Knowing Allah through His Beautiful Names: Al Jabbar
The mender of hearts
The name Al-Jabbar has different meanings in Arabic.
The Irresistible, The Restorer, The Mender.
It means the One who mends weakness. Jabbara in Arabic, and Jabara yajburu, is to mend the weakness or broken hearts. Al Jabbar is the One who mends hearts, strengthens the broken, enriches the poor and makes every difficult thing for the afflicted easy. He compensates those who are afflicted by granting them steadfastness and patience. One of the meanings we find in translations is the Omnipotent. From a technical point of view nothing happens in His dominion except that what He wills. From a practical point of view, the name Al-Jabbar is akin to the cast which we put on when we have a fracture. A cast in Arabic is called jabeerah. If you have two broken bones and put them together, we call this jabara. And the One who mends these fractures is yajburu, jabbaar. The One who is strengthening these broken hearts is Al Jabbar, compensating those in difficulties and making things easy for them after these difficulties is Al-Jabbar. He is the One who grants patience and sabr for those who are enduring tests in their life. You call upon Al Jabbar in these difficulties to cure those who are in need, support them to strengthen their weakness and ease their pain and compensate them.
Where is Al Jabbar during times of calamity?
This name is particularly pertinent in the current situation as we are witnessing the horrific scenes in Palestine as innocent civilians are being killed, displaced, denied access to basic necessities, experiencing trauma and injuries. In Surat Ibrahim, Allah Almighty told us that we should not think He is unaware of what is going on.
وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَـٰفِلًا عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍۢ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ ٱلْأَبْصَـٰرُ ٤٢
مُهْطِعِينَ مُقْنِعِى رُءُوسِهِمْ لَا يَرْتَدُّ إِلَيْهِمْ طَرْفُهُمْ ۖ وَأَفْـِٔدَتُهُمْ هَوَآءٌۭ ٤٣
Do not think ˹O Prophet˺ that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them until a Day when ˹their˺ eyes will stare in horror—
rushing forth, heads raised, never blinking, hearts void.(14:42-43).
With such acute oppression, injustice and crime being perpetrated before our eyes, many people are wondering what’s going on and why don’t we see the power of Allah Almighty intervening and defending the oppressed, the weak and the helpless.
Allah Almighty has answered this question clearly in the Quran. Oppression will be continuous until the Day of Judgement, because this dunya is not a place for full justice. Full justice will only be served in the Hereafter. However we have to aspire to create justice, promote justice and spread justice and assist those who are oppressed.
Allah Almighty told us that we should never assume that He is unaware of what wrongdoers are doing because we are not seeing them being punished. This is a very important concept. Allah Almighty will punish them for sure, but in His time frame, not when we think it should happen. This is out of His ultimate wisdom and knowledge. Afterall it is He who has comprehensive knowledge, not us. We have just a drop of knowledge from the ocean of knowledge. We cannot judge the whole scenario unless we can see the full picture. However both our vision and consequently our understanding is limited. This is why we will always see oppression and may ask why do we not see divine intervention protecting the oppressed, the weak and the children. Allah Almighty is answering this question in our minds, saying ‘Do not ever think that Allah Almighty is unaware of what the wrongdoers are doing’. Don’t ever think this.
Allah Almighty has told us that He only postpones the punishment of the oppressors to a certain time, which means He has the full control of when this punishment will be. So don’t doubt Allah Almighty’s wisdom. Despite all the pain and destruction which we see, Allah Almighty is fully aware of this and who is the guilty party and where the blame lies. He knew this, even before it happened.
Another question which comes up again and again is why do we have this? The answer is simply: it’s a test. Some great philosophers and great thinkers turned atheist because of big calamities and atrocities they witnessed in their lives, and couldn’t reconcile it with justice. So they concluded that there is no Creator and there is no omnipotent power. Anyone can do anything they please as long as they have the power. But this is not the right answer. The reality is that Allah Almighty is the Creator and the All Powerful and He will deliver justice when the time comes. He knows when this will be and why this is will be the best time.
The persecution of the Prophet (peace be upon him)
During the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), he and his Companions suffered much oppression from the day he (peace be upon him) started calling people to worship Allah Almighty alone. From that day, the brutal persecution of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) began and continued for eight years. They exiled him and his Companions for three years in a valley, where they experienced a social and economic boycott and were under siege unable to access food, no one is allowed to buy or to sell anything to them. They were left without no food, water, connections, and communication, as we have seen happening to the people in Gaza. There were some compassionate people in Makkah, who abhorred this and would smuggle some food to them but it was completely insufficient. Just as today, we see 20 lorries of aid being sent for 2.3million people in Gaza. The Companions described the situation as being so dire that they would eat the bitter leaves of the trees because they had nothing else to eat. And yet amongst them was the best of Allah Almighty’s creation – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The best of Allah Almighty’s creation and the best of the people whom Allah Almighty selected to be with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) endured this. They are the cream of the cream of humanity and include his beloved wife Khadijah, his daughter Fatima and his other children. Alongside the Companions and his uncles they received collective punishment. In our terms this would be collective punishment which is prohibited by international law under section 4 of the Geneva Convention.
