Understanding Allah’s Name – Al-Aziz

What should the believer derive from the attribute of Allah’s name; Al-Aziz?

A principle that we can extract from this attribute of Allah (سبحانهُ وتعالى) being the Almighty is that belief in this divine name should lead the believers to the high moral characteristic of what is known as ‘Afw’. That is excusing others when one is in a position to take ones rights or to take revenge. As Allah’s Might is displayed by that He is not taking people to account immediately. If Allah (سبحانهُ وتعالى) had willed, as He has said in different places in the Qur'an that if He were to take people to account right away there would not remain a living thing on the face of the earth. But Allah (سبحانهُ وتعالى) in His might gives people time. Some people have been given time and will face the consequence of the act later and other people are simply being excused; He let them go. This type of excusing others, or letting go, even though when one is in a position to take ones rights fully, is what is known as ‘Afw’ in Arabic which means a kind of forgiveness or a kind of gentleness towards others. These are among the high moral characteristics which we are encouraged to develop. Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) said in an authentic Hadith,

“Wealth does not decrease because of charity, and Allah only increases a servant’s might for excusing people. Furthermore Allah will elevate whoever humbles himself for Him.” [1]

That is the promise of Allah; that one, if he excusing others when he is able to take his right, to take revenge; then Allah raises- and elevates him, him in power and might. It elevates him in the sight of people and he is elevated in the sight of Allah (سبحانهُ وتعالى).

An example is when the Prophet (ﷺ) came back to Mecca; to the city where he had been driven out from, where he along with his followers had been tortured, where he (ﷺ) was almost killed and so on. Regardless of all these hardships that he and his (ﷺ) companions had experienced, when he  came back and conquered Mecca he (ﷺ) did so in a peaceful manner. Mecca was successfully concurred and the inhabitants of the city either surrendered or fled.

Important point of note is that the Meccans weren't forced to accept Islam, but given the option of doing so or given a blank slate of freedom to go their way. That was ‘Afw’, and a classical example, that has been the tradition of Muslims when they were engaged in battles during the time of the Prophet (ﷺ). Other examples are when Umar ibn al Khattab came to Jerusalem after a struggle where Muslims had lost their lives, yet when he came into the battle he let the people free. The Crusaders who later entered Jerusalem, had slaughtered both Muslims, Christians and Jews. They slaughtered everybody including Christians because they didn’t practice the same type of Christianity as they did. After that when Muslims conquered Jerusalem, they let the people go again and Salahuddin was magnanimous in his victory. What an example and legacy of magnanimity left for history!

That is indeed a quality known as Afw which the Prophet (ﷺ) held so high. When one has all of that might in his hands which he could use to devastate, but he holds it back and he lets the people go, that is the demonstration known from Al-Aziz and that is Allah (سبحانهُ وتعالى). And that’s what we should learn and an element of that mighty name, the Almighty should be reflected in our lives, in our dealings with people around us whether it is in our families, with our children, at workplace or wherever we are. We will find ourselves time and again in that position where we can take revenge, we can get back at people, retribution, but the greater state is to let them go.


[1] [Narrated by Muslim, 2588.]

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