AL-TANZIL
The
Revelation
 
[26:192]

God’s Name: Al-Qahhar (The Subduer)

By Dr. Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

[When we say that God is the One, the Irresistible Subduer, this means that all creatures are constantly subdued by His infinite power and dominance.]

God’s name “Al-Qahhar” is the emphatic word for His name “Al-Qahir” which means the Irresistible Subduer, the one who subdues and vanquishes overwhelmingly everything and anything.

In Arabic, the word “Al-Qahr” means the ability to overcome, ever-dominate and overpower.

We find an ordinary neutral name “Al-Qahir” occurs in the Quranic verse: {And He (Allah) is Al-Qahir (the Irresistible Subduer) over His slaves, and He sends guardians (Angels) over you, until when death approaches one of you, Our Messengers (Angel of death and his assistants) take his soul, and they never neglect their duty.} (Al-An’am 6: 61), while an emphatic form of the same name, “Al-Qahhar”, occurs in another verse:

{The Day when they will (all) come out, nothing of them will be hidden from Allah. Whose is the Kingdom today?! It belongs to Allah, Alone, the One, Al-Qahhar (the Irresistible Subduer).} (Ghafir40: 16)


When God’s divine names come in the emphatic form they mean repetition and not difference in quality, because the level of His names is always the same.

It is a quantitative rather than qualitative emphasis, since qualitative emphasis does not befit God’s divine perfection.

Sometimes a person fights an enemy and defeats him, but he might not be able to defeat a second or third enemy. But when we say that God is the one, the Irresistible Subduer, this means that all creatures are constantly subdued by His infinite divine power and dominated thereby.

God says in the Quran:
{And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of them know not.} (Hud 11: 21)


Yes, indeed! God has full power over His affairs.

God’s divine name “Al-Qahhar” is clearly manifested in the story of Prophet Moses, (peace be upon him), with Pharaoh, who wanted to slaughter all the male infants of the children of Israel in order to prevent fulfillment of a dream that he saw, namely that a male infant from among the children of Israel would destroy his kingdom.

God, the Irresistible Subduer, defeated him by making him bring up, in his own palace, the same infant who would destroy his kingdom. In fact, all of God’s divine acts stem from, and manifest, all of His divine names and Attributes. This is why the Quranic verses that speak about God’s Divine Self include the Arabic personal pronoun “Ana” ”I” while those that speak about His divine acts include the Arabic personal pronoun “Nahnou” “we”:

{Verily, it is We Who give life and cause to die; and to Us is the Final Return.}(Qaf 50: 43)


{Verily, it is We Who have sent down the Quran to you by stages.} (Ta-Ha 20: 23) and

{Verily, I am Allah! There is no god but Me. So, worship Me and perform prayer for My remembrance.} (Ta-Ha 20: 14)

God says in the Quran:{And He (Allah) is Al-Qahir (the Irresistible Subduer) over His slaves, and He is The All-Wise, the All-Aware.} (Al-An’am 6: 18) and also says:

{The Day when they will (all) come out, nothing of them will be hidden from Allah. Whose is the Kingdom today?! It belongs to Allah, Alone, he One, Al-Qahhar (the Irresistible Subduer).} (Ghafir 40: 16)


God is “Al-Qahir” in the sense that He is able to prevent anyone else from doing anything against His divine will and desire:

In a divine hadith God says: “O My slave! You will, and I will. If you surrender to Me in what I will, I suffice you in what you will. But if you do not surrender to Me in what I will, I tire you out in what you will, and then, nothing shall be except what I will.”

God’s divine names are three types:
Those that describe His Divine Self,
those that describe His divine attributes,
and those that describe His divine acts.

In this context, scholars said that God is “Al-Qahir” in the sense that He is able to prevent anyone else from doing anything against His divine will and desire, i.e. His divine will is irresistible.


