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Al-Basīr – Allah is All-Seeing

Allah is referred to as “the All-Seeing” forty-two times in the Qur’an. For instance, Allah says:

“For those who keep from evil are Gardens with their Lord, beneath which rivers flow wherein they will abide, and pure companions, and contentment from Allah. Allah is Seer of (all) that His servants do.” [Sūrah Āl `Imrān: 15]

“He is with you wherever you are; and Allah is the Seer of all that you do.” [Sūrah al-Hadīd: 4]

Everything in existence is under Allah’s purview. His sight not only compasses the visible, but also every state of existence and every circumstance. Whenever Allah creates something, grants something, brings something to life, causes death, guides someone, or allows someone to stray, it is in accordance with His wisdom, His perfect knowledge, and complete vision that nothing can escape.

Allah says: “In whatever business you may be, and whatever portion you may be reciting from the Qur'an, and whatever deed you may be doing, We are witness to what you are engaged in. Not the weight of an atom on Earth or in heaven is hidden from your Lord, nor anything lesser or greater but it is recorded in a clear Book.” [Sūrah Yūnus: 61]

The Qur’an speaks about some of the people of the Scripture who would profess to believe in Islam when they met the Muslims, but when they were alone among themselves would say: “Do you talk to them of what Allah has disclosed to you that they may contend with you by this before your Lord?” Allah says about their behavior: “Are they not aware that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal?” [Sūrah al-Baqarah: 77]

Likewise, when `Umayr b. Wahb al-Jumahī and Safwān b. Umayyah plotted in secret to assassinate Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Allah informed the Prophet about their scheming.

For the believers, knowledge that Allah sees and hears all things is a reassurance and comfort. Allah says: “And put your trust in the Mighty, the Merciful, who sees you when you stand up (to pray) and your bowing in prostration with those who bow down.” [Sūrah al-Shu`arā’.: 217-219]

It comforts the heart to know that Allah sees and hears us when we beseech Him. It strengthens our resolve and fortitude in the face of all obstacles and sorrows. When Allah sent Moses and Aaron to confront Pharaoh, He comforted them with the words: “Indeed, I am with you, hearing and seeing.” [Sūrah TāHā: 46]

Likewise, Allah reassures Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saying: “So wait patiently for your Lord's decree, for surely you are in Our sight.” [Sūrah al-Tūr: 48]

When we know that Allah sees and hears everything we do, it encourages us to be more devoted in our worship, more righteous in our deeds, and kinder to others. This is why Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Excellence in faith is to worship your Lord as if you see Him, and though You do not see Him, know that He sees you.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (50, 4777) and Sahīh Muslim (8, 9)]

The more aware we are that Allah sees us, the greater our efforts will be in our worship. An employee will work harder, more productively, and more conscientiously under a manager’s watchful eye. How much greater is the effect when we know we are being watched by our Creator who sees and hears everything that we do? This consciousness will help us in our humility and our devotion in every act of worship that we perform and inspire us to do righteous deeds so we can please our Lord.

Likewise, when we engage in our worldly affairs, like our jobs or our commerce, we will be conscious that there is much more at stake than the supervision of the human authorities appointed over us. We will know that Allah is watching us and taking account of our deeds, and nothing escapes His notice. We will engage in our work with honesty and integrity. This is why Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Allah loves it when any of you engages in some work, that he does it well.” [Musnad Abī Ya`lā (4386), Shu`ab al-Īmān (5313, 5314) and al-Silsilah al-Sahīhah (1113)]

This provides the greatest “quality assurance” for a believer’s worldly efforts, not just for matters of worship. This is because a believer remains conscious of the fact that nothing we do, however small, escapes Allah’s attention. This is coupled with the awareness that Allah loves for us to do our best and to be proficient and conscientious in our work, and that Allah will recompense us in the Hereafter far beyond whatever worldly profit we might earn.

Knowing that Allah is All-Hearing and All-Seeing protects the believer from committing sins. Since Allah is taking account of everything we do, there is no escape from Him except to seek refuge with Him.
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