(The Dominant One)

The One who is clear from the attributes of the creatures and from resembling them.

Al-Mutakabbir (in Arabic: ٱلْمُتَكَبِّرُ) means the supremely great one. He is exalted far above all creation. He has rights and privileges, and attributes that others do not have. He is truly great and manifests this greatness in all things and many ways.

Mentions of Al-Mutakabbir:
From Quran & Hadith

From the root k-b-r, which in Classical Arabic means: to be great in size, rank or dignity to be great in size, to be vast, formidable to be great in age, oldest to be great in dignity, noble, majestic to be great in learning, most known to have rights above all others.

Common translations of al-Mutakabbir include "The All Supreme," "The Proud," "The Dominant One," and "The Great." These are all valid and acceptable interpretations of the name. This name shows there is a vast distinction between Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ and all His creation. Everything pales in comparison. Thus, He is the supreme, the proud, the dominant one. He is the king of kings, we are all his servants unworthy of consideration in relation to Him.

هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْمَلِكُ ٱلْقُدُّوسُ ٱلسَّلَـٰمُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُ ٱلْمُهَيْمِنُ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْجَبَّارُ ٱلْمُتَكَبِّرُ ۚ سُبْحَـٰنَ ٱللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

Huwal-laahul-lazee laaa Ilaaha illaa Huwal-Malikul Quddoosus-Salaamul Muminul Muhaiminul-‘aAzeezul Jabbaarul-Mutakabbir; Subhaanal laahi ‘Ammaa yushrikoon

"He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him." (Surah Hashr ayah 23)

The idea behind the name of al-Mutakabbir, meaning "The Proud," is because Allah alone possesses greatness; no one can compete with Him. Abu Sa'id Khudri and Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: Glory is His lower garment and Majesty is His cloak and (Allah says,) He who contends with Me in regard to them I shall torment him. [1] Now, if you were the best in a particular field or sport, we're talking complete domination; no one comes close to winning. Wouldn't you feel proud of your skills and achievements? The danger lies in those who had success, believing their superiority (e.g., think Firawn, who likened himself to a God).

Where are all the caesars and dictators? What empires still stand that honor, worship, and praise them daily? Their pride became arrogance based on faulty presumptions. They believed they had no one to answer to, "Thus does Allah seal over every heart [belonging to] an (mutakabbirin jabbaar) arrogant tyrant." (40:35) In the tafsir of Abul-Maududi it says of this verse, "the seal is not set on the heart of anybody without a reason. This seal of curse is set only on the heart of the one who is filled with arrogance and spirit of violence and tyranny." In another ayah, "But Moses said, “Indeed, I have sought refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant one who does not believe in the Day of Account." (40:27)

A lesson to be learned is as you grow skilled in a field, it's natural that you'd get more confident. But when you start to think of yourself as an expert, you make yourself vulnerable, "it's the strong swimmers who drown." It's the strong swimmers who take more risks and, as a result, face fatal accidents. It's too late for them, and their fate is sealed. Similarly, what's better for the believer is to focus on finding the truth, to avoid being arrogant in thinking they already know. The human condition is a desire to expand, to be great, to have power. It's hard to renounce all things. If you could, that would be better. But if you do decide to take the route of wanting praise, recognition, and respect from those around you, do so in the right context. Be deserving of it, do something ambitious that is also righteous to garner that kind of attention. But do not then develop a sense of superiority, thinking you are grand or better than the next person. The reason for your success is Allah because of سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ, to not recognize it would be a grave error, so stay humble.

In another light, al-Mutakabbir is also the one we can lean on when we are faced with an obstacle that seems insurmountable. It's a name that should inspire hope and optimism because "If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you;" (Qur'an 3:160)

[1] Sahih (Al-Albani) Sunan Abi Dawud 4090 & Sahih Muslim 2620

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