It is indeed shocking the extent of the mistreatment of the Prophet (peace be upon him), his family, and his Companions by the leaders of Makkah, who displayed a disturbing level of cruelty. They devised a document that forbade marriage with them, the supply of food or drink, or trade with them, and they even placed this document inside the Kaaba, to make it appear sacred. There are parallels today with what we are witnessing in Palestine amid the ongoing atrocities and genocide, and the refusal of certain countries to call for a ceasefire.
The carnage and suffering as innocent people are deprived access to basic necessities such as food, water, electricity, communication, and medicines, mirror the hardships faced by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions during their time.
At the end of three years under siege, Allah Almighty provided a means of relief. In a turning point, a compassionate individual in Makkah decided that the mistreatment of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions had gone far enough. He recognised that they were fellow human beings and should not be subjected to such brutal punishment. Determined to end the injustice, he made his way to the Kaaba to tear up the document. To his astonishment, he discovered that a small insect had already consumed the supposedly sacred document. This unexpected turn of events marked the end of their siege and the suffering endured by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions.
Like that compassionate individual, we have very good-hearted people in the international community, irrespective of their faith, their nationality, or ethnicity. Anyone with a conscience can recognise that the death of thousands of innocent people and destruction of their mosques, churches, hospitals, schools and universities is unacceptable. No one would say this was justified if it happened to their community.
Allah Almighty is saying He will postpone the punishment until a Day when ‘sights are staring’. This is a guarantee that all oppressors will be held accountable for their crimes on the Day of Judgement. What about in the dunya?
In the dunya, justice is only served when human institutions, legal systems, and social structures function properly. Though these systems are designed to ensure that individuals are held accountable for their actions, and justice is upheld, their efficacy depends on the presence and application of just laws, functioning institutions, and the will to enforce them. If these conditions are not in place or are inadequately implemented, we see a lack of justice and punishment.
Once Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was on his way back from one of his journeys and he stopped and made a long supplication. One of his Companions asked him what he had prayed for as he had never seen him make such a lengthy dua. Then Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “I asked Allah Almighty for 3 things”. In some narrations it says 4 things. He said Allah granted him 2 of them, but did not grant the third.
On the authority of Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas (may Allah be pleased with him) that one day Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) came from Al-‘Aliyah: a high place in Madinah. He passed by the mosque of Banu Mu’awiyah, went in and observed two rak’ahs there and we also observed prayer along with him (peace be upon him) and then he prolonged his dua, he made a very long supplication (peace be upon him) to his Lord. He then came back to us and said:
I asked my Lord three things and He has granted me two but has withheld one. I asked my Lord that my ummah should not be destroyed because of prevailing famine and He granted this to me. And I asked my Lord, that my ummah should not be destroyed by drowning (by deluge) and He granted this to me. And I asked my Lord that my ummah not to be destroyed by fighting among themselves, but He did not grant it to me (peace be upon him). (Muslim)
This means that unlike previous nations who were destroyed, Allah Almighty will not let our Ummah be wiped out by famines or floods, though we will experience some hiccups and some trials and tribulations. However Allah Almighty will not prevent the Ummah fighting each other.
It took me many years to understand why Allah did not grant this dua, when He granted so many things. Why did He refuse to do this, when it would have spared so much suffering. Despite being 2 billion and spread all over many countries with huge resources, our Ummah is weak. I realised the answer was that Allah did not give our Ummah unity, because being unified is our job. Allah Almighty will not do our homework. Allah Almighty commanded us to be unified. He said clearly
“Hold fast to the rope of Allah and do not be disunited.” [3:103]
Being united is an obligation. It is an obligation at an individual and collective level. I cannot ask someone else to pray Dhuhr on my behalf. It’s my own duty and I have to do it myself. Neither Allah nor anyone else can do this for me. This gives us a flavour of why did Allah Almighty not give Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the third to keep the Ummah united. Because this is our duty. Allah Almighty will not to do this on our behalf. We have to They have to come actively pursue unity, strengthen our faith, and work together to overcome challenges and divisions. Unity is a shared responsibility that requires the conscious efforts of the Muslim community.
As the circumstances we are witnessing continue to unfolding, they have brought the Ummah together. The whole Ummah is united across the globe. Yes, it is painful. Yet sometimes it requires a bitter pill to cure an illness. Allah Almighty is not unaware. He knew even before it happened that the Ummah would experience turbulence and pain. But until the Ummah comes together Allah Almighty will not do our homework. We have to do our homework, become united, accommodate our differences and learn how to live together with our differences.
Another meaning of Al-Jabbar is the One who is generous with those who are close to Him. And it might be that these calamities brings us closer to Allah Almighty. As Allah Almighty stated in the Quran beautifully and clearly in a couple of occasions:
وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكۡرَهُواْ شَيۡـٔٗا وَهُوَ خَيۡرٞ لَّكُمۡۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيۡـٔٗا وَهُوَ شَرّٞ لَّكُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ وَأَنتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
“Perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.” [2:216]
This reminds us that we have limited knowledge and that we should not doubt Allah Almighty’s wisdom. Always trust Allah Almighty. Don’t look at the picture from one angle. You need to see the picture from different angles. You need to see the full picture. And who can see this but Allah Almighty? He is teaching us to trust Him especially when we are in the midst of a calamity. During the Battle of the Ditch Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was inside Madinah, and the enemies from all over Arabia formed a coalition of assorted tribes, led by the Quraysh, and gathered an army of over 10,000 men. It is a big number even in today’s time. They put Madinah under siege. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Companions. The believers were so petrified that Allah describes how their hearts were in their throats from terror.
