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Name of Allah: Al-Hayy – Al-Qayyum

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الحي القيوم
Al-Hayy – Al-Qayyum

These are two of Allah’s names that convey the perfection both of His attributes and of His actions.
The name “Al-Hayy” describes the perfection of His attributes and “Al-Qayyum” the perfection of His actions.

Al-Hayy:

The meaning of “Al-Hayy” is The One Who possesses the attribute of perfect living.
If we consider a human being’s life, we find it to be imperfect because it originates in non-existence and ends in death. It is also imperfect as far as a man’s attributes and actions are concerned. His hearing, sight, sayings and actions are all imperfect. As such, a man’s life is imperfect. However, as for Allah The Most Mighty and Majestic, His life is perfect, neither preceded by non existence nor coming to naught. Allah, The Most High, says:

قال الله تعالى: {كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ}

Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish, and the Face of your Rabb, full of Majesty and Honour, will remain forever.

Surah Ar-Rahman [55: 26-27]

“The true extent of Allah’s perfection lies not only in the fact that creation will perish, but also in the endless existence of Allah, The Most Mighty and Most Majestic. In addition, Allah’s life is one which is accompanied by neither annihilation nor nonexistence.” (1)

قال الله تعالى:{ۚ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَ}

Everything will perish except His Face.

Surah Al-Qasas [28:88]

و قال الله تعالى: {وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لَا يَمُوتُ} 

And put your hopes and reliance in The Ever Living, Who will never die.

Surah Al-Furqan [25:58]

Only Allah, The Ever Living, deserves to be worshipped. As for anyone alive now then they will perish and die. So how can one even think of worshipping something that is dead and cannot benefit itself anymore, let alone others?
How can you possibly put your hopes and your reliance in someone who will eventually die? And even during their life, false objects of worship are weak in every way: in their strength, knowledge, wisdom, sight, hearing, will and mercy. Instead, put your reliance and your hopes only in Allah, The Ever Living, Who will never die.

قال الله تعالى: {هُوَ الْحَيُّ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ ۗ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ}

He is The Ever Living, laa ilaaha illaa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He); so invoke Him, making your worship pure for Him Alone (by worshipping Him Alone and none else, by doing righteous deeds sincerely for Allah’s sake only, by not showing off, and by not setting up rivals with Him in worship). All praise and thanks be to Allah, The Lord of the ‘aalameen (mankind, jinn, and all that exists).

Surah Ghafir [40: 65]

Al-Qayyum:

The name “Al-Qayyum” means The One Who is established on His Own, The Self-Sustaining and
by Whom all things subsist. He sustains, protects, manages and runs the affairs of all things as He wills, in accordance with His knowledge, wisdom and justice.

قال الله تعالى: {أَفَمَنْ هُوَ قَائِمٌ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ}

Is then He (Allah) Who takes charge (guards, maintains, provides, etc.) of every person and knows all that he has earned (like any other deities who know nothing)? ِ

Surah Ar-Raʿd [13:33]

قال الله تعالى: { وَاللَّهُ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ}

And Allah is The Rich (free of all needs), Worthy of all praise.

Surah At-Taghabun [64:6]

“Allah is free of any need from all creation. He is Self-Sustaining. He needs neither food nor drink, for He is The One Who feeds but is not fed. He needs not a supporter, a helper, a deputy, or an advisor. He is established in perfection by Himself.” (2)

Allah is in no need of anyone or anything. Does Allah need his Throne? No, but the Throne needs Allah. Does Allah need the angels who hold the Throne? No, but the Angels need Allah. Allah is The Self-Sufficient, The All-Rich.

قال الله تعالى: {وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَن تَقُومَ السَّمَاءُ وَالْأَرْضُ بِأَمْرِهِ}

And among His signs is that the heaven and the earth stand by His command.

Surah Ar-Rum [30: 25]

قال الله تعالى: {إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُمْسِكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ أَن تَزُولَا ۚ وَلَئِن زَالَتَا إِنْ أَمْسَكَهُمَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ مِّن بَعْدِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا}

Indeed Allah holds the heavens and the earth from moving away from their places, and if they were to move away from their places, there is not one who can grasp them after Him. Truly He is The Most Forbearing, The Most Forgiving.

Surah Fatir [35: 41]

The heaven and the earth exist and remain in existence by His order and His will; Allah controls the entire creation.

