(The Restricting One)

Al-Qabid Meaning:

The Constrictor, The Withholder, The Restrainer.

Allah is Al-Qabid meaning whatever He wills comes to be. He is the one who enriches and makes poor. Al-Qabid decides to withhold something or to make it scarce. He is the taker of all souls at the time of death, and He stretches His hand out to the believers so that they may turn to him and repent. He is the one who constricts sustenance, our lives, and our hearts. The opposite, Al-Basit is the one who expands and widens it with His Generosity and Mercy.

Mentions of Al-Qabid:
From Quran & Hadith

Arabic Root:
From the root qaf-ba-dad (ق ب ض), which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to take in the hand, clutch, lay hold of to grasp, grip, seize, hold firmly to have absolute ownership of something, barter to contract, shrink, draw together, make scanty, make scarce to contract the heart, i.e., distress, depression, lack of joy.

Al-Qabid and Al-Basit:
The names Al-Qabid and Al-Basit are often mentioned together for juxtaposition. It emphasizes how Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ can be both the constrictor (Al-Qabid) and the one who expands something (Al-Basit). This is a display of how Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ, in His infinite wisdom, gives or withhold to whomever He pleases.

مَّن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يُقْرِضُ ٱللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًۭا فَيُضَـٰعِفَهُۥ لَهُۥٓ أَضْعَافًۭا كَثِيرَةًۭ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْصُۜطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

Man zal lazee yuqridul laaha qardan hasanan fayudaa ‘ifahoo lahoo ad’aafan kaseerah; wallaahu yaqbidu wa yabsutu wa ilaihi turja’oon

English Translation:
"Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over? And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned." — (Qur'an 2:245)

Among the disputed names:
Note, the name Al-Qabid, there is no explicit mention in the Qur'an. However, as an attribute or quality of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ its been described in the Qur'an and the Hadith literature.

What it means for Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ to withold:
Just as food is good, but being over-indulgent is unhealthy and can be destructive, leading to many complications down the road. Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ may withhold His provisions based on His superior knowledge. In the Qur'an, it says, "And if Allah had extended [excessively] provision for His servants, they would have committed tyranny throughout the earth. But He sends [it] down in an amount which He wills. Indeed He is, of His servants, Acquainted and Seeing." (Qur'an 42:27)

It is difficult, but if we go through a period of constriction, we should find peace as Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ knows best. We can always uncover some good in the bad. We are brought down to earth, and we are humbled. By switching our narrative, we can help transform a tragedy into an opportunity. If we see this period of our life as a test, we can behave in a manner that Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ would love to see His servant respond. For example, strive harder in worship, show sabr (patience), seek to do good deeds, help others, and take care of yourself. Perhaps these tough times are necessary to create future leaders who are more resilient, grounded, empathetic, and wise. Passing the test can allow one to climb to greater heights they never could've imagined. And Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ knows best.

But it's also important to note there are no limitations put upon Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ. He is the master. He can constrict whatever He wills for whomever, howsoever. All of creation exists because of Him, and it's under His control. He can dispose of His dominion however He wishes. It is not up to us to judge whether a thing is good or bad. Whatever Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ wills is good since it's from Him. He's not limited in what He can do — this goes back to the attributes of power, control, and supreme authority.

The divine pairing with Al-Qabid:
As we discussed previously, the perfection in meaning is best understood through viewing the names in pairs as they occur. This is the consensus among scholars, especially when the Names of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ are opposite in meaning. We should try our best to recite them in a similar manner as to avoid any perceived negative connotation. These names include Al-Qabid (The Constrictor) & Al-Basit (The Extender), Al-Awwal (The Very First from Eternity) & Al-Akhir (The very Last for Eternity), and Az-Zaahir (The Perceptible) & Al-Baatin (The Imperceptible), Al-Mu'izz (The Honourer-Bestower) & Al-Mudhill (The Abaser).

In Arabic qabd means to clench, to grasp, or to seize whereas bast refers to openness. Think closed hand versus open hand, to withhold and to give.

Allah will say, 'Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one (gold) Dinar.' Allah will forbid the Fire to burn the faces of those sinners. They will go to them and find some of them in Hell (Fire) up to their feet, and some up to the middle of their legs. So they will take out those whom they will recognize and then they will return, and Allah will say (to them), 'Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one half Dinar.' They will take out whomever they will recognize and return, and then Allah will say, 'Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant), and so they will take out all those whom they will recognize." Abu Sa'id said: If you do not believe me then read the Holy Verse: 'Surely! Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant) but if there is any good (done) He doubles it.' (Qur'an 4:40) The Prophet added, "Then the prophets and Angels and the believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (Allah) will say, 'Now remains My Intercession. He will then hold a handful (the word used here قَبْضَةً - qabdatan meaning hold, grip, grab) of the Fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of Paradise, called the water of life. [1]

In another hadith narration, Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The people said: Messenger of Allah, prices have shot up, so fix prices for us. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Allah is the one Who fixes prices, withholds (the word used here is الْقَابِضُ - alqabid), gives lavishly (the word used here is الْبَاسِطُ - albasit) and provides, and I hope that when I meet Allah, none of you will have any claim on me for an injustice regarding blood or property. [2]

The believer benefits from knowing Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is both Al-Qabid and Al-Basit. We can use these names in our supplication, asking Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ to expand our hearts to be reminded in remembrance of Him. We can call upon these names for rizq as they are closely related. But remember the natural laws of contraction and expansion. We should not be overtly excited for the good provision and not be deeply saddened in times of constraint. Accept both as they come and always be grateful to Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ for what remains. Whatever happens, do not rush to conclusions and say whether it is good or bad, but say it's from Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ and He knows best.

ٱللَّهُ يَبۡسُطُ ٱلرِّزۡقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَقۡدِرُۚ وَفَرِحُواْ بِٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَمَا ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا فِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ إِلَّا مَتَٰعٞ

Allaahu yabsutur rizqa limai yashaaa’u wa yaqdir; wa farihoo bilhayaatid dunyaa wa mal hayaatud dunya fil Aakhirati illaa mataa’ (section 3)

English Translation:
"Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment." — (Qur'an 13:26)

In the tafsir of Maududi, this verse refutes the disbelievers of Makkah, "They judged a man's worth by his wealth and worldly prosperity and not by his faith and righteous conduct. [...] Allah gives His provision to the people abundantly or sparingly for reasons different from those which they presumed and richness or poverty is no criterion by which to judge the worth of people. The real criterion of judging the worth of people is their beliefs and deeds."

فَإِنَّ مَعَ ٱلۡعُسۡرِ يُسۡرًا

Fa inna ma’al usri yusra

English Translation:
"For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease." — (Qur'an 94:5)

[1] Sahih al-Bukhari 7439
[2] Sahih (Al-Albani) Sunan Abi Dawud 3451

skip_previous play_arrow skip_next