Allah’s Beautiful Name: Al-Wahhab

By Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

[Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver) is He Who gives you with no means and bestows His Favors upon you with no reason or cause]

O Allah! Give us from You Mercy that overwhelms us in this present world and the world to come. Verily You are “Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver)!

Man is made up of both a mind and a heart. With his mind, he gets to know Allah; and with his heart, he loves Him.

As scholars see it, this Divine Name is related to love, but before we set out to explain the meaning of the Arabic word “Al-Wahhab”, I would like to give an example from our daily life.

If a poor young man, who lives a poor miserable wretched life, is chosen by a wealthy person to be the husband of his dutiful, obedient, good mannered, chaste, believing, well-educated daughter, and if he is granted not only a house but also a shop and a car as well, isn’t the heart of this young man filled with love, praise, thankfulness and gratitude to the man who bestowed on him all such favors?

This is the case of a human being towards another human being who does him a favor, so what would the case be if Allah, Lord of all worlds, bestows on one of His slaves His Divine Favors?

In this context, Allah, Most Gracious, says:
"O David! Remind My slaves of My Favors to them, for people are predisposed to love those who do them favors and hate those who do them disfavors." (Hadith Qudsi)

The Love of God

The purpose of knowing Allah’s Name “Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver) is to love Allah, Most Gracious, for love is the essence of faith.

In fact, the Muslim religion is not only facts to understand and learn, but also feelings and emotions to live. A Muslim’s mind should believe not only in Allah’s existence, Might and Majesty, but also in His Beautiful Divine Names and Attributes. At the same time, a Muslim’s heart should abound in love for Allah, Most Gracious.

I would like to put forward the following fact before my dear readers: What motivates man is his love more than his mind. Driven by his love, man sacrifices everything, but by using his mind, he may be convinced, he may believe, and he may be certain, but he does not move.

If we look upon Allah’s Beautiful Name “Al-Wahhab” from the perspective of our original pure nature and disposition, our heart will be filled with love for our Maker, Allah, Most Gracious. As soon as our heart is filled with love for Allah, we find out our Lord’s Infinite Divine Care, Love, Help, and Guidance to us, and we feel ultimate success and prosperity.

In the light of the above-mentioned facts, we understand that love is the basis of Faith. To this effect, Allah’s Messenger, (peace be upon him), says, “He who has no love has not Faith.”
However, when does man’s heart get into a state of unrest? The answer is: It is the token of a true believer that when Allah is mentioned, his heart gets into a state of unrest. To this effect, Allah, Glory to Him, says:
{The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts, and when His Verses are recited unto them, they increase them in Faith, and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone)} (Al-A'raf, 8:2)

The Muslim religion is not only facts to understand and learn, but also feelings and emotions to live. Such is the token of the heart of someone who believes in his Lord, Allah, Exalted and Glorified. This is because man does not adorn or be courteous towards his own self nor does he flatter his own self. On the contrary, he constantly takes care of, and examines, his heart, asking himself the embarrassing question, “Whom do I really love?” This is because love is more easily claimed than proved true. To this purport, Allah, the Almighty, says:
{Say (O Muhammad): ‘if you really love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful} (Al-Imran, 3:31)

Al-Wahhab in the Quran

The Qur’anic Verses in which Allah’s Beautiful Divine Name “Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver) are:
{Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and give us mercy from You. Truly, You are Al-Wahhab (the All-Giver)}(Aal-Imran, 3:8)

{To Allah does belong the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He gives female (offspring) to whomever He wills, and He gives male (offspring) to whomever He wills} (Ash-Shura, 42:49)

{And verily, I fear my relatives after me, and my wife is barren. So give me from You an heir} (Maryam, 19:5)

{At that time, Zechariah invoked his Lord, saying, ‘O my Lord! Give me from You a good offspring! You are, indeed, the Hearer of invocation!} (Al-Imran, 3:38)

In order to understand the meaning of Allah’s Beautiful Divine Name “Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver), we should ask ourselves: What has Allah, Most Gracious, given us?