قال الله تعالى:{أَفَمَنْ هُوَ قَائِمٌ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ ۗ وَجَعَلُوا لِلَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ قُلْ سَمُّوهُمْ}

Is then He (Allah) Who takes charge of every person and knows all that he has earned (like any other deities who know nothing)? Yet they ascribe partners to Allah. Say: “Name them! …”

Surah Ar-Raʿd [13:33]

Allah is The Sustainer of the heavens and the earth, yet the polytheists ascribed partners in worship to Him. So Allah challenged them: Name those whom you believe to be partners with Allah. This is an impossible challenge to meet. Can anyone name someone or something that actually share with Allah the ability of providing for you? Can this “partner” give life? Can he cure? Can he hold the heavens from falling? Is there, in reality, any partner with Allah that shares Allah’s attributes? Glorified is Allah, there could never be a partner! yet, they invent rivals to Him and they prostrate to them and supplicate to them instead of Allah.

When we see this shirk (polytheistic worship) in others, we need remind ourselves that Allah has granted us the greatest bounty, which is that He guided us to Tawhid: to single out Allah with all forms of worship, so that we can make all of our worship for Him alone. Similarly, He guided us to the bounty of knowing our Lord, our Creator, Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum, The Only One worthy of being worshipped.

How we can worship Allah according to our understanding of His names:
It is very important to understand the meanings of Allah’s names in order to be able to praise Him with these names and to supplicate to Him with the names that are relevant to your needs or to what we are asking for.
For example, when you ask for His forgiveness, you should ask Him by His name “The All-Forgiving” (Al-Ghafoor) and when you need money, you should ask Him by His name “The All-Provider” (Ar-Razzaq).
By understanding the meaning of Allah’s names Al-Hayy and al-Qayyum, we will be able to supplicate to Him truly from our hearts, knowing why we are asking Allah by these specific names.

Whenever the Prophet, peace be upon him, faced any hardship, he used to supplicate Allah with these two names, as reported by Anas bin Maalik who transmitted the Prophet’s supplication:

“كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا كربه أمر قال: يا حي يا قيوم برحمتك أستغيث”
“Yaa Hayy,Yaa Qayyum, I take refuge in Your mercy.” (3)

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said:

“His name “Al-Hayy” describes the attribute of life and includes all the perfect attributes of Allah’s Essence, such as hearing, sight and wisdom. His name “Al-Qayyum” includes all the perfect attributes of His actions, like creating, providing, curing and aiding. So you should ask Allah with His names Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum to restore any weakness in your life back to their best state, meaning any deficiencies in your health, sight, hearing or other aspect of your life. You should ask by these names, for example, to heal any pain which disrupts the completeness of your life and affects your abilities and actions, as well as to strengthen you.
The fact that the people of Paradise will enjoy a perfect life free of illness, pain and weakness is a result of Allah’s names Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum.

As for the life of your heart, ponder on the supplication the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, used to make:

قال صلى الله عليه و سلم:
“اللهم رب جبريل وميكائيل وإسرافيل فاطر السموات والأرض عالم الغيب والشهادة أنت تحكم بين عبادك فيما كانوا فيه يختلفون اهدني لما اختلف فيه من الحق بإذنك إنك تهدي من تشاء إلى صراط مستقيم” 

“O Allah, Lord of Jibril, Mikail and Israfil, Originator of the heavens and the earth, All-Knower of the seen and the unseen, You judge between Your slaves where they differed, guide me to the truth they differed in by Your will; You guide whomever You will to the correct path.” (4)

By which one of Allah’s attributes did the Prophet, peace be upon him, ask Him in this supplication? By the attribute of Life. He asked Him by His Lordship of the three honorable Angels whom Allah made responsible for the three types of lives:

  • The Angel Jibril was sent with the Revelation (the Quran), and this is the life of the hearts.
  • Mikail is responsible for the rain, which is the life of the land and the crops.
  • Israfil is responsible for blowing the Horn: This is the life of the Hereafter, when the souls are resurrected.

So, he asked Allah to guide him to the truth by His Lordship – Ar-Rububiyyah- of the three noble Angels made responsible for the three types of life.

Accordingly, asking Allah by His names Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum has a great effect on His answering your supplications and obtaining relief from difficulty and hardship.” (5)

How are these names related to the lives of our hearts? and does the heart need to be alive? Yes, it does. Our hearts need to be alive and the life of our heart is to know the truth about Allah and about His religion.

Each one of us needs a soul in his body and a soul in his heart in order to be alive. The soul of the body is needed physically so that we can move, eat, drink, walk, sleep and so forth. What about the soul of the heart? The heart will never be alive except when it knows about Allah.

قال الله تعالى: {أَوَمَن كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ كَمَن مَّثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِّنْهَا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ}

Is he who was dead (by ignorance and disbelief) and We gave him life (by knowledge and faith) and set for him a light (of belief) whereby he can walk amongst men, like him who is in the darkness (of disbelief, polytheism, and hypocrisy) from which he can never come out? Thus it is made fair-seeming to the disbelievers that which they used to do.

