(The Preserver)

Al-Kabeer Meaning:

The Most Great, The Great, The One who is greater than everything in status.

Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is Al-Kabeer (in Arabic: ٱلْكَبِيرُ), the perfection of greatness. The heart of the believer knows Allah is the essence of perfection and nothing is comparable to him. His greatness is beyond measure and his being is unimaginable to the human mind.

Mentions of Al-Kabir:
From Quran & Hadith

From the root k-b-r which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to be great in rank, dignity, nobility, majesty to be great in size, vast, formidable to be great in age, oldest to be great in learning, most knowing to have rights above all others.

In Arabic the word kabir (كبير) is used by modern Arabic speakers to describe something great, big or large often in physical sense. The usage of the definite article "al" before the name is demonstrative of being THE biggest or THE greatest. But with Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ this is not limited just in a physical sense. Th name al-Kabir is often used in tandem with al-Aliyy (the most high) likely to illustrate that Allah is great in all respects, greater than any mental constructs we may have of Him.

ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلْحَقُّ وَأَنَّ مَا يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ ٱلْبَـٰطِلُ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْكَبِيرُ

Zaalika bi annal laaha Huwal Haqqu wa anna maa yad’oona min doonihil baatilu wa annal laaha Huwal ‘Aliyyul Kabeer (section 3)

English Translation:
"That is because Allah is the Truth, and that what they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allah is the Most High, the Grand." (Qur'an 31:30)

وَلَا تَنفَعُ ٱلشَّفَـٰعَةُ عِندَهُۥٓ إِلَّا لِمَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُۥ ۚ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا فُزِّعَ عَن قُلُوبِهِمْ قَالُوا۟ مَاذَا قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا۟ ٱلْحَقَّ ۖ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْكَبِيرُ

Wa laa tanfa’ush shafaa’atu ‘indahooo illaa liman azina lah; hattaaa izaa fuzzi’a ‘an quloobihim qaaloo maazaa qaala Rabbukum; qaalul haqq, wa Huwal ‘Aliyul Kabeer

English Translation:
"And intercession does not benefit with Him except for one whom He permits. [And those wait] until, when terror is removed from their hearts, they will say [to one another], “What has your Lord said?” They will say, “The truth.” And He is the Most High, the Grand." (Qur'an 34:23)

عَـٰلِمُ ٱلْغَيْبِ وَٱلشَّهَـٰدَةِ ٱلْكَبِيرُ ٱلْمُتَعَالِ

‘Aalimul Ghaibi wash shahaadatil Kaabeerul Muta’aal

English Translation:
"[He is] Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, the Grand, the Exalted." (Qur'an 13:9)

The name al-Kabir appears a total of six times in the Qur'an. It's also an attribute of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ you're used to hearing on an everyday basis. In the call to prayer (i.e., the adhan) we say, Allahu Akabar meaning "Allah is greater." In this contains the importance of salah time, to stop all that you're doing when the adhan comes on and hayya alas salah meaning "come to prayer." Why? Because God is greater - He is greater than whatever else may be preoccupying your time.

Although the last verse of Surah Jumuah is mentioned specifically for Jumuah prayer, the message remains true for all your prayers, "O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew." It's only befitting that the next part in the adhan mentions, hayya alal falah "come to success". Narrated `Abdullah: I asked the Prophet (ﷺ) "Which deed is the dearest to Allah?" He replied, "To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times." [1]

ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلْحَقُّ وَأَنَّ مَا يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِۦ هُوَ ٱلْبَـٰطِلُ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْكَبِيرُ

Zaalika bi annal laaha Huwal haqqu wa anna maa yad’oona min doonihee huwal baatilu wa annal laaha Huwal ‘Aliyyul kabeer

English Translation:
"That is because Allah is the Truth, and that which they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allah is the Most High, the Grand." (Qur'an 22:62)

This name is also a reminder to check our egos and to be humble because we know Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is superior. Those who directly challenge Him will be among the losers. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Allah, the Glorified, says: ‘Pride / Grandeur is My cloak and greatness My robe, and whoever competes with Me with regard to either of them, I shall throw him into Hell.’” [2] Even those who don't directly challenge Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ but are narcissistic and have a delusional sense of self-worth - they may bully, humiliate and berate others but will be faced Allah's vengeance. We are all created equal in the sight of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ, the better one is determined by moral excellence. In the Qur'an Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ says, "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted." (Qur'an 49:13)

Mu'sab b. Sa'd reported on the authority of his father that a desert Arab came to Allah's Messenger ﷺ and said to him: Teach me the words which I should (often) utter. He said: Utter, [3]

لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ كَبِيرًا وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ كَثِيرًا سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ لاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ

la 'ilah 'iila alllah wahdah la sharik lah alllah 'akbar kabiran walhamd lillah kathiran subhan alllah rabb alealamin la hawl wala quwwat 'iila bialllah aleaziz alhakim

"There is no god but Allah, the One, having no partner with Him. Allah is the Greatest of the great and all praise is due to Him. Hallowed be Allah, the Lord of the worlds, there is no Might and Power but that of Allah, the All-Powerful and the Wise."

Another way a believer benefits in knowing Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is al-Kabeer is acknowledging and respecting the beauty that is you. If we understand the superlative that Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is the highest and greatest than it must be that everything that comes from Him must be perfect and great in it's own respect. Whether or not we recognize and accept our beauty and our greatness is a different question altogether. To begin transforming self-loathing to self-loving has to do with reprogramming the story that's been conditioned in your psyche and reworking it. It takes some believing and trust to attach a new story to take it's place, and who's word is greater to follow and trust than al-Kabir?

In the Qur'an Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ mentions His creation as being molded perfectly, "It is Allah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling and formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord; then blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds." (Qur'an 40:64) and also, "We have certainly created man in the best of stature;" Qur'an 95:4 Would you refute Him, saying, "look, I respect your opinion but I am objectively ugly. See my left eye is slightly bigger than my right!" It may seem ridiculuous but we are all guilty of doing this in some fashion. This is probably even more exaggerated today because of high beauty standards pushed on social media.

Another beautiful ayat we should reflect over from the Qur'an, "You now see the mountains and consider them firmly fixed, but then they shall pass away even as clouds pass away. That will be the handiwork of Allah Who has created everything with perfect wisdom. He is well aware of what you do." (Qur'an 27:88) This world is temporary, things that may seem firmly fixed will pass, if we accept this and let go of any emotional attachments and see how we're created by the one who has perfect wisdom we can experience inner peace and acceptance. This then converts to finding or unlocking many moments happiness as you're filled with appreciation and gratitude. It's okay to have some anxiety and be critical if you're not doing the things you feel you're supposed to be doing. But do not be overtly critical to the point it's self-harming which serves no purpose and may actually hinder your progress. It's possible to balance being critical and constructive at the same time.

Just as Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ spreads His perfection through his creation, we should work to perfect ourselves in as many disciplines as possible. Emotional temperance, knowledge, deen, love, family, friendships, etc. From our direction to strive for perfection, we'll naturally emanate greatness outwardly which insha-Allah will help inspire others to perfect themselves - and so the cycle continues.

[1] Sahih al-Bukhari 527
[2] Hasan (Darussalam) Sunan Ibn Majah 4174 & Sahih (Al-Albani) Sunan Abi Dawud 4090
[3] Sahih Muslim 2696

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