AL-HAYY MEANING - 99 NAMES OF ALLAH:

62.

Al-Hayy

(The Ever-Living)

Al-Hayy Meaning:

The Living, The Alive, The Everlasting.

Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is Al-Hayy (in Arabic ٱلْحَىُّ), the One who is undying and will be forever. He is perfect and not subject to death or sickness. He is eternally whole and sound whom all life arises from.

Mentions of Al-Hayy:
From Quran & Hadith

From the three letter root h-y-y, which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to live, to be living, to become apparent, distinct to animate, to revive, to vitalize, to call into being, to be whole, sound to call, summon, invite, hasten.

As we discussed in the previous two names, Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is al-Muhyi meaning, the giver of life and al-Mumeet, the bringer of death. This name, al-Hayy describes the quality of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ as being ever-living. There is no beginning and end, Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ just is. There are many other layers to the name al-Hayy and we'll cover them in great detail. (1) Has already been mentioned and discussed extensively throughout the previous names covered, it's His essence to be everlasting. (2) The second quality is the perfection of His life. (3) The third quality is being the source of life.

What does it mean to be living? Being alive requires some kind of perception. The scientific definition of life includes the response to external stimuli, which means you can respond to the surrounding environment (e.g., light, sound, or touch). If a thing does not perceive at all, it is said to not be living/dead. Imam al-Ghazali further states that the one who is conscious of itself is at the lowest level of perception.

In comparison, Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is the most perceptive. He is as-Sami (the all-hearing) and al-Baseer (the all-seeing). There is nothing that escapes His knowledge as He is aware of all activity. In this sense, it can be said He is the absolutely living. This transcends all creation, not just in the sense of being everlasting, but in terms of what it means to be perfect in living. His life is perfection; it is not touched by sickness, weakness, or any kind of deficiency. Absence does not precede, nor does death follow after it. For example, in Surah Baqarah verse 255, more popularly knowns as Ayatul Kursi, Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ says:

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)

This is just one of five instances in the Qur'an where the name al-Hayy is mentioned.

ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْحَىُّ ٱلْقَيُّومُ

Allaahu laaa ilaaha illaa Huwal Haiyul Qaiyoom

English Translation:
"Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence." (Qur'an 3:2)

وَعَنَتِ ٱلْوُجُوهُ لِلْحَىِّ ٱلْقَيُّومِ ۖ وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ حَمَلَ ظُلْمًۭا

Wa ‘anatil wujoohu lil Haiiyil Qaiyoomi wa qad khaaba man hamala zulmaa

English Translation:
"And [all] faces will be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. And he will have failed who carries injustice." (Qur'an 20:111)

وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى ٱلْحَىِّ ٱلَّذِى لَا يَمُوتُ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِهِۦ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِهِۦ بِذُنُوبِ عِبَادِهِۦ خَبِيرًا

Wa tawakkal ‘alal Haiyil lazee laa yamootu wa sabbih bihamdih; wa kafaa bihee bizunoobi ‘ibaadihee khabeeraa

English Translation:
"And rely upon the Ever-Living who does not die, and exalt [Allah] with His praise. And sufficient is He to be, with the sins of His servants, Acquainted –" (Qur'an 25:58)

هُوَ ٱلْحَىُّ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَٱدْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ ۗ ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

Huwal Hayyu laaa ilaaha illaa Huwa fad’oohu mukh liseena lahud-deen; alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘aalameen

English Translation:
"He is the Ever-Living; there is no deity except Him, so call upon Him, [being] sincere to Him in religion. [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds." (Qur'an 40:65)

Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ essence is living. He is the one responsible for all creation. There would be no life without His willingness to allow it. So we recognize Him as being the only source we should turn to and rely upon for our sustenance. In fact, whenever the Prophet ﷺ was stressed, He used to call upon the two names, Ya Hayyu, Ya Qayyum (i.e., the subsisting, the self-sustaining).