The first thing that Allah, Most Gracious, has given us is our existence. In other words, each one of us has his/her existence that Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious, has given him/her. Each one of us enjoys his/her existence, good health, food and drink, marriage, a dwelling, a job, a social status …etc. Who has given you your existence? It is Allah, Glory to Him, Who has given you existence and provided you with sustenance and means of living.

In Arabic the word “Wahhab” is derived from the verb “wahaba”, which means “to give someone something as a gift, i.e. without getting anything in return.”…

In the light of the above-mentioned definition of the word “wahaba” (give or donate), is it correct to say that a human being gives another something as a gift, i.e. without getting anything in return? Is it believable that a human being, in the whole world, gives another something gratis? Even when a true believer gives anything gratis, he/she does so seeking good recompense from his Lord, Allah, “Al-Wahhab”. Does he/she give anything for nothing? Does he/she hasten to serve other people for nothing? Does he/she rescue a patient for nothing? Does he/she teach or preach for nothing? Does he/she serve Allah’s House for nothing? Is it believable that he/she seeks nothing in return?

If a wealthy person asked a teacher: “I’d like you to give my son private lessons, and I shall give you one million pounds for each lesson. But do not take any money from my son, because if you do, I shall give you nothing”, would it be wise of the teacher to take only one hundred pounds for each lesson from the son and, hence, lose the large amount of money that the father promised to give him?

A wise person is someone who does not seek recompense from people but rather from the Lord of people, Allah, All Mighty. Do you believe that a human being does anything for no reward or recompense? Utmost reward is to ask for Allah’s Good Pleasure, to ask for His Paradise, to ask for His Most Generous Recompense, to ask for His Help, because no human being could ever give you anything for nothing in return.

You should thank Allah first for inspiring people to help you or do you favors, and then you should offer thanks to people for helping you.

In the light of the above mentioned, it is only metaphorically correct to say that a human being gives anything for nothing in return. Sometimes, a person gives something in order to be praised and thanked. Such praise is the reward he looks for. Sometimes, someone gives generously to a charity seeking public gratitude. He boasts, “I have given such and such amount of money!” He desires to have his name inscribed on a marble plate showing his generous contribution. In other words, he desires to have a reward in return for his good deed. I reiterate: No human being gives anything for nothing in return; the only One Who gives for nothing in return is Allah, “Al-Wahhab”, Most Gracious.

Furthermore, if a human being gives you anything, who is the Real Donor? It is Allah, Most Generous, Who inspired him to give you what he has given you! …

At any rate, should I not thank the person who does me a favor? Of course, I should! If anyone offers you help or does you a favor, but you do not thank him/her, it would be ungrateful of you, because he does so willingly. To this effect, Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, says:
“He who does not thank people does not thank Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Therefore, you must show adequate thankfulness and gratitude to a person who willingly offers to help you or does you a favor, although it is Allah, All Mighty, Who inspires him to do so. However, you should thank Allah first for inspiring people to help you or do you favors, and then you should offer thanks to people for helping you willingly. In this context, Allah’s Messenger, (peace be upon him), says:
“If someone seeks refuge with Allah, give him refuge. If someone asks you to give him something for the sake of Allah, give him (what he asks). If someone asks Allah for help, help him. If someone does you a favor, reward him (for his favor); but if you do not find (anything to reward him), invoke Allah for him until you make sure that you have duly rewarded him.” (Ibn Hibban)
In order to make things clear, I would like to say that in case someone does Muslims a favor, they usually say: “May Allah well reward you!” or “May Allah increase you in good!” Such sayings are not sufficient. If someone does you a favor, you should do him/her a favor in return. However, if you are unable to do so, it is acceptable of you to thank him by using the above sayings.
Beware of mentioning the favors that you do to others, but do not forget the favors that they do to you! If you do anyone a favor, it is perfect of you not to mention it and to forget all about it, since you have done so just for the sake of Allah, Most Gracious. Allah describes true believers who do favors to other fellow humans as saying:

{We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward nor thanks from you}
(Al-Insan, 76:9)

Undoubtedly, the One Who inspires other fellow humans to help you or do you favors is Allah, All-Mighty, Most Gracious; and the one who enables other fellow humans to help you or do you favors is Allah, Most Merciful. In other words, the Inspirer is Allah, and the Doer is Allah!

