AL-HAFIZ MEANING - 99 NAMES OF ALLAH:

38.

Al-Hafiz / Al-Hafeez / Al-Hafeedh

(The Preserver)

Al-Hafiz Meaning:

The Guarding One, The Protector, The One who Preserves what He created.

Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is Al-Hafiz (in Arabic: ٱلْحَفِيظُ), the guardian and protector of everything. He preserves all creations and remembers all that has ever been and all that is. He is the protector of The Qur'an and vowed to safeguard it from being changed or perverted, as was the case with previous scriptures.

Mentions of Al-Hafiz:
From Quran & Hadith

From the root h-f-z which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to preserve, guard, protect, to keep, retain, take care of, tend to, prevent from perishing, or becoming lost, to be watchful, mindful, attentive, and vigilant.

The name al-Hafiz (other common transliterations include al-Hafeez or al-Hafeedh) and it appears for a total of six times throughout the Qur'an. This is a powerful name to show trust in Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ. Every parent dropping their kids off at school, every person caught in the midst of a war or dangerous situation, or if you're entrusting something valuable with someone else; the attribute of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ you need to know is that He is al-Hafiz.

There are different aspects of this name we can explore. Imam al-Ghazali writes the first is, "perpetuating the existence of existing things and sustaining them, the opposite of which is annihilation."

"So exalted is Allah when you reach the evening and when you reach the morning. And to Him is [due all] praise throughout the heavens and the earth. And [exalted is He] at night and when you are at noon. He brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and brings to life the earth after its lifelessness. And thus will you be brought out." (Qur'an 30:17-19)

Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ has perfected the balance of the elements and instilled self-preservation within all creation. All things are instinctually guided, this is how birds know to migrate south for the winter, how bees can travel 12km away from the hive and find their way back, how salmons return to the same river bank they were born to lay their eggs despite having traveled hundreds to thousands of miles away in the vast ocean. It's jaw-dropping to consider how different elements that are at odds with one another (e.g, hot and cold, dryness and wetness) exist under our skin in the perfect balance because Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ has reconciled them to be that way. The human body is a powerful self regulating system. If you look at the average body temperature in humans, it exists within a small range of 36.1 C - 37.2 C. Same is true of our blood pH level, hovering around 7.35 to 7.45. The slightest diversion from this range can have very harmful effects. Yet within our body, the pH level of the acid in our stomach is 1.5-2.5. If this came in direct contact with your skin, it would burn a whole through your flesh. But Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ — great and glorious — made it so our stomach can safely house this acid for self-preservation to help eat and digest food.

فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا۟ فَقَدْ أَبْلَغْتُكُم مَّآ أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِۦٓ إِلَيْكُمْ ۚ وَيَسْتَخْلِفُ رَبِّى قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ وَلَا تَضُرُّونَهُۥ شَيْـًٔا ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّى عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ حَفِيظٌۭ

Fa in tawallaw faqad ablaghtukum maaa ursiltu biheee ilaikum; wa yastakhlifu Rabbee qawman ghairakum wa laa tadur roonahoo shai’aa; inna Rabbee ‘alaa kulli shai’in Hafeez

English Translation:
"But if they turn away, [say], “I have already conveyed that with which I was sent to you. My Lord will give succession to a people other than you, and you will not harm Him at all. Indeed my Lord is, over all things, Guardian.”" (Qur'an 11:57)

We are also told in the Qur'an by Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ that He will be the one to preserve and safeguard the Qur'an from any and all corruption.

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا ٱلذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَـٰفِظُونَ

Innaa Nahnu nazalnaz Zikra wa Innaa lahoo lahaa fizoon

English Translation:
"Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian." (Qur'an 15:9)

You may be familiar with the idea of reciting ayatul kursi if you're afraid and want some kind of protection. But why do we recite Ayatul kursi? What's special about this verse? In the tafsir of Abul Ala Maududi, "A fundamental fact about war – that victory and success do not depend upon superiority in either numbers or weapons – was then indicated. They depend rather on faith, fortitude, discipline and firm resolution." This is the idea that nothing can happen except by Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ permission. In moments of complete despair, when it looks like you can't win the battle because you're outnumbered - the one can grant you victory, provide protection, and give you comfort is Allah. Believe in Him, praise Him, call upon his attributes, "Ya Hafeedh, ya Maani’, ya Qawwiy, ya Aliyyul ‘Azeem" - "O Guardian, O Preventer of Harm, O Strong One, O Most High, the Most Great" and continue asking for whatever you wish, "guide us, forgive us, grant us a safe passage."

