(The Restricting One)

Al-Qabid Meaning:

The Constrictor, The Withholder. 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.

Allah is Al-Qaabid 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.

Mentions of Al-Qabid:
From Quran & Hadith

From the root q-b-d 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.

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. In Surah Baqarah verse 245:

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."

Note, however, that as a name al-Qabid, there is no explicit mention in the Qur'an. This attribute or quality of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is described in the Qur'an and the Hadith literature.

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 transform any 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, empathetic, and wise and will climb to greater heights they never could've imagined. Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ knows best.

The perfection in meaning is 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 see the full picture. 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).

In Arabic qabd also 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 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, gives lavishly 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]

We can benefit from knowing al-Qabid and al-Basit. We can use these names in supplication, asking Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ to expand our hearts to be reminded in remembrance of Allah. 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.

"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)

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

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

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