Some scholars say: Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver) is the Benefactor, Who is Bounty Abounding and Most Generous, Who grants Favors without measure, Who is Most Kind, Who gives without being asked, and Who never withholds His Favors from His slaves.

Beware of mentioning the favors that you do to others, but do not forget the favors that they do to you!
“Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver) is He Who gives you with no means and bestows His Favors upon you with no reason or cause.

“Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver) is He Who gives for nothing in return and causes to die for no purpose.

We are all Allah’s slaves, and all the good things that we have or enjoy are from Allah, Most Gracious. Therefore, we should know for sure that every Blessing or Favor is from Allah, Most Generous.

Ranks of Gratitude

However, gratitude is of three ranks. The first rank is to recognize that blessings and favors are all from Allah, Most Gracious. The second rank is that your heart should abound in gratitude to Him. The third rank is to hasten to help and serve Allah’s slaves, other fellow humans. Undoubtedly, the third rank is the best, for Allah, Most Generous, says:
{Is there any reward for good other than good?} (Ar-Rahman, 55:60)

In this Qur’anic verse, Allah addresses every human being: “O My salve! If you stick to My Commands, serve My slaves, guide them to Me, act in good faith towards them, offer them adequate help, and be generous to them. If you do this, you do well to My slaves. Is it reasonable that I do you evil in return? Is there any reward for your good doing other than My good doing to you?” This is because Allah is the Most Thankful.

If a believer fails to recognize that Allah’s Good Treatment to him is a kind of Divine Honor that Allah confers upon him and wrongly thinks that such Good Treatment is due to his own honesty, devotion or good righteous work, this reflects weakness of faith. This is because the token of true faith is to believe that all blessings and favors that you enjoy bespeak Allah’s Divine Grace to you. If you hasten to offer adequate help to other fellow humans, who are also Allah’s slaves, Allah provides you with His Divine Help, for Allah helps a slave as long as the slave helps his fellow slave.

There is another Qur’anic Verse:
{For him (each person) there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by Allah’s Command. Verily, Allah will not change the condition of a people unless they change their state themselves. But if Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find against Him no protector} (Ar-Ra’d, 13:11)

In fact, examples of Allah’s Divine Name “Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver) are plentiful in all places and times. However, what happened to one of our good brothers, who worked in a shop where he earned only three thousand pounds. One of his brothers, who had lost his job and became penniless, came to him complaining. Without the least hesitation, he told him, “Come and work with me, and I shall give you half of my income.” As I have just said, the man’s income was only three thousand pounds. He swore to me truthfully that in the following month, his income increased ten folds. Yes, indeed, his income increased ten folds!
{Verily, You are Al-Wahhab (the All-Giver)!} (Al-Imran, 3:8)

However, beware of unlawful expenditure! Do not neglect Allah’s Commands concerning expenditure for the sake of other human beings, for none should be given preference to Allah and His Religion.

A scholar called Ash-Shibli asked a companion of Abi ‘Ali Ath-Thaqafi’s: “Which of Allah’s Divine Names do you remember and mention most?”
He replied, “Al-Wahhab (the All-Giver), for the First of Allah’s Divine Favors that He bestows upon you is that He has brought you into existence.”

To wrap up, a person’s share of this Divine Name is that he should give generously for Allah and His Cause, out of that which Allah has given him: his knowledge, experience, time, power, effort, and social status. Such is a person’s share of Allah’s Beautiful Divine Name “Al-Wahhab” (the All-Giver)!
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