AL-HALEEM MEANING - 99 NAMES OF ALLAH:

32.

Al-Haleem

(The Clement One)

Al-Haleem Meaning:

The Forbearing, The All Magnanimous. The One who delays the punishment for those who deserve it as He may forgive them.

Allah is Al-Haleem (also spelt Al-Halim), the most serene, kind and gentle. He does not punish people for every sin. He tolerates and is most gracious and merciful. He is ever calm and deliberate, never acting hastily, even with the wrongdoers. He gives us the opportunity to learn and be kind.

Mentions of Al-Haleem:
From Quran & Hadith

From the root ha-lam-mim (ح ل م), which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to be forbearing, mild, lenient, clement, to be forgiving, gentle, deliberate to be leisurely in manner, not hasty, to be calm, serene, to manage one’s temper, to exhibit moderation.

In the Qur'an, the name al-Halim is mentioned 11 times. It is one of the names which emphasizes His compassion and mercy. Just imagine if Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ hastened to His punishment everytime someone erred. Although Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is capable, He does not act with anger or rush to harshness even if we're disobedient, rebellious, or mischievous.

وَلَوْ يُؤَاخِذُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّاسَ بِظُلْمِهِم مَّا تَرَكَ عَلَيْهَا مِن دَآبَّةٍۢ وَلَـٰكِن يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍۢ مُّسَمًّۭى ۖ فَإِذَا جَآءَ أَجَلُهُمْ لَا يَسْتَـْٔخِرُونَ سَاعَةًۭ ۖ وَلَا يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ

Wa law yu’aakhizul laahun naasa bizulminhim maa taraka ‘alaihaa min daaabbatinw wa laakiny yu’akhkhiruhum ilaaa ajalim musamman fa izaa jaaa’a ajaluhum laa yastaakhiroona saa’atanw wa laa yastaqdimoon

English Translation:
"And if Allah were to impose blame on the people for their wrongdoing, He would not have left upon the earth any creature, but He defers them for a specified term. And when their term has come, they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it]." — (Qur'an 16:61)

Now imagine if you had done something you know you shouldn't have and you were caught red-handed, but instead of being reprimanded, the judge chose to forgive you. Wouldn't you express immense gratitude? A sense of redemption would overtake your psyche, and you made a vow to never repeat the same mistake, to walk the straight path. This is the same way we should look at Allah's forbearance, He's patient with His verdict, and He keeps giving us second chances. But some think that they're getting away with it. They fall further and further away from the fold of Islam by repeating the same mistake and are not mindful of the final judgment that awaits them.

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا۟ مِنكُمْ يَوْمَ ٱلْتَقَى ٱلْجَمْعَانِ إِنَّمَا ٱسْتَزَلَّهُمُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ بِبَعْضِ مَا كَسَبُوا۟ ۖ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا ٱللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌۭ

Innal lazeena tawallaw minkum yawmal taqal jam’aani innamas tazallahumush Shaitaanu biba’di maa kasaboo wa laqad ‘afal laahu ‘anhum; innnal laaha Ghafoorun Haleem (section 16)

English Translation:
"Indeed, those of you who turned back on the day the two armies met, it was Satan who caused them to slip because of some [blame] they had earned. But Allah has already forgiven them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing." — (Qur'an 3:155)

وَلَوْ يُؤَاخِذُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّاسَ بِمَا كَسَبُوا۟ مَا تَرَكَ عَلَىٰ ظَهْرِهَا مِن دَآبَّةٍۢ وَلَـٰكِن يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍۢ مُّسَمًّۭى ۖ فَإِذَا جَآءَ أَجَلُهُمْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِعِبَادِهِۦ بَصِيرًۢا

Wa law yu’aakhizul laahun naasa bima kasaboo maa taraka ‘alaa zahrihaa min daaabbatinw wa laakiny yu’akhkhiruhum ilaaa ajalim musamman fa izaa jaaa’a ajaluhum fa innal laaha kaana bi’ibaadihee Baseeraa (section 5)

English Translation:
"And if Allah were to impose blame on the people for what they have earned, He would not leave upon the earth any creature. But He defers them for a specified term. And when their time comes, then indeed Allah has ever been, of His servants, Seeing." — (Qur'an 35:45)