God’s name “Al-Qahhar” denotes divine ability in a certain form; it is one of the names that have to do with God’s Divine Self. But if we say that it is a Divine act that prevents others from doing what they desire, then, it is one of the names that have to do with God’s Divine acts.

Some scholars say that God’s name “Al-Qahhar” (the Irresistible Subduer) means that He subdues non-existence, which is anything except God. God says:

{Verily! Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they should move away from their places; and if they were to move away from their places, there is none that could grasp them after Him. Truly, He is Ever Most Forbearing, Oft-and-All-Forgiving.}(Fatir 35: 41)


Therefore, the origin of all things, except God, is non-existence and shall perish in the end. Also, all things that are preceded by non-existence and shall be made to perish are incidental and not self-existent, but God is Self-Existent. He has neither a beginning nor an end. He is the first with no beginning and the last with no ending.

To this effect, God says:
{Allah! There is no god but Him, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him does belong whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth…} (Al-Baqarah 2: 255)


Different Meanings of God’s Divine name Al-Qahhar

1- One of the meanings of God’s divine name “Al-Qahhar” is that He subdued all things and brought them into existence by His irresistible divine power. God says in the Quran: {He (Pharaoh) said: ‘Who, then, O Moses, is the Lord of both of you (Moses and Aaron)?’ He (Moses) said: ‘Our Lord is He (Allah), Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.} (Ta-Ha 20: 49, 50)

Some scholars say that God is Al-Qahhar in the sense that He, alone, is the one who subdues non-existence and turns it into existence, and then He subdues existence by His irresistible divine power and will.

2- Another meaning of “Al-Qahhar” is that all the heavenly objects, some of which are bigger than both the earth and the sun, are held and kept in orbit by God’s irresistible divine power. To this effect God says:

{Verily! Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they should move away from their places; and if they were to move away from their places, there is none that could grasp them after Him. Truly, He is Ever Most Forbearing, Oft-and-All-Forgiving.} (Fatir 35: 41)


3- Some scholars say: In life, there are four basic elements: water, air, fire, and soil. Such elements are non-congruent, but by His irresistible divine power, God united them together in perfect harmony. Therefore, another meaning of God’s name “Al-Qahhar” is that He unites incongruent things together in perfect harmony in creatures.

4- The fourth meaning of God’s name “Al-Qahhar” (the Irresistible Subduer) is that sometimes He humiliates tyrants and oppressors by diseases and illnesses.

He subdues all His slaves by death: Prophets, Messengers, the powerful, the weak, the rich, the poor, the healthy, the ill, kings, princes, ordinary people, etc, all human beings are inevitably made to pass away by God. God says:

{You will certainly be made to pass away, and they (all mankind) will certainly be made to pass away.} (Az-Zumar 39: 30)


5- The fifth meaning of God’s name “Al-Qahhar” is that He subdues the human minds and prevents them from knowing the reality of His holy infinite Divine Self, which has neither a beginning nor an end. He prevents the human minds from encompassing the glamour of His Divine Majesty.

To this effect God says:
{And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.} (Al-Isra’; 85), and also: {And they encompass none of His Knowledge except that which He wills.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 255)


6- The sixth meaning of God’s name Al-Qahhar (the Irresistible Subduer) is that He kept the knowledge of the secrets of a great many natural phenomena only for Himself.

7- The seventh and all-embracing meaning of Al-Qahhar (the Irresistible Subduer) is that He has subdued all His creatures to His irresistible divine will.

However, there are other meanings of God’s divine name “Al-Qahhar” as some scholars say: “Al-Qahir is He (God), who subdued the selves of worshippers.” That is why God says:

{If only those who do wrong could see, when they will see the Torment, that all Power belongs to Allah and that Allah is Severe in punishment.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 165)


Edited from:
http://www.onislam.net/english/reading-islam/understanding-islam/belief/allah/449707-gods-attribute-name-al-qahhar-the-subdue.html
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