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Allah's Names - 5

April 8, 2018




                                5- Al-Kā’in (الكائِن): The Eternally Existent


Its meaning is: the Existent (al-Mawjūd) Who Subsists before everything and after everything.

It is the noun of the doer (ism al-fā`il) from kāna yakūnu.

The morphological root-position is kāwin with the wāw, just as the morphological root of qā’im (the Subsistent in this case, but it can have many other meanings in Arabic) is qāwim, as these are hollow verbs with the wāw as weak consonant. Same with khā’if (the fearful one) and khā’in (traitor). In all these examples, the wāw after the alif has been converted into a hamzah.


This Name, al-Qurtubī mentions, has not come down in textual authorities among the Divine Names established by textual authorities, and the same holds true of al-Mukawwin, meaning the One Who brings things into being and their Creator. Ibn Abid-Dunyā, however, has reported the following in his work Al-Faraj ba`da ash-Shiddah (Relief after Distress):

Ahmad b. ‘Abdu’l-A`lā ash-Shaybānī related to me as follows: Abū ‘Abdir-Rahmān al-Kūfī related to us from Sālih b. Hassān from Muhammad b. ‘Alī that the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, taught ‘Alī an invocation to resort to when afflicted by any worry. ‘Alī used in turn to teach it to his offspring, may Allah be pleased with all of them: ‘O Existent (Yā Kā’inan) before everything, O Creator (Mukawwin) of everything, O Existent (Yā Kā’inan) after everything, do this and that to me.’ This report has an interrupted chain of transmission. Al-Bayhaqī (who quoted it in Al-Asmā’ wa as-Sifāt) connected it right through on the authority of Ibn as-Salmānī Muhammad b. ‘Abdir-Rahmān, who was a weak narrator, from his father from Ibn ‘Umar.

Al-Bayhaqī also said that one of the invocations of Allah’s Messenger, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, was: ‘O Existent before everything and Bringer into being (Mukawwin) of everything, O Existent after nothing will be, I ask You for one of Your forgiving Looks that by putting my state right grant rescue.’ Al-Bayhaqī commented in the said work: ‘If this invocation is soundly ascribed to the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, what it meant is Allah’s looking into the affairs of His slaves and showing mercy to them.’

For al-Qurtubī, the soundness of this transmission, and thus the ascription to Allah of the Name al-Kā’in, is indicated by what al-Bukhārī has reported in his Sahīh (Chapter on the beginning of creation and elsewhere in the book; reported also, inter alia, by Ahmad, at-Tirmidhī, an-Nasā’ī in As-Sunan al-Kubrā, Ibn Abī Shaybah, and at-Tabarānī in Al-Mu`jam al-Kabīr) on the authority of ‘Imrān b. al-Husayn, to the effect that he said: I was in the company of the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, when a group of tribesmen from Banū Tamīm came to him. He said: “Accept the glad tidings, O Children of Tamīm.” ‘You brought us glad tidings, so please give us,’ they said. A group of Yemenis came in, and he said: “Accept the glad tidings, O people of the Yemen, since Banū Tamīm did not accept them.” ‘We have accepted them,’ they said. ‘We came in order to learn about the Dīn and to ask about the beginning of creation: How was it?’. He said in reply: “Allāh was, Mighty and Majestic is He, and nothing other than Him was. His Throne was on the water. Thereafter, He created the heavens and the earth, and wrote everything in the Reminder.” The glad tidings would be Islam, but Banū Tamīm wanted some material gift to top that.


Every legally accountable man or jinn (mukallaf), al-Qurtubī concluded, is mandated to know that Allah, glory to Him, is the Existing Bringer into being and Creator (al-Kā’in al-Mawjūd), and the Remembered and Worshipped Lord (ar-Rabb al-Madhkūr al-Ma`būd), the First and the Last, Who originated the existents and Brought whatever is into being by His Word «Be! (Kun)». There is no god but He, glory to Him, Who is independent of place and utterly transcendent over space and time.


That way, all the first five Names have been combined in a few summarising lines.

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