قَوۡلٞ مَّعۡرُوفٞ وَمَغۡفِرَةٌ خَيۡرٞ مِّن صَدَقَةٖ يَتۡبَعُهَآ أَذٗىۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَنِيٌّ حَلِيمٞ

Qawlum ma’roofunw wa maghfiratun khairum min sadaqatiny yatba’uhaaa azaa; wallaahu Ghaniyyun Haleem

English Translation:
"Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing." — (Qur'an 2:263)

تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتُ ٱلسَّبْعُ وَٱلْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ ۚ وَإِن مِّن شَىْءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِۦ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًۭا

Tusabbihu lahus samaawaatus sab’u wal ardu wa man feehinn; wa im min shai’in illaa yusabbihu bihamdihee wa laakil laa tafqahoona tasbeehahum; innahoo kaana Haleeman Ghafooraa

English Translation:
"The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allah] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving." — (Qur'an 17:44)

This pairing of names of both al-Haleem and al-Ghaffur is an important one to highlight. His forbearance does not mean He waits to punish those who sin. He allows us the chance to learn and grow, and we must not forget that He loves to forgive as He is the most forgiving. Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger ﷺ having said: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them. [1]

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُمْسِكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ أَن تَزُولَا ۚ وَلَئِن زَالَتَآ إِنْ أَمْسَكَهُمَا مِنْ أَحَدٍۢ مِّنۢ بَعْدِهِۦٓ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًۭا

Innal laaha yumsikus samaawaati wal arda an tazoolaaa; wa la’in zaalataaa in amsa kahumaa min ahadim mim ba’dih; innahoo kaana Haleeman Ghafooraa

English Translation:
"Indeed, Allah holds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease. And if they should cease, no one could hold them [in place] after Him. Indeed, He is Forbearing and Forgiving." — (Qur'an 35:41)

A believer benefits from knowing Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ as al-Haleem. We realize that we can share this quality of this name to grow our character and be known as haleem. We take from the example mentioned in the Qur'an as it says, "inna Ibraaheema la awwaahun haleemm Surely, Ibrahim was most tender-hearted, God-fearing, forbearing." (Qur'an 9:114) Ibrahim (as) is described in the Qur'an as being awwaahun haleem. He loved His Father because He was tender-hearted. This is despite the fact his father cruelly persecuted him and was an "enemy to Allah," and died as a kafir (non-believer). Yet he remained compassionate and made du'a asking for His forgiveness until Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ commanded Him to stop. And so, in the Qur'an Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ recognized Ibrahim (as) as being haleem.

The names of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ do not describe a quality that is disliked in Himself. Rather, each name is beloved by Him, so if we have a share in it, it will please Him to see it emulated by His servant. At the root, al-Haleem is an attribute of His love. Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is not just the one who withholds punishment. He is patient just as a mother shows patience out of love for her children. Or like a good friend who knows your faults and your weaknesses. But they stick around and are genuinely concerned about what's best for you. We may push good friends away when we're doing wrong, but when that phase is over, they're still happy to help you with welcoming arms.

In the name al-Lateef, we mentioned a hadith, but we'll explore it a little further here. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ says to Aisha (ra): The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ says to Aisha (ra): "show gentleness, for if gentleness is found in anything, it beautifies it and when it is taken out from anything it damages it."" [2] Positive feedback loops are powerful, probably much more than we'd like to give them credit. Being generous with compliments, especially when observing good, can encourage more of that behavior. Imagine how destructive it would be to a child's development if you were negative or talked down on them whenever they sought praise. The kid would feel lost or helpless. They would struggle to do what's right. Their entire moral compass is derived from immediate feedback from the environment. The comments of "don't touch that" and the gentleness of "Masha-Allah, you did that!?" are very instructive. We should strive for gentleness in every instance as it has the power to beautify the situation, and when it's removed from the equation, it damages it. We think as adults, we're not prone to this, but we are. When the effort from the act of making dinner goes unappreciated or, worse, criticized, the pain can be piercing. It can make you question why you even tried in the first place (the answer one can always find solace in is for Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ). At work, when the boss sincerely appreciates the work you've put in, it's rewarding. It beautifies the workspace, and we're happy to show up the next day. Even in a sport like basketball - hearing and seeing the ball swishing through the net is the gentleness that makes the player want to take the next shot.

[1] Sahih Muslim 2749
[2]Sahih (Al-Albani) Sunan Abi Dawud 4808

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