Surah Al-An’am [6: 122]

The first thing the heart needs in order to be alive is to know about Allah, our Creator. Just think about this example: A person who worships and prostrates to a cow, is his heart alive? Imagine worshipping a cow! There is no doubt such a heart is dead. Why is it dead? Because it does not see any truth nor does it comprehend. The heart of someone who worships a cow clearly does not understand Who is worthy of being worshipped and who is not, and who deserves to be loved and submitted to.

Let us take these six easy to follow steps below to bring life to our hearts:

  1. Knowledge of Allah. We must know about His names and attributes, His orders and commands and His Qur’an. We need to ask Allah by His name Al-Hayy to grant us knowledge of Him and understanding of how to worship Him in the way that will please Him. We need to know what is right and what is wrong: the good deeds to perform and the bad deeds to abstain from.
  2. Will. After you have gained the knowledge, what do you intend to do with it? Do you have the will to practice what you know? If yes, this will make your heart alive.
  3. Performing good acts of worship and obeying Allah. Each act of worship you perform will bring life to your heart.
  4. Being constantly engaged in Allah’s remembrance. This remembrance can be in the form of praising Allah, reciting the Qur’an, refraining from the haram (the prohibited) and so on; refraining from something prohibited means that your heart remembered Allah. This remembrance will bring life to your heart.
  5. Abandoning sins. Try to keep away from any sin and disobedience, because disobedience and sin heavily affect the life of your heart, gradually turning it black by putting a black stain on it each time.
  6. Repenting and asking Allah’s forgiveness. This is essential to purify the heart and remove the blackness caused by sins. Go back to Allah and repent, so the black stains on your heart are removed, and the heart will return to its pure and clean state. (6)

One may ask, are there any signs of a heart that is alive? Yes. If you commit a sin and you feel a pain or a pinch in your heart, congratulations! Your heart is alive. If the heart is dead or black, it will not feel the pain of regret.

This feeling of regret after sinning is a gift from Allah. If, thanks to this feeling, you take the opportunity to repent immediately, your heart will go back to be healthy, clean and tranquil again. However, if you ignore this feeling and insist on doing that bad action, eventually you will be deprived of this light and, devoid of even the smallest hint of regret, your heart will gradually lose its life.

If you take these six steps, you will have a healthy heart, full of life. This heart will enable you to enjoy this life, because a sound heart knows the right way. If you heart is alive you will know the aim of your existence, you will know how to tell the good from the bad, how to be patient and how to face hardship, knowing that Allah will reward you for each second of pain you endure. A sound heart is a heart free of worries and full of hopes, fearing none except Allah.

Since ignorance and sin negate the completeness of the life of the heart, you need to ask Allah, Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum, Who has the absolute and perfect attribute of life, to complete the life of your heart by granting you knowledge about Him and by forgiving you, so that the life of your heart can be restored.

When you say “Yaa Hayy, Yaa Qayyum”, try to ponder on the completeness, greatness, and perfection of Allah’s Life. Reflect also on the name “Al-Qayyum” and see how Allah provides and sustains us. Can you imagine that Allah is providing at this very moment for each and every element of all the creation? from adults to babies in the wombs of their mothers, insects, birds, creatures under the sea and angels in the heavens? There is not a moment except He is providing for us all.

So now we can understand the greatness of these two names and what they entail of submission and humbleness towards Allah, Al-Hayy – Al-Qayyum.

قال الله تعالى: {وَعَنَتِ الْوُجُوهُ لِلْحَيِّ الْقَيُّومِ ۖ وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ حَمَلَ ظُلْمًا}

And (all) faces shall be humbled before Allah, Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum (The Ever Living, The One Who sustains and protects all that exists). And he who carried a burden of wrongdoing (i.e. who disbelieved in Allah or ascribed partners to Him and did deeds of disobedience) will be indeed a complete failure on that Day.

Surah Ta-Ha [20: 111]

Anyone coming to Allah on the Day of Resurrection having committed injustice, his face will be submissive and humiliated to Allah, Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum, and surely he will be a loser.

And we ask Allah by His names Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum to strengthen our weakness and to make our hearts alive through knowledge of Him.


Above is a transcription of a class given by teacher Zaynab El-Kateb based on the book Fiqh Al-Asmaa Al-Husnaa by Shaikh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-Badr.

  1. Tafseer Aayatul-Kursi by Sheikh Ibn ’Uthaymeen, translated by Dr. Saalih As-Saalih)
  2. Tafseer Aayatul-Kursi by Sheikh Ibn ’Uthaymeen, translated by Dr. Saalih As-Saalih)
  3. Corrected by Imam Al-Albani, As-Silsilah As-Saheehah
  4. Reported by Muslim
  5. Zad al-Ma’ad by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim
  6. Main points from Madarij As-Saalikeen by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, with my explanation.

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