یَـٰۤأَیُّهَا ٱلَّذِینَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱذۡكُرُوا۟ نِعۡمَةَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَیۡكُمۡ إِذۡ جَاۤءَتۡكُمۡ جُنُودࣱ
فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَیۡهِمۡ رِيحاً وَجُنُودࣰا لَّمۡ تَرَوۡهَاۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ بَصِیرًا
O you who believe, remember Allah’s favour to you, when the forces came upon you, and We sent upon them a wind, and the forces (of angels) you did not see. Allah is watchful of whatever you do. [Al-Ahzab, 33:9]
إِذۡ جَاۤءُوكُم مِّن فَوۡقِكُمۡ وَمِنۡ أَسۡفَلَ مِنكُمۡ وَإِذۡ زَاغَتِ ٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرُ
وَبَلَغَتِ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ ٱلۡحَنَاجِرَ وَتَظُنُّونَ بِٱللَّهِ ٱلظُّنُونَا۠
(Recall) when they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes were distracted, and the hearts reached the throats, and you were thinking about Allah all sorts of thoughts. [Al-Ahzab, 33:10]
هُنَالِكَ ٱبۡتُلِیَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ وَزُلۡزِلُوا۟ زلزالاً شَدِیدࣰا
There the believers were sorely tested and deeply shaken. [Al-Ahzab, 33:11]
Some began doubting Allah. They would have been asking “Why does Allah Almighty do this?” “Why is this happening?” “Why doesn’t Allah Almighty stop it?” However, Allah does not intervene until we have done what was required of us. It’s our duty; He will not do it on our behalf. Unity is our duty we need to come together. The Companions were resilient; they showed patience; they did their best. And Allah came to their aid.
Salman Al Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him) suggested to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that they dig a trench around Madinah. It was a big trench, around 3km long, 6m wide and 3m deep. It took them 6 days and nights in 24 hour shifts. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was digging with them. They did their homework to protect themselves and defeat their enemies. And then when the Quraysh came to attack, they could not fathom what had happened. They had never encountered a trench before. They could not cross it and had to camp out and wait. And then Allah Almighty sent a very strong wind that uprooted all their tents and they dispersed. Once they had done their homework, Allah gave his intervention.
The Ummah has to unite otherwise no one on the international scene will take us seriously or give us our rights. No one listens to the one who has no teeth. We have to unite so we can defend the oppressed, the weak, and the vulnerable.
The story of the Treaty of Al-Fudul is a significant historical event that took place in pre-Islamic times in which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) got involved even before the advent of Islam. It was a treaty that was made to uphold the principles of justice and the importance of standing up against oppression and upholding the rights of the oppressed. A Yemeni merchant came to Makkah to sell his goods, and after the goods were received, the purchaser refused to pay, leaving the Yemeni with no recourse. The Yemeni, in a desperate attempt to seek justice, went to the Mount of As-Saffa and called for help, rallying people of dignity and respect in Makkah to support him. As a result, they established the alliance of Al-Fudul, with the aim of supporting any oppressed person, regardless of their origin, and ensuring justice was served.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) commented on this after Islam. He (peace be upon him) said I witnessed this when he was young and if he were to be invited to this now, he would have responded and been part of it.
In our time, Hilful Fudul is like the international community. However justice cannot prevail as long as the power of the veto. No one has the right to put a veto on delivering justice. We need to create something that is effective in serving justice and humanity and good causes. Otherwise evil will prevail, we can see that evil is prevailing everywhere. And every time we see evil we can’t stop it because some countries will veto it.
So the bigger picture is that despite the acute pain we are suffering, good will come out of it – it will unite people, educate people, and spread the plight of the Palestinians to hundreds and thousands of people who knew nothing about it. They will see the reality of the situation and injustice and the double standards that exist. People of humanity and compassion will come forward to support them.
We call upon Allah Almighty, Al-Jabbar to mend the hearts, to give support, to give security and compensate these people for their losses. Although there are some losses you cannot compensate, Allah Almighty is the One who can compensate every loss in the Hereafter.
A woman from Gaza said if we could see the Unseen right now, we would see the sky full of Gazan souls ascending to Jannah and a new Gaza in Jannah with no borders, no prisons, where everyone is given dignity and hearts are coming together, families are coming together, because many families were wiped out in the genocide.
I ask Allah Almighty to give peace and mercy to Palestine and to all those who are oppressed and all those who are under occupation or under humiliation. We ask Allah Almighty to give peace to all the world and keep everyone peaceful and protected, Ameen.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim – 24th Oct 2023 Transcribed S Jawaid
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