AS-SAMAD MEANING - 99 NAMES OF ALLAH:

68.

As-Samad

(The Eternal)

As-Samad Meaning:

The Everlasting, The Master, The Self-Sufficient.

Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is As-Samad (in Arabic: ٱلْصَّمَدُ), meaning He is the one whom refuge is sought in times of adversity. He is eternal, whole and complete. There is no emptiness.

Mentions of As-Samad:
From Quran & Hadith

From the root sad mim dāl (ص م د) which occurs only once in the Qur'an. It has the following classical Arabic connotations: to endeavor, to reach or attain something, to turn to, to need, to direct oneself toward, or aim toward something, to set up, to erect something, to be impenetrable, solid, to remain unaffected, unchanged, to be sublime, and everlasting.

There are several meanings of As-Samad. We've covered some of these aspects in the previous names, so less time will be spent here elaborating on those qualities. The first is the idea of self-sustaining, self-sufficiency, and being independent of all things (see also #63, Al-Qayyum). The name is mentioned in Surah Ikhlas shortly after being told that Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is Al-Ahad (The Unique / The Sole One). These names come together to paint a picture that He is alone, indivisible, and unique. There is no deity outside of Him who we can sufficiently rely upon. The nature of creation is neediness, so we turn to the one absolutely free of needs and depend on no one else. He alone is enough for the believer. All our troubles, needs, and wants are handled perfectly in the care of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ.

Also note, this name or attribute of being Samad is only applicable for Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ.

قُلْ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ أَحَدٌ
ٱللَّهُ ٱلصَّمَدُ

Qul huwal laahu ahad
Allah hus-samad

English Translation:
"Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge." — (Qur'an 112:1-2)

The other common interpretation of As-Samad is the master who has complete control. "Ibn Abbas, 'He is the Master Who is perfect in His sovereignty, the Most Noble Who is perfect in His nobility, the Most Magnificent Who is perfect in His magnificence, the Most Forbearing Who is perfect in His forbearance, the All-Knowing Who is perfect in His knowledge, and the Most Wise Who is perfect in His wisdom. He is the One Who is perfect in all aspects of nobility and authority. He is Allah, glory be unto Him. These attributes are not befitting anyone other than Him. He has no coequal and nothing is like Him. Glory be to Allah, the One, the Irresistible.'" [1]

From the Study Qur'an, it mentions As-Samad "lexical, non-theological meaning indicates something solid and impenetrable or simply 'not hollow.'" It then describes theologically As-Samad as being interpreted by some as "an allusion to the primary or initial cause of all things, an eternally self-sufficient, independent being who continues to exist after His creation has ceased to exist the one who has and always will be."

Abdullah bin Buraidah Al Aslami narrated from his father, who said: “The Prophet ﷺ heard a man supplicating, and he was saying: ‘O Allah, indeed, I ask you by my testifying that You are Allah, there is none worthy of worship except You, the One, As-Samad, the one who does not beget, nor was begotten, and there is none who is like Him (Allahumma inni as’aluka bi annī ashhadu annaka antallāh, la ilaha illa ant, al-ahadus-samad, alladhi lam yalid wa lam yūlad, wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad).” He said: “So he said: ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, he has asked Allah by His Greatest Name, the one which if He is called upon by it, He responds, and when He is asked by it, He gives.’” [2]

The believer benefits from knowing that Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is As-Samad. No one but Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ could fulfill all our needs, so we turn to Him and ask for His mercy. Ibn Abbas was privileged to be so young and to have accepted Islam so early. He had immediate access to the Prophet ﷺ who would often give him advice. So one day, he was praying behind the Prophet ﷺ, the Prophet ﷺ turned to him told him the following. "He said: 'O boy! I will teach you a statement: Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you. When you ask, ask Allah, and when you seek aid, seek Allah's aid. Know that if the entire creation were to gather together to do something to benefit you - you would never get any benefit except that Allah had written for you. And if they were to gather to do something to harm you - you would never be harmed except that Allah had written for you. The pens are lifted and the pages are dried.'" [3]

For all our needs, be it spiritual, physical, or material - the source is Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ who As-Samad, the eternal refuge. We should never feel as though we are asking for too much and limit our asking, this would be an insult to Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ who is Ar-Razzaq (The Provider). Any restriction you put in your du'a is a reflection of a self-imposed limitation of what you believe is possible for yourself. Thabit narrated from Anas, who said, “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Let one of you ask his Lord for his every need, even until he asks Him for the strap of his sandal when it breaks.’” [4]

Imam Zarruq writes of As-Samad as "the one whom people direct themselves to in respect of needs to be provided for." So the anthropomorphic realization of this divine attribute would be to become a person who people can turn to for help. Other people need us just as we need them. Seek the pleasure of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ by helping your fellow brother or sister. Be a source of comfort and assistance that benefits them. And remember, la hawla wala quwwata, "there is no might nor power except with Allah." All physical manifestation of help in this world comes from Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ.

References:
[1] Tafsir by Ibn Kathir | commentary of surah ikhlas ayah 2
[2] Sahih (Darussalam) Jami at-Tirmidhi 3475
[3] Hasan (Darussalam) Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2516
[4] Hasan (Darussalam) Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3604i

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