash-Shakoor says:
And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed , ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ “ [Ibrahim 14:7] Al-Ghazali said: The best way of manifesting thankfulness for the blessings of Allah Most High is to make use of these blessings in obeying Him and not disobeying Him.
2. Do good deeds no matter how small. Never be hesitant in doing a good deed, even if you think it‘s tiny compared to all your sins; think about the ability of the One who gives rewards. The Prophet salallahu ‗alayhi wa sallam said:
Do not belittle any good deed, even meeting your brother with a cheerful face. [Muslim]. Say subhanAllah a hundred times and Ash-Shakoor grants you a thousand good deeds (Allah out of His mercy, grants 10 rewards for 1 good deed that is done).
3. Have muhabba for Allah, know that Allah accepts the smallest of deeds we do, and has prepared a mighty reward for these actions. Allah appreciates even the smallest of deeds, so we should Love Allah for this appreciation.
4. Have hayaa of Allah. He has multiplied reward for every good deed we do so how can we continue to displease Him? Be grateful to Allah for every blessing He has given you and use these blessings in doing only that which pleases Him.
5. Don‘t expect anything in return from others. We often yearn for recognition from others, and when we do good in secret we might wish they find out it was we who helped them. Sometimes you might wish people knew your good intentions even if you fail to do the action.
What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing. [an Nisaa 4:147] But know that Allah knows, rewards, and appreciates what other people might not even know about. Go out of your way to help others, not expecting anything in return, and Ash-Shakoor will send someone to do the same for you and if other people do not appreciate it then know that Ash-Shakoor does so do it regardless.
6. Help others and Ash-Shakoor will help you. The Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam said:
Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter . . . Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. [Muslim] Whether you relieve, help out, or just conceal the fault of another Muslim, Ash-Shakoor will help you. When thanking people always first say alhamdulillah and then thank someone, as the reality of thankfulness is to realise that everything comes from Allah. The Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam instructed us: The one who does not thank people had not thanked Allah. [Abu Dawood].
And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination [Luqman 31:14] This ayah implements actions of being thankful to the creation.
7. Be patient and sincere and remember Paradise. Nothing we do is lost. Sometimes Ash-Shakoor delays the signs of His appreciation to see if you‘ll give up or not. So be sincere and do it for Allah, because you know He‘s Ash-Shakoor in this life and in the Hereafter. The Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam said:
Allah says: I have prepared for My righteous slaves that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and it has never crossed the mind of man. All of that is reserved, besides which all that you have known is as nothing.‘ Then he recited: ‗No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do‘ [al-Sajdah 32:17] Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3072) and Muslim (2824) The report narrated by Muslim adds: apart from that of which Allaah has informed you. Remember Paradise in all you do.
8. Call upon Ash-Shakoor, for example a Quranic dua with this Name is:
And they will say, Praise to Allah, who has removed from us [all] sorrow. Indeed, our Lord is Forgiving and Appreciative. [al Faatir 35:34] The Prophet sallaahu alayhi wa sallam said:
Allah records good and bad deeds in this way: If anyone intends to do a good deed, but does not do it, Allah still records it with Him as one full good deed. If he intends a good deed and then carries it out, Allah records it with Him as ten to seven hundred times in reward or even increases it many times more. If anyone intends to do a bad deed but does not actually do it, Allah records it with Him as one full good deed. If he intends to do a bad deed and does it, Allah records it with Him as only one bad deed. [Al Bukhaari]
This shows who Allah is. How He is Ash-shaakir and Ash-shakoor for good deeds. Good deeds are multiplied without limit. Ibn Qayyim says we should have this siffat of appreciation. We should appreciate the blessings Allah has given us. And to increase in our blessings from Allah, we should do a great amount of ibaadah to appreciate these blessing. Rasoolullah sallalahu alayhi salam stood all night in prayer out of shukr to Allah, we should use the blessings Allah has given us, to worship Him, out of appreciation for giving us these blessings in the first place such as the blessing of hidayah, Islam, Tawheed, Eemaan, the blessing of sight, hearing, intellect etc.
Ibn Qayyim: how to show thankfulness.
1) Khudoo – the person who is thanking and appreciating, he submits himself to the one who is giving, i.e Allah.
2) Muhabba – the person has love for Allah
3) shukr – the person acknowledges the blessings Allah has given him
4) Hamd – the person praises Allah for these blessings.
5) Ibaadah – the person uses the blessings Allah gave him in worshipping Allah and staying away from everything He hates and dislikes.
Ash Shaakir wash Shukoor and other Names
· Ash-Shaakir comes with the Name Al Aleem. Al Aleem knows everything that happens. And Ash-Shaakir is appreciative for everything. So He knows everything to be appreciated towards.
· Ash-Shukoor comes with Al Haleem. Wallahu shakurun Al Haleem. Allah has given us time after every blessing, to see if we will thank Him and be appreciative or not.
· Allah pairs Ash Shakoor with Al Ghafoor. Allah is extremely appreciative to the one who turns to Allah in tawbah. He conceals the sin. He is the Oft-and-All Forgiving and the Most Appreciative; even if we commit sins we can return to Him for forgiveness and He being appreciative of our tawbah will grant us forgiveness and reward for the good we do.