By Editorial Staff
Meaning of the Name
Among the most beautiful Names of God the Almighty is Al-Hafizh which means the All-Preserver and the All-Protector. It was mentioned in the Qur’an in the verse,
Surely my Lord is Ever-Preserving over everything. (Hud 11:57)
Sheikh As-Sa`di explains this beautiful Name of God in the following words:
“Al-Hafizh (the All-Preserver) is the One who protects that which He has created, and Whose knowledge encompasses that which He has brought into existence. He protects His slaves from falling into sin and disaster, and He takes care of them in all situations.” (Tafsir As-Sa`di)
This beautiful Name of God brings about tranquility and peacefulness to our hearts. The Merciful Creator does not leave His creation with no protection or support. Rather, He safeguards and watches over them in all their circumstances.
He is the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of all existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. (Al-Baqarah 2:255)
His Power knows no limits, no obstacles, no barriers. His Mercy is all comprehensive that it encompasses all things. His openhandedness has embraced both the believer and the disbeliever.
The Muslim must have faith in this Sublime Name of God, trust Him in all his conditions and have confidence that God will never leave him out. The following story was related by the Prophet (peace be upon him) about a man who had truthful faith in Allah, the All-Preserver, and thus Allah did not disappoint him.
Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “An Israeli man asked another Israeli to lend him one thousand Dinars. The second man required witnesses. The former replied, ‘Allah is sufficient as a witness.’ The second said, ‘I want a surety.’ The former replied, ‘Allah is sufficient as a surety.’ The second said, ‘You are right,’ and lent him the money for a certain period. The debtor went across the sea. When he finished his job, he searched for a conveyance so that he might reach in time for the repayment of the debt, but he could not find any. So, he took a piece of wood and made a hole in it, inserted in it one thousand Dinars and a letter to the lender and then closed (i.e. sealed) the hole tightly. He took the piece of wood to the sea and said. ‘O Allah! You know well that I took a loan of one thousand Dinars from so-and-so. He demanded a surety from me but I told him that Allah’s Guarantee was sufficient and he accepted Your guarantee. He then asked for a witness and I told him that Allah was sufficient as a Witness, and he accepted You as a Witness. No doubt, I tried hard to find a conveyance so that I could pay his money but could not find, so I hand over this money to You.’ Saying that, he threw the piece of wood into the sea till it went out far into it, and then he went away. Meanwhile he started searching for a conveyance in order to reach the creditor’s country.
One day the lender came out of his house to see whether a ship had arrived bringing his money, and all of a sudden he saw the piece of wood in which his money had been deposited. He took it home to use for fire. When he sawed it, he found his money and the letter inside it. Shortly after that, the debtor came bringing one thousand Dinars to him and said, ‘By Allah, I had been trying hard to get a boat so that I could bring you your money, but failed to get one before the one I have come by.’ The lender asked, ‘Have you sent something to me?’ The debtor replied, ‘I have told you I could not get a boat other than the one I have come by.’ The lender said, ‘Allah has delivered on your behalf the money you sent in the piece of wood. So, you may keep your one thousand Dinars and depart guided on the right path.'” (Al-Bukhari)
Types of preservation
Scholars stated that the preservation of Allah for man is of two types:
The first type is the protection against material harm. This type applies to man’s life in general, during sleeping, waking up, walking, driving, sailing, eating, drinking, playing, etc. It is God who protects us during accidents, calamities, hardships, etc. He safeguards man against the evils of the Jinn, mankind, beasts, unjust people, etc. This type is common for the believer and the unbeliever and if anyone sincerely asks God for help, God will surely answer him. God says,
Say (O Muhammad): Who rescues you from the darkness of the land and the sea (dangers like storms), when you call upon Him in humility and in secret (saying): If He (Allah) only saves us from this (danger), we shall truly be grateful. Say (O Muhammad): Allah rescues you from it and from all (other) distresses, and yet you worship others besides Allah. (Al-An`am 6:63-64)
Is not He (God) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations. Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? Little is that you remember! (An-Naml 27:62)
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Fear the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is a disbeliever, for there is no barrier (between it and Allah).” (Ahmad)
The second type is Allah’s preservation of religion which is only available for those who believe in God and follow the final Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This type means the protection against sins, misdeeds, suspicions, doubts, prohibited desire, the insinuations of Satan, Bid`ahs (invention in religion), etc. `Umar narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught him to say, “O Allah protect me with Islam during my standing, sitting down and lying, and do not give control to an enemy or a grudger upon me.” (Ibn Hibban)
This type of protection is given for those who have an unbroken and strong relation with God, those who fear and venerate God more than anyone else. The story of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) with the wife of Al-`Aziz (ruler) of Egypt heavily stresses this fact. Almighty Allah has protected Yusuf from falling into immorality and diverted him away from it because he had a strong relationship with God. The story tells us that the wife of Al-`Aziz allured, seduced and finally threatened Yusuf to copulate with her or either he would be jailed. It was the support of God to Yusuf that protected him from falling into this offensive action. The Qur’an relates this story in a chapter given the same name of the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him),
And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him. She closed the doors and said, “Come, you.” He said, “[I seek] the refuge of Allah . Indeed, he is my master, who has made good my residence. Indeed, wrongdoers will not succeed.” And she certainly determined [to seduce] him, and he would have inclined to her had he not seen the proof of his Lord. And thus [it was] that We should avert from him evil and immorality. Indeed, he was of Our chosen servants. (Yusuf 12:23-24)
In a hadith of narrated by Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet maintained that the protection of God is given to those who fear God and observe His Existence and Sight in all their situations. Ibn `Abbas narrates, “One day, I was riding behind the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he said, “O boy! I will instruct you in some matters. Be watchful of Allah (i.e. the Commandments of Allah), He will preserve you. Safeguard His Rights, He will be ever with you…” (At- Tirmidhi)
The hadith shows us that the blessings of Allah, including His Preservation, Support and Help are contingent on the actions of the Muslim himself; if he preserves the God’s rights, God will preserve him and if not, he will lose the nonpareil absolute support of God.
In another narration of the hadith, the Prophet said, “Recognize and acknowledge Allah in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity.” (At-Tirmidhi) Observing Allah and being mindful of Him at times of ease, surely helps at times of difficulties and hardships.