قَالَ هَلْ ءَامَنُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ إِلَّا كَمَآ أَمِنتُكُمْ عَلَىٰٓ أَخِيهِ مِن قَبْلُ ۖ فَٱللَّهُ خَيْرٌ حَـٰفِظًۭا ۖ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ ٱلرَّٰحِمِينَ

Qaala hal aamanukum ‘alaihi illaa kamaa amintukum ‘alaaa akheehi min qabl; fal laahu khairun haafizanw wa Huwa arhamur Raahimeen

English Translation:
"He said, “Should I entrust you with him except [under coercion] as I entrusted you with his brother before? But Allah is the best guardian, and He is the most merciful of the merciful.”" (Qur'an 12:64)

We can make du'a in any language, but the reason of reciting ayatul kursi is given in the hadith. narrated 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud: "Allah has not created in the heavens nor in the earth what is more magnificent than Ayat Al-Kursi." Sufyan said: "Because Ayat Al-Kursi is the Speech of Allah, and Allah's Speech is greater than Allah's creation of the heavens and the earth." [1] So, with this perspective let's review this magnificent verse.

ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡحَيُّ ٱلۡقَيُّومُۚ لَا تَأۡخُذُهُۥ سِنَةٞ وَلَا نَوۡمٞۚ لَّهُۥ مَا فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِۗ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِي يَشۡفَعُ عِندَهُۥٓ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِهِۦۚ يَعۡلَمُ مَا بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمَا خَلۡفَهُمۡۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيۡءٖ مِّنۡ عِلۡمِهِۦٓ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَۚ وَسِعَ كُرۡسِيُّهُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَۖ وَلَا يَـُٔودُهُۥ حِفۡظُهُمَاۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَلِيُّ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ

Allahu laaa ilaaha illaa Huwal Haiyul Qaiyoom; laa taakhuzuhoo sinatunw wa laa nawm; lahoo maa fissamaawaati wa maa fil ard; man zal lazee yashfa’u indahooo illaa bi-iznih; ya’lamu maa baina aydeehim wa maa khalfahum wa laa yuheetoona bishai’im min ‘ilmihee illaa bimaa shaaa’; wasi’a Kursiyyuhus samaawaati wal arda wa laa Ya’ooduhoo hifzuhumaa; wa Huwal Aliyyul ‘Azeem

English Translation:
"Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great." (Qur'an 2:255)

The verse does not explicitly state the name al-Hafeedh but mentions Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ as being watchful over "the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not." which encompasses the same attribute as al-Hafeedh.

By studying the name al-Hafeedh, it should inspire us to further rely upon Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ. We should seek to mimic this attribute in small ways, to give our best effort to memorize the Qur'an and become a Hafiz. This is probably too big of a task, so break it down and be a "preserver" of a few small surahs. Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Prophet ﷺ said: "The one who memorized the Qur'an shall come on the Day of Judgment and (the reward for reciting the Qur'an) says: 'O Lord! Decorate him." So he is donned with a crown of nobility. Then it says: "O Lord! Give him more!" So he is donned with a suit of nobility. Then it says: "O Lord! Be pleased with him.' So He is pleased with him and says: "Recite and rise up, and be increased in reward with every Ayah."" [2]

We must also try to preserve our deen. The Shaitan will try to pull us in many directions. He will encourage us to get angry about small things, to let down over here, and to give in to some temptations over there. We must actively fight in preserving our faith. We should also seek to preserve things that are encouraged in Islam, kindness to one another, love among community, to keep peace but fight against oppression and tyranny.

References:
[1] Sahih (Darussalam) Jami at-Tirmidhi 2884
[2] Hasan (Darussalam) Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2915

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