Anas bin Malik said:"Whenever a matter would distress him, the Prophet (ﷺ) would say: 'O Living, O Self-Sustaining Sustainer! In Your Mercy do I seek relief (Ya hayyu ya Qayyum, bi-rahmatika astaghith).’” And with this chain, that he said: "The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: 'Be constant with: "O Possessor of Majesty and Honor (Ya Dhal-Jalali wal-Ikram).'" [1]

In another hadith, it mentions a second du'a which also includes the recitation of these two names. Narrated Anas ibn Malik: I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and a man was offering prayer. He then made supplication: O Allah, I ask Thee by virtue of the fact that praise is due to Thee, there is no deity but Thou, Who showest favour and beneficence, the Originator of the Heavens and the earth, O Lord of Majesty and Splendour, O Living One (ya hayyu), O Eternal One (ya-qayyum). The Prophet ﷺ then said: He has supplicated Allah using His Greatest Name, when supplicated by this name, He answers, and when asked by this name He gives.[2]

It is conferred from the last hadith that the greatest names of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ may be al-Hayy and al-Qayyum. This is consistent with another narration by Al-Qasim, who said: The Greatest Name of Allah, if He is called by which He will respond, is in three Surah: Al-Baqarah, Al Imran and Ta-Ha. (Hasan) Another chain for something similar from Al-Qasim, from Abu Umamah, from the Prophet (ﷺ). [3] There is another view that Allah may be the greatest name of all, and the case for that is because it is mentioned 2698 times throughout the Qur'an, way more than any other name. Regardless, it is not a worthwhile pursuit to view the names of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ as being hierarchical and trying to determine their rank. Instead, we should follow the advice given in the Qur'an, "And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them." (7:180) The emphasis of the hadith could be that the invocation of these names in our du'a hold extra weight or reward for the believer, especially when said in a time of distress when you rely on Him most.

The continuation of Islam:
There is an important message worth reiterating here from the hadith. You could imagine after the death of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ some people whose faith hadn't been fully nourished yet felt disconnected. They listened to Prophet Muhamamd for his leadership and guidance and when he returned to Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ they felt lost. In Surah al-Imran ayah 144 it reminds all of us, "Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]?" Abu Bakr (the first caliphate to succeed Prophet Muhammad ﷺ) came to His funeral prayer.

Narrated Aisha (ra): Abu Bakr came riding his horse from his dwelling place in As-Sunh. He got down from it, entered the Mosque and did not speak with anybody till he came to me and went direct to the Prophet, who was covered with a marked blanket. Abu Bakr uncovered his face. He knelt down and kissed him and then started weeping and said, "My father and my mother be sacrificed for you, O Allah's Prophet! Allah will not combine two deaths on you. You have died the death which was written for you." Narrated Abu Salama from Ibn Abbas: Abu Bakr came out and Umar, was addressing the people, and Abu Bakr told him to sit down but Umar refused. Abu Bakr again told him to sit down but Umar again refused. Then Abu Bakr recited the Tashah-hud (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Messenger ﷺ and the people attended to Abu Bakr and left Umar. Abu Bakr said, "Amma ba'du, whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead, but whoever worshipped Allah, Allah is alive (al-hayy) and will never die. [here ayah 3:144 was recited] (The narrator added, "By Allah, it was as if the people never knew that Allah had revealed this verse before till Abu Bakr recited it and then whoever heard it, started reciting it.") [4]

This can be a very instructive lesson for parents with children. In the same sense, they are guardians/leaders over their children, teaching them Islam just as the Prophet ﷺ taught the sahabah. Sometimes children don't understand or become disconnected from the fact that worship is for Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ and not for seeking parental approval - or in some cases, avoiding parental punishment. Once the parents passes away or if the children grow up, get married and move away, they should remember that it is al-Hayy, the ever-living, that they're seeking approval from.

References:
[1] Hasan (Darussalam) Jami at-Tirmidhi 3524
[2] Sahih (Al-Albani) Sunan Abi Dawud 1495
[3] Hasan (Darussalam) Jami at-Tirmidhi 3524
[4] Sahih al-Bukhari 1241

skip_previous play_arrow skip_next
0:00/0:00
volume_up

Free 99 Names of Allah Course

Join us for our email series, three times a week.

Jazakallah Khairan! Check your inbox!